The View From The Golden Dome

Views on the week's events plus some of mine.

Les Berman Weekly 2-8 Stupid Tourists. Passports. Biggest Killers. Magic Number.. and so much more….


I find it interesting that Americans, as a whole, don’t travel internationally. Actually, I would guess that a vast number of people have never left their home state, or to be generous, their home state and the one adjacent. In spite of that, Americans are regarded as being rude and demanding when they travel. I wonder if we are as rude as the French are rumored to be.

 

I think it’s the stupid tourists who are rude. They travel to visit a different culture, and then they want everything the same as it is at home. Why bother to travel? Stay at home and look at pictures on the internet or tv. You can download a bunch of photos, put them in an album and then label the album Bucharest or Budapest – yes, those are two different cities in two different countries. And then you can go to your local restaurant and have your same meal with your same friends (who also have never travelled) and you can leave the same cheap tip for your waiter as you always do.

 

However, if you do travel, spend money, and the natives won’t hate you quite as much. I remember the last time I was in Paris, and someone asked if I was American. I responded in my grade school French and I made a friend. Make an effort, and have some fun. But do you even have a passport – one that is current? Well, 61% of you will only sleep in your own bed according to the State Department statistics from early last year. I actually read a comparison of the passport states and the presidential election results from 2012. It was interesting enough to comment on, but I have a severe allergy to politics. You can go here to look for yourself.

 

There are 10 states where more than 50% of the citizens have current passports: Can you guess which is the most passported state: The answer is revealed elsewhere in this issue. Here are #’s 2 – 10.

Massachusetts – 59%, Alaska – 58, NY – 58, Connecticut – 56, California – 54, New Hampshire – 54, Vermont, Washington and Maryland – all at 51. Which state has the most?

 

Of course, one of the reasons you don’t travel is because of all the cool things that you don’t want to know about in some countries – like Dracula’s (aka Vlad the Impaler) Castle in Romania that is about 1000 years old (according to the tour guide), or that place in England where all those big rocks are in a circle and are said to be more than 70 years old (Stonehenge) or ski areas in the Alps that have been used for hundreds of years (even before the modern Olympics – that was started in 1896), and so much more. Get your passport because the government needs your fees.

 

I use my passport frequently. One of my friends insists that I need a passport to go from the Valley into the City (Los Angeles) for many reasons. But I don’t really believe him anymore! Try giving a bank teller your passport for identification. Most of them will freak out and ask for a drivers license because they have never seen a passport before.

 

Meanwhile, in other news, it seems that windows are one of the biggest killers of birds on an annual basis. No, don’t run out and buy a Mac – the windows that I’m referring to are the glass ones. Science News says that between 365 and 900 million birds are killed annually by flying into glass. I mean, that’s a big range. Lots of room for mistakes with that statistic! But the biggest bird killer are those nefarious, evil, creepy, skulking four legged critters know as…. cats. Those allergen carrying animals kill about 3.7 Billion birds annually. I’m sure that  there is a range in that number as well. The good news is that those felines keep the predator robins under control. Who knows how many worms and bugs they annihilate!

New Jersey is at 63%.

The important thing is that you know, and recognize, that my specialties are loans ($50K to $5MM) to businesses anywhere in the country, and California real estate loans. The magic number is the same – 818.305.4695.

Have a better week!

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

“She got her good looks from her father.  He’s a plastic surgeon.”  –  Groucho Marx

“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep.  What do you want, an adorable pancreas?” – Dorothy Parker.

“I do not want actors and actresses to understand my plays.  If they will only pronounce the correct sounds I will guarantee the results.” – GB Shaw.

“Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.  Luckily, this is not difficult.”  –  Charlotte Whitton

 

 

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 Les Berman CMC
       
Business and Real Estate Loan Specialist
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

 

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March 2, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, real estate, small business, stuff, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 2-1 Phil. Stupor. Mistakes – Big Ones. Waxy Ears…. and so much more….


Here we are at the beginning of February 2014. I keep wondering how I got here, and how my kids got to be so old. I haven’t aged a bit – but they sure have !!

 

And it being the beginning of February, we also have the celebration, or not, of the Groundhog, good ole’ Punxsutawney Phil. Now personally, I don’t really care if Phil wakes up for the party and sees his shadow or not. But it might be a lot more entertaining than spending six hours in a comatose state, watching the Stupor Bowl and every bit of analysis, right down to, and including, the minute by minute temperature gauge.

