There’s always something to howl about

The Odysseus Medal: A breathtaking Daisy in the deserts of the mind

I was talking to Teri Lussier in email last week about Desert Daisies, an annual wildflower you find in the Sonoran Desert. People harvest the seeds and bring them home, and the flowers will eventually take over the whole yard — for the few weeks they’re around.

Beautiful little clarions of Spring, announcing in advance the blossoming of the citrus trees — when Phoenix is at its ultimate perfect best and god himself is green with envy.

When I picked Teri to be my partner in last Spring’s ProjectBlogger competition, I chose better than I knew. I admired her spark, her spunkiness — what the Irish might call the soul of a poet. But I could not have foreseen her depths — although I have been more than delighted to discover them over the last year. I hope BloodhoundBlog has been good for her. I know she has been very good for BloodhoundBlog. Working here and at, she has blossomed into a powerhouse weblogger.

So it’s a delight for me to announce that Teri Lussier is the first person to win The Odysseus Medal, The Black Pearl Award and The People’s Choice Award all in the same week.

The winning entry? Zillow creates the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine, of course.

I know some poor benighted soul will have to go digging for evidence of corruption, so I will tell you now that the fact that Teri and I happen to be on the same side of the issue of real estate licensing had nothing to do with my choice. She hit not just a home run but a grand slam with her essay, and the position she took says nothing at all about the quality of her work — except insofar as writing the heartfelt truth puts the writer at one with the gods.

I normally quote from winning entries, but, in this case, I want you to go and read Teri’s whole post. Print it out and tape it to your monitor. Inscribe it into your mind as a particularly worthy example of the truth well told.

This is a truly remarkable achievement by a truly remarkable talent. I am so glad I got to be a part of it.

If you didn’t check out this week’s nominees for The Odysseus Medal, you should.

We have a brand new tool for promoting The Long List of Odysseus Medal nominees. The Long List will be shown in that little gizmo until the current week’s Short List is announced and then I’ll update it with the new week’s nominees. This is link-love back from BloodhoundBlog, but my reason for building the tool is to promote the best ideas in real estate any way I can. To that end, read this post so that you can learn how to echo The Long List on your own site.

The Long List also has its very own weblog, a link blog of the latest Long List nominees as they are nominated. Feel free to visit, but probably the best way for you to keep abreast of the best in real estate weblogging is to subscribe to The Long List RSS feed.

And as always, if you spot a breathtaking Daisy in the deserts of the mind, nominate it.

Deadline for next week’s competition is Sunday at 12 Noon MST. You can nominate your own work or any post you admire here.

Congratulations to the winners — and to everyone who participated.

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16 Comments so far

  1. Brian Brady March 10th, 2008 3:40 pm

    I knew she hit for the trifecta when I read her entry.

    (Note to self: start voting for yourself)

  2. Teri Lussier March 10th, 2008 4:28 pm



    Thanks Greg. Thank Odysseus as well and give him a scratch behind the ears for me.

    The timing rocks- it’s almost a year to the day of my first anniversary as a Bloodhound! Maybe it’s starting to take. 😉

  3. Greg Swann March 10th, 2008 4:41 pm

    > Maybe it’s starting to take.

    You’re too modest. I’m sure you didn’t learn that from me! 😉

  4. Greg Swann March 10th, 2008 4:53 pm

    I just went and looked. A little touch of Harry in the night. Nicely done.

  5. Mike Farmer March 10th, 2008 5:05 pm

    Congratulations. Well deserved.

  6. Carl Minicucci March 10th, 2008 8:39 pm

    Bravo Teri…

    Your writing is delicious.

    Now, for your next trick, can you please provide us with an impenetrable thesis on why we should eliminate “Award” licensing.

    Sorry Greg, couldn’t resist…be gentle.

  7. Greg Swann March 10th, 2008 9:46 pm

    > Sorry Greg, couldn’t resist…be gentle.

    BloodhoundBlog itself rejects all beauty contests. “It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

  8. Teri Lussier March 11th, 2008 4:36 am

    Thanks Mike!

    Carl- 😀

    Greg- That’s one of the few movies we own, and one of the very few that everyone in the family enjoys- each for our own reason.

