In an Over-Communicated, Intrusive World, Simple is Better
Ed

Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” Part 2 – The 7 Cures for a Lean Wallet and The 5 Laws of Money

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Part 1 of this 2 Part series ends the synopsis of George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” but Clason raises an important question: Why should
so few men be able to acquire so much gold?

The answer is because they know how.

One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

And so it was that the good king of Babylon sought out the richest man in Babylon to teach to others in his kingdom the secrets of his success.

This is a synopsis of what the richest man taught to the people
of Babylon:

The Seven Cures for a Lean Wallet

1) Start your wallet to fattening. Save one-tenth of all you earn. Remember that a part
of all I earn is mine to keep. Do this faithfully. Do not let the simplicity of this escape you.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings,
I got along just as well.
I was not shorter than before, and, money came to me more easily than before.

2) Control your expenses. How is it that all do not earn the same yet all have lean wallets? Here is the truth: That which each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to
the contrary.

Confuse not necessary expenses with desires. We all have more desires than our earnings can gratify. Examine which of the accepted expenses of living can be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be 100% of appreciated value demanded for every dollar spent.

Budget your expenses so that your actual necessities are met without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

3) Make your money multiply. Protect your growing treasure by putting it to labor and increasing. Money in your wallet earns nothing. Money that we earn from our money is but a start; it is the earnings generating earnings that builds fortunes.

When the richest man in Babylon loaned money to the shield maker to buy bronze, he said this: “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

4) Guard your money from loss. Everyone has an idea of how to make quick money; few, however, have the evidence of making money to justify their idea, scheme or offer of quick riches. The first sound principle of investment is security for your principal.

Before you loan your money to any man assure yourself of his ability to repay your loan, and of his reputation to do so. Make no one a present of your hard-earned treasure.

Consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is often freely given for
the asking, and may possess more value than the amount you
are about to invest.

5) Make your home a profitable investment. When you can set aside only nine-tenths of what you earn to live, and can use a part of that nine-tenths to improve the investment in your housing, do it; owning your own home is also an investment that grows with your wealth.

Your family deserves a home they can enjoy and call their own. It builds a sense of stability and well-being.

6) Ensure a future income. Build income-producing assets that do not require you to work forever. We will all grow old and die.

You should prepare a suitable income for the days to come when you are no longer younger and cannot work as hard, and to make preparations for your family should you no longer be with them to comfort and support them. Provide in advance for the needs of your growing age, and the protection of your family.

7) Increase your
ability to earn.
Desire precedes accomplishment, and the desire must be strong and definite. When you have backed your desire for saving $1,000 with the strength and purpose to secure it, you can then save $2,000.

Desires must be simple and definite. Desires defeat their own purpose when they are too many, too confusing, or too difficult to accomplish. Cultivate your own powers to study and become wiser, more skillful, and more productive.

Here is more sage advice from Clason’s masterpiece on financial matters:

The 5 Laws of Money

If you had to choose, would you choose tons of money or wisdom? Most men would take the money, ignore the wisdom, and waste the money. Here is the wisdom:

1) Money comes gladly and in increasing quantities to any man who will put aside not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and the future of his family.

2) Money labors diligently and contently for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying unto itself in infinity if kept working diligently. Money multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

3) Money clings to
the protection of the cautious owner who invests it with the advice of men wise
in its handling.

4) Money slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes that he is not familiar with, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. The inexperienced handler of money who trusts his own judgment, and puts his money in investments which he is not familiar, always pays with his money for his experience.

5) Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings, or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who
trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Here is the hard lesson of the 5 Laws of Money: You cannot measure the value of wisdom in bags of money. Without wisdom, those who have it quickly lose money, but with wisdom, money can be secured by those who have it not.

This ends the condensation.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Let me get right to it: The musical “Chicago” is absolutely everything it was cracked up to be.

Imagine a chanteuse named Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who kills both her husband and her sister when she finds them in bed together.

Imagine a bored wife named Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) who has an affair with a man she thinks can make her a star only to find out she has been had and is so mad she kills him.

Imagine them both in jail awaiting trial for murder with the eventual prospect of death row. Their only out is to create enough of a stir in the press to become famous and desired by an insatiable public in Chicago during the Roaring Twenties with its booze, nightclubs and all that jazz.

Now you have a musical prescription for Chicago.

Add in Matron Mama Morton (Queen Latifah) who rules the jail with an iron hand that can only be greased with money, and Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), an attractive, slick attorney who always gets his client acquitted while making them into even bigger stars in jail than on the stage, and you have the ingredients for a fantastic story.

A superb cast of singers and dancers under the direction of Rob Marshall brought Chicago together in a super professional, entertaining romp that generated 13 Oscar nominations and won 6 in addition to 30 wins and 52 nominations from other award groups.

