Saturday, August 3, 2013

Love you so....................................

Lightnin' Hopkins............................Baby Please Don't Go

 

Second paragraphs..............................

     Where I want to start telling is the day I left Pencey Prep.  Pencey Prep is this school that's in Agerstown, Pennsylvania.  You probably heard of it.   You've probably seen the ads, anyway.  They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hotshot guy on a horse jumping over a fence.  Like as if all you did at Pencey was play polo all the time.  I never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place.  And underneath the guy on the horse's picture, it always says, "Since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men."  Strictly for the birds.  They don't do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school.  And I didn't know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all.  Maybe two guys.  If that many. And they
probably came to Pency that way.
-J. D. Salinger,  The Catcher In The Rye

When I become king............................

Congress and their minions will be subject to all the same rules and regulations as all us other folks.  If it is good for the regulatee it must be good for the regulator........

"For months massive discontent over a potential rise in out-of-pocket premium expenses under Obamacare has haunted Capitol Hill. Currently, the federal government pays 75 percent of the health insurance premiums for congressional staffers. Senators and representatives feared they would lose staff if this heavy subsidy disappeared as it was scheduled to do under the ACA. The White House, reportedly including the President himself, has now directly intervened to solve this knotty problem—for congressional staff, anyway."

"So congressional staffers will still be forced onto the health insurance exchanges, but they will get a subsidy much higher than average Americans in a similar situation would get. It’s a lot easier to look at Obamacare as a brilliant piece of legislation when you get its benefits without paying its costs."

Quotes, and more on the story, from WRM - here

Fifty years ago.........................................

The Secrets.....................................The Boy Next Door

 

Ruggedness....................................

"Nations fail, Augustine argued, because peoples fail, and peoples fail because they love the wrong things. A people defines itself by what it loves, and false love produces a frail and fragile nation. America's exceptional history as the only nation in the world with two centuries of political continuity stems from its people's love for individual rights, which they hold to be inalienable because they are granted by a power that no human agency dare oppose. 

"Americans selected themselves out from among the nations of the world to enter into the political covenant that is the American constitutional state. It succeeded because it is "a country with the soul of a church," as G.K. Chesterton observed. Individualism founded on God-given rights has triumphed over the alternative-the collectivist premise for the state in its various manifestations: Rousseau's "will of the people", for example, or Marx's proletarian dictatorship, or the blood-and-soil nationalism that led Europe and Japan into the world wars of the twentieth century. The only form of collectivism still embraced by a large part of the world's population is integralist Islam, which dominates most Muslim-majority countries."


-David Goldman, as excerpted from here

33 Guidelines for investing in real estate

Guideline # 18:   Have a professional team.

Have a TEAM.   A serious minded investor values the talents of a quality support team.  Team members include an attorney, an accountant, an insurance broker, a maintenance/handy man, and of course, a real estate broker.  Your support team will help you avoid most troubles.  For those troubles that cannot be avoided, you will be happy to have their support.

Never really thought about it that way.....






















thanks Eric

Friday, August 2, 2013

Came the day.................................................

Jimmy Dean.................................................Big Bad John

 

Persistence......................................























“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” 
-Calvin Coolidge

Persist......................................

Artwork from Paul Palnik, hanging on my wall.............

Persist











Enlargement from "Persist"





























Absolutely Yes

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

Around Moscow, the country rolls gently up from the rivers winding in silvery loops across the pleasant landscape.  Small lakes and patches of woods are sprinkled among the meadowlands.  Here and there, a village appears, topped by the onion dome of its church.  People are walking through the fields on dirt paths lined with weeds.  Along the riverbanks, they are fishing, swimming and lying in the sun.  It is a familiar Russian scene,  rooted in centuries.
-Robert K. Massie,  Peter The Great:  His Life and World

Fifty years ago.........................................

Joey Powers.........................................Midnight Mary

 

33 Guidelines for investing in real estate.....

Guideline #17:  What you do, or don't do, matters.