  9. Michael Wurzer March 11th, 2008 4:38 am

    Yes, well-done, Teri. Despite Greg’s feeling that I’m benighted, I actually agree with you. First, you:

    How did they get that reputation? It’s a reputation based on truth and honesty, not on a few classes, a test, and a paid entry into a trade association.

    And now me:

    Russell doesn’t need Zillow’s seal of approval because he’s generated his own reputation based on actual creation of value through actions judged worthy by the marketplace over time. The only value to a seal of approval is to those who haven’t yet acted or been judged by the marketplace, and, to those, my advice is act, do well, be judged, and make your own reputation, without worrying about Zillow or NAR or any other seal of approval.

    My quibble is not with the market but with any human controlled entity pretending to act as an intermediary to the market. The market is made of many independent decisions, not those of a select few.

  10. […] Greg thinks I’m benighted (”being in a state of moral or intellectual darkness; unenlightened”) and is no longer participating in the discussion, but I think there is more to understand here, if only for myself.   Greg extols the virtues of capitalism over government correctly:  Socialism fails, Fascism fails, Progressivism fails because they are all attempts to supplant the sometimes-imperfect reason of the marketplace — the weighing of incentives and disincentives — with the consistently-perfect irrationality that is brute force. […]

  11. Greg Swann March 11th, 2008 7:38 am

    I don’t think you’re benighted, Michael. I was talking about the people who insist there must be something corrupt behind everything I do — because they judge others by themselves. I think you’re a smart, wonderful man.

  12. Teri Lussier March 11th, 2008 7:53 am

    Howdy Michael-
    I saw your first post, but you and Greg were having so much fun over there, I didn’t want to interupt. 🙂

    >My quibble is not with the market but with any human controlled entity pretending to act as an intermediary to the market.

    Absolutely! But I don’t think Zillow is doing that. Not to say it couldn’t happen some day, but even if it does, at this point information wants to be free so it won’t last long.

    From what I can tell, and it’s all new so who knows how this will shake out in the end, but to me what is or could be happening- the potential is certainly there- is for consumers, the market, to be one step closer to having the *only* seal of approval.

    Zillow needs to tread carefully, but I’m celebrating this step in that direction.

  13. Greg Swann March 11th, 2008 8:02 am

    > That’s one of the few movies we own, and one of the very few that everyone in the family enjoys- each for our own reason.

    The uncivil war between the Wells Fargo and the Sandy Bob stage coach lines for the chokepoint on transportation of Tombstone silver is an on-going controversy in Cochise County. Wyatt Earp landed in Hollywood, so he got to control the commonly-accepted chronicle of events — with Tombstone being loosely based on Billy Breckenridge’s (Jason Priestly’s character) memoirs. The descendants of the Clantons and the McLowerys are still in Southeastern Arizona, and they remember an entirely different history.

    Tombstone flooded in 1905 and all the hard-rock miners left. It sat as a ghost town until after World War II, with the result that the structures on Allen Street are virtually unchanged from the time Doc Holliday and Big Nose Kate Elder were living at the Continental Hotel and Doc and the Earps were dealing Faro at the Oriental Saloon. You can tour the Bird Cage Theater, where Josie Marcus performed, and count the dozens of bullet holes in the walls and ceilings. It’s about a three hour drive from Phoenix — and a really venal kind of tourist trap — but it’s worth seeing.

  14. Teri Lussier March 11th, 2008 8:23 am

    My husband is fascinated by the Old West and AZ so he reads anything he can get his hands on. One of his favorites is a history of Cochise County- “Portal to Paradise” if I remember correctly.

    One of my favorite books of all time is “I married Wyatt Earp” which is a recounting of Josie Marcus’ life. It’s romanticized, yes, and I’m sure the truth is glossed over for the sake of good story-telling (but having the “soul of a poet” that’s okay with me 😉 ). I love it because what it really is, is one of the most beautiful love stories ever told.

    Out of print now I believe, alas.

  15. Michael Wurzer March 11th, 2008 10:07 am

    I don’t think you’re benighted, Michael.

    Sorry, I guess the discussion of fear and paranoia over on the FBS Blog has me paranoid. 😉

  16. Greg Swann March 11th, 2008 10:09 am

    > Sorry, I guess the discussion of fear and paranoia over on the FBS Blog has me paranoid.

    Email me the shipping address you like best and I’ll send you an antidote.