 

Of course, for the last 21 years, the best part of the 2/2 celebration has been the TV repeats of the Bill Murray, Andie McDowell movie – Groundhog Day. I don’t know how women feel about the movie, but for most guys, it’s about achieving the perfection that is needed to make that great connection with the great woman. I know that all of us realize how many hundreds, thousands , or tens of thousands of mistakes we made when trying to achieve. And of course, as time goes on, our memories dwell on that ideal person, who is still the same age in our minds, as she was back when we made all those grievous errors.

 

And then the married guys reflect on the magnitude of a mistake, or supposed mistake, that their spouse blew so far out of  proportion, that it made the Civil War civil in comparison. Of course, the person who committed the grievous crime, knows that their spouse or significant other did not understand the intent of their gesture and did not admit, when it was explained, how minor the transgression was. It did create a minor increase in the economy because you paid for more flowers, counseling, a new diamond ring, and a new car. You did realize that was far less expensive than what you really wanted – a divorce !

 

I remember some of my better errors throughout history, and some that I heard that others perpetrated. One of mine was forgetting the name of my date. That was sort of embarrassing but I got bailed out when someone called her by name. And I think that was on New Year’s Eve. Or a guy who forgot he had a date. The girl decided that she liked the guy enough that she went to his house and rang the bell. He had no idea he had a date scheduled but went out anyway. They got married a few years later.

 

And then there was the time that I said something that I shouldn’t have. Took me a while to cure that one. Or the time when I wasn’t driving yet, and a girl asked if my prior night’s date had been cold. Now women speak a different language. I interpreted the word one way, and she, of course, meant it literally. So my answer, needless to say, was wrong!

I wonder if we of the male species, get into as much trouble by saying yes. Have to think about that.

 

And back to the things we didn’t know about a year ago. Yes, many of them we really don’t care about but you will read them anyway! Commonly used words on Facebook indicate gender, age, and some personality traits. Women will use “excited” a lot whereas guys tend to take the easy way and just swear. The moon is about 100 million years younger than previously thought. Uhh – I don’t care ! And there are species of a mouse in Costa Rica that just sing to protect their territories. I guess if one of them were to win American Idol….

 

Some monkeys lower their voices to keep others from hearing what they are saying. Did they learn that from people or vice versa? Four new species of legless lizards were found near LAX around the oil derricks. Think of all the questions that would arise from that discovery – like, are you sure it isn’t a snake? The Earth will be habitable for another 1.75 billion years (+/-) but I think life forms might be a little different after some idiot unleashes the big nuke. The waxy buildup inside the ears of dead whales are an indication of how much pollution they have been exposed to. HA ! From the same buildup in my ears, my mother could tell me how long it had been since I washed, and she was probably right !

 

And finally, for today, a reminder that if you need money for your business, business real estate, or any other real estate, the magic number is 818.305.4695 !

Have a better week!

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY

Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate!*

 

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 Les Berman CMC
      Business and Real Estate Loan Specialist
       
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

 

February 24, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, medicine, real estate, sports, stuff, Uncategorized, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 1-25 Scandalous. Sugar. Asteroids and Elephants… and So Much More !!


It’s absolutely scandalous. My vision, or perhaps hallucination, has been destroyed. I just learned that legions of Girl Scouts do not, and have not made, the legendary Girl Scout cookies since pre-historic days. They are, in fact, made by Little Brownie Bakers, a subsidiary of… ready.. Keebler and by ABC Bakers, a George Weston company.

 

And for all these years, I had these crazy visions of Girls Scouts (GS) , in a long line, cutting, and shaping, and forming all of those varieties of cookies. I thought that Lucy and Ethel got that job on the chocolate candy conveyor because they wanted to emulate the Girl Scouts. Now, I have to change my head process and envision a bunch of elves running around and doing that job. So disappointed. And I’ll bet someone will tell me that Santa Claus isn’t real either. Or that they found the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. Or that TinkerBell never forgave Peter ! What else can burst my bubble this week?

