Saturday, September 24, 2011

Got some threads................

Cyrkle................................Turn Down Day

About those sacred cows..........

This blog has commented before about the lack of leadership
being shown by the National Association of Realtors.  NAR is
willing to fight to the death to preserve the "mortgage interest
deduction", without understanding that their intransigence on the
issue just encourages all special interests to be intransigent about
their issue.  Ergo, nothing can change.

WRM checks in with a commentary on farm subsidies.  He
offers the Obama administration a pat on the back for their
efforts to roll back some of the goodies offered to agriculture,
but wishes they would be more aggressive. 

Full post here.  Fabulous conclusion here:

We need a bonfire of the vanities in the United States, a grand liquidation of the subsidies and irrational payments that have accumulated over generations of horse-trading and favor swapping. Let’s have a bipartisan barbecue where all the sacred cows from all the parties get served.

To which I say, "Amen."

It is time................



















thanks to gapingvoid.com

A slice of history............

The Marvelettes......................Mr. Postman

Friday, September 23, 2011

He just grinned and shook my hand..................

The Band................The Weight

The old country banker..............

My grandfather was an old country banker when I knew him.  He wasn't always that.  In fact, he was a thirty-something bank president in a small farming and mill community along the banks of the Mississippi River in Downstate Illinois when the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression followed.
When it came time for the obligatory bank-run to strike his institution, he stopped it before it even got started by the force of his personality and the obvious prudence of his business practice.  As a result of his success in running that bank, the regulators of that era handed him control over a number of other, less prudent, small community banks in that part of the world.  He became one of the most respected bankers of his day.  After his second heart attack (the family liked to say that it was a good thing he was in the profession he was in, because the heart is not a vital organ for a country banker) he retired to Florida and dabbled at golf and the stock market for the rest of his life.  Anyway, when I read the heading of this blog post it made me think about him.  Pretty sure he would concur with all four.

4 Personal Finance Principles That Would Make Your
Grandfather Proud

Full post from the Art of Manliness here.  Excerpts here

"The extinction of the pocket notebook and the checkbook has caused us to lose touch with our everyday spending. Credit card spending causes us to be detached from our money in the same way using chips at a casino encourages us to lose more.

"We all love the convenience of spending with plastic, but we need to take steps to ensure we stay aware and on top of our spending."
--------------------------------------------------------------

"An older male mentor of mine used to say to me: 'You deserve nothing. Remember that.'

"At first, I dismissed it as the preaching of a generation that really had nothing for a long-time. But as I grew older, I realized that his repetition of that saying was meant to remind me to be thankful.

"He was steering me away from the trap of an entitlement attitude. He was urging me to see how blessed I really was.

"In our current society of “I’ll take everything and I want it yesterday,” it’s great to have a constant reminder of just how fortunate we really are.

"The men and women of generations past combined this blessed attitude with an unwavering work ethic. It’s a combo that we simply rarely see these days."

Lately I've been wondering........

......what the real impact of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits
has been to our economy, our society, and to the recipients. Two
years of receiving benefits without working - what an interesting
concept.  Hopefully some really smart people will do a scholarly
study some years in the future and tell us if - on the whole - it
was a good thing, bad thing, or mixed blessing.  My bias would
be "mixed blessing."  That, while it has undoubtedly helped some
 families survive in a difficult environment, it has also sapped
some of the hustle, some of the entrepreneurial spirit, some of the
integrity, and a lot of energy out of our society.  So, it was with
interest that I followed the trail from Ben Casnocha's blog to Phil
Bowermaster's essay on "Jobsolescence.'  Excerpt here:

Increasingly, perhaps, a job is something that we each have to create. We can’t count on someone else to create one for us. That model is disappearing. We have to carve something out for ourselves, something that the machines won’t immediately grab.

That sounds difficult, maybe even a little dangerous. We’re all comfortable with the idea of “finding” a job. We search for them; we hunt them; we land them. All of these images assume the job already exists.

