Saturday, August 17, 2013

Entertainment the old fashioned way....

Lucille Ball.......................................Jitterbug Bite





The Nicholas Brothers being amazing as usual

Having read the book..................................

The Beatles....................................A Day In The Life

History.............................................


Just another day at the beach........................

File this one under the heading of either "life goes on," or "truth is stranger than fiction":


















The source for this says the beach is in Matrouh, Egypt.  If you follow the link to Matrouh, you will see that it is a "state-like" entity, located west of Cairo, with an exceedingly long Mediterranean Sea coastline, We're just reporting, you decide.

Unctuously.............................

Anyone totally committed to a single pursuit almost always becomes a propagandist of his own effort.  As a nation of specialists, we have become a nation obsessed with self-justification.  When we don't have it, we make it.  And we are by now familiar enough with the make-work of manufacturers who need products, scholars who need projects, politicians who need issues, generals who need armies.  We speak the language of a people bent on justifying everything we do or want to do, whether it is justifiable or not.
      This preoccupation, with its consequent language of self-praise, is epidemic.  It is chronic at the highest levels of the government.  Much of the blame for the erosion of our idealism must be laid to the government, because the language of ideals has been so grossly misused by the propagandists.  The liars of policy and public relations are addicted to a rhetoric of high principle.  Our political ideals fill their mouths as unctuously, and with as little involvement of conscience or intelligence, as so many pieces of fat meat.
-Wendell Berry, circa 1968

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

On August 16, 1963, President John F. Kennedy granted an Executive Pardon to jazz pianist Hampton Hawes.   Hawes, who as jailed on a drug charge in 1958, took great advantage of the pardon and made some beautiful music between the time of his release and his death at age 48 in 1977.  The following song dates to 1955, but I like it.  Enjoy.



thanks

Looking back................................















Leroy "Satchel" Paige (1908-1982)  had a FORTY year career as a professional baseball player.  A right handed pitcher, he dominated in the Negro Leagues, until 1948, when he became the oldest "rookie" in Major League Baseball.   As a Cleveland Indian in 1948, as a 40 year old, Paige ended the  season with a 6–1 record with a 2.48 ERA, 2 shutouts, 43 strikeouts, 22 walks and 61 base hits allowed in 722innings.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.  Read more about him here.  He was also fairly quotable.  Here are a few:

“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.”

"There ain't no man can avoid being born average. But there ain't no man got to be common."

"Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money."

"Not to be cheered by praise, not to be grieved by blame, but to know thoroughly one's own virtues or powers are the characteristics of an excellent man.'

"Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"

“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits”

“You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.” 

"The only change is that baseball has turned Paige from a second class citizen to a second class immortal."

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

Guideline #32:   Cash flow is king.

Trust me when I tell you that running out of cash is a bad thing.

Trust me, also when I tell you that a portfolio of well-managed investment real estate, patiently acquired and lovingly nurtured over time, can provide an unending stream of cash.  A good thing.

There are contending schools of thought on what to do with real estate that generates ample cash flow.  One is to sell and amass a very large capital gain in the form of cash in exchange for the deed to the property.  A second is to refinance and amass a very large pile of cash in exchange for more debt.  A third is to leave well enough alone and gratefully receive monthly distributions of cash flow.   People's needs and situations are all different.  There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question, but isn't it a great question to ponder.

After all, if you have a problem that has a financial solution, and your investments generate the cash flow to solve the problem, do you really have a problem?

No sense letting a good tree stump go to waste...


Things guaranteed to end well........................


































via

Friday, August 16, 2013

Where does he find this stuff............?

The Mighty E. strikes again................................

An evening at the candy factory.....................

It's a R.E.M. kind of week..........................

R.E.M......................................Near Wild Heaven

I suspect most of you........................

...........already read Execupundit.  If you don't, well, you should.  Wisdom and other fun and important stuff provided daily - like here, here and here.

Say it isn't so.........................

