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

Musings by Ed Bagley

 

On Tolerance:
The English writer G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) once remarked that tolerance is the virtue of people who do not believe in anything; consequently, the have no standards by which to judge, which means they can be endlessly “ tolerant”. Within any given society or culture, the majority can, in fact, be wrong. Ergo, “Right is still right if nobody is right, and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong.” An act’s rightness or wrongness does not depend upon the number of its supporters. Acts that are popular or even laws passed by a legislature are not necessarily moral or ethical, not to mention fair.

On Your Potential:
It is possible that you are squandering your ability to develop your potential by spending too much time mooning over what is not right with your life rather than using that same energy to take action to achieve what you want to happen. To do so you must first decide who you are, what it is you want, and why you are here. Once you answer those questions for yourself, you will naturally gravitate toward becoming the person you are, you want to be, and what you are going to do with the rest of your life. Along the way, you will be feeding your passion rather than trying to discover your passion on an ever ending journey to despair.

On Personal Growth:
There is a huge difference between “professional growth” and “personal growth”. Do you know the difference? Virtually all successful people have professional growth. Professional growth is getting more education (a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree), or successfully completing a training course in some specific skill (an apprentice carpenter becoming a journyman carpenter). Personal growth is totally different because personal growth requires you to change your thought process and belief system. Of every 100 people who could benefit from personal growth, only 10 at most would even attempt to develop personal growth, and, of those 10, only 1 will achieve personal growth because it is so difficult to achieve on your own without professional help of some kind. The one percent of people who achieve personal growth could be called “1 percenters”.
The 1 percenters may be 99% ahead of those who do nothing to change their thought process and belief system.

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 © 2008 Ed Bagley

Was there ever an actress who combined these four timeless qualities—beauty, fashion, grace and humility—better than Audrey Hepburn? I think not, especially when I see her again in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Even an actress who could come close (and I can think of none) would in no way match the humility of Audrey Hepburn. We shall not see another like her in our lifetime and by then the film industry may be on the way out when some newer, better technology unknown to us today arrives.

All the more reason to purchase her five most memorable movies in DVD now while they are still available.

First would be her Oscar winning Best Actress performance in Roman Holiday opposite Gregory Peck, which was also her first starring role in an American film.

The next four would be her Best Actress Oscar nominations for “Sabrina”, “The Nun’s Story”, “Wait Until Dark” (one of the two scariest movies I have ever seen) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the Oscar went to Sophia Loren for “Two Women”).

Breakfast at Tiffany’s had two great assets, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, the young New York socialite (we say socialite because this movie was released in 1961, 45 years ago), and Director Blake Edwards, whose deft, sensitive handling of Hepburn’s character (a high-priced prostitute) could not have been done better.

Holly Golightly’s beauty, sense of fashion and pure innocence prohibit me from thinking of her as a woman of the night. She is so inherently stylish. God has not made a woman that could wear clothes better than Audrey Hepburn.

She has Holly Golightly floating around in Givenchy gowns with matchless grace and glamour.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is based on Truman Capote’s novel with the screenplay by George Axelrod, who also garnered an Oscar nomination.

Henry Mancini (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics) teamed up to win an Oscar for the Original Song “Moon River” while Mancini earned another Oscar as well as a Grammy for Best Musical Score.

The story line has the two romantic interests dependent upon others for financial support, Holly as a lady of the night and Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a wannabe writer who is kept by the married and wealthy Mrs. Failenson (Patricia Neal). Eventually Holly and Paul experience some personal growth and find love together.

There are matchless moments in this film that find places forever in your heart. One is Hepburn sitting on the fire escape plaintively singing “Moon River,” especially when you remember that the theme of your high school senior prom was Moon River, and that you were with the girl you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. It is a rare opportunity to hear Hepburn sing in the movie.

She recorded singing vocals for her role as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” only to discover that professional “singing double” Marni Nixon had overdubbed all of her songs.

Hepburn was not nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in this film, but her love interest Rex Harrison won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as Professor Henry Higgins.

The “little black dress” worn by Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was designed by Givenchy and sold at Christie’s auction this year (2006) for $920,000 with the proceeds going to aid underprivileged children in India. It was not the one worn by Hepburn in the movie.

The only two dresses she wore are now in the Givenchy archives and the Museum of Costume in Madrid, Spain.

In Audrey Hepburn’s performance there are times when we are delighted by sweet innocence in a woman. You cannot imagine how difficult this is to find in today’s world.