But to create something new…what does that even mean? Do we all become entrepreneurs? (I think the answer to that question is yes, although many of us will have to learn to be entrepreneurs within existing organizations.) Ultimately, it means we have to find something useful to do, something so useful that others are willing to pay for it.

Difficult, yes. Dangerous, maybe. But also — isn’t it just a little exciting?

Only two kinds of people...........

There are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it's well understood,
The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man's wealth,
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life's little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

- excerpted from Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem
 "Which Are You?"

Knowledge............

"In battle all you need to make you fight is a little hot
blood and the knowledge that it is more dangerous to
lose than to win."

-George Bernard Shaw,  Man and Superman

We were all a lot younger back then....

Rolling Stones.........................Satisfaction

It's Game Show Time..............

The Mighty E. invites one and all to list their dream Jeopardy
categories.  Join the fun

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I know, I know..........................

We have posted this before and about fifty million people have
looked at the various versions on Youtube, but still....................

John Cash.............Hurt

It is still a spending problem.........

"Many of his friends and co-workers spent 20% more than
their monthly take – despite it being enough to buy that small
country. The watches, the suits, the status, the dinners, the
seemingly ‘necessary’ luxuries they’d gotten used to.

"All this added up – to a price I knew I wasn’t willing to pay."

Full post here.  Fun from the comment section here:

“The grass is greener, but the water bill is higher.

Wow! Hope this continues...............

This blog has echoed the notion that architectural billings are a
leading indicator for new commercial building activity.  Check the
almost straight up trend of this chart for August:

















“Based on the poor economic conditions over the last several months, this turnaround in demand for design services is a surprise,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Many firms are still struggling, and continue to report that clients are having difficulty getting financing for viable projects, but it’s possible we’ve reached the bottom of the down cycle.”


As always, thanks for the cool charts Bill

On clarity...............

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century poet, used to greet
old friends with the question, "What has become clear to you
since we last met?"  If someone were to ask you or me that
question, it would be quite a compliment.  For it assumes
that we are searching for clarity, wrestling with matters of
consequence in an effort to gain greater insight and
understanding.
     What has become clear to you since we last met?  Clarity,
which is the recognition of truth, doesn't come to us all at
once, in a whole piece, to take in and be done with.  Rather
it comes gradually, in time.  Our capacity to receive truth
and insight also grows in time, as indeed, as human beings
are not realized all at once, but in time.  We grow and
truth grows in us by increments.

-Mariann Edgar Budde, Gathering Up the Fragments

On clutter..............

"Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground - you can still discover
new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit
things out, fix things, get a grip....Tidiness makes me think
of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs
room to breathe and move."
-Anne Lamott, 
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Opening paragraphs..........*

     Several thousand years ago in China, or what was then
destined to be China, there lived a guy named Sun Tzu.  Like
Nicolo Machiavelli, and Walt Rostow, and Paul Wolfowitz,
he didn't run the world, he just advised those who did.
Presumably, those he advised did better than those he didn't,
even though because they're dead now that's hard to
ascertain.

-Stanley Bing
Sun Tzu Was a Sissy:  Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your
Friends, and Wage the Real Art of War

*Ok.  It is actually the opening paragraph to the Preface.

On killing dragons...............

"Sometimes ther's nae better way to kill a dragon than to
charge right up to it and shove a spear down its throat."
-Shivas Irons
Michael Murphy, Golf in the Kingdom

Help!

The Beatles............Help



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Everyday and everynight.............

Bob Marley.......................Is This Love

Goals...............

"If your goal is to become financially secure, you'll likely
attain it.....But if your motive is to make money to spend
money on the good life....you're never gonna make it."

W.W Allan, as quoted in The Millionaire Next Door

Wouldn't it be nice if................

My favorite economic futurist has spent the day dreaming.
His full list of nice things is here.  Excerpts here:

Wouldn't it be nice if.......................

