Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kenny Rankin again...........

Baking pie........

Rick Platt is a champion of small town, industrial driven,
economic development.  He is passionate about his adopted
 Licking County community and has brought skill and vision to
his job as CEO of our local Port Authority.  He is also a pretty
fair blogger.

Last month he had a post about those who just want their share
of the pie (economic or otherwise), usually at the expense of
someone else.

















We have long subscribed to the notion that fighting over slices
of the pie was a fool's errand.  Why not expend that same energy
toward baking a bigger pie?  How refreshing would it be for
us to hear from the current administration that they were shifting
their focus from taking and giving to growing.  Just dreaming.

Guy Kawasaki, in his very wonderful book Enchantment, says
it this way:

"There are two kinds of people and organizations in the
world:  eaters and bakers.  Eaters want a bigger slice of an
existing pie; bakers want to make a bigger pie.  Eaters
think that if they win, you lose, and if you win, they lose.
Bakers think that everyone can win with a bigger pie.

"Twitter made a bigger pie because anyone could provide
news and updates.  Southwest Airlines moved people from
cars and buses to airplanes.  Google wrested advertising
out of the hands of agencies and gave it to small businesses.
All these companies baked a bigger pie instead of eating
more of the same pie.

"Baking a bigger pie increases your trustworthiness and
yields these benefits:
      * People work together.  Even your competitors will
       work with you, because everyone can benefit, and the
       more people working on an idea the better the
       results for everyone.
       *The 'state of the art' progresses and changes.  If the
        pie stays the same, then progress comes to a halt.
        If the pie gets bigger, then new technology and
        ideas reach fruition.
        *Customers increase in number and diversity.  When
         a pie gets bigger there are more users of products
         and services.  With the democratization of computers
         and the Internet, more people used them, and many
         more people benefited.

   "As the saying goes, 'A rising tide floats all boats,' and
bakers are much more enchanting than eaters."

Good to know................
















      "Sigmund Freud is considered one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century.  He discovered the unconscious mind, treated mental disorders, interpreted dreams, pioneered psychoanalysis, and did important neurological research into cerebral palsy.
     "Yet late in life he still confessed, 'The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?"'
     "Hapless men have speculated on this subject for millennia.  Occasionally, we think we've stumbled on the answer.  Women want love, affection, honesty, beauty, commitment, kindness, security, empathy, and appreciation.  At least, most of them do.  Yet this is still the wrong answer.  What women truly want - watch them nod in agreement - is chocolate."

-excerpted from Alexander Green's Beyond Wealth

Fun stuff from around the blogosphere......

On Hugo Chavez:
"Dictators tend to fall as soon as questions arise as to
whether they'll be around to continue doling out rents to
their cronies." - Megan McArdle

On our Libyan adventure:
"As an outsider to the political process, it has been absolutely
hilarious watching a White House full of children of the
1960′s retroactively justifying Nixon’s Christmas bombings
of Cambodia. It’s not a war, they claim, as long as our
soldiers are safe and we are mostly just killing citizens of
other nations from the air. Of course, by this definition, the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not an act of war."
- Coyote Blog

On choices, responsibility,  feelings, and incredible honesty:
"We leave. But not before we have make up sex in the
pig barn." - Penelope Trunk

On small businesses in China:
"China's small - and medium- sized enterprises are looking
at an increasingly difficult business environment amid
financing difficulties and rising production and labor
costs".... -China Financial Markets

On Andrew Tobias:
"Dan Quayle told The New York Times that being gay was a
choice, that it was the wrong choice, and that it was
immoral. I'd love someone to do a profile on Dan Quayle.
Find out from him when he made his choice. Was it difficult?
What had been the pros and cons as he saw them at the
time? Did he have any regrets?" -The Head Butler

There is just something about those baby boomers....



















Thanks Mark

Get your fill now.........We're only doing bubble gum music this once.......I promise






Bonus Track:
to see the Archies do "Sugar Sugar" go here


Thanks for the creepy reminder......


















Thanks Shorpy

Friday, July 1, 2011

"When I sing I'm feeling, not thinking."

The great late Kenny Rankin gently weeps:

On good new, bad news, and silver linings....

For the last 34 years my professional life has been devoted to the
wide world of real estate.  The first five years were in residential
brokerage, the last 29 years have been in commercial brokerage,
development, and investing.  The heading of this blog suggests
that from time to time I will be opining on commercial real estate.