Seth Godin fears for the "eco-system" that has long sustained the hardbound book.  Full depressing post is here.  Ouchy quote is here:

"There’s no real ebook piracy problem because most people don’t think books are worth stealing."

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

Steve Lawrence...................................Go Away Little Girl



Another one of the gazillion Gerry Goffin/Carole King written hit songs.  Lawrence recorded and released this in late 1962.  It reached the top of the Billboard Top 100 in early 1963.  It was successfully covered by The Happenings in 1966 and Donny Osmond in 1971

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

     Of the thousands of stories that Vincent Van Gogh consumed in a lifetime of voracious reading, one stood out in his imagination:  Hans Christian Andersen's "The Story of a Mother."  Whenever he found himself with children, he told and retold Andersen's dark tale of a loving mother who chooses to let her child die rather than expose him to the risk of an unhappy life.  Vincent knew the story by heart and could tell it in several languages, including heavily accented English.  For him, whose own life was filled with unhappiness, and who forever sought himself in literature and art, Andersen's tale of maternal love gone awry possessed a unique power, and his obsessive retellings protested both a unique longing and a unique injury.
-Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith,  Van Gogh: The Life

Hans Christian Andersen...........

The Story of a Mother, written in 1848.  An excerpt:

Then she looked into the well; and it was a glorious sight to behold how one of them became a blessing to the world, and how much happiness and joy it spread around. But she saw that the life of the other was full of care and poverty, misery and woe.
“Both are the will of God,” said Death.
“Which is the unhappy flower, and which is the blessed one?” she said.
“That I may not tell you,” said Death; “but thus far you may learn, that one of the two flowers represents your own child. It was the fate of your child that you saw,—the future of your own child.”

Vincent....................................

Van Gogh     Mother and Child        1885

Van Gogh      Portrait of the Artist's Mother      1888

Van Gogh      Self-portrait without a beard       1889

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

Guideline #31:  Have a plan for the future in mind.

Don't think of it as an exit strategy.

Friend Tony once told me that the first or second rule in investing was to have an "exit strategy."  When he first posited that, I nodded my head and said, "of course."  The more I thought about it though, the more doubts I had about it.  As Teacher Furman was fond of saying about the stock market, "its great advantage is its liquidity; you can take your losses at any time."  Exit strategies are a bit tougher in real estate, for Mr. Market will on occasion decide not to cooperate.

Warren Buffet, surely the premier investor of our time, doesn't appear to have any "exit strategy."  Then there is the example of three extremely successful local real estate investors:  they haven't sold anything for forty years, and have no plans to sell now.  Their estates will handle the exit from their real estate holdings.

Friend Pat solved my conundrum by suggesting that an "exit strategy" was nothing more than a plan.  A plan that elaborates on Guideline # 2 (know why you are investing), assumes you pass Guideline #8 (survive the first investment), and takes Guideline #17 seriously (what you do matters), believes in Guideline #29 (don't eat your seed corn), and then projects out five, ten, or fifteen years.

I like that approach.  Our plan has evolved.  We invest for both cash flow and capital appreciation.  We like creating things that are not there now.  I like fixing old buildings, my business partner likes putting up new buildings.  A time or two we have speculated.  Mostly we look for opportunities that appeal to us.  Truth be told, our best investment opportunity ever just came looking for us one day when we were busily working on something else.  Economic circumstances have on occasion called for an adjustment to our plan.  That is just part of the adventure.  We have fun and feel good about what we are doing, and do not plan on stopping any time soon.   I suspect our children will execute our exit strategy from investment real estate.

Dare.........................................















"A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free."
-Nikos Kazantzakis

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's a R.E.M. kind of evening.......................

R.E.M.............................................Half A World Away

It's another R.E.M. kind of day.............................

R.E.M.....................................The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

White gold...........................












