Saturday, July 23, 2011

Programming reminder.........

Walker Lamond's fun book Rules for My Unborn Son contains
a listing of 37 songs that are Required Listening for Boys.  As a
public service, this blog has been playing those songs, in order,
for the past three weeks.  Air time is 4:00.  Mind you, this
is Walker's list.  I'm good with almost all of them.  The next one -
I'm not so sure.   I'll play, you judge.

Not sure what to make of this..........

Linky goodness..................

Ryan Holiday and pain as a metaphor

"We are not in control of pain. No matter how hard we try. Not of the cause or the duration—only the response. Through it we are given an opportunity to act our principles: justice, kindness, selflessness, moderation, self-direction. It offers the reminder that though pain is inevitable, suffering is not."

We are not in control of most things.  Feel free to substitute
your favorite issue for the word pain in the opening sentence.
Welcome to the 12-Step world.   Full post is here.

Walter Russell Mead on Global Weirding

Economists love to be dogmatic and sneer endlessly at the failed predictions of their colleagues, but the reality is that the world economy is not an unchanging timeless essence that can be perceived with the tools of an unchanging and perfected theory. It is a complex system that responds to changes in human capabilities and human ideas. Right now both the real economy and the financial markets are changing so rapidly that nobody really understands how all the pieces fit together. Because of these changes, and because nobody really understands the new reality being created around us, we are guaranteed to have many more economic adventures and surprises. Some will be good; others will be challenging. But they will come, and they will test our capacity to respond creatively to disorienting change.

If WRM is not the best long form essayist in the intertunnel
today, I will eat my hat.  Full read-worthy essay here.

Mungo cops an attitude and says don't fault the police for
shutting down the ten year old girls' lemonade stand.

"This REALLY makes me mad. All you folks who constantly want more rules, more laws, more government intrusion in our lives are the first say, "Awwww, that's not right!" when the police actually try to enforce the law. In fact, the reporter actually says, "So the law wins..." Um...that's what the law DOES, ma'am. The political law of the U.S. is a set of arbitrary, intrusive rules backed by overwhelming, irresistible physical force. It is the unavoidable implication of the corrupt bargain made by those who think the alternative to coercive law is the Hobbesian state of nature. Letting people make their own choices is just not an option to you folks. So enjoy your police state, and STFU."

Mike's suggestion to get rid of three-fourths of our laws and
the rest of his post, including a very agitated video, is  here.

Glen Reynolds asks a good question.....

Why doesn’t the GOP propose a 5% across-the-board cut in spending? I doubt that very many voters will believe that there’s not 5% that can be cut in any department of the federal government, and compared to the cuts most households have made it’s minor indeed. Then they could do it again next year . . . .

Full post here.  Tigerhawk links and comments here.

Nightfall in Dubai........

 At a tad more than 2,700 feet high,  the Burj Khalifa is
presently the tallest free standing structure on planet Earth.
An architect's dream, it cost about $1.5 billion to construct. 
I imagine you could probably buy it for less today.

For all the interesting details go here.

 Photo credit and explanation  here

A trend line moving the wrong way..................

Architectural billing reflects the coming development of
commercial real estate, like office and retail buildings.  Not so
good news for the architects and the construction industry,
probably better news for the owners of existing buildings.  A bit
less competition for tenants over the next few years means rents
should solidify, and maybe, dare we say it, increase.  One takes
one's silver lining where one finds it.

Thanks Bill

Size matters...........

"A government big enough to give you everything you want
is a government big enough to take from you everything
you have."
-Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States

To thine ownself be true................

Thanks Hugh

The Gentrys..........Keep on Dancing

Friday, July 22, 2011

I felt unfettered and alive...........

Extra bonus: check out the band- Pat Metheny and crew!

Community banks revisited........

A year ago, this blog was saluting its favorite community bank.
That post is here.

Wednesday's Advocate had this story:

Park National Bank and its associates have combined to donate $1 million to the Newark campus’ Next Generation Challenge Scholarship Campaign, the company announced this morning.

The donation will be matched by local philanthropists J. Gilbert and Louella H. Reese. The couple has pledged to match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10 million in donations or pledges made to the fund before June 30, 2012.

