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Thursday, 03 April 2014


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Stumbled upon this yesterday:

Do you worry that at the 6m level Zander might complain of there being no mention of HIM? I know my daughter would!

None of the lower tier prints did strike me. I enjoy your writing and want to do my part, so I used the donate button.

"If the campaign raises: $55–80,000…it would buy: that house down the street with an 8X–10X bigger office for TOP (the whole lower floor)."

GOD I would love to live someplace where you can buy a house for that kind of money....DC Metro area is obscene. I know it's all relative (location, opportunities, income) but this place has reached a tipping point where salaries are being outstripped by the cost of living. A salt box (type of house) goes for close to a million dollars on the street behind my townhouse. My tiny 1200 sq ft townhouse would sell today for close to half a million and the prices have been rising steadily for the last several years.

And a pound of bacon when not on sale costs almost $9.00 a pound! AAAHHHHHRRRGGGHHHH!

Sorry, that post brought on a rant. I hope you get enough $$ for the house down the street, that would make me weirdly happy.

I'm going fishing.

[Bob, Housing is very reasonable in this area, but not that reasonable. The house I was looking at started on the market being overpriced at $279k, but after months on the market has come down to $219k. The city tax assessment is something like $204k, and my realtor thinks it might appraise for less than that, meaning I probably couldn't get the mortgage to quite cover the whole purchase price.

My current house is a one-story ranch house that 25' wide and 40' deep, so 1k sq. ft., and it's worth about $135k. I'd be "moving up" pretty significantly. So what I'd get out of this house wouldn't cover the down payment on the other one.

They both have about the same living space, assuming I devoted the downstairs (a finished walk-out basement) to TOP.

Finally, the other house needs some upgrades, so I would have to put some cash into it before moving in. All in all it's a pretty expensive proposition. Hence the high numbers.

But I do take your point--having once lived in D.C., I'm pretty proud of the affordability of housing in my area. We're within driving distance of Milwaukee, which is a major city if not a large one, and we have quite good schools and very low crime (statistically about 1/3 to 1/2 the national average in all major categories. For instance, homicides here are either zero, one, or two--there were a total of eight between 2000 and 2012. And those are usually people shooting their friends or loved ones in a fit of rage). People are nice, and it ranked 8th on Forbes magazine's list of the best places in America to raise kids. The absolute top of the RE market might be in the 700k range, but you can essentially buy the nicest houses in town for the 400's and you can find perfectly nice suburban houses for $250-300k.

I know that's a lot different than D.C..... --Mike]

Mike, I have an '87 Jaguar that you can have for free. It's in great shape and will only cost you a few thou' per year in maintenance and repairs. That should put retirement at the $1 million level!

As buying a print is a bit too steep for me currently I've send a small donation your way. Hope this helps at least getting you that nice larger office.

Enjoy the ride!


Normandy? Cheese, wine, a more maritime climate?

Normandy or Nice or Arles plus the Jag do NOT require $6M. Vintage Jags in UK are dimes not dollars and the taking the SS Minnow to Marseilles will cost pennies not dollars. A simple apt. in any of these cities is not too much more than mortgage/taxes in WI and the cost of healthcare (unless you're on ACA/Medicare)is, again, pennies to our rip-off system's dollars. TOP en France, what a concept! Fast trains to Wetzlar (Leica) or Oberkochen (Zeiss) will speed you to the homes of giants. How's your French, mon ami?

I was going to say that Normandy is too cold in the winter but compared to Wisconsin it would probably feel quite mild :-)
Some snaps of Normandy at

What's the attraction of Missouri? ;-)

Different thinga suit differemt people. Still ... recently I nearly bought a sit/stand desk for home. But then I realised I would probably gain substantially all the same benefit with less hassle with a Swopper stool. (But I have not yet done either. I haven't talked myself into the expensiture yet.)

So your ultimate ambition is to be the 6 million dollar man????

Donation sent :). I enjoy your writing immensely and hope that this helps in a small way.

A French maid, a Jaguar, fresh oysters...sounds like a plan!

Houses in Wisconsin go for what???


What's the catch?

At what stage can I apply to be an intern?

I would second that you wouldn't need $6m to move to Normandy! The only problem would be the visa, healthcare, and probably taxes (to remain a US citizen, I think you need to continue submitting a tax return).



I am not a print buyer so I hit the donate button too.

Looking at the wonderful by-the-water pictures, I thought to myself "gee, why doesn't he rent a nice place in Annapolis?" or some place near Yorktown, near the southern tip of Maryland's western shore. The weather's more temperate here, by far, and if you aren't in commuting distance of DC, property isn't ridiculously expensive. Please think of adding something around the $250,000-750,000 mark along the lines of "will consider moving somewhere warmer".

Hope you reach your target Mike,I've sent a small donation as the prints don't appeal,takes all kinds?

Why is it always that "tool" and "Jaguar" are found in the same sentence?


RE: Goal level 7.

As somebody who drove a '53 XK 120 coupe for a while a number of years ago and who has driven in France for a couple of weeks a year for the last few years, I'd advise against the Jaguar. Too long, heavy steering at low speeds and too large a turning radius. Think a Sunbeam Tiger with a few period correct upgrades - brake lines and pads, Nardi wheel, Konis and - since this is a fantasy after all - Webers.

While houses in Waukesha may seem less expensive than Washington DC, the property taxes in Wisconsin are quite high. Which is why the cost of acquiring real-estate is lower. The cost of property taxes regularly exceeds the annual mortgage payment.

Net: Mike needs more of your donations, or purchases.

[Jack, a beautiful 1924 mansion by the lake that used to be owned by some friends of my friend Dan's recently sold for a bit more than $2 million. It's a big, nice house, but not unusually big, and similarly the property is large but not unusually so. I was astonished to learn that the property taxes are a whopping $63,000 a year! Wow. That's an expense that could add up after a while. :-) --Mike]

Before you drop $1,200 on a new desk, you might want to take a look at this: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2036834894/the-most-affordable-automatic-sit-to-stand-desk. Unproven as of yet, of course, but looks pretty nice for half the price.

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