Post 8 How To Pick A Career……October 19, 2014


Steve Jobs vs Mark Cuban…..To pick a career when you’re young is often a baffling task. The college graduate who knows exactly what he/she wants to do is the exception. Most college graduates don’t have a clue. How can they? They have yet to experience life. That’s why the following advice from life-coach and psychologist, Marty Nemko, may be extremely helpful.  A career counselor for almost 30 years and author of Cool Careers for Dummies, here’s what Nemko has to say about this all-important career -finding decision: 

“Rather than tell you to see a career counselor for ten sessions only to be told ‘There’s lots of things you could pursue,’  try this. It’s fast, free and often surprisingly helpful: Scan the index of the 300 careers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, available free at  and read the profiles of any careers that appeal to you. Then read a couple of articles on that career. To find them, just Google the name of the career and the word careers, for example, ‘geologist careers’. Finally, talk with, visit, or volunteer for someone in that career, and voila, you’ve picked more wisely than do 95% of career searchers.” 

graduation-post7In pursuing your career, the common perception is that you should be passionate about your work. Apple founder, Steve Jobs, said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  Mark Twain put it in more practical terms: “The more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make.” And the famous mythologist, Joseph Campbell’s philosophy is often summed up in three words: “Follow your bliss.”

But not everybody agrees. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban believes that what comes first and what’s most important is hard work. He says that following your passion is “easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.”  Instead he says you should “follow your effort”, meaning work hard and get to be good at what you’re doing. And because people usually like what they’re good at, you’ll likely come to enjoy or even be passionate about your job. In sum, work hard, persist, and good things will happen (click HERE for Cuban article).  Cuban’s views echo those of professor and author Cal Newport whose book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, is sub-titled, “Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” (click HERE for more on Newport and his book).

The way I see it is this: “Follow your passion” is good advice for the few people who have it at a young age, along with the necessary talent.  But for most graduates starting out, it doesn’t apply. For them, what’s  essential is the hard work and the persistence. The single best approach to selecting a career, in my view, is to find a line of work that you’re good at and that you like or at least don’t dislike.

picture-post 7=find a niche

Then find a niche within that field and become expert at it. In this era of specialization, you may have to find a niche within a niche. For example, as a securities broker you may focus on Funds, and then specialize further in ETFs. Or as a lawyer, you may select Entertainment Law and then specialize further in the Music Publishing business. The important thing is that you learn everything there is to know about your sub-specialty, so that  you know more than anyone else in your field or in your firm or in your office. The result: when anyone thinks about ETFs or Music Publishing Contracts, they immediately think about you. Your name is synonymous with your specialty and your lasting success is assured.

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The Diaper Connection…….The wisdom of Benjamin Franklin is legendary (click HERE for Wikipedia write-up). The following quote is a shining example of the timelessness of his insight. Written over 200 years ago, it resonates today as much as it did then, maybe more.Politicians

And here are a few other samples of the timeless wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. You’d think they were written yesterday, not two centuries ago:   “We’re all born ignorant, but you have to work hard to remain stupid……….Love your neighbor but don’t cut down the hedge……….I believe I am now in the prime of my senility………..In your amours, you should prefer older women to younger ones because they are so grateful”.

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Enjoy your old age; you’ve done your job….. Parents and Grandparents: How do you feel about leaving money to your children when you die? Children: How do you feel about receiving money from your parents when they die?  These are age-old questions addressed by personal finance writer Ron Lieber in his 9/19/2014 column in The N Y Times. The title of his column clearly reveals where he’s coming from: “Parents, The Children Will Be Fine, Spend Their Inheritance Now”.

Here’s Lieber’s thinking: “The parental instinct to leave something behind for the children might seem loving and generous, but there is another way to look at it. All of this devotion to the next generation


 may also be the height of foolishness. After a few decades of spending well into the six figures to rear and educate each child (and increasingly, years more because young adults are not quite  financially independent), the parents probably ought to cease feeling this sense of obligation or guilt. Far better to spend their retirement money in the present on making meaningful memories with family members or on top-notch health care that can help make aging more comfortable and graceful–in their own home if possible.”

Do most adult children expect  an inheritance?  According to the poll quoted by Lieber in his NY Times column, most of those who are providing for their parents do so with little expectation of receiving anything in return. But some who remain “on the dole well into adulthood expect their parents to provide for them from the grave too.”

Since older people tend to be “old-fashioned” and have trouble initiating forthright conversations about money, Lieber’s advice is for adult children (40-60) to speak to their parents and tell them this: “I don’t want an inheritance, nor do I expect one……spend your money on your health and comfort…….leave a bit aside for me or for charity if it truly makes you happy, requires no sacrifice or makes sense for tax reasons; otherwise, spend what you have and have faith that the education and life skills you already gave me are more than enough….” (Click HERE for complete column).

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If this doesn’t calm you down, nothing will…..      In our ever-increasingly violent and chaotic world, anything that suggests peace and serenity has strong appeal. Over 2 million views have been recorded on YouTube for a video with this title: “Relaxing 3-Hour Video of a Tropical Beach with Blue Sky, White Sand and Palm Tree“. It’s a perfect, picture post-card, tropical beach scene. The sounds of the small waves gently breaking on the shore line and the subdued cries of the seagulls in the distance can be mesmerizing. while the feel of the rising tide embracing more and more of the sand, the palms moving slightly in the soft breeze and the puff of white clouds on the horizon complete a picture of tranquility. Comments one viewer, “The earth can be a beautiful place minus the people on it” (click HERE to see video; commercial is very brief; raise your audio).

