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Sunday, 10 June 2012


If you really want a mortgage you can have mine :)

I have a little different approach to enabling myself to dick around on the computer all day, or maybe write a song, or even snap a picture or two.

I've become pretty proficient at picking stocks, mostly in the bio tech sector. I pick a couple stocks, sit back, and wait for them to go up, then sell at a profit. The beauty of this, which I don't take lightly, is that decoupling income generation from my artistic endeavors allows me to retain my amateur status. Is there anything more corrupting to ones art than creating art for money? Plus I've been able to pay off my mortgage while maintaining artistic integrity.

Wanna get rich while dicking around in the arts? Back up the truck and load it up with Amarin (AMRN), and enjoy your newfound freedom.

Having owned several homes over the years, I now happily rent. Even after the mortgage is paid, a house is a huge money pit requiring constant TLC to prevent it collapsing around your head, and way too much of the time you would rather be doing something interesting...like shooting photos.

Ah, lucky you!!
Ranjit Grover, India

If I were your banker and read paragraphs 3, 4 and 6; I'd begin having doubts about granting you a mortgage …
Once I arrived upon: "Once you figure out how to keep the bills paid and finagle a little security …" I would definitely knock the idea on the head.
A) Either make sure your banker doesn't read your blog, or
B) Forget about the whole idea.

I'd go with B).
I fell into the trap of becoming a 'proud' home owner and despite not owing a mortgage on the property any more (back when photography was good; it was good) now I struggle to see the year out without being able to save anything. When you rent and things go wrong it's up to the owner to foot the bill. When it's yours, it's yours for everything. Just thinking that the mortgage payments are the same or less than the rent is dangerously sticking your head in the sand. Once you are the owner you're paying the mortgage AND the running costs, which believe me makes Murphy rear his ugly head far more times than you'd even imagine.
Take heed, being a home owner nowadays is a very expensive hobby.

"And just think—by this time next year I might even have a mortgage, just like a real person. My cup runneth over!"

I hope that's dripping with irony... can't always tell with you "artistic types." ;)

It's tough to find jeans that are still being made in the US.

When you can find them they are a bit pricey.

Check out Duluth Trading's US made "Ballroom Jeans"; made in Kentucky and distributed by a Wisconsin company.

I worked for a short stint at Oshkosh B'gosh in the cutting room at the corporate head quarters in Oshkosh many years ago. Sad to say that only the brand name remains on Carters line of children clothing.

Their overalls were a staple of the working class and farmers.

Mike, there's another benefit that you might not be so aware of - your writing brings happiness to a lot of like-minded souls around the world. They may be an odd bunch of slightly eccentric souls; the sort of folks who can see beauty in a derelict industrial site or light reflecting off a wet footpath. Who feel kind of lost if they aren't carrying a camera, just in case.
But they sure appreciate having their thoughts provoked, and their minds entertained, from a small room in Wisconsin.
Just sayin'.

...your article is one reason I've always found I bid for jobs against people who are basically relying on their spouses income, I guess you can charge anything when someone else is carrying the load and bringing in the benefits like health insurance, and you don't really have to worry all that much about the "wolf at the door"...clearing 20-30K a year after expenses (but before personal taxes), is OK if your spouse is working a stable job and making the same or a little more...

The difficult thing is not being an "artiste", it's being a single "artiste" relying totally on your own earning potential...I thought by this time (my late 50's), I'd have bought a cheap warehouse, be living in a corner of it, rent some of it out, and shooting pictures in some of the rest of it, and having a conventional darkroom in the "German" style that I used to salivate over in those old Photo-Technica" magazines: all white tile! There's a couple of times in my life I could have done it, but if I had, I would have eventually lost it...

I used to work with an art director who always lamented the fact that her agencies secretary was living a better life solely on the fact that she had married and they had two incomes. In those days (the 80's), she could barely survive on her income, but if she married someone making her same amount of money, they could buy a house, and go on exotic vacations. I'm actually pretty sure she married someone she didn't love, and was just the most "acceptable candidate", just to accomplish this goal.

