‘I love the smell of commerce in the morning’

Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life – Adam Smith

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As an aside I think I would like to have a statue erected in my honor. I feel my scalp, devoid of any folliclular interference would provide a most excellent staging area from which countless generations of pigeons can defecate on my glorious countenance. If you guys can just wedge me in between Winston Churchill and Jan Smuts in Parliament Square outside Westminster that would be great. You may need to remove David Lloyd George. But I feel that’s not really a big ask. Also (if at all possible) I’d like to be wielding an ax. Thanks (in advance).

I started reading the Wealth of Nations last night. I decided to delay my commute home somewhat because of the inclement weather conditions (and the vehicular cluster fuck that this would undoubtedly cause) and went to the MALL instead. I found the Wealth of Nations wedged between Das Kapital and Steven Pinkers overly cheerful ‘Enlightment now’ in the Western Philosophy aisle at the local bookstore… So I rescued it. I am quite accommodating that way and also I’ve never read it. There is a huge Adam Smith shaped hole in the rusted out sieve that is my retention sphere.

Found myself, after two chapters flipping back to the forward to remind myself when it was written. 1776! I utter some profane utterance to underscore my amazement. It feels very familiar… but to appreciate it in its originality makes me a little giddy. Ha ha. I’m pretty sure not so long ago boobs (and the application thereof to my face) made me giddy… now its a three inch tome by a long dead Scot. How the mighty have fallen.

Deluxe hugs

Ooooh… only $2.

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Vaguely I wonder what comes with the deluxe hug? Perhaps more square inch of mammary gland surface area contact? I might be willing to pay for that. I quite like boobs pushed up against me. (Nice boobs I mean… I am less enthused about strange looking, lopsided boobs that point in opposite directions)

Comparatively I imagine the free hug is like the hug you’re forced to give that creepy relative… while internally reciting the mantra ‘Don’t kiss me on the mouth, don’t kiss me on the mouth’ (while at the same time trying to breathe… through your mouth)

The Deluxe Hug must be… like that all encompassing, grappling, bear hug that takes your to edge of asphyxiation/orgasm? Or maybe there is some form of sanitation that takes place between events. Be sure your hugger is hepatitis free, here’s his certificate. I might be willing to pay for that…

Do you think one still needs to factor in GST?

 

Future-proof yourself

Sometimes I worry about the future. (When I’m not sleeping I mean). I think about the long haul truck drivers that are going to be out of work. I think about the UPS guy in his chocolate (I wanted to say something else) colored overall getting replaced by… well probably a chocolate colored drone… but most of all I worry about the strippers!

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In a cashless society… how would this work? How will these lithe, fearless acrobats be able to put themselves through college anymore? Will strip joints have to put these performers on a payroll? Where will the hedge fund managers go for lunch? Will society fall apart? Will boobs be relegated to mere mammary gland status?

Think about that next you hit up your crypto-exchange. You guys are killing an institutionalized industry (and maybe the world). I hope you’re proud of yourselves!

Walking the talk

It is said that, just before the Sino-Soviet split, Nikita Khrushchev had a tense meeting with Zhou Enlai at which he told the latter that he now understood the problem. “I am the son of coal miners,” he said. “You are the descendant of feudal mandarins. We have nothing in common.” “Perhaps we do,” murmured his Chinese antagonist. “What?” blustered Khrushchev. “We are,” responded Zhou, “both traitors to our class.”

Hitchens, Christopher, Arguably, Atlantic Books 2011.

I find this anecdote likely too cute to have played out exactly like this and I am naturally cynical about such things. Besides no black and white footage of this exchange seems to be available on YouTube, furthering my skepticism. (Unlike the Kitchen Debate some years later). Like the biblical Thomas I am, these days, less inclined to accept things on faith and hearsay alone.

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As an aside. Can you imagine Donald Trump getting all up in Vladimir Putin’s face. And then poking him with the finger. I can’t. I amuse myself by imagining Vladimir grabbing Donald by the lapels and then hip throwing him in a slow motion arc before bouncing his head on the concrete. Ippon! (Based purely on relative CQC skills, not to be read as an endorsement of Vladimir Putin or for that matter, Richard Nixon)

Those espousing ideology (and inflicting this ideology on others) often don’t live the ideology themselves. We all know examples of this sort of hypocrisy. The socialist politician that lives in a mansion. The Neo-marxist professor who goes home to his upper middle class home in a nice leafy green suburb. The Union bosses having lunch at the Ritz-Carlton. The preacher with the Gulfstream(s) in the hanger.

A strange condition of the human condition is that the duality of our ‘leaders’ is not only accepted but also defended (or at least completely ignored) by their adherents (often with insane zealotry). A social throwback perhaps ingrained in our natural proclivity towards tribalism in which all fealty was sworn to the chief.

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The exception to this case is the Capitalist. Which in a world of sanctimonious bullshit seems weirdly refreshing. You will rarely (if ever) find someone espousing Capitalism as the one true path, living in a shack next to an open sewer. I also think you will likely find the capitalist has less disciples willing to rush to his defense.

Although unlikely in my life time, I am hopeful, that one day, humanity will cast off both our appreciation of -isms and the yoke of having to be ‘led’ by someone, either through an autocrat or via ‘democracy’.

One day they will (also) say Joey was a head of his time. I’d like point out that is is untrue and that Joey was, for the most part, just thinking about getting head.

Capitalism doesn’t work

A ‘wealthy’ peasant circa 1600 in Europe…

Lying at the end of a narrow, muddy lane, his rambling edifice of thatch, wattles, mud, and dirty brown wood was almost obscured by a towering dung heap in what, without it, would have been the front yard. The building was large, for it was more than a dwelling. Beneath its sagging roof were a pigpen, a hen house, cattle sheds, corn-cribs, straw and hay, and, last and least, the family’s apartment, actually a single room whose walls and timbers were coated with soot. According to Erasmus, who examined such huts, “almost all the floors are of clay and rushes from the marshes, so carelessly renewed that the foundation sometimes remains for twenty years, harboring, there below, spittle and vomit and wine of dogs and men, beer … remnants of fishes, and other filth unnameable. Hence, with the change of weather, a vapor exhales which in my judgment is far from wholesome.”

The centerpiece of the room was a gigantic bedstead, piled high with straw pallets, all seething with vermin. Everyone slept there, regardless of age or gender – grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and hens and pigs – and if a couple chose to enjoy intimacy, the others were aware of every movement. In summer they could even watch. If a stranger was staying the night, hospitality required that he be invited to make “one more” on the familial mattress.

Manchester, William. A world lit only by fire, Little Brown, 1992.

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[Jo] But you know… getting dragged out of the dark ages by humanism and the invention of capitalism, property rights and the scientific method was a bad thing… And while the above extract could still ring true for a lot of people… I’m inclined to agree with Steven Pinker that, for the most part, things have dramatically improved for the average Homo Sapiens.

Back to HISTORY

Kill the programmers. Save the world

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment – Warren Bennis

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In anticipation of this event I already have the dog. My wife came with a Basset hound (not a real dog) and while Warren Bennis wasn’t breed specific, I can only deduce from his lack of a caveat, that he never owned a Basset hound. Responsibility is not really their forté. In fact I often find myself both befuddled and amused that such a creature exists. Afterall canis familiaris comes from genetically engineering a sub-species of wolf. It casts serious doubt on… well… the French for starters.

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