 

So let me tell you a few things about Girl Scouts. They do not make cookies. Nothing else matters. The cookies are now free of trans fats, and therefore, don’t taste as good as they did previously. And the GS can decide which bakery they want to use because, the bakeries may make different cookies. And each bakery can give different names to the cookies. I actually found a list of about 40 different types of cookies that have been discontinued.

 

Now there’s something wrong about that. Removing sugar highs from kids? That un-American. It’s heresy. It’s not fair! It’s poor sportsmanship. But really, Thin Mints make up 25% of the total sales, followed by 19% from Caramel deLites (from ABC)/Somoas (from LBB) – so the name for the same cookie depends on the bakery. And the number of cookies per box, which has not only dropped over the years to save money, varies based on where you are in the country! The dark underbelly of the industry… How will each of the GS learn to look after their husbands and treat them the way our grandmothers treated our grandfathers, if they don’t actually bake the cookies. I’m sorry that I had to reveal this truth to you! Buy GS cookies anyway please!

 

I was looking at other things we didn’t know a year ago. How about this one. 2013TV135 is the name of an asteroid that will hit us on April 13, 2036 according to some Ukrainian astronomers. NASA scientists disagree. In 22 years, I’ll be a lot older than I am today, and I probably won’t remember that I wrote this, so please put this in your computer calendar and call me to tell me who was right.

 

Other scientists have determined that all mammals urinate for the same length of time – 22 seconds. They named this the “law of ……” If you are going to time yourself, I don’t want to know.

 

And fossil evidence showed that our friendly Neanderthals used toothpicks. We are not told the name of the brand that they chose.

African elephants are able to understand hand gestures, even if not trained to do so. I wonder how many of them did not understand the gesture for ‘stop’! And what happened to those trainers?

 

And other scientists have decided that birds locate food in the morning but don’t eat it until later in the day. So what’s the deal with the early bird and the worm?

 

Kissing is the ultimate test for a relationship. Well, it’s actually a taste test. I guess non-smokers must have a slight advantage in this contest. The study also said that more kissing increased the quality of the relationship but did not necessarily indicate an increase of the kind of activity that would cause this edition to be blocked as spam !

 

My son-in-law grew up in Brighton and his soccer team is in to round 4 of the English FA Cup. I hope his team wins Saturday !! Go Brighton & Hove Albion Seagulls !!

 

You all saw my announcement a couple of days ago. Business loans are highest on my agenda now. Real estate loans still get done. Ask me how I can help you – anywhere in the country. The magic number remains the same – 818.305.4695.

Have a better week !

 

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
The second mouse gets the cheese.
When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

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 Les Berman CMC
       SBA and Real Estate Loan Specialist
       
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

February 17, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, real estate, sports, stuff, Uncategorized, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Les Berman Weekly 1-17 Don’t Understand. Technology. We Didn’t Know…. and much more


There is a constant stream of new things that I don’t know about, or that I don’t understand, or both. I used to think, when I was younger, that my ideal companion would be a really hot woman. As I matured (because I haven’t gotten any older), my ideal companion had become someone who was intelligent (yeah – hot too, but in a different way). Now, my ideal companion would be someone who could show me how all of these new programs work, and that person would likely be about seven years old, with their two front teeth missing or maybe eleven.

 

I would be perfectly happy to supply ice cream and candy as the parents permitted. And maybe even a puppy.

 

The speed of technological development truly amazes me. Kids are coming up with new applications daily, and while many won’t happen, those that do will make substantial changes in the world. I know how Facebook works, and I understand how they make money. Twitter – I don’t get it. Pinterest and instagram – no idea. But then I hear about medical developments that astound me.

 

How about a pill sized camera that you can swallow? It will transmit images of your internal organs as it takes the journey. And I was just talking to someone the other day who is involved in a company that has a hand held device that can be used to detect breast cancer. Imagine a Tupperware type of party where the women are gathered around, and scanning themselves with images being transferred to a computer for reading. So the cost of a breast exam goes from hundreds or thousands of dollars to ten or twenty dollars.

 

I’m looking forward to driverless cars. There are so many people on the freeways that aren’t paying attention anyway, this could make our roads safer. Think about the Jetsons. The futuristic food processing is here (I hope it reaches me a little faster please!), and the little space cars will not be that far off. And for those of you who are old enough to remember Dick Tracy comic strips, the wrist radio is a fact today, as is Maxwell Smart’s secret phone. Or how about the secret weapons from the early James Bond movies. All routine stuff now.

