Saturday, February 12, 2011

"...Sing for the laughter, an' sing for the tear...."

The perfect storm.......but in a good way

Have to agree with the latest post from our friends at Keeping
Current MattersHere.

Pricing reminiscent of the 1990's.  Interest rates that are lower
than I ever expected them to be.  Lenders willing to make loans
(the old fashioned way - they will expect you to be able to make
the loan payments).  Lots of choices to choose from.  A true
buyers' market.

It is a good time to buy.  Just be prudent, know your market, and
buy less than you can afford.

Only part of the post I disagree with is this sentence:

"Buyers should not worry where prices are going."

Make your own judgements.  All markets are different.  In my
part of the world it looks like a good time to buy.  Hopefully,
I will get that done before summer rolls around.

What goes around........................
























From the Gaping Void files

Fulfillment.........

"Fulfillment of potential is rewarding in and of itself and is
not needful of recognition or gain.  Pleasure at gain is
replaced by gratitude for the unfolding of the inner process
itself."

-David R. Hawkins

On beauty.......and living................

"What is beauty?  Is beauty pretty face, a nice smile, flowing
hair, nice skin?  Not to me, it's not.  To me beauty is living

life to higher standards, stronger moral and ethics and
believing in them, whether people tell you you're right or
wrong.  Beauty is not wasting a day.  Beauty is noticing life's
little intricacies.  Beauty is being real, being genuine, being
pure with no facade -  what you see is what you get.  Beauty
is expanding your mind, always seeking knowledge, not
being content, always going after something and
challenging yourself.

"In closing, Plummer said, 'I believe that to really honor
Pat, we should all challenge ourselves.  No more I'm going
to do this or I'm going to do that.  Do it.  As Pat would say,
probably, 'Get off your ass and do it.'  Why you ask, should
we honor him this way?  Because that is what Pat did his
whole life."

-Jake Plummer eulogizing Pat Tillman, as excerpted from the
Sports Illustrated article, "Jake Plummer, What Was He
Thinking."  2/16/11

Speaking of football players............

Down 41-17 with less than four minutes to go.   Hopeless?
Of course not.  Just play the game one play at a time.  Enjoy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

".............Oh, Love that fires the sun, keep me burning..........."

Chris Guillebeau's excellent blog............

The Art of Non-Conformity, celebrated its third birthday this
week.  Congrats are in order.  His recent post  included some
lessons learned along the way. Full post here.  Excerpt here:

1. Embrace humility. Sometimes you’ll fail. And while failure
is overrated (having known them both intimately, you’re
fairly certain that success is much better), you know you can
still learn something from every experience. It’s always good
to keep it real.

2. An artist makes art. As lovely and exciting as everything
else can be, never forget to focus on the source. A painter
paints; a musician makes music; a writer writes. Wander
from the source at your own peril.

3. When you ask for adventure, you don’t always know what
you’ll get. That’s how adventure works. You could choose
the safe route and avoid the risk of disappointment, but a
good adventurer would never do that.

It is a small world after all................

I find this incredibly hopeful.....................

My favorite Super Bowl ad ..........Imported from Detroit indeed.

...keep on reaching high...........

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

.....maybe next year....

More people, more minds.............

"Clearly, the roots of progress lie deep in the structured
knowledge of science and technology.  But the flowering of
this progressive growth seems to also need the growth of
human populations.  Historian Niall Ferguson believes that
on the global scale, the origins of progress lie only in
expanding population.  According to this theory, in order to
elevate populations beyond Malthusian limits you need science,
yet it is the increase in the number of humans that ultimately
drives science, and then prosperity.  In this virtuous cycle
more human minds invent more things and in turn buy more
inventions, including tools, techniques, and methods that will
support more humans.  Therefore, more human minds equal
more progress.  The economist Julian Simon once called
human minds 'the ultimate resource'.  In his calculation, more
 minds were the prime source of deep progress."

Excerpted from Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants

If Wednesday has you down.................

"Victory Dance like nobody is watching......."




Thanks Patrick

Redemption.............

Two choices:

"Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous
thing. Hope can drive a man insane."      -Red

or

"Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things and no
good thing ever dies."     -Andy

My teacher, Sean, extracts a lesson from one of his favorite
movies, The Shawshank Redemption.

"Now I often hear people say 'hope is not a strategy' when it
comes to success in real estate (or life) and I agree. Hope
should never be your only strategy for success. A business
plan with goals and a clear outline of specific actions you
will take to achieve those goals is certainly a requirement
but I think you'd agree with me that trying to live without
hope is a pretty difficulty thing."

Full post here.

Ouch!

Brian Boero takes the most of the real estate brokerage industry
to the woodshed.  Full post here.   Excerpt here:

Intractable truth number 1:
Most real estate professionals are bad at what they do. This
is not sustainable.

Intractable truth number 2:
Most real estate brokers and brands are wholly disconnected
from the markets they serve. This is not sustainable.

Intractable truth number 3:
It is VERY difficult to foster excellence in this business. But
survival dictates that we stop sustaining stupidity.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Maybe I'm just blind..........................

