Today is Saturday January 14, 2017

Archive for the ‘General Discussion’ Category

I’m not sure if this customer hears voices, but he seems to behave in a manner of one afflicted with  paranoia.  I went with my friend Andy to do an appraisal of a nice ($700,000+) house in Spring on a street with one of those stupid names (I can’t use the real name, but it’s as ridiculous as “S Lazy Honey  Meadow Lane.”  The house has a pool, and is of a good quality of construction, with a winding staircase, but otherwise fairly easy to work with in terms of measuring and sketching to calculate the GLA (gross living area) for the upstairs and downstairs.

When Andy and I were in the foyer, we discussed the various measurements needed to to this, and were talking in a fairly quiet way. We measured outside for about 25 minutes, and had spent no more than five minutes on the second floor when the homeowner came to the room we were measuring, and said that he knew about the appraisal process, and that we were violating his privacy by measuring the outside and taking pictures and measuring inside. Andy has personally authored more than about 5,300 appraisals in the last 18+years. The homeowner (who was big, menacing, and visibly shaking)  asked us to get out, and that he would make sure to get Andy fired. I was totally astonished. I’m also glad I was there to attest to the fact that Andy’s behavior was beyond reproach, and all we did was consistent with appraisal practice.

Andy and I stopped on the front porch to put on our shoes when the man’s wife came outside and told us to leave immediately and that we had no business ‘bad mouthing’ her and her husband and said Andy was the rudest person she had ever met.

I think the man was paranoid, and that he felt we were discussing him when discussing our mission. I’ve dealt with paranoids, and this seems to explain his behavior, and perhaps his wife has problems in this regard as well. This guy is a project manager for a major oil company, so is no dummy.

I’ll just chalk it up to something that I’ll never know for sure. Perhaps Andy said something of which I was not aware, as he talked to the homeowner while I was outside for about 20 minutes.

What do you do when confronted by someone acting in a manner so bizarre as to defy explanation?

Dealing with people with mental issues is a real drag, and I’d just as soon not deal with them.


Every day, about 10 new users sign up, and they change their assigned passwords. They never post anything, so I don’t see any harm. It’s just annoying, so I delete all of them daily, and they still come back. They use fake email addresses, often with the country code “.RU” which is reserved for Russia.

It’s funny to me since nobody reads this blog anyway, 99% of the time.

Too bad WordPress doesn’t have a role called “intruder.”


I’m trying to use WordPress to allow me to maintain a product catalog, so that people can browse an inventory of antiques, and send an email (or fill out  a contact form) to indicate their interest. At this time, there’s no plan for a shopping cart, as these are one-of-a-kind items. It’s not often I have a great quantity of items of the same types.

I’m not doing it here, as this is my ‘personal’ blog that I post to very erratically.

So, I’ve signed up for a WordPress/Bootstrap course.

Ideally, I’d show a splash page, showing the broad categories of goods, and then allow the user to drill down from the Main Categories Page to the individual items under that category.

E.g. Porcelain->Blue Duck – Occupied Japan stock#12-34.12


Duck Bottom


Green Duck – front

I’ll post my progress as I go along.


Judaism OnlineJudaismOnline

I’ve often wondered this, so looked for answers, and this was the most popular. I’m sure Christian biblical scholars have something to say about this,

Why Jews do not believe in Jesus.


What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:

A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world—on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.

How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.

Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.

The Messiah can come at any moment, and it all depends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says: “Redemption will come today—if you hearken to His voice.”

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Largely adapted from

You won’t believe some of the language Truman uses. Cant print what’s in the snippet below.. Funny how Amazon let a typo get by.

“Soon after we were married, I discovered there was a fine reason why her eyes had such a marvelous moronic serenity. She was a moron. Or damn near. Certainly she wasn’t playing with a full deck. Good old humorless hulking Hulga, yet so dainty and mincingly clean—housewifey.”

Hilarious! Truman’s wit & sharp tongue make this a fun read.Kitty has claws!

“I wish I could dash downstairs and find a bus, the Magic Mushroom Express, a chartered torpedo that would rocket me to the end of the line, zoom me all the way to that halcyon discotheque: Father Flanagan’s Nigger Queen Kosher Café.”

Another quote I like “”A blond, and how!—his skin had the golden oleo gleam that comes from long Cherry Grove weekends. Yet, overall, he seemed decidedly moldy—a sort of suntanned Uriah Heep. “Yes?” he inquired in a voice that crawled coolly through the air like an exhalation of mentholated smoke.”
I finished it and gave it three stars out of four. If you don’t know these celebrities, it isn’t engaging, but I stuck it out because I like his style of writing, and he can sure read people! I did look up the identities of the characters (Wikipedia), and it made a lot more sense, but most of these people are long dead and not too relevant today.