 

Bottom line, I need to borrow a seven year old – or maybe an 11 year old please!

 

So here are a few things that we didn’t know at the beginning in 2012. The morning after pill doesn’t work in woman weighing more than 176 pounds. Being bilingual can delay the onset of dementia by 4.5 years. (I wonder if babbling is a language – for 60 year olds). A group of Neanderthals in what is now Spain, cannibalized neighbors including young children (and stuff like this does hit the News every now and then). Chimpanzees can locate fruit trees and locations going back about three years (no big deal – we can find our own fridges too!) Sixty percent of lice are now super lice and are resistant to current treatments (i don’t worry about that anymore. And that’s another story for another time). Astronomers found a galaxy whose light took 13 billion years to get here. They don’t say how they know how long it took, nor do they say if it still exists. Come back to this blog in 13 billion years for the answer! Eucalyptus trees absorb gold through their roots and is shed through its leaves and bark. A chemical found in chilis does something to our bodies to prevent weight gain. (I don’t believe this because the residents of a country just south of the USA eat a lot of chilis and they have a higher incidence of obesity than do Americans.)

 

Big announcement coming out mid week next week ! Watch your email . It’s a good one. And while you’re waiting, need money? The magic number is  818.305.4695

Have a better week !

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

 * Never buy a car you can’t push.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

 

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 Les Berman CMC
       SBA and Real Estate Loan Specialist   
       
NMLS ID 227675
 
Voice: 818.305.4695
 
Email: les@lesberman.com

February 14, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, real estate, sports, stuff, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 1-10 Three More Weeks. Disappearing Things. Kid in the Bottle. and so much more…


It’s started already. I guess that’s ok because it is three weeks away. But how can they start talking about it and postulating when they don’t even know who will be in the Super Bowl? Ok, so the ads will cost about $4 Million per minute. I thought that was interesting especially since I have absolutely no interest in the game itself.

 

I do remember a great Pepsi commercial where the kid sucked himself into the bottle. And the old Budweiser ads – the frogs, ‘wassup’ and others. Of course, the ads with Danica Patrick were very watchable as well. I hope they make me think that their $4 million was well spent, not that they really think what I care because I’m outside the prime demographic now.

 

The former inhabitants of parts of Illinois and Ohio would not care either. But they were sharks – yup, a shark nursery was found in them thar parts. They were so old that neither Lewis nor Clarke found them. However, the scientists who did examine the fossils, somehow determined that the sharks were in nurseries, not day care, but shark nurseries. And sharks still raise their juveniles, aka young snakes, in shark nurseries.

 

As those sharks disappeared, others are postulating about the things that will disappear in our lifetimes. Some say the Post Office is all but history and it will be gone within 30 years. And newspapers too. The younger generations do not read newspapers. Everything is electronic – but they will rue the day that newspapers are gone. After all, what will be used to wrap the fish?

 

Britain is planning to phase out checks by 2018. And when the US follows suit, what will the Post Office deliver, because bills won’t be mailed. I like writing checks. Confuses people today. Books and land line phones will go away. Bookstores are closing now – books come electronically now. And landline phones are virtual antiques now. How about a rotary dial phone sound when it rings? I really can’t remember, can you?

 

I don’t know enough about the music business to comment on that entertainment mode disappearing. There always has been music, and there likely always will be some. But the artists, as we know them, may be replaced by one hit wonders because the industry wants instant success. No one will be given a chance to develop.

 

And with all of this electronic stuff, handwriting as a form of communication will disappear. Most kids can’t write very well anyway. And they don’t write, they text. And spelling – forget it! Grammar has already disappeared. And people can’t tell the difference among their, there and they’re, now. And the last thing that will happen, is that our privacy will be a thing of the past. If you want to take the time, you can usually find out anything about anyone, today!

 

And it was 50 years ago that the warning labels were first put on cigarette packages. Recently, I heard and read a number of 1940’s and 1950’s ads for smokes. Back then, the advertisers could and did say anything they wanted about their products. A survey of all the doctors said they preferred Lucky Strikes. Who ever challenged the companies? Today, if they sneeze the wrong way, a boatload of consumer advocates will threaten litigation, class actions etc. just because. Oh well. C’est la vie !

