Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good song, not my favorite, but I do like the video

Little River Band........................................Cool Change
 as always, please click on through to YouTube Central

Useful................................

"Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.  You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Spengler is not impressed...............................

"Last month I heard George W. Bush address a large Jewish gathering. He complained about the growing isolationist mood in America. Does it occur to him, or to the punditeska that egged on his “freedom agenda,” that the source of isolationism is the utter failure of our utopian efforts in the Middle East and revulsion at their human and economic costs?"

Full essay is here.   Favorite utopian cartoon is here:


Economic development............................

Faithful readers will remember recent posts about Southgate Corporation's development of yet another speculative 50,000 square foot industrial building (here and here).  I had the good fortune to be invited to the announcement ceremony for the new tenant for that building this past Thursday.  Xperion, a German company, will be occupying the building upon its completion in the Spring.  They and their fifty some employees with be manufacturing carbon fiber composite cylinders for storing and dispensing compressed natural gas.   With Ohio benefiting from the shale gas bonanza, there are great hopes that more and more vehicles will soon be powered by natural gas instead of gasoline.  These cylinders will be part of that shift.  This is a really big deal for our community.  It was a team effort, so a big THANK YOU to all who made this possible.

An aggressive building schedule (winter is coming to Ohio) has
 the tilt-up walls in place before the ground breaking ceremony took place.

The happy announcement.  Welcome Xperion!

One of the products soon to be made in Ohio



Surely you jest............................

A new study from the University of Michigan

Results: Across all nine presidential administrations, infant mortality rates were below trend when the President was a Democrat and above trend when the President was a Republican. This was true for overall, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality, with effects larger for postneonatal compared to neonatal mortality rates. Regression estimates show that, relative to trend, Republican administrations were characterized by infant mortality rates that were, on average, three percent higher than Democratic administrations.

My conclusion: we should be very wary of academia.  What's yours?

thanks mungo

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

Beatlemania strikes....................................

Charisma.................................

That magical force of personality shows up periodically in our presidents. In my lifetime, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama come to mind as charismatic leaders.  If you are interested in the subject - and how it plays out poorly for our current president - you can read about it here.  Preferring to dwell on the positive, I give you this excerpt:

"During his first campaign, Mr. Obama had paid tribute to Ronald Reagan as a "transformational" president and hinted that he aspired to a presidency of that kind. But the Reagan presidency was about America, and never about Ronald Reagan. Reagan was never a scold or a narcissist. He stood in awe of America, and of its capacity for renewal. There was forgiveness in Reagan, right alongside the belief in the things that mattered about America—free people charting their own path."

I'm sure this will end well..........................

Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

A program of no-strings, guaranteed monthly income.  What could possibly go wrong?   Full pipe-dream story is here.  Interesting excerpt is here.
"Even better, conservatives think, such a program could significantly reduce the size of our federal bureaucracy. It could take the place of welfare, food stamps, housing vouchers and hundreds of other programs, all at once: Hello, basic income; goodbye, H.U.D. Charles Murray of the conservative American Enterprise Institute has proposed a minimum income for just that reason — feed the poor, and starve the beast. 'Give the money to the people,' Murray wrote in his book 'In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State.'  He suggested guaranteeing $10,000 a year to anyone meeting the following conditions: be American, be over 21, stay out of jail and — as he once quipped — 'have a pulse.'"

Now. who is going to clean up the mess...........?

For those of you with a few extra minutes.....Fun With Dominoes

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sing and dance forever and a day.............

Mary Hopkins..................................Those Were The Days

Your Catfish Friend...........................

If I were to live my life 
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers 
at the bottom of a pond 
and you were to come by 
     one evening 
when the moon was shining 
down into my dark home 
and stand there at the edge 
      of my affection 
and think, "It's beautiful 
here by this pond. I wish 
somebody loved me," 
I'd love you and be your catfish 
friend and drive such lonely 
thoughts from your mind 
and suddenly you would be 
      at peace, 
and ask yourself, "I wonder
 if there are any catfish 
in this pond? It seems like 
a perfect place for them."

-Richard Brautigan

Can't wait till 2020.....................

...........so we can find out how this decade turned out.  One of the big questions I'd be looking for the answer to is:  what ever happened to inflation?   Many of the talking heads have been opining that with all the waves of qualitative easing, the Fed has surely primed to pump for inflation.  Maybe it will take off one of these days, but right now our rate of inflation appears to be stuck around 1.2%.  What's up with that?  This blog (with most of its assets in real estate) is on record as fearing deflation more than inflation.  Prime away! In this week's Leaders column, The Economist raises the same issue.
"Be afraid of inflation, by all means;  but life can be even scarier when it sinks."


