Saturday, October 8, 2011

Felt good to be out of the rain.............

America........................................Horse with No Name

Chris Dixon offers some advice.........

Full post is here.  Excerpts are here:

1. If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your
    goals aren’t ambitious enough.

2. Don’t climb the wrong hill

3. The next big thing will start out looking like a toy

Disruptive technologies are dismissed as toys because when they are first launched they “undershoot” their users’ needs. The first telephone could only carry voices a mile or two. The leading incumbent of the time, Western Union, chose not to acquire telephone technology because they didn’t see how it could be useful to businesses and railroads – their best customers. What they failed to anticipate was how rapidly telephone technology and infrastructure would improve. The same was true of how mainframe companies viewed the PC, and how modern telecom companies viewed Skype.

The list of top internet companies in 10 years will look very different than that same list does today. And the new ones on the list will be companies that snuck by the incumbents because people dismissed them as toys.

4. Predicting the future of the Internet is easy: anything it hasn’t
    yet dramatically transformed, it will.

The Internet has gone through fits and starts – a bubble, a crash, and now a revival. Pundits are speculating that another crash is coming. Regardless of what happens in the near term, what we do know is that every year we will continue to see more and more industries succumb to the transformational power of the Internet.

Already transformed: music, news, advertising, telecom. Being transformed: finance, commerce, TV & movies, real estate, politics & government. Soon to be transformed: healthcare, education, and energy, among others.

This is not a dress rehersal.............

Thanks Tanmay

Turn it on, wind it up, blow it out..............

Ronnie and the Daytonas..........................Little GTO

Friday, October 7, 2011

None better......................

Louis Armstrong..............................Wonderful World

Fun with old buildings...............

 One of the oldest buildings on Newark's Downtown Square sits at 22 North Park Place.  The above picture has been dated to around 1859.  We know this because on the original photograph (that this is a reduction of) you can see the picture of Stephen Douglas, he of the Lincoln/Douglas debate fame, on the placard in front of the building.  The building is thought to have been constructed in the 1830s, originally as a stage coach stop and tavern that evolved into this building as a hotel.

This photo of 22 North Park Place, judging by the cars, was taken sometime in the late 1950's.  The fine wrought iron railing is missing from the second floor.  The hitching posts are gone from the street and parking meters have appeared.

This photo of 22 North Park Place is about five years old.  A careful observer might note that our formerly three story building is now a two story building.  Apparently there was a fire on the third floor.  Instead of rebuilding it, they just shrank the building.  Also, in the early 1960's some extremely successful salesmen of blue ceramic tiles and blue sheet metal rolled through Newark. When we started investing in downtown Newark real estate in the mid-1980s more than a dozen storefronts had been re-surfaced in a manner similar to the above photo.  It might have looked good in 1962.  There are only two remaining examples in the downtown of this sort of facade design.  One of them remains at 22 North Park, just the east half of the building though.  The west half was recently "fixed."   The blue sheet metal looked tired and dated so we pulled it off, re-opened the old windows that had been blocked in and installed new windows, added an imitation wrought iron railing, added some sandstone block where needed, and reworked the lower storefront.  And voila!  The results are below.  We kind of like it.  We had plans to re-do both halves of the building, but budget constraints suggested now was not the right time.  Since completion we have received many a comment suggesting the juxtaposition of the new old and the old new is worth leaving alone.  We agree.

More soul nourishing.............

than your average blog.  Thanks Rob for being there.


"It is true that relationships are a whole lot messier than
rules, but rules will never give you answers to the deep
questions of the heart, and they will never love you."

-Wm. Paul Young,  The Shack

Things to avoid....................

"You ask me to say what you should consider it particularly
important to avoid.  My answer is this: a mass crowd.  It is
something to which you cannot entrust yourself yet without
risk.  I at any rate am ready to confess my own frailty in
this respect."
-Seneca,  Letter VII,  Letters from a Stoic

thanks Hugh

Throwing sledgehammers..................

First gear, It's alright............

The Hondels.......................................Little Honda

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your blues will fade away..................

Firefall.......................................Just Remember I Love You

He pushed......................

Think Different.................................The original Apple ad

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

               At night was come in-to
                       that hostelrye
              Wel nyne and twenty in a companye,
              Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle
              In felawshipe, and pilgrims were
                      they alle...

