Archive for February, 2009

I just read an article in my local newspaper (sorry there links seem to expire). It seems American Cowboy Magazine has named 20 cities which are most favorable to the Cowboy lifestyle. “Stephenville has been named one of the best places to live in the west,” according to the newspaper. I’m kind of bucking the trend or maybe there is a shift as we completely leave manufacturing and embark on a the true information age. I moved from the city to the country. I grew up in a suburb of New Orleans where it is difficult to tell when you move across a political line. I moved around the North East and wound up in Dallas, TX. Now I live outside of Stephenville, TX. Population 15,000. Give or take a hundred or so. If I need to get to the bank across town and I hit every light, it will take about 20 minutes and I’ll barely go over 40mph. I love it here! I can understand why cowboys like it here too.
While we are certainly in a worldwide recession, not everyone is hurting. Throughout much of the world a new middle class is expending. I read this article in The Economist and the one it refers. A lot depends on what you call middle class. The American Middle Class would hardly recognize the Chinese Middle Class, but a very large portion of the world is becoming the new world middle class and that means we will see a lot of the things that come with emerging middle classes. Things like more democracy and more migration from rural to urban areas. And political machines being replaced by term limits and subsidizing agriculture and selling lots of televisions and cell phones.
IMAGINE you are seated at a table with two bowls in front of you. One contains peanuts, the other tablets of the illegal recreational drug MDMA (ecstasy). A stranger joins you, and you have to decide whether to give them a peanut or a pill. Which is safest?
Answer. It is common to hold one’s own beliefs to a different test than the beliefs we are confronting. I have been guilty of that. I will be guilty of it again. I only hope that I’m not guilty of it now. Where do your beliefs fit? Can they withstand the scrutiny you apply to new beliefs? THink about it.

I just wrote an email to an advertisement for a webmaster and thought, “Hey, I could make that a post on my web site. So here it is.


An article on your web site asked for “someone who has more professional experience than a beginner, but less experience than an expert.” That sounds just about right for me. I do hope to command the exorbitant fees of a CSS expert one day, but not today.

I have been the web master of DFWREIN for about 4 years and have been on the Internet since Usenet was called Fidonet. I am mostly home bound and am very responsive to update requests. I can write copy and have enough programming experience to keep me out of trouble. I possess a very orderly mind.

I can write, rewrite and edit well-formed, valid CSS, and (x)html. I am fluent in many server side computer languages and am familiar with version control software. I play well with others, but prefer to play by myself.

I have dabbled in JavaScript and like the jQuery library which you apparently use. I am familiar with PHP and am currently contributing to the WordPress Codex project.

I prefer editing raw text files to using commercial editors and IDEs, but I can go get one of those if it is absolutely required. I will need about 24 hours to get the feel for your web site, to determine how pages are being generated and to get started on any new project. Otherwise I can change usually my schedule to fit your needs.

I would not recommend myself as a designer. I can do some work in a pinch, but there are better people out there.

I generally charge $80 per hour by monthly internet invoice after work is completed. I only charge for the time I am typing: writing copy, writing markup, writing code or testing code. I never charge for development time, email, phone service, training or consulting. I charge for time spent doing research for writing copy.

I am currently working with these 5 web sites. I set up DFWREIN myself. From design to maintenance. The client was even more design averse than me.

  1. Investor Deals (a new site),
  2. Dynamic Environmental Services,
  3. Clarkson Energy Homes,
  4. DFWREIN and
  5. T-REIN (will close soon).

The T-REIN web site owner already had the graphics. I just added the CSS to make it work and used to update it regularly. The first two sites are WordPress blogs which I modified to suit the client. WordPress Themes have spoiled me.

