Random Observations

I was going to keep this one till last but I’m so excited about it, I can’t do it. I stumbled upon this today. It had a profound effect on me, possibly because of the situation we’re in right now. Whatever the reason, I wonder if you won’t get a little catch in your breath as you watch this. Amazing technology. When the long dead seemingly come to life.

As we desperately look forward to the year 2021 – well, I am, anyway – I thought it might be fun to take a look back a few years. Ok; 70 but so what? It’s hard not to laugh and maybe that’s why I’m sharing it; gosh, we could use a good laugh, couldn’t we? When I was 18 and graduated high school, of course, I thought I’d go into office work of some kind. In the 60s (don’t you do that math! our, for our cousins across the Pond, maths), women weren’t allowed to wear sleeveless blouses to work. Today women wear their clothes as tight as is humanly possible, sleeveless, low cut in front, 6″ high heels, and sparkle fingernail polish. Eye roll! I wonder what would happen if one of today’s business office candidates walked into the Personnel Department (isn’t that sweet? quaint? today you’re considered a ‘human resource’. Not all change is good) of 1950 dressed as 2020. Even the men would be scandalized. At first. (laughing) But enjoy this little walk down memory lane.

This was great fun; I guess you could call it variations on a theme. I don’t know any of the people, of course, but they look like a good bunch to hang out with.

NEO is fortunate enough to have an international readership and we never forget them. I decided, after watching this video, that I ought to be able to buy the same thing today. I want to buy the same thing today. I wonder if the United Kingdom is still in the cigarette business?

There’s a certain woman in America who feels that she has been victimized by the ‘system’; that she has no voice. Au contraire, mon ami. I’ll give ya some system – try this!

Finally, I’ll show you the pictures and you gents out there can tell us ladies about the ‘rules’ you were brought up with, in regard to appearance and clothing.

But let me run get popcorn and a beverage first – this should be entertaining!

My prayer for us is to go into the new year with laughter and hope.

Jane Austen and Morality

Yesterday, when I posted the Jane Austen movie Persuasion, my friend the Unit made this comment.

I admit I’m commenting without watching the movie yet, and likely won’t. ‘Cause I read the plot and don’t care for stories of romance and female conniving. Anyway I read it ends “all’s well that ends well.”
Wiki says “Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism.” I realize she’s widely acclaimed and it is my loss to not appreciate her and her works.

Well, he’s not exactly wrong, I could see myself making that exact comment a few years ago. But, as you all know, I’m more than a bit of a history geek, not to mention a romantic. I commented to him that she appeals to me as a smart-aleck and a very good user of the English language. That too is true, but there is still more.

She also speaks to us from a time when it was realized that the ideal state of human existence was to be married. I know that I was, I am not now, and my life now is far from optimal, not that I have a solution that is acceptable to me at present. Back in September, Carolyn Moynihan wrote a letter to Bridget Jones in Miss Austen’s persona. Here’s a bit from Mercator.

Dear Miss Jones,

Having kept an eye on the twists and turns of your romantic career for the past 15 years, I now hear that you are going to have a baby. I should like to congratulate you but I have deep misgivings about this news. You are not married. You are not even sure who the father is. DNA tests may settle that question, but will he (that travesty of Mr Darcy, or the new hook-up) marry you?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man who can get sex without the commitment of marriage is not going to be in a hurry to tie the knot, even when a baby is on the way. Mr Wickham, the “gentlemanlike” villain of Pride and Prejudice, only married Lydia Bennet with a (metaphorical) gun in his back, and I believe that shotgun weddings have not been heard of since about 1970.

I am sure you want this baby – at 43 it may well be your last chance. It may all seem like a good joke to you, and the film director will no doubt contrive a happy ending; but in reality the situation is fraught with uncertainty both for you and your child. If you consult the data, or simply read the Daily Mail, you will find that pre-marital sex, especially with more than one partner, increases your risk of divorce; and should you separate, your child will be robbed of the steady presence of a father and the optimum conditions for his or her wellbeing.

Given these real risks, and since your story is supposedly a 21st century analogue of P&P, I feel compelled to point out where you and your times have actually lost the plot – not only of my book but of marriage itself. (You will forgive me quoting from the Bible and the Prayer Book, but I am a vicar’s daughter!)

‘What God has joined together…’ I mentioned divorce. Your risk of this is greater not only because of your previous experience but also because it is so easy to get. The first big mistake in your era was the introduction of no-fault divorce. The idea that a marriage could be ended because one of the spouses walked out of it has made the whole institution appear arbitrary and fragile. Countless children have been wounded by the separation of parents who could have transcended their differences and focused on the wellbeing of the family unit.

This is roughly what Mr and Mrs Bennet did with their most “unsuitable marriage” because divorce was not an option 200 years ago; certainly not for the gentry and lower classes. And although the results were mixed in terms of the characters of their daughters, there was only one real disaster – partly salvaged by good offices of extended family and Mr Darcy. The law, religion, other social pressures and family support helped them to muddle through. […]

Honestly, Bridget, I would not want to write, or read, about any other kind of marriage. Nor would I want to see the movie.

Yours,

Jane Austen

Do read it all, and as someone who has been on both sides of this equation, I wholeheartedly agree. I’ll think you’ll see that Miss Austen’s society held women (and men) in much higher regard than our society does. Yes, it had many inequities, but it also had many uplifting qualities that we have lost along the way. All in all, I think they had it much closer to right than we do.