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

President John F. Kennedy addresses the Catholic Youth Organization on this day in 1963. He gave good speeches.   If you are old enough, you will remember that his Catholicism was an issue during Kennedy's campaign for the presidency.

Can I get an Amen..................................?

"Our republic runs best on the balance and separation of powers. Blindly signing a bill whose consequences you did not understand, should disqualify you from any future elective office. Period."
-via the Proof Positive blog

On change.......................

The tide comes in and then what?  It goes back out.  It's been that way for at least 6,000 years of recorded history.  It gets light and then what?  It turns dark.  The next season after Fall is - ?  Winter, of course.  Every time, without fail, for at least 6,000 years.  It isn't going to change.

Six thousand years of recorded history reads like this:  opportunity mixed with difficulty.  It isn't going to change.  "So," you ask, "how will my life change?"  When you change!
-Jim Rohn

I don't normally slap people, but when I do.......






















thanks Doug

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Who is the man...................?

Isaac Hayes..............................................Shaft

Contrasting freedoms...........................

Matt Ridley writes interesting essay on the difference between political freedom and economic freedom.  A brief taste here:

The extraordinary fact is that — economically — the average Chinese person is more free from government interference than the average Westerner.......It takes far less time and trouble to build a house or a nuclear power station in China than it does in Britain.
So long as you don’t cross the Communist Party, China is laissez-faire on a scale that would make Hayek blush. That’s what happens when you liberalise a totalitarian regime: if the party was previously taking all the decisions, then once it steps back there’s very little else in the way of state bureaucracy.
Over here, there are many other levels of regulation, subsidy and cost to entangle a small business. One of the few freedoms that Westerners have more of is the - precious - freedom to criticise the governing party.

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

      From the corners of the Earth great and famous men journeyed to Salt Lake City to view him.  Generals like Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman; statesmen like William H. Seward and Schuyler Colfax; journalists and literary figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Greeley, Mark Twain, and Samuel Bowles;  explorers and adventurers like Richard F. Burton and Grenville M. Dodge;  and showmen like P. T. Barnum came to see and talk to him.  For Brigham Young was a marvel of his age:  the husband of seventy wives, the father of fifty-six children, the colonizer of vast areas of the West, the Yankee prophet of God, the Moses of the modern children of Israel, the religious imperialist bent on conquering the world.
-Stanley P. Hirshon,  The Lion Of The Lord:  A Biography of Brigham Young

Brigham Young..............................

Brigham Young     1801-1877














"Never let a day so pass that you will have cause to say, 'I will live better to-morrow,'"

“Pray as though everything depended on the Lord and work as though everything depended on you.” 

"Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?"

"Love the giver more than the gift."

“He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.” 

"Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up."
“Learn to be good for something.” 

"Nature is the glass reflecting God, as by the sea reflected is the sun, too glorious to be gazed on in his sphere."

“It is for us to do those things which the Lord requires at our hands, and leave the result with him.” 

    The Sun is not behaving............?

    Puzzled Scientists Say Strange Things Are Happening On the Sun


    Full post is here.  It feels a bit off that us mortals, who have been studying the sun for only the teeniest fraction of its existence, are willing to be so judgmental.



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

    JFK and the beginning of Interstate 95...................

    When every verb desires to be a noun...

        There Comes the Strangest Moment
    There comes the strangest moment in your life,
    when everything you thought before breaks free -
    what you relied upon, as ground-rule and as rite
    looks upside down from how it used to be.
    Skin's gone pale, your brain is shedding cells;
    you question every tenet you set down;
    obedient thoughts have turned to infidels
    and every verb desires to be a noun.
    I want - my want. I love - my love. I'll stay
    with you. I thought transitions were the best,
    but I want what's here to never go away.
    I'll make my peace, my bed, and kiss this breast…
    Your heart's in retrograde. You simply have no choice.
    Things people told you turn out to be true.
    You have to hold that body, hear that voice.
    You'd have sworn no one knew you more than you.
    How many people thought you'd never change?
    But here you have. It's beautiful. It's strange.


    -Kate Light

    Blogging...........................


    Baking a bigger pie.............

