Folks, this time of year I am up to my elbows in teaching over at the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt.  I am blessed with the opportunity to work with some truly wonderful minds over there and I have to work very hard just to keep up.  This year, I have adjusted the syllabus a little to reflect the real world.  The course I teach is “Real Estate Finance,” and in times past, the focus has been on learning the basics of the craft with models and cases centered around real estate development.  In honor of the current times, I am shifting the discussion and case work to look more at the acquisition business.  Having done this now for five years, I have to admit I have a lot of respect for those teachers that energized a class room when I was in school…I am embarrassed they had to put up with me!

So, with my whining preamble, I must tend to matters at hand and share  some links for you to slap on your grill (or at least the screen of your laptop).  Put on a bib, these are juicy!

1. Ever wonder why man started planting and harvesting grain?  Don’t tell me you thought it was for bread!  Why it was for good old Pabst Blue Ribbon!  Now you know why beer is so good.  Just think, we can attribute by proxy all our current real estate problems to beer: a)man started farming for beer  b) man needed to establish property rights to protect his crop so he could have his beer c)modern real estate evolves so we can have our beer!

2. I am hearing a lot of gloom and doom these days – various interpretations on the general theme that America is finished.  I don’t think so, and neither does James Fallows over at the Atlantic magazine.  Read his thoughts here, it will cheer you up.

3. A corollary to the “America is finished” meme is that China is going to eat our lunch.  There is no question that China is an emerging international force and that we will be engaged with the Middle Kingdom for as long as both our systems survive.  But China has serious problems, not the least of which is an environmental nightmare they are creating.  Take a look at these pictures – not for the faint of heart – and you will start to understand that our problems are pretty manageable by comparison.

4. Do you feel guilty if you don’t recycle?  If so, then you need to peruse this article: “Green Guilt.”  I am all for protecting the environment and developing responsibly, but honestly, some of the green movement folks are starting to act like jihadis…environmentalism has replaced their religion, if they ever had any.

5. Here’s a little inspiration for you – if you think times are tough, imagine if you had no arms or legs.  How would you cope?  Here’s a video that shows the power of the human spirit:

Have a great weekend everybody!