"You all have really outdone yourselves and brought a lot of pride to the Park National Bank," Chairman Dan DeLawder said during a monthly all-associate meeting at Newark's Midland Theatre

The full newspaper article is here.

Our community continues to be blessed by the presence of
the great people who are Park National Bank.  Thank you for
your leadership and generosity.   Long may you prosper.

On the power of the unconscious mind......

"Darren's very talented at golf, but he forgets that a lot," said Rotella. "He starts working hard on his swing and his putting stroke and gets all messed up and can't play.  He starts trying to putt correctly.  I said, 'You know, Darren, will you admit that you're already a great putter?  You knew how to putt when you were 12 years old.  Stop pretending you're not a great putter............So you have to really get into, 'If I go unconscious and just see where I want to go and hit it, everything will take care of itself.'  I'm trying to get him to realize that's how he does everything else in his life, why try to make this into a science?  A lot of this is just trying to get him to be unconscious with it, trust that his subconscious is way smarter than his conscious brain."

-JimMoriarty, Golf World

picture courtesy of

A belated sign of the times.............

It wasn't all that long ago that a building leased to the Post Office 
was considered a highly desirable investment property.

What now seems surprising is that it has taken the USPS this
long to get around to shrinking its portfolio. 

WSJ post here or reprinted here:

With letters and other forms of standard mail going extinct,
the U.S. Postal Service is looking to downsize its real-estate

The agency has tapped real-estate firm CB Richard Ellis
Group Inc. to advise the agency on the 300 million square
feet of property that it owns or leases.

"We're looking at the whole portfolio across the country and
how much we need and where," said Tom Samra, vice
president for facilities at the postal service. "We'll be putting
buildings on the market and terminating leases, where
possible." Over the next six months, Mr. Samra said, the
agency and CBRE are looking to craft a plan on how to
curtail the portfolio in line with the lower mail volumes seen
by the agency.

The postal service owns about 8,600 properties and has
about 24,500 leases. Already, the agency has said it is
starting to close hundreds of post offices.

With the rise of email, the postal service has been taking its
lumps in recent years. It reported a loss of $8.5 billion for
fiscal 2010.

Kennedy's Inaugural Address.....

I was not quite nine years old when JFK delivered this address.
My parents watched on our old black and white TV.  I vaguely
remember watching bits and pieces, not at all sure what it meant.

At 1,364 words, it must be one of the shorter political speechs.
Ok, so its five times longer than the Gettysburg Address, it is
still pretty short (1,000 words shorter than Obama's inaugural).

The speech is posted below.  It is worth reading for the snapshot
if offers of a different era, even if you are not a history major.
It is worth reading for the idealism expressed, the pledges made.
It is worth reading if only to remember this line:

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest
the final success or failure of our course.

Just another one of those things we ought not to forget.

We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom -- symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning -- signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge -- and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do -- for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom -- and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required -- not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge: to convert our good words into good deeds, in a new alliance for progress, to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support -- to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective, to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course -- both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.

So let us begin anew -- remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah -- to "undo the heavy burdens, and [to] let the oppressed go free."

And, if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor -- not a new balance of power, but a new world of law -- where the strong are just, and the weak secure, and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days; nor in the life of this Administration; nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need -- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are -- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,"² a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

Thanks for the reminder Seth

Ahhh, the Stoics............

"There is a doom inexorable and a law inviolable, or there is
a providence that can be merciful, or else there is a chaos
that is purposeless and ungoverned.  If a resistless fate, why
try to struggle against it?  If a providence willing to show
mercy, do your best to deserve its divine succour.  If a chaos
undirected, give thanks that amid such stormy seas you have
within you a mind at the helm.  If the waters overwhelm you,
let them overwhelm flesh, breath, and all else, but they will
never make shipwreck of the mind."

-Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations

These eyes............

About those doxies...........

" Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is another man's doxy."
-William Warburton, Bishop of Glouchester

On the importance of dissent...

