Saturday, August 20, 2011


....unexpected moments of  peace, reflection, and rejuvenation...
like this one

Note to self............

The best kind of debt is debt that is (being) paid off.


"Friends," says he, "the taxes are, indeed, very heavy; and,
if those laid on by the government were the only ones we
hadto pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we
have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. 
We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as
much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and
from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver
us, by allowing an abatement.  However, let us hearken to
good advice and something may be done for us; 'God helps
them that helps themselves,' as Poor Richard says."
-Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

There go the ratings.............

"'Investors who received no news performed better than
those who received a constant stream of information, good
or bad.  In fact, among investors who were trading (a
volatile stock) those who remained in the dark earned
more than twice as much money as those whose trades were
influenced by the media.'

"Though it may seem reckless to ignore financial news, it's
not:  if your saving for retirement 20 or 30 years down the
road, today's financial news is mostly irrelevant."

-J. D. Roth, Your Money: the missing manual

I don't care if you are a Duke or an Earl....

....nobody did it better than Gene Chandler.


thanks Leah

Friday, August 19, 2011

On pre-digested wisdom........

"Sadly, the reliance on the pre-digested wisdom of experts is
a feature of many cultures, not just of Jewish legal culture.
Whether in forming our opinions of politics, art, food,
philosophy, or almost anything else, we increasingly turn to
an expert to find out what we should do or believe. The effect
of the invention of the printing press on Jewish law is
paralleled by the invention of Google and Wikipedia on our
culture. And though I suspect that these technologies are
here to stay, I often think we would be better off if, every
once in a while, we would take the time and put in the effort
to figure something out, from scratch, on our own."
-David Nelson, as channeled by WRM.  Full post here.

Why how we think about things matters...

"This is an age in which the mood decides the fortunes
of people rather than the fortunes decide the mood."
-attributed to Winston Churchill

Why imagination matters too.......

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dream,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he
will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
-Henry David Thoreau

1000 dances..........

Wilson Pickett version here.

Checking in with Steve Felix.............

Full post  here

On being the boss:

"when you think about it, we are all our own ceo’s of
ourselves and the way we choose to live our lives matters
to us, if to nobody else.  we have those choices to make." 

On how to network:

"make friends. create opportunities to get to know people
out of the office, out of the normal parameters of the
business relationship and outside mutual comfort zones.

make friends of their friends.

find mentors.

give advice (carefully)

don’t keep score.

massage your network. send personal notes.

show no fear.

do good works. charitable endeavors"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thirty days...................

In three minutes and twenty seven seconds worth of video, Matt
Cutts suggests we try something new for thirty days.  Who knows
where it might lead.  Just thirty days................

Trend lines often deliver................

.............mixed messages.  From AIA: Architecture Billings
Index Drops for Fifth Straight Month

Falling architectural billings means that architects are not busily
designing new buildings.  Fewer newly designed buildings
means fewer new construction projects coming on stream.

Fewer new construction projects coming on stream means
less competition for existing buildings.  Less competition
means that rents for existing buildings have a greater chance
of firming up, and, dare we say it, even increasing.

It is a mixed bag out there people.  Even so, this is a trend
line that needs to be reversed.......sooner rather than later.

Thanks Bill

Paths to heaven...........

OPHELIA:   I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
                    As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
                    Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
                    Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
                    Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
                    Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
                    And reaks not his own rede.

LAERTES:                  O, fear me not.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3, 46-51


"General Knowledge is Remote Knowledge it is in
Particulars that Wisdom consists & Happiness too."
-William Blake

Opening paragraphs...........

    Nothing happens by accident.  I learned this the hard way, long before I knew that the hard was the only path to true, certain knowledge.  Early in my life, I came to fear the power of strange conveyances.  Though I thought I always chose the safest path, I found myself powerless to avoid the small treacheries of fate.  Because I was a timid boy, I grew up fearful and knew deep in my heart the world was out to get me.  Before the summer of my senior year in high school, the real life I was always meant to lead lay coiled and ready to spring in the hot Charleston days that followed.

-Pat Conroy, South of Broad


Some rebel I turned out to be.................

Mom and Dad had an evening ritual.  He would (usually) catch
the 6:05 train from Center City and she would pick him up at the
Wynnewood train station around 6:30 for the five minute drive
home.  Once they entered the kitchen, he would take off his
London Fog and then they would exchange a brief hug and kiss. 
Next, it was cocktail time.  Dad would fix an Old Fashioned for
Mom and a Scotch on the rocks with a splash of water for
himself.  Mom would fix a small plate of cheese and crackers and
they would unwind together for ten or fifteen minutes.  As rituals
go, this one brought them much peace and added a high degree
of security for their two observant and growing children.

Dad was not much of a drinker.  Don't believe I ever saw him
take a second drink, but he savored that first one.  His choice
of Scotch was Dewars.