When you buy stocks, bonds, shares in a REIT, mutual funds, rare coins, commodities, gold, art, or collectibles, you have invested your money, which is a very good thing.  Congratulations!  If you have purchased wisely, you can make significant gains.  It the markets appreciate, you can make significant gains.  Other than deciding to sell, your role after making such investment is passive.  You are at the mercy of "the market," that mysterious force.  You get to watch and wait.

Real estate is different.   As with all other investments, if you have purchased wisely and/or if the market appreciates, you can make significant gains.  But......real estate is not passive.  What you do truly matters.  By refusing to fix things that need fixed, by not taking care of things that need taking care of, by ignoring the needs of your tenant - you can make the value of your investment decline.  By fixing things that need fixed, by taking care of things that need taking care of, by tending to the needs of your tenant - you can keep the value of your investment stable.  By upgrading the property, by maximizing its potential use, by upgrading tenants and/or rents - you can make the value of your investment go up.

A regular periodic review of the investment property matters.  Is the rent appropriate for market conditions?  Are the expenses in line?  Are both you and the tenant following the provisions of the lease?  Is the property in sound condition?  What improvements and repairs are on the horizon?  Is the neighborhood around the investment holding its own?  Am I comfortable with continuing to own this investment?  These are among the questions you, as the active investor, need to think about and answer to your own satisfaction.

What you do, or don't do, matters.

On the joy of context......................................

Probably a re-run, but.............................



































God bless the mind of Scott Adams

Asimov..........................................























Asimov said a whole lot of interesting things.  To wit:

“Intelligence is an accident of evolution, and not necessarily an advantage.” 

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.” 

"There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death."

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” 

"Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not."

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” 

"All life is nucleic acid; the rest is commentary."

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” 

“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.” 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Come..............................................

Spirit...........................................................Morning Will Come

The toughest question of all..........................






















via

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

On a winter afternoon, diving an inland lake, south of Orlando, every small thing was going right, far better than I had anticipated, but then it all went suddenly wrong in ways I could not have imagined.
-Randy Wayne White,  Deep Shadow

Ultimately............................................

"Ultimately, the kind of government that makes having children or starting a business risky life decisions is a failed government."
-Walter Russell Mead, as excerpted from here

Fifty years ago...................................

Bobby Rydell...................................................Forget Him

 

Something there is that doesn't love a wall....

                      Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulders in the sun, 
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. 
The work of hunters is another thing: 
I have come after them and made repair 
Where they have left not one stone on a stone, 
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, 
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, 
No one has seen them made or heard them made, 
But at spring mending-time we find them there. 
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; 
And on a day we meet to walk the line 
And set the wall between us once again. 
We keep the wall between us as we go. 
To each the boulders that have fallen to each. 
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls 
We have to use a spell to make them balance: 
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them. 
Oh, just another kind of out-door game, 
One on a side. It comes to little more: 
There where it is we do not need the wall: 
He is all pine and I am apple orchard. 
My apple trees will never get across 
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. 
He only says, "
Good fences make good neighbors." 
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder 
If I could put a notion in his head: 
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it 
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows. 
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know 
What I was walling in or walling out, 
And to whom I was like to give offence. 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That wants it down."  I could say "Elves" to him, 
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather 
He said it for himself.  I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top 
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. 
He moves in darkness as it seems to me.
Not of woods only and the shade of trees. 
He will not go behind his father's saying, 
And he likes having thought of it so well 
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
-Robert Frost

What day..........................?

33 Guidelines for investing in real estate..................

Guideline #16:  Budget for taxes, income that is.

We do not believe in "investing" in things that are designed to lose money. Current tax law has removed most of the "tax shelter" benefits of property ownership.  Profitable investments tend to create an income tax obligation.  Prepare for it.