Lately, it feels like most of the opining has been on the residential
side of real estate.  I suspect the cause for that is the importance
of housing to our national economy as well as our national fixation
with housing prices.

Faithful readers may sense a bi-polarity here. Most of the posts
recently have suggested a long wait before home prices increase
in any meaningful national way (and I must tell you that a sense
of fatigue has set in here about that specific subject) and the rest
of the posts on the residential market have suggested that it is a
great time to buy residential real estate.

Agent Genius has a post up confirming the smartness of buying
residential real estate as an investment today.  Even if prices
have not touched bottom yet, rents are on the move upward
and interest rates are not.  A good combination for investors.

The essay is hereExcerpt here:

"For some time, we’ve been reporting on the trend toward agents focusing more time on residential leasing as the housing sector continues limping along. Leasing is chic and the stigma around it is slowly fading- people that are fully capable of buying are sitting still or trying out new areas of town while others have no choice and are living in rentals due to foreclosure. Either way, “rent” is no longer a cuss word.

"Rental rates have been going up considerably over the last year and it appears it is accelerating, rising at a rate beating most economists’ projections for 2011."


Where is this "silver lining," you may ask.   Sorry.

The silver lining is for those of us who already own apartments.
In a normal world, rising rents would quickly signal the very
hungry development world to generate new apartment
complexes. Frantic development of new units would then act
to suppress rent increases.  The word "normal" no longer
means what it meant six years ago.  Banks and other lenders
have tightened their standards and have increased equity
requirements to levels that stymie many, if not most,
developers.  The result - a much lower level of development
activity than one would  have expected, which in turn allows
rents to continue their climb.

The quirkiness of numbers....

The statistics come from here.  Those are startling numbers for us
simple small town folk.  One bed room apartments in the $800
range?  Surely you jest.  And yet the chart says "median."  If
memory serves, that is the half way point between the high and
the low.  Our local rental rates are about half the national median. 
Those big city types must be paying an awful lot of money for a
one bedroom apartment.

Regardless, it is the trend line that is interesting.

As always, all markets are local and your results may vary.

Schopenhauer























"Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 –1860) was a German philosopher
known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity."  Personally,
that sounds like a contradiction.  German philosophers have
presented me some problems before. I've got Nietzsche and
Hegel on my book shelves.  Took a pass at reading them and
found my brain ill equipped for the task.  Impenetrable.

Anyway,  I came across the first quote before and thought -
maybe.  Turns out that Schopenhauer said many interesting
and quotable things.  The following selection is overly long
only because of editorial indecision. Enjoy.

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a
target no one else can see."

"It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character."

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

"Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents."

"As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself."

"Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal."

"Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death."

"Friends and acquaintances are the surest passport to fortune."

"Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax."

"Compassion is the basis of morality."

"After your death you will be what you were before your birth."

"We forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people."

"Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed."

"Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost."

"If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it."

"Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability."

"Journalists are like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark."

"It is only a man's own fundamental thoughts that have truth and life in them. For it is these that he really and completely understands. To read the thoughts of others is like taking the remains of someone else's meal, like putting on the discarded clothes of a stranger."

"The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice."

"The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness."

"Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world."

"The wise have always said the same things, and fools, who are the majority have always done just the opposite."

On Television.............























"I'll zone out in front of the TV for five or six hours, and then
I feel depressed and empty.  And I wonder why.  Whereas if
I eat candy for five or six hours, and I feel sick, I know why.
...One of the reasons that I feel empty after watching a lot
of TV is that it give the illusion of relationships with people.
It's a way to hve people in the room talking and being
entertaining, but it doesn't require anything of me.  I receive
entertainment and stimulation without having to give
anything back but the most tangential kind of attention.
And that is very seductive."
-David Foster Wallace

Nice threads.............

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On working and not working......



















".....Churchill was capable of tremendous physical and
intellectual efforts, of high intensity over long periods, often
with little sleep.  But he had corresponding powers of
relaxation, filled with a variety of pleasurable occupations,
and he also had the gift of taking short naps when time
permitted.  Again, when possible, he spent his mornings
in bed, telephoning, dictating, and receiving visitors.  In
1946, when I was seventeen, I had the good fortune to
ask him a question: 'Mr Churchill, sir, to what do you
attribute your success in life?'  Without pause or hesitation,
he replied: 'Conservation of energy.  Never stand up when
you can sit down, and never sit down with you can lie
down.'  He then got into his limo."

