Rich Engle

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Posts posted by Rich Engle

  1. Yeah but believe me, bootlegging wood is not going to be an option for these guys. Oh, I know for sure it has been--especially for super-select models. Very small shipments of very expensive woods. Like I said, I think even that Madagascar thing was a little off. You wouldn't believe what you used to be able to get. There were so many little broker suppliers; it was done mostly mail order. Some of the companies were selling body blocks, others even raw bodies. You still see it around sometimes. I know a lot of luthiers that are always keeping their eyes out for old desks and things like that, for that matter. Even good mahogany is hard to find. That's why the Kalamazoo plant worked so well for so long--the furniture business in, say, Grand Rapids, and so on. Note: the Kalamazoo plant (now know as Heritage guitars--I used to work for them) was closed in the mid seventies, with Gibson opening the Nashville facility.

  2. Because of being in the business, I've been watching this thing for awhile. This thing with the wood has been going on for years and years--mainly because of depopulation of rain forests (as he went across talking about how a commission was set up). Guitar manufacturing (starting mostly with Gibson) has a deep root in the furniture industry. In fact, that is why the original Kalamazoo plant is where it is--surrounded by premium wood sources (particularly mahogany, the mainstay of Gibson bodies).

    Actually, though, Gibson never got super exotic like many later companies did, especially around the eighties. This is where people starting making astounding instruments out of scarce woods-- African rosewood, Koa, premium Swamp Ash, that sort of deal. And around that time these woods were also being extensively harvested to make other pricey items (furniture, jewelry, sculptures, whatever). Now, considering how much rain forest was being burned down every day, I still contend that by comparison, this is kind of small potatoes, especially in the guitar market, which is somewhat smaller than people realize. This was a time of very harsh, militant environmentalism.

    There was some skinny within the closer parts of the industry, which I tended to be very privy--and this on the first raid. I am only sharing scuttlebutt and must tread softly.

    See, Henry has been known to be a lot greasier than he comes out. This first thing got him into a good spot of mess, with the legal fees alone, I would imagine. It is possible that Henry went out kind of on his own (outside of their normal acquisition process) and brought in some stuff that maybe he should not have. And then after it hit the fan, Gibson was strapped by it (this company works very close to the bone and has suffered many near blowups over the years). It is further possible that Guitar Center (the largest music chain in the world and surely his main distrubutor) took some paper on Gibson and threw some fix-it money in there. I can imagine this kind of put a drag on profits over at Gibson, or at the least put them in the unfortunate position of being leveraged by their own main client. Messy.

    I think he was warned and on principle (which I am not arguing) just kept at it. I'm not surprised they did something that harsh to him, and neither should he be. Again, I'm not saying it was right. But, I am saying that Henry might not have been pristine on their end, either. The Madagascar deal smelled a little funny.

    But still, storm troopers? Jesus.

    One additional thing I find sad for Gibson is that, quite frankly, outside of their custom and upper-line instruments (and even those, occasionally) the quality and pricing are disturbing. They are not like they used to be. And at like 2500.00 GLP minimum for a Les Paul Standard, no bloody way. Not all the way, but for many years Gibson has been selling off its name--to a good extent it is the name on the headstock.

    Another thing: do you have any idea how many import guitars come in here with the same woods on them? Korea and China are the dominant suppliers of entry-to midline instruments (and Indonesia is now coming in strong), and the great majority of those guitars have rosewood fingerboards. Even Gibson, with their very large import line (Epiphone). Rosewood only comes from certain places anymore--pretty much. So this whole finished/semi finished thing is so fucking haenky anyway, right?


  3. Objectivism isn't spreading among the general population for the same reason that interest in a specific school of archeology or physics, etc., isn't spreading: Specialized fields of study don't attract a lot of people, and philosophy, including Objectivism, is a specialized field of study.

