Saturday, September 17, 2011

Down to Zero..........................

Joan Armatrading

Health Care Rx.......?

WRM thinks the single payer health care system sounds pretty
good, until you peer into the future in countries where it is
currently in place.  Oops.  Sustainability issues abound.  Full
essay is here.  Dr.Mead's prescription is here:

Our health care system needs to experiment, try different things, compare the results of different strategies. Sweeping, continuous and sometimes radical innovation is the only way that health care costs can be contained long term even as the quality and quantity of care demanded goes up. No centrally run health care system works that way; too many lobbies and interest groups distort the priorities of a single payer system.

"Sweeping, continuous and sometimes radical innovation."  Sounds somewhat similar to what the free enterprise system delivers when left alone.

Jeff implores us...................

...to say it now.  Whether it is "thank you", "I love you", "I'm
sorry", "please forgive me"......say it now.  His back story is here.

"But at that moment that I looked up at him, I could never have loved this man more. I was quiet and reserved as he was with me. But that very moment, that one particular fraction of time, when I looked up at him, at his clean shaven face, and deep eyes, has never left my memory."

Filling up...................

About once a month the gas prices at the local UDF convenience store are, give-or-take, twenty cents less than at the other gas stations around town.  For the three or four hour time period before they run out of gas, the station is like the wild, wild west.  Grown men and women swarm to the corner where they lose all sense of perspective as they jostle their cars trying to get to the pumps.  I've seen the station gridlock with nobody able to move.  We grow them stubborn here in the Midwest.  Now, most cars probably need about fifteen gallons, so we are talking about saving $3.00.  So for three dollars, normally mild mannered folk lose their tempers and behave rashly.  Not sure why I'm telling you this story, other than human nature (mine included) is endlessly fascinating and this cartoon reminded me of it:






















Thanks Mark (read the comments if you follow the link)

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

    "Nine weeks out of New York and bound for Macao, the
leaky and overburdened merchant barque Oscar struggled
to round the Cape of Good Hope and was becalmed.  Its
captain cursed and swore at their slackened sails and
abused his crew, while the vessel's sole passanger, a pious
and sensitve man, tried to ignore a tirade made worse
because it was the Lord's Day."
-David Haward Bain, Empire Express

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

Faithful readers will know that I like Steve Felix (a guy I have
never met and maybe never will) and post comments from his
blog from time to time.  While his paychecks may come from the
institutional real estate world, it is pretty clear that he is in the
"people business" and has a strong interest in developing both
himself and his relationships. In his most recent post -here- he
talks about the funkiness of recent conversations about the
business world, real estate or otherwise, today.  Excerpt here:

But I believe, in general, that it's simply a feeling of total uncertainty about so many things that have put people into a funk. The answer simply is: We just don't know. We no more know what's going happen tomorrow than we know what will happen in a month, six months, a year, five years. All we are pretty sure about is what we know that happened yesterday. And what we can do, while the world is, hopefully, sorting itself out is to focus on those things that we can change and make a positive impact on. While these are the kinds of times that try mens' souls, these are also the times when we learn more about who we really are. And, to me anyway, there is nothing more important than being true to yourself.

Smokey.......................

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles....Shop Around

Friday, September 16, 2011

R.E.M............................

The One I Love........................

The problem with "expectations"..........

"Nothing is more disillusioning than finding out that a beloved hero isn't perfect. The revelation can cause you to swing from adulation to scorn, when in truth, your former idol still has plenty of admirable traits. The problem lies not with the object of your infatuation, but with your own unreasonable expectations."

This quote, which could have come out of 12-step literature,
actually comes from Knight Kiplinger writing about home owner-
ship.  His full essay is here.  Additional, almost but not quite,
conflicting excerpts here:

"Unlike carefully selected stocks, bonds and real estate
investment trusts, a home should not be regarded as an
investment."

"After recent price drops, homes are more affordable for
middle-income buyers than they have been for many years.
With your expectations duly tempered -- think zero inflation-
adjusted price appreciation -- go ahead and buy. In a few
years, you just might be pleasantly surprised."

Finding wisdom in unexpected places.....

Growing up in Philadelphia, I've never rooted for the Red Sox
or cared much about the American League.  However, growing
up in Philadelphia...............I can feel his pain.






"There’s nobody to
blame but everybody."
-David Ortiz




Thanks Stephen

Communication...................?





















cartoons courtesy of

Educational malpractice............the results

Part of me knows this is staged.  Part of me is afraid it isn't.

