I was deeply saddened to hear that Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson just passed. He was one of my father's greatest influences as a musician and I grew up hearing his music. I read a tribute today from Diana Krall noting that her high school yearbook quote/hope was that she could become a pianist like Oscar (which, by the way, has come to fruition in my opinion!). Oscar was an amazing piano player and one of my favorite albums (yep, album--I used to play Dad's record over and over) was Night Train. To hear this song from 1962 and its groove still gives me chills... (guess what I'm listening to right now?).
So what does this have to do with regrets? It's odd--like anyone else, I have made mistakes in my life and have made poor choices. I don't regret some of the 'bigger' goofs as they were life experiences that molded me into what I am today. Would I do the same things today? Most likely no, but you never know. Regardless, I have 2 'true' regrets, one foolish, one real.
The stupid or shallow regret was not buying my Dad's old 1987 Mercedes 300SDL. A CAR is the subject of my regret? An old diesel? Am I kidding? Nope. I could have bought it cheap, it was in perfect shape and I still love the design. I would love to have that car right now as it is (to me) one of the most classic designs from Mercedes. Another plus--it was my Dad's and for someone close to his family that means something. But again, my life has been pretty good and I can live without that car (not my Dad though!).
What's regret #1? In 1995 I had just been fired from a mortgage company (in the middle of Bankruptcy and getting its' assets seized by some unscrupulous people from FL--long story), my girlfriend broke up with me and I was 'hitting the streets' trying to score my first lawyer gig and not doing so well. As it turns out, I was receiving unemployment, had a LOW mortgage payment so I was never in any financial distress and eventually went back to waiting tables at Houston's, which was always an option that summer (as a matter of fact, there were FIVE lawyers on the wait-staff, all looking for permanent work!). Despite all that, I could not justify an out of town trip while not actively working. I read an article that Oscar Peterson was playing Carnegie Hall in New York. I had enough frequent flyer miles to fly to NYC, had a buddy there so I could have stayed cheaply. I had great credit and no balances on my credit cards, but again, I couldn't "reward myself" while being in that position. Heck, I could have probably called on my Dad to finance the trip as he would understand the situation. Nope, I couldn't do it. Call it ego, call it foolish, whatever. I didn't go, he rarely was in concert again and now he has passed. In retrospect, I would venture a guess that this was to be one of his last 'huge' concerts.
What's my message? Don't miss the little things in life that may turn out to be something that haunts you forever. As an example, I hate it when I hurt my wife's feelings (or the kids) and I don't recognize what I did and apologize immediately. We always work it out, but what of people who stop talking to each other? I couldn't imagine that, especially people who haven't talked to a friend or family member since 'the incident', whatever that may have been (most likely forgotten as well...). My 2 cents--live life, love strongly and forgive. And don't pass on an opportunity that may not come around twice!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Actually, a legend only in my own mind, there IS a famous Bo Wagner. Rumored to have been on the Mickey Mouse Club show 'back in the day' and well known to be a great tap dancer, Bo Wagner is well known as a singer and dancer. My cousin once sent me a photo of the "Bo Wagner Dance Studio" which was somewhere in Gwinnett County. Google around and you'll find several references to him. Who knows, perhaps I'll end up on the top of the lists on Google someday... Anyway, check out this website to read about 'my' top 3 Billboard hit (as Susie would say, "Not so much"). I remember "Moonlight Feels Right" from the 70's... how 'bout you? Ah, good memories...
My email newsletters are ordinarily split into three groups: Wine Tips, Economic News and Miscellaneous ramblings. Instead of saving each 'full' email in one blog, I split them into three separate blogs. Here we have the Miscellaneous Ramblings blog, which is "Bo Knows". The Economic News blog is "Bo Knows The Economy". Finally, wine tips can be found at "Bo Know VINO". All in good fun.... If all else fails, check out my website too! Cheers!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I saw a guy about my age driving a new Mercedes AMG S63 as I drove into work. Yep, he could afford to buy a (base price) $128,000 automobile. On one hand, "that's way too much to pay for a car" passed through my mind, but on the other, I thought "Wow, what a cool car. I wonder what choices he made in his life to get him to the position where he could walk in and buy a $128K car." God bless America and the opportunities that we have! As I drive around Alpharetta and see random Maseratis, Aston Martins and even Lamborghinis I do marvel at what those people did to get them where they are today... I have a long way to go but a man can dream, can't he? (Photo from Mercedes' website, mbusa.com)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The Grinch sez "Nice shirt" (long story). Do you have your Christmas shopping finished yet? Stop "Bah humbugging" and get shopping! The entire US Economy is depending on YOU!
