History Repeats, Again!

History Repeats, Again!
History Repeats, Again!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal Wedding Will Save the World

Many uninformed people criticize the British government for demanding austerity while funding an outlandish and expensive Royal Wedding. These same selfish critics are also questioning Her Majesty's Government's budget-busting 2012 London Summer Olympics and tripling the price of a college education.

But Prince William didn’t create the international economic meltdown and it’s not Lady Kate’s fault that she fell in love with a future monarch.  What kind of Scrooge would deny them the dream wedding they are entitled to?

If people truly understood economics they’d realize that the Royal Wedding is just the kick in the pants that the world economy needs.  This blessed event is a huge transfer of wealth from England to the rest of the world. We all stand to benefit.

Examples abound. Payment for flowers from Africa, tea from Indonesia, and the endless memorabilia from China go directly into the pockets of people who need money the most.  It’s no wonder the British Crown enjoys such world wide appeal.

Yet naysayers abound. “What’s in it for the average British taxpayer?” they demand.

Clearly what’s good for the Royals is good for London. What a windfall for pub owners, hotel workers, Rolls Royce mechanics, and pickpockets! It will take weeks to clean up the mess and that means healthy overtime payments to street sweepers who will turn around and spend that money on Royal Wedding memorabilia.

Southern Europe benefits as well.  While London overflows with free spending tourists, most true Londoners will take extended vacations on Santorini and the Costa del Sol.  In addition to generating goodwill towards the next generation of monarchs, cash spent by Royal Wedding refugees will help resolve the Greek and Spanish fiscal crises.

When amortized over all these benefits, it’s clear that the Royal Wedding is an once-in-a-lifetime fiscal stimulant. And unlike other government stimulus packages, this one keeps on giving. Without an active monarchy, many British newspapers and gossip magazines would fold. For years to come, this Royal Couple will provide more entertainment value than the British movie industry for far less investment.

You don't have to be a royalist to love the Royal Wedding. We should all applaud the British taxpayers for their largesse.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strong Finish to Week One of my 2012 Presidential Campaign

Like all serious contenders I announced my Republican Party candidacy for the 2012 presidential nomination on Facebook.

My candidacy is motivated by the “fierce urgency of now” because my hairline is receding and all serious candidates have great hair. If Donald Trump intends to take great hair to the next level,  I can’t afford to wait.

By the end of Day One, I knew I could be president because none of the Facebook friends who actually know me reacted to my announcement.  This was a relief since anyone--and I mean anyone -who actually knows me could seriously hurt my prospects. To whit, I’m fully prepared to offer ambassadorships in exchange for pretending we’ve never met. (This won’t cost the nation much because most of my high school friends don’t remember high school anyway.)

On Day Two I realized that I need a platform. I need to stand for something, something important. What about education? Boring! Energy independence? Yeah, right.  The problem with these themes is that all the other candidates will be trumpeting their solutions and then, once in office, doing the opposite.

To stand out from the crowd, I intend to traffic in big hairy audacious goals (BHAG’s). To stake my claim as a BHAG man, I offer this early glimpse at my emerging platform:

  • Environment: Pave all national parks to make them razor scooter accessible.  
  • Foreign Policy: Turn the Middle East into a giant Disney theme park called “Holy Land.”
  • Immigration: A single identity card for everyone. Two for schizophrenics.
  • Energy: Red Bull.
  • Education: Let’s stop blaming teachers and start blaming principals.
  • Budget Deficit: Auction the next profile on Mt Rushmore to the highest bidder.
  • National Defense: End the current wars, start some new ones--ideally some we can win.

Admittedly, these visions are so big, they border on hallucinations. But a BHAG full of  buzz will get us through times of no money better than money will get us through times of no buzz.

On Day Three, I wrestled with my lack of experience.  I’ve never had a job I was qualified for, but the presidency is different. To be president, I will need to be spectacularly unqualified.

By Day Four, the challenge of running a national campaign with a battery-sucking iPhone was painfully apparent. While I looked for a suitable Starbucks to use as a headquarters, my political opponents were already ravaging the early primary states.

How will I capture the hearts and minds of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire without visiting those forgettable backwaters?

Bold decisions will be the currency of my campaign! Rather than kowtow to voters in places I couldn’t care less about, I will limit my physical campaign to low cost vacation spots and coastal states with free Wi-Fi. Voters in all of the other places will learn about me through Twitter.

By Day Five, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I still felt pretty good spiritually until I learned that even Jewish candidates are expected to go to church. I had never realized how many different kinds of churches this country has. What if I choose the wrong ones?

By Saturday, the campaign grind was taking a tool. I needed a break, badly. Fortunately both the weekend and my Netflix shipment had now arrived, so I took some time off to watch “West Wing” reruns and respond to hate mail.

But make no mistake, America. Rest assured that, come Monday, I’ll be back on the campaign trail, working hard to earn your vote so that I can live rent free for the next four years.

Monday, April 4, 2011

English Rocks!

English, the ugly-duckling lovechild of a tense three-way union between Celtic, German, and French way back in 1066, is now the world’s flagship language of commerce. 

Why? Because learning English is easy—like driving the Spanish highways—no rules, only exceptions.

More importantly, it’s practical. A simple experiment reveals that English is more efficient than its three mother tongues. Counting the letters in “no,” “nein,” and “non” shows that using English conserves letters by a factor of two.

Mankind’s relentless search for efficiency routinely leads multi-national corporations to adopt English as their official idiom because fewer key strokes are needed to transmit unambiguous messages like, “To help reduce costs, your job will be moved offshore … tomorrow.”

A book printed in English requires fewer pages than its translation into any other language with the possible exception of the whistling tongue of La Gomera Island.  English saves tons of paper and millions of trees.

And English nouns have no need for sexist articles doting slavishly upon over-sensitive adjectives. Unlike the testy masculine and flirtatious feminine nouns in the appropriately named “romance languages,” calm, egalitarian English nouns don’t chafe against gender stereotypes. The politically correct ancient Germans tried to fix this and just made it worse. Hoping to reduce counter-productive sexual tension among nouns, Germans added  a futile “neuter” gender which, eunuch-like, confuses all and satisfies none.

By speaking English you can say more with fewer breaths. In dialogue-heavy French cinema, tightly crafted English subtitles typically finish long before the film ends. Why do defiant French film makers hold so desperately to their je ne sais quoi?  Why do French directors refuse to add the essential car crashes, fight scenes, and expensive special effects sequences needed to buy time while their ponderous dialogue catches up with the terse subtitles? Even tradition-bound British filmmakers have embraced English and gratuitous chase scenes.

But the real reason to learn English is so you can fully connect with humanity’s crowning cultural achievement: Rock and Roll.  As the universally acknowledged “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World,” The Rolling Stones are in a position to choose any language on any planet for their official tongue. But when Mick’s lips pound out emotional, untranslatable poetry like “…yeah, yeah, yeah…. whoo!” and “I can’t get no! No, no, no! Hey, hey, hey! That’s what I say!” only English can do the trick.    

French may be the language of love, and German  may have a slight edge in heavy metal,  but rock-and-roll clearly works best in English. Thanks to pop music, five centuries of western culture have been distilled down to three guitar chords and clean, repetitive patterns that can accommodate even the shortest of attention spans while leaving plenty of time between tunes for commercial announcements.

 (Adapted from "The Expat's Pajama's: Barcelona by R.S. Gompertz
Available  wherever fine e-books are sold!)