Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. We recommend you seek the counsel of an attorney familiar with your specific situation and market to ensure you make the best decisions within your real estate business.

If you’re an investor learning about asset protection, it’s easy to get mixed up or receive poor advice. It’s even easier to fall into the logical trap of believing there’s a generic “best course” for all people.

After all, more than a few companies are all-too-happy to take your cash for a generic LLC, imply it’s all you need, “forget” to mention their products don’t include essentials like operating agreements or state filing fees, and toss you into the deep end of figuring out how to use the darn thing on your lonesome. Because once you’ve hit “pay” and received your docs, their work is done. They’re not your lawyers.

I am, however, a lawyer who’d like to take some time to clear up the confusion for my fellow investors here on BiggerPockets. The first thing you need to know is simple. Unlike a fly winter scarf, asset protection is not one-size-fits-all—at least if you’re doing it right.

One of the very first things to consider when developing your asset protection plan is where you live and hold property. If the word “California” appears in your answers, listen up!

This is the most essential information you need to know about the ideal structure for California residents: the Delaware Statutory Trust.

Why an LLC Might Not Be the Best Choice

Wait—aren’t you the guy who recommends Series LLCs for asset protection?

Yeah, that’s me. The Series LLC is an awesome structure for most investors. (Notice I said “most.”)

A critical point to understand about asset protection is that there is no silver bullet that works for everyone. An adequate asset protection plan is tailored to the individual, like a fine suit. The more your lawyer knows about you, the more tailored your asset protection plan can be.

When you work with a real asset protection attorney, we’re essentially doing the legal variant of crafting you an Armani-quality suit that’ll hold up so nicely you can be buried in it looking brand new. This is the strategy that defends your wealth, after all. It needs to stand the test of time.

For the California investor, though, we do know the starting point is different. Rather than isolating assets into LLCs or series within a Series LLC, we tend to recommend the California investor use a Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) instead.

couple on laptop, on holding gavel, online auction concept

In fact, understanding the Series LLC is a great starting point for understanding DSTs. Both use a parent-child structure and have infinite scalability, offering creative solutions for investors.

California investors have special concerns because of the state’s laws and tax regulations. While a Series LLC presents an ideal solution for investors in every other state, it would incur an $800 franchise tax at the very least.

The Delaware Statutory Trust is a great alternative, because it offers a similar level of protection to the Series LLC while also avoiding this tax burden. The state views DSTs as estate planning tools, which do not have to meet the same requirements as corporations or LLCs. Any investor who is doing business in California may be subject to state taxes.

Related: Estate Planning for Investors: Insight From a Real Estate Attorney

How a DST Can Benefit Investors Who Don’t Live in California

Let’s say you invest in California, but don’t reside there. Can you use a DST?


That’s right! You might have never set foot in California, but if you have property there—even with partners—you’re still going to have to play by California’s rules. Check with an attorney if you are in a partnership or have interest in an LLC operating in the state.

Business people shaking hands, finishing up meeting. Successful businessmen handshaking after good deal.

Related: 3 Benefits of Holding Your Properties in an LLC

What is a DST Anyway?

At its most basic, the DST is the intellectual grandfather of the Series LLC. It uses a parent-child structure. I highly suggest you check out this previous Series LLC article for a more elaborate breakdown of this structure type and its asset protection implications. The same information is true of the DST (and I’ll be here when you get back!).

The DST is a type of trust that was among the first business structures created for asset protection purposes. Unlike a company, you have a trustee managing investments and a beneficiary (you), who receives the profits of properties held in the trust.

Like the Series LLC, it uses a parent company and many Series as asset-holding companies, sharing the liability limitation benefits. It’s an attractive alternative for Californians, because you receive the same benefits of Series LLCs (anonymity, streamlined business, tax flexibility) while escaping the requirements other companies must meet.

DSTs were designed to be low maintenance. No meetings or minutes are required, and compliance is fairly straightforward.

The DST’s structure separates your assets from you and one another. This concept is called compartmentalization and has two key purposes: making your assets harder to pursue at all and controlling the damage if one is successfully threatened and seized.

What happens to one Series need not affect the other Series or the assets within them. Of course, the above assumes a properly-formed DST, created with the aid of an experienced attorney.

Lawsuits are no joke, and you want the structure that’s best for you. If you’re in California, there’s no question that you should look into the DST, particularly if you plan to own multiple properties.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. We recommend you seek the counsel of an attorney familiar with your specific situation and market to ensure you make the best decisions within your real estate business.

Any additional questions I can answer for your about DSTs or LLCs? 

Ask me in the comment section below!


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Many experts in the lighting field believe that the overall outlook for neon signage seems to be very optimistic. Neon signs have a record of 100 years of successful use in advertising. If there were no neon signs cities and towns would be darker places and the neon sign industry would cease to exist, but that is not likely to occur.

Let’s start with some general information about neon such as why it’s used, uses other than advertising, where it’s used here and in other countries, neon signage around the world, and so much more. Everyone knows its main use is for advertising and that’s what keeps the neon sign industry going, but it has many other uses that are beneficial to the public. Enjoy watching TV? Neon is used in in television tubes. Do you have a neon wall clock? Neon lighting is use in the home and in many businesses to enhance and highlight dark areas. It is used in gas lasers is used to remove eye cataracts and for other medical problems. Many people have flown, but did you know this? It has been used in beacons and it has can be seen by pilots have seen it 20 miles away when it was impossible for them to see other kinds of lights. Neon lights can be seen through the fog. Many travelers have found it very helpful when looking for a motel on a foggy night. Neon does all this and more.

However, neon’s biggest and most widely-known use is in neon signs. What makes it so useful for signs? There are two reasons for this. First neon is a first-rate conductor of electricity, and secondly it has the amazing ability to give off light that can be seen at great distances. As hard as it may be to believe neon technology started in Europe in 1675. It’s not that neon signs were invented then but just the idea that would grow into the modern neon sign. In fact, strange as it may seem electricity was not even discovered yet. These two ideas developed independently because neither was dependent upon the other being in place.

