Things I Should Teach My Son, Part VIII

In this post I mentioned the use of a Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP) with Wells Fargo into Realty Income (O), which trademarked “The Monthly Dividend Company.”

Realty Income

The Little Circle Means “Trademark”

Here is an article from that delves into the DRIP world and offers more options. OK, stock tips. But long-term divident-paying stock tips using a crazy effective low-cost approach (a DRIP.)


May 4th 2016 Run

I’m following this plan to get back into running as an old fat guy. Summary: run and walk in regular intervals, increasing the amount of time running while decreasing the amount of time walking until you are running for an hour. The first week, you run for 1 minute and walk for 4 minutes, six times (a 30 minute run-walk.) The next week, the run/walk ratio increases to 2/3 and so on. Eventually, in week 12, you are running for 19 minutes and walking for 1 minute, three times. The next week you run for an hour.

I like the incremental approach. I’ve added some tweaks to this plan aimed at making the weekly jumps more gradual: this week it’s a 5/3 run/walk ratio, five times (25 minutes of running embedded in a 40 minute session.) I always add enough extra walking at the beginning and the end (as a warm-up/cool-down) to make each venture an hour long.

Today I ran/walked 4.1 miles along the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Runkeeper photo below.

4 May 2016 Run

Why Christians Should Stop Voting for Republicans

Ed Morrissey of HotAir asks when Republicans are going to target the black vote in the United States. I think he means in terms of the Presidential election, since inside gerrymandered U.S. Congressional districts, blacks are usually concentrated with each other to create safe Democratic seats. This can also be written: “Blacks are shunted into electoral ghettoes so the Democratic Party never has to compete for their votes, so nothing changes for them.”

But this is about the Republican Party. The Republicans never make black abortion their number one issue. Like most large organizations, it can do many things (immigration, taxes, spending, defense, Supreme Court vacancies, logrolling) at once, but not well. To do one thing well, Republicans have to focus. They should focus on black abortion.

The numbers are just awful:

“Non-Hispanic white women account for 36% of abortions, non-Hispanic black women for 30%, Hispanic women for 25% and women of other races for 9%.” Blacks make up just over 12% of U.S. population, so this is a radical over-representation.

“Black women continue to have the highest abortion rate of any ethnic group, with a gruesome 483 abortions for every 1,000 live births.” Read the whole thing, especially the Sanger quotes. Evil.

Then there’s this graphic from


And an informative video at

This issue is ripe for leadership from a sincere pro-life politician of any race. Until Republicans start making this their number one priority (which, incidentally, swamps terrorism in significance), Christians should withhold their support of any candidate who does not make this the number one issue.

The Tolkien-Lewis “Friend-valry”

A good short read about J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I especially liked how Lewis figured Ransom as a kind of Tolkien, and Tolkien figured Lewis as a kind of Treebeard, even down to his deep voice and constant throat-clearing.

But what is most interesting is how Tolkien, and another scholar named Henry Victor Dyson, successfully evangelized Lewis: by appealing to Lewis’ own beliefs, based on their deep knowledge of his personality and character. Tolkien, at least, was a close friend. All were Inklings. They were both very much like him, and appealed to him from familiarity.

The article mentions Tolkien’s dislike for the Chronicles of Narnia, which he judged cringe-worthy. But all children’s literature must be basic; the CoN were excellent at presenting Christian allegory at the level of a child. I thought this judgment, if recalled accurately, to be unfair.

More Jesus Hyperbole

Notice this physical impossibility:

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.

Hands can’t “know” things and his hearers knew that (why would Jesus make any reference to the mind here?) Jesus explained Himself immediately. But while He could have just said “When you give to the needy, do it anonymously,” He chose the hyperbole.

Things I Should Teach My Son VII

I was thinking about this post, where I recommended an investment to start early in your working life, which would make you stupid rich eventually. Then I found Scott Adams’ “Dilbert’s One-Page Guide to Everything Financial.” The list is reproduced below (click through if you want to see more.)

1. Make a will.
2. Pay off your credit cards.
3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
4. Fund your 401k to the maximum.
5. Fund your IRA to the maximum.
6. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it.
7. Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account.
8. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement.

Some commentary: As a Christian, you are called to give joyfully, so #1 for you should be to return the tithe to your local church.

You should regard credit cards as slightly better than toxic.

Notice how #3 has “if you have a family to support” but #1 does not? Adams is suggesting that you get a will even if you’re single. As in, as soon as you graduate.

4 & 5 tell you to fund your qualified retirement accounts to the maximum but Adams does not provide an investment choice until #8. So use that. The dividend reinvestment gameplan I recommended earlier would work too. But #8 is fine, especially the phrase, “never touch it until retirement.” Huge.

That last point reminds me: this is a long-term list. Follow it your whole working life.


Things I Should Teach My Son, Part VI

Incentives. I could stop there.

In business and in life, incentives make all the difference. Understand the incentives on both sides before engaging in a transaction. Most investment managers get paid for how much money they manage, not how much money they make you. Real estate agents are more encouraged to get your house sold as fast as possible than they are to get you the best price. Even the best natured of people can get lead astray by misaligned incentives. Align your incentives with the people you work with (clients, customers and partners) and you’ll get a lot more done, with a lot less frustration. Most importantly, only engage in activities that incentivize you to act in line with what you believe.

I think you got a taste of that lesson when you wasted hours at the DMV the other day. Even though I’ve seen worse DMVs (**coughCaliforniacough**) than the one here, you saw the results of poor incentives. The DMV does not have to attract you. You must come in if you want to function in society, unless you want to do this. Also, DMV workers are paid whether you are satisfied or not. So there is zero incentive for the DMV to provide a good customer experience. You’ll be back no matter how much of your time they wasted.
Most adults yawn at “wisdom” like this. We’re used to it. But it’s a great way to learn about how incentives matter hugely. Welcome to adulthood!

Does Jesus Use Hyperbole?

I think that Jesus used hyperbole to be a Great Persuader. From the Sermon on the Mount:

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matt. 5:18)

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. (Matt. 5:25-26)

If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matt. 5:29-30)

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matt. 5:37)

These are all hyperbole. Many Christians deny that every last letter of the law applies today (especially in the civic order), go to court, look at things they shouldn’t yet do not gouge out their eyes, and take oaths. What gives?

Things I Should Teach My Son, Part V

Private property. It sounds so good, so right, so true. It’s so dang important that it was written into that old document about our Rights (no, not that one; I mean this one, which is much better.)

But when we talk about rights, we usually perceive them to be only about a benefit to us; in the case of private property, we think about our stuff.

A true respect for property rights would also hold the converse to be true: that others have a right to their own property. The proper respect of the rights of others is a mark of maturity. You should never think you have any claim to the property of another person unless that person granted or sold you an interest in that property. You should never assume that such an interest exists without an explicit statement saying so.

Likewise, never give up any interest in any property without remuneration; even if that remuneration is merely implied gratitude when the property is shared gratis. The only exception to this is cheerful giving, when you just want to give something away.

Families screw this up big time with children, when they force the little ones to “share”. This was true of our family when you were young; a major mistake. Little ones should be taught early that their property is theirs to dispose of utterly; and that they should bear the consequences of their choices. If parents want some toys to be “community property” among their children and guest children, they should make it clear that they own the toys.

Read this article about the nuts and bolts about teaching children to understand private property from a very early age. I did not find it until very late; but it won’t be too late for you if you read it now.

Things I Should Teach My Son IV

So you want to be a pilot. That’s great. It is a superb profession. I’ll give you an anecdote. I start with the worst thing that happened to me in aviation: getting laid off from my airline job in 2003.

To pay the bills I sold health insurance. I got my license, started making cold calls, and drove all over California’s Central Valley to pitch health policies to my clients. Early in this game, I had a meeting in Kingsburg with a family. Before leaving our house, I called to verify our 4 p.m. appointment. Still on. They lived in a modest single family, single story home near the 99. I rang the doorbell. No answer. I rang that doorbell five times more. No answer. I called their number. Total disavowal of any meeting! This family was home, and lying to me about having agreed to a meeting. I could hear them! So I drove home.

I complained about this to my manager. I was very bitter about it. He just laughed. “Happens all the time,” he said. And it happened a few times more before I changed jobs.

The point: I had enjoyed living in a moral hot-house my whole career, namely, aviation. In the Navy, integrity was taught as the essential ingredient in becoming an officer and pilot. This was pounded into our skulls. Dishonesty would inevitably get your wingman, squadronmate and shipmate killed. Open, frank and honest discussion about everything on the job was the “go juice” that made aviation possible. No integrity, no flying.

I got used to this and forgot to appreciate it. It’s still true in the airline business. I find that at least in terms of the job, dishonest people are vanishingly rare.

Become a pilot. The greatest good is the awesome people you’ll meet.

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