Audrey Hepburn became a beauty and fashion icon, and although she did enjoy fashion, she placed little importance on it, preferring casual and comfortable clothes away from the bright lights and cameras.

I do want to give Breakfast at Tiffany’s an Excellent rating but cannot because of too many flaws in the film. I can easily give Audrey Hepburn an Excellent rating for her performance as Holly Golightly.

After 15 years as a highly successful actress Audrey Hepburn chose to lead a quieter life far away from Hollywood. She was married twice, first to actor Mel Ferrer and then to Italian doctor Andrea Dotti and had a son with each.

Hepburn was Belgian by birth and would grow up with her mother in The Netherlands, nearly starving to death during the Nazi occupation in World War II when the Dutch food and fuel supplies were cut off. Tragically, she suffered through watching her uncle and cousin being shot to death for being part of the Resistance movement.

She rose from the horrific atrocities of her youth to find fame and fortune in America and in the last four years of her life (1988 to 1992) became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund).

Only four months before her death from abdominal cancer she went on a mission to Somalia and was devastated to see the nightmare of famine and carnage.

Audrey Hepburn was the picture of beauty, fashion and grace but never for a minute let her success go to her head, and most certainly never led a Hollywood lifestyle of overblown debauchery so much in evidence in moviemaking and Tinseltown today.

See Breakfast at Tiffany’s because Audrey Hepburn became an important contributor to our time and culture. She not only represented the best in professional growth but made her life a legacy with her personal growth. She was a model of grace and humility in a world with little of either.

Pardon Me, I Am Gushing Again About Hollywood’s Incomparable Actress: Audrey Hepburn

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

Like a lot of shoppers at supermarkets, I look at the magazine displays while waiting in line to check out. Recently I was thrilled to see a recent edition to LIFE’s Great Photographers Series: Remembering Audrey 15 Years Later with photographs by Bob Willoughby.

In my review of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” I posed this question: Was there ever an actress who combined these four timeless qualities—beauty, fashion, grace and humility—better than Audrey Hepburn? My answer was simply, I think not.

You better believe I bought a copy of Remembering Audrey faster than a single heartbeat and remain a better person for having done so.

Willoughby was born in Los Angeles—the city of the stars—and began taking pictures when he was 12. He was good, very good, and best described as a prodigy. In 1953, when he was 26, he would be assigned to photograph an upcoming soon to be actress, Audrey Hepburn. The result of their meeting would produce one of his most positive relationships, both as a photographer and a friend.

Willoughby pioneered the role of the “special” photographer to take formal publicity shots and candids of the stars Hollywood’s publicity departments wanted to promote. He was credited by Popular Photography magazine as the man “who virtually invented the photojournalistic motion-picture still.”

The images that you remember of James Dean, Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn among dozens of others were mostly the work of Bob Willoughby. All the major magazines of the day—LIFE, Look, Saturday Evening Post and Harper’s Bazaar—published his work

Willoughby’s creations grace the exhibits in more than 500 museums in more than 50 countries around the world.

When first meeting Audrey, Willoughby said, “She took my hand and dazzled me with a smile that God designed to melt mortal men’s hearts.

“The amazing instant contact she always made was a remarkable gift, and I know from talking to others that it was felt by all who met her.”

Audrey had made a big impression with the studio brass in the 1953 William Wyler film “Roman Holiday”. She won an Oscar for Best Actress as Princess Ann in her film debut playing opposite Gregory Peck.

In the next 15 years, she would be nominated for 4 Best Actress Oscars for her work as Sabrina Fairchild in “Sabrina” (1954), Sister Luke in “The Nun’s Story” (1959), Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), and Susy Hendrix in “Wait Until Dark” (1967).

She also won a Golden Globe for Best Drama Actress in Roman Holiday and had an additional 6 Golden Globe nominations as Best Actress. Lesser known is the fact that Audrey was one of the few entertainers to have won an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony Award as well as an Oscar.

Bob Willoughby’s formal and candid photographs of Audrey Hepburn will stand the test of time as some of the greatest ever taken of a woman and an actress. He said that Audrey never took a bad photograph, or even a mediocre one.

“She could sit next to an old ladder on the set and look terrific,” said Willoughby. With designs by Hubert de Givenchy, the world’s most smashing woman wore the world’s most smashing fashions.

She became the most charming, disarming, altogether friendly and charismatic superstar ever to grace a Hollywood production. According to Willoughby, everyone liked Audrey and remained loyal to her. The best directors and the world’s greatest designers sought to work with her.

It was said that all her leading men fell in love with her, including Gregory Peck, William Holden, Anthony Perkins, Rex Harrison and Albert Finney.

