All that is Gold

All that is gold does not glitter.

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings

On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill, in Coloma, California, leading to the California Gold Rush which would last until 1848.

The influx of gold revived the American economy and led to Califorinia becoming one of the few American states to go dirctly to statehood without first being a territory. Prospectors drew the gold from streams and riverbeds by panning.

Not all about the Gold Rush was cheery. Gold-seekers called “forty-niners” attacked and pushed whole indigenous societies off of their lands.

A few of the gold-seekers became wealthy, but many returned home with nothing more than what they started with.


Peace With Honor

On this day in 1973 U.S. President Richard M. Nixon declared the end to the Vietnam War. The phrase was a variation of a 1968 campaign promise in which Nixon said “I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.”

The treaty of the Paris Peace Accord specified that a cease fire would take place four days later.

On March 29, 1973, the last U.S. solider left Vietnam. Saigon fell to North Vietnamese troops on April 30, 1975.

Peace Without Victory

Woodrow Wilson announces to Congress on February 3, 1917 that official relations with the German Empire have ceased. (Wikimedia Commons)

On this day in 1917, prior to the United States’ entry into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the Senate and called for “peace without victory” to settle the European conflict.

Wilson said “The present war must first be ended; but we owe it to candor and to a just regard for the opinion of mankind to say that, so far as our participation in guarantees of future peace is concerned, it makes a great deal of difference in what way and upon what terms it is ended. The treaties and agreements which bring it to an end must embody terms which will create a peace that is worth guaranteeing and preserving, a peace that will win the approval of mankind, not merely a peace that will serve the several interests and immediate aims of the nations engaged. We shall have no voice in determining what those terms shall be, but we shall, I feel sure, have a voice in determining whether they shall be made lasting or not by the guarantees of a universal covenant; and our judgment upon what is fundamental and essential as a condition precedent to permanency should be spoken now, not afterwards when it may be too late.” Full Text.

A little more than two months later, Wilson addressed Congress to request permission to declare war against Germany. A formal declaration of war was issued on April 6, 1917. The war would end the following November. By the end of the war 116,708 American military lives and 757 U.S. civilians would die from all causes associated with the war (influenza, combat, and wounds).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

On this day in 1927, Louis B. Mayer, head of the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) film studio, announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a banquet at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles for the purposes of acknowledging cinematic excellence. The group was officially formed on May 11 of the same year.

The Academy’s awards for the the motion picture industry would come to be known as The Oscars. Some 6,000 motion picture professionals are not members of the Academy, but the membership list is considered a “closely guarded secret.”

Over the years, the Oscars have not been without controvery. Some of the most notable incidents include:

In 1936, in just the fifth year of the awards, screenwriter Dudley Nichols turned down the awards for The Informer. The Screen Writers Guild and the Writers Guild asked members to boycott the ceremony because studios were trying to prevent unionization.

In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actress to win an award for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Because of segregation, McDaniels had to sit in the back of the auditorium and not with the rest of the cast.

In 1970, George C. Scott refused his the Oscar for his leading role in Patton. Scott said “The ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons.”

Three years later in 1973, Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Brando refused the award and sent Native American Sacheen Littlefeather to decline saying “He very regretfully cannot accept this very generious award, and the reasons for this are being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”

In 1974, as David Niven was abou to introduce Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Opel streaked across the stage, leading Niven to quip, “Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.”

In 2014, John Travolta stumbled over his lines when introducing singer Idina Menzel to sing the theme song from Frozen. Travolta came out with “Please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem.” Twitter and meme-makers everwhere rejoiced.

In 2017, actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were handed the wrong envelope and announced La La Land to be the winner. Backstage the stage manager realized that they should have been announcing Moonlight.

The 90th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 4, 2018.

Five Stock Market Blogs We Love


On this day in 1929 the stock market crashed on the New York Stock Exchange. The day became known as “Black Thursday.”

Times may be uncertain, but to help you manage your money, here are five blogs about stocks and investing.

Financial Ducks in a Row
Jim Blankenship, CFP®, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner. His blog is primarily dedicated to discussions and information on personal income tax, detailing many of the provisions of IRA and other retirement plan rules, as well as advice, thoughts, and recommendations with regard to pretty much anything financially-related. Traders Blog
Go here for some good general market analysis and trading updates as well as guest posts from other stock traders.

A Wealth of Common Sense
Ben Carson, CFA focuses on wealth management, investments, financial markets, and investor psychology.

Downtown Trader
Joey Fundora is a private trader specializing in swing trading of stocks almost exclusively through the use of technical analysis.

The Lund Loop
Brian Lund has been an independent trader for 25 years offering informative posts sometimes laced with humor.