After watching this idyllic setting and especially after listening to the lilting, relaxing, almost hypnotic sound of the gentle waves, you will probably be surprised that this video has drawn criticism. How can you pan perfection?  Here are some of the negative comments: “the clouds don’t  change……..the sound is not synced……..this is not real; I live near a beach where the sand is dark and full of trash and seaweed and the water is brown……..the tide doesn’t change………..I need a beach chair and a cocktail…..this is a 25 second video looped for 3 hours…”

This video is one of many on You Tube that offer sights and sounds from nature designed to help you relax, meditate and sleep. Some are as long as 11 hours with titles such as Rain and Thunder, Ocean Fish, Beach Sunrise, Waterfalls and Geyser at Yellowstone.

On his website, The Conscious Life, devoted to the holistic approach to a healthy life (click HERE), Wee- Peng Ho , an art director from Singapore, says, “Want to get away from it all? Reclaim your peace of mind with the soothing sounds of nature and relax in the loving embrace of Mother Earth.”

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Obscene or educational?……...In September of 2014, six second graders from P.S. 295 in Brooklyn, NY  got early exposure to the world of fine dining. Sponsored by the NY Times, the six children had a 7 course, $220 dinner at the famous French restaurant, Daniel. Attended by 5 waiters and the star chef Daniel Boulud himself, the whole experience was recorded on a 7 minute video published in the Times (click here), including the faces of the 7 year olds and their comments as they react to the fancy French food. The Times was right—the promotion caused lots of buzz, well worth the expense.

There were some 500 comments from readers  Some expressed “outrage” that the NY Times should be responsible for such an obscene display of extravagance against a background of world hunger and of children dying of malnutrition. But more typical were these responses: ” Lighten up. I think it’s great to expose kids to new experiences…..let’s embrace showing our children what real food  really is………if kids were more educated about healthy food at an early age, maybe there’d be less obesity and diabetes.” Advised one reader, “If you rename foie gras liverwurst and capon chicken, maybe your kids will eat it.” 

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Post #7: Dick Davis: Reflections OnThe Stock Market……….October 16, 2014



Nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody—and I mean NOBODY knows the answers !!

If nobody knows the answers, why this post?

I am diverting from the non-investment theme of this blog because I would like to take advantage of yesterday’s wildly gyrating performance to make a few points on how to deal with the stock market.

Not only don’t we know WHAT the market will do, we also don’t know WHY . That means that the millions of words written and broadcast every day attempting to explain why the market did what it did, are USELESS. The only purpose they serve is to mislead a gullible public—and to provide employment for an army of commentators on TV, print, Wall Street, etc. , many of whom are equally ignorant with the public, and actually believe that when they declare “the market plunged 400 points, triggered by growing fears of Ebola, a weakening in the Global economy, sliding oil prices, fear of deflation…..”—they actually believe what they’re saying. How can that be, when the exact same conditions existed on days when the market rallied sharply last week?

The truth is , it’s all guess work. The only time we know for sure that news causes a move is when the news is a big surprise (war, assassination , surprise moves by the Federal Reserve., surprise earnings, etc.). Otherwise, the countless hours the public spends on reading and listening to explanations is a waste of time. A study of human nature, human behavior and crowd behavior might prove more helpful. Fear is a powerful motivator and it can spread faster than Ebola, but when the last fearful investor sells, there are only buyers left and so the market turns around. Fear is also contagious, feeds on itself and gains momentum, triggered by scary news of a crashing market. The seller is not thinking of a possible rise in interest rates; he’s thinking he better sell before he gets wiped out.



The market is merci

The market can be merciless. It can eat you up and spit you out. It will do what it has to do to make the majority of people wrong. . You cannot predict the unpredictable. You cannot use logic to try and forecast the illogical. The market is perverse, irrational and random.

So how do you deal with this animal–sometimes a bull, sometimes a bear, but always an enigma ? There are some basic concepts that should be understood——————the stock market has been in a major underlying uptrend for over 100 years. At yesterday’s close the S&P is down 7% from it’s all-time high but up almost 300% from its 2009 low. On a long term chart of the S&P, you’ll hardly see yesterday’s precipitous drop. And that’s the key. All your thinking has to be LONG TERM.

That’s why the market is really a young mans/womens game. If they stay with it, they have enough years to recover from mistakes. They just have to hold–that’s all. What has worked for over a century is suddenly not going to work for them.\ Those of us that are older can leave stocks to our children for them to hold (and make their own mistakes with) or perhaps we can learn to acquire the discipline necessary to buy stocks on weakness and sell them on strength, learning to treat losses as learning tools

I would advise my parents to ignore the market completely. Let their holdigs go up and down with zero monitoring , confident the 150 year uptrend will continue. (If they have money to invest, I would remind them that bull markets are always followed by bear markets (down 20% plus) and to wait for major weakness to buy.)

None of what I’ve said above applies to short term traders. They are a special breed; very few succeed—but there are some (see and if you have time, money, brains, discipline and persistence, you may lose your money anyway, but slowly. (With Kirk you’ve got your bet shot. I’ve known lots of traders. Kirk is, by far, the most consistently successful and , more important, the best teacher).

For my children, I would advise a combination of quality, dividend growth stocks along with diversified low-cost index funds (via ETFs or mutual funds). They should be bought on weakness or on a dollar cost averaging basis. Also, in their later, income oriented years,   if interest rates had finally gone up, they might want to consider laddering C Ds.