Thank you,

Charles Clarkson

Mobile Home Investor
Free Market Advocate

Stephenville, TX
+1 (254) 968-8328
Steve Fambro is the inventor of an electric vehicle which gets something like 33 miles to the dollar. It is one of those prototypes, but has already sold a few thousand cars. In this short video of an interview with Steve he describes an interesting, but not uncommon problem with his suppliers. Regulation of industry is subject to change. Usually changes are attempted annually by some federal or state legislators. Many changes come from the industry itself. Big industry players like regulation because it allows them to eliminate or to greatly reduce their competition. Industries which are dominated by big bureaucratic companies are less likely to be as nimble as companies like Steve Fambro owns. When we use regulation to reduce competition we often clear the path for less nimble companies. That changes the landscape of the playing field for that industry. All the suppliers have to deal with a bureaucracy and they have to adopt priorities which cater to slow moving, slow changing customers. Regulators want a few big players in their industries. They can monitor them easier and there is less to do. Regulators have a better chance to keep control of their industry if they do not have a bunch of small competitors constantly innovating what they are attempting to regulate. That’s one reason why regulators pressure legislators for long laborious processes to get anything accomplished. If they let everything happen quickly they would never be able to keep regulations up to date with practice. Innovation drives progress. We are worse off as a species when we slow innovation. Why would anyone deliberately slow progress? The answer lies in our systems of government. The players in those systems are often rewarded for slowing innovation. Regulation is all about control. Innovation is all about chaos. Control and chaos are not best buds. Thus regulators, seeking to make their lives easier, reduce chaos, thus making everyone’s life worse off. Innovation can be found in controlled environments. It is just slower to happen. Slowing innovation has been the goal of many humans throughout history usually because they do not see where this chaotic future will take us. Invariably it takes us all to a better place.
I just had the strangest visit. About a month ago I sold a mobile home for a woman who had abandoned it. I sold it “as is” to a buyer for $2,500. That’s what was owed on the back lot rent plus some late fees. She got $500 down and financed the rest plus some prorated rent on a note. I took the note in exchange for the back lot rent. This morning, the buyer came over with his son who acted as interpreter. He said the roof leaked. I said, okay. He asked if I had insurance to repair it. I explained that I never owned the house, that it had been abandoned and that, no, I had never had insurance on the home. Since I never lived in the house I don’t know much about it at all. I don’t recall speaking of insurance during any meetings we had prior to the sale. I asked if the leak was a bad leak and was told it was serious, but they both left just the same. They have done quite a bit of work on the house and they have already moved in. I doubt I’ll get it back, but it was a really strange conversation. Perhaps it was the translation, but the owner just seemed to make statements and seem to expect me to repair the leak in house he got for $500 down. There are a couple of lessons to learn here. First, any mobile home which has a weak spot in the floor probably has a leak somewhere. I recall a weak floor in the living room of this particular home. It was near a window and I assume that window leaked. Always leaving a window open is not usually enough to weaken the floor. It requires a constant leak and a constantly wet floor. So, if you are inspecting a mobile home look for weak spots in the floor and consider why that weak spot exists. Every weak spot is a potentially leaky wall, window or roof. Another lesson here is for me to learn. Since I get one or two abandoned homes a year and since I am expecting one again soon it behooves me to make a checklist for buyers that clearly defines what will and will not be covered should something go wrong with the unit after the sale is made. I could translate it into Spanish ahead of time just to make sure there are no false impressions about warranties or insurance.
  1. Did you date someone from your school?
    No way. I would have had to talk to a girl first.
  2. Did you marry someone from your high school?
    No. It was an all boys Catholic school back then. I doubt very many of the students married each other.
  3. Did you car pool to school?
    No. I took the public bus then transferred to the street car. It took about an hour to get to school if the buses were running on time. I rode my bicycle a few times.
  4. What kind of car did you have?
    Dad wouldn’t let me drive until I was 18. I think I avoided a lot of accidents by waiting. Thanks, Dad.
  5. What kind of car do you have now?
    A two-tone brown 1979 Ford F150. My last car was a two-tone blue 1979 Ford F150.
  6. Its Saturday night…Where are you now?
    In front of my computer.
  7. It is Saturday night in high school …?
    In front of my computer. (Wait. There may be a pattern here.)
  8. What kind of job did you have in high school?
    Bus boy / Dishwasher.
  9. What kind of job do you do now?
    Job? Seriously? People still have those? Why?
  10. Were you a party animal?
    Nope. I would have had to be invited to parties. Which would probably mean that I would have had to talk to a girl.
  11. Were you considered a flirt?
    Not in high school. I would have had to talk to a girl!
  12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
    No. I lettered in Drama though.
  13. Were you a nerd?
    Absolutely. I was also a jock. I lettered in basketball.
  14. Did you get suspended or expelled?
    No. I was a really good kid. I was a hall monitor. :)
  15. Can you sing the fight song?
    I have been asked not to ever sing again by local law enforcement. Okay, technically it wasn’t a request. They were a lot of papers, a judge, restraints and quite a bit of moaning. I’d rather not speak of it. Thanks for bringing it up. :(
  16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s)?
    • Mrs. Chestnut (First grade teacher. I’m told she was also my first crush.),
    • Mrs. Poulan (She was hotter than her hot daughters.),
    • The extremely attractive young woman who taught typing and liked to wear tight skirts to work (I am certain none of us ever looked at our keyboards).
    • Brother John (Brother John was cool. I threw him in so you wouldn’t think I had a one-track mind.).
  17. Where did you sit during lunch?
    In front of the school on St. Charles Street. It was just two of us. My friend would often have fake epileptic fits when the Street Car passed by. It was really fun to watch. (But, of course, I completely disapprove of his actions.)
  18. What was your school’s full name?
    De La Salle
  19. When did you graduate?
  20. What was your school mascot?
    A Cavalier. Curiously, some people have said I have a cavalier attitude.
  21. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
    Yes, but only if I could talk to girls.
  22. Did you have fun at Prom?
    I didn’t go. To get a date I would have had to talk to a girl first.
  23. Do you still talk to the person(s)?
    You seem to be miss-understanding this concept about talking to a girl.
  24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?
  25. Do you still talk to people from school?
    As a single guy I tend to avoid speaking to students.
  26. School Colors?
    Yes. We had school colors. That’s strange. I’d would have thought you’d ask which school colors we had. [shrug]
  27. What celebrities came from your high school?
    Beats me. Ask them.
What is a “But” libertarian? It is a libertarian who uses a phrase like, “I am all for free markets, but … [inset some government planned economy].” “But” libertarians are not real libertarians. John Stossel was (and probably still is a “but” libertarian. He is all for small government except for pollution control. Never mind that the U.S. government is the single largest polluter in the world. They can fix it. They’re the government! If you see a free market economist telling a reporter about his plan to fix the economy and his plan does not include removing the power to regulate from all forms of government then he is not a free market economist after all. His plan controls the economy and he is advocating a controlled economy, not a free one. I am a free market advocate. My advocacy plan is that we should have no plan for the economy. Let the market participants, not government decide if more people should own their own homes or drive new cars or if private banks should be lending money or holding on to every dime. Defend the right of each citizen to trade without government interference or support. Set us free of your plan. Please stop helping us.
I have a book from the seventies somewhere around here called The Disaster Lobby. It’s out of print, but you can probably find it on or at a used book seller. It is an important book because it tells the history of many of the disasters that were going to happen last century which never came about. Here’s a little video from The Heartland Institute about our favorite Bogeyman, Global Warming. If you are Global Warming advocate or even a skeptic, why not skip over to Heartland to see the skeptic side of the argument? It won’t kill you to look.
I got this one in an email from a client: Here is the child’s art work and below is the reply the teacher received the following day. Childs drawing of mom aparently pole dancing for cash. Dear Mrs. Jones, I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had. Then I found one more in the back room, and several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn’t show me dancing around a pole. It’s supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot. From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in. Sincerely, Mrs. Smith