Don’t you think a Senator should at least have to filibuster if he wants to filibuster? What kind of movie could Frank Capra have made if all Jimmy Stewart had had to do was inform the Majority Leader that he was blocking the bill. And then gone off to take a nap. Here is the call to action. This is such a big deal. And we have just a few days to get it fixed. After that, the Senate rules can’t be changed for another two years.
Charley Barsotti is one of my very favorite New Yorker cartoonists. I’ll give you $1,000 if you can guess — unless you already know — where he lives. No Googling. (Hint: he is . . . a New Yorker cartoonist.) Give up? Kansas! But I digress. The point is: I have somehow neglected to link you to this cartoon. It’s been sitting in my “to-do” pile for nearly four years. It’s the one where God and St. Peter, or two angels or — well, I don’t know who it is, but two bearded old white guys (so it’s probably not God) . . . on a thundercloud . . . and one is holding a big bag of money over his head, about to throw it Earthward, saying with a grin to his skeptical chum, “You’ll see, this is going to cause real trouble.”
GOOD NEWS RAZORS
Chris Anderson: “Wednesday, you suggested that we ‘invest in things that will last 100 years rather than things that will blow up.’ Yesterday, you mention problems with your iPhones, as well as the idea of doing with half…or less…or even none! Appliances and tools used to be made to last decades, if not generations. I have a perfectly functional toaster oven from the early 70s which works far better than some of the new ones made today, and I know someone who is still using a Hoover made in the 1940s. Several years ago, I bought a new toaster because of an excellent store rebate. It did not work as well as my ancient unit *and* failed within six months. Now, after only about five years, the replacement is beginning to fail. While my ancient toaster doesn’t have timers or bells and my friend’s vacuum doesn’t have the filtration level or visually stimulating features of modern plastic high carbon-footprint Chinese-made disposable landfillers, both “obsolete” appliances are adequate for our needs and, if parts were still available, could function well for another two or three generations. Sadly, the Chinese company that owns Hoover no longer makes or sells repair parts for most of their products more than a few years old, and I am sure GE (or whatever company owns the name) wouldn’t recognize the toaster. Other brands have better parts availability, while some simply do not sell parts at all, apparently expecting buyers to throw their broken products away and buy new every few years. I suppose that’s fine for those who are so rich they can just buy a new one, as I heard one well-known daytime radio talk show host recommend (I believe the statement was ‘don’t be afraid to try to fix your iPad; if you break it, just buy another one’). It must be nice to have enough money that $400-500 can be simply thrown away for the pleasure of the latest electronic gadget. But I fail to see how being able to go out and buy whatever we want, whenever we want, truly allows us to ‘live better.’”
Jack Nettleton: “You use disposable razors?! You can still buy old-fashioned double edge razor blades and avoid the wasted plastic.”
☞ Well, this is embarrassing. Live long enough, and you’ll have written on just about every topic — even the irresponsibility of disposable razors. Here was my deeply sarcastic 1976 review of Gillette’s disposable debut. (When the table of contents comes up, click on Page 55.) In my own lame defense, 36 years later, I’d note that I go weeks and weeks with the same razor, so maybe use 8 a year, for a total incremental throwaway weight under 3 ounces. Still . . .
I am — forgive my honesty — a pinball wizard. A Bally table king. Not maybe what I once was, and maybe only in my own mind; but I do hold the 32,822,000 record score on the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not machine I keep in the guest room (which takes quarters, by the way, which seems to surprise some of my guests, but how do they think I keep the lights on?). So thanks to one of you for forwarding this look at the current state of play as the industry hangs on by a thread. The Wizard of Oz just may save the day.
Now: go do something about the filibuster.
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Quote of the Day
In finance, decay is more colorful than probity, and the prevailing direction of change in the past generation has only enriched the content of the narrative.~James Grant, Money Of The Mind
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