Ooh, I want one!

As It Was, As It Is, As It Ever Shall Be...

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Volley and return!
Okay, mosinging1986 blamed me for dragging her back to the Les Miserables side of teh intertubes... Dangit, I'm blamin' her for kicking off a musical binge! Currently listening to the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera, with Cats likely to be the followup. After that, I don't know. Maybe one or the other of the Amici albums, or maybe E Nomine's Das Testement. Maybe Nox Arcana. Something powerful, and probably dark - I'm just in one of those moods, where something like that appeals.

Some thoughts on age

Raising a toast to the fallen
Wow. Just got the news - David Bowie passed away, after a long battle with cancer.

So long, Ziggy Stardust. You'll be missed.

For my various employment-seeking friends...
Originally posted by kestrelcat at post

Okay, this is entertaining...

Because I realize I'm not the only one fascinated by this sort of thing...

Fascinating - particularly when you realize that this tech is about a century and a half old. Really, improvements in the cost of precision are about the only change in that time - it's much faster and cheaper for a craftsman to the small-detail work which allows a box of this complexity to be made. Could have been done a century ago, but it would have taken a master craftsman a year or more to do the work. Now, it can be done by a well-trained technician (working from a master craftsman's direction) in several hours to a couple of days.

But it's deeply interesting stuff.

More Media Stupidity - "Doctors Fight to Ban Fast Food From Hospitals — and for Good Reason"

The prize line? “Just as cigarettes are banned from hospitals, why not do the same for meat, cheese, and other junk foods?” Meat and cheese are junk foods? What does that idiot live on? Moonbeams and happy thoughts? (Now, there's an idea. Three months of that diet, and he won't be irritating the thinking people any more.)

Rampent consumerism
Just caught an article about Samsung's latest offering - a 110-inch ultrahigh definition flatscreen TV for $150,000. It took me a few minutes to work out just why the notion revolted me.

Anyone want to guess how long it'll be before we start getting articles about the guy/girl/goat who spent more on the TV than on the house it got put in?

And they're STILL making the same mistake...

And just what, you might ask, is the mistake the writer is making? A mistake, incidentally, which Yahoo! writers have been making for years.

It's quite simple. They are assuming (do you remember the cliche about that word?) that income is the same thing as wealth.

Not so. Income is, as should be plain, what comes into your possession over a given amount of time. It can be complicated in various ways, such as gross (the simple total of what you are paid, regardless of your expenses), net (what you are paid less certain expenses, such as withheld taxes and employer-provided benefits), wage income (which you are paid by an employer under contract), residual (which is paid on an ongoing basis as ideas or other intellectual property with which you are credited earns out), or investment (which can be considered the rental paid to you in return for the use of your resources). In all cases, income is a stream.

Wealth, by contrast, consists of the resources you own. This, too, can be complicated in different ways: Net worth is (in theory) the sum total of your assets (investments which either act as a storehouse of value or produce income, or both) minus your liabilities (debts you owe - not to put too fine a point on it: investments that other people have made in you). (Important digression here: one of the most frequent mistakes people make regarding net worth is to include their house as an asset. Until you have more equity in the house than is owed on the mortgage, the house is a liability, not an asset! And that equity is determined by the market, not by an adjuster, and not by your own wishful thinking!) There are several other ways of figuring wealth, but net worth is probably the most honest of them, and it's certainly more useful than most. In any case, if income is a stream, then wealth is a pool that stream flows into... or out of.

So, getting back to the original subject, what mistake is Hope Yen making, and why is it a mistake?

Quite simply, Yen is assuming (there's that word again) that someone is wealthy if they make above a certain amount - $250,000 per year, in the article. Note that this is a flow of money - income. (Also note that there is no mention of whether this is gross or net income.) The problem with this assumption is that income does not guarantee an increase in wealth. No, not even at the level of a quarter-million or more per year. If you're taking money out of your savings and investments (your wealth "pool") faster than your income puts it in, then your wealth is decreasing, no matter how much you are earning, and even if you can be considered wealthy now, you won't be in the long term.

I'm not even going to start on the errors in the "income equality" thesis in the rest of the article just yet. I'll just leave it for now with the observation that the writer's views on social justice are about as well-formed as his (her?) economic concepts.

Dame Baroness Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funicello, RIP
Another one two gone. A pity, too - I liked her them. Classy ladies, both of them - although in very different ways.

With this: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-eyes-legacy-try-132807517--politics.html, Obama has triggered my annoyance once again.

"He will use his powers, he says, to build a country where "you can make it if you try.""


First of all, what makes him assume that this country isn't already a place where you can make it if you try? Everything I've seen strongly indicates that it is. That is, after all, the central characteristic which has drawn immigrants here for centuries - legal and otherwise. They've come here for opportunity - and it's more readily available here than any place else I've ever seen or even heard of.

Second, granted for the sake of argument (and only for that purpose) that America needs to be built into this rather mistily-alluded-to Utopia, what makes Obama assume that his powers will be any use in bringing it about? The office of the executive doesn't have anything approaching that sort of power. Nor do his compatriots in the legislature. To be honest, those would be the powers of a god, not of a legislator or executive.

A quick question...
About how often do you have to deal with spam in your LiveJournal?

I keep getting spammers posting (almost always ads) on posts dating back years. The one I posted observing Syd Barret's death, in particular, seems to attract the vermin. It always kinda puzzles me why they bother - I always delete them as soon as I notice, and they very rarely last more than about fifteen minutes.

Everyone needs to watch this, now and as often as possible!

Madison Rising. These people should rise - to the top of the charts, and to unbelievable success. In an industry that seems to specialize in not cool, these guys are very cool. Rock on, dudes, rock on.

Well, the Fertility Holiday has spawned a whole new crop of vegetables...
Today, kestrelcat had an appointment downtown and found traffic, even public transit, disrupted by
these idiots.Collapse )

(no subject)
Just saw this headline on Yahoo: Could a Democrat challenge Obama in 2012? I kinda liked the presenter's interaction with a Magic 8-ball for answers (hey, it's at least as accurate as most political commentators), but my first thought on reading the line was, "Y'know, the way he's headed, a freakin' potato could probably challenge him!" And really, how much worse could a potato be?

Technical difficulties
Is anyone else having problems connecting to Yahoo? Has anyone heard of something going on which would knock them off the 'web?

Writer's Block: Best book ever!
Is there any book you can read over and over again without ever getting sick of it? Do you discover something new every time you read it?

Many. This is why my home is a bibliophilic event horizon - I don't get rid of books.

Writer's Block: Kill the music
What is the absolute worst song ever written? For what amount of money would you consider listening to it over and over again for 24 hours?
Hey There Dililah - and for 24 hours, I would need a lot of money... after taxes. And if the check bounces, you're a dead man.


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