But what you buy is never as important as WHEN you buy. The last 5 1/2 years, up until recently, it didn’t matter that much. Regardless of when you bought, the powerful uptrend bailed you out. That was beautiful but the market has a way of replacing feast with famine. If nothing else, it teaches you humility (which is why even the heads of the very brokerage firms that are advising clients to buy speculative stocks, are themselves buying safe, conservative, dull, market-matching, passive index funds

But you don’t have to be concerned with any of this if you just ignore the market and everyone and everything that has anything to do with it. What you don’t know, can’t hurt you. Thus , you avoid the temptation of doing dumb things. Ignorance is truly bliss. If you must, let your awareness be fleeting, peripheral and casual. If you’re young, dollar cost average and know that days like yesterday are your best friend.

Whether young or old, my bottom-line advice to investors is the same at 86 as it was at36: stay healthy–eat good and exercise. For most,  the market is a long term game. It behooves us to be around long term. (and I hope you do better than my uncle Max. He thought he had a corner on the market; now  he’s got a market on the corner)

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Post #6 Doctors Should Admit Their Mistakes…………….Sept. 11, 2014


Newspapers Are Near theBottom dog Some people think dogs are dumb animals. But perception is often far from reality, The dog pictured here, for example, is smart. Very smart. The “dumb” perception is unfair. When it comes to a corporation, the perception of how it handles its customers is crucial. Henry Ford said, “A business that is absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry when it comes to profits. They will be embarrassingly large”.

Perhaps the one industry that has been maligned the most over the years has been the newspaper industry. The confidence of Americans in journalists has been in bad need of repair for a long time. As far back as the 1800s, Mark Twain was saying, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

Humorist and Pulitzer prize winning columnist for The Miami Herald, Dave Barry, describes the plight of the press this way: “Polls show that, in terms of public trust, the news media now rank lower than used-car salespeople, kidnappers, tapeworms, Hitler and airline flight announcements. (We are still slightly ahead of lawyers.)” Click here for complete article.

Who is responsible for this lack of trust? Barry puts the blame squarely on The New York Times, which he describes as the only newspaper “capable of publishing a Sunday edition the size of a Buick Riviera”. Barry says one of the problems is the company food. “The editor is stuck in a building eating NEWSPAPER CAFETERIA  FOOD that was originally developed by construction-industry researchers as a substitute for PLWOOD.”

One bright note: in the latest popularity poll, newspapers are ranked above the members of Congress—the group ranked lowest when it comes to having the confidence of the American public.

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When Doctors Admit Their Mistakes….  Back in Post #3 (see Archives–July 8), you’ll find a description of just what “Ted Talks” are, and how they can be accessed. Ted Talk speakers continue to be a source of refreshingly different and helpful information. The sensitive subject of doctor mistakes is addressed with amazing candor by Dr. Brian Goldman in his 19 minute Ted Talk on March 11, 2013 (click here for video;  make time for this; it’s remarkable).

Dr. Goldman, a hospital Emergency Room doctor in Toronto, Canada, reminds us that hospital acquired infections are on the rise. “Errors happen every day. One in 10 medications given in a hospital is either the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. In the U.S., the Institute of Medicine says 100,000 die  of preventable medical errors, which is a gross underestimate.”

The focal point of Goldman’s Ted Talk is the description of his first big mistake—a congestive heart failure patient that he sent home prematurely, after she showed improvement. But an hour after she got home, she collapsed and returned to the hospital in severe shock. She never recovered from a coma and 9 days later the family pulled the plug and she died of irreversible brain damage. (Keep in mind, Goldman was a grade”A” cum laude student in med school). images---dick daviis blog-docter

Goldman says “In sending her home, I disregarded the voice deep down inside that was trying to tell me, Goldman, not a good idea, don’t do this……..It’s taken decades for me to be able to talk about my mistake publicly.”

Goldman says doctors make mistakes all the time. They are commonplace.  He pleas for a culture in medicine that encourages and rewards doctors to discuss their serious errors with each other. He contends that a free exchange of such valuable information will save lives and trigger the discovery of new medications and new treatments. He says,”most of the great successes in medicine come from failure.”

Dr. Goldman practices what he preaches. He has a radio show in Canada called, “White Coat, Black Art.” He brings doctors on the program for the purpose of asking each one: “What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made?” Answers have ranged from prescribing the wrong medication resulting in serious  side effects, to a missed brain bleed, to a missed fracture in a child that caused unnecessary suffering. (And these are just the mistakes they admit to.)

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It’s All About “Givers” and “Takers” When it comes to the importance of mate-selection, author H. Jackson Brown is unequivocal. He says, “Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery”. The following overview .is my attempt to put this life-shaping decision into some perspective.

There are people in this world who are unselfish and think of others before themselves. Then there are those who are selfish and think of themselves before others. But human nature is complex; it defies black and white characterizations. Most of us are in between; we can be self-centered sometimes, caring and empathetic at other times, but mostly in neutral most of the time.

Despite the complexity of human nature, there are people whose first thoughts, instinctively and intuitively, in any situation, will be of the other person. Being unselfish, caring about and helping others is in their genes, it’s their core nature; it’s their DNA. If you have 2 people like this, and they’re getting married, they will stay married forever. The magic formula, then, for wedding couple--posy 7--blogdurability in marriage is having a Giver marry a Giver. There can always be extenuating circumstances, but this is as close as you can get to guaranteed, lasting harmony.

On the other hand, if a Giver marries a Taker, all bets are off. The marriage may or may not last. It  depends on the Giver’s tolerance for on-going indifference and thoughtlessness. What’s certain is that there will be turbulence in the marriage with future prospects dim.

And finally, there’s the third ugly prospect—when a Taker marries a Taker. This is the formula for disaster. I used the word “guarantee” in describing the happy outcome of a marriage between Giver and Giver. I can use it again here. This marriage is guaranteed to end in divorce.