It wasn’t until 1910 that in Paris a, man called Georges Claude came up with the idea for neon signs. His first effort was a sign for a barber shop in that city. How and when did they first come to the United States. Earle Anthony, the owner of an auto dealership in Los Angeles, apparently heard about neon signs and visited Paris. The result was two Packard neon signs which he purchased for $1,250. The year was 1923. The idea spread quickly because both businesses and the public took hold of this new concept in advertising. Traditional sign advertising was hit with the brilliant explosion of neon signs. These first signs were called “liquid fire” no doubt because of the bright red light they emitted seem to signify danger.

The first sign that came to Las Vegas was a sign advertising a place called the “Oasis Cafe House”. Who realized then that the city would become one of the country’s two premiere neon signage showcases? It was a notable event but few people, gave much thought other than that.

When discussing neon signage in America the Las Vegas Strip(or “The Strip” as it is often called) and New Yok City’s Times Square are the logical starting points. It is easy to see how they earned their titles. Both receive millions of visitors each year who view neon displays that are almost blinding. Las Vegas may have an edge over Times Square because it receives many more visitors because of its casinos who provide the city’s neon display. In comparison Times Square signs are subject to more frequent changes due to the fact that businesses in that city change often while Las Vegas has casinos that are the mainstay of the city’s revenues and the casinos are always in business.

The Las Vegas Strip is home to a world famous iconic neon sign that was erected in 1959. The sign was the idea of Betty Willis, who worked for a local sign company. The sign contained the words “WELCOME TO Fabulous LAS VEGAS NEVADA”. The sign was never copyrighted because Willis considered it her gift to the city. This sign is synonymous with the City of Las Vegas. The Willis sign is number one on the list of the world’s 10 most impressive neon signages. Las Vegas is also home to the world’s largest neon sign which carries the name Hilton and is owned by the Hilton Hotel Corporation. This sign was erected in 1996 and covers over 70,000 feet, The Hilton name is 164 feet wide and the letters are 28 feet high. At a price tag of approximately $9 billion it could easily be called the world’s most expensive neon sign.

Times Square received its first neon sign in the mid-1920’s. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square has reached the point where it’s beginning to give the Las Vegas Strip a run for its money. This density is the result of the smaller size of Times Square compared to that of the Las Vegas Strip which runs for miles. In any case both of these locations are filled with thousands of signs.

Turning our attention from these two neon showcases there are other places in the Us that have notable neon signs. However, they are naturally not on the same level as the previously mentioned giants of neon signage. In Elk City, Oklahoma at the National Route 66 Museum proudly exhibits the giant iconic Route 66 neon sign. The city of Saginaw, Michigan claims it has the largest neon sign in the state an d the largest figural sign in the nation. Figural neon signs show humans and animals. This neon sign is 35 feet high and fifty feet long.

The list of the top 10 neon signs in this country has many neon signs that are nationally known. Many of them are long gone. They all once brightened a city street. Number one is Boston which had its Schrafftt’s n sign which was a symbol of the company’s candy and chocolate business. Second place on the list went to the “Vegas Vic” sign which was standing tall on the city’s Fremont Strees from 1951 to about 1995 when it was retired.

In number three position is the Great Grain Belt Bear sign in Minneapolis which was used a great many years since it was installed in 1940, and is now up for sale. Fourth is the Coppertone Girl sign that was erected on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard to advertise the company’s product, suntan lotion. It was a city landmark and was there from 1959 to the 1990’s. What made the sign so noticeable was the puppy that was tugging on the little girl’s bathing suit. Next on the list is the Skipping Girl sign from Abbotsford, Australia. She was called”Little Audrey” and she advertised the Nycander Company’s product, sugar. She was gone in 1968 but due to the public’s outrage at the loss of this landmark she was replaced by a replica in 1970. Portland, Oregon’s “Made in Oregon” sign which advertised sugar was erected in 1941. It was changed over the years and remained in place when the company left the building in the 1950’s.

The Westinghouse Company’s sign in Pittsburgh to the number seven spot. It had been up since the early 1920’s and was taken down in 1998. Taking the number eight place is the Magikist’s Company of Chicago with its sign advertising carpets. The 41,400 pound lips on this sign were regarded as a city landmark However, all of the previous neon signs mentioned are gone. The number nine sign, the Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada which was built in 1927 and is still going strong. Last on the list is the Traveler’s Insurance umbrella sign which can be found in Des Moines, Iowa. It was built in 1963 and still in operation.

No mention of neon signs would be complete without including a list of the world’s 10 most impressive examples of neon signage. It should be of no surprise that number one on the list is the iconic WELCOME TO Fabulous LAS VEGAS, NEVADA neon signage. This is followed by the Times Square display. Third place goes to Hong Kong’s 15 minute entire skyline light show, The next spot belongs to Osaka’s Dotonbun signage which was the inspiration for the move, “The Blade Runner”. Shanghai’s Najinj Road takes position number five with Tokyo’s Ginza and Shibuya occupying the number six place. The Vegas Boneyard (where old and iconic Las Vegas signs are restored and displayed) is next. This is followed by the signage showing Vintage Times Square neon signs from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.

As for the last two on the list the Caesar’s Palace neon signage is in ninth place and Bankok’s soi cowboy road completes the list. It is interesting to note at this point that at an earlier time London’s world famous Piccadilly Circus would have most certainly come in near the top of this list. It received what many have called the first neon sign to come to Europe, a popular soft drink sign, which was replaced a new version in 2003. However, today all of the neon signs in Piccadilly Circus are on one building with the names all being large international corporations.

