Friday, April 27, 2012

This probably blew some minds.......

1967 concert promo...........   Jimi Hendrix....................Hey Joe
The Monkees.....................I'm A Believer

An unplayable lie...........

"....Okay, this has been a particularly difficult hole on a difficult course.  Surrender to that difficulty.  Golf is not only like life, but it's like God.  It's bigger than you are.  At this point you can give up.  Or you can let it break you.  Then you can go on, broken and in awe.
     "To surrender means to admit defeat.  In a minor way it is what we do whenever we declare an unplayable lie.  As noted on the last hole, we do not naturally like to surrender, even in such a small way.  Yet in the ongoing journey of life, surrender is often the key to success, as we may from time to time need to surrender to our marriages or to the demands of leadership.  Still, it is so difficult, we usually need tutoring in the art of surrender.  The best tutor for me personally has been the story of Jacob in the Old Testament."
-M. Scott Peck,  Golf and the Spirit:  Lessons for the Journey

photo courtesy of

Talking about surrender..............

The great Law..................

     "The great Law of the Universe, however, is just this - that what you think in your mind you produce in your experience.  As within, so without.  You cannot think one thing and produce another.  If you want to control your circumstances for harmony and happiness, you must first control your thoughts for harmony and happiness, and then the outer things will follow.  If you want health, you must first think health; and, remember, thinking health does not mean merely thinking of a healthy body, important as that is, but it also includes thinking peace and contentment and good-will for all, for, as we shall later see in the Sermon, destructive emotion is one of the primary causes of disease.  If you want the spiritual unfoldment and growth in knowledge of God, you must think spiritual thoughts - God thoughts - and give your attention, which is your life, to God rather than to limitation."
-Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount

About power..............

     "The great question which, in all ages, has disturbed mankind, and brought on them the greatest part of their mischiefs, which has ruined cities, depopulated countries, and disordered the peace of the world, has been, not whether be power in the world, nor whence it came, but who should have it."
-John Locke

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Acres of Diamonds..................

This blogger has long been a fan of Russell Conwell and his Acres of Diamonds.   Earlier in the week, I started reading Jim Newton's biography of Earl Warren, one of the more influential Chief Justices in the history of our Supreme Court.  On page 22 was this passage:

"Methias was far more vehement about education than he was about God.  He supported Earl's desire to go to college, and he occasionally would take his son to hear speakers as they traveled through the area.  One afternoon, the two traveled together to hear an address in town.  Earl never forgot it.
     "The speaker was Russell H. Conwell, and his talk, 'Acres of Diamonds,' was one of the most acclaimed pieces of oratory of its day.  Conwell, the founder of Temple University, traveled across America delivering versions of his talk thousands of times in the early twentieth century.  He would arrive in a small town, talk to residents, and hear the story of their hamlet.  When he rose to speak that afternoon, he would weave their stories into his speech, identifying for the crowd the 'diamonds' in their town or village and reminding them to treasure those aspects of their lives and community.  One day, Conwell's journey brought him to Bakersfield.
     "Religious in fervor, moral in tone, yet practical in its advice, the speech foreshadowed much of what Warren would become.  'Greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but really consists in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life,' Conwell said.  'He who can give to this city better streets and better sidewalks, better schools and more colleges, more happiness and more civilization, more of God, he will be great anywhere.
     "Sitting in front of the stage, looking up at the orator, Earl Warren was spellbound.  'I can still see his towering form and hear his powerful voice as he told his never-to-be-forgotten story,' Warren recalled a half century later.  'Of all the lectures I heard in my youth, this one made the greatest impression on my young mind.'"


"In reflecting on our problems, we should include ourselves."

"Most problems we create because we don't know ourselves."

"When there is freedom from self, you have absolute freedom."

"The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet."

"When you are fooled by something else, the damage will not be so big.  But when you are fooled by yourself, it is fatal.  No more medicine."

"Because things don't actually go as you expect, there is suffering."

"When you can laugh at yourself, there is enlightenment."

"Moment after moment, completely devote yourself to listening to your inner voice."

"One kind word can turn over all of heaven and earth."

-quotes from David Chadwick's
Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

To be him..................

     "Everybody wants to be fancy and new.  Nobody wants to be themselves.  I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different, with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat.  It's a fact.  If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn't want to be anybody else, that guy would be the most different guy in the world, and everybody would want to be him."
-Donald Miller,
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

In ancient times...............

A ruler must not start a war out of anger;
A general must not fight a battle out of resentment.
Engage only when it is in the interest of the State;
Cease when it is to its detriment.