…some of the mind-boggling research advancements in energy production and alternative energy more rapidly made their way into the economy

…high-quality teachers were paid better while poor teachers were weeded out

…we weren’t running a federal budget deficit this year of $160,000,000 every 60 minutes

…your garbage disposal didn’t eat better than two-thirds of the world’s population

…the Congress and the Administration would get serious about reining in the growth rate of entitlement programs in coming years (Note: In regard to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid…we do not have to cut spending…we have to slow down the growth rate of future spending…BIG difference!)

…the Administration would stop talking about being “pro-business” and actually a) promote pro-business policies, and b) remove anti-business initiatives that dominate its agenda

…incompetent corporate CEOs who drive companies into the ground were not rewarded with multi-million dollar “golden parachutes” to simply go away

…more working people would save seriously for their Golden Years (an estimated one-third of the U.S. population saves zero for retirement)

…Wall Street “high rollers” had greater legal and financial accountability for the financial market abuses of recent years

…the Administration was more focused on providing incentives for wealth creation and less focused on wealth redistribution

…Johnny Carson was still king of late-night

…“government” would recognize that it is there to serve the people, and not the other way around

…the unique combination of liberals, moderates, and conservatives elected to Congress last November could actually work together to address this nation’s ills

…members of Congress had to participate in the same health care program as the one being dumped on the American people

…each long-term member of Congress was required to take a year off, start a new business with limited funding, meet a payroll, and then deal with the complexities and hassles THEY have created

…we would all keep in mind that despite the problems and challenges we face in the U.S., this is still the greatest country in the world

Timeless real estate advice.......

If you enjoy rants about the ineptitude of the Administration and
Congress when it comes to helping solve the current mortgage
and housing conundrum, please visit Joel Ross's latest blog entry.

If you want timeless advice on investing in real estate, you can
save time by just reading this excerpt from the same blog post:

The one requirement is patience. You will not likely be able
to do quick flips. Assume you are in for a five year hold until
the economy comes back, which it will. Assume minimal
rental growth for a few years. The result of all this is the old
adage - It is all in the buy. Don’t let the brokers push you
past your ceiling. Set a price cap and stop. There will be
more deals. Be disciplined. Stick with conservative
fundamental underwriting. There are no magic financial
tricks this time, not bubble CMBS markets and no over
leverage. Just good old fashioned real estate.

batten down the hatches............

"............voters won’t get smarter and insist on responsible
leadership until and unless they understand the cause and
effect relationships between demagogic politics and
economic pain........."

-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from this post

Hour by hour and day by day........





















































"Hard jobs are routine in this service.  In a way, the Coast
Guard is always at war; in wartime, against armed enemies
of the nation; and in peacetime, against all enemies of man-
kind at sea; Fire, Collision, Lawlessness, Gales, Ice, Derelicts,
and many more.  The Coast Guard, therefore, is no place for
a quitter, or for a crybaby, or for a lying four-flusher, or
anyone who cannot keep his eye on the ball.  Your period of
recruit training is a time of test, hour by hour and day by day,
to determine whether or not you are made of the right
material.  It is up to you, as an individual to prove your worth."

-excerpted from a 1946 U.S. Coast Guard recruiting letter

paintings (and many more) from here

Sweetie, let's take those dance lessons......

Ritchie Valens............Come on Let's Go

The fun starts about 29 seconds into the video.  As always,
please click through to Youtube.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scratching the itch.........just this once

Iron Butterfly..............In a gadda da vida...

Yep, the full length version.  Good time to just turn the volume up
and start cleaning the desk and straightening those stacks. 

God, I miss the 60's.......................

And my kids just think I need a hearing aid....

Julian Treasure talks about improving "listening".....
"....every human being needs to listen consciously in order to
live fully, connected in space and time to the physical world
around us, connected in understanding to each other...."

Easy does it.............

It is easy to maintain a situation while it is still secure;
It is easy to deal with a situation before symptoms develop;
It is easy to break a thing when it is yet brittle;
It is easy to dissolve a thing while it is yet minute.


Deal with a thing while it is still nothing;
Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in.

-excerpted from Verse 64
Tao Te Ching

Problems.............

"A problem is only a problem if we say it is, and a problem is
not the problem, how we react to the problem is the problem."
-Ihaleakala Hew Len

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

"Boatswain's Mate First Class Bernie Webber held a hot mug
of coffee in his large hands as he stared out the foggy window
of the mess hall.  The cup of mud wasn't half bad.  It came
from a three-gallon pot and was brewed by mixing the coffee
with a couple of eggshells to help the grounds settle at the
bottom.  The minister's son from Milton, Massachusetts,
watched with growing curiosity and concern as the storm
continued to strengthen outside.  The midwinter nor'easter
had stalled over New England for the last two days, and
Webber wondered if the worst was yet to come.  He watched
as windswept snow danced over the shifting sands and large
drifts piled alongside the lighthouse tower in the front yard
of the Chatham Lifeboat Station.  At one time, two light-
houses had stood here; together they were know as the
Twin Lights of Chatham.  All that remained of the second
lighthouse was an old foundation, and on this morning it
was completely covered by snow."

-Michael J. Tougias, The Finest Hours

It is kind of important.................























Thanks Rob

Doo-wop....................

The Duprees...................You belong to me

Monday, September 19, 2011

I miss you like I miss the sun, I need you everyday.....................

Classic Dave Mason............Look at you look at me

First-rate.......................

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two
opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still function."
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Obstacles................
















"I once read that success in life is not measured by
what we have accomplished, but by the obstacles
that we have had to face."
-Mabel Katz, The Easiest Way

image courtesy of

Mama Cass Elliot...............

....would have been 70 today.  A great talent gone to quickly.

Mamas and the Papas............California Dreaming

click through to Youtube, pending copyright issues

Ordinary..................


















Thanks Nicole

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

   All We Have Gained, The Machine Threatens

All we have gained, the machine threatens, and
as long as it comes through as spirit, not
obedience.  It cuts harsh stone for the resolute
builder.  Dims the lovely lingering masterful hand.

Nowhere does it stay behind for us to escape
it; in the silent factory it is self-oiled
and self-contained.  It's life, it thinks.  Its shape
is perfect.  Evenly it orders, makes, and spoils.

And yet for us existence still is magical
and at a hundred points it is still the source.  It plays
a force no one can touch who doesn't kneel

and marvel.  Words fade before the ineffable....
And music, ever new, with tremulous stones
    can feel
and build her godly temple in a wasted space.

-Rainer Maria Rilke
from Sonnets to Orpheus

Please don't go................

Little Anthony and the Imperials...............Hurt So Bad

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Seems to me.............Joe Walsh

The James Gang........Walk Away....1971

Thank you Sweetie...................


















image courtesy of

Where's the glory in that...........

U2..............Sunday Bloody Sunday

Freedom.......................
















Let us remain free from hatred in the midst of people who hate.
-Buddha

Thanks Nan

Sunday..............

The trouble with many men is that they have got just enough
religion to make them miserable.  If there is not joy in
religion, you have got a leak in your religion."
-Billy Sunday

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

1   Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to
doubtful disputations.

2   For one believeth that he may eat all things: another,
who is weak, eateth herbs.

3   Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and
let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God
hath received him.

4   Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his
own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden
up: for God is able to make him stand.

5   One man esteemeth one day above another: another
esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully
persuaded in his own mind.

6   He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord;
and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not
regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth
God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth
not, and giveth God thanks.

  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to
himself.

8   For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether
we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or
die, we are the Lord's.

9   For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived,
that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou
set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the
judgment seat of Christ.

11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee
shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself
to God.

Romans 14:1-12
The Holy Bible,  King James Version

Miracles........................

The Royalettes..............It's gonna take a miracle