"All political ideas cannot and should not be channeled into
the programs of our two major parties.  History has amply
proved the virtue of political activity by minority, dissident
groups, who innumerable times have been the vanguard of
democratic thought and whose programs were ultimately

"Mere unorthodoxy or dissent from the prevailing mores
is not to be condemned.  The absence of such voices would
be a symptom of grave illness in our society."
-Earl Warren, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
Sweezey v. New Hampshire

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can't turn back the tide.....

Big Blue toots its horn..................

Feels like IBM has been a big TV advertiser lately. They must
have run twenty of these ads about "building a smarter planet"
during the Open Championship last weekend:

Nelson Biagio Jr. leads us to a couple of videos that give some
hints about what IBM has been up to lately:

I really like this clip on how Watson mastered Jeopardy.  Love
the ambition.

One of the reasons I find following IBM fun is that there
was this one weekend during my college days when, as a
friend of a friend,  I had the good fortune to drink a bunch
of beer with Sam Palmisano.   Who knew?

This is what happens when your first priority is saving your customers some money.......

Wal-Mart's growth mapped out, 1962-2004

Thanks Mark

Happiness, again........

We have no more right to consume happiness without
producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
-George Bernard Shaw

Happiness is a how, not a what; a talent, not an object.
-Hermann Hesse

The Happiest people seem to be those who have no
particular reason for being happy except that they are so.
-Dean William R. Inge

Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness
is no longer a possibility.  Yet when I talk with my gardener,
I'm convinced of the opposite.
-Bertrand Russell

The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson
of worship.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is itself a find of gratitude.
-Joseph Wood Krutch

The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that
does not grasp.
-John Berry

When we cannot find contentment in ourselves it is
useless to seek it elsewhere.
-La Rochefoucauld

Some blogging good company........

"If Hamilton, Madison and Jay were writing the Federalist Papers today, they would put them out as a blog. Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony and Thomas Paine would have blogged. Teddy Roosevelt would have blogged — endlessly, and horrifyingly well."
-Walter Russell Mead


Danger lurks..........

Thanks David

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Would you be an outlaw for my love?

The Furniture Guy paints a picture of.......

......our economy.  As only he can.  He will never be described as
"Pollyannaish," and those with rose colored glasses may wish to
take them off for a moment, but the boy sure can write!

"The economy is like a traffic jam and an accordion. Most traffic jams have no reason to be. There are lots of cars, humming along. Then someone gets nervous and taps the brakes. Even in a benign business climate, the commerce cars veer from lane to lane, lock up the brakes and exaggerate the effect of the first gentle tap on the pedal from the guy up ahead. The accordion is squeezed, and makes unpleasant noises. Of course they're unpleasant; it's an accordion. In a less benign business climate, the driver eating a hoagie and talking on the phone and the woman applying eyeliner while texting crash into each other and things get really bad, really fast. But eventually, if the wreckers and the ambulances sort things out, people get back to zooming along and giving each other the occasional finger. The accordion bellows out. I've lived through the accordion going in and out four or five times already.

"We're way past that now. The traffic-jam-accordion is five years in the rear-view mirror. The cars didn't just tap the brakes and have a fender bender; they left the road and ran over the pedestrians and crashed into the houses and burned down the city. The ambulances were in the shop, the wreckers were up on blocks because their wheels were stolen, and after growing weary of having their four-hour lunches interrupted by the complaints from the people stranded on the highway, the government strafed the survivors instead of helping them. They followed up by napalming their cars, and sending out parking tickets for the burnt-out hulks to any survivors."

Tap into the mind that is Sippican here.

Trust me.....................

.........this is not the "All Sippican all the time" blog.  But, Greg is
on a hot streak, and one needs to pay attention to such things.

Faithful readers will know that I think some of the best writing
anywhere is just waiting to be found in the various nooks and
crannies of the Intertunnel.  Sippican Cottage is among the
best of the best.

Greg writes in a genre of literature know as  "flash fiction."
He has just published, on real paper even, a collection of 37
of his tales.  Thinking it important to support artistry when one
finds it, I ordered my very own copy.  The nice postal people
delivered it yesterday.  It was worth the modest investment.

Get your very own copy here.

