Saturday, January 1, 2011

I feel good.........................

James Brown, the hardest working man in rock and roll

Happy New Year!


My recent adventure with blogging has been fun.  Learned a lot.
Added some really positive influences to my life.  Made some
good changes as a result of those influences.  Learned to think
a little bit more about what I actually think. And, while what I
have been doing may not qualify as writing, I've gotten to scratch
the creative itch.  All good.

I have been tremendously helped along the way by some
fellow bloggers.  A community if you will.  They have acted as
mentors, showing me the virtuous side of the blogging art.  They
have acted as boosters, by sharing their well established
readerhood with me.  They have acted as cheerleaders,
encouraging me- usually when I have needed it the most.

I am truly grateful.  Thanks to the Mighty E., Nicholas Bate,
Michael Wade, Patrick, and Kurt.

Couldn't have said it any better myself............

"This is the year that normalcy returns to real estate. People
will buy and sell based on the desire for a better life for
themselves and their families. They will realize that is the
true value of homeownership and they will be willing to pay
for that value."
-Patrick Guanciale channeling the KCM blog.  Full post here

New Years Day.................

Friday, December 31, 2010

Shower the people you love with love.................

What is right in the residential real estate world?

Affordability:  Been doing this for a long time now.  I don't
remember a time when buying a house was more affordable.
Between falling prices, stupid low interest rates, and lots
of selection, I'm not sure what a potential buyer is waiting
for.  Time to get in the game.

Activity:  This is sort of like Goldilocks. In 2005 the
market was too hot.  In 2009 the market was too cold.
In 2011 the market should be just about right.  Time to get
in the game.

Acceptance:  I am not in the front lines of selling houses,
but I am an interested observer.  Looks to me like most
people have accepted that things have changed and that
the values of 2006 are gone, gone, gone.  No sense
waiting for the glory days to return.  The question to
answer now is, "what is the next right step."  Time to
start rebounding and rebuilding.  Time to get in the game.

Advantage:  For the first time since I was licensed in 1977
an investor can buy a single family house, finance it with a
nominal down payment, rent it, and have the rental income
make the mortgage payment.  It never quite worked that
way before.  It really is time to get in the game.

Makes sense to me...................

"The most radical revolutionary will become conservative the
day after the revolution."
-Hannah Arendt

"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water,
& breeds reptiles of the mind."
-William Blake

"The chief cause of human error is to be found in prejudices
picked up in childhood."
-Rene Descartes

"The guiding motto in the life of every natural philosopher
should be, 'seek simplicity and distrust it.' "
- Alfred North Whitehead

"Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals."
-Edmund Wilson

"Liberty has never come from government.  Liberty has
always come from the subjects of government,  The history
of liberty is the history of resistance."
-Woodrow Wilson

"Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern
form of despotism."
-Mary McCarthy

Speaking of card tricks................

Just master this trick and you can wow your friends tonight!

Thanks George

How sure are you about that.............?

"Sovereignty lies in me alone.  The legislative power is mine
unconditionally and individually."
-Louis XV        1766

"Remember, the German People are the chosen of God.
On me the German Emperor, the spirit of God has descended.
I am his sword, his weapon, his vice-regent."
-Kaiser Wilhelm II       1914

"My good friends, this is the second time in our history that
there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace
with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you
from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to
go home and sleep quietly in your beds."
-Neville Chamberlain        September 30, 1938

"Lying is forbidden in Iraq. President Saddam Hussein will
tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor
and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the
truths evidenced in their eyes and hearts."
-Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, "Baghdad Bob"   2003

A whole lot of rigging going on....................

This blog has commented on the "well worn path", or revolving
door if you would prefer, between the temples of finance on Wall
Street and the corridors of power in Washington D.C.  If you
have been following along, you know my bias is that this is not
a good thing for 93% of our country.

The Boston Globe looks at this business of inappropriate use
of government service in a similar, but slightly, different vein:

"In some years, the move from general staff to industry is a
virtual clean sweep. Thirty-four out of 39 three- and four-star
generals and admirals who retired in 2007 are now working
in defense roles — nearly 90 percent.

