I affectionately called Jim "Smails." My nickname reflected our shared fondness for the movie Caddyshack and the character Judge Smails, played by Ted Knight.

I called him "Smails" because of his judicial qualities. He was contemplative, thoughtful and not prone to following fads. And as a well-respected judge should, he had an avuncular quality -- always instructive and helpful. At times, he was even professorial.

His body of work was superb -- at times, breathtaking -- even when we were in disagreement. I loved having him as an adversary because I knew that I would come out of our polemic far more educated than when we began.

I admired his insights and ideas. You don't have to look further than his second-to-last column on Sept. 25 in which he pinpointed Lexmark -- and that stock has been up $8 in the past two days.

Most people associated Smails with tech, but I knew better. His constant instant messages to me over the past 12 months revealed a knowledge base far beyond personal computers and wireless phones.

And those instant messages revealed a humorous side of him, one well versed in literature and wit.

That's what I will miss most about Smails.

The good die far too young.

Doug Kass is the manager of two hedge funds, Seabreeze Partners and Kass Partners, and renowned for his emphasis on a short-selling strategy. Prior to that, he was a portfolio manager at hedge fund Omega Advisors, and head of institutional equities at First Albany and J.W. Charles. Kass appreciates your feedback and invites you to send it to Doug Kass
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