The interesting thing in the midwest, is the lack of jobs has not only compressed salaries for the people who are actually working, it's caused a far more insidious tightening of conservative attitudes in business. I'm using one of my alternative skills to earn a little money in this down market working for a big-box retailer, and the prevalent attitude in the place wouldn't have been acceptable in the late 60's early 70's, when practically no one would have taken that stuff from "the man"...

Not looking like a good future from this end...

Well Mike, I do know a number of self supporting "Artists" in a variety of professions. Perhaps its just something about Maine. One of the best examples was friend who passed away a few years ago. a mime... one of the best, studied with Marceau in the '50s. Traveled the world many times and lived a quiet(Ha!)life here in Maine with many children and a wife who still performs (dancer). Look him up. Tony Montanaro.

I should add that in your case, investors frown on people that spend a significant portion of their income on books. it frightens them...

Delighted to hear you are wanting to buy a house. I assume that means you are trying to buy it in Wisconsin, which means you are not moving? Hope I am right.

The credit card is a necessary thing I discovered. I have a friend who only had a debit card as a way of never taking a chance of running up credit card debt. When his car broke down on a trip, he was unable to use the debit card to rent a car. Oops.

"What more could a guy want?"

Congenial female companionship

"If ever you come across anyone in any sort of artsy-craftsy seat-of-the-pants scrabble-it-out-of-the-dirt job who's actually making it, you're probably in the presence of a pretty contented person."

That's not been my experience. Actually making it means that the guy is a small businessman, just like the insurance agent down the block, and making it as a small businessman takes quite a bit of drive and ambition, even if that ambition is somewhat hidden.

In my experience, those people want more. Not necessarily Porsches or homes in La Jolla, but they want more *time,* so they can do what they do better. They don't want to mess around with the troublesome part of their business, so they'd like to be able to hire people to do that (agents, accountants.) And even artists find it nice if they can have somebody come in for a couple hours a week to keep the house clean and do the wash, and they often want a certain kind of good reliable car so they don't have the hassles of driving a wreck...and so on. And on.

It's always seemed to me that the better people do in their chosen field, the better they want to do. For the kind of person who thinks and works that way, I'm not sure that contentment is within reach. That kind of success-oriented psychology seems antithetical to the "contentment" psychology. I'm not at all suggesting that contented people are lazy or stupid, it's just that they often are not willing to take time away from their contentment to do the things necessary for small-business success. God bless them, but they are not either you or I.

Strangely enough, Mike, this may be one of your most valuable think pieces. You manage to implicitly get at the roots of the developed world's collective malaise and at the same time reiterate the age-old solution — family, shelter, food, friends, other companions (dogs, cats, pot bellied pigs, etc.), and work so pleasurable that it is not really work. Thanks for the reminder.

Mike, More power to you! I get pleasure from reading TOP almost every day and am glad you can make a living creating it. Thank you.


"I've got a fine kid, and he's got a nice girl, and we've got a good dog; we have a house to live in"

Everything else pales in comparison in my book.

Yes, the Henry F. Potters of the world...and the D.B Nortons, too.

Maybe C.K. Dexter Haven would like to comment on this, and Harry Lime.

"In the last 30 years the share of national income held by the top 1% of Americans has doubled; for to the top 0.1%, their share has tripled, he reports. Meanwhile, median incomes for American workers have stagnated.

Even more than income inequality, "America has the least equality of opportunity of any of the advanced industrial economies," Stiglitz says. In short, the status you're born into — whether rich or poor — is more likely to be the status of your adult life in America vs. any other advanced economy, including 'Old Europe'." -Joseph Stiglitz


Well played.


I once read a book on sales success - being a successful sales-person, basically - which contained an anecdote about someone who bought a boat (or something) and arranged to have the payments to be made on the 16th of the month (or some such date). Reason? He didn't already have a payment to be made on that date, and he needed that pressure - payments to be made almost every day of the month - in order to be motivated to do the work which made him a very successful salesman.