And in many cases there is nothing subtle about what the
generals have to sell — Martin’s firm is called The Four Star
Group, for example. The revolving-door culture of Capitol
Hill — where former lawmakers and staffers commonly
market their insider knowledge to lobbying firms — is now
pervasive at the senior rungs of the military leadership."

It hasn't always been this way.  It can't be a good thing.
Full post here

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Joy Ride...................

Practice, practice, practice...........

"Repeated practice is one of the most basic principles of most
spiritual and meditative paths.  In other words, whatever you
practice most is what you will become.  If you are in the habit
of being uptight whenever life isn't quite right, repeatedly
reacting to criticism by defending yourself, insisting on being
right, allowing your thinking to snowball in response to
adversity, or acting like life is an emergency, then,
unfortunately, your life will be a reflection of this type of
practice.  You will be frustrated because, in a sense, you have
practiced being frustrated.

'Likewise, however, you can choose to bring forth in yourself
qualities of compassion, patience, kindness, humility, and
peace - again, through what you practice.   I guess it's safe
to say that practice makes perfect.  It makes sense, then, to
be careful what you practice."

-Excerpted from Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

We are capable of doing.............. much more than we know.

Thanks Sean

Oil and Water, continued.........

A few more excerpts from  What Went Wrong?  by Bernard
Lewis. The hardback book, published in 2002 but written before
9/11, has the sub-title Western Impact and Middle Eastern
Response.  The paperback edition, published a year later, has
the sub-title The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the
Middle East.

"The status of women, though probably the most profound
single difference between the two civilizations, attracted far
less attention than such matters as guns, factories, and

"According to Islamic law and tradition, there were three
groups of people who did not benefit from the general
Muslim principle of legal and religious quality - unbelievers,
slaves, and women."

"Nevertheless the struggle for the emancipation of women
made some progress in the socially and economically more
advanced parts of the region and has become a major target
of different schools of militant Islamic revival.  The Ayatollah
Khomeini, in particular, gave it a prominent place in his
indictment of the misdeeds of the shah and the crimes of his
regime.  From a traditional point of view, the emancipation
of women - specifically, allowing them to reveal their faces,
their arms, and their legs, and to mingle socially in the school
or the workplace with men - is an incitement to immorality
and promiscuity, and a deadly blow to the very heart of
Islamic society, the Muslim family and home.  The battle

Who is being unrealistic..............?

While reading through the National Association of Realtors
"Realtors Confidence Index"  (here), I was struck by the
following Realtor quote,

"Appraisers are using recently sold foreclosures and short
sale properties as their comps for non-distressed listings.
They are unwilling to make obvious adjustments needed
and thus end up with values that are totally unrealistic."

A question:  if foreclosures and short sales make up a significant
percentage of the real estate being sold, and if those sales are via
an open bid or auction setting, doesn't the general trend of those
sales, over time, begin to establish the true value of comparable
real estate?

A question:  if I am in the market for a four bedroom house with
a finishable basement (I am), and I knew that by buying a fore-
closure or a short sale I could save a significant amount of money,
why wouldn't I?

A question:  since buyers in a buyer's market tend to be a pretty
crafty bunch, and since buyers are most generally aware of the
huge selection of homes available via the foreclosure and short
sale process at enticing prices, are houses that are "non-
distressed" and are being offered with 2007 pricing strategies
truly on the market?

Tough time to be an appraiser.   Good time to be a buyer.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stop, look, listen.................

Linky goodness............

Tom Asacker on living life with passion"Face it: We are either
breaking out of our spirit-sucking routines and breaking
through to new insights and experiences, or we are breaking
down."  Full post here.

Alan Webber on a different lesson from Wikileaks:  "So far,
WikiLeaks is a Rorschach test of how far America has
traveled down the road to national paranoia."  Full post here.

Michael Wade on taking time:  "And there's the time-tested
way to trigger insights about your career.  Do something
completely unrelated to it."  Full posts here, here and here.

Seth Godin on being misunderstood: "Plan on being
misunderstood. Repeat yourself. When in doubt, repeat
yourself."  Full post here.