For while anger can be restored to happiness
and resentment can become pleasantness,
a State that has perished cannot be restored
and a man who is dead cannot be resurrected.

-Sun Tzu: War & Management
Chow-Hou Wee, et. al.

My shrink gave his OK........

Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers....Jubilation Day

amusing lyrics here

Speaking of Steve Martin....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This one's for David...................

Leading, learning, and living ain't always easy, but............

".....mostly chicanery draped in the alluring obscurities of marketing and complex math........" Or, the tough love of Paul Volcker

I had been selling real estate for two years when Paul Volcker was named Fed Chairman by Jimmy Carter in 1979.  Our market was appreciating at 10% per year.  Sellers were having fun, and buyers were swallowing hard - but were buying.  We had yet to acquire our first investment property.  Good thing, that.  Hired on to crush inflation, and even the expectation of inflation, Volcker succeeded in the task by forcing interest rates into the stratosphere.  When borrowed money comes with a 21.5% interest rate, people tend not to borrow money.  A significant recession followed and many people got hurt financially, but, as a result of Volcker's toughness, inflation, and the spectre of inflation was gone. People who believe that interest rates might go back to 21.5% tend to be careful about how much they pay.  The discipline instilled by Volcker's decisions lasted about twenty years, until the mass hysteria of the housing bubble made folks forget that prices do not always go up.  Volcker was Fed Chair until 1987, after which he sort of fell off my radar screen.  In 2008, he popped up again - as an early supporter of Barack Obama.  So much for the back story.  I've been reading Ron Suskind's very interesting book, Confidence Men:  Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.  About halfway through the book, Volcker takes center stage.  A few excerpts:

"'How do you deleverage an entire economy?'  Paul Volcker asked, in sort of a joke, 'Verrrrrry carefully.'"

"Now his focus was on the geological shifts of the debate: 'the problem is we're replacing private debt with public debt.'  When people start lending again, and eventually they will, he said, the private debt is likely to be replenished.  Then the total debt will be even higher.  How do you stop this"
     'Well, right now, when you have your chance, and their breasts are bared, you need to put a spear through the heart of all these guys on Wall Street that for years have been mostly debt merchants.'"

"These banks, Volcker said, not only were susceptible to 'moral hazard,' but worse, to keep up their earnings in a soft lending market, they'd need to rely, even more, on being R & D labs for 'financial innovation.'  On that score Volcker was blunt:  it was mostly chicanery draped in the alluring obscurities of marketing and complex math.  'The last financial innovation by the banks that really created productivity and efficiency was the ATM."

"This effort to limit deductions on high-end salaries prompted companies to put more compensation in stock options....right at the start of the strongest decade for rising stocks in a century.  Compensation, already rising fast, accelerated its ascent in an environment of weak unions and shareholder rights, and lax ethical boundaries for directors.
     'Once this sort of thing starts, it takes some real toughness to stop it,' Volcker said.  'But someone should have.  Because having people paid tens of millions for activities of no social or really economic value - or, as the crash shows, negative value - just tears a society apart, at all levels, top to bottom.  Well, maybe not the top.'"

     "Well, I said, 'The trouble with the United States recently is we spent several decades not producing many civil engineers and producing a huge number of financial engineers.  And the result is shitty bridges and a shitty financial system!'
     Volcker roared with laughter, until his eyes watered, and he took off his glasses to wipe them.  Of course, he was talking about something very serious, about choices people make in their lives, as well as those made by a nation.
     'It always used to bother me - not so much anymore, but for a long time - how I spent all my life in government, doing things that were so intangible.  What's there to show for it, what's left behind?' he said in a soft grumble.  'And I just thought, imagine saying, 'There's a a goddamn bridge I built.  Or I designed that building, or I shaped that beautiful landscape.'
     'I always wanted to build something in my life.  All I did was stop inflation.'"

Suskind's book comes highly recommended.

Nobody but yourself...................

"To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting."
-e.e. cummings

photo courtesy of

The royal road..............

"Until thought is linked with purpose there is not intelligent accomplishment.  With the majority the bark of thought is allowed to 'drift' upon the ocean of life.  Aimlessness is a vice, and such drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction.
     "They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, ans self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power-evolving universe.
     "A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it.  He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts.  It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object according to his nature at the time being; but whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought-forces upon the object which he has set forth before him.  He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings.  This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought.  Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph."
-James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

Slavish fears and follies............

