Saturday, September 4, 2010

A soundtrack for a lifetime. Music from when I was twelve..................

1964........What a year.  Here is a sampler:





















A beautiful mind indeed. An artistic savant.........



Thanks to TigerHawk for showing the way.

I miss his voice..........................


"Hello Americans, I'm
Paul Harvey."

Paul Harvey was born this
day in 1918.

For fifty some years, the
airwaves were blessed
by his voice, bringing news,
commentary, wisdom, and
good humor.

"Good........day!"

Can we figure out a way to reduce their work schedule even more......?

But, it's worth it ! ................





















The hard work of being optimistic - here

     "Yes, we have challenges. Crazy big ones. But dwelling
      on them endlessly only drives us to a deeper sense of
      fearful paralysis. And while we are tirelessly focusing
      on how bad things are, what are we missing out on?



      Opportunities, for one. And reasons to be grateful."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Music from when I was Eleven........................

What Would Dad Say......

I started to just link, but then thought screw it and
copied and pasted instead.  Original version here

Enjoy:

"These Truths are Self Evident 
(I stole most of these.)

From the College of Obvious Things

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately
clear your computer history if you die

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument
when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap
when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5.
I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you
how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a
moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to
do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after
Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…
again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and
it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page
technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just
so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given
Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite
than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing
option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between
boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?”
before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear
or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of
cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.
Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants
never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive
times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating
their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning
the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet everyone can find and push
the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds,
eyes closed, first time, every time.

24. The first testicular guard, the “Cup,” was used in Hockey in
1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only
took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

25. People who live in New York City don’t realize it is legal
to move away.

26. Sometimes I think Steve Jobs would make a pretty good
President.

27. Job hunting for only 20 minutes a day should not qualify
for unemployment benefits.

28. If it tastes good, just don’t eat it.

29. ”Dancing With the Stars” popularity is all about the skimpy,
hot outfits.

30. Recruitment advertising is totally changing from pay-to-post
to a pay-per-click model.

31. Contrary to popular opinion, there are bad ideas.

32. First thing a new business owner did in 1980: order business
cards. In 2010: build a website. Both, worthless.

33. Scott Adams should be in charge of something big.

34. Speaking about cartoonists, I miss Gary Larsen. Why did he
have to retire and Jay Leno won’t?

35. Jimmy Fallon is much funnier than most people know."

"The Paradox of Efficiency"..........

Greg Mankiw's post from 8/31 offers another tale of unintended
consequences.  Quoting an essay in the Economist:

     "SOLID-STATE lighting, the latest idea to brighten up the
      world while saving the planet, promises illumination for a
      fraction of the energy used by incandescent or fluorescent
      bulbs. A win all round, then: lower electricity bills and...less
      climate-changing carbon dioxide belching from power
      stations.

      Well, no. Not if history is any guide."
 
Reminded me of Peter Huber's The Bottomless Well.  He wrote:

      "That's the heart of the problem.  To reduce energy
     consumption, a more efficient technology has to have a
     greater impact in the replacement market it creates than
     in the new markets it infiltrates.  New, more efficient
     engines must replace old ones faster than we find new
     uses for the new-and-improved engines.  LED's have
     to replace old light bulbs, for example, faster than they
     get deployed in jumbotrons and countless other places
     the the very compact, cool, new light can go- all the
     new applications that old bulbs couldn't serve at all.
     But this just doesn't happen.  The new uses invariably
     multiply faster than the old ones get retrofitted.

     As a general principle, more efficient devices are more
     efficient because they run faster.  But faster devices
     get used more.........."

Huber's optimistic book is the tale of how invention and
innovation have changed both fuel and power over the past
three hundred years.  He details his "seven heresies" about
how everything we think we know about energy is wrong.

Huber quotes my hero Richard Feynman, "Energy is a very
subtle concept.  It is very difficult to get right."

Huber preaches that increases in efficiency have always
led, and will aways lead, to increases in usage; but regardless
of usage he demonstrates "why we will never run out of energy."

Fun stuff.  Fun book.