An excerpt from "A Thousand and One:"

Grandpa told me all about the genie in the lamp
    It's the oldest story ever and came from the land of sand
and the women with only eyes for you.  It's in there, the genie
of everything, but you have to find him and figure out how
to let him out.  He seems fussy but if you keep it simple and
use your head he pops up like a daisy  Then he's out and
you have to figure out what to do with him.  Grandpa says
he's some kind of wonderful but as dumb as a stump, just
like all of us.  He can do anything, but doesn't know what
to do on his own.  He needs guiding.
    The lamp is always hidden in plain sight he says.  Men
go prospecting all over the landscape for the easy riches
but they're generally lying right there on the ground for
you to step over in your hurry and scurry to look for them.
Grandpa points to the men through the door of the grog
shop and they're playing cards and Grandpa says what
good would it do for them to find the riches anyway.


Jeff posts some sad It might not be news, but
it is always a sad day when a book store closes.   Spent more
time in the Barnes & Noble outlet, but that was more a matter
of convenience than preference.  Borders will be missed.

To rent or to own.......?

The best answer is YES, because I'm guessing the only other
alternative is moving back in with mom and dad.

All smart-assness aside, now that we know that real estate values
don't always trend upward, the rent or own question deserves
more thought and attention than it received in the recent past.

One way of looking at it is here, where the author, Matt Welter,
quoted this example:

"After 2 years, the typical 30-year amortizing mortgage
balance has been reduced by less than 3%. This means that a
household that took out a $300,000 mortgage with a 5%
interest rate to buy a home has only reduced its mortgage
balance by $8,600 after two years despite spending nearly
$39,000 in total over this period."

If I am reading his post correctly, Matt is suggesting that renting
might be cheaper.  At 5% interest though, it is difficult to see how.
The payment in his example is $1,610.46 per month.  It's hard to
imagine that you could rent a house that would support a
mortgageof  $300,000 for less than $2,250 per month, or
$54,000 over the two year period in the example.   Of course,
looking at it that simply ignores the issues of property taxes,
insurance, and maintenance bills.  Also, the deductibility of the
mortgage interest would need to be factored in.  While it all gets
very confusing, it is an exercise real estate brokers should be
getting good at. 

Matt's concluding point is spot on.  "Yet, perhaps after the
recent housing bubble, people will begin to view housing as
they do other investments–with an eye toward risk."

One more question.  Who is going to own all these houses
that all these new renters are going to rent?   Not
withstanding Scott Sumner's household formation depression,
me thinks I hear opportunity knocking.

About that logic............

double click to enlarge

Twofer Tuesday got bumped to Wednesday

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It ain't the latest thing............

That old supply and demand thing.....

....rears its head.  Faithful readers may remember that this blog
has opined that over-construction of single family houses (better
known as supply) between 2003 and 2007 plays a major role
in our current economic doldrums.

Scott Sumner, who is way smarter about this stuff than me,
suggests it would be prudent to ignore the supply side of the
equation for a while and pay closer attention to the demand

"The problem is not that we built too many houses and
need to work off the excess.  Yes, we did, but we worked
off that excess long ago.  No the current problem is
crashing demand for homes due to an unprecedented
plunge in household formation.  Call it a demographic

Full post here.

On the glories of Trial and Error.........

For a bit of information about Archie Cochran, go here.

The power of words...............

Thanks Sean

Duke Long posts his Top..........

....77 Commercial Real Estate blogs.   Darn, didn't make the cut.
Of course, it might help if I posted less music and more stuff
aboutcommercial real estate........................Nope, not going to
do it.  We'll just have to settle for being a Top 1,350,496
commercial real estate blog.

Actually, Duke has done me a favor by highlighting some very
good blogs about the world of commercial real estate.  Several
of them were already on my blog roll.  As I work my way
through his list I know more will be added.

Thanks Duke, for helping me with my homework.

Now, where were we before all those Woodstock clips snuck in here..........

.....oh yeah.......1966.......and its the Easybeats

This is actually kind of liberating.........

Thanks Jessica

Monday, July 18, 2011

I got the radio on.............

Real estate investment reminder....

