There’s always something to howl about

Four years of the dog: Happy Birthday to all the hounds…

I want to challenge everything.

After four years of hammering away at this thing, the other night I finally came up with a mission-statement that best describes my own involvement here — and everywhere:

I want to challenge everything.

I love classical ideas, but not because they’re old, and I love new ideas, but not simply because they’re new. I don’t love the sound of breaking glass, but I definitely understand the appeal of iconoclasm — image-breaking. I’m pretty sure that anything I might think about is oriented 178 degrees out of true, but I also know I am at odds with the hideous sameness of everything no matter how badly it is twisted out of reason. I want things to be better — I can’t look at anything without seeing how it could be better — but even before that, I just want for things to be different. We have this incredible gift — this reasoning, recollecting, choosing, daring, defying mind — and yet all we can think of to do is the stupid, the small, the vicious and the banal.

I want to challenge all of that.

And this has been a very good home for me, for that reason among many others. Four years ago today I posted the first entry in BloodhoundBlog. The post was about disintermediation, a very common theme in my writing, and it still holds up pretty well. More than 60 people have written with us over the years, producing almost 4,400 posts as I write this. Just short of 2,300 of those posts are mine, to give you an idea of the kind of howling I’ve done, but everyone who has worked here has done exemplary work. For some of them, the best writing they’ve done anywhere has appeared under Odysseus’ nose.

I’m very proud of this thing, and it matters to me a great deal that I am able to find pride in the things I do, the things I’m involved in. I’ve always been very good at making enemies, and BloodhoundBlog has proved to be an excellent resource for making new enemies. But I’ve forged some irreplaceable friendships here, too. More importantly, I’ve had the incomparable joy of watching people I admire grow more admirable, more courageous, more independent, more impervious to the kind of mindless social control that permeates our culture, on-line and in the real world. Redemption is egoism in action — another common theme — and it is at BloodhoundBlog that I’ve learned how best to show other people the world as I see it — the world as I think it could be if it were righted back to true plumb.

Those are my reasons for celebrating today. You’ll have to choose your own. But never doubt my gratitude to all the dogs — the folks who write with us, the people who read and comment and all those raging fools who rail against us. This has always been the home of ideas in the — classical ideas, innovative ideas, iconoclastic ideas, disruptive ideas. This has always been the place where it is safe to challenge everything.

Happy birthday, Bloodhounds. I’m very proud to know you.


15 Comments so far

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  2. erica ramus June 29th, 2010 7:27 am

    I wish I had written this. Well except for the founding bloodhound blog part and four years here… The guts the premise… They are mine. I love your outlook. Break all the rules. See beyond the status quo. Make it better and ignore all the petty bullshit. I am in phx right now and wish I had seen you. Flying home tonight… Best. Erica

  3. Greg Swann June 29th, 2010 7:36 am

    Erica: I have a home inspection this morning in downtown Phoenix, at 310 West Palm Lane. I’ll be there from 8:30 to 11, at least, if you want to stop in.

  4. Jeff Brown June 29th, 2010 7:43 am

    The first post on my shiny new blog was near the end of July of 2006. The next day I noticed something in the comments section that wasn’t quite a comment, but had an excerpt of my post, with what looked like some kinda code to go with it. I was devastated. Immediately, I called my marketing consultants who’d set it up. “I’ve been hacked!!” They quickly looked at the post. I then heard uproarious laughter on their end of the line. It was ping back from BloodhoundBlog, sayin’ nice things about the post and my writing. 🙂

    Not long after Greg invited me to write here. It’s been my pleasure and honor ever since.

    Congrats on the rousing success you’ve created here, Greg.

  5. Don Reedy June 29th, 2010 8:57 am

    Filled, as I am, with such honest respect and love for the man you are, and every day with the man you continue to splay, dissect and lay out for the world to see, it’s probably easy to understand how I would like to extend my gratitude to you for what you have done here.

    But Sean Purcell said it best, and simply.

    Of all the inspirational articles I have written and the many orations I have given, much time could have been saved had I simply gone in, recited “If” and walked out.

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
    But make allowance for their doubting too,
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
    If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much,
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

    –Rudyard Kipling

    For you, Greg, there are unlimited “if’s” to challenge and overcome, and for us, those who challenge alongside you…..well, we shall simply say “Thank you.”

  6. Eric Blackwell June 29th, 2010 10:14 am

    Bless you, sir.

    It has been a pleasure and fun to write for you and run with you.



  7. Doug Quance June 29th, 2010 11:03 am

    Has it been four years already?

    How many years is that in dog years?

  8. […] BLOODHOUNDBLOG UNCHAINED There’s always something to howl about « Four years of the dog: Happy Birthday to all the hounds… […]

  9. Al Lorenz June 29th, 2010 2:55 pm

    The hounds are the most incredible group I’ve ever met, and I’ve gotten around! I’m honored to be able to read what is written, to have met many of the hounds and to be a small part of the process.

    Doug, in dog years it has only just begun!

  10. Teri Lussier June 29th, 2010 4:07 pm

    Happy Birthday, BHB!

    I don’t know how many different ways I can say thank you. Today I’ll just leave this:

  11. Tom Johnson June 29th, 2010 9:59 pm

    Sir: Congratulations and thank you for showing me how to dance on bridges.

  12. Sean Purcell June 29th, 2010 10:18 pm

    I’ve had the incomparable joy of watching people grow … more impervious to the kind of mindless social control that permeates our culture…

    I used to believe myself well and truly traveled down that path of imperviousness. Four years of BHB later I realize I’m just now beginning to even recognize the damn thing. My deepest respect for this marketplace of ideas you’ve created Greg; on its very worst day I learn only of real estate…

  13. Mark Green June 30th, 2010 8:32 am

    BHB is still my favorite blog in the entire world and it’s an honor to be a very small part of it. I think this celebration calls for a new post.

  14. Greg Swann June 30th, 2010 9:01 am

    Thanks to everyone for your kind remarks. These are interesting times in real estate. It’s good that there are so many hounds keeping an eye on things.

  15. Brian Brady June 30th, 2010 3:49 pm

    “For some of them, the best writing they’ve done anywhere has appeared under Odysseus’ nose.”

    No doubt. This is a tough place to ‘throw something up’. The few times I did, I heard it. You set a high bar, Greg and keep raising it. The elite of the industry’s bloggers find us and fit right in.

    Nice work. Happy fourth birthday, O-Dog