    Also, Objectivism isn't spreading among those who are serious about philosophy because many Objectivists -- I would say most -- don't handle philosophical argument and criticism very well, from Peikoff on down. They don't treat philosophy with seriousness and respect. When they don't have an answer to a question, or when they don't have evidence when challenged to back up a claim, they bluff, bluster, abuse and accuse, shut down discussion, pout and storm out of the room. When shown to be wrong, they refuse to admit to their errors and correct them, but instead they whine that they are being attacked, and they besmirch the character of those who have shown them to be wrong.

    Peikoff does it. Phil Coates does it. Newberry does it. As do Pigero, Rowlands, Cresswell, Hsieh and a large portion of the gaggle of Objecti-hatchlings over at OO. None of these people appear to realize that they're not succeeding in their goal of "spreading Objectivism," but are actually impeding it with their crappy personality issues.

    Want to help spread Objectivism? Maybe consider the possibility that you're the type of person who is so revolting that you should be advocating something that is the opposite of Objectivism -- say, socialism or fascism -- thus driving people away from it in the way that you currently drive them away from Objectivism.


    Boy, that is what I was going to say. And there I was being all Zen, and shit.

  4. Reading, or the lack of, has something to do with it. Shortened attention spans. Very few people (and I am talking general mainstream, here) have the moxy and/or desire to study intellectual anything. How do you discuss Aristotle with someone that thinks wrestling is real? Dumbing down.

    The fact that there has always been a not-always-positive (socially) effect on newly-born Randians. The liberating effect is so profound that many of them (I include myself, looking back) are very volatile, harsh, unpleasant people to deal with. Bad buzz in the field, over decades.

    The completely dessicant, museum-like nature of ARI. I'll leave that there.

    But Atlas continues to be read. Heck, one of my nineteen-year old students (my protege, actually) just started up on it--he is a high-level, scholarship kid at Edison College. It gets talked about among the young, it always shows up around there and we know that.

    There are a lot of reasons. There's a lot competing with it.

    You could make a giant list.



  5. If you are sure, solid about what you love, what you believe in, you get the bravery to do even things that might obliterate you. Hopefully, those things are well-put together--truly moral, as in in alignment with reality. In alignment with the flow of the universe. You will know what to do, and do it. This is what separates a highly-evolved human from those who are not. One of the sad, frightening realizations that is obtained when you are working on your personal evolution is that there are those who walk on this earth who are not fully human. Empathy is a survival mechanism, a component even, from what we see in evolutionary psychology, say. Real empathy is one of the things that allow us guides, markers, to make good decisions. If you know what is truly right (in harmony with all existence), it is very likely you will try to do that right thing.

    Every day, we all make nearly-countless amounts of decisions; little ones, medium ones, and occasionally very large ones. And sometimes, what might appear off-rip to be a very small one is very impactful--it requires a discerning, honest eye: awareness (in the fullest sense of that word). In the larger ones that come roaring in at you, the biggies, this is where you find out exactly how "strong" you are. And that kind of moment is always an incredible realization--to have yourself instantly gauged by what reality has brought to you, so to say. It's actually a good moment of consciousness, but by then you are usually too far engaged in deciding to truly enjoy it.


  6. If I witness a man torturing a dog in his front yard, my response would certainly be to violently attack the man and rescue the dog.

    Been there and done that. I couldn't rescue the dog because it ran off. Years ago, this was. I had just come off a gig at Cleveland State University, and was walking out to find my car (it was in the dead of a horrible winter, there was almost no one on Euclid Avenue, which is basically a frozen wind tunnel when it gets like that). Some asshole standing there in the middle of this kicking the shit out of his already-starved dog. I saw red (anytime I see violent attacks on the weak--kids, wives, smaller people, animals) I lose control, which is almost impossible for me. First I warned him to stop ("Hey, cut that out--no reason for that."), which only fueled his fire and he set in again. I put down my guitar in the slush and started in on him. I broke his nose, his jaw, his ribs, and a couple of other things, I think. It was not a controlled situation, and also fighting in subzero is nasty business. I left him unconscious in a pool of his own blood in the middle of Euclid Ave., the dog bolted off (tried to find him but could not), and left. I'm not saying whether that was right or wrong, I'm just saying that's what you will get if I see it.