Currently battling a long term addiction to coca-cola, grilled pecan rolls, and things with maple flavored syrup on them, this essay questioning the toxicity of sugar caught my attention.  (Actually, it was wordsmithing "a gustatory revelation that generally slips into the lacuna of early childhood" that really intrigued me.  Still puzzled over the choice of the word "lacuna" though.)  The opening paragraph:

"Our very first experience of exceptional sweetness—a dollop of buttercream frosting on a parent’s finger; a spoonful of strawberry ice cream instead of the usual puréed carrots—is a gustatory revelation that generally slips into the lacuna of early childhood."

Upon completing the essay, three things stuck in my mind.  First, the science isn't settled on this subject either.  Second, apparently American average caloric intake increased by 530 calories per day between 1970 and 2000.  Third, exercise is still a requirement for good health.

image (and another essay on the subject) via
thanks craig

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

Between the ages of six and nine, I was a native son of the marine bases of Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune in the eastern coastal regions of North Carolina.  My father flew in squadrons of slant-winged Corsairs, which I still think of as the most beautiful warplanes that ever took to the sky.  For a year Dad flew with the great Boston hitter and left fielder, Ted Williams, and family lore has it that my mother and Mrs. Williams used to bathe my sister and me along with Ted Williams's daughter.  That still remains the most distinguished moment of my commonplace career as an athlete.  I followed Ted Williams's pursuit of greatness, reveling in my father's insider knowledge that "Ted [has] the best reflexes of any marine pilot who ever flew Corsairs."  I read every book about baseball in the library of each base and town we entered, hoping for any information about "the Kid" or "the Splendid Splinter."  When the movie of The Great Santini came out starring Robert Duvall,  Ted Williams told a sportswriter that he'd once flown with Santini.  My whole writing career was affirmed with that single, transcendent moment.
-Pat Conroy,  My Reading Life

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

My Favorite Martian..........................................

Castle.....................................



















"Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one's own self."
-Franz Kafka

picture via

Days........................................




















"And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days."
-Ray Wylie Hubbard

thanks michael 
image via

33 Guidelines to investing in real estate...................

Guideline #30:  Don't sell the little piece before you sell the big piece.

Real estate often has various components.  A five acre lot can easily be divided and sold from an 80 acre farm that has a decent amount of road frontage.  The fixtures, equipment, and licences can easily be sold from a closed restaurant or bar.  The timber can easily be sold off of a wooded tract of land.  And so on.

Peoples' needs and motivations vary, so this is not a "never do," but it is a "really think hard about it" type of guideline.  There are times when it makes sense to sell a small piece to protect the big whole.  But, more often than not, "cherry picking," or selling the small piece at a good price, seems to negatively impact the value of the remainder.  Diminish the value of the remainder enough and you devalue the entire investment.

Think it through.

Local boy made good...........................



































Not sure how I missed it, but Tuesday was the 162nd birthday of the "little drummer boy", Johnny Clem.   Clem was a Newark, Ohio native.  Born in 1851, he left home after his mother died.  Legend and fact have become a bit confused, but it is clear that by age 12 he was hanging out with the 22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was an active participant in the Civil War.   The Oracle Google says this:

At the Battle of Chickamauga, he rode an artillery caisson to the front and wielded a musket trimmed to his size. In the course of a Union retreat, he shot a Confederate colonel who had demanded his surrender. After the battle, the "Drummer Boy of Chickamauga" was promoted to sergeant, the youngest soldier ever to be a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army.  

After the Civil War, Clem continued his service in the military.  When he reached the Army's mandatory retirement age in 1915, he was retired and promoted to Brigadier General.   The Newark community is rightly proud of him.

The sculpture above, created by Mike Major, was dedicated in 1999.

This helps me understand.........................

..................................why I don't understand the Muslim world - they don't drink enough.

Here (in two parts) is the World Health Organization's map of per capita (adult) alcohol consumption:
























via

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's a R.E.M. kind of day.........................

R.E.M...........................................................Stand
(as always, please click on through to the YouTube)

On subsidizing debt...................