     "When once Alexander had given way to fears of supernatural influence, his mind grew so disturbed and so easily alarmed that, if the least unusual or extraordinary thing happened, he thought it a prodigy or a presage, and his court was thronged with diviners and priests whose business it was to sacrifice and purify and foretell the future.  So miserable a thing is incredulity and contempt of divine power on the one hand, and so miserable, also, superstition on the other, which like water, where the level has been lowered, flowing in and never stopping, fills the mind with slavish fears and follies, as now in Alexander's case."
-Plutarch's Lives : Alexander
Translated by John Dryden

Hate it when that happens...........

thanks jonco


     "If, in Reality, there is no separate 'this' (me) or elsewhere 'that' (God) how do the illusions of the Unreal become replaced by the Real?  The way is not by acquiring even more information or knowledge about God but instead by surrendering all suppositions.  The core of devotion is humility and the willingness to surrender all belief systems and illusions of 'I know'."
-David R. Hawkins

photo courtesy of

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Mailbox money"................

Finally an article about real estate investing written for the common-sense investor!   After two years of reading about all the big money flocking to "safety" the "core" markets and over-paying (again) for the honor of owning trophies, my trade magazine highlights the money to made in secondary and tertiary markets.  About time.  Of course, it would be a stretch to call our market even tertiary.  Still, small town America is home to some of the best deals going in investment real estate.  Full essay is here.  Money quotes are here:

"Asset tangibility is also a factor. Baker works with local private investors who like to know the property and the trade area. In other words, they want a property they can literally hold on to. 'They’re not thinking in terms of hold periods,' Bakers explains. 'Their goal is long-term income — mailbox money.'"

"When investors finally find the right property in the right second- or third-tier city, they don’t want to let it go. 'Lately, investors seem to be planning on a longer hold period than investors who were buying properties 10 years ago,' Berezin says. 'They accept that, while this market is clearly going to support appreciation, this is not an environment where a two- to three-year hold then flip strategy is going to succeed.'"

photo courtesy of


The Outlaws..................................Ghost Riders in the Sky

Ghost Riders was written by Stan Jones in 1948. It was first recorded by Burl Ives in February of 1949.  In March of 1949 Vaughn Monroe recorded it.  A month later his version hit #1 on the Billboard Charts.  The song has been recorded by more than fifty different artists.  Some of the better known ones include Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Spike Jones, Elvis, The Brothers Four, Johnny Cash, and my favorite - The Outlaws.

Vaughn Monroe..............................Ghost Riders in the Sky


let’s walk together
and apart
let’s see the world anew

let’s watch the waves
crash on the rocks
and love each other true

let’s hear the songs
that nature sings
let sorrows be subdued

let’s figure out
a way to be - that lasts
our whole lives through

Copyright © 2012 Nan P.

And not a moment too soon........

Sockless season is back at Guanciale's.

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

Matilda Jane Roberts was naked as the air.  Known throughout south Texas as the Great Western, she came walking up from the muddy Rio Grande holding a big snapping turtle by the tail.  Matilda was almost as large as the skinny little Mexican mustang Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call were trying to saddle-break.  Call had the mare by the ears, waiting for Gus to pitch the saddle on her narrow back, but the pitch was slow in coming.  When Call glanced toward the river and saw the Great Western in all her plump nakedness, he knew why:  young Gus McCrae was by nature distractable; the sight of a naked, two-hundred-pound whore carrying a full-grown snapping turtle has captured his complete attention, and that of the rest of the Ranger troop as well.
-Larry McMurtry, Dead Man's Walk

From Todd Lohenry's very excellent blog.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anatole France.............

Anatole France, nee Jacques Anatole Thibault,  was the son of a Paris book dealer. He grew up to become a highly esteemed man of letters.  A poet, novelist, newspaperman, and a story-teller, France won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921.  He also said some neat stuff.  To wit:

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.

It is only by amusing oneself that one can learn. 

An education which does not cultivate the will is an education that depraves the mind.

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

The greatest virtue of man is perhaps curiosity.

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.

If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.

Of all the sexual aberrations, chastity is the strangest.

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.

Ignorance and error are necessary to life, like bread and water.

The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming, frightful, sweet, bitter, and that is everything.

For a man’s life would become intolerable, if he knew what was going to happen to him. He would be made aware of future evils, and would suffer their agonies in advance, while he would get no joy of present blessings since he would know how they would end. Ignorance is the necessary condition of human happiness, and it has to be admitted that on the whole mankind observes that condition well. We are almost entirely ignorant of ourselves; absolutely of others. In ignorance, we find our bliss; in illusions, our happiness.

Just thought you should know..........

There are roughly 144,000 mosquitoes for every person on earth.

