“They do not go to university to acquire culture , but to get a job (OUCH!!! Isn’t that what college is all about?), and when they have got one, scamp it. They have no manners, and are woefully unable to deal with any predicament. Their idea of a celebration is to go into a public house and drink six beers. They are mean, malicious and envious. They will write anonymous letters to harass a fellow undergraduate and listen into a telephone conversation that is no business of theirs. Charity, kindness, generosity are qualities which they hold in contempt. They are scum.
They will in due course leave the university. Some will doubtless sink back, perhaps with relief, into the modest class from which they emerged; some will take to drink, some to crime, and go to prison. Other will become schoolmasters and form the young, or journalists and mould public opinion. A few will go into Parliament, become Cabinet Ministers and rule the country. Look on myself as fortunate that I shall not live to see it.”
So Mayor Bloomberg of New York is contemplating a run for the Presidency, using half a billion dollars of his own money!
Bloomberg appears to be a good manager, seems to think about the welfare of all his constituents (rather than just those who contribute to election expenses), and is intelligent and hard-working.. Maybe we could find some other people like him? Why not open the race to anyone who can afford the expense out of their own pocket, and sell the job to the highest bidder? This would be (a) quicker and would avoid ridiculously long election run-ups, and (b) it would save all those energy-consuming , time-wasting fundraising preludes to actual elections.
So how about a red-blooded Russian mafioso, complete with hoods with eye-shades and sub-automatics? At the moment they are all either jailed in Russia or languishing in the South of France, drinking vodka and eating caviar off gold plates. Ask yourself, could they do a worse job that the present crowd? Will we be robbed any the more or less? Won’t we feel at home with "assistants" carrying weapons? At least they have traveled and have experience of a form of diplomacy.
Initial applications, please, to The Epicurean Blog, with down-payments of $5 million.
P.S Pliss, zis is, what you call it, a "joke"?
Why is it necessary to FEAR God?
You done good, Lamar. Them democrat people in DC don’t deserve the vote. Do you know they can still vote for President? They dont deserve it, seeing
as how most of them oppose the struggle for democracy in I-raq, where our brave soldiers are dying for freedom. Most of them is colored folk , illegal immigrants and liberals. Don’t deserve no vote. In any case votes for DC aint in no Constitution, I’m telling you, Lamar. Look it up.
Meanwhile, you done right getting guns into DC. Go for it, boy!
This is US tax time
I propose a special honor for the Turbotax company. Why? You ask. Well, American tax is arcane, complicated, and more than any other, incomprehensible. Whenever I begin to feel over-confident and self-assured I think of Federal tax and feel once again incompetent and not very bright. For thirteen years we have been using this program, and I still don’t understand the exemptions and regulations. I doubt that accountants do, either (certainly not how to treat foreign tax). For a nation that loathes tax in any form, the US Federal tax system is a standing scandal and a threat to liberty. The Republicans don’t like it because it goes towards education and social programs; the Democrats don’t like it because it goes to wears and corporate welfare. (or, more importantly, to the pocket). Compare this tax regimeb with the relatively simple British tax system, designed for actual human beings. A British tax return can be completed in hours; the American takes days.
Only Turbotax can help ease you through the angst and despair. Were it not for this software, there would be a revolution. Thus the company is more important than the FBI and all the other government agencies currently spying on us.
Epicureans should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but should expect a simple set of documents usable by the ordinary Jo. They won’t get them, of course.
“What makes immersive 3D virtual worlds the perfect medium for learning basic math skills is not that they are created digitally on computers. Nor is it that they are the medium of highly seductive videogames such as World of Warcraft (over 7 million players worldwide, although already viewed as passé by many gamers). Rather, it is because they provide a means for simulating the real world we live in, and out of which mathematics arises, and of doing so in a way that brings out and confronts the player (i.e., learner) with the underlying mathematical structure of our world. If Euclid were alive today, this is how he would teach mathematics.”
Mathematician; Executive Director, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford; Author, The Millennium Problems
Quoted in The Edge, World Question Center 2007
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who introduced Jack Abramoff to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, talks of a “persecuted majority of christians".
“ There is no better term than propaganda blitzkrieg to describe what has been unleashed against Christian conservatives recently, " he is quoted as saying. "Consider the long list of anti-Christian books that have been published in recent months. Fervent zealots of secularism are flinging themselves into this anti-Christian war with enormous fanaticism. If they succeed, Christianity will be driven underground, and its benign influence on the character of America will be lost. In its place we shall see a sinister secularism that menaces Bible believers of all faiths. Once the voice of the Bible has been silenced, the war on Western Civilization can begin and we shall see a long night of barbarism descend on the West.”