In a post, surely designed to win the hearts and minds of the real estate industry, David Merkel wonders why the federal government, via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should subsidize long-term debt:

"30-year mortgages allow some to buy houses that they should not buy.  If you have to have a 30-year mortgage instead of a 15-year mortgage, you are buying too much house for your income.  We spend too much money as a society on housing, and we take on too much debt as a result, leading to fragile financial systems.  Debt-based systems are fragile relative to equity-based systems."

Didn't seem like much of an issue back in the days when real estate values always went up.

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

Prince Henry, the third surviving son of John I and Philippa of Lancaster, was born in the northern Portuguese city of Oporto on Ash Wednesday, 4 March 1394.  If that traditional day of mourning and penitence was thought to be an unpropitious one for a prince's birth, no one was tactless enough to say so, at least not in writing.  Zurara's report that the boy emerged from his mother's womb embracing a simulacrum of the Holy Cross, a piece of information that the chronicler seems to attribute to Henry himself, was seen as proof positive that the young prince's dedication to religion and to crusading against the infidel was prenatally arranged.
-Peter Russell,  Prince Henry 'the Navigator':  A Life

On being formidable..........................

"They don't teach formidable in school. They teach compliance and rote and perhaps spin. They teach us to be on the alert for shortcuts and for ways to get away with less. Not surprisingly, the formidable leader takes the opposite tack in every respect."
-Seth Godin,  from this blog post

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

Dion........................................................Ruby Baby

Escape......................................


















"I would rather read something inferior than nothing at all.  Sometimes the reader is not interested in being enlightened, uplifted, or even entertained.  He wants merely to escape for a brief interval from the world which is suddenly too much with him."
-Jerome Weidman

via

Repeat.....................................

























"History repeats itself in the large because human nature changes with geological leisureliness."
-Will and Ariel Durant,  The Lessons of History

cartoon via

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

Guideline #29:   Don't eat your seed corn.

The first successful investment is a gratifying experience.  All of a sudden there is this extra money, aka cash flow, sitting in your check book.  It is very cool.

What you do next will go a long way towards determining your economic future.

If you spend this cash flow, your current living standard will get a bit better.  Not a bad thing.

If you re-invest the cash flow with discipline and a plan, you can build an unshakable foundation of wealth.  A much better thing.

One of the easiest ways to re-invest is to pre-pay your mortgage.  Steady extra principle payments work magic in both reducing your debt and your future interest payments to the bank.  The march of equity build up is a wonder to behold.

Don't eat your seed corn.  Re-plant it.

God.................................

.............and the "customer satisfaction questionnaire":

"God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, He* asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions. Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions."

Questions are here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Volume up please.................................

Dizzy Gillespie.........................And Then She Stopped

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

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie almost vomited from exhaustion as he picked cotton for the first time outside his hometown of Cheraw, South Carolina, in the summer of 1928.  He was ten years old, and he hated it.
-Donald L. Maggin,  Dizzy:  The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie

Street art.................................................

Our neighborhood bike shop got tired of the plain old wooden bike rack in front of their shop.  This beauty showed up this morning.   It is different.  I'm liking it.



Boring old wood rack that got replaced is in the foreground

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

Allan Sherman.....................Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah

Truth.............................................


























"The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear."
-Herbert Agar

cartoon via

Paging Mr. Holmes................................

"Detective stories help reassure us in the belief that the universe, underneath it all, is rational.  They're small celebrations of order and reason in an increasingly disordered world."
-P. D. James

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

Guideline #28:   Don't sell, exchange.

Unlike your personal residence, when you sell an investment property, you create an immediate tax consequence.  Whether it is a capital gain or ordinary income depends on the time frame involved, but come April 15th, you will be settling with the Internal Revenue Service.  The fact that you might re-invest in another investment property is immaterial.  If you sell, the tax is due.

