Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tell Him No.........

Thanks Jeff

Casually wishing.............

"We cannot move casually into a better future.  We cannot casually pursue the goal we have set for ourselves.  A goal that is casually pursued is not a goal; at best it is a wish, and wishes are little more than self-delusion.  Wishes are an anesthetic to be used by the unambitious, a narcotic that dulls their awareness of their own desperate condition."

-Jim Rohn,  The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle

I'm half vulgar............

Art in the eye of the beholder and all that.  Here is a quiz for you.

Half of the pictures are world class "abstract" art.  Half are fakes
made by the author.

"Some of the images displayed below are True Masterpieces
of Abstract Art, created by Immortal Artists. They carry
profound meanings, which are, however, beyond the
apprehensions of the vulgar. The rest were produced by the
author of the quiz. They mean nothing."

Maybe the author is a really good abstract artist.  I scored 50%. 
Maybe the scoring system is wrong.  I'm certain that one of my
"wrong" answers was the art in a wall poster that hung in my
dorm room in college.

Here are three of the artistic expressions.  Go check for yourself
which are really "valuable" and which are ad hocery:

Thanks Gerard

The Curious Man peels an onion................

Faithful readers will know that Richard Feynman is one of my
heroes. Here he expresses his comfort with not knowing and his
discomfort with mystic solutions to the unknowable.  Personally,
I have no problem with the notion that "one of the aspects of God
came to the Earth." I mean, why couldn't He?  Who is to tell Him
not to? Still, I  admire Feynman's openness to discovery and
learning, his willingness to not "know", and his lack of dogmatism -
"which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly."


Friday, June 17, 2011

For those of us who believe that.......

....what goes on with the sun may have a pretty significant impact
on our climate comes this interesting bit of news:

"Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade
Physicists say sunspot cycle is 'going into hibernation'"

It all gets so confusing.   Full post here

Thanks to Maggie's Farm for the pointer

They must be Bruins fans...........

Staged or not, this photo from the Vancouver riots is a great one.

Thanks Stuart

Book, books, and lists of books....

The Guardian posts its list of the Greatest 100 non-fiction books
of all time.  Their definition of "Greatest" may not match yours or
mine.  Full post with list attached is here.  If you have an idle
half hour, reading the comments section might be a fun exercise.

I have read eleven of their 100.  Three others are on my book
shelves, but I'm pretty sure they will never get read.  Fully a
quarter of these books have never penetrated my awareness.

In the spirit of the exercise, here are a few proposed additions
to the list:

Guns, Germs, and Steel       Jared Diamond
The Road Less Traveled      M. Scott Peck
The House of Morgan         Ron Chernow
Yankee from Olympus        Cathrine Drinker Bowen
The First American             H. W. Brands
The Other Path                   Hernando de Soto
The Map that Changed the World   Simon Winchester
Soul of the Lion                  Williard M. Wallace

Editor's note: All of the above authors (with the exception
of Wallace) have multiple books  on my shelves, I just
opted for my favorite.

The List to end all Lists

After wading through the Guardian's list of the Greatest 100
non-fiction books ever written, and the extensive comments
section, Simon Spode offers a public service............

The Top 100 List of Top 100 Lists.   Here

Not everyone was pleased:

The definitive Top 100 list of Top 100 lists, the fruit of nearly three days of exhaustive online research, threatens to represent the last word in the perennial debate 'what are the Top 100 things', and, as such, has spread dismay among journalists and publishers alike.

A source at the Guardian has said, 'I don't think this guy understands how much effort it takes to fill a newspaper. Then we've got the website to do as well. This list could cause us a lot of unnecessary journalism.'

Without further ado, The Top 100 Lists of Top 100 Lists:

100 - Top 100 French Semioticians
99 - Top 100 Quiz Shows
98 - Top 100 Audiobooks
97 - Top 100 Gregorian Chants
96 - Top 100 Sexual Positions
95 - Top 100 Fried Foods
94 - Top 100 Cage Fighters
93 - Top 100 Symbolist Poets
92 - Top 100 Serial Killers
91 - Top 100 Australian Intellectuals
90 - Top 100 Skin Conditions
89 - Top 100 Hollywood Smiles
88 - Top 100 Victorian Novelists
87 - Top 100 Lesbian Potters
86 - Top 100 Blogs
85 - Top 100 Men with Beards
84 - Top 100 Lithuanian Stand Up Comedians
83 - Top 100 Evolutionary Biologists
82 - Top 100 Sandwich Fillings
81 - Top 100 Films
80 - Top 100 Creative Writing Courses
79 - Top 100 Televised Psychotic Episodes
78 - Top 100 Schubert Leider
77 - Top 100 Political Ideologies
76 - Top 100 Salad Dressings
75 - Top 100 Sexual Indiscretions
74 - Top 100 Literary Movements
73 - Top 100 Deities
72 - Top 100 Bridges
71 - Top 100 Political Assassinations
70 - Top 100 Mobile Networks
69 - Top 100 Fonts
68 - Top 100 Voting Systems
67 - Top 100 Britons
66 - Top 100 Symphonies
65 - Top 100 Expense Claims
64 - Top 100 American Novels
63 - Top 100 Afghan Transport Ministers
62 - Top 100 Surface to Air Missiles
61 - Top 100 Art Historians
60 - Top 100 Miracle Cures
59 - Top 100 Twentieth Century Novels
58 - Top 100 Art Installations
57 - Top 100 UN Resolutions
56 - Top 100 Sonnets
55 - Top 100 Child Abductions
54 - Top 100 Buddhist Mantras
53 - Top 100 Welfare States
52 - Top 100 Google Searches
51 - Top 100 Russian Novelists
50 - Top 100 Euphemisms
49 - Top 100 Lubricants
48 - Top 100 Modernists
47 - Top 100 Agricultural Subsidies
46 - Top 100 Glamour Models
45 - Top 100 Broadway Musicals
44 - Top 100 Electrical Engineers
43 - Top 100 Post-Colonial Verse Dramas
42 - Top 100 Translators of Japanese Poetry
41 - Top 100 Dictators
40 - Top 100 Choreographers
39 - Top 100 Venn Diagrams
38 - Top 100 Tax Credits
37 - Top 100 'Crazy' Golf Courses
36 - Top 100 Screen Plays
35 - Top 100 Barbara Cartland Novels
34 - Top 100 Emollient Creams
33 - Top 100 Nobel Prize Winners
32 - Top 100 Conceptual Artists
31 - Top 100 Scientific Revolutions
30 - Top 100 Soap Operas
29 - Top 100 Silent Films
28 - Top 100 Student Art Projects
27 - Top 100 Post-War Settlements
26 - Top 100 Gothic Novels
25 - Top 100 Environmentalists
24 -Top 100 High Street Chain Stores
23 - Top 100 Acronyms
22 - Top 100 Acts of Sedition
21 - Top 100 Tax Havens
20 - Top 100 Heresies
19 - Top 100 Quotes
18 - Top 100 Text Messages
17 - Top 100 Political Speeches
16 - Top 100 Graphic Novels
15 - Top 100 Book Reviews
14 - Top 100 Papal Bulls
13 - Top 100 Political U-Turns
12 - Top 100 Single Mothers
11 - Top 100 Hedge Funds
10 - Top 100 Flame Retardant Materials
9 - Top 100 Anecdotes
8 - Top 100 Declarations of Human Rights
7 - Top 100 Short Stories
6 - Top 100 Erotic Novels in Translation
5 - Top 100 Political Resignations
4 - Top 100 Tweets
3 - Top 100 Film Festivals
2 - Top 100 Conspiracy Theories
1 - Top 100 'You Tube' Clips

Wish I had seen this list at an earlier date.  For some inexplicable
reason, I signed up for a Russian Literature (#51) course the
second semester of my senior year in college.  Wow, what was
I thinking.  I dropped the course after about the fourth week.
The relief of not having to spend my final spring plodding
through some seriously ponderous books was incredible.

Confession:  I googled #87.  While the search turned up
some interesting things, to my disappointment, the top 100
was not one of them.

Exactly where is Itchychoo Park?

Why I sell commercial real estate............

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Dark Side of land use planning?

The Wall Street Journal  blogger Mathew Strozier asks,
"Did Smart Growth Fuel the Property-Price Boom?"     
 Full post here

Key excerpt asserting yes here:
“Gross national house value increases and losses were overwhelmingly concentrated in metropolitan areas with more restrictive land-use regulations - known by a variety of names, such as compact city policy, growth management or smart growth."

Key excerpt asserting no, here:
Smart growth can be abused by people looking to use it as a cover for no-growth, which then drives up prices, but that’s not its design, say defenders.