 

Looking for financing to expand your business? or for real estate? call the Magic Number and we’ll get you moving – with the money… 818.305.4695

Have a better week !

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

1 * Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!

2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

4 * Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

5 * If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

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 Les Berman CMC
        Financing Business and Real Estate since 1980
       
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

February 5, 2014 Posted by | business, general interest, humor, real estate, small business, sports, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 1-4 Census or Senseless. WWII Numbers. Colorado jobs. Turing.. and much much more


Some days, I just have no idea what to write about, and fortunately the Census Bureau, sensing that, came to the rescue. The U.S. Census Bureau projected that on Jan. 1, 2014, the United States population was 317,297,938. This represents an increase of 2,218,622, or 0.7 percent, from NY Day 2013. In January 2014, one birth is expected to occur every 8 seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds. The projected world population on Jan. 1, 2014, is 7,137,577,750, an increase of 77,630,563, or 1.1 percent from New Year’s Day 2013. In January 2014, 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second. India added 15.6 million people over the one-year period, which led all countries, followed by China, Nigeria, Pakistan Ethiopia, and North Dakota (just seeing if you’re reading this).

 

Since we’re playing with numbers, I think that those numbers that demonstrate the resilience and the strength of the American worker are amazing. When it’s crunch time, no one can be as efficient or productive as the people who know they are being relied upon by so many others to step up to the plate. And it’s this kind of productivity that will return the U.S. economy to its leadership position in the world. Consider the following:

 

During the 3-1/2 years of World War II that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks. We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany. (Yes, WW2 actually began in 1939 but US direct involvement did not begin until Pearl Harbor. The US had been manufacturing armaments for the Canadians and British since 1939 at least).

 

Production is coming back to the USA, albeit slowly. And it’s happening because of the efficiency of the American worker. Admittedly, a lot of production will never come back to our shores, but more jobs are coming back every month. And American ingenuity creates even more opportunities.

 

Colorado can be the beneficiary of 100,000 jobs, and generate about $67 Million in tax revenue because the people voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana. California is apparently considering a ballot measure in 2016. I wonder if the ‘holier than thou’ negative campaigners will be at the front of the line to take some of the tax revenue generated when the measure passes. I would bet that they will be there with their hands out, arguing for a bigger slice of what could be a billion dollar tax pie. And I wonder if a  union will try to organize these agricultural workers.

 

Meanwhile, the Brits are finally recognizing the work of Alan Turing. Alan Turing is credited with cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, in the process shortening World War Two, and saving countless lives. He was also a mathematical genius, the father of the modern computer and much of his ground-breaking work was conducted at the University of Manchester. The Brits of the day did not approve of his relationship with another male. What they did to him would be called torture today, and ended in Turings suicide. Google his name for details – it will shock you !

 

Need financing for your real estate, or business? The magic number is still 818.305.4695.

Have a better week !

Les

 

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.
He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.
A calendar’s days are numbered.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.

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 Les Berman CMC
       Financing Businesses and Real Estate for 35+ years
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

January 30, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, medicine, real estate, small business, sports, stuff, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Signs. Ak-47. Methane. Patties.and so much more…


I’m sure that you have seen signs posted on telephone poles and light standards when you walk in commercial areas. Some are worth reading; some are happy, some are sad, some are poignant, and many are straight out advertising.

 

The saddest ones are lost pets. Dogs, cats, lizards.  But I saw one recently where they were looking for a lost bird. And I had to laugh. My sense of humor. So what would happen if you saw the bird. Being the good person that you are, you dutifully go to call the number… and you pause. What do you say? Do you call and say, “Hi, I think I saw your bird. It was in a tree. I didn’t have a long pole with a net on it, but I think it was your bird. Uh, yes, I started to climb the tree to make sure it was your bird because I didn’t want to call you with false hope. Oh… what happened? well, I started to climb the tree – and it flew away.” Why did you even post the sign?

 

And the man responsible for the invention of the Kalashnikov gun, AK-47, has died. It is said that the AK47 is responsible for the deaths of a quarter million people annually. Since 1947. There are over 100 million of these machine guns in service today. Too bad he didn’t invent a better lawn mower, or more effective washing machine. But he was responsible for a great concoction – mixing vodka, absinth, lemon, cinnamon and sugar is the recipe for the Kalashnikov shot drink. Now that’s a killer of another kind. And some artists have converted the AK47 into guitars – more fitting I think !