When making My Fair Lady Audrey would not be recognized for her role as Eliza Doolittle. She had been promised that she could sing her songs in the film, but Marni Nixon was ultimately contracted to perform Eliza’s vocals.

Julie Andrews had played the role of Eliza in the stage production of the Lerner and Loewe musical, but she lost the role to Audrey in the film. It was perhaps no accident that the Best Actress Oscar that year went to Julie Andrews for her role as Mary Poppins.

My Fair Lady cost $17 million to make in 1964, an astounding investment in its day. It became Warner Brothers highest-grossing film at the time and would go on to earn 12 Oscar nominations and win 8 Oscars. Many film historians consider My Fair Lady to be the last great musical of Hollywood’s studio era.

Audrey would marry twice and have a son by both Mel Ferrer, the actor/director, and Andrea Dotti, an Italian psychiatrist. She suffered 4 miscarriages during her 13-year marriage to Mel Ferrer.

In her early life, Audrey’s parents would divorce and her mother took her and her two stepbrothers to London and then to the Netherlands, where her mother was a bona fide Dutch baroness. In 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands and the horror of war would surround her.

She danced in clandestine locations to raise money for the Dutch Resistance. One of her stepbrothers was sent to a German labor camp, and her uncle and one of her mother’s cousins were shot and killed for participating in the Resistance.

The Germans seized food and fuel when the Netherlands was already suffering a winter famine. Audrey would suffer malnutrition, anemia and frequent bouts of depression. She was 10 years old when World War II started and remained fragile her entire life as a result of her wartime experience.

Some believe her final act in life was her best when she was named UNICEF’s International Goodwill Ambassador in 1988. Audrey would travel around the world on 50+ missions to bring attention to the world’s suffering children. The sight of children dying from hunger in distant lands was devastating; she had once been one of those children and survived.

“I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering,” said Audrey. Despite being terribly ill herself, she continued to go on missions. She would die of colon cancer in 1993, four months before her 64th birthday. When she died, the world lost a great human being.

Bob Willoughby said it best: “She left those who came into contact with her better for having known her. I miss her to this day.” Amen, Bob, amen.

The Legality of
Roe v. Wade Screams
for Reconsideration

 

Copyright © 2021
by Ed Bagley

There are at least 61 million incidents of why the legitimacy of the landmark United States Supreme Court decision regarding Roe v. Wade in 1973 should be struck down and reversed.

The screams of the 61 million fetuses already killed were never heard as they were deliberately executed in the womb of the mother and, if surviving to actual birth, they were killed in the operating room before being blessed with the gift of life.

Think for a moment about what is happening in this process and the carnage it is creating in our society, and the eventual impact it is having on our hearts, minds and souls.

The victim in this process is not only the unborn child, but also the mother who permitted it to happen, the father who helped create the child, his or her brothers and sisters, their potential grandparents, all living relatives, and all future generations of children who will have lost a companion and what the unborn child might have meant to the advancement of mankind, peace and harmony among our fellow living inhabitants who currently benefit from the gift of life.

Please do not be confused about thinking that life is not a gift. Life is a perfect gift that we cannot create on our own. Science has given us a better understanding and appreciation for the world we live in, but science cannot give us a living, breathing child. It is not only foolish but ignorant to think that we can plant a seed in the ground and a child will eventually arise from the soil.

Scientists cannot create sperm and an egg from nothing and produce a child. Without sperm and an egg, scientists are dead in the water before they ever start on the process involved.

While it is a generally accepted idea in civilized societies that killing someone is unacceptable if we are to coexist together; the chilling practice of Roe v. Wade allows a mother to kill her child rather than carry the child to term, let the child live, and raise the child as a mother. Citizens who murder another person after birth, who get caught and are tried in court and convicted, serve time in jail for their punishment. Roe v. Wade makes the deliberate killing of a child by abortion legal.

Roe v. Wade became a landmark decision when
7 of the 9 Justices at the United States Supreme Court created a majority decision to enact Roe v. Wade into law.

It is important to note that the governmental system of the United States of America is not a pure democracy—that is, rule by majority vote of its citizens who are registered to vote and vote during legal elections—but rather a constitutional system governed by the rule of law. The Constitution of the United States is the glue that holds the fabric of our system together with the help of the Bill of Rights, providing freedom and equality to its citizens who adhere to the laws of the land. Our judicial system provides the mechanism to make it work. At the top of our system of justice is the United States Supreme Court.