    “You can serve God and man in no more effective way than by getting rich;  that is, if you get rich by the creative method and not by the competitive one.” 
    -Wallace D. Wattles

    Spoke too soon..............................

    Am I the only one feeling like a yoyo?  $2.98 on Tuesday.  $3.28 on Wednesday.  What is with these 30 cent jumps.....?


    Cookie wisdom.........................


    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    All the circles widen........................

    Mountain...................................Boys In The Band

    Save.............................

    These I assume were words so deeply meant
    They cut themselves in stone for permanent
    Like trouble in the brow above the eye:
    TAKE CARE TO SELL YOUR HORSE BEFORE HE DIES
    THE ART OF LIFE IS PASSING LOSSES ON.
    The city saying it was Ctesiphon,
    Which may a little while by war and trade
    Have kept from being caught with the decayed,
    Infirm, worn-out, and broken on its hands;
    But judging from what little stands,
    Not even the ingenuities of debt
    Could save it from its losses being met.
    Sand has been thrusting in the square of door
    Across the tessellation of the floor,
    And only rests, a serpent on its chin,
    Content with contemplating, taking in,
    Till it can muster breath inside a hall
    To rear against the inscription on the wall.

    -Robert Frost


    The Tāq-e Kisrā , the only remaining structure at Ctesiphon














    Back story can be found here and here

    Fun with the language...................

    The word for the day...........................
















    via merriam-webster

    A sight for sore eyes.......................................

    Below $3 per gallon: our own little economic stimulus..........


    The Mighty E......................

    .....is being his normal eclectic self.  Do go visit.


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

    John F. Kennedy welcomes the Black Watch to the White House
                      "Nobody wounds us with impunity."

    No thanks...............................

    "If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one."
    -Cavett Robert

    Life lessons from the ping pong table......
















    “Reciprocate your game. Don’t just play your style, but adapt to how they are playing.” 

    -As excerpted from this blog post from Tanmay Vora

    Finding beauty...............................

    It snowed in Central Ohio last night.  A bit early by historical standards, but still beautiful..............





    Feeling lazy here.........................

    "...I think the best way of advertising my blog is to write good content.  I don’t generally like to quote large amounts of the writing of others, and add a few comments from me.  To me, that seems lazy."
    -David Merkel, belatedly celebrating his tenth anniversary of blogging at The Aleph Blog.  If you are interested in finance and investing, the Aleph Blog is a must read.

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Fun with numbers...............

    ........................................Happy 11/12/13 !

    New fruit humming.................................

    Iron and Wine....................Low Light Buddy of Mine




    Faithful followers of this blog will know that, while great music is featured regularly, it tends to be somewhat dated.  There are exceptions, but most of the artists appearing here started performing before 1985.  It's not that I don't like new music, I just prefer what I grew up with.  One of my frequent stops out there in the blogosphere is Jade Page Press.  Nan keeps broadening my horizons.  Like introducing me to Samuel Beam (who was only eleven in 1985). Thanks Nan.

    Flow chart on broken presidential promises....

    This one applies to "You can keep your health plan, period," but you could also use it to keep track of "weapons of mass destruction" and  "I did not have sex..."   Keep it handy.  Most likely it will retain its usefulness into the future.

    The Intertunnel is a wondrous place......

    There is now a web site for those who have received cancellation notices of their health insurance.  You can now share your notification with the rest of us.  Is this a great country, or what?

    Deep.............................
















    “People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.” 
    -Bill Watterson



    Congratulations..................
















    The Execupundit passes a major milestone.  Michael is the epitome of wisdom, generosity, and class.  Long may he blog!

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

    Paul & Paula...............................Flipped Over You

    Gift......................................

    “The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself.” 
    -Wallace D. Wattles

    Part of this I believe, part I don't.............













    As commercial real estate brokers, we have received a surplus of calls in the past six months from "car title" lenders looking to set up shop in our market.  After the first two opened for business, we thought, "well, that's kind of interesting."  After the next three calls from other similar lenders, we thought, "WTF?"

    Matt Yglesias just posted  about the "changing shape of American debt."   Apparently new rules and regulations out of Washington are causing credit card debt to shrink and "subprime auto lending" to increase.  If you follow the link above, you can read his whole post.

    Here is the part I believe:
    "....part of the story is that the lender has more recourse if you default on a car loan (it can take your car) than if you default on a credit card bill"

    Here is the part I don't:
    "...the wide dispersal of car dealerships across almost every congressional district in America means that the car dealership lobby is actually stronger than the Wall Street lobby"

    Just as an aside and filed under the heading "Just Thought You'd Be Interested,"  we've seen several lease terms proposals from these car title loan companies.  They all contain the same language that allows them to terminate their lease if the State passes a law, or regulation, that makes their business model non-functional.  Hmmm.

