Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Don’t Know About You But

Here are some things I’ve been thinking about this week. . . .

I am cheering for the folks occupying Wall Street. Of course, yeah, it reminds me of my own student days, the Vietnam moratorium following the Kent State murders, and all that ancient history. Watching the kids on Wall Street, I’m young again. But there’s something else about it that moves me. In 2008, when Wall Street tanked, we were all so afraid of losing our jobs that we were willing to give a leg up to the guys in the $5000 suits. What if the whole problem is the guys in $5000 suits?

I wonder when people are going to start quoting Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher again. I think I’ll pick up a copy. Its economics are more Buddhist than Catholic, but we’ve gotta try something.

I think Mitt Romney could make a very good president. I am disappointed that Chris Christie isn’t running, since his pro-life, pro-marriage credentials seem to be in better order than Romney’s. Who said a social conservative can’t be successful in a big blue industrial state? Maybe Christie will be back in 2016, maybe 40 pounds lighter, but he might have to take on Romney in the Republican primary to do so. Like 1992, this election is going to be all about “the economy, stupid.” Romney wins that argument, even if he wears a $5000 suit. Great necktie too.

The new super-social-networking site ifttt (“if this then that”) is so obvious, I can’t believe no one thought of it until now. It allows the Twitter nut to post automatically to Facebook and vice versa. In fact, it links every conceivable on-line event or venue with any other you choose. Want an e-mail every time rain (or snow) is predicted for tomorrow? Go to ifttt, and you’ll find the “recipe” probably has already been created. If not, create your own. All you have to do is sign in, give ifttt access to your other accounts (that should scare me, shouldn’t it?), and then choose the recipes you want to use.

There is not a single movie at the nearby multiplex that I want watch. What does this say about movies? About me?

Memento mori #1: Ulysses S. Grant is one of the most compelling figures in American history. A dismal failure before the war, figurehead of a horribly corrupt administration as President after the war, he was transformed by the war itself. As a general, he kicked ass. He won the war for Lincoln, period. Yet until three weeks ago, I had never visited Grant’s Tomb. Here Grant lies, not strictly “buried,” so that the answer to the old riddle, Who is buried in Grant’s tomb, is, No one. Grant lies buried side by side with his beloved Julia. When their son asked Grant where he wanted to be buried, he replied that it didn’t matter to him, so long as a place was reserved for Mrs. Grant. I love that story, and I'm still thinking about my visit with “Sam” and Julia.

Memento mori #2: Steve Jobs was 56. So was I. A few years ago.


  1. Schumacher may have billed his book as "Buddhist economics," but the fact is that he was inspired in part by Catholic social teaching (and he ended his days as a Catholic).

  2. Webster: If you lived in NJ you would not be so enamored of our governor. He is incredibly mean, vindictive and I could go on.

    (BTW He is morbidly obese - he likely weighs more than 400 pounds, so a 10 percent weight loss would not make him healthy)


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