Happy New Year! We all made it to another decade.
John and I are beginning our 30th year of writing Common Cents. You might be interested in a little history of the column.
In 1990, I noticed no local columnists were writing for the business section of the Napa Valley Register. I approached Jack Morgan who was the publisher of the Register at the time, and made a pitch about creating a”local business column.”
He referred me to Doug Ernst, who would be my editor if they accepted the premise.
Doug was most accepting, and he suggested that I write a couple of pieces, and he would review them. These events occurred in June or July of 1990. Weeks went by and I heard nothing from Doug.
By the end of the year, I called Jack Morgan again and asked if he knew anything about the submissions. He said he would check with Doug and get back to me.
Jack called me back with an apology. He told me that about the time I had submitted my “trial” columns, the Gulf War had occurred, and somehow my submission was buried somewhere on a deep pile of newspaper news.
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Doug called me and apologized and asked me to “re-submit” my pieces. The editorial committee like them, and off we went.
Now nearly 1,500 columns later, here we are.
About eight years ago, my son John joined in the writing of the column.
I decided to do a little historical homework about what was going on in 1991.
Here are a few things I found:
- The Dow Jones Industrial average broke 3,000 in 1991. Today, it stands just over 28,000. If you had bought the Dow in 1991, you would have received a compound annual return of just under 8 percent per year. Now, that doesn’t sound like such a huge return, but steady often wins the race. If you invested just $100 per month in the Dow since 1991 or about $34,900, you would have a cool $103,500 today.
- George H. W. Bush was our president, and Dan Quayle was Vice President.
- Pan American Airlines filed for bankruptcy.
- The New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
- The Gulf War ended.
- The Soviet Union fell in 1991.
- William Jefferson Clinton announced that he would seek the nomination for president of the United States.
- Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a member of the Supreme Court.
- In October, the Oakland Hills firestorm would kill 25 people and destroy 3,500 homes.
- The following people would die in 1991: Red Grange, Danny Thomas, Dennis Crosby, Harry Reasoner, Dr. Seuss and many more.
- The Hubble Telescope was launched.
- The top movie was “Terminator 2.”
- The top novel was “The Firm” by John Grisham.
- The most popular TV programs included “60 Minutes,” “Cheers,” “Home Improvement,” “Murder She Wrote,” and “Coach.”
1991 was an outstanding year for many. Not the least of which was the launching of Common Cents. Thanks for all the kind words and well wishes over these years.