    The benefits of thrashing early rather than late....

    Kurt posted this great quote (which reminded me that I have often developed brilliant and creative solutions to the wrong problem):

    "When asked how he would spend his time if he was given an hour to solve a thorny problem, (Einstein) said he'd spend 55 minutes defining the problem and alternatives and 5 minutes solving it. Which is exactly opposite of what the vast majority of executives today would do."

    Here Seth Godin, the High Priest of "Ship It," reinforces the notion that doing the hard work of thinking in the beginning front pays huge benefits at the end:  



    Cheating............................

    “If you are not learning while you’re earning, you are cheating yourself out of the better portion of your compensation.” 
    -Napoleon Hill

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Reading it all wrong.....................

    Joe Nichols..............She Only Smokes When She Drinks
    (as always, please click on through to YouTube Central)

    Thief............................


















    Don't become a victim of yourself.  Forget about the thief waiting in the alley;  what about the thief in your mind?
    -Jim Rohn

    cartoon via

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

    In February 2011, the artist, designer, and urban planner Candy Chang transformed an abandoned home in her New Orleans neighborhood into a living work of art.  She had recently lost someone she care for deeply, and was reflecting on the meaning of life and what truly mattered to her.  She was curious to know if other people had similar thoughts about living with a sense of urgency and purpose so she created an enormous chalkboard running the height and width of one side of the abandoned house.  She then stenciled the words, "Before I Die..." at the top of the wall, and created dozens of spaces with worth words, "Before I die, I want to_____________________" in grids across the surface.  Chang provided the chalk needed to fill in the blanks, and waited in anticipation to see what would happen.  Would people participate?  Would it be vandalized?  Would anyone even notice?
    -Todd Henry,  Die Empty:  Unleash Your Best Work Every Day

    Before I die I want to __________________















    Candy Chang's home in the Intertunnel is here.

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

    The Delltones.......................................Hangin' Five

    Bigger means larger, not better..........

    The head of the New York Fed seems to believe that the problem of banks that are "too big to fail" can be solved without making the "too big" banks smaller.  Even casual readers of this blog will know that I am not an economist, nor a banker, nor a regulator.  I am, however, a frequent and interested observer of human nature.  Allow me the suspicion that regulators and their regulations will never keep pace with the rocket scientists on Wall Street.  Out here in sunny Ohio, we believe the only way to end the problem of banks "too big to fail" is to let them fail when they do.  If you find that option unpalatable, then make them get smaller.  For those who believe that "market discipline," restructuring "compensation practices," or some vague "holistic approach" will solve the "too big" problem, then you can find your position supported by William C. Dudley in this speech.  Count me in favor of breaking them up.



    via

    So, we went for a walk yesterday.......

    ....with 10,000 of our closest friends.   The Ohio State University sponsored a very well organized 4 Mile Run/Walk for the benefit of breast cancer research.  The course wandered through the main roads on campus (mind you, the population at OSU exceeds that of Newark).  The sun participated occasionally.  The starting gate was in the parking lot at the Ohio Stadium.  The finish line was the fifty yard line inside of Ohio Stadium.  Much fun was had by all.

    The walking contingent approaches the starting gate.  By this time
    the elite runners were just finishing their four mile run.

    And they are off.......................

    We were walking, not running, but appreciated the support anyway

    Entering the Horseshoe just like the players do.  Very cool

    Finishing at the 50 Yard Line.  If you could enlarge this photo enough,
    you would be able to see me taking this picture on the Stadium scoreboard.

    Ducky.....................

    My Sweetie was watching an old episode of Matlock yesterday while fixing dinner. After briefly scolding me for interrupting her, she lamented that "Ducky" was probably the killer.  Ah, the talented, and long-running, David McCallum.  No way he could be the bad guy, is there?   Oops.  Here he is in a Matlock episode from 1987:



    Here he is as Donald "Ducky" Mallard in our most favorite of all TV shows,  NCIS (2003- ? ):
















    Here he is as Illya Kuryakin in The Man From Uncle (1964-68):




    Happy Veterans' Day..............................

