special? Try this
| The Mill
Nov. 21, 2015;
" Cogitation with decent, altruistic, well
educated males while sharing a pipe is the only
shortcut to better world conditions I've been
able to spot."
I wanted to get that quote in before I attend to
any other business on this site because it
comes in not from a famous person, but rather
from a customer. A customer with superb
academic credentials, but we're not discussing
academics here, we're looking for as short a cut
to a better world as possible. Why, I'll aver that
if a poll were taken among every single person
reading that quote, it would receive unanimous
assent. But that's just a guess.
Nor is the quotee a male chauvinist pig (to the
best of my limited knowledge). He just doesn't
think that the distaff would try to take that short
cut through the tobacco field. But he's more
than willing to listen to any good plan women
have, as long as it includes letting us si on the
porch, swing, sip and smoke our pipes.
The other business I want to discuss
Money catches the attention of most people,
and the reason I'm thinking of it is not a matter
of desperation, but rather one of bemusement.
In the Friday paper I came across a full page ad
by Sotheby's, the auction house but now also,
evidently, a real estate firm, albeit not one that
is interested in listing you and your hovel. One
property in that ad of 30 pictured homes
caught my eye because it is listed for
sale at $159,000,000 (marked down, I
guess, from $160,000,000). I looked at
the number 3 times, thinking that my brain
accidentally added an extra trio
of 0s. No, I read it right. If you
are interested, it is in Florida, and that surprised
me, too. I do not see giving that kind of money
for the whole state of Florida, but that is just
showing my bias and will
undoubtedly lose me some customers who lov
e their home state, as they should...until they
go somewhere else and see the light.
Seeing that price caused me to look further
into the ad, although we are not thinking of
moving or buying another house.
One listed out here, in Sonoma County (a
couple counties north of San Francisco) is a
140 acre ranch and is marked "price upon
request." Since the ad belongs to the same
company that has no compunction about
publicly asking for $159,000,000 for a house,
this must truly be one of those classics for
which, if you have to ask the price you can't
afford it. I can hear the conversation now. My
rich cousin decides to move out to Calif. He
likes the idea of some elbow room and the smell
of cow shit, so he calls Sotheby's. "Sotheby's
International Realty, may I help you?"
"Yes, I would like to inquire about the asking
price on a property you have listed...a 140 acre
ranch in Sonoma County, Calif."
"Listen, bud, if you have to ask the price on
that property, clearly you can't afford it," as the
phone slams down and I lose another
opportunity to have my cousin move a bit
If you are looking to buy, but want something
a bit less expensive, you can try Darien, CT.
Clearly a depressed community, you can pick
up something in the 5 BR, 6 bath size for under
$4.5 million. It's just that I'm not up to returning
to the North East for winters.
My home, a very modest, quite small lean-to
with a 4th wall, the thing having been thrown up
right after WWII to house returning servicemen,
is notable for another reason, and one that real
estate people the world over
recognize...location, location, location. We are
not in a shaded glen, or on a beautiful street
(but the neighbors are friendly). It's the huge
red X painted on my roof. It's a flat roof,
making that X visible to 'incoming.' See, we live
in what is the heart of Silicon Valley (aka Santa
Clara Valley, my preferred designation) and with
the convenience of that flat roof, all of the
enemies of the U.S., including Russia, North
Korea, Iran and now ISIS (maybe Venezuela, but
I don't think they had the cash to chip in for
their share of the red paint) have targeted the
Silicon Valley because of its value as a nerve
center for the nation. What are they going to
use to pinpoint their ICBMs? My home, of
course, with the big red X painted on the roof.
It is not 100% ground zero, but with the
detonation power of today's weapons, it is
close enough and the flat roof makes for a
perfect homing-in landmark.
Thanksgiving is a much greater time consumer
than Christmas as I do the bulk of the
cooking. I mention this because I do not
want to hear any flack if pipes are not posted.
Even if I posted some, it would be a strain to
pack and ship. But, I might post a few, so you
are certainly encouraged to take a peek if you
Also I am working on my Thanksgiving poem.
When I become national Advertising Czar, it will
be a requirement that every single Black Friday
ad include an original Thanksgiving poem,
thereby providing, hopefully, some work for
otherwise starving poets. (How many of them
deserve to starve is another topic.) This could
make up for the damage done to the clerks of
the involved stores who are forced to come in
at ridiculous hours right after Thanksgiving.
See what happens when I start typing? I
should not be allowed near a keyboard.
In Advance, Happy Thanksgiving.
Wait, wait...I'm not done yet. My wife has the
TV on, and I just saw where Mark Zuckerberg
has donated $75 million, or maybe it's $175, to
an S.F. hospital. He's the punk who owns most
of Facebook, which I do not patronize. My face
would not enhance business.
I am irritated, though. For the announcement of
the gift, the S.F. Mayor, and other dignitaries, I
imagine, appeared in proper attire: suits, ties.
Zuckerberg, instead, stood in front of the
audience in a T-shirt. It was pocketless, to
boot. So, having money absolves one of good
manners? Is he so disdainful of all of us that he
doesn't believe he has to show respect to those
to whom he is donating money? I am hardly
socially conservative, but I am old and
traditional enough that I have a belief in good
manners being a sign of respect. Could I
defend that position in a philosophical debate?
No, I suppose not. Still, I think the position has
some validity. What do any, or all, of you
think? Am I nothing but an old idiot or does
respect extend o the way you present yourself
If you were going to a close friend's for
anything more than a casual dinner, wouldn't
you put on at least a shirt with a collar? I would
like some insight from you. My e-mail address