Many organizations have sprung up in all parts of this country. Their purpose to to collect, restore, and exhibit old classic neon and iconic neon signs. One of these is the Neon Museum of Philadelphia which opened in 1983 and shows neon signs from businesses. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas has iconic neon signs from closed casinos and businesses. It has more than 150 historic restored and non-restored neon signs. It is non-profit and was established in 1996. The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio was founded in 1999 and is asid to have over 2,800 signs of all types including neon. The Los Angeles Neon Museum opened its doors in 1981 with the intention of preserving old neon signs and other forms of neon art. In a related vein a gallery and workshop called Let There Be Light opened up in New York City in 1972 to train artists how to use neon.

After illuminated sign usage started in the United States other cities followed although at a much slower pace. Tokyo seems to be one of the first cities outside of the United States to get them. They were installed in a city park in 1926. Australia’s first one appeared in a Melbourne suburb in 1930. Johannesburg, South Africa got its first one in 1935. India didn’t get its first one until about 1940. Shanghai, China had to wait until 1982 to get its first one. Puskin Square in Moscow got its first sign in 1989. It was a popular soft drink sign. Stockholm. Sweden received its first one around 1936. On the other hand, Zurich Switzerland is reputed to have no neon signs.

Even so, their are some cities in the world that have banned the use of neon signs within their jurisdictions. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, trying to combat his country;s growing power problem, banned them and brightly-lit billboards. In January 2010 the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is the world’s fourth largest city, banned them to try and stop its rising pollution problem. In the US in 1996 the town of Avon, Connecticut passed an ordinance banning the use of what they called exposed tubes, but neon signs encased in plastic were alright to use. The town’s residents questioned the reasoning behind this ordinance. More recently a ban against the production and sale of illuminated tubes has gone into effect in Vermont and Massachusetts with other states looking to follow suit. Illuminated tubes not using mercury are permitted.

The city of Madrid, Spain, has an ordinance that prohibits all illuminated signs in the city’s center so as to reduce contamination, conserve energy, and to make the city more aesthetically pleasant. This ordinance covers all neon used in pharmacies, theater marquees, business signs, and bars. Madrid had had illuminated signs for over 70 years up to this point.The city of Duluth, Georgia prohibits neon signs, and even though these signs are not prohibited in Mesa, Arizona the city’s present day ordinances and policies weigh heavily against the survival of illuminated signs.

Starting in the 1960’s there was a movement in the United States and Canada against illuminated signs. The city of Vancouver banned the use of these signs on what once were brilliantly-lit streets which then became dark passageways that left the city with a cold, heartless, look.

Since we are talking about neon signs it might be a good thought to get an idea about the neon sign industry. In 2008 neon sign company total revenues were about $2.9 billion. The sign industry, as a whole, had revenues of about $11 billion. At that time there were some 35,00 sign shops, including illuminated sign shops, in this country. These amounts have grown in thw succeeding years.

What is a commercial neon sign worth? That’s really hard to say. However, when it comes to prices collectors might pay for them there are some figures available that show what they have paid for highly-prized illuminated signs. In fact, in June of 2006, at a memorabilia sale a Thunderbird Hotel illuminated sign sold for $26,000., while one that said Cloud 9 sold for $21,275., and the star part of a Holiday Inn sign went for $3,220. This shows what people are willing to pay for collectible neon signs. Prices for the commercial kind vary according to size and other factors.

Now it’s time to compare neon signs with another form of lighting, LED. Before getting into the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods as they pertain to their commercial use.

Let’s start by seeing what LED is and some information about it. The letters LED mean light emitting diodes. LED was first used as a replacement for incandescent indicators and for laboratory equipment displays. Later on it was used in television sets, watches, radios, indicators, and calculators. It isn’t only until recently that LED prices have dropped allowing for sales to residential and commercial markets. Outdoor lights and Christmas lights are part of LED home lighting products. With the energy crisis in effect and some foreign countries looking for ways to reduce energy costs LED lighting companies can probably look forward to a profitable future when it comes to their products.

Now that we have a working knowledge of LED lighting is we can make a fairer comparison to neon signs as we mention the good points and the bad points of each. The basis for comparison is the use of the two lighting methods in advertising.

First, with regards to neon sign usage the advantages are as follows – they have a very long life when used properly, neon has a very high operating range and can run on on very high voltages using AC or DC current, they don’t always require special power supplies, and these signs have a very low power consumption. A unique advantage, only enjoyed by neon signs, is that they can be made into any shape. This very important advantage, the ability to be bent into shape makes it ideal for use in advertising, wall clocks, and lighting for homes and businesses. Finally, it’s inexpensive for small indicators and decorative lights.

Neon signs also have their disadvantages. They have low light output for input power, only produce a small range of the color spectrum, make only one color at a time, require a large surface area to be used for general lighting, and is expensive for use as signs and displays.

The advantages of using LED lights are these – the US Department of Energy expects the cost of producing LEDs to decline below that of compact fluorescent lamps called CELs in about 2013, high level of energy efficiency, more durable, extended product lifetime, and reduced heat load to the space(an added benefit from reduced energy usage).

The disadvantages of using LED lighting include the “warm” lighting generated by LEDs is more expensive than “cold” lighting, LEDs are more expensive than some more traditional lighting concepts, limited selection and options, color quality, and lack of product standardization.

The purpose of this article was to provide on the many topics related to neon signs that are not often known by the general public. What the future holds for each of these kinds of lighting is hard to predict. By just referring to the material presented the most reasonable answer might be that both of them will be in use for some time to come, but that could easily change due to improved designs and advances that either could develop, changes in the economy, or any one of a number of other factors. Both industries have very large financial resources and will do whatever it takes to obtain the greater share of the signage market.