So does Geoffrey Chaucer describe the convening - at the Tabard Inn in Southwark on the southern bank of the River Thames - of twenty-nine pilgrims.  The next day they would ride southeast from London to Canterbury, "the holy blisful martir for to seke (seek)."  For in the year 1170, Canterbury had been the scene of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, the unbending archbishop of Canterbury, slain by four knights in service to King Henry II.  The martyr's bones were kept in a jewel-encrusted shrine in the cathedral where he had been murdered, and from them was believed to emanate miraculous healing power.  All over England people prayed to Becket, invoking his intercession with God "whan that they were seke (sick)," as Chaucer tells us.  Those who were cured of their maladies would then make their promised pilgrimage to Becket's bones.

-Thomas Cahill,  Mysteries of the Middle Ages

Is it investing or speculating...........

The headline of the CCIM magazine read "Dirt, Cheap:
Opportunistic Investors Place Their Bets on Land."

Owning some, I thought, "this should be rich."

The opening paragraph to the story reads: "Even at bargain
basement prices, most land investments today are a

Hmmmm.  Sound like speculation, not investment, to me. 
Speculation is not considered investing by this blog.  It is also
 not for the faint at heart.  The confusion between the two has
caused more than a few heartaches.

P.S.  We own some development land that is for sale,  should
any of you want to place a bet on it.

The inspiration of "potential"......

Being labeled as "having potential" has often been the kiss of death for many an aspiring athelete, or an aspiring youngster (of all ages) for that matter. Hugh MacLeod suggests it doesn't have to be that way.

"What is human potential? More specifically, what is YOUR unique human potential? Or mine? Generally, we are capable of great things—we put a man on the moon, we painted the Sistine Chapel, etc. Yet we forget our own potential when we consider our own small footprint in a lifetime, and it terrifies us.

"But remember…this terror is a good thing. It motivates us to step out of our comfort zones and into worlds of possibility. Then the question arises—why do anything at all? Not because we want to impress someone or become more popular, but because there’s a point to our existence. We just have to define it for ourselves.

"I think it's a good idea to always be thinking about our potential and, like in this cartoon, to always laugh at it. It inspires creativity in ourselves and in others, which is why I share what I do, so you can share inspiration in turn…"

Thanks Hugh

Wonder if he is talking about bloggers?

"The power of the one, vast, collective brain found in the
Internet is the greatest development in mankind’s civilization
since the creation of civilization itself."

So says Sean Purcell in a post titled "The Reason for Boundless
Optimism."  Here. Personally I like boundless optimism.  I lost it
there for a few days, but I can feel it coming back.  None too

Happy Talk

Jeff Thredgold, my favorite economic futurist, can't go six months
without posting about all the really neat things we could rightly
be thankful for.  Full newsletter here.  A sampling here:

During the early 1960s, the five-year survival rate from cancer for Americans was one in three. Today it is two in three…continuing to climb…and the highest in the world

The U.S. accounted for 34% of the funds spent globally on research & development (R&D) during 2010

The country’s net petroleum imports peaked at 60.3% in 2005 and dropped to 49.3% in 2010. Within a year,North Dakota is expected to supply more oil for domestic use than the 1.1 million barrels a day that Saudi Arabia now exports to the U.S.

The number of violent crimes fell by a surprisingly large 12% last year versus the prior year

Conventional thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.06% in recent weeks, the lowest level in 60 year

America produces more steel today than 30 years ago, despite the shuttered plants and slimmed-down work force

Average U.S. life expectancy has reached 78.2 years (men 75, women 80), the highest ever. This compares to 76 years in 1995, 68 years in 1950, and 47 years in 1900

Roughly 30% of trash was recycled or composted in the latest year, versus 16% in 1990

When comparing economic size and population, the average U.S. worker is 10-12 times more productive than the average worker in China. Americans won 30 Nobel prizes in science and economics during the past five years. China?…just one

The upward “mobility” of the typical American remains the greatest in the world. Why? The U.S.economy “rewards” the combination of hard work and educational achievement more than ever before…and more than any other country in the world 

U.S. exports to China have risen roughly 24% per year since 2001, making China the fastest growing market for U.S.goods

For every dollar of U.S. economic output generated today, we burn less than half as much oil as 30 years ago

...I'll give you three.................

Ronettes.....................Be My Baby

As always, click through to Youtube

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

That kind of day..................

