RonHarrod.com Is Born
The year was 2001. I was working for IBM and sharing advice with others about various aspects of life. Although I actively programmed in Java language, I had no experience with web design. It was at that point that my manager suggested that I start my own website. While blogs really were not common at that time, it was possible to start a website. A few colleagues had created personal websites and along with their help and some study, I had mine up and running too.
For many years before that time, I had been writing yearly letters to include in Christmas cards. The main idea of the Christmas letters was to focus on a topic that was particularly relevant to me from the previous year and analyze it from a Christian perspective. This annual addition became a core offering of my website. Structurally, the site design used custom, static HTML. That makes it lightning fast but over time also a bit dated. The site also concentrated on providing links to really useful content.
The WordPress Era
A few months ago, the time had come to take the leap. While static HTML is efficient and fast, it lacks many advanced features of modern websites. The decision then boiled down to which Web publishing software to choose. After considering the big three free Content Management Systems—Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress—I chose WordPress. After all, WordPress holds the top spot in the popularity ratings by a wide margin.
The reason for the choice was simply the desire to walk before running. From what I could tell, WordPress offered all of the basic modern functions, had a huge user base, and would fit my current needs. Joomla and Drupal offered greater capability at a cost of a steeper learning curve. So far, I've not been disappointed with my choice. WordPress offers a lot of flexibility, and many "plugins" and "themes" to extend the platform to offer extended function.
Since I started the WordPress version, I've written 22 Weekly Market Update articles, two on politics, and one on Bible study. Yesterday, I brought forward one of my oldest and most popular static HTML pages containing benedictions from the Bible. That new web page can be found here. At the bottom of that page you can find a link to the former static page which has also been preserved. By following that link, you can compare the difference between the two renderings.
Borador Puppy Chronicles
Introducing Princess Grace
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How to Cope in This Toxic World
It's the weekend. I'm in a third floor apartment complex on a small terrace deck overlooking the pool. The sun is shining, but I'm in the shade. The gleeful screams of young children and playful splashes punctuate the summer scene. Then it happens, a near neighbor turns on his dryer. Shortly thereafter, my head starts to pound. Why? Americans are being duped into believing that they need to use particular toxic laundry products. We who live and work near these folks daily suffer the consequences of their ignorance, lack of discretion, and lack of consideration of others.
After coming inside and taking a couple aspirin, I'm now able to proceed. I wrote another popular article that addresses this phenomenon and plan to write more. Take a look at this link. The website has a page linking to current articles explaining how to cope with this toxic world. It also includes an article category called Fresh Air devoted to articles on this topic.
Weekly Market Update
Years ago, a weekly staple for me was the venerable Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. He would with humor and insight present his view of the state of the stock market. As time wore on, his show became more of a Wall Street cheerleading act but even that worked until the 2000 crash. I still miss old Lou and his guests from the good old days.
Thankfully, I was able to make some timely investments in the past 15 years that enabled me to retire—at least for now. The current investment environment is far more difficult than it was the 80's and 90's, but it's all we've got. As a result, I spend a lot of energy, keeping track of the investment landscape and my investments in particular.
Over the years, I've had people ask me to keep them up to date on my perspectives of the stock market. In addition, the investment choices available in recent times have been increasingly treacherous as Ben Bernanke openly admits he's encouraging risk taking by disadvantiging conservative investments. At this point, I feel compelled to keep track of my thinking so I may learn from mistakes I make and not repeat them. As a result, I began sharing a weekly email with these friends giving them my insights. Once the modern version of my website became operational, it was only natural to transition to make this commentary a weekly feature of the site.
This section of the site also contains a Financial page containing some current relevant financial index and stock quotes, and RSS links to the latest financial news of the day. The page also offers a link to the legacy investor page. There you will find many useful links and a fearless "Picks" section that boils it all down to what in my opinion might be for the best liquid place to invest currently.
While no one can predict the future (and that includes me), we can read the signs of the times. Since my picks have been offered for over ten years now, it does give a reference of my level of success at this game over the past years. Given that that time span included a major market crash, it should provide a pretty good idea of my skill or lack thereof. I'm in the process of compiling the details of my gains and losses now and plan to post the results on the Financial page soon.
Yearly Insights from a Christian Perspective
Most years have a definite overriding theme—either from a broad perspective or at least a personal one. Christmas Letter attempts to exploit this subject and analyze it. Sometimes the slant turns out to be very spiritual, while other times it's pretty political. The objective of each letter is to hold the reader's attention, make at least one point, and leave the reader with some fresh insight.
These letters should shortly appear in the WordPress section as articles under the Christian and as appropriate Political categories. For now, they're just in the legacy section of the website. The question is, which of these letters do I view as my favorite? Wow! That's a tough one. These letters each sprung from a passion for the subject and very careful wordsmithing. They are all worthwhile. What swayed my opinion, was not so much the content, but the topic. One of the most burning questions of the ages has to be, Why does God allow bad things to happen? The Christmas letter entitled TWO GODS addresses that question in a complete and concise way. While that article serves as a good starting point, don't shortchange your self by missing the others.