Month: June 2010

Tuesday

I like to read off-the-beaten path books, as long as I have indicia that they’re reliable and good. I saw this book by Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddhin: The Menace of the Herd. I’d been wanting to read some KL for many years, but his books are out of print and expensive, so when I saw that the von Mises Institute had re-printed this one, in paperback, for a reasonable price, I pounced (actually, I first drooled, then pounced).

It’s pretty good so far. Kuhnelt-Leddhin was a Catholic aristocrat of the old country, but expatriated to the U.S. in the 1930s. He loved the old country ways. A person might scoff: “He loved the old ways out of self-interest! As an aristocrat, he liked aristocracy!” The shallow man, after all, assumes everyone is shallow. It‘s a phenomenon closely tied to St. Augustine‘s observation that, if you remove from your moral life the sin you see in your brother, you will no longer see that sin in your brother. I don’t think that’s why KL loved the old ways. I think he loved the old ways because he saw deeper than the conventional man. And regardless, he was a very well-read man and brought a different perspective to life and his writings.

His writings seem to have the character of a person who reads 20 hours for every hour of writing. I believe his was a life of leisure, and it shows in his dense prose: “dense” in its plethora of historical and literary anecdotes, not “dense” in style. The Meance a very readable book.

From what I can tell, it was written in the early 1940s, which makes many of the references even more interesting. Consider, for instance: “The Pseudo-Romanticism of our days showed such weird outbursts as weird … Read the rest

Monday

Rich Karlgaard at Forbes points out that public sector employees make A LOT more than folks in the private sector:

Who are America’s fastest-growing class of millionaires? They are police officers, firefighters, teachers and federal bureaucrats who, unless things change drastically, will be paid something near their full salaries every year–until death–after retiring in their mid-50s. That is equivalent to a retirement sum worth millions of dollars.

If you further ask the question: How much salary would it take to live, save a build a $2 million stash over a 30-year career, the answer would be: somewhere close to $75,000 more than the nominal salary, if you include all the tax bites associated with earning, saving and investing money.

In other words, if a police officer, firefighter, teacher or federal bureaucrat is making $75,000 a year, she is effectively making twice that amount. Implied in her annual pension payout is that she diligently saved half of her annual salary–after taxes–in order to save, invest and build–again, after taxes–the $2 million pot.

I will repeat the political philosophical question I asked earlier this year: Is it just for the government to take money from people with less money so they can give it to people with more money?

It seems such an arrangement can be just for only two reasons:

1. “The public sector jobs are so much harder and valuable, the people deserve more.” My response: Could be (but I’d eat my shorts if it were). I can’t argue whether a federal bureaucrat in Bureaucracy 102AA8 is more valuable than Joe Schmidt and his party store, but I will argue this: I don’t like being forced to recognizing such people as more valuable. If I value their services, I’ll pay their premium. If I don’t value their services, I … Read the rest

Brews You Can Use

Blatz AdAll Beer Items Today

Another great old ad, perfect for drinking Friday. I drank a lot of Blatz as a young man, but never got it this way . . . though goodness knows I tried to talk my girlfriends into it! (Just kidding. No lectures about impurity needed.) * * * * * * * Boston Beer Company, the brewer of Sam Adams, might lose its craft beer designation. It’s growing too big. Once it passes 2,000,000 barrels annually, it becomes . . . what? Budweiser? Not sure, but the Company seems a little irritated about it. Link. * * * * * * * Sam Adams Coastal Wheat, incidentally, is a superb wheat beer. It might be my favorite beer right now. On Father’s Day, we went boating with my wife’s family. She told me, “I brought five bottles of the Coastal Wheat for you! Happy Father’s Day.” I was stoked. After the boat was in the middle of the lake, I opened the cooler and discovered that she brought me only one bottle of Coastal Wheat and a handful of Sam Adams Pilsners (which I don’t like). It’s a harsh, harsh world. * * * * * * * Kinda neat: U.S. soccer fans are going to the bars in the morning to watch the World Cup, order eggs and pancakes, and drink beer. Bar owners are digging the odd revenue stream. No word from the soccer fans’ employers. … Read the rest

Thursday

streetsign.jpgA Few Quick Things

Worked until after 8:00 last night, then sat in the basement until 10:00 under threat of a tornado warning (man, our town’s tornado alarm is eerie-sounding . . . which is a good thing, of course). It’s the third time this year funnel clouds have forced us into the basement. When I add the weather that destroyed my van (lightning strike) and decimated my garden (wind), that makes four monster storms this year. It’s been more stormy around here than at the White House after Obama reads Rolling Stone magazine. * * * * * * * I don’t watch much tennis anymore, but this story is fascinating: Fifth set, tied 59-59. Better break out the Tinactin. * * * * * * * I don’t have anymore time for blogging this morning. I’m going to end with four Leno lines from Tuesday’s Tonight Show. It would seem Jay (or his writer) was on fire that night:

It’s been a couple days since Father’s Day. So John Edwards, it’s safe to come out now.

Sarah Palin has admitted that she tried marijuana and did not like it. She said it distorted her perceptions and impaired her thinking, and she’s hoping that the effects will wear off one day.

A company is now selling a cell phone that costs $70,000 and is covered with sapphires, platinum, and rubies. It’s a smartphone, but of course, if you buy one, you’re an idiot.

Amy Winehouse ended things with her husband and is now dating someone that doesn’t do drugs. Apparently she got tired of sharing.

Plus these two Dennis Miller lines about the World Cup’s low-scoring games:

“I like to watch the highlight.”

And

“Bill Clinton was in the stands today. He heard there wasn’t enough scoring … Read the rest

Wednesday

Holy Angels Teens on Mission TripTeens to Oil

That’s the teen mission group from my church this week. My son is in the upper-lefthand corner. My daughter is in the lower-righthand corner. The mission is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I guess they’re in a pretty rough section of town. Abbie and her friends won’t go jogging. * * * * * * * Some strong Sowell: “In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.” That, from one of our leading elder public academics. No alarmist, he. Conservative, oh yes, but no alarmist. * * * * * * * Jim Rogers: Buy oil. The BP debacle makes it attractive. You can use USO or diversify a bit with IXC. * * * * * * * Vacation winds blow ahead. Blogging could be very light some days. * * * * * * * “On a 1/4 acre, you can harvest: 1400 eggs, 50 lbs of wheat, 60 lbs of fruit, 2000 lbs of vegetables, 280 lbs of pork, 75 lbs of nuts.” Link. I have about 1/10th of an acre under cultivation. I’ll be lucky to see 60 pounds of vegetables this year. * * * * * * * Highly interesting: 50 Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe.

Read the rest

Tuesday

My two oldest kids are at Catholic Heart Work Camp this week. My middle daughter was at a friend’s for the day/night. The house hasn’t been clean in months. So we bribed the four remaining kids: work hard to pick up the house, and we’ll take you to the movies. It worked fairly well. We went and saw The Snotty Karate Kid. It was too long and didn’t move fast enough, but I give it a 6.5. The idea of using a black kid instead of a big-eyed white kid was an interesting twist, but I simply can’t warm up to that inner-city sassy attitude so the whole movie kinda sucked for me. The Kid wasn’t even that sassy, but there was enough to dampen the movie for me. * * * * * * * I heard they released police footage of the LA riots after the Lakers victory last week. I went to this site, but only found a picture. I was really startled to see so many Mexican basketball fans in the pic. * * * * * * * That’s it for today. The KK kept me up a little later than I normally like. … Read the rest