Hello! Welcome to MarkFord.net
This is the open-for-inspection half-way home for my writing!
What you’ll find here are essays, stories, book chapters, poetry, and journal entries, as well as words and images from others that I want to share.
The bulk of the essays will be about business, wealth building, and personal productivity. But there will also be things I’m equally or more interested in, such as art, education, economics, physics, philosophy, psychology, neurobiology, fitness, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Since much of what you’ll be reading here will be early drafts of work meant for publication I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have that will help me strengthen them.

Word for the Wise

 Pinguid (PING-wid) – fat and oily. Here’s a lovely sentence from The Bunsby Papers by John Brougham that includes it alliteratively: “Peter was pinguid, plump, and plethoric – she was thin to attenuation.”

Did You Know… ?

If you add up all the numbers from 1 to 100 consecutively, the total is 5050. Keep that in mind. You never know when it will come up in conversation.

Principles of Wealth: #5 of 61

Wealth and income inequality are realities that exist in every economy – even those committed in principle to the distribution of wealth. Many people today, believing that equality is an intrinsic and achievable good, seek to flatten financial inequalities through government programs and social action. A smaller group, sympathetic to the notion of equality but less trusting of governmental solutions, seek to create substantial personal wealth and then distribute some of that to others. Still others are dubious that financial inequality is intrinsically good and practically achievable. And a final group is sure that equality is intrinsically bad and can only be partially achieved and that only by severe repression.

My view is that human nature is innately opposed to equality. You can, by force, make a community financially equal for a moment in time. But an hour later, individuals within that community will get to work recreating inequality. Some will seek to have more. Some will be satisfied with what they have. And some will seek to have less.

This is the fundamental reason why history has shown us that the goal of achieving financial equality has never been achieved or even attempted.

Click to continue… One Thing & Another

Do you remember the Dos Equis commercials about The Most Interesting Man in the World?

They were very big for a long time. They may still be running. I can’t say. I don’t watch TV anymore.

If you haven’t seen them, imagine this: A rugged-looking, silver-haired man who is always surrounded by beautiful women. In one version of the commercial, he arm-wrestles a Banana Republic dictator. In another, he releases a grizzly bear from a trap. In still another, he explains that even his enemies list him as their emergency contact and that the police often question him just because they find him interesting.

Fun stuff… and memorable… but not exactly original.

If you are a student of advertising, you know this is a knockoff of David Ogilvy’s famous ad campaign: The Man in the Hathaway Shirt.

That was a great one. With a great story behind it…

It was 1951. Ellerton Jette, a shirtmaker from Waterville, Maine, had the crazy idea of growing his little local business into a national brand.

How could he do that?

He had no clue. But he had an idea: He had heard about the advertising prowess of David Ogilvy. So he booked a meeting with him.

“I have an advertising budget of only $30,000,” he told Ogilvy. “I know that’s much less than you normally work with. But I believe you can make me into a big client of yours if you take on the job.”

If he’d stopped there, Ogilvy would have thrown him out of the office. But then Jette said something that sold the great salesman.

He said, “If you do take on the job, Mr. Ogilvy, I promise you this. No matter how big my company gets, I will never fire you. And I will never change a word of your copy.”

Stop right there…

Click to continue… The Most Interesting Ad in the World

The Theory: There are two energetic impulses in the universe: contraction and expansion. All our technical, artistic, and philosophic achievements are reflections and results of these impulses. So is all the waste and war and death we have caused. (For a detailed explanation of the theory, go here).https://www.markford.net/a-theory-of-life-3

 Example 7. In a Single Day

You’ve had a tough day. The commute to work was spoiled by a traffic jam. A colleague jostled you at the coffee machine and you spilled your coffee on your new shirt. The morning was filled with interruptions, so you never finished preparing for your afternoon meeting with the boss. Your lack of preparation was obvious. By five o’clock, you had accomplished nothing important. You feel frustrated and angry.

Driving home in a light rain, the car in front of you suddenly brakes. In an instant, your car is swerving and then spinning on the slick pavement. Your heart is racing. Horns are blaring. Miraculously, you come to a halt without being hit.

You pull to the side of the road and get out of the car to reclaim some equilibrium. You find that you are standing in front of a grassy hill over which the sun is descending. The sky is violet. The grass smells fresh. The air is clean.

Somehow, to your surprise, all your worries float away. They are replaced by awe and gratitude. You are glad to be alive. It is as if all that is good in life is washing over you.

What is this feeling? How can it be described?

It is light. It is buoyant. It is uplifting. There is a sense of peace and acceptance.

Is there a word for it?

Happiness is too vague. Joy isn’t right either. Serenity? Yes. But serenity is just a part of it. As is peacefulness and harmony and tranquility. These words are helpful but they don’t fully express it. They don’t include the sense of opening up to and/or relaxing into the universe that is somehow at its core.

How different this feeling is from the many other feelings you experienced throughout the day. The irritation of the commute. The flare-up of anger when a colleague made you spill your coffee. The aggravation of the constant interruptions during the day. The frustration from not having time to do the work you wanted to do. The doubt and then the embarrassment of the meeting with your boss. And the fear of nearly crashing your car.

Irritation. Anger. Aggravation. Frustration. Doubt. Embarrassment. Fear. It’s interesting that the English language seems to do a better job of naming these negative feelings.

What do they have in common? How are they different from this one very good, but difficult to name, feeling that you have standing in front of this grassy hill?

The Farmer

The farmer loves me

Sitting on his front porch

Looking out at his land

A hundred acres

Lying fallow now

Everything is resting

This is a good year

There have been others

He does not think for long on that

No, this is a time for sitting

For smoking a pipe

Thinking about his children

Gone now, busy elsewhere

Noisy, crowded places

Maybe this year he’ll visit

But the steel and grime

The haste, the tangled masses

What strength and foolishness

It takes to live like that

Yet he is proud of them

And happy to have this time

After this good harvest

To be, as he should be, grateful

* An earlier version of this series was published in my first poetry collection: Back and Out Again https://smile.amazon.com/Back-Again-Mark-Morgan-Ford

Recommended Reading

February 11, 2018 in Blog,Good Reads

Dress Her in Indigo

By John D. MacDonald

1969, 211 pages

A “Travis McGee” crime novel. My first. And, frankly, I was surprised at the writing. It was not film noir-ish, as I expected. But able and smart.

The style is quick and succinct and somehow modern. And the lead character, Travis McGee, is smart and experienced – a bit more than I wanted in some cases.

The story is about McGee investigating the last days of the daughter of a successful executive. The daughter – Bixie – apparently died on a trip to Mexico and the executive’s dying wish is to find out what she was doing there.

As it turns out, Bixie is still alive and is being held hostage by a rich older Spanish woman who wants to keep her as a sex slave. Arriving at that point in the novel, I was not surprised to find her still breathing. What surprised me was the sex slave bit.

I found it interesting that as late as 1969 MacDonald was treating lesbianism as an aberration. I found myself trying to recall my own feelings on the subject when I was a sophomore in college.

I read the book hoping to enjoy it like I’ve enjoyed the hardboiled fiction of Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard. I’ll read another one since MacDonald’s popularity demands it.

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