 

Meanwhile, a new study has revealed that the amount of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent but far less prevalent than CO2 – released into the US atmosphere is significantly higher than previously thought. The report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science recently. And yes, the biggest supplier of methane comes from the flatulence of cows and resulting cow patties. In case you didn’t know, dry cow patties are used as fuel in many places.

 

I remember being on a farm during my university days, with a group of friends. We had been actively pursuing the consumption, rather taste testing, of beer during the day. And Canadian beer was far more potent that American beer. We had names for the American product, none of which would pass the spam blockers of the world. So after some taste testing, we decided to play football in a cow pasture. Little did we know how well we quickly we would perfect the art of broken field running. We could have been a better than average Division 1 running back. Or a striker on a par with Pele.  Oh yeah – we had agreed not to play tackle football but sometimes we slipped up on the rules – and the cow patties !

 

By the time you read this, you will be exhausted, possibly by the celebration with your family, your travel ordeal, or even worse, your consumption of both food and drink. But here’s the better news – there’s only one more party event before you attempt to get back to normal. I hope Santa was good to you and yours, and if you did not celebrate, I hope you bought yourself some good stuff !

And for your real estate and business finance needs, the magic number is 818.305.4695

Have a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous New Year ! and of course, have a better week !

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.
A will is a dead giveaway.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
A backward poet writes inverse.
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

 

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 Les Berman CMC
       Finance Specialist
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695

 

January 25, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, real estate, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animals. Bill the Dog. Hollywood Icons. and much much more….


I wonder sometimes, about our love of our animals, specifically, our pets. I had a dog and he was an amazing joy. I still laugh about some of the silly things that he managed to do, and some of the silly things that my kids did with him. The kids decided together on his name as we were coming back from the breeder.

 

One of the first names proposed was Bill the Dog. And ultimately, they decided that Sherman Berman was acceptable. And that soon became Sherman Herman Berman. Initially, my daughter was afraid of this little guy, but soon enough, she would make her way over to him when he was sleeping, and poke him while asking if he was sleeping. She did it to the dog more often than she did it to her dad. Fortunately.

 

There were rituals, of course. Every year, for instance, the dog was unceremoniously thrown into the deep end of the pool, sometimes in the arms of my son, so he would be able to make his way to the steps, and get out safely. Other times, when wild rabbits got into the yard, the dog would see them, and be on alert. And as soon as he was let outside, Sherman would run to where the rabbit had been, not even noticing that it had taken off to escape through the fence.

 

But the best memories were of the pure love that Sherman had for the family members. When the kids came home from school, he would be jumping all over the place. When the garage door opened, he would be there immediately, greeting the driver of the moment. Of course, if the kids were in the car, he would abandon the driver immediately to go to the kids.

And when he was old and sick, the day we had to put him down was traumatic. So I understand what it means to have a pet and to love him.

 

What I cannot understand is when someone has had a horse for many years, why the horse would be sent to the taxidermist, and stuffed. Recently, at an auction, one of the items sold was that famous stuffed horse who I had seen many times on TV when I was a kid. Yes, Trigger was that loyal horse who was able to all kinds of things because he was so well trained. And he was as big a draw as was Roy Rogers. While doing a little research about the horse, I learned that there were two or three stand ins (or were they called horse ins?). And I also learned that the Smithsonian wanted Trigger in their collection. Love your animal but stuff them and put them beside the fireplace… not for me !

 

And then I learned about another great Hollywood icon – Pinks. Stories abound about the history of Pinks, but the best I have found is about the annual consumption figures. It is said that last year, Pinks – went through 53,340lbs of hot dogs, 46,800lbs of chili, 51,480lbs of Polish sausage, 128,700lbs of fries, 25,025lbs of bacon, 14,870lbs of burgers, 34,320lbs of sauerkraut and 129,800 tortillas. One day, I hope to contribute to those numbers. I’ve driven by the stand at 709 N. La Brea in Los Angeles many times, and I was always astounded at the line of people waiting for food. Perhaps that explains why it is one of the few places in LA that is open until 3 AM.

