Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary to this blog...................

Thanks Eric

This is especially true in Licking County.....................

Several second generation industrial buildings in the Newark, Ohio
Industrial Park have recently been acquired for companies who
plan to make things.  Our community has a long history as a
manufacturing center.   That tradition continues...........

Mark Perry has this to say on manufacturing in America:

"The decline, demise, and death of America’s manufacturing
sector has been greatly exaggerated. America still makes a
ton of stuff, and we make more of it now than ever before in
history, but we’re able to do it with a fraction of the workers
that would have been required in the past. We’re still the
world’s leading manufacturing economy by far, thanks to the
world-class productivity of American manufacturing workers,
the most productive in the world."

Friday, January 21, 2011

On the arcane matter of leasing commissions.....................

The question is........should a broker collect, and retain, their full
commission on a lease if the tenant defaults on the lease and the
landlord does not receive the rents bargained for?

A strong "absolutely" comes from blogger Andrew Zezas.  Full
essay here  

Not sure that I concur.  Zezas is arguing that the broker is
getting compensated for the delivery of a tenant.  I would have
thought the broker was being compensated for the delivery of
a future cash flow stream.  A subtle but important distinction.

I suspect this is really a conversation the broker really needs to
have with his landlord -  before the listing agreement is signed.

A few quotes for Friday...........

"The ego is not master in its own house."
-Sigmund Freud

"Growth begins when we accept our own weakness."
-Jean Vanier
"I accept the universe!
-Margaret Fuller

"Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgment
of the facts of a situation,  Then deciding what you are
going to do about it."
-Kathleen Casey Theisen

"Don't carry a grudge. While you are carrying the grudge,
the other guy's out dancing."
-Buddy Hackett

"Happiness is a habit - cultivate it."
-Elbert Hubbard

"Happiness?  A good cigar, a good meal, a good cigar
and a good woman -  or a bad woman; it depends on
how much happiness you can handle."
-George Burns

"Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives
all things to industry.  Then plough deep while sluggards
sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep."
-Benjamin Franklin

"A lot of people like snow.  I find it an unnecessary
freezing of water."
-Carl Reiner


From The Zen Teaching of Huang Po:

'Studying the Way' is just a figure of speech.  It is a method of
arousing people's interest in the early stages of their develop-
ment.  In fact, the Way is not something which can be studied.
Study leads to the retention of concepts and so the Way is
entirely misunderstood.  Moreover, the Way is not something
specially existing; it is called the Mahayana Mind - Mind
which is not to be found inside, outside, or in the middle. 
Truly it is not located anywhere.  The first step is to refrain
from knowledge-based concepts.  This implies that if you
were to follow the empirical method to the utmost limit, on
reaching that limit you would still be unable to locate Mind. 
The way is spiritual Truth and was originally without name or

An unsustainable status quo....?

Interesting essay on the deep tensions between ancient Persian
culture, Islamism, and modernity in Iran- here.   Excerpt here:

"In the months leading up to the revolution, Khomeini used
remarkable discipline to conveniently hide his true theocratic,
antimodern cultural paradigm, feigning instead support for
the democratic, nationalist and leftist values and aspirations
that defined the demands of the 1979 revolution. Once
ensconced in power, however, Khomeini famously declared
that the revolution was not carried out for economic gains
but for pious ends. The economy, he said, “is for donkeys.”
Creating a new Islamic society, fashioning new men and
women based on an Islamic model that had been perfected
in the prophetic era of Muhammad some fourteen centuries
earlier, finally discarding the cultural values of modernity
was, he now claimed, the real goal of the revolution."

Gonzo goes mainstream...............

Hunter S. Thompson as a motivational poster boy. The mind reels.

I started, but never finished, reading Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas,  or any of his other stuff for that matter.  I just knew he
was the model for Gary Trudeau's Duke. That was enough for me.

The full collection here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guitar festival indeed............................

The Mighty E. adds zest to life...............

Don't miss his latest posts, like this one for instance............

Thanks Doug

Job #1............................

"..........To be loving and kind to all of life, in all its
expressions, including my own."
-David R. Hawkins

More from the Man from Oolagah............

Continuing my fascination with Will Rogers, here are a few more
of his quotes:

"Lord, the money we do spend on Government, and it's not
one bit better than the government we got for one-third the
money twenty years ago."

"Things will get better - despite our best efforts to improve

"Never miss a good chance to shut up."

"There's two theories to arguing with a woman.  Neither
one works."

If all politicians fished instead of spoke publicly, we would
be at peace with the world."

"If we ever pass out as a great nation, we ought to put on
our tombstone, 'America died from the delusion that she
has moral leadership.' "

"There ought to be one day - just one - when there is
open season on senators."

Wow- can you imagine the firestorm today...............

My father would have loved this...............