Winning Oscars at the Academy Awards were Catherine Zeta-Jones for Best Supporting Actress, Chicago for Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Editing, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.

Oscar nominations went to Renee Zellweger for Best Actress, John C. Reilly (as Roxie’s husband Amos) for Best Supporting Actor, Queen Latifah as Best Supporting Actress, Rob Marshall as Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song “I Move On” and Best Writing.

 Watching Chicago made me realize how good Catherine Zeta-Jones is as a signer and dancer. Zeta-Jones is such a classic beauty that it is easy to get stuck just looking at her.

While I have never been a big fan of Renee Zellweger, perhaps because of her prior roles, I am now.

While Zeta-Jones had prior experience Zellweger apparently had no singing and dancing training prior to this film. Even Richard Gere surprised me. I have never thought of Gere as much of an actor, never mind a singer or dancer. He took tap dance lessons for three months to prepare for the part, and apparently won the role almost by default after John Travolta was offered the part several times.

After Chicago became Miramax’s highest grossing film generating $171 million at the domestic box office, Travolta apparently deeply regretted declining the part.

I still asked myself how Chicago could have been so good. A little research revealed that Chicago could have been famous for the people who did not get key parts as those who did. In addition to Travolta, Kevin Spacey, John Cusack and Hugh Jackman were considered for the part.

Auditioning for Catherine Zeta-Jones’ part as Velma Kelly were none other than Angelina Jolie and Madonna. Auditioning for Renee Zellweger’s role as Roxie Hart and some other parts in the film were Goldie Hawn, Kathy Bates, Rosie O’Donnell, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristin Chenoweth, Cameron Diaz, Whoopi Goldberg and Britney Spears.

Director Rob Marshall wanted Catherine Zeta-Jones to wear her natural long hair in the movie, but she insisted on the short bob, explaining that she did not want her hair to fall over her face and give people a reason to doubt that she did all of the dancing herself.

Apparently Zeta-Jones was originally approached to play the role of Roxie Hart but would not as she knew the character of Velma Kelly sang “All That Jazz” and she wanted to play that role so she could sing that song.

Charlize Theron was initially selected to play the role of Roxie Hart when another director was involved but lost out when Rob Marshall took over as director. The casting of Renee Zellweger proved to be a very wise choice.

Chicago is based on the book by Bob Fosse, the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and the screenplay by Bill Condon.

Much of the dialog in the film is good, and funny. Here are some exhibits from the courtroom, and when the women on death row are retelling their misfortune:

Velma Kelly: Yes, it is.

Assistant District Attorney Martin Harrison: I submit this as Exhibit X – Roxie Hart’s diary!

Billy Flynn: I object! My client has never held a diary! And even if she did, this would be . . . invasion of privacy, and violation of the fourth amendment, and . . . and illegal search without a warrant!

Roxie Hart: Yeah, AND she broke the lock!

Billy Flynn: Miss Kelly, did you make a deal with Assistant D. A. Harrison to drop all charges against you in exchange for your testimony?

Velma Kelly: Why, sure. I’m not a complete idiot.

Liz: You know how some people have those habits that get you down? Like Bernie. Bernie liked to chew gum. No, not chew. POP. So I come home from work one night and I’m real irritated, and I’m looking for a little sympathy. And there’s Bernie, lying on the couch, drinking a beer and chewin’. No, not chewin’, POPPIN’. So I said “If you pop that gum one more time . . .” And he did. So I took the shotgun off the wall and fired two warning shots . . . into his head.

June: I’m standin’ in the kitchen, carving up a chicken for dinner, minding my own business, when in storms my husband, Wilbur, in a jealous rage. “You’ve been screwing the milkman,” he said. He was crazy, and he kept on screaming, “You’ve been screwing the milkman.” And then he ran into my knife . . . he ran into my knife ten times. There is nothing not to like about Chicago. If you love musicals, you will love Chicago.

Financial Thoughts on Investing by Warren Buffett

(Ed’s Note: The following condensation is from The Tao of Warren Buffett, written by Mary Buffett and David Clark and available for sale at Amazon and bookstores nationwide. I am always impressed by what Warren Buffett has to say and am doing this condensation to help promote their book.)

On Investing: I made my first investment at age 11. I was wasting my life up until then.
(Ed’s Note: The first lesson of investing is patience. Start early and sit on your investment until it has time to hatch, it may take 20 or 30 years to hatch, but if you are in the right investment you will do very well. Do not keep moving your money into and out of different investments—all that does is make your broker rich at your expense.)

(Ed’s Note: For more of Warren Buffet’s advice go to the menu bar above and click on Financial Thoughts.)