I knew I liked the Dutch..............


















From a NYT story about a different culture's view on bicycles and
transportation comes this quote about unintended consequences:

"Cyclists can’t carry six bags of groceries; bulk buying is
almost nonexistent. Instead of shopping for a week, people
stop at the market daily. So the need for processed loaves
that will last for days is gone. A result: good bread."


Thanks Ben

image courtesy of

Sunshine on a cloudy day..................

The Temptations.............................My Girl

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond....

Take Five......

Talking bricks and mortar retail.............

When all is said and done, more is said than done, but.................
it seems that a) the analysts are still focused on the short term and
b) that retail real estate is not going away anytime soon.  The
latter part of that is known as "a good thing."



Thanks Katie

On gratitude........................

“…it is not the joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude
that makes us joyful.”

-Brother David Steindl-Rast

Thanks Tanmay

Could we hear one more "Amen"........?

How, and on what, we spend matters...................a lot.  What
we choose to go into debt for matters...................a lot.  Let's
start getting creative again, people.















Thanks Jessica

The virtues of toleration...........

















                 double click on map to enlarge, or go here

Spengler offers a history lesson with current applications.  His
backdrop is the Thirty Year's War (if you want to make your
head spin read Wikipedia's version of the 1616-1648 conflict).
While this is an oversimplification of a complicated "geo-political"
mess, Catholicism versus Protestantism was a key driving force
in the early days of the Thirty Year's War

Spengler's current application has Israel playing the role of
Holland and the on-going conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite
Islam reprising the role played by Spain, France, The Holy
Roman Empire, et. al.   He makes this observation about
economic well being and religious tolerance:

The Dutch were smart and tough, but they beat the Spanish
empire in large part by being better than their adversaries.
The Dutch republic offered Europe's first example of
religious toleration. Iberian Jews and French Huguenot
found refuge in Holland against religious toleration, and the
skilled immigrants made invaluable contributions to the
Dutch economic miracle - something like the Russian
immigrants to Israel today.

When Dutch armies invaded the Spanish Netherlands
(now Belgium) they offered religious freedom to the
Catholics they absorbed. Countries that attract talented
people have an enormous advantage over countries that
drive them out.

Full essay here

No small task...............

"It is no small task to love well those closest to us and to
own our part in the universal imperfection of relationships;
no small task to seek the best in one another, and forgive
the worst; no small task to do our part and more when
life demands it."
-Mariann Edgar Budde, Gathering Up the Fragments

Educational malpractice............revisted

Fred Reed rants about the failure of the educational system, our
problems with superiority, and the secret Internet handshake -
here. I love Fred's blog and admire the way he can string words
together, but only visit him sporadically.  My tender sensibilities
can only handle so much curmudgeonry at a time before I
need to recharge my positive attitude battery.  Still, his is a
voice worth checking in with.........

Ours will be a stranger Dark Age than the old one. Our
peasants brush their teeth and wash, imagine themselves of
the middle class, but their heads are empty.

And they rule. We have achieved the dictatorship of the
proletariat. Hod-carriers in designer jeans, they do not quite
burn books but simply ignore them. Their college degrees
amount to high-school diplomas, if that, but they neither
know nor care.

In my arms.............

The Supremes..............Baby Love

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day..........

White Bird.............

Educational malpractice...................

Seth Godin has an interesting post about what, and why, the
schools have been teaching.  Full post here.  Excerpts here:

Large-scale education was never about teaching kids or
creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who
worked well within the system.

If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do,
they will find someone cheaper than you to do it. And yet
our schools are churning out kids who are stuck looking for
jobs where the boss tells them exactly what to do.

As we get ready for the 93rd year of universal public
education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer
needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or
even permit our schools (including most of the private ones)
to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of
churning out predictable, testable and mediocre
factory-workers?

As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing,
fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most
of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a
factory itself, we’re in big trouble.

11,640,715 views..................................

Restoring faith in humanity's creativity, one view at a time......

"One time I nibbled on a piece of cheese and my 
cholesterol went up to 900."



Thanks Leah

Uh-oh..................

    "The democratic state has seldom been tempted to under-
take the burdens of empire without suffering from a
discordance between its domestic and its foreign policy.
Again and again, Thucydides describes the efforts of the
Athenians to reconcile their imperialism abroad with
democracy at home."
-Mortimer J. Adler, Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought

If you're looking for something to make you smile.............