Pirate Equity on debating Paul Krugman: "Saving and investing
in productive capacity is what creates prosperity. Educating
our citizens to be at the top among developed nations in the
disciplines that will lead in the future is what creates
opportunity. Not just when we’re young, but throughout our
entire careers. Education should be a lifelong pursuit in this
country and it isn’t."  Full post here.

Path 1 or Path 2...................

"I’m a big believer in goals. I’ve found that there’s a
shocking correlation between setting them and achieving
them. I’ve also found the inverse of this be true. No goals
often translates into the second path of the image above.
Living every day like today no major disappointments but
no major progress either."
-Bryce Roberts.  Full post here

Like oil and water..........

"The idea that any group of persons, any kind of activities,
any part of human life is in any sense outside the scope of
religious law and jurisdiction is alien to Muslim thought.
There is, for example, no distinction between canon law and
civil law, between the law of the church and the law of the
state, crucial in Christian history.  There is only a single
law, the shari'a, accepted by Muslims as of divine origin
and regulating all aspects of human life: civil, commercial,
criminal, constitutional, as well as matters more specific-
ally concerned with religion in the limited, Christian
sense of that word."

-Excerpted from What Went Wrong  by Bernard Lewis

What we have here...................

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another nominee for E.'s Cool Hall of Fame...

Roundabouts?........we don't need no stinkin' roundabouts..........

Roundabouts seem to be gaining popularity with engineering and
planning types.   The first ones have appeared in Central Ohio.

Growing up, about the only time my mild-mannered father
consistently lost his temper was when we drove from Philly to
our cousins' house in New Jersey. 

The cause:  "those damn traffic circles."

How about we just do it the way the Indians do.................

Jim Rohn taught about..........

.."the set of the sail" for most of his adult life.  An excerpt from his
book,  The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle:

"...the winds of circumstance blow on us all in an unending
flow that touches each of our lives...........What guides us to
different destinations in life is determined by the way we
have chosen to set our sail.  The way that each of us thinks
makes the major difference in where each of us arrives.  The
major difference is not circumstance, the major difference
is the set of the sail.........."

Sean Carpenter, a local sales trainer, has become a new teacher
for me.  His recent blog post picked up on Rohn's message, but
then he adds his own twist:

      When you take control of your sails in 2011,

       You will take control of your sales in 2011.

Thanks for the reminder Sean.

Would somebody please do something.............

Thanks Sean

I'm going to hazard a guess.......

.....that the only way to change your child's attitude, behavior, &
character in five days, is to first change yours.  Haven't read the
book, though.

Fun with snow......................

.........especially because it didn't hit Ohio.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Thanks Chris

Monday, December 27, 2010

Take Five.................

A classic!   Enjoy...................

Thanks to Nan at WJPP

Let's get the heart pumping............

We are a strange and wondrous breed.   A theologically
minded friend once told me that the one question that God will
not answer is "Why?"   I have often told my kids, who were
great askers of the question "why", that the only answer is
"because!"   Enjoy!

Thanks Gerard

On the imperative of getting a BB gun for Christmas.........

While checking out the book shelves, my unconscious mind
reached out for the old paperback copy of Jean Shepherd's
 In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. When I was in junior
high school, Shepherd had a late night radio gig as a "radio
raconteur" on WOR in New York City.  When the atmospheric
conditions were just right, my little GE radio/alarm clock could
pull the signal all the way from NYC to Philadelphia. Listening to
Shepherd was always a treat.  Reading Shepherd is OK too.

He sets the story:

"You won't believe it, Flick, but the other day, in New York,
I'm sitting in the H & H....."
"The H & H?"
"The Horn & Hardart. The Automat."
"Oh yeah.  I heard about those.  You get pie right out of the
"That's right, that's the H & H.  Anyway....":
"You know, I've never been to New York.  I'd like to go there
some day.  I hear it's a rough place to live, but...."
"Anyway, Flick, I'm in the H & H and this lady comes in and
sits down, and she's got a button on that says, 'Disarm the
Toy Industry' on it."
"Disarm the Toy Industry?"
"I guess she meant BB guns."
"Fer Chrissake, its getting nuttier and nuttier."  Flick's native
Indiana humor struck to the core.
"Anyway, Flick, I'm sitting there talking to her, and I suddenly
remember that BB gun I got for Christmas.  Do you remember?"