Not so sure about the boom part, but Smart Growth initiatives
would seem to make new land development both more difficult
and more expensive.  Those two factors alone are major
contributors to increasing building lot costs, which inevitably
leads to higher prices for new houses.

On becoming fully human......

Naples Girl blog writes a powerful personal three part story, here,
here, and finally, here.

The journey through Life Itsownself is full of difficult twists and
turns.  While support exists, some things we must confront and
transcend, if we can, on our own.  Such confrontation and
transcendence leads to a common refrain:

"I made it through.  It made me stronger."

Thanks for sharing Cheri.

Google, Circa 1890..........

Whether you wish to model a flower in wax; to study the rules of etiquette; to serve a relish for breakfast or supper; to supply a delicious entree for the dinner table; to plan a dinner for a large party or a small one; to cure a headache; to make a will; to get married; to bury a relative; whatever you may wish to do, to make, or to enjoy, provided your desire has relation to the necessities of domestic life, I shall be happy to assist you and therefore hope you will not fail to Enquire Within - Editor.
Enquire Within Upon Everything

Thanks Steven

A Clear Eye On Commitment......

"Don't be committed to the status quo, to a safety zone that prevents you from living a life of depth and passion. Don't let stability turn into stagnation. Be committed to a life of discovery and possibility; a life that strives for truth and excellence."
-Tom Asacker    Full post here

Speaking of a clear eye..........

Check out Randy Lust's photography - here

Thanks Randy

Lone Jack and Chris..........

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"You pays your money and takes your chances"

Two stories from yesterday's edition of The Housing Wire:

Happy story here:
Positive monthly housing stats point to recovery: RE/MAX
Home sales are trending positively on a monthly basis, according to the RE/MAX May housing report, a sign the market bottomed out at the beginning of 2011.

Sad story here:
RealtyTrac's Sharga sees no housing recovery before 2015
Speaking at HousingWire's 2011 REO Expo in Fort Worth, Texas, Sharga said the housing market is years away from full recovery, and he expects 2012 and 2013 to look similar to this year as the industry grapples with levels of distressed properties never seen before.

"It's taking so long to get out of this mess because it took us so long to get into this mess," Sharga said. "We were at the tail end of an unusually long boom time in housing. Unfortunately, we're anything but recovered, we're actually still searching for the bottom."

On becoming an interesting person........

1.  Do fewer structured activities.

2.  Spend more time exploring, thinking, and exposing
     yourself to potentially interesting things.

3.  If something catches your attention, use the abundant
     free time generated by rule 1 to quickly follow up.

Original story here.  Fifty tips for completing Rule #2 here.

Comparing Presidents...........

Walter Russell Mead's latest essay follows President Obama's
trajectory.  Inauguration Day comparisons were with Lincoln,
soon followed by comparisons with Bill Clinton, more recently
with Jimmy Carter, and now...............Herbert Hoover?

"the similarities between these two idealistic and patriotic men begin to emerge. In both cases we have a President who thought that his mission was to remake the world, but who gradually discovered that the tools in his toolkit were no match for the problems he faced. With great intelligence and serious goodwill, both men set about to address the most important issues facing the country and the world — only to find that their chosen remedies failed one by one."

I know this on-the-job training thing is difficult, but some
evidence he is learning would be greatly appreciated.

On Time............

 "Today brings to each of us 1,440 minutes; 86,400 ticks of
the clock.  Both the poor and the wealthy have the same 24
hours of opportunity.  Time favors no one.  Today merely
says, 'Here I am.  What are you going to do with me?' "

-Jim Rohn,  The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle

On giving.............

My Sweetie was deeply moved by a speaker she heard at a
luncheon yestereday.  The tone of the speech was one of love,
connectedness, and compassion.  The gist of the speech was that
many are the ways in which we have been blessed.  Likewise,
many are the ways that we can give.  While gifts of money
are important and useful, gifts of self can be powerful beyond

The Dumb Little Man blog has a similar opinion posted.
Full post here.  Excerpt here:

       11 Things You Can Give When You Think
       You Have Nothing Left To Give

Give A Smile

Give Out Good Thoughts

Give A Kind Word

Give A Cheerful Disposition

Give Appreciation

Give Encouragement

Give Honor

Give Happiness

Give Of Your Time

Give Hope

Give Prayer

Isn't serendipity cool?