One of our youthful mistakes in investing was to believe that all the mortgages on our investments should be paid off within ten years.  It is important for you to know that we typically put as little as possible cash into a deal, financing as much as possible.  This was not some grand strategy.  It was just a reflection of the fact that we did not have a lot of cash to invest.  Most of our early investments were rehab projects.  Back in the mid-1980's, we found a niche that had been mostly ignored; buying, fixing, and leasing older properties in the smaller "county seat" cities around Ohio.  Ignored niches are typically cheap and often offer significantly good returns on investment.

Anyway, back to the guideline.  We financed several of these early deals with ten year fully amortizing loans, trying to pay the debt off as soon as possible.  We forgot, or more accurately did not realize, that principle reduction gets accomplished with taxable income.  We put all of our cash flow into reducing the debt, then had to borrow money in April to pay the income tax obligation that the investment created.

After a few year of that nonsense, we changed our plan and refinanced to lengthen the mortgage amortization periods.  This way we retain more of the cash flow within the project and, come tax time, are able to write ourselves checks to cover the demands of Uncle Sam.

One of my early teachers, Jim Rohn, stressed that paying taxes was something we should joyfully do; taxes being the price of tending to the "goose that lays the golden eggs."  I'm not sure we have every reached Rohn's joyful state, but it is a comfort to know that there is money in the checkbook to cover the taxes owed.

On greatness...................................

























“I used to walk down the street like I was a fucking star... I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be - and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.” 
-Lady Gaga
via

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The kids will be just fine.............................


















via

Chastisement..................................

I have received several communications indicating that I do not understand what a messy desk looks like.  Trust me when I tell you that I do, it's just that I have been on a behavior (or two) modification  kick lately.  Attempting to keep my desk clean is one of those modifications.  I will confess to some early successes.  Time will tell whether the new, or old, habit will prevail.  Here are some famous desks that should qualify as messy (feel free to add your own):





A classic......................!

Long John Baldry...............................Don't Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King Of Rock and Roll
(please click through to YouTube.  Pretty Please)

 

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

From across the aisle Harry Bosch looked into his partner's cubicle and watched him conduct his daily ritual of straightening the corners of his stacks of files, clearing the paperwork from the center of his desk and finally placing his rinsed-out coffee cup in a desk drawer.  Bosch checked his watch and saw it was only three-forty.  It seemed that each day, Ignacio Ferras began the ritual a minute or two earlier than he had the day before.  It was only Tuesday, the day after the Labor Day weekend and the start of a short week, and already he was edging toward the early exit.  This routing was always prompted by a phone call from home.  There was a wife waiting there with a toddler and a brand-new set of twins.  She watched the clock like the owner of a candy store watches the fat kids.  She needed the break and she needed her husband home to deliver it.  Even across the aisle from his partner, and with the four-foot sound walls separating work spaces in the new squad room, Bosch could usually hear both sides of the call.  It always began with "When are you coming home?"
-Michael Connelly,  Nine Dragons

Provided you like exceptionalism................

"To keep America exceptional, we need eccentrics, contrarians, doubters, politically incorrect truth-tellers. Take them away, and we are a nation of head-nodders like most other states."
-Victor Davis Hanson, as excerpted from here

The trouble with statistics...............................

On why it is important to look behind, between, under, over, and around the numbers before accepting them at face value:

“Three straight months of national home value appreciation above 10 percent is not normal, not sustainable and, frankly, not very believable. As the overall housing market continues to improve, the impact of foreclosure re-sales on the Case-Shiller indices continues to be pronounced, as homes previously sold under duress trade again under more normal circumstances, leading to inflated and misleading markups in price,” 
-
 Dr. Svenja Gudell, senior economist for Zillow as excerpted from here
















enlargeable chart is here

Fifty years ago.....................................

The Supremes................................................When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes

 

The Supremes had been with Motown since 1961 with nary a hit to show for their time.  Berry Gordy then decided to team them with Holland-Dozier-Holland.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Lovelight was released in October of 1963.  It climbed the Billboard Top 100 chart to number 23.  It was the first of many hits to come for the group.

33 Guidelines for investing in real estate.....

Guideline #15:   Roofs leak, just a matter of  when.