Mike, seems to me that a number of "successful" photog types are profiting not by selling photos, but rather, selling information. The proverbial how I did this and you can too. I remember some time back you mentioned you had the workings of a book on photography. I am waiting to place my order.

I am happy for your declaration of contentment.


Given your age, your stage of life, and your apparent financial stability I strongly recommend that you seriously reconsider your home ownership goal. Against that backdrop, and in today's credit market, there's not a single rational reason to chase a mortgage.

I expect that you would discover that releasing that goal will free you for more interesting and stimulating objectives.

What if, for example, you saved for an international trip? If you visit a country whose food you don't like it would simultaneously reinforce your ongoing dieting project!

I know if I ever reach the top of Maslow's triangle I'll still be wondering what's next. It's an affliction and I think it's genetic as my grandfather was a restless soul.

If you've done the numbers and buying beats renting then it makes sense. If there's any chance you might need to sell, I'd advise waiting a little longer. Asset prices may take a hit over the next 1-2 years and there could be bargains (and losses if you're forced to sell up).

There may be better ways to build a credit score, but many of us started with a basic green Amex card. Not as scary or as difficult to get as other credit cards since the idea is that you pay your balance every month. There's an annual fee, but nice benefits, including extended warranties and damage and return protection, travel insurance, etc. As a bonus you get a neat list of your expenses monthly and annually, and quite good customer service. Do opt out of their promotional mail lists, or your mailbox will be swamped.

These days those ubiquitous bank debit/credit cards might offer a similar path but I don't know for sure.

I do hope that folks who haven't done so already will hit that "Donate a buck or two" box. I am sure your readership is large enough that even modest per person donations (like mine) could help.

Hi Mike!

"twelve years ago, when I had the highest-paying job I'd ever had from the biggest and best corporation I'd ever worked for. Hated every day, if not every minute."

Well that does parallel my experience - sort of :) It's one of the reasons why I set up on my own ten years back. Why is working for corporations so incredibly dispiriting?

Ignoring the literal meaning of the post for a moment, I realized that the text displays a degree of humility all over. And that is interesting because on most photo sites there is none; especially the site authors themselves tend to succumb to smugness sooner or later. It's actually very refreshing in the temporary world of Web writing.

Coming back to the literal meaning, it's good to be happy. Money is just a means anyway. I believe that the whole credit rating thing will change in the future, but financial institutions are conservative. For house ownership, investment advice etc. I'm not going to comment, those things are in practice pretty complicated and what suits me doesn't necessarily suit others.


I like the observations you make about the photography world. But with this site you should also be displaying your own photos. Perhaps only in a separate area but linked to this one. Then make them available for others to purchase. It might not bring in much but it has the potential for another revenue stream.

Even though I am sliding into finacial oblivion and preparing to default on my mortgage, research into some new photography printing approaches is advancing. A new printer will be needed but the materials that will go through it have been identified.

Being in a fixed mobile home on the land turned out to be a trap. The place now exceeds the 35 years that the mortgage lenders will consider for financing. I cannot sell it to cover the remaining mortgage so defaulting is the only option I can see, and so I lose the 20K of equity in it. If you look at all of the homes the banks have seized, a lot of equity value has been taken they did not deserve.

But they cannot take the cameras and the computer. I am still in the running.

Patrick: "I actually don't think I could function without a credit card; don't know how you do it."

Mike replies: Again, something I can't take credit for.


Mike -

Many people actually do get paid for "DAOTI" these days. I was about to comment that you should create a donation option on your site, when I realized that it already exists! It's so unobtrusive, though, that I doubt most people even realizes it exists. Just a black box with the word "Subscribe"? How about at the very least "Subscribe to TOP"???