 

I had a summer job in a meat packing plant when I was in my late teens. I saw how the corn beef and pastrami, salami and hot dogs, and other things were made. If you had seen the process, you might never have eaten salami or hot dogs again. However, the bottom line was, and is, that the end result was excellent!

 

And before we roll into the new year, I want to wish you a Happy and Safe Holiday season, and may your next year be the best ever.

Have a better week.

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

“Perks” of reaching 50 and beyond!

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

2. In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.

3. No one expects you to run –anywhere.

4. People call at 9 PM (or 9 AM) and ask, ‘Did I wake you?’

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

 

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 Les Berman CMC
       Business & Real Estate Loan Specialist
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

January 11, 2014 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, real estate, sports, stuff, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 12-14 Hold Please. Traffic. PISA. Titan. Buddha and so much more…


So, I had to get some information from a government agency. At best, that’s a daunting task, as you know. I called the 800 number and was given a pretty complete menu of options, none of which could answer my question, and there wasn’t an option at any time of speaking to a live person. I gave myself a couple of options… hang up, guess at the answer, or press 0 and see if I get booted out of the system. I pressed 0, and got in a queue that they said was 31 minutes. And all of this for an answer that would take less than one minute. And I was on hold for 63 minutes – because I needed the answer to the question.

I made an amazing discovery about Los Angeles traffic. During the week, it’s very light at 6 AM. The corresponding discovery was that I really don’t like having to be somewhere at 630 AM. Especially because it’s still dark and cold.

I’ve learned other things lately. The PISA, (not pizza) rankings came out recently and scored students in 65 countries on different skills – math, science, and reading. Asian countries took the first seven slots in math. The highest ranking western country was not the USA (#36) nor was it Canada (#13) or the UK (#26), but it was Lichtenstein. And I would bet that most of my readers could not find that country on a map. Geography was not part of the testing.

In reading, the highest scoring western country was Finland (#6) and the first five slots were Asian countries. This testing was done on 15 and 16 year old students. Canada was #9 and the USA was #24. And in science, the highest scoring western country was again Finland #5, Canada in 10th spot and the USA was at #28, with Asian countries all taking the top spots.

These statistics are worthy of mention because concerned parents in the US will gravitate towards charter schools, and the stronger demands made on the students. Eventually, parents will realize that homework, actually completed by the students rather than with parental ‘assistance’, is a necessity. Perhaps a longer school day is an option, and without question, better paid teachers are a necessity.

There will always be kids who rise to the top regardless of circumstance, and these kids will likely be leaders in the future. I am curious as to the racial demographic in Ph.D. and M.D. programs in the top schools in the USA. The objective would not be to exclude students, but might be an incentive for more education funding here at home. Are we witnessing the beginning of the decline and fall of the American empire? A scary thought.

Meanwhile, a NASA spacecraft flying around Titan, a  moon up there near Saturn, has detected traces of the chemical used in the manufacture of propylene, that most important ingredient in food containers and car bumpers. I’m guessing this could become useful information for my great grandchildren. The article was a full page in length but I covered the essence.

And then, the journal Antiquity has published findings that establish an earlier date for the birth of Siddhartha Gautama who became Buddha. This is notable because there are approximately 350 million followers of Buddhism, making it one of the world’s great religions. The site at Lumbini is by tradition, the birthplace of Buddha. One of the remarkable facts is that the site was largely abandoned from about 250 BC until 1896.

The archeological findings reflect the nonviolence and nonoffering traditions of the Buddhist religion. As they excavated beneath the known sites, they found earlier existence of a shrine which pushed back birthdates about a hundred years, and more or less reinforced the Nepalese estimate of the Buddha’s birthdate to about 623 BC.

Home loan rules are changing again (January 10), and for the worst, thanks to our friendly legislators in DC. So if you’re thinking about refinancing your property, call me today. I do answer calls on weekends. The magic number.. 818.305.4695

Have a better week!

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

You may not know that many non-living things have a gender.

Web Page — Female, because it’s always getting hit on.

Subway — Male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

Hourglass — Female, because over time, the weight can shift to the bottom.

Hammer — Male, because it hasn’t changed much over the last 5,000 years, but it’s handy to have around.

Remote Control — Female. Ha! You thought it’d be Male. But consider this — it gives a man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while he doesn’t always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying.