    Then, of course, there is this kind of shit:

    Edison Fries an Elephant

    1903: Thomas Edison stages his highly publicized electrocution of an elephant in order to demonstrate the dangers of alternating current, which, if it posed any immediate danger at all, was to Edison's own direct current.

    Edison had established direct current at the standard for electricity distribution and was living large off the patent royalties, royalties he was in no mood to lose when George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla showed up with alternating current.

    Edison's aggressive campaign to discredit the new current took the macabre form of a series of animal electrocutions using AC (a killing process he referred to snidely as getting "Westinghoused"). Stray dogs and cats were the most easily obtained, but he also zapped a few cattle and horses.

    Edison got his big chance, though, when the Luna Park Zoo at Coney Island decided that Topsy, a cranky female elephant who had squashed three handlers in three years (including one idiot who tried feeding her a lighted cigarette), had to go.

    Park officials originally considered hanging Topsy but the SPCA objected on humanitarian grounds, so someone suggesting having the pachyderm "ride the lightning," a practice that had been used in the American penal system since 1890 to dispatch the condemned. Edison was happy to oblige.

    This portion of Edison's film Electrocuting an Elephant is taken from a German television show.

    When the day came, Topsy was restrained using a ship's hawser fastened on one end to a donkey engine and on the other to a post. Wooden sandals with copper electrodes were attached to her feet and a copper wire run to Edison's electric light plant, where his technicians awaited the go-ahead.

    In order to make sure that Topsy emerged from this spectacle more than just singed and angry, she was fed cyanide-laced carrots moments before a 6,600-volt AC charge slammed through her body. Officials needn't have worried. Topsy was killed instantly and Edison, in his mind anyway, had proved his point.

    A crowd put at 1,500 witnessed Topsy's execution, which was filmed by Edison and released later that year asElectrocuting an Elephant.

    In the end, though, all Edison had to show for his efforts was a string of dead animals, including the unfortunate Topsy, and a current that quickly fell out of favor as AC demonstrated its superiority in less lethal ways to become the standard.

  7. Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford

    Jerry Leiber, the lyricist who, with his partner, Mike Stoller, wrote some of the most enduring classics in the history of rock 'n' roll, including "Hound Dog," "Yakety Yak," "Stand By Me" and "On Broadway," died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 78.

    Nick Ashford, who with Valerie Simpson, his songwriting partner and later wife, wrote some of Motown's biggest hits, like "

    " and "
    ," and later recorded their own hits and toured as a duo, died Monday at a hospital in New York City. He was 70 and lived in Manhattan.

    Damn can these folks write songs or what!

    Playing eternally in heaven of our minds.


    I never get used to this part of the business. Thanks, Adam, for the share.


  8. Hi, All!

    So, my question is, what is the real skinny on getting small biz grants in this area? Legitimate stuff. She has a real winner of a thing going here (the products are lovely) and we are working towards not only web biz but a lease at a fantastic retail zone here in Ft. Myers, Fl. It will work, we just need some basic seed money.

    Any advice would be appreciated. I figure someone around here has to have experience in this area. I can provide further details as needed. She did her first trade show, and was met with a very strong response.

    I would like to help her get this thing off the ground--it is a flyer.

    Thanks in advance,

    Rich Engle


    I have dealt with the Angel Investors and I have the utmost respect for them, see this here. Essentially compares Angel Investors v. Venture Capitalists.


    just my first quick idea

    Great start! Thank you so much, Adam--I sent it to Dar.


  9. Hi, All!

    We have such a wonderful pool of talent here. So (and I don't think I have ever asked for help), I could really use some informed help/advice from my online family (believe it or not, that is how I view you guys).

    Here's the sitch:

    My wife Darlene is retired (just on SS, but does fine). Recently she has had the desire to mount a new business. Darlene is a highly experienced business professional, with many accolades, successes, whatever, under her belt. She is a true entrepreneur, right down the line.