The moral then— when contemplating marriage, is to be sure that both you and your intended are Givers. How do you do this? Mostly, you have to be lucky. As for yourself, by the time you’re ready for marriage, your character is pretty well formed. None of us think of ourselves as being selfish. But just in case we’re wrong, we can try focusing even harder on thinking of others before ourselves—and then practice doing it. Author Michael Ben Zehabe asks, “Would you marry you? Be the right person before seeking the right person.” Givers & Takers

An easier but still difficult job is using good judgment in picking a mate. I believe  courses in Mate Selection and Happy Marriage should be taught in high school and required to be taken in college. It’s not the solution, but it would help.

There are three things that make the job of picking a life partner sticky. One is that the ability to be a good judge of character is unlikely to develop from weak parenting and/or poor role models, the background in so many homes today..Second, at the age of marrying, decisions are mostly influenced by emotions, not reason. Your heart, not your brain is doing most of the work. And third is that during the courtship period, both parties are at their best, which may or may not portend their actual behavior after marriage (a pretty good argument for avoiding surprises is living together before tying the knot; another way not to be surprised is to take the “car door test” as explained in archives Post 2, June 2 under “Choosing A Wife”).

To you and me, picking out examples of indifferent and selfish behavior would be easy. Many “me-first” traits would be painfully obvious. But when you’re in love and you want something to happen, you make excuses to explain away what are clear warning signals.

So it all comes back to what I said in the beginning: when you marry young, your judgment is also young. If it turns out to be a lasting and happy marriage, for the most part, you were LUCKY..

Luck--givers and takers





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He Died in 1965  But His Words Live On    How is it possible for one mind to produce so many memorable, witty, pithy, clever. prudent and deliciously quotable words?  It bogles the mind, especially in light of the fact that the person involved had a speech impediment! Winston Churchill has been called “one of the most quotable men who has ever walked God’s green earth” by columnist John Hawkins.

Here are some of the short, snappy Churchill quotes I like the most: ♦  My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied  with the best. ♦ If you are going through hell, keep going. ♦ Nothing in life is more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.  ♦Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ♦ When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone. ♦ He is a very modest man, with much to be modest about.

Winston Churchill And then there are my two favorite lightening quick response quotes. George Bernard Shaw writes, “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend, if you have one.” To which Churchill replies, “Can not possibly attend first night., Will attend second–if there is one.” Finally, there’s this exchange with Lady Astor: “Winston, if I was your wife, I’d put poison in your coffee.” “Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.

Click here for full profile of Churchill.

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Out Of The Mouths of Babes… Children sometimes say remarkable or insightful things far beyond their years. Such was the case when 6 year old Tre Hart of Fort Lewis, Washington was told by his mother that she waschild exasperated-mother pregnant pregnant with her third child. Pediatricians tell us that young children are often upset by such news. The new baby represents the threat of competition for the love and attention of their parents. In this case, “upset” is putting it mildly. See and hear for yourself the unbelievable reaction of Tre when his mother tells him she’s pregnant (click HERE for the story and HERE for the video).

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POST #5 ; Power of the Four Letter Word—-and more: August 17, 2014


NOTE: Thank you for subscribing. If you haven’t done so, please enter your e-mail address  under “Subscribe free…..” in the right hand column. Your subscription is the life-blood of this blog. Without it, we’re out of business. So, thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

This blog continues to be a work in progress. Most of the millions of blogs out there deal with one subject or narrative in some depth. I will do that sometimes, but I suspect the blog would be more interesting, informative and entertaining if it included multiple, briefer items.

This Post, for example, (it’s my 5th; see Archives for previous posts), includes five items. Since the umbrella theme of this blog is the pursuit of wisdom, the subject material can cover the universe—-which means you’ll never know what’s coming. I’ve had 40 years of experience picking out the best ideas in the investment advisory field (see Profile). Hopefully, that experience has sharpened the selection skills that will shape this blog.

Because the final format is still up in the air, your feedback is important. Please let me know what you think. There is a place to “Leave a Reply” if you scroll way down to the end of the post. Your thoughts pro, and especially con, regarding content, format, layout, length, headlines–whatever, will be received with gratitude




Jeopardy’s All-Time Winner……………Ken Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak on the game show, Jeopardy. He won 74 games in a row during the period June through November, 2004. In a cover story in the August 2014 magazine published by Costco called The Costco Connection, Jennings talks about his initial audition to get on Jeopardy. He says, ken jennings“There are tens of thousands of people trying out every year for 400 spots. It’s five times harder, by the numbers, than getting into Harvard or Yale.” At the time, Jennings was a computer programmer and would take two days off to tape 10 shows at a time. He ultimately set the American game show record with 74 straight wins, collecting a total of over $3 million dollars in the process. What was the question that broke the streak on November 30, 2004?  “Most of  this company’s 70,000 white-collar employees work only4 months a year.” Jennings answered, “What is FedEx.” The correct answer—H&R Block. Jennings’ game show preparation involved extensive research. Here are 3 helpful ideas from the master on how best to look for information: (1) Eventually you’ll have to go off line and find a library. (2) Start with Wikipedia; it’s surprisingly accurate. (3) He warns, “Trust no one. Get a second opinion on every  fact. Every source, no matter how good, will have mistakes.”

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Power of the Four Letter Word……..Sometimes it takes a carefully chosen 4 letters to deliver a message with maximum force:   babyfuck                                     










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Ship Out the Elderly……….Harry Newton,  in his always interesting blog, technology, comes up with an innovative way to boost our economy: To help save our economy,

OldPeoplethe Government will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals). This will lower Social Security and Medicare costs. There are two benefits:     (1)  Old people are easier to catch and,    (2)  Old people will not remember how to get back home.

