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TOTD 2018-6-17: Working With Human Nature

Isn’t the essence of the free market giving people want they want? The company that succeeds is the one that meets not only needs but wants. Why is that? “Man does not live by bread alone.” There is more to life than meeting basic needs. People don’t just want functionality. They want form too. It is a beautiful thing when someone works with human nature and not against it for they succeed.

Adam Smith was able to capture that while people were helping themselves they were helping others. People will pay for a better service and stop paying for a poor service. People will switch from a Model T to a GM product because they want something different. You know what they call a slow animal in the wild. Lunch. A person who can’t work with reality fast enough loses. Their product suffers.


What Dad listened to

Dad died a year and a half ago.   Gee I miss him.   I was very fortunate to have him for so long; he was 85.   I saw Fathers Day mentioned today, so when I got a chance to kick back this evening, I went to listen to the stuff he listened to.  I was never musical much, though I enjoy singing in church.   I also was never much into pop music.  Not rock and roll, either.  I was a jazz fan, because Dad was a jazz fan.   We lived within radio range of the public radio station at the University of Tennessee, and they played jazz in the evenings beginning shortly before my bedtime.

I still have some of Dad’s favorites on real honest vinyl, but since we moved to new digs in February I have not found the time to set up the turntable.  So here is a Youtube link to one of our favorites.   Bossa nova.  Enjoy; this is Stan Getz on saxophone, but the thing that makes the album shine is the fabulous guitar of Charlie Byrd.... [Read More]


“The names of those who love the Lord”

Abou Ben Adhem

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
With tomorrow being Father’s Day, this poem has been an ear worm for the past few days.
Most of his  life, this was one of my father’s favorite poems to recite. As an agnostic, living in a household of three Catholics, he found it a way of saying his piece.
In order for Harriette and Fred to marry, back in the early 1940’s,  my father had to tell some bishop or archbishop in Chicago that should any children bless the marriage, he promised  that they would be  instructed in the Catholic faith.
After making that promise, WWII broke out. Then he spent quite  a bit of time in  fox holes, wondering when the “one with my name on it” would shatter him to pieces. Even so, he never felt the need to pray.
The closest thing to praying that he ever did was to recite  this poem before tucking me in some nights. Although he attended Mass each Sunday with all three of us, my mom, my little sister and me, he never joined in any prayers. (Although he was known to chime in with singing some of the hymns as he loved to sing.)
He was an honest man, passing on the life he would have led if he had taken a childhood chum, Mayor Daley, up on various offers for a career in that man’s Comptroller’s Office. “Think of the money you are passing on, Fred,” my mom would plead when he once again refused the job.
“Think of the jail time I will be avoiding,” he’d retort and go back to working the crosswords.
He was a gifted story teller, a lover of corny jokes, a man whose favorite activities were the “unimportant ones” of taking the kids to the hills of local forest preserves for winter sledding. Or pretending to be a large whale floating effortlessly in the middle of a Mid Western Lake, his belly being the goal we kids would swim out to reach, sometimes wickedly poking his tummy when we made it.
He died at the age of 90, while taking a nap in his Lazy Boy at home, after finishing a big bowl of ice cream. It was eleven on a Tuesday AM. My mom never let him have ice cream before dinner, but this one day she made an exception.
His grandson was inconsolable. I flew back to be at his wake, but also to ensure that the crematorium would not goof up and put his ashes in someone else’s box to take home.  For whatever reason, it troubled my son that his granpa might not get the respect he deserved.
No fears were needed. His body was the only one consumed by flames that day. The crematorium manager had an impromptu ceremony for those of us who showed up. When I explained that my dad  had truly thought some 57 years earlier that he’d die with body parts blown up across Belgium and that he could care less what happened to his physical remains, other than the scene of his Lazy Boy death  had held ICE CREAM, my son relaxed.
I do not share my dad’s agnosticism. But I do feel that at some point after his death, this scenario played itself out in that Reality of a higher dimension than the one enshrouding us here:
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”


TOTD 2018-6-16: Dad’s Day Eve

It is the day before Father’s Day. The holiday that takes a backseat to Mother’s Day. Why is that?

I went to Wikipedia and checked out the history. The first public celebration for Father’s Day was July 5, 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia. Here is the background of that celebration.... [Read More]


TOTD 2018-06-15: The Road from Mandalay Bay

On October 11. 2017, there was an atrocity in Vegas.    After it was over, the FBI and local police rushed to declare that it was a lone nutcase, not at all terror related, despite ISIS claiming responsibility.  The media promptly dropped it into the memory hole next to the attempted massacre of Congress by a Bernie supporter.  But not everyone was following the script from the Party.

Continue reading “TOTD 2018-06-15: The Road from Mandalay Bay”


Signs and Portents, Part The Second

In these turbulent times, we all look for guidance… some from entrails of roadkill, some from the comfort of a homemade meal, some from unprecedented events which may augur a change in the space-time continuum. Life is no longer as sure as the swimsuit competition at a beauty pageant.

Not being a roadkill fan, and having consumed the homecooked meal, I am left with signs of unprecedented events.... [Read More]


Speaking of rich ladies and patent tomfoolery

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes indicted.

Holmes, who in dress and demeanor consciously mimicked Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was a media darling who wooed former secretaries of state George Schultz and Henry Kissinger to her company’s board, along with now-Defense Secretary James Mattis.... [Read More]


Doing Rich Lady Things Like Using Uber and Seamless Are the Modern Way of Giving to the Poor

I feel guilty when I order takeout. Why? Because that’s money I could be saving for a rainy day. The frugal American we-don’t-have-servants mindset is that anything you can do for yourself, you should, and paying others to do something because you’re too lazy, is wasteful. 

When my sister’s washing machine broke, she had to send out her laundry for a while as they waited on repairs. She said, “Olive, it’s great. I may never go back. I know it’s such a Rich Lady thing to do, but….” ... [Read More]


Did you see The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz?

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) is a Canadian comedy-drama, set in Montreal, and based on the book (1959) with the same name, by Mordecai Richler.

Ted Kotcheff already was an experienced director, mainly in television, and mainly in the U.K., when he returned to Canada in 1974. Mordecai Richler was he personal friend, which probably added to his enjoyment of directing this film, which became an important film in Canadian film history. It was the first commercially successful film in Canada, and won many awards. Among those, was an Academy Awards Nomination for Writing Adapted Screen Play. It was said to be the coming of age of the Canadian Film Industry.... [Read More]


Anybody else feeling the irony?

The underlying investigation was about Hillary’s use of private email/phones instead of government email/phones to hide her corrupt activity.

The FBI’s spin on the OIG report is effectively that they have to train their agents to use private email/phones instead of government email/phones to better hide their corrupt activity.