In the case of Roe v. Wade, 7 of the 9 Justices ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution provided a “right to privacy” that protected a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, and therein lies the rub.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War, and included three major provisions: The Citizenship Clause, granting citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States”, the Due Process Clause declaring that states may not deny any person “life, liberty or property” without Due Process of Law.

The 7 Justices that went along with this idea included Chief Justice Warren Burger, and Associate Justices Harry Blackmun, William Douglas, William Brennan Jr., Potter Stewart, Thurgood Marshall and Lewis Powell. The 2 dissenting Justices included William Rehnquist and Byron White.

The result of what the 7 concurring Justices were saying implied that women have more rights than an unborn child, more rights than men, husbands, parents, grandparents, and all living relatives. And, that women not only have more rights, but also have more special rights than anyone else on the face of the Earth. And, of course, that an unborn child in the mother’s womb has no rights whatsoever; that the unborn child can be killed at will by a decision of the mother without any other consideration whatsoever for the welfare of the child.

Therefore, what the father, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents or any other living relative might think merits no consideration whatsoever.

No one, of course, is even asking what God might think. If you have no spiritual development whatsoever, you could care less. You may even think there is no such thing as a God, and that we humans are in a long line of evolution descending from apes, who some scientists have determined have 96 percent of the same genes as humans.

And, and what? These are the same scientists who, if asked to create a tree from scratch, with no seed already in existence to plant, could not create a tree from scratch on their best day as a scientist, or if their life depended upon it.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta was probably not the first person to point out that  “every perfect gift comes from God”. God, in the Christian faith, and more especially the Catholic faith, includes the Trinity: God the Father, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life.

Science and human nature aside, what does God have to say about killing? One of the Ten Commandments says: “Thou shall not kill”.  The commandment cannot be said simpler with the same meaning.

This Commandment of God does not hedge. It does not say, “Thou shall not kill, except for unborn babies”.  The gift of life is a perfect gift from God. In life, we can be faced with an enemy trying to kill us, and we kill so we, or our family, will not be killed. To be certain, killing is never a positive activity. Only sorrow comes from killing; the victim will likely leave behind a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, or a partner on the battlefield.

Why a majority of Supreme Court Justices would think that killing an unborn, defenseless fetus in the womb who will, without hindering, become a live, breathing human being at birth, is beyond common sense, not to mention an offense against humanity and the sanctity of life. It could be noted that, at the time of the Roe v. Wade decision, all the Supreme Court Justices were men.

Do mothers, who decide to kill their baby, realize and appreciate the fact that they would not be alive to reproduce if their mother decided to abort them?

No one in a polite, educated society wants to hear about killing babies. People who believe abortion is a personal right of a woman lay away nights trying to describe the process in more acceptable terms, such as: reproductive freedom, a woman’s right to control her own body, terminating a pregnancy, freedom of choice, a woman’s own private medical decision, a procedure, access to health care, family planning, and choice; anything but the raw truth: killing, which does not make it any less permanent for the unborn child and victim.

Those who would deny or doubt the existence of God are in a long of people who are “pro choice” rather than “pro life’. It would almost be impossible to calculate the arrogance and self-righteousness of women and organizations that promote abortion. Only God has an accurate take on that.

Without spiritual development and belief in God, it is hard to appreciate and understand God’s three greatest gifts for us; 1) The gift of life, 2) The gift of free will to do as we please, and 3) The gift of faith.

We could be reminded that God is not pleased about killing unborn babies, primarily because He is the creator of the life we enjoy.

For women who decide that abortion is an answer to whatever issues they feel will complicate their life, there is forgiveness when they experience remorse over their action. God is a forgiving God, and a woman who is remorseful over her decision to abort her child will be forgiven by God if she recognizes her wrongdoing and asks God for forgiveness.

God is a merciful God and understands that no human in His creation is without sin. All humans are sinners because we are not God. The good news is that we can be forgiven when we experience remorse, and ask God for forgiveness.

It is interesting to note that only 1 in 50 babies born worldwide are born in a free country that is the United States of America. There is no other county with another system of government—like socialism, democratic socialism, communism, fascism or any other ism or dictatorship—more free and offering more opportunity to succeed than the United States of America.

It is a shame that we can kill 61+ million unborn babies and claim to think we are as humane as we think we are. We are not that humane, but neither is any other country on the face of the Earth. We could do better, and we could start by reversing Roe v. Wade.

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: Never be afraid to ask too much when selling offer too little when buying.
(Ed’s Note: How much you get from a sale or how much you have to pay when making a purchase determines whether you make or lose money and how rich you ultimately become.)

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