Since finding you about a year ago I've read your site every day. Every Day. I subscribe to Public Radio because I use it every day, so I intend to do the same with TOP. I hope others will be encouraged to do the same.

all the best from a faithful reader-

There are many downsides to owning one's own home, especially after you're getting older.

My wife works on Broadway and was involved at a high level for several years in a production that won every award conceivable. Despite her total income from that show coming in at a low 6 figures and her other sources of income being relatively high in an arts related field, the same bank that gave her a mortgage in 2001 right after 9/11 on a co-op that was less a mile from ground zero refused to lend to her for our new place. Their logic was that a low income from one source over a long period was somehow better then a high income from several different sources over that same time frame. Our tax dollars at work.

There was a three-frame cartoon in the Globe and Mail (Toronto newspaper) years ago (1980s). I have forgotten the name of the cartoon strip, but it may have been in the Porterfield series that were corporate cartoons, not unlike Dilbert.

First frame: Boss asks his underling if he has time to take some work home with his on the weekend. The employee replies, well, I kind of had something going this weekend.

Second frame: Boss says What?!? Don't tell me you're another one of these people with a get of the rat race by starting your own company in your spare time dream! Hey, folks (to the rest of the office), we have another dreamer here!

Third frame: The underling says to himself, it's not a big dream, only about the size of my ego.

The one thing most artists don't seem to realize is that what they are doing is, financially at least, nothing more than a con game. You have to convince someone to pay for what you do. I the world of art that means you have to create a market for what you do. Since what you do does not constitute something that is needed for survival, you have to "con" someone into parting with their hard earned money. There is no intrinsic value to art. About the only artists I know that have a steady income are those in academia or in religion (mostly music for those in religion). My mother was quite good at stained glass and painting, but she never had to actually make a living at it as she was married to a chemical engineer. As for myself, I made my living teaching Physics, but now that I'm retired and have a pension, I can devote my time to photography without having to worry about my income. No one thinks of me as an artist, but what other people think is no skin off my back.
It is a struggle to make a living in any field these days. My dad (the chem eng) drinks coffee each morning with a successful photographer by the name of Frank Cricchio. Even Frank is having is having a struggle these days making ends meet. You better be doing your art out of something other than financial motivations.

Credit, something we as a society should be weaned of ASAP.....since the Reagen years it's no increase of income what so ever for the common man (like me and you), but we all have bought ourselves crazy on fast and easy credit untill the system buckled under it's own weight.....I hope to repay the last of my credits soon and then no VISA, no Mastercard, no American Express, no mortgage, no Rabobank personal loans, no nothing, full stop, period. What I can't buy I don't own, what do own I could buy and USE and what I buy is mostly second hand........if only to strow my personal pair of spanners in the spinnig wheels of consumerism vaguely disguised as progress!

In my book you should be the worst possible client to your bank....only an account, that's all yes, thanks....no savings, no loans, no investments, no nothing.

And in my book the best thing anyone can do for their children is to ask them forgivness......

Greetings, Ed

It all goes back to doing what you "want", what catches your interest, "lights the fire" and suddenly it is not "work" anymore, but just something that you like doing which also brings in money as a benefit.

Few are so lucky, our societies have come far but are still very poor at developing engagement and passion for what we do, or in other words having the ability to put the people into jobs they find engaging and interesting.

Being good at what you love doing just comes naturally. Lots of ills in our societies come from people doing what they find no interest in other than "making ends meet".

Mike: You may have thought of this and tried, but you might consider a credit union. Most tend to be more locally rooted. Mine seems to be more personal and listen more than talk. Just a thought.

"Why is working for corporations so incredibly dispiriting?"

Well, in my case it was rumors. Several of the people who worked under me had wanted my job, and were determined to undermine me (one of them even told me "it's nothing personal, we just want you to be fired"). There were rumors spread about me. I don't know exactly what they were, I don't know exactly who planted them (although of course I have my suspicions), but I detected their existence and their effects pretty clearly. It was a nasty experience, and really soured me on office politics. After that I pretty much decided I'm just not cut out to work in the corporate environment. I don't care for the games.


