While reading the review of Bob Woodward’s fourth volume of the George Bush presidency, I realized exactly what I want in a politician and that is a man who, like Bush, has a strong will, but who also has the desire to understand the nature of any problem he is confronted with. Unfortunately, Bush has used will as a substitute for preparedness and deliberation.

Antique dealers who tout that what they have is the “very best” are often deluding themselves and, as a consequence, deluding their clients. Not every item needs to be the best of the best. That is an impossibility. What is needed is a good understanding of what you are selling. When I buy decorative items, for example, I buy them because they appeal to me, not because they are unique, I wouldn’t know if many of the decorative items I sell are are unique or not.

I think what I am talking about is having enough balance to know what the middle of just about any situation is. If you are talking about an antique, what is it about it that makes enough sense to have the item in your shop? There must be reasons for it being on display. In a politician, I want understanding before I get action. The world is too dangerous a place to be heedless of consequence.

It is hard to pinpoint just what success is because in every success there is some form of failure. The contradiction is an essential part of life. Just as a strength can be a weakness, a weakness can be a strength.

In the world of antiques, success is regarded as a function of both buying and selling. The fundamental contradiction is often put to me by clients that ask if there was ever a piece I wish I hadn’t sold. No, I answer, my business is to buy and sell.

In politics, success is to get elected to office. Governing, however, is something quite different because you have to know that your strength can not cover up your weakness. A mighty military, for example, may serve to awe and inspire, but it is essentially incapable of dealing with a determined terrorist.

A country’s standing in the world is determined by how educated its populace is. The better educated we are, the better we understand the inflexibility of totalitarianism and the value of our own social fluidity. Flexibility and fluidity are not water tight protections against terrorism, but they are signs of a society that has taken the chance to be free. That is a risk I am willing to take.

The paper we love to hate, The New York Times, is at it again. An article about collecting that features auction houses and collectors and doesn’t quote a dealer? That is sort of like trying to make Kool Aid with ice, it doesn’t really work no matter how precise your measurements are.

One of the collectors amused me greatly in the article. She says that she bids to where the dealers, who have to buy wholesale according to her, drop out and then she bids one more and takes home the prize. I do hope that Bill Gates doesn’t take a shine to the things she collects. She could have an expensive auction or two in her future.

Seriously now, auction houses get articles per sale. They want to sell all those articles. That is their job. Don’t you think that they will try to sell every piece to someone? Do you think, given the vast quantity of things that come around the salerooms that every collector is going to get personal attention?

Auction houses are vital as a source, but dealers are vital for knowledge, and collectors, like the lady who is so clever to outbid the dealers, should be smart enough to know what they don’t know and that is usually a great deal. And The New York Times? They should learn learn to publish more balanced articles.

Defining Sarah Palin makes me think of 1950’s and early 1960’s television programs. She has a little of “Our Miss Brooks” (good put downs), a lot of Beaver (complete naivete), a touch of Bambi (more naivete), a smattering of Cruella Deville, a bit of all the character on Little House on the Prairie…., I could go on.

What she doesn’t seem like to me is a person who has her own views. The views are Alaskan in every sense of the word. Is that wrong? It might be for the rest of the United States. Her qualifications would be laughable if she were a man, but as she is a viable token, we have to take her seriously.

I am sorry about this. I think this is a terrible put down to women, paritcularly if she is instrumental in a McCain loss. If she is a winner and she becomes, by chance the president, she will have to shuck all those television characters and be something I don’t think she has ever given a thought to–the leader of a democracy that is more than just Alaskans.

Should Alaskans take offense at this? I would say the same about anyone whose provincialism was an alleged asset, be they from New York City, Columbus, Ohio or anywhere else. George Bush’s provincialism (those “gut” decisions have cost us dearly) is a case in point.

Watching clips of (the later) Eric Clapton on YouTube reveals a man who enjoys making music and esteems the people that he is playing with as well as his audience. The music, whether you like it or not, is only part of the show as the joy released by the players can’t help but affect your feelings about the experience of watching the song. It is having fun and, in turn, making magic.

That is the point, of course, to have fun. Not everyone gets to do that in life. English furniture dealers, those that care about the business, get it when they find something that appeals to them, something that others might have overlooked or not understood. Moments like these help define just why you are in the business. It, too, is like magic.

The internet sensation that was Paul Potts singing Nessun Dorma for a talent show was less about whether Potts has the ability to sing–he surely does–and more about his revealing the passion that he has for singing. When people catch that, it is catching magic. I know how hard that is and how great it feels, but I probably love it more when I see it in others. We need magic in our world.