Moe speaks from the heart......................

.........but maybe overlooks an important point.

Moe Veissi, 2010 First Vice President of the National Association
of Realtors offers an impassioned defense of the home as an
investment-here.

     "I’ve read that some of these pundits believe the worth
      of the home purchase isn’t what it once was, and may
      never be a valuable asset. I’ve read that, in an uncertain
      economy, these brainiacs think buying a house is too
      much of an anchor on an individual or families mobility.
      Not a long term valuable assets? Too much of an anchor?
      What in the heck are these folks smoking? Are they nuts?!"

Like I said, impassioned.  Here is one reason for his passion:

     "Let me tell you a story about the real value of home-
      ownership. My dad met my mom and they always had
      the dream of owning their own home. He bought my
      mom the home of her dreams as a gift of his love with
      the belief that it was better to pay off something that
      he owned with his wife and raise his kids there than
      to rent."

      "That home was purchased in the 1960s for $16,000, with
       a few hundred dollars down, an FHA-backed loan, and an
       interest rate of 5 percent. The real value today is about
       $275,000. You do the math on an investment of a few
       hundred dollars and tell me if housing isn’t worth the risk."

Moe's parent's story- and it is a good story- is not so different
from the experience of my parents, of many of our parents. 

Over the last three decades, the Realtor community  has done a
fabulous job of selling the notion that our homes are an
investment vehicle.  While there is accuracy involved, like most
things the devil is in the details.  Moe's parents and my parents
owned their homes for fifty years- long term.  Moe continues:

     "In spite of everything that housing has gone through the
      past couple of years – and I’ll admit it’s been a tough
      time – housing still remains the best way to build long-
     term wealth. Nothing else compares. Doesn’t even come
     close."

It's that phrase "build long-term wealth" that causes the mischief.
Long term means 25 to 50 years.  Seems to me that the Realtor
community has been ignoring the "long term" aspect of wealth
building through home ownership, and has instead been pushing
the notion that housing wealth is available in dramatically
shorter time spans.  Realtors are pretty good at selling ideas.
Home buyers recently behaved as though they believed that the
mere fact that you were buying a house would make you
wealthy-  almost "instant wealth" through real estate ownership. 

The record highs of 2006 and the dramatic lows of 2010 are
both fruits of that type of confused thinking.

"Bullish on Industrial Real Estate over the long term"..........

Let's revisit Professor Richard Green as he prognosticates on
the various sectors of commercial real estate.    Volume up.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Music from when I was 10 .........................

Krugman v Thredgold...........















I regularly read Paul Krugman's column.  We don't share a
common perspective, but I enjoy his writing nonetheless. 
Usually.  I did not enjoy this one- here.

      "All the buzz lately is that the Obama Administration
       is 'antibusiness.'  And there are widespread claims
       that fears about taxes, regulation, and budget
       deficits are holding down business spending and
       blocking economic recovery,

      How much truth is there to these claims?  None."

None?  None?  Not even a little bit?  Krugman continued his
essay with a pinch of economic analysis and a whole lot of
political axe grinding.  His dismissal of concerns over
governmental regulations, without giving any thought to the
uncertainty inherent in the huge number of new rules coming
our way as a result of the recent passage of legislation on
health care, insurance, finance and banking, is breathtaking. 

I think Paul needs to get out more.

Contrasting Krugman is my favorite economic futurist, Jeff
Thredgold.  His latest newsletter is here.  Excerpts here:

     ".....people are scared. Uncertainty is sky-high.

     Large U.S companies are sitting on nearly
     $2,000,000,000,000 in cash, fearful of where the nation
     is headed. Corporate anxiety leads to cautious spending
     and the hoarding of cash.


     It shows what can happen when the business sector is
     fearful of more and more regulation…more and more
     costly mandates from an anti-business Washington in
     regard to health care, rising taxes, possible energy
     legislation, unwieldy red tape in the financial services
     arena, and so on.....