In the final analysis there are two basic factors that will influence the sign industry with regard to profits and investment. Businesses want to employ whatever method that works the most successful for them. Consideration of future advancements in technology with regards to each form of lighting, prices, and many other factors is crucial plus examining the advantages and disadvantages of each. Another idea is which one draws a better response from the buying public. This could well be the deciding factor. Like all industries these two competitors will undoubtedly look to marketing research studies as a reliable guide to their decision making. Each of these two systems has only one goal in common and that is the same as any business or company and that is to try and make the right decisions that bring in the most money and that’s the name of the game.

Source by Joseph Tedesco

Author: Burton h. Wolfe

ISBN: 1419619748

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is honored to have as our guest, author, journalist and humorist, Burton h. Wolfe.

Burton is the author of The Hippies, Hitler and the Nazis, Pileup on Death Row, The Devil and Dr. Noxin, The Devil's Avenger. He was considered by many to be the foremost investigative journalist on the West Coast of the USA.

Winner of many awards, Burton's articles have appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines from San Francisco to Athens, Greece. He is also listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in California, Dictionary of International Biography, Contemporary Authors, and Outstanding Intellectuals of the Twentieth Century.

Recently, Burton launched Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language, published by Wild West Publishing House.

Good day Burton and thanks for agreeing to participate in our interview.


When did your passion for writing begin? What keeps you going?


At age 12, in Washington, DC, I decided I wanted to be a sports columnist like Shirley Povich of the Washington Post. I abandoned sports writing for literary, philosophical, social, and political writing midway through college. Somehow the desire to communicate through the printed word remains as I navigate through old age, though mentally I do not feel old. Motivation is a difficult psychological factor to fathom. My onetime dear friend, Earl Conrad, author of such landmark books as Scottsboro Boy, kept writing until his death, and his answer to the motivation factor was simply: "For me writing is a habit I can not break."


Why did you feel compelled to write Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language?


Over the years I have become more and more aggravated by the way Americans butcher the English language, by the way members of the media misuse terms, by the charlatanical ways in which corrupt persons in power desecrate noble words such as "democracy" which, coming from their mouths, is the equivalent of the word "love" emanating from the mouth of a whore.

Satirizing all of that, much in the way that Ambrose Bierce and HL Mencken did the same in a previous era, provided a release for me. Also, I have an extremely slim hope, unduly quixotic, that if the book becomes popular members of the media will become more careful about the way they put words into print or sound them on the boob tube, and that at least those who read the book will begin to try using the English language, a beautiful language when it is used properly, in a more accurate and original way, understanding that just as you are what you eat, also you are as you speak.


How long did it take you to compile all of the words contained in Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language? Can you explain some of your research techniques, and how you found sources for your dictionary? How did you come up with your unique and sometimes hilarious definitions?


I conceived the book around fifteen years ago. Every time I heard a word, term, or phrase used in the atrocious way English is butchered in the US, I would jot it down and provide a definition for it. There was no research, just observation, and with a few exceptions the definitions originated inside my restless brain. Where an exception occurs and I owe a conception of the definition to someone else, even if I reformulated it, you will see an acknowledgment.


Your dictionary has been compared to Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. Could you tell our readers something about Bierce's dictionary and did you pattern your dictionary after his? If not, what is the difference between the two?


When Bierce lived in San Francisco, where I live now, he was a columnist for Hearst's foundation stone newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, and later he journalized in his own periodical. As he became angrier and angrier at the phoniness and hypocrisy and the social injustice he saw everywhere, he became ever more cynical and satirical in his approach to commentary. He was called "Bitter Bierce." Out of his bitterness and cynicism, his Devil's Dictionary emerged.

I have followed his method of employing satire to demolish standard applications to words that mean something entirely different from the way they are generally used, to provide the true meanings of them, and to add iconoclastic commentary; but our styles are of necessity very different. Bierce wrote toward the end of the Victorian era, and so much of his writing appears things and even archaic. More importantly, most of the words I define either did not even exist in Bierce's time or were used in ways that have been drastically changed. I can only imagine how much deviltry Bierce would have found in villainizing words such as downsize and outsource as they emerge from charlatanical business moguls and politicians. But such words did not exist in Bierce's time on earth because the conditions that have generated them did not exist.


Your dictionary has a broader mission than simply entertaining. Can you talk more about that mission and what you hope readers will take away from reading your dictionary?


For me to believe there has been a "mission" in publishing Lucifer's Dictionary, I would have to be a Don Quixote, or at least a Pollyanna. The most I can hope for is that readers emerge from a reading of the book with a determination to use the English language accurately and with originality instead of conforming to so-called "pop culture," that the readers will recognize when members of the media and business and socio-political leaders are spouting claptrap, that the readers will take time to write letters to the media or even op-ed pieces to correct some of the widespread butchering of the language, and that maybe, just maybe, some of all of that will have some effect.


You mention the game of Monopoly in your dictionary and it appears you have extensively researched the history of this popular board-game. Would you briefly inform our readers why Monopoly interested you and what did you discover?


I became interested in the origin of the Monopoly game when a San Francisco State University economics professor, Ralph Anspach, produced a game called Anti-Monopoly and Parker Brothers sued him for infringing on its patent and copyright. As the result of newspaper and television publicity about the lawsuit, Anspach heard from individuals who had played the game in varying forms and under different titles long before Parker Brothers began manufacturing it and suing everyone who tried to produce the game or any similar game or any similar board under any other name.

Out of his research and what is known in law as the discovery process which occurs during a lawsuit, a long-buried story merged.

It turns out that a follower of Henry George's single tax theory, Lizzie Maggie, produced the precursor of the Monopoly game in 1904 as "The Landlord's Game." Using it as an educational tool through the same kind of entertainment Monopoly provides, Lizzie roasted the greedy acquisition of more and more property by landlords, real estate moguls, the railroads, etc.

That was quite a different purpose than providing fun via the Monopoly game of today in acquiring more and more property until the game is won that way or, as Shelley Berman put it, until you experience the fun of wiping out your friends. As the game spread across the US under different names, including the name "Monopoly," traditionally the players made their own boards and rules.