-excerpted from Paul Johnson's Churchill

Thanks Michael

It's simple.......................

















Thanks WRM

The beat of a different drummer.....

"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather
than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be
worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to
stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study,
to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions,
hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden, and
unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my
symphony"
-William Henry Channing

On music..............


Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings
to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and
gaiety to life and to everything.
-Plato

"...the joke was on me......"

"....most egregious folly..."

Walter Russell Mead continues his assault on Algore and the
"green" movement to secure world domination.  WRM is
careful not disparage Gore's grasp of the science of climate
change, only the proposed solution:

"The global green treaty movement to outlaw climate change is the most egregious folly to seize the world’s imagination since the Kellog-Briand Pact outlawed war in the late 1920s. The idea that the nations of the earth could agree on an enforceable treaty mandating deep cuts in their output of all greenhouse gasses is absurd. A global treaty to meet Mr. Gore’s policy goals isn’t a treaty: the changes such a treaty requires are so broad and so sweeping that a GGCT is less a treaty than a constitution for global government. Worse, it is a constitution for a global welfare state with trillions of dollars ultimately sent by the taxpayers of rich countries to governments (however feckless, inept, corrupt or tyrannical) in poor ones."

full essay here

It's good to have ambition........























Thanks Ka-ching!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On sight..........

"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible."
-Jonathan Swift

mysterious and sublime........












   




  Hummingbirds are one of Nature's most eye-catching
creations, testimony that the universe is more mysterious
and sublime that it needs to be.  They are also a small
reminder that life is rich, the most beautiful and exotic
things can't be owned - and its pretty darn great to be
alive.

-Alexander Green,  Beyond Wealth

Photo from Greg Basco's Deep Green Photography.  Go here
for more amazing photos of hummingbirds

On A glass of wine...........























"Bottled poetry."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

"Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may
wet my mind and say something clever."
Aristophanes

"No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober
where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the
common beverage.  It is, in truth, the only antidote to the
bane of whiskey."
-Thomas Jefferson

"A necessity of life."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Sunlight, held together by water."
-Galileo

"If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine
so good?"
Cardinal Richeleu

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy
stomach's sake and thine often infirmities"
1 Timothy, 5:23

"Come quickly!  I am tasting the stars!"
-Dom Perignon

"Wine is constant proof the God loves us and loves to
see us happy."
-Benjamin Franklin

"Here's to the corkscrew - a useful key to unlock the
storehouse of wit, the treasury of laughter, the front
 door of fellowship, and the gate of pleasant folly."
W.E.P. French

"WINE, n.Fermented grape-juice known to the Women's
Christian Union as "liquor," sometimes as "rum." Wine,
madam, is God's next best gift to man."
Ambrose Bierce

On More than one glass of wine........

"In vino veritas."
Pliny

"Days of wine and roses laugh and run away,
Like a child at play."
Johnny Mercer

"We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass
of wine."
Eduardo Galeano

"He said that few people had intellectual resources sufficient
to forgo the pleasures of wine. They could not otherwise
contrive how to fill the interval between dinner and supper."
Samuel Johnson

"There is a devil in every berry of the grape."
The Koran

"Wine hath drowned more men than the sea."
Thomas Fuller

"Hide our ignorance as we will, an evening of wine soon
reveals it."
Heraclitus

"It is a maudlin and indecent verity that comes out
through the strength of wine."
Joseph Conrad

"Wine is a treacherous friend who you must always
be on guard for."
Christian Nestell Bovee

"I spent ninety percent of my money on wine, women
and song and just wasted the other ten percent."
Ronnie Hawkins

"Wine is a turncoat; first a friend and then an enemy."
Henry Fielding

"'It wasn't the wine,' murmured Mr. Snodgrass, in a broken
voice. 'It was the salmon.'"
Charles Dickens

"Alcohol - the cause of and solution to all of life's problems"
Homer Simpson

"Could have been sweet as wine...."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trouble in Facebook City......?

Stephen Fells explains some of his growing disenchantment with
Facebook.   Full essay, The Contradiction of the Social Web,
is here.   Excerpt here:

"......I am beginning to realize that the more connected I
become the more each relationship is watered down.