How J P Getty became a millionaire.....

One day he found an apple, and he sold it for 10p. With this he bought 3 Apples and sold then for 30p. With the 30p he bought a box of apples... and then he inherited 100 million from his father.

(this may be factually incorrect)

If I were elected dictator, among other things I'd banish the current credit rating agencies and set up a credit bureau that rated based on things that actually matter, like paying your rent on time (currently given no weight at all). The occasional late card payment would be ignored, and all late medical payments would be forgiven since we would be transitioning to a single-payer system anyway. The current rating methods are a sad joke, and it's a wonder we we put up with them.

"it's nothing personal, we just want you to be fired"

Funny how people use business as an excuse for their lack of humanity.

Someone explained corporate politics to me as "a way for would-be robber barons to exercise their true natures without having to commit physical violence, whilst unintentionally benefiting society at the same time" which pretty much sums it up.

Of course, it's tough if you have to work for them.

Plus one to anyone on here that said that owning a house is the "dream"...it might be for some, but with the salaries that are around these days, you'll be lucky if you don't punch 3/4's or more of your monthly take-home into everything associated with owning it. Even at my top earning potential of 10-12 years ago, I actually couldn't own a reasonable house in a decent neighborhood without spending virtually everything I made on it, and every waking hour I wasn't at work, on doing things associated with owning it. Still, the pull of ownership, just even as a safe place for all your "junk", is mighty tempting...

BTW, Mike, interesting viewpoint of your working for a corporation...my experience was I got tired of being hated by people for basically enforcing what the corporation wanted, which I really didn't agree with either, but it just is what it is...in most places, everyone hates the "boss", but most of them hate the boss for stuff out of their control, like enforcing work rules and OSHA stuff, and expecting "creatives" to act like adults...sheesh...you can have it, especially since many people are making more than bosses at some places, just doing a job and being left alone...

Actually, no one "owns" their home. All anyone ever owns are the right to pay taxes. If a person does not believe that they can put it to the test by not paying their taxes.

"Actually, no one "owns" their home. All anyone ever owns are the right to pay taxes. If a person does not believe that they can put it to the test by not paying their taxes."

I'd dispute that, in a friendly discussion. There are commonsense limitations on anyone's right to do anything--parents have a right to determine their children's care, for instance, but not if they put the kids in a cage and starve them. Home ownership rights aren't absolute and perpetual, it's true, but then, you also have to conform to zoning requirements and safety standards and so forth. Everyone understands that "ownership" is a limited concept in most cases.

I'd actually approve if custom went a little bit further the other way, and acknowledged that the housing stock effectively belongs to the broader community and society in important respects. You'll only occupy the home you "own" for a part of its lifespan, for instance. If you're like most Americans you're living in a house somebody else lived in before you, and somebody else will live in after you. The society and community might therefore exert somewhat greater rights over your freedom to do idiotic things, for instance in the realm of efficiency and resource-squandering. Near my neighborhood in Chicago, for example, a couple of lawyers--two people--built a 9,000-square-foot, three-story house that had an elevator, a movie theater, and a duplicate kitchen on the third floor so the female of the pair, who was fond of midnight noshing, wouldn't have so far to go for a late-night snack. It's true I'm effectively a socialist, but I'd say that society has an interest in such shenanigans, and should have license to rein in such greed, ego, and moral corruption with sumptuary laws like the ancient Athenians had. If those two have to contribute proportionately more to local schools, serves 'em right, I say.

Think for a minute of the alternative of property taxes--no property or inheritance taxes--it would be to vest a permanent landed class of heirs like the old-fashioned English gentry. From a meta standpoint, that couldn't help but encourage progressively worse inequality as time passes--the heirs of this kind of ownership become essentially a class of privileged squatters, locking the land and the housing stock away from reasonable adjustments that take into account changing conditions in the society and the changing needs of the population as a whole.