“A Man for All Seasons” Demonstrates What Integrity Should Be in the Middle Ages and Now

 

A Man for All Seasons – 4 Stars (Excellent)

“A Man for All Seasons” poses the question: What would a man sacrifice for his principles?

When King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) seeks approval to divorce his aging wife Catherine of Aragon who could not bear him a son, and marry his mistress Anne Boleyn,
the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church stand
in his way.

Henry VIII’s new Chancellor of England and Cardinal–
Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield)—stands in his way as well. Henry VIII wants Sir Thomas More’s blessing in his action but does not
get it as Sir Thomas More, a good Catholic and Cardinal, will not go
along with such heresy.

More resigns as chancellor, seeking to live out his life as a private citizen, but Henry VIII will settle for nothing less than More’s public approval of his headstrong course. Sir Thomas refuses to either endorse or denounce the King’s action, and remains a man of principle.

Great effort is made to convince More to change his stance on Henry VIII’s action. One of More’s rivals, Thomas Cromwell (Leo McKern); another religious, Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Welles); and The Duke of Norfolk (Nigel Davenport)
all take their turns at More.

One example is when More testifies before an inquiry committee and Norfolk attempts to persuade him to sign an oath of allegiance:

Norfolk: “Look, I’m not a scholar, and frankly I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not—but Thomas, look at these names! You know these men! Can’t you do as I did and come along with us for fellowship?”

More: “And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Heaven for doing according to your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing according to mine, will you come along with me—for fellowship?”

There are several lines by More that merit mention but there is not enough space to do so. Here is one of the best: “I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by
a short route to chaos.”

Sir Thomas More was a very smart and savvy—as well as principled—man.

Henry VIII gets every person of any consequence in England to sign his oath (the Act of Supremacy), endorsing his action, except Sir Thomas who will not sign, and remains silent as to the reason why he will not sign.

Cromwell is an English statesman and the chief minister to King Henry VIII. It is Cromwell who presides over King Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in 1533 and Henry’s subsequent break with the Roman Catholic Church.

When More proves himself to be loyal to King Henry VIII by not speaking out against him and also shows himself to be a loyal subject by not inciting rebellion, Cromwell appears to prosecute Sir Thomas out of personal spite.

In the end, Sir Thomas is the only person in England who will die for his principles, and commit himself to God for judgment. He is betrayed by an ambitious, lower level appointed attorney general, Richard (John Hurt), whose outright lie condemns Sir Thomas to be beheaded.

Sir Thomas More loses his head (no pun intended) but most importantly, not his soul. Sir Thomas is later canonized as Saint Thomas More by the Roman Catholic Church.

Henry VIII subsequently dies of syphilis, and the evil Thomas Cromwell who orchestrates Sir Thomas More’s tragic demise is himself judged a traitor to England 5 years later and is also beheaded. And what was the FINAL fate of More’s adversaries — Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey and The Duke of Norfolk? Only God knows.

The riff subsequently leads to England’s split from the Roman Catholic Church and the creation of the Anglican Church, the Church of England.

A Man for All Seasons does not deviate from the truth of Sir Thomas More’s stance, and as such provides a role model for acting with right thinking and right motives, even at the cost of one’s life.

What makes A Man for All Seasons even more impressive is that the plot for the movie is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More. Sir Thomas More was a scholar and statesman who became the leading humanist of the Renaissance Era.

A Man for All Seasons is
a story about everything that is right in England and life (Sir Thomas More’s integrity to his principles) and everything that is wrong in England and life (greed, avarice, lust, lying, cheating, stealing, the corruption of power, and the corruption of religious leaders).

A Man for All Seasons was writer Robert Bolt’s greatest success, first as a play and then as the screenplay for its 1966 movie release following a successful Broadway run. Bolt’s 16th Century period piece has exacting details of the era.

A Man for All Seasons would win 6 Oscars at the 1967 Academy Awards: Best Picture (Fred Zinnemann), Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Writing (Robert Bolt), Best Actor (Paul Scofield), Best Cinematography (Ted Moore) and Best Costume Design (Elizabeth Haffenden and Joan Bridge).

The film also received Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Robert Shaw) and Best Supporting Actress (Wendy Hiller as Sir Thomas More’s wife Alice).

In addition the movie garnered another 27 wins and 5 nominations, including Golden Globe wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor and a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Interestingly, Charlton Heston lobbied heavily for the role of Sir Thomas More, but was not seriously considered. Richard Burton was offered the part and turned it down.

The producers originally wanted Laurence Olivier as Thomas More and Alec Guinness as Wosley, but Director Fred Zinnemann insisted on Paul Scofield and Orson Welles in the roles. The rest is history. Zinnemann obviously knew how to direct a great film and create a huge box office success.