    She wanted to go back out and do a standalone biz, and did (early, I helped her). This particular biz is sort of a mix of esoteric clothing, kid's stuff, fairy-ware; all kinds of very unique products; the market is there and she knows what she is doing, patiently.

    She is 61, a woman, and represents a minority in terms of getting a modest start up biz grant. She started to explore this online, and of course, the hounds of hell and other floodgates opened on her. All she is trying to do is obtain a small grant. Oh, my phone is driving me crazy. Just now these beserk Indian scam artist bastards tried to beat me up for $1.87. I vaporized them.

    So, my question is, what is the real skinny on getting small biz grants in this area? Legitimate stuff. She has a real winner of a thing going here (the products are lovely) and we are working towards not only web biz but a lease at a fantastic retail zone here in Ft. Myers, Fl. It will work, we just need some basic seed money.

    Any advice would be appreciated. I figure someone around here has to have experience in this area. I can provide further details as needed. She did her first trade show, and was met with a very strong response.

    I would like to help her get this thing off the ground--it is a flyer.

    Thanks in advance,

    Rich Engle

  10. You guys obviously haven't been down South, lately. It's only worse. Christian Conservatives . . . hurumph, I only wish. Those are the ones that wear those suits and stupid ties, no? I've even heard talk that they not only read, but can complete compound sentences. I've seen these people and they kind of resemble Rush Limbaugh. They likely make stinky mustard farts<tm>.

    McGregor Baptist Church

    That one is ten minutes from my house. I hope one day that they all run off to re-baptize themselves or something so I can raid their media studio.

    Discussing Calvinism, actually, now that I think about it, has just about nothing to do with nothing. They have mutated.

    It is bad enough being a UU, what with the Pilgrim and Quaker roots. The people that brought you the Salem Witch Trials.

    I would love to see a practicing Calvinist--I would attempt to sell them laxatives, what with them having their shit stuck up them so fucking far. These are the people that, when church lets out, mob Bob Evans, think it is the goddamn Four Seasons, and leave a dollar tip, the skeevosa sons of two strangers.

    Did you know that Martin Luther had a lifelong farting problem? But I digress. I like this tract off of Predestinarian, heh:

    Martin Luther and Flatulence

    I am currently in the process of going through all of Luther's works dealing with the extent of the atonement and trying to determine if there is some way of harmonizing these passages into some sort of theology or if Luther just contradicts himself at different times. The general index has not been much help. It left out several key passages-whether intentionally or not I do not know. But the benefits of electronic search capabilities are quickly making themselves known as I can easily search for a word such as 'satisfaction' and it will find every instance in which the word comes up. I then have to go through the laborious task of sifting through to find passages which deal with what I am actually looking for and the search engine isn't nearly as fast as it is on my Bibleworks program so this is looking like it could be quite a project.

    Meanwhile, I keep coming across references of one sort or another to farting. Compiling a collection of all of Luther's references to farting has proven to be a far easier task. Please do not read if you do not have a sense of humor or if you find alternate words for dung overly offensive. It certainly is not nearly as profitable as my larger task, but it may be just the thing to cheer you up if you're feeling a bit blue.

    Oh, I love to be so naughty in front of Jesus.


  11. As you can tell, most of it was over my head. Just writing what struck me.

    As well it should be.

    I will throw in. What is really going on "upstairs" has little or nothing to do with your left or right leanings; what is projected is simply a smokescreen--one to get a person involved in the small matters.

    Meanwhile, these people are about to eat us.


    And that's all I have to say about that. --Forrest Gump

  12. 1) I always got the vibe that conservative Xian Capitalists dislike welfare not so much because of an attribution error - the poor are lazy - but because it is a secular program that challenges their role as sole provider of social assistance and charity (therefore power). The same reason the "Brotherhood" is hostile to the secular Arab state (among others).

    2) This is off topic but I always got the sense the "Left" sees a different 'sin'. Conservatives see the issue as indulgence, Liberals as one of exploitation. The latter I think is more unchristian but by encouraging it they ensure a place for themselves in America - once they get rid of those pesky unions, medicare, social security and the like.

