We have learned that Ken Smith, a frequent contributor to this web site, passed away on June 2, 2008 at age 78 (of an apparent heart attack).

Ken travelled to many places over his life, was involved in all kinds of interesting situations and shared many of them with us through his writing. Several of us had a chance to meet him in person as well.

Our condolences to his wife Ina.

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Andrew Moe remembers: 

Here is my favorite post from a good friend who often gleaned remarkable insight from the wonderful life he led and was generous enough to share it with us. A true Spec.

####### Original Post by Ken Smith #######

At 6 am I looked out to the front lawn and observed a lone American Robin listening for worms and insects in the dew-moist grassy ground. The bird shuffled from point to point in a random-appearing change of direction. This is breeding season; the birds are now carnivores. After breeding they will switch to a vegetarian diet. The Robin was patient at each stop, giving his senses time to pick up the signals nature has programmed him to use in his search for food, food which furnishes him with reproductive energy. He has arisen early and discovered this niche for himself, my front lawn, recently watered.

A signal from the ground is perceived and Sir Robin quickly has his prey, no hesitation. This guy is an active hunter, as in active trader. His little computer brain and sense organs are crawling the field in search of prey, a morsel to fatten his resources. Sir Robin will switch to another lawn or playground or marsh when his present search produces less energy than the energy required to do the search.

He will fly away, perhaps randomly choosing the next site for exploration. When breeding season is over, the eggs hatched and nurtured, Sir Robin will change his diet preference. And the turning of the earth, the sun, and the moon will influence him to change his territory, his environment, his location in relation to these planetary orbits. A trader seeks a niche, as the good Doctor Niederhoffer has suggested. Sir Robin, as an epitome of nature's example, has a bird brain yet survives, breeds, and flourishes. How complicated do we need to be to survive as traders?

"Once breeding season is over, the sweet-singing and familiar robin of our backyards becomes more furtive and shy. Large nomadic flocks form and range over the countryside in search of berries such as mulberry, sumac, grape, viburnum, and cedar, as they shift from their breeding season diet of insects and earthworms to become wholly vegetarian. By September, many are moving south from the northern parts of the eastern half of the country to winter with southern residents in the Middle Atlantic and Gulf states. In the West, Robins wander broadly in search of food and move generally to areas of lower altitude. But some linger as far north as Canada when food supplies are adequate, so the first robin you see in spring may not have come from too far away." (Cornell U. ).





Speak your mind

3 Comments so far

  1. steve leslie on June 7, 2008 10:23 am

    Mr Moe has offered an exquisite selection of prose from an eloquent, sensitive and caring man. I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Mr. Smith privately and I found him to be very supportive and complimentary to my writings. He was quite an inspiration to me.

    He embodied the spirit of Daily Speculations, with is to enlighten, entertain and deflate ballyhoo. He offered wonderful insights gleaned through a lifetime of experience. I can personally attest to the fact that I am a bit of a better person because of Mr. Smith.


    Steve Leslie

  2. marion d s dreyfus on June 9, 2008 9:48 am

    Ken Smith wrote to us plainly and without guile, which is not to say he did not speak eloquently and with a 30-gallon drum of inspiration under his dinghy. His dispatches were from many years of trial and — sometimes more often than not — error, but they bespoke a lifelong extraction of lessons from whatever he underwent and tried. He pulsed with life, and he was, in recollection, the stuff of maleness, a substance seemingly in short supply. We will miss him immensely on this forum. We will miss him in our private moments, when we mull our blessings and regret those that no longer manage to stay tethered to us by misadventure — or life.

  3. acetrader on June 9, 2008 5:30 pm

    Spent a good 20 minutes or so reading over some of Ken's contributions here; he will definitely be missed!


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