..................do go visit Will Nunziata's blog, A Public Flogging.  
I've borrowed several of his posts lately.  Here is another one:

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

In the year 1721, Benjamin Franklin, aged fifteen lived with
his parents in Boston, Massachusetts.  Here was a thriving
fractious town of some twelve thousand persons, set in a
commonwealth whose legislature quarreled vigorously and
continuously with its royal governor, Mr. Samuel Shute,
brother of an English earl and by no means sympathetic to
his New England constituents.  Boston's fleet of seagoing
vessels ranked third in the English-speaking world, exceeded
only by London and Bristol; no other seaport in North
America could compare.  Mr. Franklin's house stood on the
corner of Union and Hanover streets.  He was a candle-
maker and a soap-boiler; the sign of his trade, a big blue
ball hung out over the door.  The family lived in the back of
the house, behind the workroom and in the very heart of the
town, not ten minutes walk from Long Wharf, where thirty
vessels could lie at a time, loading cargoes for Newfoundland
or the Azores, Europe, England, Madagascar, Guinea.

-Catherine Drinker Bowen,
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Scenes From the Life
of Benjamin Franklin

Hmmmmm......

"A sick society must think much about politics, as a
sick man must think much about his digestion."

"Democracy demands that little men should not take
big ones too seriously; it dies when it is full of little
men who think they are big themselves."

-C. S. Lewis

Thanks for visuals.....................................or, where did Lewis Carroll get the idea for a "hookah-smoking caterpillar"?



















Jefferson Airplane........................White Rabbit

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For Jeff..........................

A twofer from the Allman Brothers plus Carlos Santana.

I suspect this stuff is worth an "Amen" as well.....





Can we get an "Amen" for this.......?

"All religious traditions contain the raw material to generate
and cultivate lives of enormous beauty and moral sensitivity,
and the raw material to generate and cultivate unspeakable
ugliness and moral obtuseness."

Which leads to the question...........

"Given that religion has the capacity to inspire both wanton
brutality and immense generosity, how do we become
responsible heirs of tradition? How do we raise children
whose religious passion leads them down the path of loving-
kindness rather than the path of callous indifference or even
murderous hate?"

Full essay here.

Thanks Amba

Giants..................

...share the stage.  Stan Getz and John Coltrane together, with
Oscar Peterson on the piano.  Doesn't get much better.......

The problem with my blog..............






















image courtesy of

Genius............

"The genius of the American system is not freedom; the
genius of the American system is checks and balances.
Nobody gets all the power.  Everybody is watching
everybody else.  It is as if the founding fathers knew,
intrinsically, that the soul of man, unwatched, is perverse."
-Donald Miller,  Blue Like Jazz





































images courtesy of

Attached to liberty..............?
















"Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of
national conduct.  Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a
time, give way to its dictates.  The violent destruction of life
and property incident to war - the continual effort and alarm
attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations
the most attached to liberty, to resort for repose and security,
to institutions, which have a tendency to destroy their civil
and political rights.  To be more safe they, at length, become
willing to run the risk of being less free."
-Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 8

Max Frost and the Troopers.....

What, you've never heard of them?  Read about them here.
The year was 1968.  Shapes of Things to Come

If you are interested in..........

The Shape of Things, you might go here or here
The Yardbirds, 1966 and 1967

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quicksilver Messenger Service....

Have another hit......of fresh air.  The year is 1971.

On "getting up"........























"We learn by courageous action going forward whenever fear
urges us back. A little boy was asked how he learned to skate.
'Oh, by getting up every time I fell down' he answered."


Thanks Sean

image courtesy of

Let my people go............



















Thanks Will

A poem for Monday......or, fun with form,punctuation: & parentheses

plato told

him:he couldn't
believe it (jesus

told him;he
wouldn't believe
it) lao

tsze
certainly told
him,and general
(yes

mam)
sherman;
and even
(believe it
or

not) you
told him: i told
him;we told him
(he didn't believe it,no

sir) it took
a nipponized bit of
the old sixth

avenue
el;in the top of his head:to tell

him

-e. e. cummings

A personal historical note.........

Anderson Layman Company opened for business in May of 1982.
It was our plan and desire to specialize in sales of investment
property.  As they say, timing is everything.  Selling investment
real estate with interest rates in the mid to high teens is a daunting
challenge, even for natural born optimists like ourselves.  We
made some adjustments and found a way to make our business
work.
















Almost thirty years later, interest rates are not a problem.  The
challenges are different but just as daunting.  We are making
some adjustments that seem to be working.

