And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snowAnother year is about to pass. Remarkably, next month will mark my thirteenth year as a regular on these pages. That's a lot of words, ideas and investment observations. I actually started out writing on TheStreet.com back in the late 1990s when I penned a column called "The Contrarian." At that time, the site was a relatively new concept and a real-time experiment that struggled in its infancy. But it began to flourish even as the economy and markets suffered in 2001. Since I started writing for Jim Cramer, we have not only dealt with the market's ups and downs, but we have shared some of life's experiences together through visits, e-mails, telephone conversations and other personal correspondence. I have defended Jimmy, I have written a piece called "On Jim Being Cramer" and have transformed myself at times into the Anti-Cramer. I have agreed and disagreed with him, all the while with maximum respect for Jim as a businessman, an investor, a friend, an author, a media figure and, most importantly, as a dad. Happily, over more than a decade, I have met numerous other new friends -- both virtually and in person -- from my experience as a member of the community at TheStreet and on Real Money Pro. We have all experienced some terribly emotional times, most notably the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 and the loss of contributor Bill "Budman" Meehan and many of our dear friends. We mourned together. But as painful as that period was over time, we recovered and life went on. We have recently concluded the celebration of Hanukkah, we're preparing for Christmas and the New Year will be shortly upon us, so it's time to revisit my annual tribute to Jim "El Capitan" Cramer's vision. This year's version of my tribute to Jim has more meaning to me than the others, as I just passed my one-year anniversary of surviving cancer. It is the life experiences of this type that makes one even more thankful. A few paragraphs could not possibly communicate the warmest of feelings I have about many of my acquired relationships -- with subscribers, with contributors, with editors, with the management of TheStreet and, of course, with Jim, who lies at the middle of it all.
Stood puzzling and puzzling; how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? -- Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas