Our first brush with spring and this past week’s protein feast was filled with smoky goodness!  Although I am not a big opera fan, I do enjoy some works and I was listening to “Madama Butterfly” while turning the andouille.  This inspired me to go on a short quest for performance art having received a link from a close friend about a performance in Valencia, Spain where opera singers were masquerading as shopkeepers only to emerge from their stalls and perform for the gathered crowds.  That seems to be a new marketing trend – the planned event.  So, in honor of those efforts, here are links to my favorites – I hope you enjoy them too (be sure to suggest others):

1. Opera at the Valencia Mall – I already opened with this, but what a terrific way to bring something that is perceived as “stodgy” out into the mainstream.  I’ll bet attendance was up at the opera following this.

2. Dancing in Trafalgar Square – I think this may have been one of the first ones…classic!  Love the old lady at 1:57.

3. Single Lady – Piccadilly Circus – this was an advertisement for Trident…terrific choreography and togetherness.

4. Grocery Store Musical – the American group Improv Anywhere is pretty famous for great stunts – this one is fun to watch…c’mon, lets squish our fruits together!

5. Frozen Grand Central – this required skill! It’s great to watch the crowd reactions, especially the acerbic New York cart driver…”never mind their moving.”

Hurray for performance art – it makes our days a little lighter.


Who would have known that der Fuhrer was in on the crash too…

Hat tip BT.

Got a call from an old friend yesterday as he was driving home.  He was complaining about the fact that it was March and it was snowing.  He lives in Richmond, Virginia.  Not much sympathy on this end, it was flurrying here at the same time.  The joys of doffing the grilling apron, still wonderfully pungent with applewood smoke from the last “man playing with fire” episode, seems far away.  But today, bright clear skies and temperature moving into that “Ideal” range, just like the dial on the smoker that looks like the nuclear device used in World War II; some grilling lies ahead this weekend with some Irish bangers ready to go for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration!  In case you might be grilling solo, or just for a good workout or commute, here are some great podcasts to link to  your iPod:

1. Business Book Digest: If you are like me, you have a stack of books near your desk and your bedside table.  They all seemed like a great idea at the point of sale, but life gets in the way.  This podcast reviews business books and gives you a summary of each title in 8 minutes!

2. Startup Nation: This is an eclectic collection of ideas and sound advice for the entrepreneurial at heart.

3. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders: This is a great podcast site full of lectures and speeches from Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Center.

4. The Jefferson Hour: This is one of my all time favorites!  They are typically 50-55 minutes long, terrific for a Nordic Trac winter workout! It’s a combination of Clay Jenkins portraying Thomas Jefferson and then Clay himself discussing the thoughts of America’s great founding genius.

5. Onion Radio News: We all need a little humor – the guys over at the Onion provide nice bouts of levity to put on the iPod to lighten up that drive home.

Till next week, happy grilling and remember to soak those wood chips before tossing them into the inferno!

Following up on an earlier post about the USGBC and the LEED “police,” I couldn’t help but get a chuckle out of this Audi ad during the Superbowl:

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!


If the rain will go away, we should have some good grilling weather this weekend!  Here are some thought provoking links to share around the barbecue:

1. Structure – this is an interesting site to peruse.  This link takes you straight to an article about building the tallest (nine story) stick frame building.  If we could get that technology down, imagine what it will do to overall cost!

2. Spain’s Green Jobs – this is a link to a PDF of a study about the effect on employment that Spain’s push to be “all things green” has had.  Before you drink anymore of the environmentalist Koolaid that says we are going to create a green employment nirvana, you’d better have a look.

3. Off the Edge Humor – we all need a laugh – especially these days.  This simple blog offers up a daily dose of good cheer!

4. Notes from a Hospital Bed – “Traction Man” is a British journalist who is in traction for several months in a UK hospital – he shares images of his food and other thoughts about living with socialized medicine.  I confess, as a foodie, I am astounded at how bad this slop looks and obviously tastes!

5. Yugoslavian Greenbrier – If you’ve ever been to the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, I hope you have had the privilege of touring the nuclear bunker that was built there for our bureaucracy. Guess the Yugoslavians had the same idea.  I wonder what’s going to happen in a couple of hundred years as more of these old shelters are found – what will they think?

Enjoy the weekend!


The air is getting a little chillier – might need to wear some fleece when you retrieve those succulent sausages off the Weber this weekend, but to help get you there, here are the offerings of links for the week:

1. Wall Stats – this site offers an innovative way of looking at complex information.  Be sure to study their “Death and Taxes” poster…you won’t care about cholesterol content after that!

2. Evernote – this is a neat application that I use a lot.  It syncs with your Blackberry or I-phone, and it is a place for clippings from articles you’ve read, bookmarks, etc.  They recently upgraded the platform to make it even easier to file and find various notes.

3. Read it Later – while we are on the subject of cool applications, Read it Later allows you to bookmark an article and, as the title suggests, read it later.  You can access your account from any computer or a smart phone, so it’s great when you are traveling and you want to get caught up on your reading.

4. Solar Decathlon – With all the focus on solar power – why not have a race to see which team could build the most energy efficient house that uses solar power?  OK, let’s do that!  Department of Energy is doing it – check it out.

5. E-Book – release your inner Wordsworth and write an e-book!  Here marketing guru, Seth Goodin tells you how.

OK, I’m stuffed with all this good information, hope you enjoy it.  Have a great weekend!

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