The purported "inventor" of the Monopoly game as produced by Parker Brothers, Charles Darrow, joined with his wife in a group, mostly Quakers, playing the game in the Philadelphia-Atlantic City area. The Quakers had collectively put together the same board with all the same names, and had created the same rules, as exist today in the Monopoly game produced commercially by Parker Brothers.

Darrow saw the potential for making a fortune from it, copied the board and the rules, and passed off the game to Parker Brothers as his own invention. When the top officers of Parker Brothers learned the truth, they told Darrow to keep his mouth shut and they would all earn a fortune from this game that was stolen by them; and so they have.

I put the whole story into print in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and other writers for other periodicals picked it up from there and summarized what I had written. This was typical of the kind of pioneering journalism I practiced in the 1960s and 1970s. It is also typical that even with the kind of exposé I generated, you can not eradicate a lie once it becomes part of a culture.

There is a plaque at Broadway and Park Place in Atlantic City commemorating "Darrow's invention" of the Monopoly game, and the mass periodicals – New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly – continue repeating the myth that Darrow invented the Monopoly game, which is the equivalent of saying he invented fire and the wheel; and no amount of letter writing and telephone calling by Anspach and myself, no amount of excoriating the media and Atlantic City government prostitutes, can induce them to eradicate the Big Lie and tell the truth for history.

This is why I define Monopoly in the way I have, and this is an example of why I define many words in the cynical style I have used, in Lucifer's Dictionary.


Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query authors who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?


I submitted the book to at least fifty literary agents, all but one of which declined to try to market it. The agent who took it on wave up after a dozen rejections. Occasionally I submitted the book to around 100 prospective publishers. Most rejected the book with the usual "not quite right for us." Some of the editors, however, commented that they found the book to be as funny as it is truthful and even described it as "a great book."

Some said they felt Bierce's Devil's dictionary had exhausted the potential market. Others offered no reason for not publishing the book. None would admit what I have always suspected: that the book is so controversial and pinches so many teats of so many American society's sacred cows that there was too much fear of boocotting or other repercussions. A program for authors offered by the BookSurge division of Amazon.com offered me a way to get the book into print in both online and quality paperback versions even while using the name of a small press I started and then abandoned in the 1970s: Wild West Publishing House.


How would you describe the quality of journalism today?


In some ways it is more accurate than that which exists in the days of so-called "yellow journalism." But hundreds of the stories and ideas of most critical importance to humanity are being only censored but also blocked from discrimination altogether, and the would-be authors of them are being blacklisted.

Terminology is being used in such a horrendously inaccurate manner that it amounts to nothing less than a form of brainwashing of the kind that George Orwell (Eric Blair) predicted in his definition of "newspeak" in 1984: words used in such a standard and commanding manner that they can have no meaning other than that which is provided by Big Brother and its cooperating media.

For example, the media universally refers to genocidal maniacs using themselves as weapons to kill and maim en masse as "suicide bombers." That leaves them in the realm of martyrs for their cause. But "suicide" is an act of taking one's own life, not an act of using oneself as a weapon to kill everyone who does not believe in an imam's version of Islam.

There is another depressing way in which journalism in the US today has deteriorated, become insipid: we have lost character writers such as Bierce, Mencken, Art Hoppe, Charles McCabe, Artemus Ward, Finely Peter Dunne (Mr. Dooley), Don Marquis Archy and Mehitabel), or (however cornball) Will Rogers. There are no longer any flamboyant character writers in the newspapers, no longer any writers with guts. The only place you can find them is on the internet. I have a long essay about this on my web log, Wolfebites, [http://burtonhwolfe.blogspot.com].


What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while putting together your dictionary? How did you overcome these challenges?


The major challenges were to keep going in the face of rejection and to keep from preventing myself to slip from satire into tirads against all the cant and hypocrisy which exist. Belief in the value of my book made me determined to find a way to get it into print. My sense of humor, my ability to laugh at the foibles which can otherwise be depressed, rerouted me away from definitions that would emerge as tirades, kept me on the satire road. I was laughing all the way at what I wrote, and then enjoying myself.


What's your advice to achieve success as a writer?


Apply your butt to a seat in front of a typewriter or computer, or stand up with either machine mounted on a bookcase ala Ernest Hemingway who did that because of back problems, or lie down on a sofa and scribble on lined legal pads ala Truman Capote – but whiche method you choose, make sure you get to it part of each day or night, do not procrastinate, do not make excuses for not writing.

Even if you run into what is euphemistically called "writer's block," get into the writing position you have chosen and do nothing else for two or three hours, until you will write something out of sheer boredom from doing nothing at all. Either believe in the worth of your work or choose some other election or avocation.

Believing in it, send it out and keeping submitting it no matter how many rejections you get – unless you decide to self-publish. And forget about the suggested stigma against self-publishing. Some of the most respected writers in the history of American literature began by self-publishing, and not just individuals identified as writers. Statesmen did so. Benjamin Franklin's essays were self-published. And promote yourself, brag about yourself, pester anyone and everyone you can think of to pay attention to you. Follow the dictum of the longtime head of the coalminers' union, John L. Lewis: "He who tooteth not his own horn, it shall not be tooted."


In the last few years or so have you seen any changes in the way publishers publish and / or distribute books? Are there any emerging trends developing?


There are more and more mice among the major homes, and more and more concentration of promotion on select books that are designated in advance to be the moneymakers, leaving the authors of the "less" books to do and and more of their promoting.

More and more the sales department of a publishing house is determining what will and will not be accepted for publication – with what looks to be a standard test: if the sales department does not envision sales of at least 30,000 copies of a book, forget it . More and more it becomes harder to find a major house that will look at a manuscript not submitted by an established literary agent. Fortunately, there are many small press publishers still available for non-agent submissions. When one of those publishers has some success, a major house has occasionally offered to make it a subdivision of its operation and help with distribution and promotion.