I don't like paying my taxes any better than anybody else, but, looked at more broadly, it's a better system than some of the alternatives.


Dear Mike,

Good luck on this, and I hope I can write a comment without ranting, because the whole real estate situation makes me furious.

I tell people that what turned me into a communist was buying a home. They think I'm joking. I'm not. Until I became a respectable landowner, I had no idea how much I was being treated, economically, as a second-class citizen by being a renter. The powers that be give all kinds of substantial economic perks to landowners. You will have no idea how many until you become one yourself, and then you'll be amazed, astonished, and appalled. The costs of those perks come from somewhere, and you can guess where.

Now, as for actually becoming one of the first-class citizens, that's tough. Building up your credit history *may* work, but if you're dealing with a typical bank that packages up its mortgages and sells them to somebody else, you're really dealing with what their underwriters and investors want, and they keep raising the ante. What they tell you today will qualify you two years from now, there is no promise that it will. It probably won't.

I have a friend who's on permanent disability and needed to move after 22 years (her landlord sold the place out from under her). Her guaranteed income is actually large enough to qualify her for a mortgage, and the cost of a house, including maintenance, upkeep, taxes, and insurance, would be below what she'd was and would be paying in rent. By any sane standard, she should be buying a house. But, when she figured out that her disability was going to be permanent, she stopped buying anything on credit. She didn't want to risk running up the debt she couldn't repay. Consequently, all her old credit history is so old that it has scrolled out of the algorithms and she is “unscorable.” That makes her a nonperson so far as the underwriters are concerned.

She went and talked to her bank's loan officer, who was extremely sympathetic because her boyfriend had had to jump through the hoops of buying a house with no credit some time back. The officer took it to the underwriters and asked what could be done. The answer she got back was that my friend would have to have FIVE lines of credit established for at least THREE years before they would consider letting her have a loan.

The only phrase that comes to mind is greedy capitalist pigs. I know, very sixties of me, but the shoe fits the cloven hoof.

Your best bet is to look around and see if there is anyone in your town who issues mortgages and still hangs onto the paper. A local Savings and Loan, a local small bank, a local credit union. The folks who actually hang onto their paper (they are few and far between but they do still exist) can be flexible and take into account your real circumstances. Working in your favor is how long you've been established in the city, having raised a son, which indicates you have some ability to pay bills, your lack of outstanding debts, and so on. You'll still have to qualify in the usual sense, but they won't screw you over because some goddamn underwriter decided they didn't like the look of your Equifax score. They won't be able to offer you the rock-bottom rates of a larger lender, but interest rates are currently so low that paying half a percent more has a much smaller effect on your monthly payment (and, hence, your ability to qualify).

As for the black marks on your credit history? Challenge them. Say they're not legit, demand they be expunged. It's up to the rating companies to then validate their legitimacy. If they don't, they're legally obligated to remove them. Doesn't matter whether by your higher standards of morals and ethics you think they're justified in being there. The people you're dealing with do not play nice nor moral, so make them play by the rules they've set up and make them prove what's in the report.

Good luck on this, and I hope I didn't foam at the mouth too much.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

"Good luck on this, and I hope I didn't foam at the mouth too much."

No more than usual. [VBG,d,&r]

One could almost say that the Owners of Everything (a.k.a. the Masters of the Universe) are forcing you to buy into their product and become a sharecropper in their system in order to get what you want--i.e., if you want to get past the gate and become vested as one of the "haves" in the society they own. That's really what it amounts to. The best solution is to opt out and go the other way and pay cash for everything, including one's house, but of course most people can't do that.

One could also point out that the most expensive thing most citizens will buy IN THEIR LIVES is the *interest* on their houses. Not their houses...the interest on them. So then all the inducements to home ownership might be seen in a somewhat different light....