Tuesday Miscellany; Mostly Free Market Edition

XISHUANGBANNA, CHINA - MARCH 04:  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets a rescued elephant called 'Ran Ran' at the Xishuangbanna Elephant Sanctuary on March 4, 2015 in Xishuangbanna, China. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is on a four day visit to China. He is the most senior royal to visit China since the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1986. His visit follows on from a successful four day visit to Japan  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

XISHUANGBANNA, CHINA – MARCH 04: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge meets a rescued elephant called ‘Ran Ran’ at the Xishuangbanna Elephant Sanctuary on March 4, 2015 in Xishuangbanna, China. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is on a four day visit to China. He is the most senior royal to visit China since the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1986. His visit follows on from a successful four day visit to Japan (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Some odds and ends that have been accumulating.

This is an unusual piece of common sense, especially coming out of Britain, and he’s right.

How good a deal for Britain is it that the president of China got a state visit and a nuclear power station and Prince William got the chance to go on Chinese television and complain about the ivory trade? The Prince was listened to politely, of course, but the Chinese will not give up their enthusiasm for the stuff. The elephant in the room, to misapply that expression, is that only a legal trade in ivory will save the species. Just as cows exist in any numbers only because we eat their flesh and drink their milk, so elephants have a future only if it is profitable to breed them.

Source: Charles Moore’s Notes: If we want to save the elephant, we must legalise the ivory trade » The Spectator

Turkeys voting for Christmas

Almost daily we are told of the intention of Labour and Lib Dem peers to reject legislation proposed by the House of Commons. They must, I suppose, have a death wish.

Before the House of Lords was “reformed”, by the removal of most of the hereditary peers so as to ensure it was full of appointed members, there was a permanent Tory majority in the House. But that Tory majority always understood that it had to bow to the elected chamber. The most appalling Bills produced by Labour governments were voted through every time, even though most of their lordships hated what the Commons had come up with. Convention required that the elected chamber should have its way.

Source: House of Lords Digs its own Grave

Free trade breaks up Monopolies, sometimes even government enforced ones:

Evgeny “Gene” Freidman is no fan of Uber. The increasing popularity of this vehicle-for-hire (or ridesharing) company has lost him millions of dollars. He has even asked New York City taxpayers for a bailout. As difficult as bailing out the big banks was to swallow, bailing out a taxi mogul—who at one point owned more than 1,000 New York City taxi medallions—is an even harder sell. A bailout would be especially outrageous considering that Freidman and his financial backers are actively working to make consumers pay more for fewer options.

Freidman reluctantly took over his father’s modest yellow taxi business as a young man. He brought his experience in Russian finance to the industry, and started to accumulate increasing numbers of taxi medallions using highly leveraged financing. Freidman expanded a company with just a few taxis into a conglomeration of three- to five-car mini-fleets.

As Freidman’s taxi empire grew, he expanded into other cities, including New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He gained control of hundreds more medallions that are also now in financial trouble. His willingness to bid on practically any medallion that came up for sale helped drive a rapid increase in medallion prices across the country.

Source: New York’s Taxi King Is Going Down

I also note that I saw this story (almost verbatim) last week about the London black cabs as well, and the French cabbies are rioting about it. But there we can also agree with the Duke of Wellington:

We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be detested in France.

EU Moves Step Closer to Open Tyranny

For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest.

Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika.

He deemed it too risky to let the Left Bloc or the Communists come close to power, insisting that conservatives should soldier on as a minority in order to satisfy Brussels and appease foreign financial markets.

Source: EU Moves Step Closer to Open Tyranny

All Cultures are Mine

This was before the popular emergence of the idea of cultural appropriation. Nobody told me that books, music, and clothing created by people who didn’t look like me didn’t belong to me, that I was somehow borrowing them. Today, people do tell me this. They tell me that I must tread lightly when engaging in cultural forms not invented by my white ancestors.

I have listened to their arguments, read their theories, and arrived at a conclusion. They are wrong. All cultures are mine.

Source: All Cultures Are Mine

A reminder: there are only two countries in the world that do not have a national costume. England, who we all dress like for important occasions, and the United States, who everybody dresses like the rest of the time. That’s all you need to know about who has the superior culture, it’s another case of a free market.

Still more Free Market Doing its Job

As is well-known by now, one of the side effects of Daraprim, a medication needed by many AIDS and cancer patients, is uncontrollable rage — not because of any chemical properties of the drug itself, but because Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price by more than 5,000 percent immediately after purchasing the rights to the medication. Until Shkreli’s greed caused the price to very quickly inflate, the lifesaving pill, which has been on the market longer than Shkreli has been alive, sold for just $13.50 per pill.

Shkreli provided numerous excuses for the price increase, the unfairness of which made headlines for weeks after the rather transparent attempt to effectively hold patients at gunpoint and rob them blind. While “Pharma Bro” ultimately promised to lower prices to an undefined amount at an unspecified point in time — something that has still not happened — another company has taken it upon themselves to completely embarrass the former hedge funder, who described the price increase as necessary.

San Diego-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc announced on Thursday that it will be providing an alternative to Daraprim that costs a fraction of the pill’s pre-Shkreli price. The drug will be sold at as low as $99 for a 100-pill supply. Yes, that’s just about a dollar per pill.

Source: Capitalism As It Was Meant To Be

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