Friday, July 8, 2011

The mystery man.......

On what we owe the Ancient Greeks...

"Everything was open to argument and discussion, including religion and government.  The Greeks' curiosity, relentless questioning, and intellectual rigor led to enormous achievements in logic, physics, mathematics, rhetoric, and analysis.  They made rational inquiry - rather than pronouncements of authority - the royal road to truth."

-Alexander Green, Beyond Wealth

On borrowed books......

"The habit of reading is one of the greatest resources of mankind; and we enjoy reading books that belong to us much more than if they are borrowed.  A borrowed book is like a guest in the house; it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality.  You must see that it sustains no damage; it must not suffer while under your roof.  You cannot leave it carelessly, you cannot mark it, you cannot turn down the pages, and you cannot use it familiarly.  And then, someday, although this is seldom done, you really ought to return it

-Beau Puryear,  Marine Corps Generalship

A big Thank You!

Had the good fortune to share cheeseburgers and onion rings
with two really good guys on Wednesday evening. 

The Mighty E.and Big Ray suggested we meet at AP's Lobster
House in Allendale, South Carolina.  Now, I suspect it has been
a few years since the last lobster was seen at AP's, but it was
a perfect place for friends to meet for the first time.  Good
cheer was the order of the day.

Doug and Ray are really fine bloggers and even nicer people.

Thanks for the Southern hospitality! 

Welcome to 1969, when it made perfect sense to shoot this video in the desert.....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fab Four......

Toughen up.............

"We have not journeyed across the centuries, across the
mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of
sugar candy."

-attributed to Winston Churchill


"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know
what to do with it."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"But higher consciousness can be described in practical terms.  It means striving to live the best life while recognizing the limits of your understanding.  It means adopting an attitude of acceptance toward life and our fellow human beings.  Higher consciousness is about grace and civility.  It's about recognizing what is sacred, what is worth protecting.

"Wisdom is about what knowing what to do and when.  It's also about understanding when to leave things alone.  I'm fond of psychologist William James's definition:  Wisdom is knowing what to overlook."

-Alexander Green, Beyond Wealth

On my love you can depend

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long Tall Sally.............

About Credit.......

"Every banker know that if he has to prove that he is
worthyof credit, however good his arguments, in fact
his credit is gone."

-Walter Bagehot

The bewildered Maestro ........

The bubble that burst had many causes.  Here are two of them: 
the main man "guiding" the economy couldn't figure out what the
rocket scientists on Wall Street were doing and he apparently
didn't take the time to find out.

"I've got some fairly heavy background in mathematics, but
some of the complexities of some of the instruments that
were going into CDOs bewilders me.  I didn't understand
what they were doing or how they actually got the types
of returns our of the mezzanines and various tranches of the
CDOs that they did.  And I figured if I didn't understand it
and I had access to a couple hundred PhDs, how the rest of
the world is going to understand it sort of  bewildered me."

-Alan Greenspan in 2007 as quoted by Andrew Ross Sorkin
in Too Big To Fail

You can't make this stuff up.......

Spengler takes us on an amazing journey through the history of
great fiction, reminding me each step of the way why I was a
history - not English  - major.  His essential thrust is that truth
clearly is stranger than fiction.  His proof for that is L'Affair DSK.

Full essay is here.    Interesting excerpts here:

"Few of us are cut out for freedom.  Given the chance to
chart our own course, we drive straight of the nearest cliff."

"Werner is the young Goethe, who after all did not kill
himself, but instead grew up to become Faust, whose story
lacks a satisfactory ending; he learns that 'only he deserves
freedom as well as life who must conquer them every day'"

Knowledge and Wisdom.......

Knowledge is learning something everyday.
Wisdom is letting go of something everyday.
-Zen saying

Real estate investing, circa 2006......


I wonder what ever happened to Arthur Brown?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hank Senior...........

Trust, but verify..........

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

Catching up with Steve Felix.....

".............the differences between coaching and consulting. 
A consultant provides ideas and solutions; a coach asks
questions…it’s up to you to find your own way."    

"Ok, so this morning a random driver, arranged by the hotel, drove me to the airport. As I had adopted from Gerald Hines many years ago, I sat in the front passenger seat with the driver. He was from Pakistan, about the same age as me and we had a lively conversation. His name is Abdul.  We talked about a lot..... One of the wonderful things about leading a serendipitous life is experiencing random interactions of this type. But, you also have to be open to them. I’ve long believed that while I don’t believe that the world will ever experience ‘peace on earth’.....we can bring the world closer together, one person at a time, by taking time to engage people. We can learn from each other and, like with Abdul this morning, we can appreciate that we are all members of the human race and value and respect our differences."

