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 2007 by Ed Bagley

Waking Ned Devine – 4 Stars (Excellent)

Sooner or later one has to come clean. When pigeonholed about what is my favorite comedy, I said some time ago that “Meet the Fockers” was the best comedy I had seen in a long time.

What I did not say was what is the best comedy I have ever seen. So let me say it here and now: as of Thursday, March 11, 2007 the best comedy I have ever seen is “Waking Ned Devine” and it is not even a close call.

It would be easy to throw around a bunch of adjectives like outstanding, fantastic, remarkable, extraordinary, superb or phenomenal but why bother when you can say this: there are not another five writer/directors in America that are better than Kirk Jones and his creation.

In crafting Waking Ned Devine Kirk Jones has done what dozens of his peers have not done on their best day, and that is both write and direct a film worthy of being called the best. Let me not be shy or just throw out words to fill up space.

Let me name some writer/directors whose effort in a dual role bred more failure than success: They include Kimberly Peirce (terrible rating) for Boys Don’t Cry, Vanessa Parise (average rating) for Kiss the Bride, Peter Weir (average rating) for Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World, Nancy Myers (average rating) for Something’s Gotta Give, Thomas Bezucha (average rating) for The Family Stone, Michael McGowan (average rating) for Saint Ralph, Jared Hess (terrible rating) for Napoleon Dynamite, Robert Rodriguez (terrible rating) for Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Paul Thomas Anderson (terrible rating) for Punch-Drunk Love.

The worst of these efforts was Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love.

There is no question that all of these wannabe writer/directors probably worked their butt off trying to win an Academy Award for their effort, and I do not mean to discredit their time and effort, just their result. Hopefully, they will learn from experience and get better.

Kirk Jones is almost unique because this was his first effort at being a writer/director. He was in very dangerous territory but talent, judgment and sensibility can overcome a lot of mistakes. I would put Kirk Jones in the same incredible class of writer/directors as Tim McCanlies in Secondhand Lions. Both Jones and McCanlies are great writers-not-yet-discovered who become artists painting a masterpiece when directing. Waking Ned Devine is set in Ireland but filmed on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea that is a British crown possession with home rule.

The Narrator for the film (Paul Vaughan) sets the stage for the film with this great observation: “Saturday evening, and the world is much the same as at any other point in the history of the world. The planets and stars orbit and spin, and do everything that is expected of them. On Earth, as the sun sets, millions prepare for an event that is much less predictable.

“In 63 countries around the world, dozens of lottery machines spin hundreds of lottery balls. It takes seconds for the winning numbers to be selected . . .seconds for the losers to realize that they have lost. But for the winners, it is an event that will undoubtedly change their lives forever . . . lucky sods!”

In the tiny Irish village of Tullymore two best friends—Jackie O’Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (David Kelly)—discover that someone among them has won the Irish lottery, and they go to great lengths to find the winner.

After concocting an elaborate chicken-dinner ploy that fails to rat out the winner, they plough through a horrific rainstorm to call on the only person to not attend the dinner.

When they find the elderly Ned Devine with the winning ticket is in his hand he is dead. Imagine Ned Devine at his moment of triumph. He survived endless storms upon the sea as a fisherman but ends up dying of shock in his lazy boy upon discovering his good fortune. Jackie O’Shea, being the good Irishman he is, does not want the money to go to waste and convinces his reluctant friend Michael O’Sullivan to go along with his plan. You simply must see what happens when these two pikers get about the business of dealing with Ned Devine’s body.

Jackie’s wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) is beside herself when she learns of Jackie’s plan, upbraiding Jackie for his dishonesty and fearing that both of them will end up in jail. Jackie, being the creative Irishman he is, lets Annie know that he has had a dream that the deceased Ned would want to share his winnings with him.

When Jackie and Michael were skinny-dipping in the sea, they bump into the claims inspector as he is coming to interview Ned Devine to settle the claim ticket. Jackie takes the claims inspector on a wild goose chase while trying to find “Ned’s” house, and Michael is left to jump on a moped naked and make a mad dash back to the house before the inspector arrives.

