Wisdom, loosely

From a recent e-mail – they must be true. (And the attributions must be accurate)

When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”  Desmond Tutu

America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.” David Letterman

“I’m not a paranoid, deranged millionaire. Dammit, I’m a billionaire.” Howard Hughes

“After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.” Italian proverb

“Men are like linoleum floors. Lay ’em right and you can walk all over them for years.”  May West

“The only reason they say ‘Women and children first’ is to test the strength of the lifeboats.” Jean Kerr

“I’ve been married to a communist and a fascist, and neither would take out the garbage!” Zsa Zsa Gabor

“You know you’re a redneck if your home has wheels and your car doesn’t.” Jeff Foxworthy

“When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.”  Prince Philip

“A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.”  Emo Philips.

“Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself.” Harrison Ford

“The best cure for sea sickness, is to sit under a tree.” Spike Milligan

“Lawyers believe a man is innocent until proven broke.” Robin Hall

“Kill one man and you’re a murderer, kill a million and you’re a conqueror.”  Jean Rostand.

“Having more money doesn’t make you happier. I have 50 million dollars but I’m just as happy as when I had 48 million.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea.” W.H. Auden

“In hotel rooms I worry. I can’t be the only guy who sits on the furniture naked.” Jonathan Katz

“If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.” Johnny Carson

“I don’t believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we’re very skeptical.” Arthur C. Clarke

“Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap.” Steve Martin

“Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is.” Jimmy Durante

“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.” John Glenn

“If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat?” Steven Wright

“America is so advanced that even the chairs are electric.” Doug Hamwell

“The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone who’s there.” George Roberts

“If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport!”  Jonathan Winters

“I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.”


Swimming in a Spent Fuel Pool

“What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation? How long could I stay safely at the surface?”

“a hell of an energy drink”  ha ha

Spent Fuel Pool.

A hunger strike ends, but with little to show for it – The Globe and Mail

I might be the only one in Ottawa following this, but for what it’s worth, I think the timing of the end of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike might have had something to do with the weather.  It would be hard to maintain a liquid diet while living in a teepee on Victoria Island in minus 29 degree C weather.

And what liquids was she taking on this diet?  Maple syrup?  She doesn’t look like she missed too many calories while on strike.

A hunger strike ends, but with little to show for it – The Globe and Mail.

Japan Official: ‘Hurry Up and Die’

This is a little off-beat.  A precursor of things to come for the Boomers around the world, no doubt.

At a government panel to discuss social security reforms, Former Japanese prime minister Taro Aso called the elderly who are unable to feed themselves “tube people,” then proceeded to say the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” to reduce the burden on a country tasked to pay for their medical expenses.

Japan Official: ‘Hurry Up and Die’ | ABC News – Yahoo!.

via Japan Official: ‘Hurry Up and Die’ |.

Looking backward for a guide on how to move forward

Here’s another article commenting on the impact of aging Boomers on the economy without any new insights on how to offset the dislocations of that impact.
I include it here because of the data on Boomer retirement.  Authors Kenneth S. Baer and B. Liberman question the rule of thumb that the economy needs to create 140,000 new jobs every month just to keep up with population growth.  They say that Boomers are retiring faster (200,000/month) than in previous years.  Policy makers, they say, should not think that stimulus spending is ineffective just because new jobs aren’t growing as fast as they used to.  They claim the “new normal” is 100,000 jobs/month and that growth of ‘only’ 150,000/month has been enough to drop the unemployment rate from 9.5% to 7.9 over the last two years.

So bring on more stimulus spending?  When Boomers are leaving the workforce faster than young workers are entering it?  I don’t think so.  I think the problem with the analysis is that it looks at the reduction in the employment rate in isolation.  Better, I think, would be to  estimate what rate of unemployment would be consistent with funding the entitlements of all those retiring Boomers.

via The Baby Boom Bump – NYTimes.com.

How Baby Boomers ruined the world | Canadian Investment Review

This article  by George Athanassakos (Canadian Investment Review) sums things up pretty well. “The children of the Baby Boomers will have to pay the price for their parents’ luck.”

I’m in agreement with the causes and the symptoms he described.  He anticipates that a time of reckoning is at hand, “an economic and political confrontation which may require similar sacrifices to those made by their parents and grandparents.”  He cites two two pressures:

  • Indirect: “The children of the Baby Boomers will have to pay the price for their parents’ luck.”  Well, as a selfish Boomer, that doesn’t sound so bad – ‘I’m alright, son.’
  • Direct: “When Boomers get anxious, uncomfortable and unhappy, monetary authorities around the world bend over backwards to accommodate them.”  Well, that doesn’t sound so bad either.

Like the author, “I don’t expect this to end well”.  Also, like him, my crystal ball isn’t sufficiently well tuned to identify the means of reckoning, but here’s a thought: the low interest bubble triggers inflation, pushing up the cost of financing government debt. Governments print and borrow even more money to pay the interest. Massive inflation wipes out the millions of boomers on fixed incomes, encouraging them to join with the “Occupy” sentiments as they call for a return to “fairness” in the distribution of the national wealth – a Jubilee Year, if you will.

via How Baby Boomers ruined the world | Canadian Investment Review.