The government, however, in its infinite wisdom, has recognized that business owners and investors may need to get out of one property and into another, and that said business owner or investor may need to preserve their equity in the former to get into the latter.  Enter the IRC Section 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange.  This section of the tax code allows an investor to "exchange" from one property into another while deferring any tax on any gain.

The rules are fairly simple.  The seller of a property held for trade or investment (the "relinquished property") who wishes to re-invest in another property held for trade or investment may do so without immediate tax consequences provided those rules are followed.  The seller cannot have "constructive receipt" of the sale proceeds (their money gets held by a "qualified intermediary"), must identify the property they will be re-investing in (the "replacement property") no later than 45 days after the conveyance of their original "relinquished property," and must take title to the "replacement property(s) no later than 180 days after the sale of the original property.   If you follow the rules, the exchange will effectively defer any tax due until such time that the investor finally sells out.

This is generally considered a good thing.  It allows a seller of a smaller investment property to use and preserve their equity to acquire a larger investment property.  Exchanging is an important tool in the building of a solid portfolio of investment real estate.  Use it.

It should be noted that using the Section 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange is not a do-it-yourself kind of venture.  You will need professional help.  Fortunately, it is available.

Invest.............................

If you don't want to put your money in real estate, my personal favorite investment vehicle, consider the indexed mutual fund.  This handy blog post will spell out why.  Excerpt here:

 “The modern American financial system,” Bogle says in his book The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, “is undermining our highest social ideals, damaging investors’ trust in the markets, and robbing them of trillions.” But most of his animus in Mountain View was reserved for mutual funds, his own field of business, which he described as an industry organized around “salesmanship rather than stewardship,” which “places the interests of managers ahead of the interests of shareholders,” and is “the consummate example of capitalism gone awry.”

thanks craig

Yep.............................................


















"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
-John Wooden

cartoon via

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Double Whammy for Jetboy..........................

Lonnie Mack and Stevie Ray Vaughn live...................

Interesting factoid of the day.............

The newspaper’s previous owners, the Graham family, sold the paper for less than a quarter of what Yahoo paid for the blogging platform Tumblr two months ago. 
-Walter Russell Mead, from this essay, The Washington Post and the Future of Journalism

Well, maybe, but there is no reason to be so snarky about it.............

The Pizza Belt is defined as "the area of the United States where the chance of obtaining an adequate-to-good slice of pizza from a randomly chosen pizzeria is greater than 50 percent."   Is it Real or imagined?  Max Reed suggests it is real and is contained in a narrow band along the coast extending from the Philadelphia area north to Providence, Rhode Island.  Having been born and raised in the Philadelphia area, I can attest that Philly knows good pizza.  But still...............


In fact, speaking generally, any major metropolitan area can, with sufficient strength of will and character, and a good source of filtered water, produce a "single decent slice of pizza." (Or, speaking more accurately, a single decent pizzeria.)

If you enjoy chauvinistic writing, you will enjoy this one.

thanks craig

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

Lonnie Mack.........................................Memphis

Opening two paragraphs.......................

European emigrants and their descendants are all over the place, which requires explanation.
     It is more difficult to account for the distribution of this subdivision of the humans species than that of any other.  The locations of the others make an obvious kind of sense.  All but a relatively few of the members of the many variety of Asians live in Asia.  Black Africans live on three continents, but most of them are concentrated in their original latitudes, the tropics, facing each other across one ocean.  Amerindians, with few exceptions, live in the Americas, and nearly every last Australian Aborigine dwells in Australia.  Eskimos live in the circumpolar lands, the Melanesians, Polynesians, and Micronesians are scattered through the islands of only one ocean, albeit a large one.  All these peoples have expanded geographically - have committed acts of imperialism, if you will - but they have expanded into lands adjacent to or at least near to those in which they had already been living, or, in the case of the Pacific peoples, to the next island and then to the next after that, however many kilometers of water might lie between.  Europeans, in contrast, seem to have leapfrogged around the globe.
-Alfred W. Crosby,  Ecological Imperialism:  The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900

Sippican Cottage...............................