    One thing I knew when I published this was that it would create good discussion within certain learned folks. It is definitely thought-provoking.


  13. If NB were being interviewed today, he'd sound a lot better. He was grossly taken advantage of two or three different ways. P and T and the producers of this crap should have done some decent research first. Self-esteem is a substantial thing. It's not what you end up with by passing out gold stars and heaping on undeserved or unearned praise.


    The question is, where is Branden? I'd think that getting in touch with Penn and Teller and clearing up the misunderstanding would be of value to him -- explaining the difference between his notion of self-esteem and others', telling P&T that they've got good instincts when in comes to the subject, showing them how they're actually already in agreement with him in many ways despite their misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of his views, forgiving them their errors, etc.


    I would seriously doubt NB would even acknowledge them. And I like those guys.

  14. I woulda wrote thome thilly lineth

    But there are jutht no rhymeth for Ninth

    Many happy aeons more, O Time Lord

    Not to worry, that Eeyore frown is readily turned upside down:

    910 years of time and space...according to Wikipedia anyway.

    Wow, tis true... 70 English words w/ no rhyme

    I don't know why but this always fascinated me for some reason. But fear not, there is hope, every time a new dictionary revision comes out. It's like the lottery.

    And I too forget if I said greetings for ND, did I? I am far too lazy to look. But even so, let's do it again--I really enjoy having you around. Both of you guys!


  15. Did you wear the lampshade, like the last time? :)




    Oh, so you are going to bring up that Nazi stag party again...I never mentioned that you played the accordion in the Marlena Dietrich outfit at that party, did I!


    Don't ever again use my name and the word accordion in the same sentence: I will track you down like a hunted animal. It's bad enough I have to do 3-4 gigs a year with my friend...he's 80, and he plays one of those . . .those . . .things. And a midi synth one, to boot. Yikes.

    Now get back to your can of ether.

  16. Thank you all for your birthday posts.

    David, it is never too - by the way is that "greet you a happy birthday" your way versus the American "wish you?"

    Carol: You really should publish. You write really well.

    Michael and Kat: Thank you and thanks for OL.

    Michael M.:

    I thought astrology was a poor man's science?

    Einstein is quoted as saying, "Astrology is a science in itself and contains an illuminating body of knowledge. It taught me many things and I am greatly indebted to it."

    "A touchstone to determine the actual worth of an 'intellectual' - find out how he feels about astrology." Lazarus Long.

    Tony: Thank you so much. Keep posting, please.

    Dennis: Thanks. I agree, not much I wouldn't do either.

    I had a great birthday weekend. Great food, great woman and I still had time to take Tripoli!


    Did you wear the lampshade, like the last time? :)



  17. Now, referring to the above post by me. See how the quality of writing isn't just rational or thinking or what-Jeff-or-Rand-have-you, but an expression of the writer's personality? Someone like me doesn't have to read books like thinking as writing or writing as thinking. WTF? When I write my good and serious stuff--you seldom read it here I assure you, for I sweat bullets and it just flows too--for all I do is write it down in longhand then type it into the computer, print it out, then edit and rewrite it down to a shorter and better length. Though I may be a hack it's not about my writing. I am not a hack writer. Maybe I should be. It might help me be a better one. Dunno. Might try it. Might mix it up: hack and not-hack. Why not? Nathaniel Branden had it right, right to the core: you wanna write? Write! I say, let the editor sort it out.



    Thank you. I've been waiting for that.

  18. > Could you please comment on the interview?

    Rich, I've written a comment. But you're not set up to accept comments from anyone unless they go join some other software, have certain kinds of accounts:

    Before I could post or even preview my comment it wanted me to have a google account or other url or blog. I clicked on all of the five? possibilities and it wouldn't let me in. I do have a google account, but when I clicked on that it instantly put me in "Blogger" and wanted to force me to create a blog there.

    It also wiped out my comment (which was quite long) when I tried to use the back arrow. It's fortunate that I write comments in a word file and save them before I paste them in.

    Wow, that's weird. Someone else told me that happened. I have to look in on that--cumbersome!!