George Thorogood and the Destroyers........Bad to the Bone

On opinions.........

The Furniture Guy is as clear-eyed as usual as he goes around
noticing things.  Full essay here.  Fun excerpt here:

I try not to assign ponderous importance to trivial things. But most people aren't like that. A vicious narcissism rules the age. People will fight with fists over the primacy of Katy Perry over Lady Gaga. People want to write their condiment preferences into the Constitution. They believe that their love for things, however acquired, places the imprimatur of importance and goodness and intelligence on the objects of their affections. You can get shot for wearing the wrong laundry at a football stadium. People have OPINIONS now, not the lower-case kind.

P.S.   Easily-offended Bruce Springsteen fans, mavens, and
groupies should avoid the link.

Idea of the Year.............

Allen R. Sanderson argues that we levy "sin taxes" against tobacco, alcohol, gasoline, and, coming soon to a state near yours, sugar/fat.  Why not expand on that notion and tax college football?  Full interesting (except when he calls Ohio State a "cesspool") essay here.  Key excerpt here:

"Let’s impose a sin tax on the revenues intercollegiate football and basketball generate for everyone but the players. This money could be set aside to provide funding for the ex-players to return to earn a degree, enter a graduate program, and/or start a small business."

Thanks Greg

Idea of the Century..............

WRM tackles money in politics............from the demand side.
Important essay on the need to stop politicians from fiddling
with the tax code is here.  Money excerpt is here:

That doesn’t mean I’m not worried about the mix of political ambition and corporate self-interest. But it might make more sense to work on this problem from the demand side: reducing the incentive for lobby groups to pump money into politics by reducing the discretionary ability of lawmakers to tinker with the tax system.

On changing direction.......

Dan Harmon posts on the necessity of being bad writers if we
are seeking to become good writers.  Just write.  Excerpt here:

"A rat would never get through a maze if it thought a rat’s job was to know which way to go. The dead end is not the problem in need of solving, the hunger is, and the way to solve the hunger, the way to get the cheese, is to respect a wall for a wall. To receive each obstruction as a message from the laboratory: 'You’re not going this way. Period. Change direction.'"

thanks Justin

infinitesimally, or spatially unassuming......

"No matter how hard you try you will never be able to grasp
just how tiny, how spatially unassuming, is  a proton.  It is
just way too small.
    "A proton is an infinitesimal part of an atom, which itself
of course is an insubstantial thing.  Protons are so small that
a little dib of ink, like the dot on this i can hold something in
the region of 500,000,000,000 of them, rather more than the
number of seconds contained in half a million years.  So
protons are exceedingly microscopic, to say the very least."

-opening two paragraphs from Bill Bryon's
A Short History of Nearly Everything

image courtesy of APOD.  Description here

...ask the stars up above....

Dion and the Belmonts.........................Teenager in Love

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

...the colors that you bring.......

Minnie Riperton.....................................Loving You

Opening paragraphs......

Portrait of Alexander von Humboldt by Charles Willson Peale

    On a morning in May 1804, there arrived at the White
House by Baltimore coach, and in the company of the painter
Charles Willson Peale, a visitor from abroad: an aristocratic
young German, age thirty-four, a bachelor, occupation
scientist and explorer.  And like Halley's comet or the white
whale or other such natural phenomena dear to the nine-
teenth century, he would be remembered by all who saw him
for the rest of their days."

-David McCullough, Brave Companions

The French and their cheese..................

"In a 1961 speech, Charles de Gaulle, explaining the
ungovernable character of the French nation, said,
'Nobody can easily bring together a nation that has
265 kinds of cheese."
-Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History

Another reason why separation of Church from State is a good idea........

   "The medieval Catholic Church forbade the eating of meat
on religious days, and, in the seventh century, the number of
these days was dramatically expanded.  The Lenten feast, a
custom started in the fourth century was increased to forty
days, and in addition all Fridays, the day of Christ's
crucifixion, were included.  In all, about half the days of the
year became 'lean' days, and food prohibitions for these
days were strictly enforced.  Under English law the penalty
for eating meat on Friday was hanging.  The law remained
on the books until the sixteenth century, when Henry VIII
broke with the Vatican."

-Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History

On money...............

"Money without brains is always dangerous.  Properly used,
it is the most important essential of civilization."

-Napoleon Hill,  Think and Grow Rich

A good question.................