     Irwin Stelzer ..... notes in a recent piece that 'large
    swathes of the economy are now subject to political
    rather than market forces.' He notes tightening
    regulations of the health care industry, many subject
    to the whims of politicians and bureaucratic staffers. 
    He notes that 'regulators are busy drawing up the
    estimated 10,000 regulations needed to implement
    the 2,319-page financial reform bill.' ..........

    He notes the anxiety within the energy sector. 'Utilities
    have no idea what penalties will be imposed if they
    construct new fossil-fuel plants, mining companies don’t
    know what market there will be for coal if Congress
    enacts an energy bill, and oil companies haven’t been
    told what regulations will be imposed on off-shore
    drilling........' "

We live in an uncertain world.  It has always been that way. 
The business of Business is, and always has been, risky.

From recent conversations I have had with local small
businesspeople, I'd have to say that both Krugman and
Thredgold are overselling their positions.

Just started reading Only the Paranoid Survive by
Intel's Andy Grove.  He had just introduced his concept
of the Inflection Point when I had to put the book down. 
Without really knowing what I am talking about, it feels
like our country, our economy, and the business world
has entered into a massive inflection point.  The
opportunity seekers amongst us are struggling mightily to
find opportunity. Until they do, job growth will be mostly
something that punditry talks about- theory not reality.

Another fine mess we've gotten ourselves into.

Great......Happy........Lucky....

While talking with friend Jim on the phone this evening, I asked,
"how are you doing?"  His response was immediate.  "I'm
great, happy and lucky".   Wow.

Starting right now, I'm going to be "great, happy, and lucky."

"...in a network economy, intermediaries have tremendous value."

So opines Kevin Kelley, here.

With six gazillion blogs out there, it is ever so easy to get lost,
dazed, and confused.  A good guide (or four) is essential to
making the trip through blogdom productive. In six months, I
have learned more,  and had more doors opened, by reading
and following the links at Cultural Offering, Execupundit,
Eclecticity and Nicholas Bate,  than I did in four years in college.

I consider them my "intermediaries" with the blogosphere. 
They have tremendous value.

Numbers Three and Eight are my favorite choices.......

12 unconventional ways to fix the economy.  A slideshow- here

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Music from when I was 9 years old..................I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder....

"It’s like trying to aggregate the the performance of local “yard sales” into a “national” industry."

Mathew Ferrara is in top form.  And, I think, correct on at least
three fronts.  Full post here.

First, as we all know, real estate is about location, location,
location.  Therefore, what is happening in Nevada, Arizona, and
California has zero to do with housing values in Central Ohio.

      "Even consistently measurable factors such as unit
       availability, consumer demographics, income levels,
       taxation zones, school performance and unemployment
       rates are so different every ten miles or so that
       discussing it on a national scale is senseless."

Secondly, Mathew points to the biggest mistake of the 2000-
2006 time period: thinking that housing starts were the most
important economic statistic.

       "Housing doesn’t drive economic activity; economic
       activity drives housing purchases. A recovery won’t
       happen if people start buying more homes; the
       economy needs to recover before people can start
       buying more homes."

And finally, the need to acknowledge that all markets are different.
Some markets boomed and some markets didn't,  Some markets
cratered, some markets didn't.  Some markets are only a little
wounded, some markets are holding their own, some markets are
gradually improving.  It will be an uneven recovery.

       "Talking about the housing market as if it were a
        single, homogeneous industrial sector – and reporting
       its aggregate increases and decreases – is not only
       inaccurate. It’s dangerous, especially in a recession of
       today’s duration and depth."

Checking in with Hugh...............

I just wonder which generation he is talking about?


"You can do it" .....................

I do not usually enjoy reading Cal Thomas's opinion pieces in our
local newspaper.  Yesterday was different.  Full piece here,
excerpts here:

      "Lowering expectations of government and politicians is
      only half the equation. We must then raise expectations for
      ourselves. "You can do it" is more than a rousing assurance
      from a parent after the training wheels come off and we ride
      the two-wheeler for the first time, it's the ratification of the
      individual's power over the weakening power of the state."

      "If we look to government to care for us, rather than
       looking  to ourselves and to family, the time will come when
       government won't be able to........."



