Friday, December 10, 2021

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

      On the same day Adolf Hitler traveled south to the French border with Spain for talks with Generalissimo Francisco Franco, U. S. Ambassador Joseph Patrick Kennedy bid his farewells to senior members of his team at the American embassy in London.  As staffers shuffled out of the ambassador's office, some were dabbing tears from their eyes while others sported half-hidden sly smiles.  Despite their differences of opinion about the ambassador, each one recognized that it was the end of a turbulent era of American diplomacy in Europe.  In his two years and seven months in England, Joe Kennedy had been taken to the people's hearts, then widely loathed.  From the outset, he was feared and deemed insufferable by both the White House and the State Department.

-Susan Ronald, The Ambassador:  Joseph P. Kennedy At The Court Of St. James, 1938-1940

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

In an unpredictable world.................................

      Perhaps these are the ideal conditions in which Stoicism emerges:  a homeland lacking strong leadership and buffeted by powerful outside forces; a ringside seat to the perils of excess and greed.  It was all an early lesson that in an unpredictable world, the only thing we can really manage is ourselves — and that the space between our ears is the only territory we can conquer in any kind of certain and enduring way.

-Ryan Holiday, Lives Of The Stoics:  The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

On the importance of "minor incidents"......

      At that time New York still had one of the finest public-school systems in the country.  I was enrolled in the local school, and on my first day there something happened that taught me a very important lesson.  It was the classic new-boy situation; I was teased and taunted, and the hazing went on most of the day.  I finally turned to the biggest of my tormentors and said, "All right, meet me outside."  Everybody knew there was going to be a fight.  When school was dismissed, a gang of kids was milling around by the steps of the back yard, waiting.  My opponent was waiting too.  I was frightened, but there was nothing to do about it.  I took of my coat and started running down the stairs at my enemy.  My seeming eagerness must have startled him, for I noticed that he wilted just a bit.  The fact is, I was expecting to get knocked down and was rushing in to get it over with, but when I saw him flinch, I gained new courage.  He gave up after one or two punches.  This minor incident was soon forgotten by almost everyone but me; it taught me a lesson that latter applied in business every bit as much as it did in a high-school playground:  If you show hesitancy or fear, you may already be half-defeated.  If you put on a bold front, and fight with everything you have, you can win.  Moreover, once you have won a few battles, you are usually left alone:  in the jungle, no one thoughtlessly attacks the lion.

-William Zeckendorf, The Autobiography of William Zeckendorf:  The autobiography of the man who played a real-life game of Monopoly and won the largest real estate empire in history

And occasionally some new ones..............

 Every new generation of investors has to learn the same lessons as the previous generation. We’re all human after all.

-Ben Carlson, from this post

'tis the season..................................

Christmas must be getting close.  Watched Hans Gruber fall off of the Nakatomi Tower last weekend, and the Licking County Courthouse is now officially all decked out.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The hopeful birth.............................

 .......................of a sub-division:  Episode 16


The only real pressure on this project was the need to get the asphalt paving completed.  Asphalt paving is subject to weather.  Once it gets too cold, usually around Thanksgiving, the asphalt plants close up, with no more deliveries of asphalt until Spring.   No asphalt, no lot sales.  No lot sales, big interest carry on the development loan all winter long.  Which is, I am sure my lender will forgive me, not a good thing.

 We started work on the sub-division later that we planned — the end of the first week of August.   A huge amount of work (Episodes 1-15) had to be completed before paving commenced.  Would we be able to get it all done in time?   Our contractor, Layton Inc., did an amazing job, their crews worked long days, and the weather cooperated.  90 days from commencement, we were ready for asphalt.  By mid-November, the base and intermediate coats of asphalt have been paved.  The top-coat will follow in the Spring.  At this point, however, after finalizing some agreements with the City, we are ready to sell 49 lots.  Yippee!

Paving the cul de sac is tedious

The asphalt delivery trucks had a busy day

One lane of the base coat is complete

Base coat complete, one lane has its intermediate coat

Base coat and intermediate coat finished.  Ready for the
homebuilder to get started

25 Blogs...............................

 I will confess that it was with some nervousness that I checked Kurt Harden's latest iteration of 25 Blogs Guaranteed to Make You Smarter.  Being included on his list is a much-prized honor.  We certainly don't do this sort of thing for money.  Recognition from peers is about all the external reward to be had.  Anyway, posting on this blog has been more than a bit spotty here of late.  Would it still make the cut?   Kurt, being a generous soul, gave me a pass.  Will try to do better in the coming days to hold up my end of the bargain.

Checking in with Adam Smith..................

      Virtue is multifaceted for Smith, but his big three are prudence, justice, and beneficence.  These are the traits that make us lovely and that in turn makes us respected and admired by those around us — the traits that make us loved.

     What does Smith mean by prudence, justice, and beneficence?  For Smith, prudence means, in modern terms, taking care of yourself, justice means not hurting others, and beneficence means being good to others.  That's not a bad trio for thinking about how to live the good life.

-Russ Roberts,  How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life:  An Unexpected Guide To Human Nature And Happiness

Good debt, bad debt.....................................

 You will never obtain financial freedom while addicted to debt and consumer spending.  Wealth comes from accumulation which is the exact opposite of consumption.

-Jon Hanson, Good Debt, Bad Debt:  Knowing the Difference Can Save You Financial Life

first of all..................................

 In our time, people forget that first of all they should respect the human being in themselves.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


 "....a job is more than behavior for rent."

-Michael Wade