Shepherd adds some local color:

"Disarm the Toy Industry?"  I asked.
"It's an outrage!" She barked, causing two elderly gentlemen
at the next table to spill soup on their vests.  Loud voices are
not often heard in the cloistered confines of the H & H.
"It's an outrage the way the toy makers are forcing the
implements of blasphemous War on the innocent children,
the Pure in Spirit, the tiny babes who are helpless and
know no better!".........................
A single word floated into my mind's arena for just an
instant - "Canal water!"- and then disappeared,  I
thought on:  As if the Toy industry has any control over
the insatiable desire of the human spawn to own Weaponry,
armaments, and the implements of Warfare.  It is the
same kind of mind that thought if making whiskey were
prohibited people would stop drinking.

Shepherd then establishes the necessity......

I imagined innumerable situations calling for the instant
and irrevocable need for a BB gun, great fantasies where I
fended off creeping marauders borrowing through the snow
toward the kitchen, when only I and I alone stood between
our tiny huddled family and insensate Evil.  Masked bandits
attacking my father, to be mowed down by my trusted clover-
leaf-sighted deadly weapon.  I seriously mulled over the pos-
sibility of an invasion of raccoons, of which there were several
in the county.  Acts of selfless Chivalry defending Esther Jane
Alberrry from escaped circus tigers.  Time and Time again I
saw myself a miraculous crack shot, picking off sparrows on
the wing to the gasps of admiring girls and envious rivals on
Cleveland Street.  There was one dream that involved my
entire class getting lost on a field trip in the swamps, wherein
I led the tired, hungry band back to civilization, using only
my Red Ryder compass and sundial.  There was no question
about it.  Not only should I have such a gun, it was an
absolute necessity!"

It is hard to imagine.............

........a better blog- here.

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

Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides is a powerful story well told.
The linchpin of the tale is Savannah Wingo, an accomplished
poet, sister of Tom and Luke Wingo, a haunted soul, and a
multi-attempt failed suicidist.  Here is Conroy channelling
Savannah Wingo:

I blaze with a deep sullen magic,
smell lust like a heron on fire;
all words I form into castles
then storm them with soldiers of air.

What I seek is not there for asking.
My armies are fit and well trained.
This poet will trust her battalions
to fashion her words into blades.

At dawn I shall ask them for beauty,
for proof that their training went well.
At night I shall beg their forgiveness
as I cut their throats by the hill.

My navies advance through the language,
destroyers ablaze on high seas.
I soften the island for landings.
With words, I enlist a dark army.
My poems are my war with the world.

I blaze with a deep southern magic.
The bombardiers taxi at noon.
There is screaming and grief in the mansions
and the moon is a heron of fire.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

August Burns Red...................

Opened up the Christmas music thread with Carol of the Bells.
Figure that closing it with O Come, O Come Emmanuel would
be appropriate, even if it is a day late.

Sunday's Verse......

1.  Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king.   When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.

2.  They asked, "Where is the baby who was born to be king of the Jews.  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

3.  When King Herod heard of this, he was troubled, as well as all the people in Jerusalem.

4.  Herod called a meeting of all the leading priests and teachers of the law and asked them where the Christ would be born. 

5.  They answered, "In the town of Bethlehem in Judea.  The prophet wrote about this in the Scriptures:

6.  'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are important among the tribes of Judah.  A ruler will come from you who will be like a shepherd for my people of Israel.' "

7.  Then Herod had a secret meeting with the wise men and learned from them the exact time they first saw the star.

8.  He sent the wise men to Bethlehem, saying, "Look carefully for the child.  When you find him, come tell me so I can worship him too."

9.  After the wise men heard the King, they left.  The star that they had seen in the east went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was.

10.  When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy.

11.  They came to the house where the child was ans saw him with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12.  But God warned the wise men in a dream not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their own country by a different way.

Mathew 2: 1-12
The Devotional Bible, New Century Version