TUESDAY

 

1. FROM THE NYT:

Mr. Bloomberg was introspective as he spoke, and seemed both restless and wistful. When he sat down for the interview, it was a few days before his 50th college reunion. His mortality has started dawning on him, at 72. And he admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter.

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

2. Paul Krugman on the 1%.

3. Barron on praying to saints.

4. Shea on libertarianism.

5. It is sad that the only evil thing people can see in a celebrity gay sex party is that the older participants didn't card the twinks before drugging them and raping them.

6. Edward Snowden finally realizes that he is nothing more than a propaganda tool for Vladimir Putin.

7. IRONY: Country sounds like rock. Rock sounds like country.

8. Who knew the path to sainthood was being a busybody on soda and salt?

9. A real survivor. Not one of those fake ones who spend the night back at the motel.

10. It is easier to get off a sinking ferry when the captain isn't stepping on you on his way off the ship.

[SOC] Bleeding

It is time to bleed. This is what an SOC post is like. You bleed out. You pour out your guts in a cathartic ritual. You get the burning issues off your brain. Of course, right now, my brain is a snot bubble as I struggle with this cold. My rib cage hurts from coughing. My face is raw from blowing my nose with any piece of paper I can find.

Sometimes, while I'm writing these things, topics will come into my head, but I know that I want to write something special on that topic. I have toyed with turning my blog into a massive online journal. It would make planning easier since there would be no plan except to bleed.

In the latest news, we got our new can opener in the mail, and it is awesome. I have a link in my Endorsements section for anyone who is sick and tired of bad can openers. People might think it weird that I would give unpaid endorsements, but I do it because I want to see companies and individuals succeed that make the things I like. It is a real bummer when you go back to the source to reload, and they are out of business.

I want to believe that making good products and offering good service is good business. But I must face reality. If this were true, Walmart would not exist. Crap sells. If you want to be massively successful, you have to be a complete bully to your employees and customers. You pay slave wages to your workers and keep their hours below the threshold requiring you to give them health insurance. Then, you sell low quality crap to customers knowing that most of them won't even bother returning it for a refund, and they won't go to a competitor since you were the one that put the competition out of business. And if government tries to interfere, you buy off the politicians with "campaign donations." And if anyone dares to criticize you, call them an anti-American pinko commie and turn up the Fox News.

I remember when Ben and Jerry's ice cream became popular. Those guys had it made in the shade. They had a successful business that reflected their values. They had a strong brand, and it resonated with the consuming public. Plus, they could charge a premium price for a premium product. So, what did Ben and Jerry do? They sold it all to Unilever. Whether they had to do it or chose to do it is another matter.

Unilever has done much to maintain the brand image, but Ben and Jerry's ice cream is just another megacorporate product. The little guy is just chum in the water for the corporate sharks. They can try and swim for it, but they are shark bait. I remember this when I go by the empty stores in small towns that got demolished by big box stores. All that talk of quality and the personal touch is so much drivel.

There are those who make the argument that the reason these big corporations succeed is because they offer more value. But that isn't true. From my perspective, they succeed in only two areas. The first is that their economies of scale gives them a price advantage. Because Walmart has the best supply chain network in the world, the local shop cannot compete on price. The second advantage is marketing. These companies are awful and do awful things. But they control the story through advertising. Since media is supported by advertising, they are loathe to bite the hand that feeds them. So, you're not going to see a lot of critical journalism of major advertisers. Finally, if some small media tries to get the dirt on these companies, they are slapped with litigation from an army of lawyers. This leaves word of mouth which is always negative but makes no difference. It's like a whisper vs. a megaphone.

I don't see how all of this makes for a better world. Yes, the prices are low, but that makes little difference when your pay is equally as low. And the products get worse each year. I remember the lines for toilet paper in the Soviet Union. I see those same lines at Walmart as I wait to pay for the toilet paper. Or, I can save some cash for Walmart and check myself out. It makes me sicker than what I already am.

HOLY SATURDAY


1. Damon Linker on atheism.

2. Fr. Dwight Longenecker on the Atonement.

3. Barron on Ehrman.

4. Barron on Easter.


6. You're bored? That's because you keep your senses awake and your soul asleep.--ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA


TUESDAY


1. Herbs that heal.

2. Late night talk shows belong to the Catholics.

3. Delusion.

4. Another reason to doubt they are born that way.

5. And the reason why you can't question it.


7. We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.--CHARLES BUKOWSKI

8. Voris on the Resurrection.

9. God bless Bono.

10. Optimism.