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.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding – 4 Stars (Excellent)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is simply one of the best movies ever made about close families and their traditions.

This film is on par with Fiddler on the Roof (winner of 3 Oscars among 8 nominations) and A Christmas Story (winner of no major awards and no Oscar nominations), proving that the biggest award-winners are not the only great movies.

A Christmas Story and My Big Fat Greek Wedding were matched bookends in that both films were not thought to be worthy of financing by typical Hollywood backers and ended up as independent films with limited distribution before becoming huge successes.

A Christmas Story, a low budget film that was not expected to do well, was released just before Thanksgiving in 1983. By Christmas the film had been pulled from theaters because it was thought to have been “played out.” It was only because of complaints from moviegoers that it was brought back to life and has since developed a loyal following of fans that will not let it die.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed because a gutsy Greek girl named Nia Vardalos believed in herself and in her one-woman stage show to keep performing until Rita Wilson saw the play. She persuaded her husband Tom Hanks to produce a movie version.

Wilson, like Vardalos, is Greek. Wilson’s reward as one of the producers with her husband and Gary Goetzman was to see the project completed. The PGA Golden Laurel Awards remembered Rita Wilson by giving her the Visionary Award in 2003. The three producers also won the Golden Laurel Award for Producer of the Year.

So we have in My Big Fat Greek Wedding a low budget, independent film that was about to make Hollywood history.

To show you how dumb the Hollywood financial backers were and how smart Tom Hanks was the estimated $5 million budget for My Big Fat Greek Wedding generated worldwide revenue of $368 million.

The Hollywood backers thought America filmgoers would not accept an ethnic film. I wonder how many of the same backers recognized that Fiddler on the Roof, produced 31 years earlier in 1971, was an ethnic film about a Jewish family which broke with the tradition of arranged marriages.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) became the highest-grossing independent film of all time, surpassing The Blair Witch Project (1999). It also became the highest grossing movie never to have hit number one at the box office, surpassing Dances of the Wolves (1990). Incredibly , the film was still running in several theaters even after its initial video release.

This film is essentially the story of Toula (Nia Vardalos), a 30-year-old Greek woman who falls in love with John (Ian Miller), a non-Greek man, and struggles to get her family to accept him while both of them come to terms with their heritage, cultural identity and mutual compatibility.

As Toula says, “Nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone . . . until the day we die.”

Her father, Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) says: “You better get married soon. You’re starting to look old!” Gus also says, “There are only two kinds of people, Greeks and people who wish they were Greek.” He believes any ailment can be cured with Windex.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the Greek community at its most accurate and best, all of the suffocating love, demanded tradition, motivation by guilt, male ego, female influence, pride of race, sibling ties, extended family, romance and sacrifice for those we love.

This film is not heavy and dripping with drama, this is a romantic comedy mixed with strong family traditions that proves Shakespeare’s sage observation that “all’s well that ends well.”

The cast is not star-studded and proves that you do not need to be a headliner to deliver a headliner’s performance and then some. Joining Nia Vardalos, Michael Constantine and Ian Miller with significant and meaningful contributions were Lainie Kazan as Toula’s mother Maria, Louis Mandylor as Toula’s brother Nick, Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula, and Gia Carides as Cousin Nikki.

Vardalos, Constantine, Mandylor and Carides were the only true Greeks in the cast.

There is a point in the film when Toula feels she is losing the battle and laments that “the man is the head of the house.” Her mother Maria tells her that “the man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants.” Maria does so in a confrontation with her husband that should make women proud.

This film will warm you heart, entertain your soul and cause you to walk away a better person for having seen this superb effort in moviemaking. Toula’s personal growth as a young woman freeing herself from forced expectations against insufferable odds is so precious that you want to take her home and adopt her.

I once went to a Polish funeral and was amazed that when the funeral was over and the reception began, the whiskey flowed and all of the immediate family and friends had a heck of great party drinking, dancing and singing. I learned more about family traditions in different cultures at that Polish funeral. Some cultures celebrate the life of a loved one after the funeral.

Despite the complications presented in My Big Fat Greek Wedding you come away wanting to be Greek because you see the love and the fun that they have much more than any disagreements or disappointments.

The interaction between Toula and her brother Nick is really sweet, touching and funny.

At one point, Nick is impressed with Toula’s ability to break with tradition (he secretly wants to study art) and says, “Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.” “Nick, that’s beautiful,” replies Toula, to which Nick adds, “Yeah, that dear Abby really knows what she’s talking about.”

Nia Vardalos wrote the script and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay, was nominated for 6 other lesser screenwriting awards and won 2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is directed by Joel Zwick who won two minor awards for his effort. I feel he deserved more recognition.

The film garnered little attention among the big award givers but did appropriately win the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy. Almost as an afterthought, My Big Fat Greek Wedding won the Best Independent Comedy Film Award from the U. S. Comedy Arts Festival. It would be my pleasure if some of the Comedy Film Award judges were Greek.

There is Greek love throughout this film, from Rita Wilson’s vision to the thousands of Greek Americans who said, hey, this is Greek, this is good. The Greek community really made the film become a box office record-setter while we non-Greeks came on board later and enjoyed the film just as much.

When I left the theater, I went looking for ouzo, the Greek anise-flavored liqueur so celebrated in the film at Greek gatherings. They would down a shot of ouzo and shout “oumpa.”

I married a girl from a very traditional Italian Catholic family. Every Christmas my wife makes Italian cookies with anise-flavored frosting, no wonder I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Anyone who wants a job watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding should be Greek, love ouzo and love having fun. Others need not apply unless, of course, they might want to be Greek, want to try ouzo, and have fun!

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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.)