When investing in real estate, remember:  low interest rates tend
to help Sellers more than  Buyers.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but that really is the lesson
from the "bubble years."   Low interest rates seemed to cause
temporary insanity in Buyers. (Low rates also increases the
number of Buyers as it makes the product look more affordable.)
Overpaying for assets, because financing was so cheap and
because there was now new competition bidding asset prices up,
became so common in 2002-2006, that the market assumed the
higher valuations were the natural order of things.   Oops.

Suppose an investment property will support a monthly
payment of $5,000;

-at 10% interest that payment amortizes a mortgage of $465,000
-at 8% interest that payment amortizes a mortgage of $523,000
-at 6% interest that payment amortizes a mortgage of $592,000

Investors who focused more on how much they could finance,
instead of what was the underlying cash flow was really worth
by traditional standards (i.e. cap rates in the 8% to 11% range),
tended to overpay and overborrow.  A bad combination for
everyone but the Sellers.

(for a quick reveiw of, and one person's opinion about, cap
rates please detour to here.)

The amazing thing is that, even after the carnage caused by
real estate investments made at historically low capitalization
rates in the 2002-2007 era, big time players are still willing
to buy investment property in the "gateway" city markets at
cap rates below 7%.

The prediction here is that ten years from now those Sellers
will still be chortling about their good fortune while those
Buyers will understand the meaning of remorse.

There is money to be made today by investing in real estate.
We encourage it.  We are doing it.  However, a little prudence
and a little patience will go a long way towards the story
having a happy ending.


True or False:   "This sentence is false."


If a man tries to fail and succeeds, which did he do?

-from Plato and a Platypus walk into a bar...

Current politics explained.............

Some great lines: 
We don't have a budget deficit because the left wing believes
in mandates or because the right wing believes in markets. 
We have a budget deficit because the middle believes in magic.

The Tea Party......people who believe in  social darwinism but
don't believe in Darwin.

Thanks Greg

On avoidance...........

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."

-Winston Churchill

A poem for Monday

      The Summer Day

Who made this world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

Back when logic and proportion were mostly theoretical constructs.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011


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

Human beings are
     soft and supple when alive,
     stiff and straight when dead.

The myriad creatures, the grasses and trees are
     soft and fragile when alive,
     dry and withered when dead.

Therefore, it is said:
     The rigid person is a disciple of death;
     The soft, supple, and delicate are lovers of life.

     An army that is inflexible will not conquer;
     A tree that is inflexible will snap.

     The unyielding and mighty shall be brought low;
     The soft, supple, and delicate will be set above.

Verse 41 (traditionally numbered as Verse 76)
Tao Te Ching
Translation by Victor H. Mair

Arthur C. Clarke.......................

.......................and his three "laws:"

1.  When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2.  The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

More on Clarke here and here

Franklin on "happiness"..............

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue
happiness. You have to catch it yourself.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

There are two ways of being happy:  We must either diminish
our wants or augment our means - either may do- the result
is the same and it is for each man to decide for himself and
do that which happens to be easier.

Happiness consists more in the small conveniences of
pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good
fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of
his life.

Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind
than on outward circumstances.

-all sayings attributed to Benjamin Franklin

On humility...........

We seldom deliver lessons in humility.  More often than not,
we receive them.

-attributed to Will Durant

On square pegs and round holes......

A quick visit to The Tao of Pooh leads us to a tale about not
"ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are."

Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no
carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are
crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No
builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are
the same- useless, without value. Therefore, nobody pays
attention to them."

"As you know," Chuang-tse replied, "a cat is very skilled at
capturing its prey.  Crouching low, it can leap in any
direction, pursuing whatever it is after.  But when its
attention is focused on such things, it can easily be caught
with a net.  On the other hand, a huge yak is not easily
caught or overcome.  It stands like a stone, or a cloud in
the sky.  But for all its strength, it cannot catch a mouse."

"You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But
you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its
sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring it
character and appearance. Since it would not be
endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence?
It is useless to you only because you want to make it into
something else and you do not use it in its proper way.

...the habit of trying to soak up things...

Thanks Nicole

...and put the load right on me...................