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Total Unselfishness………….When trying to make friends with a young child, adults usually have difficulty. By nature, children are defensive around strangers. When their comfort zone is invaded by an unknown presence, their normal behavior shuts down and their guard goes up. But there are some adults who gain the confidence of children quickly and easily. Why? What’s the key to quickly gaining the trust of a child?

By simply spending time with a child, which few are willing to do. If an adult shows a complete, uninterrupted  and genuine interest holding handsin a child, and if that interest is sustained, the child will likely respond positively. The key word is “genuine”. A child can sense right away if the interest is real or not. The best test, of course, is willingness to spend uninterrupted time, be a good listener and ask questions about things the child cares about.  Most adults don’t have the ability or the desire to do this. Those that do often get amazing results.

The same applies to relationships between two adults. Genuine interest in the other person, the willingness to listen to his or her grievances for as long as it takes, and the ability to sustain that level of concern, is a difficult model to follow. Life takes over. But the failure to carve out quality time in our important relationships is often the reason for their break-up.

Personal development blogger, Marc Chernoff, writes insightfully, “Nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention–your full presence. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event is the ultimate compliment. It is indeed the most valued gesture you can make to another human being.”

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Day Trading or Daydreaming?……We’ve all thought, at one time or another, that it can’t be that hard to make a little extra cash by buying a stock, and when it goes up a little (not a lot, just a little; we don’t want to be greedy), when it moves a bit higher, that day or the next, sell it. Let’s say we tell the broker to sell when it’s up 1/2 a point. That’s a quick $100  profit on a 200 share purchase (commissions are negligible). Now, if you can do that, let’s say once a week, what a great way to supplement your income without ever having to leave the house.

But, wait a minute. If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. Well, not everybody, but many do try, and when they do, they find it’s not that easy, In fact, short term or day trading is very, very difficult.

Charles Kirk (, a swing/day trader-and one of the few that is consistently profitable, talks about the importance of being able to control your emotions, He says, “Everything that comes naturally to you will work against you when you trade,……bad things happen even when you do all the right things…….few careers offer the potential for self-destruction as quickly as full-time trading.”

John Pherris, another experienced trader, is even more adamant. He says, ” Take $10,000 and light it on  fire in your backyard. If  that does not bother you, then you might be a candidate.

But trading was no big deal to legendary humorist,  Will Rogers. His approach was simple: “Buy a good stock and when it goes up, sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.”

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Post #4

 Blurbs 18-23 …  July 26, 2014

(18)     Wisdom vs I.Q.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a test for measuring wisdom? Then we could simply elect the wisest person in the land to be president. But determining wisdom is subjective. What or who I consider wise, you may not. Intelligence, on the other hand, is measurable. We could elect the candidate with the highest I.Q. but that wouldn’t work. One can be very, very smart and, at the same time, very, very unwise. In making our choices, whether it be for politicians, teachers, spiritual leaders, etc., we should be aware of the important difference between intelligence and wisdom. Boiling it down to one word, the difference is judgment. All wise people have good judgment; high I.Q. people may have good judgement or they may not.

Can young people be wise? No, they cannot. You can be young and smart but not young and wise because to be wise you must live life, you must experience and you must acquire knowledge. The philosopher, Mortimer Adler, said, “To say a wise young person is equivalent to saying a round square. Wise and young will never go together. It’s impossible”. How about wise and old? The misperception is that as we age, we get wiser. For a few, yes; for the many, no way. What happens as we grow older, is that we grow older.

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(19)    Seinfeld: A Compulsion to Work

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t need the work. Largely due to the huge success of Seinfeld, among the most popular sitcoms in the history of American television. Seinfeld has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $820 million, (not to mention 46 Porsches.) According to Forbes, at 60, he’s the wealthiest actor alive. Yet he continues to write jokes and tour the country, performing stand-up comedy in locations like the Kennedy Center, Foxwoods, Atlantic City, Caesar’s Palace and Calgary. He also continues to perform before a national audience, but this time it’s via the internet, not television. In 7/19/2012 he began broadcasting  a comedy web series on, which, in the summer of 2014 is entering its 4th season (it has been renewed for 6 more seasons.) He calls it Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Seinfeld and his guest are not telling jokes. Instead they talk about all aspects of comedy in a funny and entertaining way.,  The format is for Seinfeld to pick up a guest comedian in a different vintage car each week and take him or her out for a cup of coffee and conversation at a restaurant.  Topics  can include all aspects of daily life, including family and parenting. Guest comedians have included Larry David, Alec Baldwin, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Tina Fey, Don Rickles,, Howard Stern, Chris Rock and Louis C. K., among others. To view any or all of the episodes so far, click here. What motivates Seinfeld to keep going? In an in-depth interview in the 12/20/2012  NY Times, Seinfeld says he has a creative itch he can’t scratch, that he plans to do stand-up into his 80s and beyond (a la George Burns) and that he intends to die standing.

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(20)   Let Go

Marc Chernoff and his wife, Angel write a blog offering tips for productive living and general self improvement. In an article titled 23 Things People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently, Marc includes the following: “They accept that not all relationships are meant to last.- This is a harsh truth. And what we do with our pain is nearly everything. To punish people for not loving us is a heartbreaking, broken sort of justice. It just doesn’t work out for anyone. So let the wrong ones go, willingly. Ultimately, you will meet two kinds of people in life: those who build you up and those who tear you down.

In the end, though, you will thank them both. Because the wrong relationships eventually lead to the right ones.” Click here and scroll down for the full article.

