Choose your rut carefully, you’ll be in it for the next 50 miles.
— Highway sign
According to folklore, the above sign was spotted on the Alaskan highway. Or perhaps it was posted along the highways in the 20’s and 30’s, before blacktop became prevalent. Regardless of the source, it has served as an apt metaphor many times in my life.
Each day we are faced with thousands of decisions: what to have for breakfast, what to wear, when to work out, how much time to spend surfing my RSS feeds. Most decisions have very short-term implications and can be corrected if errant.
Occasionally decisions arise that have much longer-term implications: whether or not to take that new job, move to that new city, attend a certain college or purchase a particular car. In these cases, deliberation pays dividends. When I find myself facing such decisions I classify them with the “Choose your rut carefully” label. It may not be the most glamorous metaphor but it helps me take the time I need to make solid decisions.
With all the volatility in the stock market lately it is a good time to remind ourselves that “the market” is not the same as “the economy.” The best that I can tell — at least as of the last few years — “the market” has contracted to a relatively small group of:
- professional traders
- automated computer programs
- institutional investors
- hedge fund managers
This tight-knit circle trades amongst itself with very little relevance to what we think of as “the economy.” In contrast to this closed group, the economy is the vast sum of the creation and delivery of the goods and services we want and need.
It seems to me that the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 bears little connection to these things these days.
Don’t be afraid. Now is the time to be bold. If you don’t like the economy, let’s go out and make one of our own.
Know this. You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice-daily swill. But you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness, and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer.
I became a giant fan of M*A*S*H during my undergraduate years in college. By the time I tuned in the show had been on the air for many seasons and had found its stride. Each night the dorm lounge would fill up with fans as we all partook of the syndicated re-runs punctuated once a week with a fresh fix. The writing was superb, the acting a joy to watch. The storylines were moving and yet funny. It seems like every character was my favorite. I have seen each episode so many times I can recite the entire plot line within seconds of seeing the opening sequence.
The quote above from Charles Emerson Winchester is one of my favorites. …
I am an avid fan of podcasts. I listen to many hours a week of interesting and compelling content completely on my own schedule. The TWiT Network produces some of the best, including This Week in Tech, MacBreak Weekly and Roz Rows the Pacific. Leo Laporte is a master behind the microphone.
Leo continues to chase profitability by adding an ever-increasing array of sponsors for his “netcasting” ventures. Drobo and GoToMeeting are recent additions and he is pushing the boundaries of tolerance with the seemingly endless droning on about Visa’s security protection for online fraud. …
Here is a test to find out whether your mission on earth is finished; if you’re alive, it isn’t.
— Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
I came to Richard Bach via Neil Diamond’s soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull. While the metaphors in Jonathan Livingston Seagull are rather obvious now, the wisdom and insights from Illusions remain much more subtle and lasting.
Richard Bach was quite popular in the late 70’s and 80’s. Amazon calls him the Kahil Gibran of the Me! generation. I was in my twenties at the time and, like most people in that decade of their life, I had an overwhelming sense of calling. I had a deep sense that I was placed on this earth to complete a mission, to help people see themselves, and the world, in a fresh way.
Much has transpired since those heady days of youth. I think I have helped many people along the way, albeit never in the grand style I envisioned in my twenties. Nevertheless, on a quite day, I can still hear that voice calling inside. Since I am very much alive again today, it is good to know that my mission is not yet complete.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.
— G. K Chesterton
When Linda and I returned from our stint in London, we landed in New Jersey. Within a few weeks of our US re-entry, and for reasons that still escape us, we bought a beautiful, 2,400 square foot house with a large basement on the north side of Princeton. Despite the delightful, well-groomed neighborhood, we quickly began to discover the folly of our ways. The sweeping windows that let in so much light in the spring became a greenhouse in the heat of summer. It seemed cavernous to heat and cool. Finding enough furniture to fill all the rooms took the better part of a year. …