      "Thomas Jefferson said we had the right to pursue happiness.
       He didn't tell us where to find it. Lowering expectations of
       government and politicians and raising our own expectations
       is where happiness -- or at least contentment -- can be found."

Don't know about the party, but the library sure is swell.........



Thanks Rules for pointing the way

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Well, it's a marvelous night for a Moondance........

Van Morrison was born this day in 1945.








The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.............

Harvard Professor believes 99 weeks of unemployment insurance
is making the problem worse.  Full essay from the WSJ here.
Excerpt here:

     "The unemployment-insurance program involves a balance
      between compassion—providing for persons temporarily
      without work—and efficiency. The loss in efficiency results
      partly because the program subsidizes unemployment,
      causing insufficient job-search, job-acceptance and levels of
      employment. A further inefficiency concerns the distortions
      from the increases in taxes required to pay for the program."

In case you were wondering what was wrong with our politicians.............

Exhibit A:  "Focusing like a laser" on a problem that only time
will cure. 

From Calculated Risk channeling Tom Lawyer, here

"HUD Secretary Donovan noted that the July plunge in home sales
following the end of the federal home buyer tax credit was much
sharper than the administration expected; that the administration
was “very concerned,” and would “do everything we can” to
stabilize the shaky housing market. While he said that “it's too
early to say after one month of numbers whether the tax credit
will be revived or not,” he also said that "we're going to be
focused like a laser on where the housing market is moving
going forward, and we are going to go everywhere we can
to make sure this market stabilizes and recovers."


Call me a dreamer, but I long for a prominent politician to say
to the American people "that the housing market is in the tank
because we, as a free people with a free market and a free
economy, overbuilt and overspent.  We binged on real estate
and now we have the hangover.  The only reliable cure for a
hangover is the passage of time.  It's that old patience thing.
There is absolutely nothing that the government can do today
to solve this problem.  There are many things it can do to
make the problem worse.  So we are dispensing with the laser
focus. We will be trusting the American people.  We got
ourselves into this mess.  We will get ourselves out of it-
in due time.  In the meanwhile, roll up your sleeves, get
to work, and stop looking to government for all the
answers.  In case you haven't noticed, we don't have any"   

Yep, call me a dreamer.

"While you’re being serious, I’m playing games".....

Chris Brogan writes about "games" ....here

"There’s the game you see, and the game we’re playing.

There’s the game you understand, and the one you haven’t
yet begun to comprehend.

There’s the game you want to play, and the game you’re
facing."

He's 19.......but it's probably not too late............

Walker Lamond's Rules for My Unborn Son




















401. You can do your homework after you finish playing outside.

370. Freud was wrong. Let’s move on.

330. Give credit. Take the blame.

281. You aren’t done raking until you’ve played in the leaf pile.

270. Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Feeling the need for some Nickelback........

"His screwball was magical"...................

It is not just anyone who can lay
to rest demons that had haunted
an entire city for a (young ) life-
time.  Tug McGraw did just that.

Pictured here after striking out
Willie Wilson to end the 1980
World Series, McGraw buried
the ghosts of 1964.  Did I tell
you I was there, sitting in the
nose bleed section?  What a
game!

Tug McGraw, born this day in
1944.  He died from a brain
tumor on January 5, 2004.


His son, Tim McGraw, made this powerful song a hit, in 2004.

Is there anyone who writes a better blog post than Stanley Bing?.........

An excerpt from his recent post, "How Wall Street is
screwing up the recovery",  just to get you started:

"I had to laugh the other day at the way the Market is behaving,
but it wasn't a good laugh. It was one of those dark laughs, full
of phlegm and bile, a laugh that dies in the back of your throat,
turning before it fades away entirely into a short, sharp growl."

Writings noted "for their noted wisdom as well as their sharp,
slightly acrid sense of humor" indeed.

A warning label for my blog?................











Our friends at Finer Minds offer warning labels suitable for
all sorts of print media....here.

"How would Mom solve this?"

Problem solving with the big dig at the Idea Sandbox.

A poem for Monday.................