More and more the big discount distributors and sellers – Barnes and Noble is the major example – are taking the bulk of the market by offering discounts based on volume, and less distributors and booksellers can not compete with that. More and more books are being remanded quickly and sold off at prices far less than the original cover price.

There is too much competition. An individual author has a dismally poor chance of making money on a given book. You have to be lucky as well as persistent with self-promotion. There is also an increasing trend for publishing houses to operate in the same way as vanity publishers: the author has to pay for printing and publicity. Prestigious publishing houses, especially those that produce books by scholars, are resorting to that method of operation out of financial necessity.


Although you are not leaving us just yet, how do you want us to remember Burton h. Wolfe?


As someone who told the truth at all costs, bearing in mind my favorite quoting from George Orwell (Eric Blair): "There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad "1984


Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered and in particular to Lucifer's Dictionary of the American Language?



Thanks Burton once again for participating in our interview.

Source by Norm Goldman

When it comes to starting a short-term rental business, conducting effective market research can be the difference between success and failure. Many people think that they can just find a cute home in their market, and it will be successful because it looks nice. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Starting a business utilizing Airbnb or similar platforms is exactly like any other real estate investment, which means you’ve got to do the upfront work or you risk making a mistake. Market research is a big part of the upfront work. You need to know whether or not your market is going to be profitable before you ever acquire a property and list it online.

You will need to be able to answer questions like what are the most profitable zip codes in your city? How much is the average rent? What can I charge per night? How many days of the month will my property be booked?

What will my expenses be? Which seasons are most profitable? Which local attractions do people want to be around the most?

Using Airbnb for Market Research

If you want a quick estimate on the potential revenue you might earn with your property, you can use the Airbnb Calculator available on BiggerPockets. It will give you a basic idea of how your property might perform in your specific city.

If you decide to move forward, then you will need to collect additional data to make a better decision on what type of property you want and which area.

To determine these things, first you’re going to want to open up the Airbnb website and type in your city. Then click the option for “Homes.”

airbnb market research

Related: How to Triple Your Rental Profits with Airbnb

Next select the option for “Entire Home”; this will automatically filter out options for shared rooms or private rooms. This is important because you should ideally be looking to rent out the whole place, which will end up being more profitable and easier to manage.

From here, you can also filter out the number of rooms. Set a maximum of four guests for a one-bedroom house and six for a two-bedroom house.how to use airbnb for market research

At this point, you will have filtered the results down to a much smaller number of homes that you can begin to analyze. If you want to take it a step further and narrow down your results to the best possible listings, you can select “Super Host” and “Plus Verified.” Then start off by examining the listings with the highest reviews to see what’s working for them.

Look at how much they are charging per night and run the numbers to see your potential profitability. If the average price per night is $150, then you can reasonably assume that if you rent the place out for 80 percent of the month, then you will make around $3,500 in revenue.

If you know how much rent and expenses are in your sub-market, then you can calculate how much your net profit will be at different occupancy rates. My advice is to find a property that will cashflow even if it’s only at 50 percent occupancy for the month. That way you can cover expenses during the off-season.

Related: 6 Steps to Getting Started with Airbnb [Video!]

Learn Your Market

Once you know which general areas are experiencing success with short-term rentals, you can begin to learn about your local market and it’s various neighborhoods. You will want to find out which attractions people want to be around, such as parks, bars, shopping centers, and sports arenas.

Much of this you can find using Google and Yelp by simply searching for attractions in your market. Then cross-reference what you find with the top properties on Airbnb. Examine their headlines and descriptions to find out what they are marketing to their guests. It’s a good bet that they know what the people want based on their feedback from being in business.

A lot of the work has already been done for you, but knowing where to look is key. I hope you find this information useful on your journey to becoming an Airbnb entrepreneur!

Do you have any questions about researching your market? Or any questions about short-term rentals in general? 

Leave them below in the comment section. 


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Some Americans apparently love to fantasize about an extreme downsize that reduces their personal space to the bare minimum and slashes their cost of living to a fraction of what it once was. Hence, the rise of the tiny house trend. Now, Amazon is making this tiny trend possible for any home shopper, offering a number of prefabricated houses on its site – and some are selling like hotcakes.

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Each one of us does not have the expertise or the time to build and manage an investment portfolio. There is an excellent alternative available – mutual funds.

A mutual fund is an investment intermediary by which people can pool their money and invest it according to a predetermined objective.

Each investor of the mutual fund gets a share of the pool proportionate to the initial investment that he makes. The capital of the mutual fund is divided into shares or units and investors get a number of units proportionate to their investment.

The investment objective of the mutual fund is always decided beforehand. Mutual funds invest in bonds, stocks, money-market instruments, real estate, commodities or other investments or many times a combination of any of these.

The details regarding the funds’ policies, objectives, charges, services etc are all available in the fund’s prospectus and every investor should go through the prospectus before investing in a mutual fund.

The investment decisions for the pool capital are made by a fund manager (or managers). The fund manager decides what securities are to be bought and in what quantity.

The value of units changes with change in aggregate value of the investments made by the mutual fund.

The value of each share or unit of the mutual fund is called NAV (Net Asset Value).

Different funds have different risk – reward profile. A mutual fund that invests in stocks is a greater risk investment than a mutual fund that invests in government bonds. The value of stocks can go down resulting in a loss for the investor, but money invested in bonds is safe (unless the Government defaults – which is rare.) At the same time the greater risk in stocks also presents an opportunity for higher returns. Stocks can go up to any limit, but returns from government bonds are limited to the interest rate offered by the government.

History of Mutual Funds:

The first “pooling of money” for investments was done in 1774. After the 1772-1773 financial crisis, a Dutch merchant Adriaan van Ketwich invited investors to come together to form an investment trust. The goal of the trust was to lower risks involved in investing by providing diversification to the small investors. The funds invested in various European countries such as Austria, Denmark and Spain. The investments were mainly in bonds and equity formed a small portion. The trust was names Eendragt Maakt Magt, which meant “Unity Creates Strength”.