Back to me, though...I did my research and have only talked to banks that are locally owned and operated and conservatively run. One told me they couldn't go to an underwriter but might loan me the bank's own money, and then came back and said, no, sorry, we don't want your business because your median credit score is 615 and our cutoff is 620. The second said yes, they'd give me a mortgage, but they have different rates for different credit scores. People with progressively lower scores have to pay progressively higher rates. With a bit lower credit score, I'd end up paying many tens of thousands of dollars more over the life of the loan. This reflects the bank's ostensible risk, for which they assign themselves greater reward, but, looked at from the other side, it reflects a reality that I once wrote an essay about...

The essay was called "It Costs More to be Poor." [g]


If you could afford a few hundred and find an advisor to assist with raising your credit score, I think you could see significant results. And, as Ctein said, challenge anything that is even remotely suspect.

I read this article


today about the 50 things which are supposed to mark you as a grown up.
Guess what the first item is.

It took me until my mid 40s to realize what I wanted to be when I grew up. Until then I'd done what I was reasonably good and and what I had fallen into, and always did my best. I was rewarded for my efforts, with enough savings, income, and credit rating to buy a modest home and begin indulging in photography.

I've since given up the rat race and have finally found a path. I make less money than before but am professionally happier and more energized than I've ever been.

Thanks Mike for this post and this blog. Feels like home to me...

At least we, as a society, have come so far as to allow one to proclaim themselves to be a socialist or communist. (Both socialism or communism could, by the way, exist in a democracy with a bill of rights). In the 1950's such a declaration would have ended one's career. What we need is the kind of capitalism that created jobs and products rather than profits for the wealthy, well -connected shareholders at the expense of society as a whole. Right now most really wealthy people produce nothing and just suck money out of our economy and horde it. Without an inheritance tax, these same families will be wealthy forever.

Such a wonderful, positive attitude. Many need to hear this. Thank you.

I am a semi-decent guitarist who cannot sing and accepted the fact early in life that i would never make a living as a musician. I did make my living in the music industry for some 10 years as a roadie and nightclub DJ before getting into venue management. It has allowed me to earn a good income whilst still keeping my hand in music by jamming with many excellent musicians. I have also been fortunate enough to have two young girls who are exceptionally talented musically for their age and love performing. They are very lucky that they get to do so with some great professional musicians who have taken them under their wings.

Spending some time with these muso's does at times make me jealous of their life making a decent living through their art, as does reading about you making a living through yours. It seems that it doesn't matter how much anyone makes, they can still seem to moan at times about money. As long as you can appreciate what you have most of the time then you're doing well. Being able to earn a living doing what you love must be the best thing on the planet.

And Mike, while its not Jazz (another art which is VERY difficult to make money from) here's a couple of clips from the last weekend i thought you might enjoy. Hope the links work.

The first one is with The Hussy Hicks and the song is one of the Hussy’s originals.

This second one is with Marshal O’Kell and is a little bit more rocking.

Mike, my comment was an attempt at humor but I had no way of letting that come through in a typed post. Actually I have no problem paying taxes, even if the money is mishandled by those whose charge it is to disburse it wisely for the public good. We rent but still own a home that is rented to friends for the cost of the mortgage. Overall, by downsizing we still come out ahead by living closer to work and getting down to one car. The cost of owning even a modest, paid off, second car is just amazing. Being a landlord has it's headaches, even with friends, and this year I'll be putting about 12K into the house mostly because the roof has reached the end of its life plus a new water heater and a few other repairs. That said I really like apartment life and can even configure the bathroom as a darkroom in about 10 minutes with takedown and clean up about 15 minutes. I hope you can get your home and find a reasonable loan.

It's not all money in this world. What's best is that you are able to do the thing you really love and that's art. And come to think of it, most artists and famous artists at that we're also poor during their time but look at them now. However, I hope that you'd do get a break and earn much, you deserve to be rewarded for your talent. And I know that time will come, patience is just what's needed.

Um..you seem to drive a pretty nice Mercedes for a struggling Artisan Mike ;-)

I drive a Toyota now. Anyway, the point of this post is that I'm NOT struggling. Maybe you only read the first half?


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