Thanks Gerard

Things don't move this fast in Licking County................


Its all a matter of balance..................

The following two quotes were lifted from Steve Felix's blog post
discussing the biggest surprises in investment real estate in the
year 2010.

            "Our biggest problem today is risk aversion."

             "Disconnect between real estate fundamentals
              and the capital market."

In the years 2003-2006, the biggest problem in real estate was
"risk obliviousness" as new and inexperienced money flooded
the investment marketplace chasing "high" returns.  Many of 
these investors forgot,  ignored, or never understood the basic
nature of real estate investing.  It is just not the same as buying
a security instrument.

I suspect the quote about the disconnect between fundamentals
and the capital markets refers to the extraordinary bargains that
were available in 2010 and are available now.  Yet many - not
all by any means, but many - lenders remain wary of making loans
on amazingly good deals.  Contrast that to the amazingly high
prices and commensurate mortgage lending that investment real
estate was commanding in 2003-2006, prices that automatically
put the return of the investors money at risk and loan amounts
that automatically put the return of the lenders money at risk.

There is a reason that the best coaches stress fundamentals.

Hopefully, our balance will be restored in 2011.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eat a Peach...............

The Allman memory of a brother.

My favorite part starts at 3:40, but its all good.

Well....................maybe I was right................

The inflation-deflation tug-of-war continues..............

Checking in with our favorite economic futurist, Jeff Thredgold:

"The Fed continues to walk a tightrope between inflation and
deflation. I would argue that during the past two years, the
Fed has been more concerned about the latter. While
declining prices may sound like a good thing to some, falling
prices are soon followed by declining incomes.

History tells us that deflation is a more challenging scourge to
deal with than is inflation. Just ask the Japanese, who dealt
with eight consecutive years of deflation during the 1990s
after that nation’s asset and housing bubble burst…a nation
that is now dealing with deflation again…a nation that saw
the 'lost decade' of the 1990s followed by much the same
during the next decade."

Full essay here.

Paul Cezanne......................

Aix-en-Provance's most famous son was born this day in 1839.
A contemporary of my favorite painter, the impressionest Monet,
Cezanne chose a different path with his art.

"While Monet is interested in the effect of light of Nature for
the purpose of revealing its pure beauty, Cezanne is a more
analytic and calculating artist who studies Nature by
reducing it to its simplest forms; thus making it unnatural
and somewhat mechanistic."
 -so says a critic here.  That is not how I experience him.

Some quotes attibuted to Cezanne:

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.

An art which isn't based on feeling isn't an art at all.

Art is a harmony parallel with nature.

Don't be an art critic. Paint. There lies salvation.

 Doubtless there are things in nature which have not yet been
seen. If an artist discovers them, he opens the way for his

For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the
subject, but to realize sensations.

Genius is the ability to renew one's emotions in daily experience.

I am more a friend of art than a producer of painting.

I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without
stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing.

I lack the magnificent richness of color that animates nature.

I have sworn to die painting.

Self Portrait

The Turn in the Road at Auvers

A Bend in the Road

Hortense Breast Feeding Paul

Still Life with Skull and Candlestick

The Card Players

A few fables................................

Ambrose Bierce, of The Devil's Dictionary fame, channels
his inner Aesop here.  A selection of three, here:

The Reform School Board

THE members of the School Board in Doosnoswair being
suspected of  appointing female teachers for an improper
consideration, the people elected a Board composed wholly of
women. In a few years the scandal was at an end; there were
no female teachers in the Department.

A Matter of Method

A PHILOSOPHER seeing a Fool beating his Donkey, said:
"Abstain, my son, abstain, I implore. Those who resort to
violence shall suffer from violence."

"That," said the Fool, diligently belabouring the animal, "is what
I'm trying to teach this beast - which has kicked me."

"Doubtless," said the Philosopher to himself, as he walked away,
"the wisdom of fools is no deeper nor truer than ours, but they
really do seem to have a more impressive way of imparting it."

Father and Son

"MY boy," said an aged Father to his fiery and disobedient Son,
"a hot temper is the soil of remorse. Promise me that when next
you are angry you will count one hundred before you move or

No sooner had the Son promised than he received a stinging blow
from the paternal walking-stick, and by the time he had counted
to seventy-five had the unhappiness to see the old man jump into
a waiting cab and whirl away.

Carpe Diem posts a cool chart and then points a finger.............

"Greed is no more to blame for these bad mortgages than
gravity is to blame for plane crashes. Gravity is always
present, just like greed. Only the Federal Reserve’s easy
money policy and Congress’ housing policy can explain
why the bubble happened when it did, where it did."

Full post here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We were all a lot younger then...............

Observing America in 1847.................

"There are no unconquerable habits that retard for
centuries the adoption of an obvious improvement,
and, on the other hand, there is a disposition to
try anything."
-Domingo Sarmiento

Let's hope this is still true today.