The funny thing about being a real estate attorney? Your friends totally forget what you do for a living! I have to grouse about a friend I caught up with last week. They were all chatty about their refinance closed earlier in the month with someone else. HELLO!?! I AM A CLOSING ATTORNEY TOO! My point is this--if you have ANY kind of real estate concerns or issues, don't forget that I am your best resource. Even if you are buying new construction and are stuck with their attorney, feel free to call me with Q's. We normally represent the lender BUT it helps to have a friendly face at the table. If you are clueless about the process, call me. Contract Q's? Call me. If you need help finding an agent or loan officer, call me. If you need wine tips (or want to break into your 1997 Cabernet in the cellar) CALL ME. Getting the picture? ☺ Remember this last thought-YOU as a consumer have the right to choose your attorney. Choose someone that will keep an eye out for your interests and help explain what you're signing. Someone like.... BO! ☺
Thank God for the rain!
Click on the "MORE" link for "an oldie but goodie" email. Yes, it's real and you may have seen it before-but I defy you to not smile at least once during the "performance". For more info go to Snopes.com and type in "Christmas in Lights".
Wine for the holidays? Go for bubbly!
Champagne is a versatile wine and it more or less 'goes with anything'. Too often it is relegated to "celebration only" status, but it's that time of year! Vintage Dom Perignon for $123 may be too much but there are plenty of quality wines out there from Spain, California and even some bargains FROM Champagne (i.e. the Champagne region of France). I hit Sam's and Costco over the weekend and found some great pricing and options for you. Costco had the better deal on Veuve Clicqout (look for the famous yellow label) as it was $42 (Sam's $45) and Perrier Jouet Brut for $29 (vs. Sam's @ $35). Sam's had a few that Costco didn't, such as Roderer Estate (a CA wine from the makers of $250 Cristal) for $19 and a really fun Cava (sparkling wine made like Champagne, but from Spain) called Cordoniu for $10 (don't be afraid that it's a Rosé-it's very dry). For a sweet dessert bubbly get the Rosa Regale from Italy for $17. One of my favorites at Costco is the Piper Heidsick Rosé for $30, or Costco's own Kirkland Rosé (also a true French Champagne) for the same price. A big surprise was seeing 90 points for Kirkland's $23 Brut (a "Top 100" wine from Wine Spectator as well!). Always popular Möet et Chandon "White Star" is about $36 (Chandon's CA version is only $15). Rounding out "the cheapies", go for Cristalino for under $6 (always a top seller) or Gloria Ferrer (CA, 90pts???) for $14. Final shot? Look for Segura Viudas from Spain for around $7. I LOVE that one! Happy New Year to us!
Foreclosures are still in the news, but some positive signs for Nov. US figures-we are up 68% from 2006, but down 10% from October. As for GA, we are now #7 in the US, dropping 21% from Oct (up "only" 27% from 2006, stats from realtytrac.com). What's this mean? BUY A HOUSE! Why do we still have so many fence-sitters? No clue as we have low rates, high inventory, motivated sellers, so go figure? I still think the media needs to shut-up and let some positive vibes flow! Reports? The Fed did drop rates a quarter but the R word still threatens. The Fed also dumped some $ into the system so that banks have more money to lend. This is important so that banks can obtain $ w/o looking 'weak' (which would further damage consumer confidence). Retail sales have been 'okay' but people keep waiting for 'the big sale', though I think we've seen the best pricing. Perhaps sales will be down and there will be 'fire sales' before year-end so you can spring for a larger TV... The National Association of Realtors thinks that existing home sales will rise in 2008, but new homes won't see much recovery until '09. I actually think new home sales will start to rise in '08, but the bad news lies in the fact that builders still have excess inventory & homes will continue to sit until Summer. Rates should still remain under 7% which blows my mind (remember the Carter era?) but the key thing to remember is that we live in GA, our prices are reasonable, living costs low, & living standards great! New regs? See this:
Drink to your health!
