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2008

Silver and Gold

For the past couple of years, we have done something really cool at Christmas time. We invite our friend Carl Blair over to paint with us. It’s like art class, except the art teacher is a serious business artist. And we all get around a table and paint the artwork for our Christmas mailings. This year, we threw C.B. a curveball. We prepped the canvases with an under coat of silver and gold metallic. He seemed to think it was cool. He did the first painting by himself. Started with the sky. Worked his way down. Then, he used the…

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If you want someone to think you’re smart…

When my older brother was teaching at Cal State Northridge…back in the 20th century…he had an office mate who was famous for his Kentucky wisdom. One thing he said a lot was, “If you want someone to think you’re smart, tell them you think they’re smart.”When I first heard it, I thought it was just an ism from a glad-hander. But over the years, I’ve seen it work. And work. And work. And, there’s a flip side. If you know you’re going to have to come up with a plausible support for the claim that somebody is smart, you start…

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Shake and Howdy.

Last weekend, we saw three awesome bluegrass (well sort of) shows at The Peace Center Bluegrass Festival. I hope they keep having the festival, because it is an awesome place to hear good music, and because a little Bluegrass is a good foil for the high culture we usually find there. Cherryholmes. There is a lot to like about this family group. The dad’s beard is a work of art. The mom is obviously an excellent musician, and should be hugged for home-schooling an entire bluegrass band. The older sister plays a pretty good banjo and is a solid singer.…

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I wanna be a plumber.

I found out last night that there’s a plumber in Ohio, Joe the Plumber, who has a taxable income over $250,000 a year. Hey, I’m from Ohio. I think I could learn to be a plumber. Sounds like a great deal to me. But if I were a plumber, with a taxable income over $250,000 a year, I think I would use some of it to hire a good tax accountant and develop a tax strategy. The deduction for those professional fees alone would knock down the taxable total by a couple thousand. Maybe I could write off some wrenches.…

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Things are looking up in High Point.

We had a great time at the furniture market. Lots of cool discoveries.A few years ago, the furniture business was changing. Consumers were very happy to buy not-so-well-made furniture, since the trend was to treat furniture as disposable. Fashion was the only driver of furniture purchases. And so, if you’re looking for a sofa in this year’s color, you buy the cheapest one, right. Rooms to Go wins. High Point looses. So, retailers were becoming very price sensitive, and not too quality sensitive. As a result, many of the furniture plants in and around High Point cut back or shut…

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Really nice furniture.

Tomorrow, Anne and I have been invited to High Point, North Carolina for the fall furniture market. Our friend, and once-and-future client Eddie Merrell shot us an email a couple weeks back and asked us to come and spend the day, as his guests. I’m really looking forward to it. If you’ve never had the opportunity to go to one of these markets, let me tell you about it. This, along with the spring market, has been the cornerstone of the American furniture industry for decades. The industry has been driven by designers and craftsmen for most of its history.…

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Granny Smith.

We had the afternoon off last Friday. Time was, we would have packed up our SUV and headed to a top-secret escape location in Chattanooga, Saluda, Blowing Rock, Atlanta, or elsewhere. But times are different. So we reverted to the habits of simpler times. Jumped in the Prius and headed for Skytop Orchard to pick apples in Flat Rock. Skytop is the coolest place. It’s on the top of a mountain, off the side of a side road. One of those old-fashioned, nothin’ fancy places you used to find in the mountains of Western North Carolina—before we were overrun with…

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Just stop it!

This is not the place to talk politics. And I am going to try not to. But is anyone else really tired of the meaningless slap fight that is trying to pass for a presidential campaign? We’re going to have round three this evening, and it will be another hour or two of…well he’s not much of an American…oh, yeah, well he’s not really for change, except for the loose change in your pockets…oh, yeah, well he hangs out with bad people…oh, yeah, well he hangs out with the bad president…oh, yeah, well he has the bad former president campaigning…

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Got the NOJO workin’.

Over the weekend we went with our friends Nancy and Glen to see Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. It was some sweet jazz, I gotta tell ya. Now, there are a lot of ways to appreciate Jazz. Back in 1975, I went to see the Thad Jones/Mel Louis big band at Ohio State. They were like this tight, smooth jazz machine. Pepper Adams played this groaty old Selmer bari sax, with lacquer peeling off of it. But he made the thing hummmmm. And they had a second trumpet player named Cecil Bridgewater. I have often wondered what…

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$700,000,000,000

I just counted. That’s eleven zeros. Eleven. Eeeee-leven! $700,000,000,000 is $50,000 each to the next 14,000,000 (that would be one million x 14) people who become unemployed because of this mess. $2,000 for every American. What if we do … less … more … nothing?I don’t know the answer. I’m gonna have to ask.Of course, the one thing I’m sure we’ve done too little of regarding this crisis … is pray.

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