The fund had many features that attracted investors:

– It had an embedded lottery.

– There was an assured 4% dividend, which was slightly less than the average rates prevalent at that time. Thus the interest income exceeded the required payouts and the difference was converted to a cash reserve.

– The cash reserve was utilized to retire a few shares annually at 10% premium and hence the remaining shares earned a higher interest. Thus the cash reserve kept increasing over time – further accelerating share redemption.

– The trust was to be dissolved at the end of 25 years and the capital was to be divided among the remaining investors.

However a war with England led to many bonds defaulting. Due to the decrease in investment income, share redemption was suspended in 1782 and later the interest payments were lowered too. The fund was no longer attractive for investors and faded away.

After evolving in Europe for a few years, the idea of mutual funds reached the US at the end if nineteenth century. In the year 1893, the first closed-end fund was formed. It was named the “The Boston Personal Property Trust.”

The Alexander Fund in Philadelphia was the first step towards open-end funds. It was established in 1907 and had new issues every six months. Investors were allowed to make redemptions.

The first true open-end fund was the Massachusetts Investors’ Trust of Boston. Formed in the year 1924, it went public in 1928. 1928 also saw the emergence of first balanced fund – The Wellington Fund that invested in both stocks and bonds.

The concept of Index based funds was given by William Fouse and John McQuown of the Wells Fargo Bank in 1971. Based on their concept, John Bogle launched the first retail Index Fund in 1976. It was called the First Index Investment Trust. It is now known as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund. It crossed 100 billion dollars in assets in November 2000 and became the World’s largest fund.

Today mutual funds have come a long way. Nearly one in two households in the US invests in mutual funds. The popularity of mutual funds is also soaring in developing economies like India. They have become the preferred investment route for many investors, who value the unique combination of diversification, low costs and simplicity provided by the funds.

Source by Sachin A

According to experts from Multifamily Executive, one of the challenges landlords will continue to face in 2019 is finding and retaining quality tenants. Tenant turnover is one of the biggest cash flow killers a landlord can encounter. When a tenant moves out of your rental property, not only do you miss out on the monthly rental income, but the out-of-pocket costs can also quickly add up—especially when you factor in cleaning, repairs, marketing, and the additional steps it will take to get your property rented again.

Although tenant turnover is unavoidable in the property management industry, there are a few things landlords can do to reduce the number of vacancies they experience. You probably can’t prevent your tenants from moving out of town for a new job or for personal reasons like being closer to family. However, preventing local moves is something you can influence.

Here are four ideas to help landlords attract long-term tenants and minimize tenant turnover.

woman using internet website for rental apartments, houses

How to Attract & Retain Long-Term Tenants

1. Start with finding (and then keeping) reliable tenants.

The first step to avoiding tenant turnover is finding tenants who you want to stick around for the long run. Tenants who cause extensive damage, disrupt other tenants on the property, or fail to report important maintenance issues will end up costing you more money if they continually renew their leases. The best way to find and keep quality tenants is by properly screening potential tenants and requiring a detailed rental application for your property.

Be sure to check rental applicants’ credit reports, criminal background, and past rental or eviction history to gather the most accurate information and make an informed decision about what kind of renter each applicant will be. It’s best practice to avoid any red flags and always follow all Federal Fair Housing laws.

Related: Tenant Screening Process—The Application

2. Build positive landlord-tenant relationships.

Having a positive relationship with a long-term tenant will not only encourage them to stick around but could also lead to word-of-mouth referrals to other dependable tenants. The better history you have with your tenants throughout their lease term, the more likely they will be to choose to renew when their lease is up.

Try to present yourself as an approachable, attentive, and reasonable person and not just a figure simply there to collect the rent check. To the best of your ability, keep the lines of communication open and honest and always respond to any requests or concerns in a timely manner.

There is a fine line to be considered here. You can be friendly, but keep it landlord-tenant relationships professional. This is your business. Be careful not to allow tenants to take advantage of your friendliness.

person holding house key with living room in background

3. Price your monthly rent in line with the market.

Increasing the monthly rent at your rental properties is something every landlord will inevitably experience. Like every industry, the rental market responds to the economy and provides opportunities for property owners to ask more or less for rental prices depending on their region. You may also need to increase rental prices to pay for property maintenance or improvements, accommodate tax increases, or to simply increase profits.

The key to raising rent prices when the time comes is to do so in a manner that will limit backlash and avoid turnover. If you do find yourself needing to increase prices at your rental properties, be sure to follow all state regulations regarding timing and providing official notice to your tenants, too.

Your rental prices should be on par with comparable rental properties in your neighborhood. In a competitive rental market, tenants will have the opportunity to choose from several different properties, so setting the rate appropriately will help keep your property occupied.

Related: 6 Insider Tips to Fill Rental Vacancies

4. Keep your property up-to-date (or even upgraded).

Be sure to keep up on maintenance at your rental properties, even if your tenants have been around for a while. Take maintenance requests seriously and respond to them quickly to prevent costly repairs down the road, or frustrated tenants will start to look elsewhere.

Schedule routine inspections to make sure you catch issues your tenants might not be aware of, and check in with your tenants regularly to make sure everything is in working order.

Simple upgrades to your property can help persuade tenants debating on whether or not to renew their lease. Consider adding property features like an upgraded kitchen, fresh paint, in-unit laundry, or new carpet to make sure your tenants don’t outgrow their space.

The Bottom Line

Tenant turnover is a routine part of the landlord experience, but with the right knowledge and some planning ahead you can do your best to limit turnover and increase tenant retention.


Do you have any tenant retention methods that I left off this list? 

Add them in the comment section below!