As you already know, I am a red wine lover. Unless you've been under a rock, you've probably heard about the potential 'healthy' effects of drinking red wine in moderation (yes, RED wine... TRIVIA: Who wrote the song "Red Red Wine"?). Good cholesteral (HDL's) measurements commonly rise with red wine drinkers and there are several books about "the French paradox". I actually "lived" the French paradox while spending about 2 months near Lyon, France (and lost over 10 lbs even though I ate a LOT of pastry, desserts, red meat, and pommes frites). What's it all about? Well, many French foods have heavy and/or fattening ingredients. You'd expect to see a very obese and unhealthy populace but overall they are not as fat as Americans (sad truth-I figued out which departure gate was mine due to a convergence of large people wearing sweatsuits). Red wine has large amounts of antioxidants (such as Resveratrol) which have been linked to lower instances of heart disease. Other antioxidants found in red wine are known as polyphenols. Wines from Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, Bourgogne and Sardinia Italy have the highest levels of procyanidins-the compounds in grape seeds responsible for making red wine good for the heart. Full disclosure: you can find many of the same properties in cocoa (ooh..chocolate!) and blueberries. But a nice glass of wine goes much better with my steak!
Thanks to our friends at the Bank of North Georgia, I got to hear a very interesting Economic Forecast for 2008. Dean Albert W. Niemi, Jr. of SMU's Cox School of Business noted that the real estate industry has a bit longer to suffer. He expects us to reach bottom by Summer and pull off a mild gain for the year. He also noted that about 40% of economists think we have a chance of the "R" word but doubts we will end up in a recession-but that is based on current assumptions. IF there are major changes, that prediction can change! Fun things ahead? He expects $180+ barrels of oil in the near future among other things (such as all the adjustable mortgage 're-sets'), but one of the biggest things that I took away from his speech is that Real Estate is a great investment (seriously!). Yes, I am biased, but he pointed out that housing prices have risen around 28% over the last 5 or so years in GA (compared to the US @ 55% and 106% in FL!). Contrast that with discretionary spending rising only 27% in that same period. Translation? GA housing is priced right about where it should be! Housing bubble? Not for Georgia! We have a lot going for us in GA, one major force being population growth. While water issues remain (a wild card), ATL will continue to grow. We still need to absorb a lot of housing inventory (he mentioned the large quantities of homes priced at $800K and above as an example). One other concept-of the highest growth cities, almost ALL have water woes!
Miscellaneous Ramblings: Buy a 3D Tree!!!
Although this image is slightly stretched, you (hopefully!) can see that this is a beautiful, full, 9 foot tree. While it did take a while (and gas!) to get from East Cobb to Gainesville, it was worth it to purchase our tree from 3D Life. PLEASE consider making the trip yourself-great trees, great young men and it's all for a great cause! Check it out: http://www.igotmytreefrom3d.com
I must also say Happy Hanukkah to my friends as well! SOAPBOX ALERT! As you know, my old home is still for sale in Smyrna. My wife and I bought our current home before selling our previous principal residences. Hers sold quickly; mine did not. While my mortgage doesn't adjust until 2010, should the government have to bail me out due to our decisions? I hate the high amounts of foreclosures and feel sorry for people who did not choose professionals to help them find homes/loans, but I am not sure it's the government's problem (though this issue is driving down our economy). Time will tell. It IS a great time to buy a home, but don't buy more than you can afford (or buy before selling?). My 2 cents... Okay, 2 other "soapbox-ish" items. The economist noted 2 things that could definitely put us into a recession: mis-steps by the Fed and if taxes are raised. Vote wisely!
Take a moment to remember the victims of Pearl Harbor again today... What started as a joke in various marketing groups (my 'memory hook' for all you BNI members out there) has now become "official". Take a look at my website: http://www.boknowsclosings.com
Have a great weekend!