Making Algore happy?

The end of the internal combustion engine?  GM's hy-wire car-of-
the future.  Weren't we just talking about disruptive technology?
Wonder what the catch is?  How it works here.  Fun video here:

Thanks Rob

It's all about our economy..........

"When the Germans briefly overran American camps during
the 1944 Battle of the Bulge, a German general realized that
the war was lost when he saw the American privates were
getting chocolate cakes from their families back home.  With
Germany desperate for every ounce of fuel, every bite of
food, the Americans had enough food and enough shipping
capacity to send birthday cakes across the ocean to
ordinary soldiers."

-excerpted from God and Gold by Walter Russell Mead

Cary Grant takes a shower.....................

..........and would be 107 years old today.  Michael Wade posted
the other day about "films I rarely walk away from."   Charade
and North by Northwest, make the list of movies I will not walk
away from. More about Grant here. Film clip from Charade here:

On digging...............

We found ourselves in a hole that I didn't dig, but I have
dug, dug and dug to try to get out of that hole.
-Harry Reid

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
-Will Rogers

Dig within. There lies the well-spring of good: ever dig,
and it will flow.
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just
hacking at the leaves.
-Anthony J. D'Angelo

Dig your well before you are thirsty.

Public opinion polls are rather like children in a garden,
digging things up all the time to see how they're growing.
-J. B. Priestley

Realize what you really want. It stops you from chasing
butterflies and puts you to work digging gold.
-William Moulton Marston

Writing was like digging coal. I sweat blood.
-Zane Grey

Turn off the TV and start digging around for information
that's not from a corporation trying to make money.
-Iris DeMent

Monday, January 17, 2011

Well.........maybe I was wrong.......

This blog has commented before about the tug-of-war between
inflation and deflation.  Since my investments are almost entirely
real estate, forgive me if my personal choice between the two is

James Grant, in his essay "Fill in the Suez Canal" from his book
Mr. Market Miscalculates, offers a different take on the tug-of-
war.   Excerpts here:

"We write to advance the proposition that falling prices are
a natural byproduct of human ingenuity.  Print money to
resist the decline, and the next thing you know, there's a
" 'As long as you're pumping out money at a faster rate
thandemand for money is rising, you're going to stimulate
spending,' the then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank
of Dallas, Robert McTeer, gaily said in early 2003.  'I
think is would be kind of fun to fight deflation, actually.'
From the perspective of five years and one global debt
crisis, one realizes that the Fed stimulated more than
spending.  It simultaneously uncorked a riot of lending
and borrowing."
"Rapid technological innovation is always disruptive,
and it is usually deflationary."

We would be remiss............

........if we did not note that Benjamin Franklin was born this day
in 1706.

An excerpt from the epilogue of H. W. Brand's excellent
biography of Franklin, The First American:

In letters, science, and commitment to the public weal,
Franklin was the first - in the sense of foremost - American
of his generation.  Considering the length and breadth of his
multiple legacies, he was probably the first American of any
generation.  Yet he was the first American in another sense
as well.  Sooner than almost anyone else, certainly sooner
than anyone equally placed to act on the insight, Franklin
realized that he and his fellow Americans were no longer
Britons but a breed apart - a people not suited to be ruled
by others but compelled to rule themselves,  He did not
initially welcome the knowledge, which contradicted his
hopes for America within the British empire.  But once
convinced, he acted decisively on the knowledge, and
did more than almost anyone else to give this new people-
these Americans -  a government of their own.
A life as full as Franklin's could not be captured in a phrase-
or a volume.  Yet if a few words had to suffice, a few words
that summarized his legacy to the America he played such
a central role in creating - and that, not incidentally,
illustrated his wry aphoristic style - they were those he
uttered upon leaving the final session of the Constitutional
Convention.  A matron of Philadelphia demanded to know,
after four months' secrecy, what he and the other delegates
had produced.

"A republic," he answered, "if you can keep it."

Well said, well done, and Happy Birthday Ben.

Gaping Void on display................

Hugh just returned from the Consumer Electronics Show in
Las Vegas.  He was there on behalf of Intel, a new client of his. 
He wrote several posts about it.  One is here.  Excerpt is here:

"I’m excited about the idea I created for Intel- the idea of a
processor being akin to a painter’s blank canvas (see the
drawings above). I’m also excited about the line I wrote for
them, “The processor is an expression of human potential”.

"I’m excited by the idea of 'human potential', even if it
is far too easy to be cynical about it. Far too easy to get
all buzzword-y about it.

The hard part is being sincere.

The hard part is being human. The hard part is being mortal."

Gaping Void at work...........

The elimination of the non-essential.   Full description of his
portable workplace here.

A Poem for Monday..........

        Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer

It is presumptuous and irresponsible to pray for other people.
A good man would pray only for himself - that he have as
much good as he deserves, that he not receive more good of
more evil than he deserves, that he bother nobody, that he
not be bothered, that he want less.  Praying thus for himself,
he should prepare to live with the consequences.

           At night make me one with the darkness.
           In the morning make me one with the light.

If a man finds it necessary to eat garbage, he should resist
the temptation to call it a delicacy.

          Don't pray for the rain to stop.
          Pray for good luck fishing
          when the river floods.

Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see
your house catch fire.

Beware the machinery of longevity.  When a man's life is
over the decent thing is for him to die.  The forest does
not withhold itself from death.  What it gives up it takes

         Put your hands into the mire.
         They will learn the kinship
         of the shaped and the unshapen,
         the living and the dead.

        When I rise up
        let me rise up joyful
        like a bird.

         When I fall
         let me fall without regret
         like a leaf.

         Sowing the seed,
         my hand is one with the earth.

         Wanting the seed to grow,
         my mind is one with the light.

         Hoeing the crop,
         my hands are one with the rain.

         Having cared for the plants,
         my mind is one with the air.

         Hungry and trusting,
         my mind is one with the earth.

         Eating the fruit,
         my body is one with the earth.

         Let my marriage be brought to the ground.
         Let my love for this woman enrich the earth.
         What is its happiness but preparing its place?
         What is its monument but a rich field?

By the excellence of his work the workman is a neighbor.
By selling only what he would not despise to own the sales-
man is a neighbor.  By selling what is good his character
survives his market.

         Let me wake in the night
         and hear it raining
         and go back to sleep.

Don't worry and fret about the crops.  After you have done
all you can for them, let them stand in the weather on their

If the crop of any one year was all, a man would have cut
his throat every time it hailed.

But the real products of any year's work are the farmer's
mind and the cropland itself.

If he raised a good crop at the cost of belittling himself and
diminishing the ground, he has gained nothing. He will have
to begin over again the next spring, worse off than before.

Let him receive the season's increment into his mind.  Let
him work it into the soil.

The finest growth that farmland can produce is a careful

Make the human race a better head.  Make the world a
better piece of ground.

-Wendell Berry
Collected Poems

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday's Verse............

7.  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;
     and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

8.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God
     is love.

9.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God
     has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that
     we might live through Him.

10. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved
      us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one

12. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love on
      another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected
      in us.

1 John 4:7-12
The Open Bible

We can't do this in Ohio............

"From Bear to Bull"................

Been reading Mr. Market Miscalculates, a collection of essays
published in 2008 by James Grant.  Grant writes well and clearly
about economics, finance, and investing.  He also seems to have
a strong contrarian streak.  These are admirable character traits
in my world.

While idly roaming the Internet, I came across an interesting
2009 Grant essay, suggesting that the "bear" of the bubble years
is flirting with 'bullish" ideas on the future.  Full essay here.

Interesting excerpts here:

As if they really knew, leading economists predict that
recovery from our Great Recession will be plodding, gray
and jobless. But they don't know, and can't. The future is
The very best investors don't even try to forecast the future.
Rather, they seize such opportunities as the present affords
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Americans are blessedly out of practice at bearing up under
economic adversity.
To the English economist Arthur C. Pigou is credited a bon
mot that exactly frames the issue. "The error of optimism dies
in the crisis, but in dying it gives birth to an error of
pessimism. This new error is born not an infant, but a giant."
One may observe that Ronald Reagan stood for enterprise,
free trade and low taxes, whereas Barack Obama stands for
other things. Yet President Obama's economic policies seem
almost as far removed from Roosevelt's as they are from
Reagan's.......Our Great Recession would be marked for
greatness if for no other reason than by the outpouring of
federal dollars to repress it.
Bargain-hunting is the balm of recovery even today, dead set
against low prices the Federal Reserve might be...................
Transaction volumes are rising. Speculators are on the prowl,
but so, too, are ordinary home buyers. It seems—who'd have
guessed it?—that value sells. "They can buy something for
half of what they could three years ago," Mr. Mandall says.
"Everybody perceives bargains in their house-hunting." .
Through the first six months of 2009, the Case-Shiller
10-City Composite index of house prices fell by 5.5%
compared to year-end 2008. However, the rate of decline has
been slowing and, indeed, the index recorded month-to-month
appreciation in May and June. It may just be that the Fed's
assumption of a 14% decline in prices this year (built into the
base case of its bank stress test) is unrealistically bearish.
I promised to be bullish , and I am (for once)—bullish on the
prospects for unscripted strength in business activity.
The world is positioned for disappointment. But, in economic
and financial matters, the world rarely gets what it expects.
Pigou had humanity's number. The "error of pessimism" is
born the size of a full-grown man—the size of the average
adult economist, for example.