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Fall means a lively football scene in Las Vegas and not just up and down the Strip. Because it's actually out in the neighborhoods where fans can step inside sports bars dedicated to particular pro teams.

Local? Visitor? That distinction get punted right out the door as team spirit fuels one big game-long party.

Some places offer hometown food and drink favorites during the games {sometimes logo items too}, and we show the ones we found as "Touch of Home." Virtually all have some kind of special gameday offerings.

Here are some possibilities, all valid as of this writing. To verify or for other questions, use the phone number listed or go to the website.

Baltimore Ravens

* Crab Corner, 6485 S. Rainbow, 702.489.4646. Touch of home: Lots of Maryland style seafood, highlighted by blue crab dishes, and free crab for all with every Ravens touchdown.

Buffalo Bills

* Stake Out, 4800 S. Maryland Pky, 702.798.8383. Touch of home: Buffalo style fish fry & jumbo wings, beef on wek, Genny Cream Ale & Labatt Blue, team giveaways.

* Johnny Mac's, 842 S Boulder Hwy, 702.736.9439. Touch of home: Buffalo food buffet at halftime.

Chicago Bears

* Brando's. 3725 Blue Diamond, 702.896.6018. Touch of Home: Chicago style pizza, beef, Vienna dogs.

* Timbers, 9180 W. Cheyenne, 702.562.0202. Touch of home: team giveaways.

* Inn Zone, 2990 St. Rose Pky, Henderson, 702.614.1713 Touch of Home: Chicago food.

Cincinnati Bengals

* Kopper Keg North, 8725 Deer Springs Way, 702.933.4893.

Cleveland Browns

* Kopper Keg West, 2257 S Rainbow, 702.254-5495.

* Boulevard B & G, 9860 Las Vegas Blvd S, 702.939.2583.

* Tap House, 5589 W Charleston, 702.870.2111.

Dallas Cowboys

* Mr D's, 1810 S. Rainbow, 702.362.8777.

* Red Label, 332 W Sahara, 702.382.6288.

Denver Broncos

* Black Mountain Grill, 11021 S Eastern, Henderson, 702.990.0990.

* Jake's Bar, 2301 S. Eastern, 702.457.0053

Detroit Lions

* Crow Bar, 6851 W Flamingo, 702.823.1113

* Cheers B & G, 1220 E Harmon, 702.734.2454

Green Bay Packers

* Rum Runner, 1801 E. Tropicana, 702.736.6366; 6658 Boulder Hwy, 702.451.7357; 3050 E Desert Inn, 702.732.7373. Touch of home: halftime brat buffet.

* Big Dog's Draft House, 4543 N Rancho, 702.645.1404. Touch of home: brats, team giveaways.

* Timbers, 6330 E. Lake Mead Blvd., 702.459.4232. Touch of home: team giveaways.

* Jackson's, 6020 W Flamingo, 702.362.2116. Touch of Home: beer brats, cheese curds, poutine.

Kansas City Chiefs

* Blue Diamond Saloon, 6935 Blue Diamond Rd, 702.896.1455.

* Hurricane Bar & Grill, 10420 S Bermuda Rd, 702.407.8976.

Miami Dolphins

* BJ'S East, 218 E Tropicana, 702.736.9439.

Minnesota Vikings

* Bailey's, 4341 N Rancho, 702.655.7373.

* Blue Ox Tavern, 5825 W Sahara, 702.871.2536. Touch of Home: Paul Bunyan Breakfast.

New York Giants

* Johnny Fontane's Beach House, 5310 W Sahara, 702.367.6867.

Oakland Raiders

* Crow Bar, 1113 S Rainbow Blvd, 702.804.1113.

* Lucie's Lounge, Raider Booster Club, 3935 E. Charleston, 702.76.6417.

Philadelphia Eagles

* Madison Avenue, 855 E Twain, 702.735.4535. Touch of Home: scrapple, pork rolls and Phillies, plus a TastyKake buffet at halftime.

Pittsburgh Steelers

* Timbers, 7045 N. Durango, 702.436.0830. Touch of home: team giveaways.

* Timbers, 3370 Novat Street, 702.255.0806. Touch of home: team giveaways.

* Noreen's Lounge, 2799 E Tropicana, 702.458.7557. Touch of home: team giveaways, logo décor.

San Diego Chargers

* Surf City, 1435 W Craig, North Las Vegas, 702.633.4234.

* Shooters B & G, 4465 E. Sahara, 702.933.0775.

San Francisco 49ers

* Tommy Rocker's, 4275 Dean Martin, 702.261.6688.

* Timbers, 7240 W. Azure, 702.645.0655.

* Lucky's, 7345 S Jones, 702.260.8991. Touch of Home: bread bowls, SF beers.

* Hi Scores, 65 S. Stephanie, Henderson, 702.522.7766. Touch of Home: clam chowder in a bread bowl and "kaepersnacks."

Seattle Seahawks

* Timbers, 1450 W. Horizon Ridge, Henderson, 702.492.0027. Touch of home: team giveaways.

* Scooter's Pub, 6200 S. Rainbow, 702.227.9047. Touch of Home: Leinenkugel beer, team giveaways.

Washington Redskins

* Steiner's Pub, 1750 N. Buffalo, 702.304.8084. Touch of home: team raffles and giveaways.

Yay team!

Source by Barbara J Nosek

The SEC this week accused the owner of a real estate investment company of perpetrating a $20 million real estate fraud scheme by convincing more than 600 investors to give money under the auspices of flipping houses in the Chicago area. But instead of making money on real estate, George Slowinski allegedly took some of the investors’ money for himself and his associates, made bad investments, and eventually cost his investors $17 million.

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After helping build Invitation Homes into one of the nation’s largest single-family rental operators, Blackstone is now cashing out on part of its investment. Blackstone, which took Invitation Homes public in 2017, sold off more than $1 billion in shares of the company’s stock this week.

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