THE REAL MORAL OF MARY POPPINS

“I think it might be a mistake to quote Mary Poppins in *support* of the wisdom of investing and compounding. If you recall the context of that song, it was the nasty and greedy old men at the bank who joined Michael’s not-yet-enlightened father in singing that song. They then proceeded to try to steal a young child’s hard earned tuppence, even though he, with the wisdom of youth, knew that his money would be better used feeding the hungry birds, while also supporting a woman-owned small business. So, although I am as big a fan of compounding as the next person, I think the real message of that episode in Mary Poppins is not that we should always invest our tuppence, but rather that money is merely a tool, not an end in itself. Sometimes it’s more productive to spend it or even give it away.” — Marissa Hendrickson

CLINT ON CLINT

“Your friend Clint must have been stung by a bee at some point in his past, otherwise he never would have become sensitized to them. In order to become allergic to something, the body must have been exposed to the substance in the past, and developed an immune response to it. Therefore, the latest bee sting could not have been his first.” — Clint Chaplin

THE BEES THINK IT’S RAINING

Thanks to David D’Antonio for sending me the May 10 Associated Press story about a flatbed tractor trailer carrying 400 bee hives — about 20 million bees — that overturned in Falmouth, Maine. “There was one big swarm of bees over the truck, like a big black cloud,” said Falmouth Patrolman Edward Roberge. The road was shut for eight hours, as a huge swarm of bees buzzed around the truck. Firefighters were called to the scene, a handful of whom were stung but not seriously injured, and “sprayed the dumped hives with water to calm the bees as they loaded the hives onto another truck in the late afternoon,” reported AP. “‘The bees think it’s raining and they won’t leave the hives,’ Falmouth Fire Chief James Robertson said.”

CAN THIS BE TRUE?

“If bees are flying in a closed jar, this does not make the jar (with them) any lighter compared to if they were sitting in the jar. You can reprint this if you like, but without attributing to me.”

THEY MAY BE ANIMATIONS, BUT THEY CAN COMPUTE COMPOUND INTEREST

“Another example of the power of compound interest was on the new Futurama show last week (by the maker of The Simpsons). A guy is frozen and wakes up 1000 years into the future. He goes to the bank to see how much he has. ‘Just 93 cents,’ the teller tells him, as his face falls. She continues. ‘Let’s see, at 2.25% interest that brings your total to $4,283,508,449.71.’ I thought for sure they just made that number up and didn’t have any connection with reality. But at the next commercial I went and brought up MYM and did the calculation. And sure enough, they had it exactly.” — Peter Kronenberg

Most of what I know about life I learned from The Simpsons. I can’t wait to watch Futurama.

RICHER THAN WE THINK

“One thing your writer didn’t take into consideration today (in debunking the idea that $1 invested two millennia ago would have resulted in $230 million for every man, woman and child alive today) is that we all have tremendous practical wealth in those things we own and use commonly. For example, if we were going to build the entire road system in the U.S. tomorrow, what would that cost each person? If we add the entire phone and electrical infrastructure, what would that cost? If we had to pay for the raw research and experience that are now available free in our libraries or low-cost through books, what would that add? What about the years of cultural and social progress invested in having clean water come out of my tap? That I have a life expectancy that is more than twice that of my early ancestors in spite of pollution? What is the cost savings in man hours that I can drive to work instead of walking? My net worth in dollar terms is modestly negative, but I’m amazingly wealthy compared to an average Joe in 3 B.C. Maybe to the tune of $230 million dollars richer… whatever that would mean.” — Anne Speck

A negative net worth but a positive attitude. And it’s true. Though $230 million may be stretching it, most of us live better in many ways than the princes of Egypt.

 

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