All roofs leak.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sometime, when it is least convenient, the roof will leak.  Plan for it.  Establish a reserve for replacement account the day you make your investment.  It is a discipline that will serve you well.  Leaky roofs lead to other problems.  Leaky roofs have a way of reducing property values.  Roof replacements are expensive.  It is an expense you will have to face eventually, start saving for it now.

Justification....................................

If one looks long enough, one can find a book or a study to support about anything.  Just in time comes this report justifying my (sometimes often) messy desk:

"It also fits with the advice from Eric Abrahamson – co-author of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder – who says people with highly ordered desks often struggle to find things because their filing systems are so complicated. He also points out a key advantage to a mess – you can find things in it that you didn’t expect. Discovering that ground-breaking idea you scribbled on a piece of paper two years ago could be just the spark to get your next project off the ground."

Full blog post on work space perfection, from whence the above came, can be found here.  Love the Einstein quote, "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"


Vintage........................................















There are an awful lot of folks my parents age who would be a whole lot better off financially if CDs were paying 6% interest.  Low interest rates heavily favor borrowers (thank thee kindly) and truly penalize savers. Not the outcome expected by all those folks who diligently saved money all those years.  Just saying.

blog post from here

Gratitude........................................

Ray (Ray's house actually) dodges a bullet.  Full story here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stars above................................................

Yardbirds......................................................For Your Love

 

Color our world..........................................


“Gratitude is the real treasure God wants us to find, because it isn't the pot of gold but the rainbow that colors our world.” 
-Richelle E. Goodrich


thanks

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

One Saturday in 2000, some unsuspecting moviegoers showed up at a suburban theater in Chicago to catch a 1:05 p.m. matinee of Mel Gibson's action flick Payback.  They were handed a soft drink and a free bucket of popcorn and were asked to stick around after the movie to answer a few questions about the concession stand.  These movie fans were unwitting participants in a study of irrational eating behavior.
-Chip Heath and Dan Heath,  Switch:  How To Change Things When Change Is Hard

Unsteady as she goes........................

......But the truth is that America's whole public sector still operates in a financial never-never land.  Uncle Sam offers an array of "entitlements" that there is no real plan to pay for.  Barack Obama is on his way to joining George W. Bush as a president who did nothing about that, while Republicans in Congress imaging they cam balance the books without raising taxes.  The government spend more on health care than many rich countries and still does not cover everyone.  America's dynamic private sector is carrying on its back an unreformed Leviathan.  Detroit is merely a symptom of that.
-As excerpted from The Economist, The Unsteady States of America

Fifty years ago.....................................

The Beach Boys.................................Be True To Your School

33 Guidelines for investing in real estate..........

Guideline #14:  Cash flow sometimes equals deferred maintenance.

If you are buying an asset from a seller who is boasting about the cash flow generated by the investment, be very careful.  Another word for "cash flow" is "deferred maintenance."  It is fairly important to maintain your investment.  Deferring maintenance may save money in the short term, but it deferring it too long often leads to rent reductions and lower quality tenants. It is a bad spiral to be in.  The fixes don't get cheaper.  Yes, it costs money in the short term, but regular maintenance extends the life of both real and personal property and preserves the quality of the asset.  It is a discipline that really pays off in the long run.

If you enjoy fine art.........................

......take a scroll through the Tail Feathers blog.....




One thing I didn't do at the beach...........

Sand sculpture...................................Wow..................




































thanks

Monday, July 29, 2013

It Was A Very Good Song...............

Frank Sinatra...........(in the studio).....It Was A Very Good Year

 

A classic that has been posted before.  A wonderful 7:10 minutes.  Thanks for the reminder Ann

A national pastime......................