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(21)   STUFF

We are an acquisitive society. We like to own things. According to one source, the average American household contains more than 300,000 possessions. Psychologists tell us we accumulate more than we need in the false hope that it will lead to happiness. Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are two gentlemen whose mission it is to promote a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. They believe that “by clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution.” If you want to access more information on getting rid of the excess stuff in your life, check out Millburn and Nicodemus’ website, the Here’s one of their suggestions: “….ignore the bullshit advertisements and determine what you need based on your own life, not what you’ve been told you need.”  Finance author and radio host, Dave Ramsey, sums it up: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

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(22)      Airline Humor

One of the biggest irritants of modern day flying is having to wait forever on the ground, sealed inside the motionless plane, waiting for take-off.  Pulitzer-prize humorist, Dave Barry, in a 2/21/2014 0n-line column for the Miami Herald, puts it this way: “A century ago, it took a week  to get from New York to California; today you can board a plane at La Guardia and six hours later–think about that: six hours later!–you will, as if by magic, still be sitting on the plane at La Guardia because “La Guardia” is Italian for “You will never actually take off.” Perhaps the funniest satire on airline travel is a classic skit from  the “Carol Burnett Show” on “no-frills” airlines. Carol plays the stewardess, while comedian Harvey Korman plays the first class passenger and Tim Conway, the coach passenger. This skit appeared some 40 years ago (9/20/1975). Click here and decide if it has stood the test of time.

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(23)      The Wisest Person I Know

Marty Nemko, who is a pretty smart guy himself–a career coach, columnist and author of seven books–writes an article for Psychology Today titled, Life Advice From The Smartest and Wisest Person I Know. It’s an interview with 86 year old, Michael Scriven, described as a “polymath”, one who has a wide knowledge of many different subjects. Scriven has had over 400 articles published in the leading journal of 11 disciplines, from philosophy to math to evaluation. He’s so smart that even Albert Einstein has asked him questions. Here are some of Scriven’s Dr. Michael Scriven.jpgobservations in the Nemko interview: On seeking advice: We all ask experts for advice but those experts may not have the expertise to really advise us well. Take expert advice with a grain of salt. On the key to the life well-led: It’s important to divorce yourself from egotism, especially from materialism and focus on serving others. On choosing a career: Do realistic thinking about your career but when in doubt, jump off the train. There’s more room to make a difference and to feel special if you take a road less traveled. On the existence of God: The best theist argument is that something supernatural created the first natural object. That’s God.


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Post #3

  Blurbs 12-17… July 8, 2014


Technology overload is a fact of modern life. E-mail, tablets, I-phones, laptops, cell-phones dominate our world. They enable us to instantly connect with everybody, everywhere. Psychologists tell us the curse of modern life is that we can do so much. We have to multi-task to keep up. How can we slow down and take back our lives? A provocative essay in Next Draft .com entitled, The Answer Is Just A Click Away concludes that what we have to do is just turn off our devices and start talking face to face. Easier said than done. The tidal wave of technological advances is so powerful, pervasive and compelling, it is likely  “we will become more connected, more wired, and more distracted. There is no turning back”.  Apparently cartoonist Liam Francis Walsh agrees.  Here’s his take in the June 7, 2014 New Yorker magazine:

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TED Talks ( TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) are immensely popular. If you don’t know about them, you should. There are over 1800 speeches, they’re short (under 18 minutes) and they cover almost every subject.  The smartest people on the planet offer innovative ideas with passion, eloquence and humor. Speakers have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bono, Al Gore, David Brooks and Sting.  The talks have been watched over one billion times worldwide in over 100 languages. Listen, take notes and learn. You can watch TED Talks on or or listen on NPR  radio. Shortest talk: Arianna Huffington (“How To Succeed? Get More Sleep“–4 minutes). Most Widely Viewed: Ken Robinson (“How Schools Kill Creativity”-26 million views). One of my favorites: Rick Elias ( “3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed“; Elias had a front row seat on the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River; it’s  5 minutes).

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Do you know a self-sacrificing woman like the one described below, a mother who spends her life attending to the needs of others while neglecting her own? If you do, you might want to show her the following poem:


