ALEXANDRIA, VA (Sept. 22, 1999) -- It happened last night, once again.

That annual discovery.

I slept poorly. With light covers on the bed, and traditional summer garb, I spent my standard six hours of sleep tossing and turning for comfort. No socks. What a mistake! I never really reached enough consciousness to get up and pull 'em on.

Autumn is here.

Over Alexandria, Virginia and much of the East Coast last night, a chill wind blew in and changed the seasons. It found me, as it always does once a year, unprepared. So I froze. But freezing like that precedes the pleasurable experience every year of "waking up" the next morning and opening my front door and breathing in the delicious coolness of the air outside, with its subtle, spicy autumn tang.

There is a natural burlap-sack robustness to autumn air that puts the thin heat of summer to shame. And every year, I love to encounter it once again, new, for the first time. It is a pleasure of the mid-Atlantic and New England states that is still missed by many people who grew up here but moved away. I love California as much as the next guy, and perhaps I'll spend my last decade or two in New Mexico. And I know that other areas of the country see delightful autumns as well. But for sheer polished brilliance, you simply can't beat the red and gold and purples and burnt orange of New England. Takes me back to my schoolboy days.

Or, like my son today, being three years old and lying in a huge heap of leaves. Just to breathe it all in.

We're feeling the changing of the seasons in this portfolio, as well. Jeff and I are looking to liquidate some positions in the portfolio this fall and bring on a few new upstarts to Rule Breakerdom. This is consonant with the seasons, that rhythm of change we encounter four times a year (which just so happens to be the number of times a year that public companies report their numbers). We bought Amazon in the fall two years ago. Can't remember whether it was chilly that day.

The Rule Breaker portfolio bolted 4.94% higher today, well outpacing the market averages. I don't have much else to say tonight, content instead to set aside the fleeting pleasure of a fine day on the stock market in order that I might make my way back into our autumn cool. Breathe in through the nostrils.

Perhaps blue smoke will trail in wisps out of the red-brick chimneys of Old Town tonight, where we live and work? I hope so.

Maybe read some Frost? And warm socks tonight.

Fool on.

-- David Gardner, September 22, 1999