Thursday, July 25, 2013


Westley: What are our liabilities?
Inigo Montoya: There is but one working castle gate, and... and it is guarded by 60 men.
Westley: And our assets?
Inigo Montoya: Your brains, Fezzik's strength, my steel.

Westley: I mean, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be something.
Inigo Montoya: Where we did we put that wheelbarrow the albino had?
Fezzik: Over the albino, I think.
Westley: Well, why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place?

-The Princess Bride
(Movie, 1987)

I loved that movie. My kids watched it over and over again it we all pretty much memorized it. Westley makes a good point. Make sure you list all your assets when confronting a problem. Even the humble things may hold the key to success.

When we are confronted with problems it's easy to overlook what we do have. Maybe we don't have money, but our skills and attitude can more than make up for that. Maybe we don't have that new gizmo we want, but we have a pile of junk, some tools, and a plan.

People have taken pretty humble skills: cooking baking, jam making, duck call building, and made them into successful businesses.

There's even a guy, David Rees, who's made a successful business sharpening pencils. He's really really good at sharpening pencils, but who would have thought there was a business there? The video is actually pretty fascinating.

Often the key to success is to be able to think of using things in ways they weren't intended for. I remember a talking to a engineer who worked on a huge commercial biomass burner. There were view ports to observe the process. The special glass would get scratched by the wood chips and have to be replaced. Those glass ports were outrageously expensive. He replaced them with clear glass Pyrex pie plates. They lasted as long as the special glass ports, but where a whole lot cheaper. Even better, since the backside of the plate got the scratches, it was still possible to use them to make pies.

As for me, I'm happy to have a wheelbarrow as part of my assets.



  1. I've got a wheelbarrow, too, Sixbears, but it's a newer model and isn't worth a crap. Someday (haha), I'm going to remodel it and make it worth owning.

    1. I rebuilt mine -run flat tire, steel handles, new paint job,until it was a good one.

  2. I don't have a wheelbarrow but I've git a copy of The PrincessBride and such great memories of my now 38 year old "kid" at 13 sitting in the armchair watching it for the zillionth time while speaking all the lines under his breath. That movie is sheer genius on so many levels.
    Ya know......maybe I do have a wheelbarrow somewhere.

  3. Nothing better than "The Princess Bride". We love it and our kids and our siblings all quote it.

    1. Good fun! Hasn't been a movie like it in forever.

  4. I just watched David Rees sharpen some pencils...
    How anyone can make pencil sharpening into a viable business is beyond me.
    He would need clients who for some reason which escapes me, cannot or will not sharpen their own pencils and have the money to have someone do it for them.
    While I applaud free enterprise I'm thinking this is ridiculous or am I missing something...

    1. Talk about turning nothing into something. Can't answer your questions there Tortoise, but seems to work for him.

  5. That guy is a riot! Hurry and order the book - there are only 10 left on Amazon. (by the way, my favorite sharpener is the one that does my flat carpenter pencils - no penknife needed) Good post today, Sixbears - as usual!

  6. That is one of my favorite movies too - the Billy Crystal - Carol Kane 'Miracle Max' scenes makes me laugh out loud every time I see it and I've seen that movie a lot of times.

    I took your advice some years back on buying a wheelbarrow. Steel frame and handles, no flat tire - trouble free. I think Kobalt is the name, but I may be mistaken.

    A big help - as you get older, the difficulty of moving heavy crap from 'here to there' keeps gaining on you. Consideration of just throwing gasoline on it and being done with it gets more and more sane, lol.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. You're welcome. Yeah, a wheelbarrow is great. So's a hand truck. Anything that saves our backs. Not to sure about setting everything on fire . . .

  7. Replies
    1. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

    2. Bwahhh!!! haw haw haw haw!!!! I should have known that was coming, but you got me!
      Great post!