Greg practices the fine art of flash fiction, here:

'There's a girl at the next table and she's Juliet just now. But she's like me, and isn't about to wait until the third act to start drinking poison. The trouble is, I've had five glasses of amber Cyrano de Bergerac and my tongue's depressed and I'm in the wrong play. What difference does it make, really?"

And waxes philosophical about  parenting and life on the road, here:

"...those boys must belong to you. Up to a point, they do. But they are beginning to belong to themselves, and are fixing to belong to the whole world as well. It breaks your heart in a wonderful way to picture your children grown up and elsewhere."

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

Guideline #27:  Flipping is speculating, not investing..................

One of Webster's New World College Dictionary's definitions of "speculate":  To buy or sell stocks, commodities, land, etc., usually in the face of higher than normal risk, hoping to take advantage of an expected rise or fall in price; also, to take part in any risky venture on the chance of making huge profits.

One important word that Webster left out of their definition is "quickly."  In my world, the willingness to hold on to whatever it is that you are buying is what separates investment from speculation.

Way back in the 2002-2006 era, "flipping" real estate was widespread and common.  Flipping is buying a property with the intent of almost immediate re-sale for a significant profit.  A flipper has no intention of either holding or using the property, nor of adding significant value (See Guideline #26) to it.  Two situations make flipping possible.  The first is a bubbly hot real estate market.  The second is where the flipper knows something of significance the the person who sells to him does not know.

At a gathering of old college friends in 2004, I had a long discussion with a friend who was currently the owner of four condominium units in Florida.  Said friend worked as a produce broker in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He and his wife planned to retire to Florida and so invested in a condo project under construction in 2001.  They were able to, almost immediately,  re-sell that unit for a considerable gain.  Thinking they were on to a good thing, they repeated the process again, and again, and again.  When I got back to the office, I told my business partner that problems were coming.  If a Cincinnati produce broker owns four condos in Florida, for the sole purpose of re-selling for a gain, you might imagine that a lot of other people were playing the same game.  Sounded suspiciously like a house of cards to me.  If flippers are doing all the buying, are there truly enough end users available to take the flippers out?  Or, are the flippers going to get stuck owning multiple units for which there are no other buyers?  The story ended well for my old college friend.  They got out of the game in time.  The story did not end well for several whole industries.

If you believe you are reading a bias against "flipping" here, well, yes and no.  There is a time and place for it.  We have occasionally done it.  The important thing is to remember that flipping is NOT investing.   It is speculating.  The difference between the two, if you remember Webster, is higher than normal risk.  Just be careful out there.

Heart-pulsings.......................


















"Bears are not companions of men, but children of God, and His charity is broad enough for both... We seek to establish a narrow line between ourselves and the feathery zeros we dare to call angels, but ask a partition barrier of infinite width to show the rest of creation its proper place. Yet bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bears days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain....."
-
John Muir 


photo via

Except...................................























"The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes 


"A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions."
-Martin H. Fischer 


"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."
-Pericles 


"Science does not permit exceptions."
-Claude Bernard 


"Nature provides exceptions to every rule."
-Margaret Fuller


"Nothing is absolute, with the debatable exceptions of this statement and death."
-John Ralston Saul 


"If Moses had gone to Harvard Law School and spent three years working on the Hill, he would have written the Ten Commandments with three exceptions and a saving clause."
-Charles Morgan 


image via

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Smoother than smooth...............

John Klemmer.................................................Touch

Verse............................

3.  The Master said, 'Clever talk and a pretentious manner' are seldom found in the Good.

4.  Master Tseng said, Every day I examine myself on these three points:  in acting on behalf of others, have I always been loyal to their interests?  In intercourse with my friends, have I always been true to my word?  Have I failed to repeat the precepts that have been handed down to me?

5.  The Master said, A country of a thousand war-chariots cannot be administered unless the ruler attends strictly to business, punctually observes his promises, is economical in expenditures, shows affection toward his subjects in general, and uses the labour of the peasantry only at the proper times of the year.