I'm not much of a drinker, if you don't count a romance with
cheap wine my sophomore year in college.  My sweetie and I
dined out last weekend.  When it came time to order drinks.....
Scotch and water please....yes Dewars.  There was only a
splash of water added.  It was worth savoring.

Why am I telling you all this?  Don't know, other than our
friend Hugh at posted his drawing the other
day, and it is comforting to know that in some ways the apple
did not fall too far from the tree.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If you ever needed just one song................ convince you that the decade of the 1960's was a
special time, this one should do the trick.  Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Trashmen.

On Self Talk.....................

A day without Bate is like a day without sunshine.  To wit:

Slow down. Stay well. When you are in good form and patient enough to notice your langauge you can catch its idiocies, observe its redundancies and let go of its traps. You can become the deleter of junk code and the creator of empowering code. It's only a deep breathe away.

Thanks Nicholas

This is really helpful..................

Headline from Investors Business Daily:
U.S. Debt Downgrade To Affect Commercial Real Estate

First paragraph:

"The fallout from Standard & Poor's downgrade of Uncle Sam's credit could be a boon or a bust for the commercial real estate market, depending on how events unfold as the market enters uncharted waters."

Comes under the heading of "you pays your money and you
takes your chances."  Although, it is refreshing to realize that
the really smart people don't have a clue about where we are
headed either.


From Nicholas Bate's The Breakthrough 52:

#24:  Parenting is the toughest leadership job on the planet.
And when we have more data, probably the universe.

From this vantage point, learning not to do for them those things
they ought to be doing for themselves has been one of the harder
lessons to learn.

Getting my glasses checked........

"Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the
limits of the world."
-Arthur Schopenhauer

No surprises here............

Agent Genius highlights the glum mood of home

Headline here:
Builder confidence is stagnant, distressed homes
remain major competition.

Reasons given that might be valid:
    -large inventory of distressed homes on the market
    -buyers’ inability to sell their current homes
    -uncertain economic climate and concerns about job security
      are discouraging many potential buyers from exploring a
      home purchase at this time

Reasons given that sound like whining:
      -inaccurate appraisal values
     -overly tight underwriting requirements

Reason not given:
Production builders built way too many houses in the last decade,
feeding into our national binge on real estate, building houses for
which there was no sustainable market.  It will take another few
years for the wounds from the bursting bubble to heal.

the gator...........

Duty calls................

thanks kevin

Mother Nature has her ways...........

photo credit and description here

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One of the beauties of this life............. that we don't come equipped with an instruction manual.
It is not a game for the faint at heart, but have courage.  We are
surrounded by teachers.  Good thing that.  Seems like the rules
keep changing.  Or as Carl Jung might say (and did):

"Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie."

Press on!

One instruction manual.............

image courtesy of

There is only only catch..............

You have to do it.

More wisdom from the Execupundit - here

Doonesbury on higher education......

double click to enlarge, or go here

A bit of Rumi....

Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,
Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.

Rumi, The Masnavi, Book IV, Story II

The Wah Watusi............

Lawrence Welk, the Lennon Sisters, and the Wah Watusi - here.
(Embedding disabled.  Have to go there on purpose.)

For the purists amongst us, here are the Orlons:

The Bristol Stomp..........

When you need a jolt of optimism........

........or your rose colored glasses have been smudged, or you just
want to look at the sunny side of things, a trip to Mark Perry's
Carpe Diem is just the ticket.   Try this one on:

MP: Teenagers today can afford products today like laptop or notebook computers, Kindles, digital cameras, GPS systems, iPads, iPhones, and iPods that even a billionaire couldn't have purchased 20 years ago. The comparison above illustrates that we've made a lot economic progress over the last 60 years since 1952 that has increased our national prosperity - and that's happened in spite of ten recessions, the stagflation of the 1970s with 18.5% mortgage rates and a 20% prime rate, the S&L crisis with almost 3,000 bank failures, several major stock market corrections, the Great Recession, etc.

Even though the economy is still struggling to recover from the 2008-2009 recession, and we've had sub-par economic growth and sluggish job creation this year, economic progress and a rising standard of living will continue to move forward. The economic challenges of the past haven't stopped innovation and prosperity in the long run, and the current challenges might slow progress in the short run, but won't in the long run. Just like today's teenagers are infinitely more abundant than their counterparts in 1952 and can afford items not available to billionaires of past eras, the teenagers in 2070 will be infinitely more abundant than today's teens and will be able to afford products that today's billionaires can't even imagine, much less afford.

Full post, with fun charts, is here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reasons why I like living in Newark and Licking County......