     Building alibis with which to explain away failure is a national pastime.  The habit is as old as the human race, and is fatal to success!  Why do people cling to their pet alibis?  The answer is obvious.  The defend their alibis because they create them!  A man's alibi is the child of his own imagination.  It is human nature to defend one's own brain-child.
     Building alibis is a deeply rooted habit.  Habits are difficult to break, especially when they provide justification for something we do.  Plato has this truth in mind when he said, "The first and best victory is to conquer self.  To be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile."
-Napoleon Hill, as excerpted from Think and Grow Rich

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

If you leave Savannah on the coast and travel on the only U. S. highway that goes almost straight westward across the state of Georgia, you will cross the Ogeechee, Oconee, and Ocmulgee rivers, all of which flow to the south and east and empty into the Atlantic Ocean.  After about three hours you'll cross the Flint River, the first stream the runs in a different direction, and eventually its often muddy waters empty into the Gulf of Mexico.  Unlike the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, our "divide" is not noticeable, because the land was all part of the relatively flat bottom of the sea in the not-too-distant geological past.  It is still rich and productive, thanks to the early ocean sediments and the nutrients it has accumulated from plants and animals since that time.
-Jimmy Carter,  An Hour Before Daylight:  Memories of a Rural Boyhood

Fifty years ago........................................

The Beach Boys..............................Catch A Wave

 

Perspective..........................















"I think it is just terrible and disgusting how everyone has treated Lance Armstrong, especially after what he achieved, winning seven Tour de France races while on drugs.  When I was on drugs, I couldn't even find my bike."
-Willie Nelson

thanks eman

33 Guidelines for investing in real estate.....

Guideline #13:   Budget for vacancy/credit loss

We often see investment property owners prepare pro-formas on their property without a line item for vacancies or credit losses.  "My property is never vacant," they say.  Right.  If you have a long term lease with a "credit" tenant, that might be true for a while, but for the overwhelming number of investment properties, rent loss is a fact of life.  Few are the tenants that you can count on renting from you forever.  And, just because a tenant occupies your space, it doesn't necessarily mean you will collect all the rent due you.

In the old normal times (whenever those were), we normally used a vacancy/credit loss factor of 3% to 5%.  In these new normal times, a range between 5% and 10% should be considered.  Markets do vary considerably.  Your market may have an extremely low vacancy rate today.  What that most likely means is that in the not-to-distant future developers will be doing what developers do, adding more units to the market place.  Those newer units will tend to bring the market back into balance, i. e. vacancy rates in the 5% range.

Do yourself a favor, budget for vacancies and credit losses.  You'll be glad you did.

On letting go................................................

















     All day long the mind and soul are enmeshed in countless relations and contacts, truths and errors, virtures and vices, the din of the market, the folly and fury of the streets through which we pass, and it becomes soiled, jarred, shocked, fevered, often exalted and often sinking into despair.  In short, what happens to the hands and body also happens to the soul;  it becomes soiled, worn and disfigured and needs cleansing and renewing, and to do this the soul must have to "let go" what it is doing, what it holds and open itself, uplift itself unto the source of its Life, which is God.  But it cannot do so unless it learns to "let go."
-John S. Bunting,  The Secret of a Quiet Mind


cartoon via

On letting go.........again..............














“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” 
-Ann Landers

via 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Up in arms...................................

Mason Proffit................................................Two Hangmen

 

Missed the boat.....................................


Fifty years ago...........................

Jack Lemmon/Shirley MacLaine.......................Irma la Douce

 

As long as I can remember anyway.........


33 Guidelines for investing in real estate..............

Guideline #12:   Budget for management.

Always.  It is a temptation when making a small investment in real estate, such as a single family house,  not to include the cost of management in the original income and expense projections.  We think this is a big mistake.

Successfully managing real estate investments take time, discipline, and some acquired learning.  If you are managing your own investments, pay yourself for your time.  Not only are you earning it, but that way, once you get tired of it, there will be money budgeted from the cash flow to pay a professional.

On reading self-help books.......................

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing—that's why we recommend it daily."
-Zig Ziglar

Speaking of workable philosophies........















via Ka-Ching!

Ponder this one for a while.....................