"As I question the value of social, specifically Facebook,
I look at my own path. I used to say that the more you
put into Facebook the more you get out of it. I have
transitioned to a place where I have to acknowledge
that the more connections I have, the greater chance
there is of me not seeing anything of value."

Thanks Mathew

Some bubbles are more serious than others.....

Joel Ross looks at the ramifications of the bursting residential
real estate bubble, and he is not happy.    Full post here.

Fun catchy excerpt, here:
"Nothing is endless other than risk."

The baseline problem, here:
"The result is we have millions too many houses right now which need to wait until the population growth to population movement catches up."

The significant consequences, here:
"The macro issue is without a robust residential construction market, the general economy will continue to suffer. That segment generates millions of jobs and property and sales taxes. From construction workers, to materials manufacturing and sales, to furniture stores, carpet stores, hardware stores, title work, and on and on. It is probably the biggest generator in the past of multiplier effect on the economy, and that is not happening again for a long time. Home prices will continue to decline in many markets for awhile and the psychological damage to potential home buyers and lenders will last for a very long time. The long term impact on retirement nest eggs tied up in home values, and all that flows from that, is going to be felt for a generation, just as the baby boomers are hitting the key age. You need to consider all of this when doing strategic planning for your business and investing. This is a generational macro change, and you need to understand the ramifications.

Happy 85th Birthday Mel......

Last year at this time, we highlighted some funny movie clips.
Here Mel Brooks talks growing up in Brooklyn.................

More from 1001 Rules for My Unborn Son

Book here.  Blog here.  A few rules here:

497. You’re never too old to wave at firetrucks.

496. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The
        stairs ain’t one.

495. Don’t be afraid of the deep end. That’s where
        the fun is.



















494. If it’s already lit, put down the lighter fluid.

493. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have
         to a king. Fetch him beers.

Today's favorite bumper sticker..............

I'm sure drugs had nothing to do with this....

Renata needs to get herself to a good 12-Step meeting.....

Let's blame "choices" for all of our problems.

She believes "choices are anxiety provoking" and "choice
always involves a loss"  and  "the ideology of choice is not
so optimistic and it prevents social change."

Hmmmm.  Her desired social change is more important than
the rest of us having choices?  Can't wait until she's in charge.

The girl must be hanging around some really unhealthy people.

You have my permission to not watch this one.  But, beware.


thanks agentgenius

Monday, June 27, 2011

1969's finest...........................

Heard this damn song this afternoon on the radio.   I'm
sure my brain will stop repeating in shortly.  Back story here.

Re-play at your own risk.

The forest for the trees..............

I'm confused.  How does one shelter one's fortune by giving it
away?

Stuart Schneiderman, whose Had Enough Therapy? blog is
always thoughtful and interesting, may have lost his way on this
one.  Full post here.  Excerpt here:

And then we see the great humanitarian billionaires, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who are, legally, sheltering their vast fortunes from taxes by giving it away to the Gates foundation.

One might ask how much of the foundation’s massive philanthropic activity takes place in America and how much of it takes place around the world.

And one might ask whether all that money would not be put to better use if it was invested in new business. As Carlos Slim famously noted: “Charity never solved anything.”

Unless you want to count charity’s ability to salve the guilt of the liberal conscience.

So, we are treated to the spectacle of watching sanctimonious liberals like Buffett rail against the inequities of the tax code while sheltering their fortunes from taxes.

"Charity never solved anything."  Really?  Really?

For more than 25 years Rotary International has been working
diligently to eradicate polio -  disease that not so long ago was
a dreaded scourge, from the face of the earth.  It is a task both
daunting and expensive, yet it is doable.  In the past five years,
the Gates Foundation has pledged  355 million dollars to assist
the Rotary effort.  According to the last reports, this long term
effort is getting closer to success. 

Don't you think that the eradication of polio would count as
charity solving something?  If it happens, the charitable efforts
of Rotary International and the Gates Foundation will be largely
responsible.  I'd say a "Thank You" is appropriate.

Just when you thought, "I've seen it all"......

Vanilla Ice is making money "flipping" mansions.  Say it isn't so....