Erroll Garner, the great jazz pianist..............

was born this day in 1921.  Enjoy one of his compositions, here:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day......................

June 14th was designated by Woodrow Wilson as "Flag Day".
Full story here.  It is not a national holiday, but our flag, and all
that it symbolizes, is still worth celebrating.

The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia.  The place where it all
started.  The tiny rooms housed a big heart.

Learned this one the hard way..............

"The key to understanding economic development is to start
by understanding there is no key to economic development.
There is no silver bullet. Economic development is

-Stephen Malpezzi,  Professor of Real Estate and Urban Land
Economics at the University of Wisconsin

Thanks Richard

Speaking of economic development.....

Scott Adams does more than draw cartoons.  He also blogs.
He also thinks about things.  Here is an idea he floats about
getting our economy moving again:

"This idea might look familiar because it's a variation on
some ideas I've noodled on before. The idea is to goose the
economy by offering a dollar-for-dollar federal tax rebate
for any sort of home improvement. That would include a
wide variety of economic activity: Construction, furniture,
appliances, drapes, carpets, landscape, furniture, green
features (e.g. solar panels), home theaters, new roofs,
and lots more. Anyone with a home could find something
that needs an upgrade of one sort or another."

Full post, including comments, is here.


   As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the
seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of
thought, and could not have appeared without them.  This
applies equally to those acts called 'spontaneous' and
'unpremeditated' as to those which are deliberately executed.

   Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its
fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter
fruitage of his own husbandry.

-James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

On the Mind................

Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind,
suffering follows,
As the wheel follows the hoof of an oxen pulling a cart.

Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a serene mind,
happiness follows,
as surely as one's shadow.

-The Dhammapada

Pretty good advice..............

How to get educated?

"When you don’t know, don’t pretend you do know. Ask."

Full post from S. Anthony Iannarino's The Sales Blog is here

Two for Tuesday....................

Eric Clapton has been a favorite, for like forever.  One of the
things I've always admired with his sheer willingness to play,
and play with the best- without needing the spotlight.

I've already posted a few samples of his sharing the stage.
Jetboy posted a truly great one, here.  Inspired me to post a
few more.  Enjoy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One reason why one shouldn't.........

.......expect change anytime soon in the residential housing world.

If I'm reading this chart from Calculated Risk correctly, it
appears that there is no equity - none-  in 29% of all houses
with mortgages on them.  10% of the houses with mortgages
have 25% (or more) negative equity.  Unitl this gaping wound
in the marketplace begins to heal, expect home prices to
continue to move  slightly downward or sideways.  As always,
all markets are local and your results may vary.

Worth repeating..............

"It is how we spend ourselves - not our money - that
makes us rich."

-Alexander Green, Beyond Wealth

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

Gather Ye rosebuds While Ye May,
by John William Waterhouse, (1909)

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

-Robert Herrick

Joining the growing chorus of support.......

.......for Nelson Biagio Jr.'s blog.  Following the recommendation
of my fearless intertunnel* guides, I visited.  And will do so again.
Among other fun stuff, this was found:

What happens on the web in sixty seconds...............
(Thought there would be more blog posts.)

double click to enlarge, failing that, go here.

* thanks Greg

Fun with music videos..............

Clever editing? Video magic? The Delta Rhythm Boys making a
comeback?  Whole new cast of characters?  Anybody know?
It all can get very confusing.

Wikipedia tells us that the Delta Rhythm Boys first got together in
1934.  The group had some success in the United States and
even more in Europe.  There was some turnover in the group. 
The last original  member died in 1987. They were elected into
the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.  If you want a stroll
down memory lane, check that last link out.  Wow!

Here is the Youtube hit attributed to the Delta Rhythm Boys:

Here is an original (I suppose) version.

Thanks Gerard

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Louis Rukeyser........................

I haven't thought about Louis Rukeyser in years.  There was a
time in my life when watching Wall Street Week was a Friday
evening ritual.  Jeff reminded me of Louis with this:

Hah! I remember years ago I was watching an edition of Wall
Street Week and Louis Rukeyser.

It was a particularly tough time in the marketplace, lots of
volatility. So he turned to his esteemed panel of regulars, the
biggest brains in the investing community, and said to one of
them "So - is the market going to go up or down?"