"As is true for most people I know, I've always loved
learning.  As is also true for most people I know, I've
always hated school.  Why is that?"

-Derrick Jensen, Walking on Water

Redefining the range...........

Rotary Connection.....................................Aladdin
Note the clicks and scratches in the beginning.  The way real
music used to sound.  Note the high pitched tones starting around
1:30.  The voice of Minnie Riperton.  The year was 1968

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweet, sweet music............................

The Beach Boys and Kathy Troccoli...............I can hear music


A friend provides this counsel:

"It will cost you nothing to dream..............It will cost you
everything not to."

Thanks Phil

About those "wingless angels"..........

The earth is a depot where wingless angels pass the time,
Waiting for the long journey home.
Seeing a small boy, smiling in the corner, I ask him;
"You must be anxious to get home ?"
"I am home" he replied  "I just come here to play the games."

-Oliver Makin

Great Speeches..................

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a transformative
speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The date was August 23, 1963.  King, the public face of the
Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, was a student of Gandhi's
non-violent "soul force" approach to change.  As such, words,
both spoken and written, were one of his most powerful tools.
King was a craftsman.  Listen and read.  Judge for yourself.

The video below contains his whole "I have a Dream" speech.
The text is here.  Two excerpts here:

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

A poem for Monday....

               The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange -
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave -
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately.  The shopping.  A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment.  It's new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did the jobs on  my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you.  I'm glad I exist.

-Wendy Cope

image courtesy of

My weekend...............

Spent the weekend in South Carolina, home of great bloggers and
wonderful adventures.  An old college friend has a place on Lake
Keowee in Upstate South Carolina.  Lake Keowee is a man-
made marvel, created, I suspect, by Duke Power to provide a
source of cooling water for its nuke plants.  I would guess that
some hydro-electric and recreational benefits are being reaped as
well.  With lots of fingers and coves, the lake has over 300 miles
of shore line and has a surface of more than 18,300 acres.  Pretty
fair sized body of  water.  I had always thought of South Carolina
as being flat.  That would be wrong.  It is pretty, though.

A few of us gathered for some fun and fellowship.  Remind me
next year to pass on the water skiing.

The still of the morning
Instruments of fun or tools of our destruction?

A beautiful day for a leisurely boat ride

The day was tired and so were we

Tired, but not too tired for steaks from the grill.  Yum!

A good time was had by all.

It's about the people...............

I flew Southwest Airlines from Columbus, Ohio to Greenville/
Spartansburg, South Carolina and back this weekend. Actually, I
had to change planes a few times, so side trips to BWI and
Midway were included at no extra charge.  While the rapping
flight attendant was not part of the experience, there is just
something different about Southwest.  While transferring planes
in BWI, I passed  a gate attendant entertaining waiting passengers
with a trivia game, and giving out prizes to boot.  On all four legs
of my journey, the flight crews were having fun and into amusing
us passengers.  I paid a tad more money that I could have if I
had booked United via Orbitz.  It was worth it.  Air travel on
crowded planes is not always fun.  Every seat was taken on each
of the four legs of the trip, yet everyone arrived in good spirits.
That is a tribute to the good people at Southwest.


Thanks Nicholas

How blind can he be..............?

The Teddy Bears....................To know him is to love him

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A fine selection.........

thanks will

Opening paragraphs......

I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in
the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful
that was because it meant you could swim in Him, or have
Him brush your face in a breeze.  I am early in my story, but
believe I will stretch out into eternity, and in heaven I will
reflect upon these early days, these days when it seemed
God was down a dirt road, walking toward me.  Years ago
He was a swinging step in the distance; now He is close
enough I can hear His singing.  Soon I will see the lines
on His face.

-Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

image courtesy of

Sunday's Verse

        Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty,
                  only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.

         Being and nonbeing produce each other.
               The difficult is born in the easy.
    Long is defined by short, the high by the low.
      Before and after go along with each other.

   So the sage lives openly with apparent duality
                   and paradoxical unity.
           The sage can act without effort
                and teach without words.
     Nurturing things without possessing them,
              he works, but not for rewards;
            he competes, but not for results.

       When the work is done, it is forgotten.
              That is why it lasts forever.

-Tao Te Ching, Second Verse
Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

On stillness......................

thanks Ka-ching

Whenever you're in trouble..................

Ben E. King..............Stand By Me