Having been more than a casual observer of our economy, it
seems that individual, and group, psychology plays a large, and
often overlooked, role in the fluctuations of the system and the
behavior of the participants.  Greg Mankiw captures the thought
in his recent NYT essay: "Recessions occur when optimism turns
to pessimism, and businesses are reluctant to place bets on a
prosperous future. Recovery occurs when investor confidence
returns." 

In the course of a week, we talk to lots of small business
owners, people who are in a position to hire, or not hire, new
employees.  A review of those recent conversations has four out
of five small business owners choosing NOT to hire anew, even
though they acknowledged they could make good use of the
help.  Near as I can tell, the primary reason for not hiring is
"uncertainty."  Uncertainty about the direction of the economy
for sure, but more specifically, uncertainty about the direction of
our government and its coming policies, rules, regulations,
decisions, and mandates.  If the administration wants to get small
business hiring again, all it needs to do is lift its heavy hand.  The
optimistic entrepreneurial spirit is not dead in America, we just
need to stop suffocating it.

as always, thanks for the chart Bill

Work at its smartest.................























"Work at its smartest means doing that work that no one
else could do."

"That’s a pretty high bar. Becoming aware of what one can do well that others cannot is an immense challenge. In most cases, it takes our whole lives to discover this. This awareness arrives only through deliberate practice and with the help of others, but the payoff is equally immense. When you are doing something well that others want, and you are the only one who can do it, you will be uncommonly rewarded."

"The hardest part of this discovery is steering yourself away from imitating those who have already succeeded, in order to discover what your own excellence."

"When others are doing something like you are, let that activity go because that means you don’t have to do it! If they are stealing your ideas, ripping off your moves, knocking off your style, and they are doing it well, thank them. You’ve just learned that that assignment is something you don’t need to do because someone else can do it."

"But it will take all your life to find it. All, as in all your days. And all, as in all your ceasless effort. Your greatest job is shedding what you don’t have to do."

-as excerpted from an essay by Kevin Kelley which is a part of
this book.

photo credit

Banging the drum.................

















Rick Platt continues to issue the wake-up call:  the real jobs are in
manufacturing.  If we are serious about prosperity as a nation and
as a community, our foundation needs to be the making of things -
manufacturing.  Rick, the President and CEO of the Heath-
Newark-Licking County Port Authority, has a missionary's zeal
on the topic. His post from last Friday - here - makes a good
starting point for action.  Please read it if you care about real jobs.

The four o'clock shift reporting to work at the Ford Motor Company
Detroit, 1916 (photo courtesy of Shorpy)

How often does this happen....?

Bill Cosby sings Little Ole Man.  The year was 1967.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Allman Brothers keep on Truckin'....

Derek Trucks' solo on Desdemona

Life........................?



Thanks Professor

Jet Boy.............................

..........specializing in broadening horizons.  Look him up

Captcha speaks.....sort of

This may ease some frustration.  Or, maybe not.  Enjoy anyway.



Thanks Rafique

We are a strange breed........
















Thanks Will

Sunday's Verse

                                 Arjuna:
Tell me, Krishna, what Brahman is.  What is the Atman, and
what is the creative energy of Brahman?  Explain the nature
of this relative world, and of the individual man.
    Who is God who presides over action in this body, and
how does He dwell there?  How are you revealed at the hour
of death to those whose consciousness is united with you?

                                Sri Krishna:
Brahman is that which is immutable, and independent of any
cause but Itself.  When we consider Brahman as lodged within
the individual being, we call Him the Atman,  The creative
energy of Brahman is that which causes all existences to
come into being.
    The nature of the relative world is mutability.  The nature
of the individual man is his consciousness of ego.  I alone am
God who presides over action, here in this body.
    At the hour of death, when a man leaves his body, he must
depart with his consciousness absorbed in me.  Then he will
be united with me.  Be certain of that.  Whatever a man
remembers at the last, when he is leaving the body, will be
realized by him in the hereafter; because that will be what his
mind has most constantly dwelt on, during this life.
    Therefore you must remember me at all times, and do your
duty.  If your mind and heart are set upon me constantly, you
will come to me.  Never doubt this.
    Make a habit of practising meditation, and do not let your
mind be distracted.  In this way you will come finally to the
Lord, who is the light-giver and the highest of the high.

The Song of God:  Bhagavad-Gita
Chapter VIII

Louie Louie.............

(I know, we played a different version of this a few weeks ago)