And the very stately, well bred, and well fed gentleman


And that about ends our segment for today... :)

To honor that memory, here are two youtube clips of some
typical Rukeyser interviews (yes, he was that good).  There
are some great quotes here.  My favorite is at the end of his
interview with his father:

.........."by return to excellence."


Had the opportunity to play in the Midland Theatre's annual golf
outing Friday at the Longaberger Golf Club.  After an early
morning thunder shower, the sky cleared and we enjoyed a
beautiful afternoon on a beautiful golf course. 

The outing had a scramble format, which is a very civilized way
for us high handicappers to play.  Lots of laughs, enjoyable
company, and we ham n' egged it around the course to finish
four under par.  Honest.

John Griffeth (in the middle) is a partner by marriage and business
with Deana Martin.  Deana, who is Dean Martin's daughter, is
performing at 7:00 this evening on the Midland stage.  She and
John arrived in town a few days early.  John had a few
unscheduled hours so he joined us at the outing.

Interesting man with an interesting lifestyle.  He and Deana
travel the globe, spending 280 days on the road last year.  An
"if this is Newark, it must be Sunday" kind of life.  John said,
"Nobody understands what it is like for the entertainer.  She
works hard, very hard, and is very focused.  She is always 'on'."

Before he hit the road with Deana, John spent more than 20
years traveling the world directing the productions of TV
sports, including golf, for all the networks.  Driving the cart
between the sixth and seventh hole, I casually mentioned
that one of my goals in life was to follow the golf tour for one
summer and see the Masters, the Players, the Memorial, the
U. S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Tournaments.
John's response was classic:

"Steve, this isn't a dress rehearsal. If you want to do it, do it."

Well, OK.  I may need some help with tickets for the Masters
(his advice:  just show up) from friends who live in that part
of the world, but game on!

It was an unexpected treat sharing the afternoon in a golf cart
with him.  A really good guy.   Thanks John.

Thanks Andrew for making it all possible.

On Sugar............

We are a strange breed.  Nowhere does that strangeness become
more apparent than our interaction with industrialized food and
beverages. We appear to have exchanged plentiful and cheap for
healthful.  Maybe the word "we" is unfair.  Certainly, I have done
that.  Especially in the high fructose corn syrup arena.

From the Lifehacker:

Glucose is a simple sugar that your body likes. Your cells use
it as a primary source of energy, so when you consume
glucose, it's actually helpful.

In most cases, fructose is bad for you because of how it's
processed by the body. Fructose can only be metabolized by
the liver, which is not a good thing. This means a greater
number of calories—about three times more than glucose—
are going through liver processes and that results in a much
higher production of VLDL (the bad cholesterol mentioned
earlier) and fat. It also results in a higher production of uric
acid and a lot of other things you don't want, which is
believed to lead to fun stuff like hypertension and high
blood pressure.

Nonetheless, the past 40 years brought us a low-fat craze.
Fresh food can still taste good without a higher fat content,
but processing low-fat food makes it taste like crap.
Companies understand this, and so they add a bunch of
sugar (and often salt) to fix that problem. This process
essentially exchanges fat your body can actually use for
 fructose-produced fat that it cannot.

For a variety of reasons (kids ragging on me, advancing age,
clothes not fitting the way they used to, etc.) I've set the goal of
weighing 185 by my 60th birthday. Sheer observation leads one
to the belief that fad diets do not work. I am hopeful that paying
attention to what and how much one eats will work. After giving
up about 500 daily calories of  high fructose laden Coca-Cola
for Lent (for the second time), I have for the most part avoided
drinking it, or any fructose based substitute, since. Not trying to
be fanatical here, just a bit more disciplined.  Lots more water
(thanks Nicholas for the ever constant reminders) and iced
tea (unsweetened).  Plus, I am back to walking a half hour a
day. I'll let you know how it all works out.

Thanks Gerard

Sunday's Verse

1  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence
    with singing.

3  Know ye that the LORD he is God: 
    it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with
    praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth
    endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100
The Holy Bible, King James Version

Kurt has his game face on.............

While winning is important, after all the score is kept for a reason,
the lessons learned by playing sports may be much more valuable
than just another "W".

Kurt's latest essay, gleaned from the playing fields in North
Newark, is here.  A life applicable lesson is excerpted here:

"Employees need to be challenged.  They need to keep their
chops sharp.  Without the stimulation of new challenges and,
yes, problems to solve, sloppiness settles in.