On silly rules and lawbreaking..................
























This is a topic worthy of deep thought.  Maybe some day in the
future I will make the effort, but as Aragorn might say, "today is
not that day."  We all make choices, and my choice was to go
watch my daughter play basketball last night (they won, thank
you) instead of thinking about this blog.

Greg Sullivan, who has two of my favorite blogs (here and here),
started this train of thought with his recent post about risk
adverse adults and their desire to squelch the joy out of life for
kids of all ages.

I linked to his post (here) and got the following comment from my
brother-in-law:

"It seems to me that the advent of the national 55 MPH speed
limit back in the 70's contributed to turning the whole country
into lawbreakers. From then on we decided which laws made
sense; were right and appropriate to obey. Up to that point
we pretty much assumed that they all were. Even underage
drinkers had a pretty good idea they were doing the wrong
thing."

Hopefully the statute of limitations for violating the national
55 MPH speed limit has passed.  Following that rule turned a 7
hour drive to Philadelphia into an 8.5 hour drive.  No thank you.
I violated that speed limit every chance I got, and felt nary a pang
of guilt.

This concept of citizens making a self-determination about which
laws to obey fascinates me.  Americans have a long history of
this sort of behavior.  If I remember my lessons from Mrs.
Duebler's history class, there were laws prohibiting colonists
from settling on the west side of the Appalachian Mountains.  That
one sort of got ignored.  Fast forwarding a couple hundred years
and we get the 18th Amendment and Prohibition.  That one not
only got flaunted but the violation of the rules to make and
distribute alcohol led to corruption and violence on a scale
unimaginable to the rulemakers.  Those are just two of countless
examples I suspect.

This is not civil disobedience that I'm thinking about.  To me, civil
disobedience is deliberately breaking an unjust law for the
express purpose of exposing and, through the act of
conscience of inviting and accepting punishment for said
violation, bringing about a change to the unjust law.

This is more of a disregard of the rules and a disrespect of
the rulemakers.  The more rules that get promulgated, the
more the disregard grows.  The more the rule makers become
professionalized worriers, the more the disrespect grows.  It is
not a healthy trend for a society.

Kurt has given this trend considerable thought, like here
for instance.

Any assistance with this project will be greatly appreciated.

Couldn't agree more..........

"Core real estate pricing is once again driven by capital
markets rather than fundamentals, and by perceived
rather than actual risk. Now is the time to explore less
travelled roads."
-Marcel Erni, as channeled by the Deal Junkie

I think his message is- come invest in Ohio.  There are good deals
to be had.  Maybe no trophies, but good deals nonetheless.

100 years from now, they may say.........

.........the rebellion started here, when the The Borderline
Sociopathic Book For Boys was born.

Lesson 2 is transcribed here:

2. Tell your 5th grade teacher, when she starts in with the
Vegan lecture again during a spelling lesson, that you're
going to kill and eat your supper as soon as you can get your
hands on some weapons. Then inform her that if she gives
you anything less than a 'B" on any report card because you
told her that, your father will have a phalanx of lawyers turn
her life into a deposition purgatory. Then don't pass in any
homework for the remainder of the term. Let's see who has
the stones.

On writing.................

"There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily
and perfectly: sometimes it's like drilling rock and then
blasting it out with charges."
-Ernest Hemingway

"Writing is an adventure."
-Winston Churchill

"There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers."
-H. L. Mencken

"Writing is just work--there's no secret. If you dictate or use
a pen or type or write with your toes--it's still just work."
-Sinclair Lewis

"Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever
come out as you first hoped."
-Lillian Hellman

"English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment
and education--sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across
 the street."
-E. B. White

"Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them
are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at
the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty
 much the same thing."
-Meg Chittenden

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
-Peter de Vries

"When I finish a first draft, it's always just as much of a mess
as it's always been. I still make the same mistakes every time."
-Michael Chabon

"Writing is like everything else: the more you do it the better
you get. Don't try to perfect as you go along, just get to the
end of the damn thing. Accept imperfections. Get it finished
and then you can go back. If you try to polish every sentence
there's a chance you'll never get past the first chapter."
-Iain Banks

"The writer learns to write, in the last resort, only by writing.
He must get words onto paper even if he is dissatisfied with
them. A young writer must cross many psychological barriers
to acquire confidence in his capacity to produce good work--
especially his first full-length book--and he cannot do this by
staring at a piece of blank paper, searching for the perfect
sentence."
-Paul Johnson

"Real writers are those who want to write, need to write,
have to write."
-Robert Penn Warren

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn
as you go. . . . Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You
can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the
whole trip that way. . . . Writing is a socially acceptable
form of schizophrenia."
-E. L. Doctorow

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't
wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what
I was going to say."
-Sharon O'Brien

"I write to discover what I think. After all, the bars aren't
open that early."
-Daniel J. Boorstin

"Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of
paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."
Gene Fowler

