I had to complete several projects here on the house. Things may change in our lives and the house had to be ready to sell. It is a big responsibility. The key to everything is to hire good people. I have a good crew that I have worked with for several years. When I need a new specialist, I go towww.yelp.com. Once the good people are chosen, one needs to pay them decent wages and treat them nicely. Also one needs to write good reports on them when they do a great job.
My dear friends 20 years ago today it was a sunny and cool morning in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was also a historical day. The first all-race election was being held. Thanks to the African National Congress, I was invited to vote in the election despite the fact that I was not a citizen of South Africa. A captain in the South African Army came to my door. He told me that he had been instructed to take me to the polls so that I could vote. We rode to the polling place in his 3-series BMW. There were armed soldiers all over the place. But things were mellow and calm. I felt no fear at all. The ballots all had pictures of the candidates because so many people could not read and write. I cast my ballot and was driven back home. In the evening I watched the election returns. Nelson Mandela won. The party afterwards throughout South Africa was incredible! My most unforgettable moment was a television interview that I saw. An African woman was being interviewed. She made the following comment:
“Now we will no longer be treated like children.”
I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Nelson Mandela and his right-hand woman Barbara Joyce Masekela for making it possible for me to participate in this incredible moment in history.
It was a beautiful and a sunny Easter. Elena and I went for a hike at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, California. We took the dogs along. We had an incredible hike and discovered a magical part of Alameda that we did not know existed. The town made us feel like we were in a coastal city in Southern California. After a great hike with the dogs we explored downtown Alameda. We found a Mexican restaurant called La Penca Azul. It’s a beautiful venue and large. Even at one thirty in the afternoon it was full of people and we had to wait for a while. When we did get a table we had an excellent meal and drinks. This was one of those beautiful and unforgettable days that we will always treasure.
Yesterday out of the blue, I posed a hypothetical question to Elena:
“Suppose I’m enraged with you. I slam your head against the bead board so hard that it makes you bleed and leaves blood stains on the head board. (I’m not a violent person and would never do that in real life.) Would you take shelter in the bathroom or run outside the house to seek help?”
Elena responded: “If you were not blocking the exit to the bedroom, I would run to the street and seek help. If you were blocking the exit to the bedroom, I would run to the bathroom and seek shelter.”
After Elena responded I told her that I was considering aspects of the Oscar Pistorius murder case. I told her that it made me think that he was guilty of an awful crime.
Elena said that she would want to look carefully at the plans for his house.
If you put me on a jury, the state is going to have to do a really great job of convincing me to vote guilty. I have seen too many innocent people go to jail. The judge and her two associates in the Pistorius case are going to have a hard deliberation. I do not envy them.
Bay Screens and Blinds showed up this afternoon. Luah got some beautiful wood blinds in her room. Some wood blinds went in the study. We had three sets of blinds ordered for the bedroom. One was correct and it looks beautiful. The manufacturer shipped two other wood blinds sets that were the wrong size. It will take a few days to correct it. The bedroom already looks better and is full of light for the first time in 10 years.
For the last few months I have been telling Elena that Argentina has become a failed state. The currency is no good. Electric power is not available half the time. Street crime has gone out of control. Public servants strike all the time. I made some comparisons to Zimbabwe. Now this shocking video surfaces. In Argentine cities young men on motor bikes often ride through the streets knocking people down. Women’s purses are stolen. Men’s briefcases are taken. Compared to home invasions and kidnappings that are also epidemic there, this is petty crime. However one day in Buenos Aires some people on the street had enough of this criminal epidemic. A crowd captured one of the motor bike bandits. He was kicked to death. Another bandit was captured and a belt put around his neck to strangle him. The police stopped this execution.
I was born and raised in the American south. All of us were ashamed of the dark past decades and centuries before when crowds of people would decide to take justice into their own hands. Some accused criminal would be hauled to a make shift gallows and hung .In many case the person suffering “street justice” was an African American.
Argentina is a beautiful country. Its European population is cultured, well educated, and intelligent. It seems that all order and civilization has collapsed. Mob justice is the order of business. I can only think of that sad song: “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.”
I want to thank all of my readers for your great interest and attention to this blog post. Below is the actual article that started it all as follows:
Please bear in mind that people who really revolutionalized the world like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook did not finish four year degrees. They dropped out of college and went for it.
We all know other people without college degrees who have done quite well. We all know of other people with college and even post graduate degrees who have not done well at all.
I decided to do research on my own situation. I finished college in 1971. I added up my earnings from 1971 to today. I looked at a Department of Commerce study from 1971 that predicted that the average college graduate would earn $750,000 in a 40 year work career. I surpassed that total by over $250,000. It was not due to salaried jobs or what I learned in college. It was due to “on the job training” that I got in law and finance.
Now the latest Pew study predicts that the average college graduate will earn $1,400,000 US over a lifetime. The study is below:
In my case I attended what was then South Texas Junior College for the first two years of my college career. (It is now the University of Houston Downtown campus.) My tuition was zero. My last two years of college at Tulane cost me $5,000 each year. So,in theory, my $10,000 investment yielded a return of over $1 million dollars over 40 years.Even Warren Buffet would love a return like that!!!
I saw an interesting article about picking colleges. It says that you should look at the the total tuition you must invest and the earnings that you will obtain from it. Some unexpected colleges yielded high returns on income after graduation. Elena is one of the truly lucky people who paid nothing in tuition and made a huge economic return due to high doctor salaries in the USA. Over 40 years ago tuition at Tulane was $5,000 per year. I have certainly made a large return on that even in my current status of living on Social Security. The poor students now pay too much money in tuition.
I watched the CEO of General Motors testify in front of congress today. She did a good job and I was impressed. Right now we are dealing with a defective ignition switch that caused 13 deaths and who knows how many injuries.
One of the sad parts of reaching 65 years of age is that one can remember things over 50 years ago. In 1960 General Motors produced a car called the Corvair to compete with the Volkswagen Beatle. The GM small car was rushed into production without careful engineering. Numerous fatalities resulted including the comedian Ernie Kovacs. Ralph Nader became famous with his expose on the Corvair; “Unsafe At Any Speed.”
In the late 1970’s a substantial number of Ford Pintos had gas tank fires after a rear end collision. There were numerous fatalities.
We have the massive recalls of Toyota a couple of years ago. Now we have the General Motors recall scandal.
What is common in all of these cases is that the auto companies knew of the defects. They did some very cold-blooded calculations. They decided that it was cheaper to let a few people die than to pay the millions of dollars to fix the defects.
A former US attorney is investigating what went wrong at General Motors. Somewhere in this investigation he is going to find the group of managers and support personnel who made the cold-blooded calculations and decisions to let people die to save the company money.
Enough is enough! When these people at GM are identified I feel that murder charges in US District Court should follow. If I was the prosecutor handling this case, I would seek the death penalty.