It hung there in the closet
While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
Like a gash in the row
Of dark, old clothes
She had worn away her life in.
They had called me home
And I knew when I saw her
She wasn’t going to last.
When I saw the dress, I said
“Why, Mother – – how  beautiful!
I’ve never seen it on you.”
“I’ve never worn it,” she slowly said.
“Sit down, Millie – – I’d like to undo
A lesson or two before I go, if I can.”
I sat by her bed
And she sighed a bigger breath
Then I thought she could hold.
“Now that I’ll soon be gone,
I see some things.
Oh, I taught you good – – but I taught you wrong.”
“What do you mean Mother?”
“Well – – I always thought
That a good woman never takes her turn,
That she’s just for doing for somebody else.
Do here, do there, always keep
Everybody else’s wants tended and make sure
Yours are at the bottom of the heap.”
“Maybe someday you’ll get to them.
But of course you never do.
My life was like that – – doing for your dad,
Doing for the boys, for your sisters, for you.”
“You did – – everything a mother could.”
“Oh, Millie, Millie, it was not good – –
For you – – for him. Don’t you see?
I did you the worst of wrongs.
I asked for nothing – – for me!”
“Your father in the other room,
All stirred up and staring at the walls – –
When the doctor told him, he took
It bad – – came to my bed and all but shook
The life right out of me. ‘You can’t die,
Do you hear? What’ll become of me?’
‘ What’ll become of me?’
It’ll be hard, all right when I go.
He can’t even find the frying pan, you know.”
“And you children – –
I was a free ride for everybody, everywhere.
I was the first one up and the last one down
Seven days out of the week.
I always took the toast that got burned,
And the very smallest piece of pie.”
“I look at how some of your brothers
Treat their wives now
And it makes me sick, ’cause it was me
That taught it to them. And they learned,
They learned that a woman doesn’t
Even exist except to give.
Why, every single penny that I could save
Went for your clothes, or your books,
Even when it wasn’t necessary.
Can’t even remember once when I took
Myself downtown to buy something beautiful – –
For me.”
“Except last year when I got that red dress.
I found I had twenty dollars
That wasn’t especially spoke for.
I was on my way to pay extra on the washer.
But somehow – – I came home with this big box.
Your father really gave it to me then.
Where you going to wear a thing like that to – –
Some opera or something?’
And he was right, I guess.
I’ve never, except in the store,
Put on that dress.”
“Oh Millie – – I always thought if you take
Nothing for yourself in this world
You’d have it all in the next – – somehow
I don’t believe that anymore.
I think the Lord wants us to have something – –
Here – – and now.”
“And I’m telling you , Millie, if some miracle
Could get me off this bed, you could look
For a different mother, ’cause I would be one.
Oh, I passed up my turn so long
I would hardly know how to take it.
But I’d learn, Millie.
I would learn!”
It hung there in the closet
While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
Like a gash in the row
Of dark, old clothes
She had worn away her life in.
Her last words to me were these:
“Do me the honor, Millie,
Of not following in my footsteps.
Promise me that.”
I promised.
She caught her breath
Then mother took her turn
In death.
++++++ 00000000  +++++++++++

Author  –Carol Lynn Pearson–1989



. says the following infograph will help you fix 99% of all your computer problems:
fix pc problems   How To Fix 99% Of All Computer Problems

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A local broadcaster ends her daily talk show with the advice, “Be yourself, everybody else is taken.” That same thought is expanded on by Pulitzer prize-winning novelist, Anna Quindlen, in her 1999 commencement speech to the women of Mt Holyoke College. “Trying to be perfect is hard work……Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through much of our lives. Set aside what your friends expect, what your parents demand and what our culture dictates, through its advertising. Say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that  small voice from inside you that tells you to go another way. And remember what English novelist George Eliot wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Perhaps entertainer Ellen DeGeneres sums up the topic best when she says, “Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.”

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(17)         A LIFE FULLY LIVED

English businessman Felix Dennis quit school at 15  and subsequently built a magazine publishing empire worth some $800 million. He recently died at 67. According to the NY Times obituary, he lived an amazing life. He had 5 homes and boasted of 14  mistresses which he claimed cost him over $1oo million to support. He wrote a book, How To Get Rich, in which he says that “having a great idea is overrated” and that what really matters is “great execution”. In his later years, Dennis wrote poems-1500 of them. He would read selections at public gatherings which were well attended, probably because they were publicized under the heading, “Did I Mention the Free Wine?”. Dennis said his only regret was not having a child. He said his legacy would be the one million broad-leaved trees planted on his Stratford-upon-Avon estate, which is over seven times the size of Hyde Park in London. In one of his poems, Dennis writes: Whoever plants a tree, Winks at immortality.                                                           


                                           Felix Dennis

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Post #2

Hi again….here’s my 2nd blog …… any feedback or suggestions about the format or e-mail addresses of those you would like to receive this will be appreciated………if you would like to be taken off of my list, just let me know… in case you missed the first blog, (numbers #1–5) , you’ll find it at the bottom of the page……
Blurbs 6-11 … June 2nd, 2014
(6)  Choosing a Wife

……   In the 1993 film, “A Bronx Tale”, a young teen-ager’s future is guided by two father figures, Robert De Niro, his bus driving father in the movie, and Chazz Palminteri, a street-smart gangster. In one scene, the benevolent gangster tells his protege that he’ll lend him his car so he can impress his new girlfriend.  But he has to give her “the door test”.  After making sure the door is locked on the driver’s side, he opens the passenger door, lets his girlfriend in, closes and walks around the back of the car to get to the driver’s side. While doing so, he looks through the window to see if his new girlfriend is reaching over to open the door for him. Says the gangster, with conviction, “If she doesn’t reach over, dump her! It just means she’s selfish and she’s trouble. If she can’t pass the car test, dump her.” What happened in the movie? Did she pass? Watch the best four minutes in the film on You Tube. Click here.

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(7)   Death
…….When sending a sympathy card to someone who has lost a loved one, you might want to  add a personal note, something like, “I thought the following lines might give you some comfort.” Then you write the following famous poem often read at funerals.
                                               I Did Not Die
                                                  Do not stand at my grave  and weep
                                                  I am not there; I do not sleep.
                                                  I am a thousand winds that blow;
                                                  I am the diamond glints on fallen snow.
                                                  I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
                                                  I am the gentle autumn rain.
                                                  When you awaken, I am  the morning hush,
                                                  I am the the swift uplifting rush
                                                  Of quiet birds in circle flight.
                                                  I am the soft stars that shine at night
                                                  Do not stand at my grave and cry,
                                                  I am not there, I did not die.
                                                  (Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932)

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(8)    Credibility
…… The extent to which the “facts” reported in the media, and parroted by the rest of us, are,in truth, not facts, is startling.. We are bombarded so incessantly by untruths or half-truths disguised as truths, that the distinction between the two has blurred. A  tool often used to bolster a weak argument or a half truth is statistics. When numbers are quoted it sounds official, like the speaker has really done her homework; example:”67% of the 231.000 migrants have registered”.  Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies—– lies, damned lies and statistics“.

