Saturday, May 26, 2018

My favorite optimist..................

..........takes aim at "rent-seeking" and "crony capitalism" He concludes:

The real cause of Trump-Brexit disaffection is not too much change, but too little. We need to “radically reduce the restrictive effect of precautionary regulation” and promote a new regulatory culture based on permissionless innovation, Erixon and Weigel say.  “Western economies have developed a near obsession with precautions that simply cannot be married to a culture of experimentation”.  Amen.

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

Eric Burdon & The Animals..............River Deep Mountain High

Video, post-worthy, dies early.  Long version may be found here.


If I were to give a commencement speech, I should want to do something different. Generally, speakers either deliver a change-the-world pep talk or a face-the-world sermon.
My angle would address the act of graduation itself, for if well-handled, the consequences will follow naturally. It is imperative to encourage graduates to do what they are called upon to do at this time: Graduates graduate. This means they pass from one stage of experience, proficiency, or development to another, higher degree. It is a time of passage.
The Need to Graduate
This is one of the greater challenges of today’s graduates. Many are not graduating. They receive their diplomas with great pomp and ceremony but do not make that passage to the next stage of life. They stay frozen in immaturity, unwilling to make the decisions that require effort and grit.
After the graduation ceremony, they need to realize that they are no longer the high school or college students they once were. They should no longer play the same games, video or otherwise. They must assume new responsibilities. They must seriously think about their future. They should consider the state of the nation and the Church, which are in crisis.

Twenty bucks for me.............................

.................................It would be like stealing.

Twenty per cent of the site’s users were willing to quit for as little as a dollar; raise the monthly price to $48 (in 2016) or $38 (in 2017) and half of Facebook’s US users would happily jump ship.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons:

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Governmental Affairs.....................

     Traveled over to the big city of Columbus this afternoon for a variance hearing before of the Board of Building Appeals.  The Board of Building Appeals, among other things, has the authority to grant a variance, or relief, in cases where a literal interpretation of the Ohio Building Code could result in an unnecessary hardship.  It was our third trip for the Old School project.
      Let me say here that those of us active in large commercial and development projects tend to have solid working relationships with local government.  Just the nature of the work.  Newark has long been blessed with intelligent, hard working, competent, and fair people sitting in positions of authority.  It has been my experience that this is not true in all jurisdictions.  But  I digress.
      In the case of the  Old School, two separate and distinct governmental agencies, with different agendas, rendered opinions and set forth requirements for the project that were contradictory.
      The first of these governmental agencies is the National Park Service and its deputy, the Ohio History Connection.   They have their say in the project because, upon completion, we will receive some very necessary historic tax credits.  To preserve the historic nature of the building there are some things they say we can't do, and some things they say we must do.  One of those things we must do is preserve the existing, and historic, double door assembly separating the staircases (it is a three story building with two staircases) from the corridors.  Another thing we must do is preserve the historic wood classroom doors.
      The second of the governmental agencies involved in this tale is the local Building Code Department.    They very clearly stated when we submitted our plans for the project that the double door assembly separating the staircases from the corridors are not "fire rated" and as such would need to be replaced by a new "fire rated" assembly.  Coincidentally, they also said the same thing about the wooden class room doors.  (The classroom door situation was resolved in our second variance hearing, but more on that another time.)
     It has been my observation that building code officials take life safety issues VERY seriously.   Fire ratings exist for the purpose of getting people safely out of a building that has become involved with a fire.  It is hard to argue against them.  But.........
    The historic folks were inflexible.  I suspect they have been down this road many times and recognize that development types will figure something out without them having to concede anything.  The building code people were receptive to ideas and solutions that took into account their concerns.
     I'm not sure who first proposed the solution to the staircase/corridor impasse, might have been us, it might have been the code people.  The solution proposed was to add two sprinkler heads on each side of each of the six double door assemblies.  (A total of 24 new sprinkler heads).   These heads would act independently from the rest of the sprinkler system.  When tripped, the heads would generate a "water curtain" providing the necessary fire separation between the corridor and staircase.  While the local code people were willing to support this solution, they would not sign off on it permit-wise without the approval of the Board of Building Appeals.  So, about five months ago we had our first hearing in front of the Board.   They granted the variance under the condition that the alarm tripping the sprinkler system and creating the "water curtain" would be activated by smoke detectors.   We were so relieved to receive the variance that we didn't stop to think about smoke detection tripping the system.
     I don't know if you have any familiarity with smoke detectors, but it has been our practical experience that dust, or non-fire related particulate matter in the air, can set them off.    Creating a "water curtain" sounds like fun, but it would effectively flood a major portion of the building.  Having that happen during a fire event would be a good thing.  Having it happen because of dust or vaping would be a disaster.
     After extensive discussions with the local code people, the sprinkler company, and the alarm designer, we came to the conclusion that we needed to go back to the Board and ask for a variance to their previously granted variance.  We asked that they allow us to use a "rate of heat rise" detection system instead of smoke detection.   Reasonableness prevailed and this afternoon they said yes and granted us our third variance.   Yippee!

One of the six historic doorways separating the staircases from the corridors


A good view of one of the corridors, with the staircase doorway on the right

Four new sprinkler heads to provide for a water curtain




"He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees."

-Benjamin Franklin


     To acquire principles that work, it's essential that you embrace reality and deal with it well.   Don't fall into the common trap of wishing that reality worked differently than it does or that your own realities were different.  Instead, embrace your realities and deal with them effectively.  After all, making the most of your circumstances is what life is all about.  This includes being transparent with your thoughts and open-mindedly accepting the feedback of others.  Doing so will dramatically increase your learning.

-Ray Dalio,  Principles

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

Aretha Franklin...............................................I Say A Little Prayer


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Deeper clearer pools of thought..............

A new architectural language is being brokenly, variously, and often falsely spoken by youths with perspicacity and some breadth of view, but with too little depth of knowledge that can only come from continued experience.  Unfortunately, academic training and current criticism have no penetration to this inner world.  The old academic order is bulging with its own important impotence.   Society is cracking under the strain of a sterility education imposes far beyond capacity;  exaggerated capitalism has left all this as academic heritage to its own youth.  General cultural sterility, the cause of the unrest of this uncreative moment that now stalls the world, might be saved and fructified by this ideal of an organic architecture, led from shallow troubled muddy water into deeper clearer pools of thought.  Life needs this deeper fresher pools into which youth may plunge to come out refreshed.

-Frank Lloyd Wright,  The Natural House

image via


My soul doth still shine..............

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

1910 Fruitgum Company........................................Simon Says


1968 certainly was an interesting year.