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 Les Berman CMC
        Real Estate Loan Specialist
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

December 28, 2013 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, medicine, real estate, sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Les Berman Weekly 12-7 Toys. Imagination. Kids Have It Easy. Pearl Harbor. and much more…


So I think that the kids today have it too easy. They don’t really have to think, and I’m talking about play time. Think back to when you were a kid, if you can remember back that far, way back when, and what you had for toys. I didn’t have any sisters, so loyal lady readers, you have to use your own imagination.

 

And that was one of our biggest and best toys. Our imaginations ! When we played outside, which was all the time when it wasn’t raining or a blizzard, we created. Sure, we had our Roy Rogers cap guns which enabled us to play good guy bad guy, or cowboys and Indians, but the games we played were from our imagination. We would hide behind a twig of a tree, and we were safe, or someone would ride by on their bike or tricycle, and that could be the horse or stagecoach.

 

We had a lot of kids on our street. The first one outside would ring another’s doorbell, and eventually, we had enough to play. And our parents weren’t there demanding a perfect playtime, or football play, or baseball. Sure, my dad, and the other dads likely, taught me how to throw a football, a baseball, and how to ride a bike. But my dad wouldn’t criticize me if my throw went sideways. There was never any pressure for absolute perfection in sports.

 

And we never got yelled at by any of the parents if we drank water from the hose. We learned how to bend the hose to get just the amount of water we needed to drink… and we learned that from our older siblings who had waited until we were ready to drink, and then turned the hose on full blast ! And no repercussions. Tears yes, but nothing more.

 

I vaguely recall building things with tinkertoys – plugging those sticks into the round things and the angled things. I have no idea what the ‘things’ were really called. And I remember graduating up to a meccano set and being able to build better things than with tinkertoys. I don’t remember other toys. I do remember books, lots of books, and paper and crayons. Imagination worked.

 

When my kids were little, they had tons of toys. Sure, we indulged our kids, but there were no computers early on. My daughter had the requisite dolls and accoutrements and my son had the legos and eventually video games. They had organized sports and friends to play with. And when I bought them a computer, life as we knew it had ended.

 

Today, if you look in a store, everything is electronic. Toddlers know how to use tablets and smartphones. They are more technologically adept that I am, but that’s not a fair comparison – for the toddler ! It seems that every movie and television show is made to sell merchandise and it all ends up with the kids. I don’t see kids playing pickup ball games, or riding their bikes together or doing random things. It seems that their lives are scripted now, at least that’s the way it looks here in lalaland. How different is it from other cities? countries? Tell me, please.

 

And think of what playtime might have been years ago. I mean years and years ago. In Spain, archaeologists found a thigh bone of an early inhabitant, some 400,000 years old, and were able to extract DNA. They decided that this boy was playing long before Neanderthals. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans. Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found. This was reported in the journal, Nature.

 

How does this affect us today? Well, it really doesn’t because we’re here now. It does cause scientists to rethink our origins. The only thing that they all still agree upon, is that our ancestors came out of Africa because that’s where the oldest human fossils, over 2 million years old, have been found. And science is amazing because the newest methods of analyzing DNA are only a year old.

That kid may have had sticks and stones to play with. Along with gestures and possibly some verbal sounds. I can only imagine how sounds were learned – like what did they say when a huge wolf was about to pounce ?

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Please thank a veteran for their service !

 

And my reminder that I make real estate loans.. for residential and investment properties. I work with veterans and foreign nationals because of their unique needs, and of course, with every homeowners in California. The magic number is 818.305.4695 .

Have a better week !

Les

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

You may not know that many non-living things have a gender. For example:

1) Ziploc Bags — They are Male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

2) Copiers — They are Female, because once turned off it takes a while to warm them up again. It’s an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed, but can wreak havoc if the wrong buttons are pushed.

3) Tire — Male, because it goes bald and it’s often over-inflated.

4) Hot Air Balloon — Male, because, to get it to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under it and, of course, there’s the hot air component.

5) Sponges — Female, because they’re soft, squeezable and retain water.

to be continued

 

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 Les Berman CMC
        Real Estate Loan Specialist
       
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695
Email: les@lesberman.com

December 24, 2013 Posted by | business, fun, general interest, humor, sports, stuff, whimsy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment