Anyone can own Property

Owning property is one of the basic desires of most Americans. For many of us, purchasing our first home was both an exciting and challenging experience. Now I have discovered that there are many more chances for people to own property.

Everyone can own property – On the Moon

Good evening Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, guest and potential land owners.

Last Monday I read an article in the Winston-Salem Journal about Dennis Hope a former actor, ventriloquist, deli worker and mobile home salesman, now real estate agent with his own agency titled “Lunar Embassy”

Hope spoke passionately about his business when he said that he truly believes that the moon will soon be colonized by Earthlings. He says that the smart ones will arrive clutching deeds issues by his company.
He continued with the interview by saying, Quote – “I believe with every particle of my being that I’m selling property that belongs to me,” he says. “We believe what we’re doing is real.”

Hope believes that his venture is legal because of the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty.

Because of this treaty, the UN has a division titled The Office for Outer Space Affairs where the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space is based.

According to the article – Drafted while the United States and the Soviet Union raced each other to the moon, the treaty decreed outer space the “province of all mankind.”

Article II of the treaty says Moons and planets are not subject to national appropriation. Hope interprets this to mean that individual appropriation is fair game.

Even if I have no desire today to own property outside of the continental US – I do applaud Hope for his capitalism, vision and passion and decided to see who else felt the same way about real estate opportunities beyond our great planet.

I did some web searches and found 8 advertisers on Google for real estate on not only the moon, but also Mars, Venus, Mercury and one of the Jupiter moons.

Listen to these enticing real estate ads:

The “Red Planet”. The Hubble Telescope took pictures of Mars showing frosty white water ice clouds and swirling orange dust storms above a vivid rusty landscape. One large storm system is churning high above the northern polar cap. Mars is extremely dry and cold, with a very thin air.

At first glance, if Earth had a twin, it would be Venus. The two planets are similar in size, mass, composition and distance from the Sun. But that is where the similarities end. Venus has no oceans and is covered by thick, rapidly spinning clouds that trap surface heat with temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

Io is a geologically active moon of the planet Jupiter. This moon is kept active through the tidal forces exerted by the largest planet in our Solar System. It is the most volcanic body known, with lava flows, lava lakes and giant calderas covering its sulfurous landscape.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure I will not call my real estate agent about these communities.

If all of the information I read on the web is true and millions of people have purchased deeds for property on these planets, even if they do not support life as we know it today, there must be other reasons why the businesses exists.

I quickly figured out it was the greatest reason for just about anything – Price.

Hope claims to have sold over 1 million lunar deeds at a whopping $19.99 each. Most of Hope’s competitors are selling the same stuff for about $29.99. Why would anyone turn down any real estate at these prices?

Here are some examples of some of the web ads:

Buy land on the Moon. Only $24.95 per acre

1 Acre on the Moon 29.99

Buy An Acre on The Moon Gift Packages Starting At $39.95

Acre of moon – $20.00
Product Code: 16085
Perfect Long Term Investment Option

Now it’s clear. People will buy just about anything. Previously we had Chia Pets, dribble cups, Woopie Cushions, Mexican Jumping Beans, Umbrella Hats, Silly String, fake doggie doo, Stars, fake spilt milk, window stickers of a little guy urinating on just about anything, Pet Rocks, Moon Rocks and now Lunar property.

Who knows what an acre may be worth in the future?

In 1803 the United States bought Louisiana for $15Million or $0.03 per acre.
In 1868 the United States bought Alaska for $7.2Million or less than $0.02 per acre. Today, fewer than 200 years later, an acre in either of these states is worth $100 to $1 Million. That’s a real good long term investment.

However, buying an acre of land on the moon may become the newest fad or craze. There are well over 10 billion acres to sell. The biggest problem that I can not get past is the cost of the commute. Today a round trip ticket on a Space Shuttle costs well over $1 Million.

However, put aside the living conditions and the commuting costs, anyone can buy property on the moon.

I may not agree with the idea; however some may feel that this is just another way to fulfill the American Dream.

Let me know if you need my real estate agents number.

You know that you travel too much:

  • When you arrive at the airport at 5:00am and Barbara at the Delta check-in counter says “Good Morning Teddy, how was your weekend?”
  • When you get on the plane and again sit next to Randy, a guy from a nearby town who every week makes the same trip you do.
  • When less than 2 hours later you arrive at the Orlando Airport and Misha, the clerk at Starbucks says to you “Do you want your regular Venti Teddy?”
  • When you drive thru the National Rental Car check out counter and Carol says, “I know, I know – you don’t want the fuel option.”
  • When you show up at your hotel and Natalie, the front desk attendant is standing there holding your room key out.
  • When later in the evening you go down to the lobby to get a pint of ice cream and Tina calls your wife to see if it’s OK with her.
  • When returning to the airport to fly back home Kim behind the Starbucks counter again gives you an employee discount. When you ask her why she says.”Don’t you work at the airport?”

Why are some business men anything but Professional?

I wrote this post in 2004 and the conversation came up today 3/7/2011

Being a part of many industries for over 25 years I have had both the pleasure and misfortune to work with lots of different personalities. I have easily adapted working with people who are:

  • quiet or loud
  • overbearing or meak
  • demanding or accomodating
  • biased or open-minded

as well as people who waffle across the spectrum of any of these or other traits.

I worked with one professional with a distiquished Doctorate who boldly professed that he could be working with other professionals on a serious issue one second and then as if spinning on a dime, get totally wrapped up into the subject matter of a playboy magazine and then back to the serious conversations again. He called this “range”. I personally think he is a very confused and unfocused individual.

Another professional I spent time working with seemed to think that he could never do anything wrong. In hindsight (wonderful thing – don’t you all agree?), I now see why he accomplished very little. He spent most of his waking hours making sure that if he had any projects that could possibly go wrong there was going to be someone else he could blame the problems on. I sometimes wonder if in his Project Plan he actually budgeted time and resources to making sure that there was someone else to blame.

As much as I wish that it were not true – I have worked with:

  • racists
  • sexists
  • slackers
  • perpetual liars
  • unethical people
  • as well as down right theives and crooks.

Another type of self labeled professional that I have experienced are the “Hypocrites”.

These people can be two faced, back-stabbers and in many cases bold faced liars. You never really know where you stand with hypocrites.

  • You sign the contract and then wonder if they will keep their word.
  • You hire them and after they say they will work hard for a fair pay – they don’t
  • You counsel them on non-performance issues, they promise to correct the situation – and they repeat the same non-performance issue again and again.
  • You commit to them to buy a product at a specific price and without fair notice – they up the price
  • They promise to support your programs and then immediately go off and tell others that your programs are destined to fail

Again, Hypocrites are very difficult to work with. It can be done – you just need to watch them closely.

The last example I want to offer tonight is of a business man who was anything but a professional – “The foul mouthed fool”
Recently I experienced a challenging conversation with a business man who felt it necessary to disagree with everything I said thru the use of every 4-letter and profane word he could muster thru his alcohol tainted lips. He told me it was after 5:00pm (actually 5:45pm) and since I called him at home on his cell phone he felt like he could speak in whatever manner he liked.

We were speaking about a contract between our two companies where I interpreted it one way and he in another quite different way.

Every sentence out of his mouth started with or was imbedded with some of the most foul pronouns and adverbs you expect to hear at the country & western bar or in the ghettos, but not in a business conversation.

Early into his “heated” barrage of words as he expressed his disapproval of my interpretation of the contract, I asked him ever so politely to discontinue cussing to me. I explained to him that as business men we should be able to agree to disagree politely while we lobby our own interpretations.

He told me to “Get F***ed!”

Ok – now I’m no angel.  I had to work at cleaning up my language after working in a chemical plant for 10 years where I hung out with roughneck contractors and laborers for 10 years. Yet, I know when to keep my language clean and how to communicate properly with other business people. This guy has no F’ing clue.

He has proven to me that there are now and will always be people out there who call themselves professional business men who are actually “idiots in suits” or “foul-mouthed fools”.

Ropes Course – Team Building or Something Else

Last week I joined 20 of our Sales and Operations team members at a Ropes Course.

Many Organizational Development consultants tout Ropes courses as a great way to build a better more cohesive team of professionals. After participating in this event I believe that these self professed experts are on to something.

The team building started as we left our offices heading to the course. There are 2 paths to the course. One via the back roads the other on the highway. We actually broke up into two groups following a leader of the pack on each of these paths. I believe the back roads guy lives in the country while the highway leader lives in the city. I am not sure what this means to our team, or if has any meaning at all.