Fishing in the Keep of Silence

There is a hush now while the hills rise up
and God is going to sleep.  He trusts the ship
of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully
as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.
He knows the owls will guard the sweetness
of the soul in their massive keep of silence,
looking out with eyes open or closed over
the length of Tomales Bay that the herons
conform to, whitely broad in flight, white
and slim in standing.  God, who thinks about
poetry all the time, breathes happily as He
repeats to Himself:  There are fish in the net,
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.

-Linda Gregg

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A little slice of Americana.......The Beach Boys

A really big slice of Americana ........ George Gershwin and Brian Wilson

Really missing the point............

Columbia University professor disses the idea of fixating on
industrial development- here.

Some fun quotes, but as the first commenter notes, "a tad light
on the analysis".  First fun quote was a gratuitous swipe at
lawyers, which we will just ignore.  Another fun quote is here:


        "I have called this presumption a quasi-Marxist
        fallacy. Marx emphasized the critical role of the
        means of production. I have argued, on the other hand,
        that you could produce semiconductor chips, trade
        them for potato chips, and then munch them while
        watching TV and becoming a moron. On the other
        hand, you could produce potato chips, trade them
        for semiconductor chips that you put into your PC,
        and become a computer wizard! In short, it is what
       you “consume,” not what you produce, that influences
       what sort of person you will be and how that affects
       your economy and your society."

I would suggest that both what you consume and what you
produce influence the sort of person you will be.  I would also
suggest that whether you make semiconductor chips or potato
chips, you are still manufacturing.  Producing a product for sale.

Back in February this blogger posted about Bill Fruth's "bucket
theory".  Here is an excerpt:

“..imagine that all the wealth of an area is contained in a bucket.

It swirls around and around…..It goes from person to person,
business to business, person to business, and is constantly
moving….But, there is a hole in the bucket, and all the wealth
in the community is leaking out….money leaves the community
and goes to the area in which the purchased product was made
or the service was performed…..Money is continuously leaving
the community through the hole in the bucket….There is
nothing that can be done to stop it….So what can be done?
A community needs to add money to the bucket, replenishing
its supply…with fresh rejuvenating wealth.”

Money is added to Fruth’s bucket by the business activity of
“primary” industries. “A primary industry is one that sells
its goods or services outside of the geography of the local
economy, importing money to the local economy.” Owens
Corning, Dow Chemical, THK, Longaberger, Kaiser, Boeing,
Park National Corporation, the State Farm Insurance
operations office, and OSUN/COTC are a few examples of
our “primary” industries."

The reason that manufacturing is so important to our community
(and our country) is that it, more than any other economic
activity, typically creates a product that is sold outside of our
community, thus bringing new dollars into our community.  It is
this constant influx of new dollars that  makes a community
sustainably vibrant.

Smart professors notwithstanding, if we want to be sustainably
vibrant, some significant portion of us need to be making a
product, i. e.  manufacturing.

Just for today....................

I will be delightable...........here

Verse for Sunday

Learn from me now,
O son of Kunti,
How man made perfect
Is one with Brahman,
The goal of wisdom.
When the mind and the heart
Are freed from delusion,
United with Brahman,
When steady will
Has subdued the senses,
When sight and taste
And sound are abandoned
Without regretting,
Without aversion;
When man seeks solitude,
Eats but little,
Curbing his speech,
His mind and his body,
Ever engaged
In his meditation
On Brahman the truth,
And full of compassion;
When he casts from him
Vanity, violence,
Pride, lust, anger
And all his possessions,
Totally free
From the sense of ego
And tranquil of heart:
That man is ready
For oneness with Brahman.
And he who dwells
United with Brahman
Calm in mind,
Not grieving, not craving,
Regarding all men
With equal acceptance:
He loves me most dearly.

To love is to know me,
My innermost nature,
The truth that I am:
Through this knowledge he enters
At once to my being.

All that he does
Is offered before me
In utter surrender:
My grace is upon him,
He finds the eternal,
The place unchanging.

The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita
Excerpt from Chapter XVIII