"You fail only if you stop writing."
-Ray Bradbury

"Writing is not hard. Just get paper and pencil, sit down, and
write as it occurs to you. The writing is easy--it's the
occurring that's hard."
-Stephen Leacock

"I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words
and brief sentences. That is the way to write English--it is the
modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and
flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective,
kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then
the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close
together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An
adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once
fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any
other vice."
-Mark Twain

"Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all
those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to
escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which
is inherent in the human condition."
-Graham Greene

"You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right
part of the country."
-Robert Frost

"What this means, in practical terms for the student writer, is
that in order to achieve mastery he must read widely and
deeply and must write not just carefully but continually,
thoughtfully assessing and reassessing what he writes,
because practice, for the writer as for the concert pianist, is
the heart of the matter."
-John Gardner

"A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult
than it is for other people."
-Thomas Mann

"What is written without effort is in general read without
pleasure."
-Samuel Johnson

All quotes lifted from here, thank thee kindly.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"....its always better when we're together..."

On democracy.............

"Democracy is simply the bludgeoning of the people, by the
people, for the people."
-Oscar Wilde

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though
the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to
be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess
their equal rights, which equal rights must protect, and to
violate would be oppression."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Democracy is a process by which the people are free to
chose the man who will get the blame."
-Laurence J. Peter

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate
the growth of  private power to a point where it becomes
stronger than their democratic state itself.  That, in its
essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an
individual, by a group."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

"All democracies are based on the proposition that power is
very dangerous and that it is extremely important not to let
any one person or small group have too much power for too
long a time."
-Aldous Huxley

"Democracy must be something more than two wolves
and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
-James Bovard

"Democracy is the road to socialism."
-Karl Marx

Benjamin Franklin was accosted by a "matron of Philadelphia"
when leaving the Constitutional Convention.  She demanded
to know "after four months' secrecy, what he and the other
delegates" had created.  Franklin responded,
"A republic, if you can keep it."

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

I know that I have posted this poem before, but I saw this photo...


















                            Birches

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust --
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

-Robert Frost

The furniture guy goes deep...........


















"I dread the day, which is on the horizon now, not over it,
when I'm forced to tell my children that the only sensible
course of action is to ignore the rules, as there are so many
of them that they become gibberish. And what the hell, the
rules only seem to apply to those who wish to live worth-
while lives anyway --who never needed them in the first
place."

Full wonderful post here

While having beers.................

............the other night with one of the most widely read and
highly respected bloggers on God's green earth, the subject of
drunkenness arose. To my amazement he had never heard of Dan
Jenkins's list of the Ten Stages of Drunkenness.  Now, Dan
Jenkins is one of the greatest comedic sportswriters in the history
of comedic sportswriting.  My favorites include Semi-Tough,
Dead Solid Perfect, and Baja Oklahoma, and his Kenny
Puckett has to be one of the all time great character creations.
But, I digress. Without further ado, and as a public service, here
are the Ten Stages of  Drunkenness:

1.  Witty and Charming

2.  Rich and Powerful

3.  Benevolent

4.  Clairvoyant

5.  Fuck Dinner

6.  Patriotic

7.  Crank up the Enola Gay

8.  Witty and Charming, Part II

9.  Invisible

10. Bulletproof

Use The Force....................

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."
-Darth Vader


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sweet, sweet music..................

Some of the best writing.................

















.....................in the blogosphere, here

Excerpt here:

"But – there was one problem. I was too frightened to stop. I
was afraid I would fall over. So came up with the idea that if
I rode close enough to the wrought iron fence surrounding
the school, I could just grab onto the fence poles and come to
a halt. I was too young to understand the principles of inertia,
and thinking how smart was I, rode next to the fence and
then grabbed on with both hands. My body slammed against
the railings, my feet flew out from under me, and the bike
continued down the street until it finally fell crashing to a
stop in front some very startled pedestrians. Are you ok, they
 asked? Sure – why wouldn’t I be ok!"

Before mastery comes...........................




Public Sector and Private Sector

A great exposition on the difference between the two, here

Key quote here:

"After 20 years of working in the public and private sectors,
I'd have to say that the biggest difference in performance
between the two is how they treat the dullards. The private
sector has them, but they tend to get rid of them on a regular
basis and they also tend to not allow their numbers to build
up to the point where they become a risk to the company. Any
operation can afford a couple of idiots - but when the number
of clowns gets so large that they take over the circus, then the
place turns to shit. The public sector doesn't do any regular
house cleaning of staff, so over time, the number of oxygen
thieves builds up to a point where they reach a critical mass,
and then the performance of the whole department goes down
the toilet."


The essay includes a slew of the fun charts, with explanations of
course included.  Two of the charts here:
 

 
 
 
 
The Boy on a bike is worth the look-see.

A verse for Sunday

22  And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you
do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for
your body, as to what you shall put on.

23  "For life is more than food, and the body than clothing.

24  "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and
they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them;
how much more valuable you are than the birds!

25  "And which of you by being anxious can add a single
cubit to his life's span.

Luke 12:22-25
The Open Bible