6.  The Master said, A young man's duty is to behave well to his parents at home and to his elders abroad, to be cautious in giving promises and punctual in keeping them, to have kindly feelings toward everyone, but seeking the intimacy of the Good.  If, when all that is done, he has any energy to spare, then let him study the polite arts.

-Book 1
The Analects of Confucius

Catch................................

         Leaving It To You

Self evident, truth mistakes no thing.
But my heart's a long way from there
and nothing's very clear.
Yellow gold is almost burned up
by my desire.
While hair grows besides the fire.
Bitter indecision: chose This, of maybe That.
Even the spirit speaks in riddles
and makes it hard to harvest 
the essence of a single day.
Catch the wind while you tether shadows.
Faith, or a man who'll stand by his word, is
all there is.  There is no disputing.

-Kuan Hsiu, as translated by J. P. Seaton (from here)

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

The Rollings Stones..................Rice Krispies ad




While that's a nice little tune, I much prefer this one from an artistic point of view, although it most likely dates prior to 1963:





thanks Todd

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

There is an old Anglican hymn of which I am very ford called "The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Has Ended."  I like it above all others - above, even, the Easter hymns of jubilation and the familiar carols of Christmas - because it takes me back to my childhood Sundays and Evensong in the little Anglican pro-cathedral of St. Paul's in Dawson City.  Here, after a summer's day spent picnicking in the blue Yukon hills or drifting on the tawny breast of the restless river, a child could really feel that the gracefully dying day had been a gift to him by an all-wise, all-powerful, and all-embracing deity.  Surrounded by family and neighbors, each of whom was an old and intimate friend, listening to the anthems of a choir that included my own mother, insulated by the softly comforting sermons of a man who was a frequent dinner guest, untouched by the dilemmas and perils of the real world beyond the hills, this child could feel at peace with his religion and his God.
-Pierre Berton, The Comfortable Pew:  A critical look at the Church in the New Age

Eclectic..............................

Regular, or Light, no one puts more interesting stuff into the blogosphere than our friend Doug.  As a continuing public service, here are six of the most recent blog headers from the wide, wide world of Eclecticity.

































For those late to the game, here are a half dozen oldies but goodies:






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

Guideline #26:  Hold it, or add value

By its very nature, most real estate investing is profitable over significantly long time periods (upwards from ten years).  Actually, this it true for most forms of investing, which is probably why only such a small percentage of folks actually achieve financial independence.

There is no sense in sugar coating it:  owning investment real estate can be a hassle.  There are tenant related problems, weather related problems, maintenance problems, and so on and so forth.  For a society weaned on immediate gratification, these day-to-day hassles often obscure our vision of the wealth down-the-road.  Many are the people who make the first investment.  Few are the people who are still actively investing ten years later.  It requires patience, focus, and self-discipline.

It certainly is possible to make significant gains investing in real estate over shorter time periods.  To earn these faster returns, however, there must be "value added." Value adding can mean, among other things, an annexation, a zoning change, sub-dividing, building roads, extending water and sewer lines, constructing (or removing) a building, assembling adjoining properties, renovations, or extensive cleaning and painting.

A brief discussion of "flipping" appears in Guideline #27.

Jim Rohn, one of my early teachers, always talked about the "set of the sail."  The winds of life blow on all of us, but where we end up is determined by the set of our sail.  The most reliable path to financial independence is to have the self-discipline to begin an investment program and the patience and focus to see it through for a long time.  The time is going to pass anyway, why not do it?

Truth...........................................


Cherish..............................................























“The morning was bright and propitious. Before their departure, mass had been said in the chapel, and the protection of St. Ignatius invoked against all contingent evils, but especially against bears, which, like the fiery dragons of old, seemed to cherish unconquerable hostility to the Holy Church." 
-Bret Harte,
The Legend Of Monte Del Diablo

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