I apologize for being scarce around here lately. I came down with a bug on Monday, and have been in bed with a high fever ever since. Not only has this prevented me from writing, but I haven’t answered any but the most urgent e-mail messages.

I have, however, had plenty of time to appreciate Hulu, the website that provides free video from NBC, Fox, and other networks. I’ve spent hours in a feverish haze watching Adam-12, which was one of my favorite television programs when I was a boy. The excitement! The dramatic music! The police officers engaged in high-speed pursuit without seatbelts! (Actually, it’s a much better show than I had remembered.)

Though I couldn’t muster the brain-power to write over the past few days, I was able to surf the web:

Daily Kos shared an interesting chart of the stock market’s historical performance. Laid out like a bell curve, this chart/graph demonstrates the distribution of yearly gains in the S&P market index. So far, 2008 is one of the worst years on record. Judging from reader comments around GRS, many people are bailing out of stocks. I’m not one of them.

When you’re in the midst of financial turmoil, it’s easy to panic. The people saying “buy and hold doesn’t work!” start to sound reasonable. But you know what? The numbers show that, historically, buy and hold has worked. Here are a couple of articles from JLP at All Financial Matters that I’ve mentioned before:

In order for “buy and hold” to be successful, you have to respect the “hold”. You have to stick with it through good times and bad. If this market seems scary, then maybe you should have less invested in stocks. As Nickel asks, “How is your risk tolerance holding up?

Finally, Michael sent me an article from The Christian Science Monitor about a Colorado couple who has tried to go an entire year without buying anything new. (Except underwear.) They’re not the only ones to have made such an effort, of course. But I’m always fascinated by those who are willing to make commitments like this. It’s a leap I cannot make.

I’m feeling better this afternoon, but I’m still not 100%. Tomorrow’s post may be a re-run, but I should be back to full strength after that.