"I’ve long felt that the most valuable thing that I can invest in anyone or anything is my time.  Money?  Its just currency.  But time, is fleeting; each of us only has so much of it and we don’t even know how much that is."

Steve Felix's blog is here

Destruction does not create prosperity....

Thanks Mungo

On the effectiveness of Chicken Littles

"In one of his recent works of speculative fiction, The New
York Times' Thomas Friedman asked:  'How did we not panic
when the evidence was so obvious that we'd crossed some
growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at
once?'  Dunno. Maybe we value reality? Perhaps we believe
in the ability of humans to adapt and to innovate. Perhaps
we've learned that Malthusian Chicken Littles slinging
stories about the impending end of water or oil or natural
resources are proved wrong so often that we ignore them."

-David Harsanyi from

Thanks Maggie's Farm

" got the power....."

Letting your light shine......

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."
-Marianne Williamson

Monday, July 4, 2011

This Land Is Your Land....

Happy 4th of July..............

On our Founding Fathers

"Posterity who are to reap the blessings will scarcely be able
to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors."
-Abigail Adams writing to John Adams

"Americans should know this - and appreciate it.  Historical
illiteracy is not just ignorance.  It is a form of ingratitude."

"It's not like the Founding Fathers or heroes of other generations
were godlike.  They weren't.  The were fallible human beings,
just like us.  Sometimes they made terrible mistakes or used
shockingly poor judgement, just as we do.  But if we take the
time to read and listen, the wisest and bravest among them will
reach through the past - across the centuries - with voices that
warn us, guide us, and lift our spirits.

"Their chief lesson, especially in times like these, is that courage
and patience and determination matter.  And that character
matters most of all.  These qualities may not always guarantee
success.  But they guarantee you deserve it."

-Alexander Green,  excerpted from Beyond Wealth

1776 revisited............

Warren Meyer (aka Coyote Blog) offers an essay reminding us
that three critical, yet fragile, founding principles of the United
States are at risk today.  Full essay here.   Three at risk
principles here:

The Rule of Law
Sanctity and Protection of Individual Rights
Government is our servant.

Concluding excerpt here:

"At the end of the day, our freedoms in this country will only last so long as we as a nation continue to hold to the principle that our rights as individuals are our own, and the government’s job is to protect them, not to ration them. Without this common belief, all the other institutions we have discussed, from voting to the rule of law to the Constitution, can be subverted in time."

Pure Poetry.................

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation._____We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. _____He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. _____He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. ____He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. ___He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. ___He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. ___He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. ___He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands. ____He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. ____He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. ____He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. ____He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature. ____He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power. ____He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:   For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:    For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:   For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:    For imposing taxes on us without our consent:   For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:    For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:   For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:   For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:   For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.____He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.____He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. _____He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. ____He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands. ____He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
     In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. _____Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
      We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Too much time on their hands............

Birthday boy Rube Goldberg (here and here) would be proud...

Thanks Gerard

Jay and the Americans twofer...................

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Straighten Up and Fly Right...............

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

“The basis for the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount is not what works but rather the way God is. Cheek-turning is not advocated as what works (it usually does not), but advocated because this is the way God is –- God is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. This is not a stratagem for getting what we want but the only manner of life available, now that, in Jesus, we have seen what God wants. We seek reconciliation with the neighbor, not because we feel so much better afterward, but because reconciliation is what God is doing in the world through Christ.”

– Stanley Hauerwas

Thanks Nicole


Thanks Hugh

Sunday's Verse

                                    SRI KRISHNA:
Your words are wise, Arjuna, but your sorrow is for nothing. 
The truly wise mourn neither the living nor the dead.
    There was never a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor
any of these kings.  Nor is there any future in which we shall
cease to be.
    Just as the dweller in this body passes through childhood,
youth and old age, so at death he merely passes into another
kind of body.  The wise are not deceived by that.
    Feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, are caused
by the contact of the senses with their objects.  They come
and they go, never lasting long.  You must accept them.
    A serene spirit accepts pleasure and pain with an even
mind, and is unmoved by either.  He alone is worthy of
    That which is non-existent can never come into being, and
that which is can never cease to be.  Those who have known
the inmost Reality know also the nature of is and is not.
    That Reality which pervades the universe is indestructible. 
No one has power to change the Changeless.
    Bodies are said to die, but That which possesses the body
is eternal.  It cannot be limited, or destroyed.  Therefore you
must fight.

Chapter II

The Mighty E. sent me here first.  Thanks Doug.

A tall order...............

"Love your neighbor, stranger, and enemy as yourself."

-Tom Fehr, from his going away sermon

".....and I thank you..."