Earlier, when Jackie’s wife Annie learns he has put Michael up for the part of Ned Devine, she reminds him that “he’s never told a lie in his life.” “Well,” replies Jackie, “he’s making up for it now.”

Michael, nervous as a cat, does pull it off, and the inspector lets Michael know that his payout will be almost $6.9 million Irish pounds. If you can only see one other comedy bit ever, see Michael O’Sullivan, buck naked, riding that moped like a man possessed. It is beyond comedy, it will be legend for those in the know. Only when Jackie discovers that the winning ticket is worth $6.9 million Irish pounds does he realize how out of the control the situation has become, and that the entire village will have to become involved to pull off a deception of this magnitude.

Every villager to a person agrees with the plan except for Lizzy Quinn (Eileen Dromey), a cantankerous, wheelchair-bound, b-class whiner who holds out for a hefty 10% take with a threat that she will spill the beans.

When pushed Lizzy (I hope my memory serves me right in thinking this is the right character) makes good on her promise, and wheels herself up the road to the pay phone by the cliff. Fortunately for the villagers, Lizzy dies when the lottery claim inspector’s car spins out of control and forces an oncoming van to crash into the phone booth, sending Lizzy over the cliff before she can report the fraud.

The claims inspector shows up in the middle of the funeral with the $6.9 million pound check for Ned Devine, sending all of the attending villagers into a state of emotional and mental panic.

Jackie O’Shea who is delivering the eulogy slides into some instant Irish resourcefulness with this brilliant piece of oratory: “Michael O’Sullivan was my great friend. But I don’t ever remembering telling him that. The words that are spoken at a funeral are spoken too late for the man who is dead. What a wonderful thing it would be to visit your own funeral. To sit at the front and hear what was said, maybe say a few things yourself.

“Michael and I grew old together. But at times, when we laughed, we grew young. If he was here now, if he could hear what I say, I’d congratulate him on being a great man, and thank him for being a friend.”

Waking Ned Devine is both one of the best comedies ever made and a classic study in relationships, not just among friends and families but among a small community as well. Kirk Jones has given this story heart, risk, honor, integrity, unity, romance, love, tolerance, chicanery and Irish whiskey all rolled into a masterpiece of storytelling.

Waking Ned Devine is the funniest film I have ever seen. Because Ned Devine is a comedy and also a story about relationships among common people, this, as much as anything, gives it such solid goodness despite the deception. I mean really, who wants to give $6.9 million Irish pounds back to the government when it really belongs to the people?

There are other subplots in Waking Ned Devine too good to detail here.

We learn of the romance between Maggie O’Toole (Susan Lynch) and Pig Finn (James Nesbitt), a pig farmer Maggie would like to marry if she did not have to smell him. We learn that Maggie has a son, and Pig Finn wonders if he is the father. We learn that the real father is none other than Ned Devine, and that the son is rightfully due the entire $6.9 million pounds as the legal heir. Maggie, thankfully, realizes that a rising tide lifts all ships to a better place.

Waking Ned Devine ends with Jackie O’Shea, Michael O’Sullivan, Maggie’s boy and Pig Finn all raising a toast to Ned Devine while standing on a cliff overlooking the sea. A better comedy I may not see in my lifetime.

Sadly, recognition for Kirk Jones, the cast, outstanding casting by John and Ros Hubbard, and cinematography by Henry Braham all go without their proper due. To prove there is some small measure of justice in the world, the budget for Waking Ned Devine was estimated at $3 million and this independent film has generated at least $43 million worldwide and the video is still raking in more bucks.

There are 6.9 million reasons to see Waking Ned Devine, but here is the best one: Kirk Jones. I raise a second toast of Jameson’s to Kirk Jones’ effort. I may only be 18% Irish, but it is the best 18% of me. I am a better person for having seen Waking Ned Devine.

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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.)