Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day / Peter Lewis on the Koala Bear / Leonard Cohen

Veterans Day
Today in the United States is Veterans Day, a day on which we take a moment to remember those men and women who served their country in pursuit of peace and the American way.  November 11 was chosen as the fighting in World War I ended when an armistice between the Allied nations and German went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars." (Source: Veterans Affairs website).
My father, Manney Felix served in the Army Air Force during World War II. While for many, many years he did not talk about that experience, it finally came out that his time in the Army had the most lasting impact on his life. When we finally pulled him out of his shell, he shared many stories of his experiences - in hindsight, he wanted to tell us, he just needed a little prodding to be able to do it.  
Thank you to all those men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States.  It's sad that there is still so much fighting going on between people and some countries in the world today.  It's sad that there's so much anger, so much hatred and so much bigotry.  I have long felt that the only way for us to find a path to peace is to understand each other better.  There is no better way than to talk with people who are different from you, face to face about something or about nothing.  What you'll realize is that inside we are all the same, people, human beings seeking many of the same things out of life.  
Even if you're not as fortunate as I've been, to be able to travel to many countries and meet and talk with people on their own ground, because of the wonderful diversity in the United States, you can find people of other countries, races, religious beliefs and all other things that make up the wonderfulness of difference, right here.
Maybe today, as we take a moment to remember and appreciate those who served we can also take a moment to think about these words, written by Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) and recorded by several others before The Youngbloods version in 1968 became an anthem of that generation.  The lines of the chorus are the ones that were the most poignant then - and it appears that we need that same feeling right now - Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another, right now!
Peter Lewis on the Koala Bear
Many of you remember Peter Lewis.  I first met him when he worked for MIT and oversaw their real estate investing program.  Peter was, if not the first, one of the first significant size U.S. institutional investors to start investing outside the U.S.  I remember once, many years ago, when Peter was on a panel at an industry event.  He was asked a question from an audience member.  "So Peter, I assume that your goal in investing in real estate outside the U.S. is to find juiced-up returns, right?"  Peter replied: "That's always nice but the goal is diversification.  You see, real estate goes in different cycles in different parts of the world at different times."  Time has proven Peter to be totally right.
Peter died on March 2, 2013.  Why I'm writing about him today is that I just this week found an email Peter wrote me on November 6, 2005, about something I had written in this column.  I thought you would enjoy it as much I did.
Hi Steve,

It was good to see you at ULI, however brief it was.  I don't know whether you can use this in your "On the Road" feature, but perhaps you'll find it amusing.  I was totally exhausted when I had the following crazy thoughts:

At the end of an exhausting week that included two separate trips, both without avoiding direct flights, but including two conference panels, numerous meetings, and generally being on all the time, sometimes the simplest, nondescript things assume undeserved attention.

Such was the case when I spotted Koala Kare Center in an airport restroom. Punchy from lack of sleep, I thought about the product name and imagined the convenience if I had decided to travel with my pet koala and nature had called.

I don’t often take her on business trips.  She doesn’t like traveling if she’s not in the main cabin even though she's from down under. It’s both claustrophobic and cruel to place her in my carry-on, and my clothes don’t always arise in pristine condition. Her claws are even sharper than the last one inserted by counsel in a recent document draft and her communications via “bellowing” can make the nights unbearable.  Add to that the difficultly in finding hotel atria with eucalyptus trees and you get an idea of the added complications. On the other hand, few other real estate professionals travel with a koala and there is a certain power in the first impression. 

As a baby, she was certainly popular with all the Cub fans in Chicago.  And then there’s the convenience of her pouch to carry CDs and boarding passes! I may take her with me more often now that I know that airports truly care.That means stocking up on koala diapers which are difficult to find at your local Wal-Mart, which tends to favor pandas.  She can run as fast as a rabbit, which has led to some hare-raising experiences and she sleeps for up to 19 hours a day, perfect behavior for many conferences and presentations.  But travel excites her and she is probably looking forward to a future trip to a namesake designation like Kuala Lumpur.

Leonard Cohen (1934 - 2016)
Leonard Cohen died yesterday.  He was 82.  Just last month he released a new album and I read a wonderful piece about him in The New Yorker magazine.  

More than 2,000 recordings of his songs have been made, initially by the folk-pop singers who were his first champions, like Judy Collins and Tim Hardin, and later by performers from across the spectrum of popular music, among them U2, Aretha Franklin, R.E.M., Jeff Buckley, Trisha Yearwood and Elton John.

Songs like "Bird on a Wire", "Suzanne", "So Long Marianne" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" have become very well-known tunes. But the song that he became most associated with is "Hallelujah."  Here's an incredibly moving concert performance of "Hallelujah" which has been viewed by more than 41 million people!

On The Road...
November 14-18:  New York City including attending the PERE Summit on Nov 15/16.

December 5 - 7:  Los Angeles to conduct an in-house Behavioral Presentation Coaching program to a well-known real estate investment management firm

December 7- 8: Chicago to attend the NAREIM Capital Raising and Investor Relations meeting

December 12 - 16:  New York City for a few reasons...

December 12:  My annual pre-holiday Pizza/Drink Thing where a broad array of commercial real estate folks gather to hang out.
When:  December 12 from 5ish - 9ish pm
Where: Joe G Restaurant, 244 W. 56th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue and downstairs from the DaVinci Hotel.
What:  You buy your own drinks and I supply the famous Joe G pizza!

December 16: Felix / Weiner Women's Leadership Workshop (our 17th one!).  

January 18 - 20:  Laguna Beach, CA to attend the IMN Opportunity and Private Real Estate Investing Forum

January 18:  Laguna Beach to conduct Felix / Weiner Women's Leadership Workshop - in partnership with IMN (Note: you don't have to be registered for the IMN event to attend out event).  

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