Thanks Joe

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



















        The Handing Down

8.  A wilderness starts toward him
The old man lives on
among sheds and tools
he won't use again, places

he won't go back to.
Around the place his living
has kept clear there's a wildness

waiting for him to go.
In the wooded creek vales
of his memory, that his mind

opens slowly to become, all is
as it was, and must be,
the water thrush's note chinks

like dropping water
over rocks.  To old fields
and croplands the persistent

anachronism of wilderness
returns, oaks deepen in the hill,
their branches mesh,

into the pocketed shadows
slowly as rocks wear
the moss comes.

Behind him, as if imagined
before his birth, he leaves
silence no one has yet broken.

Ahead of him he sees, as in an old
forefather's prophetic dream,
the woods take back the land.

9.  Though he can't know death, he must study dying
Knowing that he must learn to die
or be beaten, he has looked
toward what he must come to,

that bad exchange
of all he knows for all
he doesn't.

He has become the sufferer
of what he cannot help.
Knowing the euphemisms

of the salesmen leave the mind
wordless before its trials,
he has learned

among the quick plants
of his memory
to speak of their end.

When vision is marked to win
there's nothing in victory to desire.
And it's not victory

that he's going toward.
He leaves that for the others,
the younger, who will leave it.

It's a vision that generous men
make themselves willing to give up
in order to have.

His luxury is giving up of vanity:
"Why should a man eighty-one years old
care how he looks?"

10.  The freedom of loving
After his long wakeful life,
he has come to love the world
as though it's not to be lost.

Though he faces darkness, his hands
have no weight or harshness
on his small granddaughters' heads.

His love doesn't ask that they understand
in includes them.  It includes, as freely,
the green plant leaves in the window,

clusters of white ripe peaches weighting
the branch among the weightless leaves.
There was an agony in ripening

that becomes irrelevant at last
to ripeness.  His love
turned from death, freely,

is equal to it.

11.  He takes his time
There's no need to hurry
to die.  His days are received
and let go, as birds fly

through the broken windows
of an old house.  All his traps
are baited, but not set.

On the porch, in the potato rows,
among the shades and neighbors
of his summer walks,

he finds time
for the perfecting of gifts.

--------------------------
The Handing Down
Verses 8-11 (out of 14)
by Wendell Berry

Dreaming with the Electric Prunes.....




or, for your typical faked singing/playing, check out Dick Clark's
American Bandstand version here.      "It's a gassy thing."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Classic.........

"I guess I can put two and two together." (woman to Nick Charles)
"Sometimes the answer's four and sometimes it's twenty-two." (Nick)

-Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man, 1934

If you want to experience the best............

....the blogoshpere has to offer, click here and scroll through
Cultural Offering's posts from Saturday and Friday.  The boy
sets the bar way high.  Education, enlightenment, entertainment,
inspiration, and amusement all in one place.  Follow him daily.

Sunday's Verse

Prologue
     These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and
Judas Thomas the Twin recorded.

1. And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these
sayings will not taste death."

2. Jesus said, "Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one
finds. When one finds, one will be troubled. When one is troubled,
one will marvel, and will ruleover all."

3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in
heaven,' then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they say to
you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the
kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
     "When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and
you will understand that you are children of the living Father.
But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty,
and you are poverty."

4. Jesus said, "The person old in days will not hesitate to ask a
little child seven days old about the place of life, and that
person will live. For many of the first will be last, and will
become a single one."

5. Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is
hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing
hidden that will not be revealed."

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus
Verse 1-5

From the Ragamuffin...............

A truly remarkable blog about a journey with honest doubt,
faith, and love is here.

An Inconvenient Hypocrisy.............

Walter Russell Mead rakes Algore over the coals - here
Excerpts here:

"Gore has the Midas touch in reverse; objects of great value
(Nobel prizes, Oscars) turn dull and leaden at his touch."

"It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”)
with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious
mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average
person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only
needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving
film.

"You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority
of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for
granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods
environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards.
You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary
— the more shame on you that with your superior insight and
knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. There’s a gospel
hymn some people in Tennessee still sing that makes the
point:  'You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.'"

"Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is
imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock
point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn
and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of
Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they
rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.

"But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more
carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can
consume more electricity than most African schools, incur
more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most
of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and
he doesn’t worry. A father of four, he can lecture the world
on the perils of overpopulation. Surely, skeptics reason, if the
peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much
as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set
an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general
sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they
want tents."

Ouch.

Happy Birthday to Gretchen Wilson.....