Once to the course we had to hang around waiting for a straggler who possibly decided to find a third path. While waiting the team building activities continued, this time somewhat subconsciously. As we stood in the parking lot, casually chatting, we started to form a circle. The instructor did not ask us to do this and no one else suggested it. I noticed that the instructor had a clip board in his hand and he appeared to be eager to talk to us. I believe that these visuals were picked up on by my fellow team members and each of us on our own decided that a circle would be the best formation to accommodate the instructor.

Once the straggler showed up we listened to the instructor tell us that we would enjoy the activities as long as we did as instructed and followed all of the rules. He also assured us that death was not necessarily eminent if we failed to follow the rules, but at a minimum pain and suffering was sure to occur. Laughter was the way we handled these words even if we knew these instructions were not meant to be humorous.

Only one of us had ever been on this ropes course before, so the rest of us had no real idea what to expect. Our individual imaginations either helped us to overcome any fears or build our self-esteem to higher levels, at least until we saw the actual ropes course.

After the instructions we walked together down thru the woods and along a small pond and as we exited the woods, there it was. From a distance of a few thousand yards it appeared to loom up into the clouds. Three poles appearing to be thousands of feet in the air and equally as far apart. Stretched between the poles were ropes and horizontal poles in various formations. The poles were set in a triangle shape with a fourth pole set away from one of the three with another serious of ropes stretched between the two. Later we learned that they were only about 25 feet in the air and 30 feet apart. 25 feet or 1000 feet – the appearance was still quite scary.

The tones of our voices were significantly affected as the excess testosterone drained from our bodies. I’m not saying we were overcome by fear, but I am sure that most of us had to dig deeper into our inner selves to find additional sources of strength and fear fighting neurons. The change in our laughter and banter was clearly a sign that all of us now knew this was not going to be a cake walk for any of us.

Team building – I’m sure. There were none of us who thought that they were better than any of the others at this point, at least in regards to the rope course monster that we were about to challenge as a team.

The instructors again reminded us of the important instructions and rules that would help us to be able to leave the course in our own personal vehicles rather than an ambulance. He assured us that the ropes had been tested and could safely handle thousands of pounds of weight. One memorable quote from the instructor – “The ropes are very safe. They always work properly – unlike people.”

This quote caused me to wonder to myself – Where can I hire ropes? Or do I want to work with a bunch of ropes? Forget the rope employees. I like people, even if they don’t always work properly.

The instructor took us thru a series of activities while we were still on the ground. These included catching people falling vertically and horizontally. This also included practicing jumping off of logs. He told us that these activities are part of the team building. I believe that they were just what they appeared to be – the safest way of catching people and falling off of logs. I am not proud of what I thought at this point – If one of my buddies was falling off of the mile high poles I was not going to try to catch him. No need for both of us to die.

He showed us how to put on our safety harness and gave us clear instructions on how to use the safety hooks. Each of us were to have a member of our team track us as we traversed the ropes above. We were being asked to trust the people we worked with. Not just the ropes. We should be able to do this – right?

The instructor offered to show us in real time and height how to go thru the course. We all boldly declined the offer. We were sure our level of intelligence would get us thru the actual task. Besides, we had each other to support us. We only needed to see the instructions before hand if we had no idea what we were doing. None of us felt this way. Was this a mistake? We were yet to determine this.

So off we went. One of the guys went first and then one of the ladies followed. Behind her were three more guys.

The first guy jumped onto the ladder, up the pole and quickly climbed thru the first series of ropes to the first of three poles in the triangle. He clumsily climbed onto the pole and sat on the platform watching the first lady try to chase behind him.

She did pretty good as her laughter covered up any fear she had.

The first guy did pretty well thru the next series of ropes to the second of three poles. He then easily walked to the third pole on a series of horizontal poles. Here is where the real team activities started.

The first woman who was somewhat shorter than the first guy had serious problems reaching her feet to the various ropes that we needed to “walk” across. Fear started to set in and this fed her vocal cords to enable her mild laughter of fear to turn into fear for your life screams of help. Her real challenge at this point was to block out our chanting below so that she could listen to the instructor who was perched on the first pole in the triangle. Over our noise we could hear her begging him to come “save” her. He told her to ignore us and listen to him as he guided her thru her situation. I truly believe it was the combination of real instructions and encouragement from below that got her thru to the next pole.

