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December 2010 Newsletter

I want to wish all a joyous holiday season and a healthy peaceful prosperous 2011

It has been a very dramatic decade that we are closing. A decade that forty years ago I thought I would never live to see.

The decade started off OK. My personal life was going well, my health was good and my business was fairly successful.

The decade ended with my personal life being much more stressful than I would have liked, my country floundering and my business suffering along with all businesses today.

The stress is no more or no less that what every other small business owner is suffering in this economy.

At the end of 2009 I moved the factory from the City of Los Angeles as the 10% gross receipts tax and other problems of doing business under the regulations of Los Angeles were getting too difficult to deal with.

I found a great building in Montebello at a very competitive rent and jumped at the opportunity of expanding there. About a month after the move, the city inspector while doing the occupancy check, informed me that he did not like our powder coat oven and wanted some changes made to it. The first thing he wanted was the original specifications for the oven. As we had purchased the oven in 1988 at an auction and it was about 25 years old when we purchased it, the chances of finding the original specs were pretty slim. Miller Industrial Ovens has been out of business since about 1990. The bottom line is that after the expenditure of about $9,000.00, I was informed that we could not use the oven for about 18 months which is the time estimated for getting the permit. Obviously I could not operate under those conditions. This necessitated doing the powder coating off hours when the chances of an inspector coming around were nil, like the middle of the night or on the weekends.

In November I started looking for another building outside of Montebello. I found a building in Baldwin Park with the same square footage at 1/2 the rent. I spoke with the Building and Planning of Baldwin Park, paid $65.00 and walked out with a permit to operate in hand. I started production on December 1st in the new building.

I am assuming that as the economy picks up, so will the rent. Right now industrial rents are at extremely low prices. I have a one year lease with renewable options at 59 cents a square foot. Two years ago rents for industrial use were about $1.50 to $2.00 a square foot.

When the housing market crashed, so did the furniture business. The exercise equipment business is what is carrying the company right now. I really do not see that changing in the next couple of years so my focus at this point in time is to concentrate on the fitness side of the business.

To that end I will be forming a new corporation reflecting that. The new corporation will be Plyo Boxes Direct, as we build the best plyometric boxes on the market and I want to concentrate on that.

The stress level has subsided and I feel much better than I have in a year. My blood pressure is well in check, usually staying around 110 over 75 which is quite good for a 69 year old with diabetes and who exercises about one day every two or three years. Since I gave up my daily stop at the donut shop on the way to the factory in the morning and the trip to McDonald's around lunch time, my blood sugar stays around 120 to 130 so that level will force me to find something other than diabetes related problems to die from.

My hepatitis C, which was most likely contracted while in the Army in the early 1960s, does not affect me and remains untreated. I am monitored very closely by the VA, with bi-yearly blood tests and yearly sonograms for any signs of liver damage. So far, so good. The fact that I have never used alcohol, and can get drunk from the fumes of the rum when baking rum cakes has probably helped keep the liver functioning properly.

I had my second colonoscopy earlier this year so I will not need another for about 10 years. I renewed my drivers license in November without having to take a test. When I turn 73 my license will again expire so I will most likely have to take the test then.

I am thinking that I will probably retire in 2015 when I am 75. Although one never knows what tomorrow brings, in the world of today, 75 years of age is about what 65 years of age was 20 years ago. No one who sees me guesses that I am pushing 70. Better to be pushing 70 than pushing daisys.

Politically, I am as active as ever. I am wondering why I am still registered with a party that is committing suicide. I will more than likely re-register as a decline to state sometime before the next election. I was so upset with the last election that I did not volunteer to run the polls for the first time in about 40 years.

I am not looking forward to running a factory in California under Jerry Brown, but I have yearly leases on the property and can give it up any time it becomes too anti-business.

One of my foster kids, Robert, is working with me and dreams of moving the factory to Idaho. The idea is not an impossibility. As the business is Internet based, it does not really matter where it is as long as the raw material can be obtained easily and at a reasonable cost.

I have pulled back from my volunteering because of the time spent in the last year trying to keep the factory afloat. I no longer serve on any arts boards and the amount of money that is donated has been drastically cut back and will have to remain so until the economy picks up, along with my business.

I do not have any real hopes for that for several years. Washington I am afraid is going to be gridlocked as long as the Republicans are going to be more interested in defeating Obama in 2012 than in helping the economy get back on track. I am afraid that Afghanistan will still be a problem when I am ready to retire. For a Republican (albeit a very weak one) and a political Hawk, it is increasingly difficult for me to support a war that will be in its 15th year when I retire.

The problems in Iran will also have to be dealt with sooner or later although we may have to depend upon Israel to solve it for us.

The cost of fighting terrorism will also hamper our ability to stop the hemorrhaging of money and get the economy back on track.

I am sure that we shall see acts of terror on our shores, although I do not think we will ever again see something on the scale of 9/11.

I do not see all gloom and doom as we roll into the next decade. Our country is strong, resilient and diverse enough to come back better than any other place on this planet. Jobs will be created, people will be enjoying their life, and the idiots we elect will eventually fade away to be replaced by new idiots. We have been doing this for 234 years so we pretty much have the experience to survive for another 234 years, although I do not plan on being here to see if we make it.

Sigborn

As long as we have people like my Norwegian "grandson" Sigborn around, the world will be OK.
Sig's dress blues certainly look much better than my old dress blues.
I do not know why Sigborn's comrade in arms is out of uniform.

The youth of this world have always been our salvation. Zak Sunderland became for a short time the youngest person to solo circumnagative the world. His sister Abbey tried and failed, losing her boat in the Indian Ocean and sparking a search and rescue earlier this year, but at least she tried.

As long as we have people like that around, I can sleep easily at night.

The actor and writer Wil Wheaton turned me on to a web site that I am enjoying very much. Every day I read the New York Times, the L.A. Times and the Washington Post along with a slew of emails. I also read Newsweek and Time every week and a bunch of magazines related to the business. As it is difficult for me to find the time to read the books I want to read, there is a website, www.dailylit.com that will send you via email a portion of a book on a schedule you choose. Once a week; once a day; you choose how much and how often you want to read. This service is free and makes it easy for me to find the time to read the things I have been putting off due to time constraints.

Well I did not want to write the Great American Novel here so I guess I had better end it before I prove just how dumb I really am. Again, wishes for a Joyous Holiday and peace, health and prosperity in the new decade.

I would love to get an email from you.

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