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 (9)   A Liberal Arts Education

…..Some liberal arts graduates get good jobs and do well, but many have a hard time.  They find that corporations are willing to pay for specific skills in specific fields, but not for the abililty to discuss Plato or Shakespeare. The woeful plight of the liberal arts graduate in a materialistic society is the subject of a featured song in the long-running Broadway musical, Avenue Q. The name of the song is,”What Do You Do With a B.A. in English? It Sucks to Be Me” Here’s part of the lyric: (click here for a rendition of the full song).

What do you do with a B.A. in English?

What is my life going to be?

Four years of college and plenty of knowledgeHave earned me this useless degree

I can’t pay the bills yet ’cause I have no skills yet

The world is a big scary placeBut somehow I can’t shake the feeling I might make

A difference to the human race

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 (10)  War and Peace
The following was in the May 27,2014  Hartford Courant. Created by widely viewed cartoonist, Bob Englehart, it appeared following Pope Francis’ visit to the Middle East in
          late May, 2014, when he met with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
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(11)    Success

.……..There are endless articles that describe the universal traits of success  shared by the most successful among us.  Particularly insightful is the piece by Patricia Sellers, who has been profiling the world’s most successful people for Fortune Magazine the past 30 years. On 5/29/2014, she writes about the lessons she’s learned from getting to know extraordinary people, like Oprah, Rupert Murdoch and Melinda Gates:..”don’t plan your career;most of the really successful people I’ve interviewed had no clue what they wanted to do when they were in high school or even in college. They stayed flexible and open to opportunities…… with people who are smarter than you are…………….if you fail, so what; recovering from failure is a badge of honor that bosses want to see in people they hire………listen more than you talk; listening to someone carefully is giving them a gift…… honest and true; do what you say you’re going to do, always….        and Warren Buffet’s definition of success, which has nothing to do with money:

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Post #1

Blurbs 1-5 … May 13, 2014


dick davis, here……..    CAN I COME  IN?…………………………………..

 Thanks. It’ll just be a short visit. I’m not selling anything; I have no agenda. Just wanted to say “hello” and leave you with something that my be helpful. You are receiving this because you are family, friend or acquaintance, perhaps from long ago.        

 I’ll be 86. How does an old man blessed with the precious gift of life, use that gift wisely? For me, one way is to share with you what I think is worth sharing, mostly excerpts from the articles, blogs, essays and quotations that I’ve accumulated in my “Wisdom” file over the years. My hope is that what I find wise, you will too. If some of these offerings can help you make wise choices in your pursuit of happiness, I’ll be a happy camper.

 The subject is not finance; it is the business of living. As a broadcaster and writer, part of my job was sharing the wisdom of others. So this is just an extension of what I have always done–along with some personal observations.

 I will come to you when I have something to say that matters. It may be every few days or every week or two. It will be irregular until I develop a flow. My name will always appear in the “subject” box. of your incoming e-mail. 

 With you being inundated with a never-ending deluge of facts and opinions, and with every conceivable type of information just a click away, it is presumptuous of me to even think that I can add something worth your while. Yet, presumptuous or not, that’s exactly what I expect to do. My goal is to be interesting, helpful, entertaining –and, most important, brief.

 If I fail, or if for any reason whatsoever, you do not wish to receive these e-mails, just send me a “Thanks, but no thanks”. and you will be dropped immediately. No hard feelings–I promise.

 On the other hand, if you like what you read and you would like it sent to others you know, please send me their email addresses. Also, if you have any suggestions, I would appreciate your feedback.

 An important part of this on-going “letter” will be the links provided to other blogs and websites. With over 400 million blogs (Wikipedia) and over 750 million active websites (FactsHunt), a filtering service to some of the really, really good ones, should be worthwhile.


Blurbs 1-5 … May 13, 2014 

(1)   Life Lesson

…….Essayist Roger Rosenblatt is a keen observer of human behavior. Here’s one of my favorite insights:  ” Rules for Aging: Nobody is thinking about you. Yes, I know. You are certain that your friends are becoming your enemies; that your enemies are acquiring  nuclear weapons; that your grocer, garbage man clergyman, sister-in-law, and dog are all of the opinion that you have put on weight; furthermore, that everyone spends two thirds of every day commenting on your disintegration, denigrating your work, plotting your murder. I promise you: Nobody is thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves, just like you. (Click here for complete article. It’s terrific).

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(2)    Favorite Quote

…… If you should get into  an argument with someone who is playing  fast and loose with the facts,  you might want to hit that person with the following quote from the late Senator Patrick Moynihan: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts”.

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(3)    Food for Thought

…….I believe “MODESTY” is a great mark of character. I try, not always successfully, to be humble in my demeanor. But while I am being unassuming and close-mouthed, letting others talk unendingly about themselves, I sometimes think that what I am not saying is much more interesting or more important than what is being said. The question is, are you truly a modest person when you are thinking immodestly? Of course, your thinking may be misguided. As Winston Churchill said about a political opponent, “He is a very modest man with much to be modest about.”

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(4)    Commencement Speech

……..The following is an excerpt from a 1/31/2013 NY Times article titled, George Saunders’s Advice To University of Syracuse Graduates. Saunders is a 56 year old award winning author and teacher: “What I regret most in my life are “failures of kindness”. Those moments when another human being was there in front of me, suffering, and I responded reservedly. Mildly. As a goal in life, you could do worse than:Try to be kinder……….I believe you gradually become kinder as you get older, but hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now……………….”     (Click here for the complete speech).  

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(5)   Cartoon

….Cartoon by editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star, February 20, 2013: 

potpourri #1The weak economic recovery will force those on fixed income to make some difficult choices.  

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