We continued to support the instructor with our loud, jolly words of encouragement and after about 30 minutes our first woman completed the ropes course to the end.

Oh, yeah – the end. This was a rope swing off of the back side of the first pole to the ground.

The first guy did OK with this. The first woman looked like she was going to snap her back on the swing. When the rest of us saw this, we again dug deeper into ourselves looking for more testosterone.

The next few hours most of us took on the ropes and poles and successfully completed them with no serious injury, broken bones or death. All of us used different techniques, showed different levels of belief and or fear and managed to complete the course in different time frames. Just the same, all of us who took the challenge completed the course our own way.

I am sure that the combination of repeated instructions from the expert and constant encouragement of different types from the fellow team mates is what got all of us thru this activity.

There were a few of us who decided not to take on the challenge directly. These folks participated in the encouragement and support activities just as much as the rest of us.

We took some pictures of the team and ended the activities with words of praise all around.

Now let me try to find the real meaning of Team building in all of this.

My mind wants to conjure up words like building self-esteem, encouragement, caring, believing in yourself and believing in others, trusting yourself and trusting others, supporting each others, friends, peers, just-like-me, overcome fear and laughing with each other as well as politely at each other. These are some of the different ideas, feelings and benefits that the experts expect us to get out of team building activities.

I think they are right.

Customer Service – What is this really?

You hear the phrase Customer Service day after day in business.

Many of us have different opinions of what customer service is based on what we want for ourselves or based on our personal or business experiences.

There are a few key phrases that I like to use to define Customer Service from my own experiences.

1. “Do what you say you are going to do” – I learned this years ago and for me this is the first key to providing Customer Service. Every customer expects those who serve them to do this.

2. “Communication” – This is a big word that opens the conversation to many different areas. If we want to keep this key Customer Service point simple communications means the following:

a. Go to your customer on a beneficial frequency

b. Talk to your customer about the points that are important to them before you discuss the points that are important to you (or your business)

c. Ask questions that help your customer to guide you toward the solutions that best serve their needs

d. Do not assume that your customer is happy about the product or service you are providing them – Ask them directly.

3. “Inspect what you Expect” – This is another key point to insure that you are actually delivering good Customer Service. Inspection includes some of the following actions:

a. Inspect the Quality of the Service on a beneficial frequency

b. Inspect the skills of the employees providing the Service

c. Share the inspection results with your customer and your employees

4. “Never underestimate the cost of good Customer Service” – Good customer service costs money – make sure you budgeted enough to deliver consistent quality & service

a. Skimp on the service and the quality will suffer and the service will degrade and the customer will leave

b. Budget appropriately for the necessary activities, labor and supplies – stay within the budget all the while being sure you are doing what has to be done.

There are many other key areas to Quality Customer Service – I will add to this list periodically.

Security Officers – Overcoming fear just enough

I heard this story the other day and thought you might find it interesting.

A Security Guard for a reputable Unarmed Security company was attacked by three men in ski masks one Saturday night. At least one of the attackers had a gun. They pointed the gun at the guard as he sat in his car in front of the property that he was guarding. Fortunately for the guard the attack ended when the men learned that there was nothing to gain from their activities – they left without harming the guard.

If any of us were in this security guards postion we would be scared to death – and he was.

This employee left his post at the end of his shift and went home. He was not scheduled to work until the next Tuesday. A seriously dangerous and illegal activity occured and the guard failed to call 911, the customer contact or his supervisor. No one heard of this event until Tuesday when he spoke to his supervisor.

We all know that having a gun pointed at you can be traumatic. We know that the fear of death can cause us to not think clearly.

We also know that as Security Officers charged with protecting and securing our customer’s property – we need to be able to overcome these fears at least enough to be able to alert authorities regarding the illegal and dangerous activities.

If you are working as a Security Officer for any company and responsible for the security and protection of any property – you need to condition your emotions to be able to get past the fear just enough to be able to communicate and report illegal activities properly.


Today is the day that I decided to start experiencing blogs of my own. I will post business information on this site to begin with. The stories will include business challenges, successes and failures that I experience while working. I hope that the stories I post here will be worthy of your time to read and/or respond to.