Mosquitoes do not feed on blood.  Mosquito adults feed on flower nectar, juices, and decaying matter for flight energy

The female mosquito requires a blood meal for development of her eggs.  A mosquito can drink up to three times its weight in blood.  It would take about 1.2 million bites to drain all the blood from your body.

Malaria mosquitoes are attracted to ripe Limburger cheese and smelly feet.  The odor-protein given off by the cheese was found to be structurally similar to human sweat.  Mosquitoes are also attracted by body heat and exhaled carbon dioxide.

Mosquito repellent doesn't repel mosquitoes; it blocks their sensors so that they don't know you are there.

The average life span of a female mosquito is 3 to 100 days.  Males live for 10 to 20 days.  A mosquito develops from egg to adulthood in 4 to 7 days.

Mosquitoes have been around for 100 million years.  In that time they have diversified into 3,000 species that are very different from one another. There are over 170 described species of mosquitoes from North America. 

photo courtesy of

On mistakes..................

Winning battles...................

    When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to his officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly, haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.
     When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one, and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must be a rout.
     These are the six ways of courting defeat - neglect to estimate the enemy's strength; want of authority; defective training; unjustifiable anger; nonobservance of discipline; failure to use picked men - all of which must be carefully noted by the general who has attained a responsible post.
     The natural formation of the country is the soldier's best ally; but a power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces of victory, and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers, and distances, constitutes the test of a great general.  He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles.  He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated.
-The Art of War
James Clavell channeling Sun Tzu

What do you make of that, Watson?

Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
"Isa Whitney, brother of the late Elias Whitney, D.D,. Principal of the Theological College of St. George's, was much addicted to opium.  The habit grew upon him, as I understand, from some foolish freak when he was at college; for having read DeQuincey's description of his dreams and sensations, he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects.  He found, as so many more have done, that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of, and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug, and object of mingled horror, and pity to his friends and relatives.  I can see him now, with yellow, pasty face, drooping lids, and pin-point pupils, all huddled in a chair, the wreck and ruin of a noble man."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
opening paragraph from The Man With The Twisted Lip


Earth Day passed yesterday without much notice from this wee
corner of the blogosphere.  In case you are interested in saving
the planet, you might want to watch some George Carlin, as he
puts it all into perspective.

thanks mark

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Creedence Clearwater Revival............Good Golly Miss Molly

Good Golly Miss Molly was written by John Marscalco and
Robert Blackwell and first recorded by Little Richard.  The
Valiants recorded it soon thereafter, and their version - played to
an even faster tempo - was released first.  The year was 1958.  
Creedence covered the song, with a few subtle lyrics changes, in 1969.

Little Richard......................................Good Golly Miss Molly


It is indeed the mind that is the cause of men’s bondage and liberation. The mind that is attached to sense-objects leads to bondage, while dissociated from sense-objects it tends to lead to liberation. 
-Amrita-Bindu Upanishad

Economic systems explained to us history majors.....

21 Economic Models Explained
You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.
You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.
You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.
You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.
You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.
You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.
You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
You have two cows.
You worship them.
You have two cows.
Both are mad.
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.
You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.
You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

This has been cut and pasted from here.  The comments section to the post adds a whole bunch of new models.   Worth the visit.

thanks craig

Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt.....

Thou canst not prove the Nameless, O my son,
Nor canst thou prove the world thou movest in,
Thou canst not prove that thou art body alone,
Nor canst thou prove that thou art spirit alone,
Nor canst thou prove that thou art both in one:
Thou canst not prove thou art immortal, no
Nor yet that thou art mortal—nay my son,
Thou canst not prove that I, who speak with thee,
Am not thyself in converse with thyself,
For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise,
Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!
She reels not in the storm of warring words,
She brightens at the clash of ‘Yes’ and ‘No,’
She sees the Best that glimmers thro’ the Worst,
She feels the Sun is hid but for a night,
She spies the summer thro’ the winter bud,
She tastes the fruit before the blossom falls,
She hears the lark within the songless egg,
She finds the fountain where they wail’d ‘Mirage’!

    “What Power? aught akin to Mind,
        The mind in me and you?
    Or power as of the Gods gone blind
        Who see not what they do?”

-excerpted from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Ancient Sage

A verse for Sunday.....

1.  Praise the Lord, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples!

2.  For His lovingkindness is great towards us,
And the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 117
New American Standard
The Open Bible

The enemy: Prejudice....................

"Thus science and prejudice spring from the same root; they are both attempts to draw conclusions from given experiences.  But prejudice is crippled logic.  It makes hasty generalizations from too few facts; it overlooks what others see; it imagines what for others is not there at all."
-Brand Blanshard, Four Reasonable Men