The power went out at my house yesterday at 4:20 and did not come on until after 1 AM after the thunderstorms. Luckily, I had just charged my Kindle in the morning, so I was able to:
►finish “Fly By Night” by Ward Larsen,
►read the first 4 chapters in “Goodbye to a River” by John Graves (the current selection
►read another 3 chapters in the “A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits” by Carol and Dina Mack
►start “The Angel Experiment: A Maximum Ride Novel (Book 1) by James Patterson.”

Maximum Ride’s flight from the Erasers looks a lot like Dean Kountze’s portrayal of the Freaks in “Odd Apocalypse.” I’ll find out more when I retire for the evening.

I wish I had more rainy days to just stay inside and read.

Stella said: Rainy days don’t get readers down as we always have the comfort of a book. What do people who don’t read do when it’s raining or snowing? Beats me!

Salon Magazine’s Cary Tennis wrote in the October 13, 2011 issue titled “No, I can’t edit your manuscript for free.”

Cary writes about books for a living, so people think he’d love to critique their prose.

This was just what I needed to be prompted to write a blog entry on the subject. I read a lot, and am a member of  a book club (reading group) that really doesn’t have a name, but we do have a website the Facebook page” href=”″>as well as a Google Blog at .

Among ourselves, we speak of “the bookclub” in referring to our group. We’ve been meeting since 1989, usually on Thursday nights once a month (loosely followed).

In a typical month I get three requests for critiques, reviews, testimonials, etc.  I have  a full-time job, and am amazed to think that authors really think a complete stranger is going to spend a few hours to read their book and to write a review or critique as a courtesy (no compensation).

“Angry Books Writer”  wrote to Cary (Salon’s ‘Advice Columnist’ and wrote, in part,  “But, even if I had the knowledge they seek, why should I use it to benefit them? Reading and editing a manuscript would take a helluva long time. What’s more, it’s work, work that other people get paid for.

Cary advised the exact same strategy that I came up with. If someone asks you to do something you don’t have time to do, charge money for it so that it can realize a higher place in the hierarchy of your “to do” list. I figured out how much I make on an hourly basis, tacked on 30% (remember, this is overtime!) , estimated the time required, and gave a quote.

Nobody that I’ve sent a quote to has chosen to respond, and that is just fine by me. In my off time, I like to work out at the gym, go to salad bars on the weekend, go shopping, improve my house, and take care of my 110 gallon aquarium when I’m not working on web pages or participating in Facebook and Twitter, and reading multiple topics of interest.

If “they” do not feel the expense is justified, why would I feel the time and effort is justified?

When somebody asks you if you would do this kind of work for them, tell the person that you do occasionally take on such projects, in a selective way, and here is your hourly rate. And see what happens.




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Louis Hemmi's trip to England. A picture at Salisbury Cathedral

An Englishman Dreams in a Cathedral

Photo taken by Louis Hemmi on the A.R.E. summer 2011 Tour of Scotland & England. Salisbury Cathedral. Salisbury, England .Sean Henry created > 20 human sculptures & put them in & around Salisbury Cathedral.Conflux: Union of Sacred & Anonymous is the exhibition’s title. Thru Oct 2011

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Southern writers are men and women who have so enchanted, scolded, entertained, educated, and so amazed us that I am in awe of them, their stories, and their life experiences.

Some of their stories are influenced by the prurient, such as adultery and excesses including drinking and gambling; however they manage to make their characters who fall prey to these vices endearing to us. They reveal the kinds of circumstances and motivations that make all this fit together. Take for example Tennessee Williams. Prurience is in all his stories in abundance – from Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. If you knew my family, you’d know that they could have been the inspiration for that Hot Tin Roof story.

Big Daddy was like my great grandfather — a man larger than life; he could have inspired Tom Wolfe to write of “A Man in Full.” But, my parents turned out like his children — Bo and his wife (played by Elizabeth Taylor in a film adaptation with Burl Ives and Paul Newman). High hopes and shattered dreams — I’ve seen it all firsthand in real life, and even more so in Southern fiction. It’s no wonder I’m fascinated by this genre. For me, it’s not just a form of writing, but reflection of the society I grew up with.

In the books, I admire the heroes, while in my life, I admire those who saved me from being stifled like a weed under black plastic. They gave me their morals, their values, the strength of their intellect, and the high expectations that made me try to be better than I would have been otherwise. Disappointment is no stranger to us, though our poverty is a genteel one. We can sip tea made in a solid silver teapot, but not have any idea what we’re going to do in order to fill a $300  prescription.

I think Thomas Wolfe (no relation to Thomas Wolfe) was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, though he only lived 37 years. His “Look Homeward Angel” is so beautiful that I read it once and so loved it that I re-read it to appreciate his writing which was largely autobiographical. It’s rare that I do that since there is always so much I long to have the time to read. W.O. Gantt in his stories is  a rascal in his own way, and the boundless love he has for his children, and the zest for life he enjoys are truly remarkable. His wife Elizabeth is a perfect foil, being a very pragmatic woman. Southern literature is full of strong women — yet they are wise enough to remain feminine despite their strength and mental acumen. I fell in love with the protagonist, Eugene. The whole of  Look Homeward,  Angel show us who Thomas Wolfe was as a child and young man. His ability to gain admittance to Harvard University and his later experiences  in Europe were all remarkable, and true!

In my book club,, we have decided on a topic of “books by Southern Writers.” We know who the Southern writers are, and I thought I’d take a stab at defining what it great and good and different about their writing. It’s impossible to discuss Southern writing without looking at the history of the South.

More emphasis on the Gothic and the  supernatural  in a casual manner.  The term “Gothic” is used by me to denote the storytelling tradition of the Goths. From these came tales of vampires, werewolves, witches and other things that delighted and frightened children for centuries.

There were two other story telling influences — the Celtic and the African. Given all this, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that Rock ‘n Roll came out of the South.

Southerners are more likely to see their religion as a central part of their lives and certainly their communities. Southerners are in touch with their piety, but also their vices. There’s a sort of wildness about this land. Another thing that strikes me is that unlike our northern cousins, we don’t hide our ‘eccentrics’  in attics or mental hospitals. We put them on the porch and let ‘em rock. We say good morning to them when they take their imaginary dog for a walk by the courthouse (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) or seek the counsel of a friend long dead. I sometimes shout at my personal ghost — his name usually, so as not to forget that there are indeed some things that one simply does not get over despite the relentless march of time.  As I see the middle-age (if I live to be 104!) paunch, the graying eyebrows, and the other reminders of what is to come, I think sometimes that my ghost had the right idea to exit stage right and be remembered as he was in his prime.

The influence of immigrants is not strong in Southern writing. Most immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries landed and were processed up North, and they pretty much stayed up their, believing that the South was an odd place and believed the Anglos’ prejudices about Southern attitudes, accents, and way of life. The way thousands of these immigrants were pressed into military service of the Union against the freedom-loving Southerners was just shameful.

Southerners have a lot of pride, perhaps to the point of hubris, and a feeling of being special (i.e., perhaps at least a little better overall for being taught the value of courtesy) from our Yankee cousins.

People in the South tend to enjoy words and embrace orality (the history of oral tradition), only too glad to breathe new life into old stories by setting them down to paper. We do so get a kick out of our natural talent for having a ‘linguistic flair.’

Here’s an example from my own family:

The Toast

As told by Gene Wilkinson of Roswell, Georgia. April, 2003 to his wife’s grandson, Louis Latimer Hemmi.

“My uncle Jim, from West Point, Georgia went to the World’s Fair held in Saint Louis during the latter part of the nineteenth century (ed. note—closed Dec 21, 1904). The way he told it, he came on to a group of Civil War veterans – South and Yankee vets.”

A Northerner held his glass high and proposed the following toast.

“Here’s to the golden eagle,
this wonderful bird of prey.
She feeds on Northern harvests
and dumps on Southern clay.”

A Confederate vet made his rebuttal toast;

“Here’s to dear old Dixie
that land so fair and rich
She needs no turds from
your goddamned birds
you Yankee son of a bitch.”

The English language does indeed evolve wherever it is spoken, and the South is no exception. The American Heritage dictionary does a good job of etymology, and is deserving of praise for noting that words such as ‘tump’ are “chiefly Southern” or “chiefly northern” for “you’se” or “lawr.”

I’d love to hear from you? What do you find special about the South?

Louis Hemmi – Houston, Texas

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Jeepers! It is so cold outside, and I got even colder getting out there to crack the spigots open a bit. I just barely made it in time with one of them, as when I opened the faucet, no water came out. So, I went in the house and got a pitcher of hot water from the tap, and poured this over the faucet. I was relieved when the water started flowing. I also found that the faucet on my bedroom patio is pretty corroded. The previous owners had wrapped it tight — so tight that it held in the moisture and corroded the pipe. I’ll have to replace it, but I hope I can wait until the weather warms up. Will write more when I’m not shivering. I’m reading “The Hunt for Confederate Gold” by Thomas Moore and I LOVE it so far. I think one reason I like it is that my roots run deep in Georgia, am eligible for membership in the Military Order of the Stars and Bars as a descendant of a Confederate officer, and Mr. Moore writes in a style that I much admire.

The South Shall Rise Again!

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