Reason #73:  Music and Wings Festival:

Like many small communities Newark has its share of  "issues." is also a spunky little town.  Chuck Jackson and the
Parks and Recreation Department show their entrepreneurial side
by fashioning fun events while operating on a shoe-string budget.
This weekend they created the Music and Wings Festival. 
The south side of the Downtown Square was closed to traffic
and a bandstand was erected at the intersection of South Park
and South Second.  Various food and what-not vendors set
up shop along the curbs, the amps were powered up, and the
entertainment began.  My sweetie and I had a date to see
Cowboys and Aliens on Friday night so we missed that "oldies"
show.  We made sure we were there on Saturday night as fan
favorite Rare Earth played.  This blog has played some Rare
Earth before, and will do so again.  It was a good show.  I have
no idea if any of the players on stage are original members of
the group.  It really doesn't matter.  The musicianship was first
rate.  What could be nicer than quality guitar and sax playing?
Plus, I felt very much at home.  We were standing near the
rear of the audience....the sizable crowd was gray hair and
"male pattern baldness" for as far as the eye could see.

Anyway, the Music and Wings Festival is a nice reminder that
Newark knows how to have fun....and is a good place to live.

Rare Earth live......(a long time ago)

Quote of the week...........

"The sacrifice of subsidized folly is a good kind of
sacrifice to have to make."

For the most sensible thing I've read about the past two months
in Washington, try this: Debt debate: A pox on both parties

"The problem with the Democratic position is that it regards
redistribution, rather than economic productivity, as the
prime goal of government policy."

"For Republicans, the crucial mistake is their refusal to
distinguish between the tax revenue that comes from higher
rates and that which comes from fixing tax loopholes that
inappropriately privilege certain consumption or production."

The Art of Disruption......

artwork courtesy of

A poem for Monday

    Auguries of Innocence
 TO see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage                                           
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his master’s gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.                                         
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,                                    
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight
Does the rising sun affright.

Every wolf’s and lion’s howl
Raises from hell a human soul.                                      
The wild deer, wand’ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus’d breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher’s knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve                                     
Has left the brain that won’t believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever’s fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov’d by men.                                    
He who the ox to wrath has mov’d
Shall never be by woman lov’d.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider’s enmity.
He who torments the chafer’s sprite                              
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgment draweth nigh.                           
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar’s dog and widow’s cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer’s song                        
Poison gets from slander’s tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy’s foot.
The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist’s jealousy.                                               

The prince’s robes and beggar’s rags
Are toadstools on the miser’s bags.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;                                           
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro’ the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.                                    
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Throughout all these human lands
Tools were made, and born were hands,                 \
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright,
And return’d to its own delight.                                 
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven’s shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar’s rags, fluttering in air,                             
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier, arm’d with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer’s sun.
The poor man’s farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric’s shore.                               
One mite wrung from the lab’rer’s hands
Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant’s faith                                  
Shall be mock’d in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the infant’s faith
Triumphs over hell and death.                                    
The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt                         
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar’s laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour’s iron brace.                               
When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket’s cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile                            
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.                                 
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation’s fate.
The harlot’s cry from street to street                          
Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet.
The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,
Dance before dead England’s hearse.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,                                          
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie                                        
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;                    
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

-William Blake

image courtesy of

Mashed potato........

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On paying attention............

Teach ourselves..........

"Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica
in a long stretch of gray cement.  It would be wonderful if
they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as
busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won't happen.  We
have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love
them, and to live, really live."

"I learned to love the journey, not the destination.  I learned
that this is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only
guarantee you get.

"I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to
give some of it back, because I believed in it completely and
utterly.  And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what
I had learned, even though so many people may have thought
I sounded like Pollyanna.  By telling them this:  consider the
lilies of the field.  Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear.  Read in
the backyard with the sun on your face.  Learn to be happy.
And to think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do,
you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.

-Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life

Sunday's Verse

1   O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul
thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and
thirsty land, where no water is;

2   To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee
in the sanctuary.

  Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips
shall praise thee.

4   Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands
in thy name.

5   My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

6   When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on
thee in the night watches.

7   Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the
shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

  My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand
upholdeth me.

  But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go
into the lower parts of the earth.

10  They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a
portion for foxes.

11  But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that
sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them
that speak lies shall be stopped.

Psalm 63, The Holy Bible, King James Version

Six Encouraging Phrases

I love you.

Dinner is served.

All is forgiven.

Keep the change.

You've lost weight.

I believe in you.

-John C. Maxwell,  Encouragement Changes Everything

Everything's alright............

Unswerving kindness............

If you wish to gain merit and become one with the divine,
       then develop your virtue and extend it to the world.
Abandon fancy theologies and imaginary ideas and do some
       ordinary daily work, such as healing.
Let go of all conflicts and strife.
Practice unswerving kindness and unending patience.
Avoid following impulses and pursuing ambitions which
       destroy the wholeness of your mind and separate you
       from the Integral Way.
Neither become obsessed with circumstances nor forego
       awareness of them.
To manage your mind, know that there is nothing, and
       then relinquish all attachment to nothingness.

-Chapter 72
Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
Brian Walker