    My Father was in the Ninth Infantry of the  U. S. Army during the second world war.  He was overseas for three years, crossing Africa, invading Sicily, training in England, then landing at Normandy (D-Day +3).  After landing and fighting in France, his Division was in Belgium just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.  He was also a wondrous letter writer.  Fortunately, most of those letters were saved.  The following is an excerpt from one dated  December 13, 1944 (three days before the Battle of the Bulge started).  It is written to a dear friend in response to a letter she wrote, telling Dad that she and her husband (Dad's best friend) were pregnant again and that she was concerned about the world she was bringing a new life into.  His response:

    "....No one can ever realize just how precious and pleasant and hopeful life can be until it is almost snatched away. I have had one or two close calls that left me so scared I didn't realize how lucky I was. Then I knew so deep within my heart that it almost hurt, that even in the midst of the most terrible war man has ever known, just to live and be with people is worth all the hurts and agony man inflicts on man.  No, Kit, a little child brought into the world at such a time as this is probably more fortunate than ever. I seldom thought about this before I went into combat but one begins to get a far different slant on all that life means. If you could see what these fellows go through for each other, how much each one depends on is buddy simply for his life, then you could know and appreciate all this talk of mine. Very few GIs are sentimental enough to talk about things like this and yet the American boy overseas is the most sentimental guy in the world. Somehow out of all this madness and blindness the people of the world will find the true way of life as Christ taught so long ago. No matter how it may seem to us at the moment there are the ever encircling arms of God to lead us through the blindness into the light......There is so much to live for and so many pleasant things to do for and with close friends, that it honestly hurts to be here.   But then two years of combat makes a man sentimental, even though there is seemingly nothing but cynicism and bitterness in his heart.

    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Praise the dawning..........................

    Velvet Underground................................Sunday Morning

    Opens.........................























    "There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have.  Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way."
    -Jim Rohn

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

    36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38  This is the first and great commandment.

    39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    -Matthew 22: 36-40
    The Holy Bible
    King James Version

    Unaffected.....................................

    With all this talking, what has been said? 
    The subtle truth can he pointed at 
    with words, but it can't be 
    contained by them. 

    Take time to listen to what is said 
    without words, to obey the law too 
    subtle to be written, to worship the 
    unnameable and to embrace 
    the unformed. 
    Love your life. 
    Trust the Tao. 
    Make love with the invisible subtle origin 
    of the universe, and you will give 
    yourself everything you need. 

    You won't have to hide away forever 
    in spiritual retreats. 
    You can be a gentle, contemplative hermit 
    right here in the middle of everything, 
    utterly unaffected, thoroughly 
    sustained and rewarded by 
    your integral practices. 

    Encouraging others, giving freely to all, 
    awakening and purifying the world 
    with each movement and action, 
    you'll ascend to the divine 
    realm in broad daylight. 

    The breath of the Tao speaks, and 
    those who are in harmony 
    with it hear quite clearly.

    -Verse 81
    Hua Hu Ching:  The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
    Brian Browne Walker

    Battle-picking.............................

    Ray offers words of encouragement to all us parents: "Kids are durable. You can make lots of mistakes and they just keep re-setting and moving on."  So............

    "Fasten your seat belt, remember a glass of Cabernet can be very calming, pick your battles, and never go to bed mad, without telling them you love them anyway."

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

    An excerpt from a November 10, 1963 speech Malcolm X delivered in Detroit, Michigan.  Titled Message to the Grass Roots, this speech clearly shows him at odds with the other civil rights leaders of the day. Malcolm traveled widely in Europe and Africa in the early 1960s. Who knows what his impact would have been had he not been assassinated in February of 1965?

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

    Anyone totally committed to a single pursuit almost inevitably becomes the 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 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, as excerpted from The Long-Legged House

    Fun with the language...................

    Unctuous      Adjective      (ˈəŋ(k)-chə-wəs)

    1. a)  of, like, or characteristic of an ointment or unguent; oily 
              or greasy        b)  made up of or containing fat and oil

    2.  like oil, soap, or grease to the touch;  said of certain minerals

    3.  soft and rich; said of soil

    4.  plastic, moldable

    5.  characterized by a smug, smooth pretense of spiritual feeling,
          fervor, or earnestness, as in seeking to persuade;  too suave
         or oily in speech or manner.

    unctuousity or unctuousness    n.
    unctuously      adv.

    Not feeling the love..................

    Captain Capitalism (and his commenters)  thinks the fund-raising model at the United Way is broken..........

    Bowling a 300 game.........................

















    via