“On the face of things, better conditions should lead to larger families, not smaller ones. However, it is impossible to argue with the facts, and the facts are that the rate of population increase is dropping, and that the drop is correlated with increases in personal economic well-being.”
Geoffrey Carr, Science editor of the Economist, discussing a forecast world population of c. 10billion. He thinks it will be difficult to cope with, but quite possible. “particularly as it is also the case that economic growth in rich countries is less demanding of natural resources for each additional unit of output than is the case for growth in poor countries.”
Saint Patrick was an Englishman who went to Ireland to try to cut down the alcoholic consumption of the Irish, and to put a stop to the ridiculous line dancing that was breaking out there.
He considered himself a failure in life.
The publication last year of a carefully researched Human Security Report received little attention. Despite the fact that it had concluded that the numbers of armed conflicts in the world had fallen 40% in little over a decade. And that the number of fatalities per conflict had also fallen. Think about that. The entire news agenda for a decade, received as endless tales of wars, massacres and bombings, actually missed the key point. Things are getting better. If you believe Robert Wright and his NonZero hypothesis, this is part of a very long-term and admittedly volatile trend in which cooperation eventually trumps conflict. Percentage of males estimated to have died in violence in hunter gatherer societies? Approximately 30%. Percentage of males who died in violence in the 20th century complete with two world wars and a couple of nukes? Approximately 1%. Trends for violent deaths so far in the 21st century? Falling. Sharply.
Chris Anderson, curator, TED Project Technology, Entertainment, Design), Quoted in The Edge, World Question Center
In 1954 J. B Priestley coined the word admass: “the creation of the mass mind, the mass man.” Admass man was blinded by the dazzling array of consumer goods offered by the consumer society, his senses dulled by the bland rapidity of modern communications and the pervasive pressure of advertising; he lived, Priestley thought, in a mechanical, superficial, conformist world, where people would cheerfully exchange their last glimpse of freedom for a new car, a refrigerator, and a TV Screen”.
Fifty seven years on, are we any better off?
“[Among students] the image of the USA is not very favourable. It is the image of a basically adolescent, materialistic, slightly hysterical society, run primarily by Big Brother, a society exerting great pressure for conformity with little real freedom of thought, a society which can easily run amok or behave in an unpredictable way. Its excessive influence on Britain is rather resented and many are afraid that what America is today Britain may become tomorrow.”
(Ferdynand Zweig, The Student in an Age of Anxiety: a Survey of Oxford and Manchester Students, 1963.)
What is the point? What is the point of having had a little luck in your life? What is the point of having been in the right place at the right time, or simply being incredibly talented, if you cannot enjoy the money, share it, and have a good time with it storing up good stories and happy memories? The ultimate misery was Getty, who had a house in my home town (Guildford, Surrey) and had a public telephone installed in the house for the use of visitors (this is true because some friends actually saw it).
So these usually serious and humorless people amass huge fortunes and, guess what? Where they are going at the end of their lives their fortunes are useless. All that happen is that the kids blow it all and get to be like Paris Hilton. I have known a few people who were incredibly comfortably off who pennied and dimed everything, made scrupulous monthly accounts, the husband and wife fiddling around between them over a dollar or two. Forget it!
So to avoid consumerism and money-grubbing is one thing, and correctly Epicurean. But we should be having fun, enjoying ourselves, thirsting for life, experiencing everything, having as glorious a time as possible within our financial capabilities. Most of all we should be able to laugh at ourselves (to be argumentative, the last time I wrote something like this, there was a deathly silence. Anybody out there who agrees?) Live life while you have it.
“British intellectuals are united by their fondness for Continental holidays, the connoisseurship of wine and food, the knowledge of wild flowers and birds, acquaintanceship with the writings of Jane Austen, a knowing indulgence for the worthies of the English past, and appreciation for more leisurely epochs, doing one’s job dutifully and reliably, the cultivation of personal relationships.”
Edward Shils, American sociologist, who taught at the London School of Economics (quoted in “Never Had it So Good”, by Dominic Sandbrook)
When you are young, think about the good times that lie ahead. Do not fear the future. We can control some things, but not everything. Try not to fret about things you cannot control.
“Where there is no eye there is no caste” Rudyard Kipling in his famous novel Kim
The obsession with race in the US is pervasive and never-ending. Watch the debate about Obama and the coded objections (too young, no experience etc), and ask yourself “Would you be prepared to vote for a white male for President.” Concept ridiculous? Never occurred to you?