If you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift for someone who likes politics and has a taste for ribaldry, then consider the Clinton dinner party set from Eagleview, USA. The set includes the “Hillary Nutcracker”
and “Corkscrew Bill.”
The web site features other pictures of their products, including this one.
Sears has an amusing Zombie page for Halloween: Sears: afterlife. well spent. If you do not understand Zombian, then make sure to click the translation button, “Switch to English.” The page has a lot going for it: videos, a gift guide to help you shop for your favorite ghouls, and an zombie avatar/dress up doll application.
My favorite line: “tone while you lumber” in one of the top frames.
This is surprisingly fun and nontraditional advertising for wholesome, old fashioned Sears. Does this mean that the spirit of Googlization marches on like the living dead? Hopefully so.
Ian Fletcher has an interesting short essay on the problems of free trade: “A Neoclassical Hole in Neoclassical Free Trade.” I think that it makes sense, but I am not an economist.
I am disposed to defer to the legions of economists who push free trade like a deeply held religious doctrine. When the vast majority of a field’s experts concur about a topic within their field, it makes sense to trust them. Ocassionally, however, even outsiders can see how the shared assumptions of the experts might lead them to faulty conclusions.
I suspect that such might be the case with free trade. If people were equally rational and capable, then free trade might make for a good economic policy. If any given human population did not have people that could only excel in menial work, then free trade might make for a good economic policy. If all the states of the world had the same environmental and labor protections, then free trade might make for a good economic policy. If a state did not have to worry about maintaining an adequate industrial sector due to matters of national security, then free trade might make for a good economic policy. If a country’s citizenry would invest capital in another country’s economy wherein it is cheaper and more efficient to produce certain goods rather than spend such capital on worthless junk, then free trade might make for a good economic policy. As it stands, though, these conditionals have not been satisfied. The United States has become a debtor nation, by both public and private profligacy, and the free trade policies that allowed the masses to purchase cheap products from China over the past twenty years have not strengthened the American nation or increased its wealth. These cheaply bought goods are not possessions that help us to produce more. They are not useful commodities. Rather, they are silly, pointless luxuries of the consumers of all classes, and, consequently, there has been a steady wealth transfer from America to China. American free trade has been great for China, not for us. The investor class in America that has benefited from the arrangement has weakened the nation for its petty interests.
I still have not tried Domino’s new pizza, but I like the short company documentary about the project: “The Pizza Turnaround.” You may watch it below:
It is easy to forget that there are many real people behind every product sold, every ware peddled. Mass production obfuscates the human side of industry. Of course, the public relations team at Domino’s wants to humanize the company to the veiwers of the video for business purposes, but it is nonetheless true that workers—even the human cogs of the modern industrial machine—tend to see their products as something intimately connected with themselves. My uncle who worked at General Motors on the line felt that he was a part of the automobiles of G.M. His job was not simply a wage to him; it was an identity. Perhaps, many factory workers do not take pride in their work and only put in their time to earn a wage, but the view that wage earning is the height of noble work available in mass production is an upper class conceit. Such an opinion does not come from the workers, themselves. Men crave meaning, and the lower classes seek relevance in their action as much as upper class, educated men.
This spring, I had a conversation with a wealthy young man who thought that the lives of the masses were worthless and that it was the purpose of the state to bring dignity to the proletariat through educational and artistic programs. Do all socialists believe such—that life is not worth living unless one attends an Ivy League university and has season tickets to the symphony? Socrates may have been correct to state that the unexamined life is not worth living—for himself and for the philosophically oriented—but I find it ridiculous to reduce the lives of all men lesser than Socrates to dust. Even the peasant in the fields may find joy and fulfillment in life. There is no shortage of opportunities to experience the splendor of God, even in the meanest of circumstances. Moral evil and destitution that endangers survival take their toll on the soul of man, but the dearth of riches robs no one of contentment. A beautiful soul may even live a good life making pizza.
Eternal Earth-Bound Pets is a company run by atheists that will look after your pets in the event of the “Rapture,” wherein unbelievers and retrievers will be left behind while the elect are caught up in glory. Seriously.
While I tend toward the agnostic end of the spectrum when it comes to eschatological matters, I do not imagine that taking care of strangers’ poodles will be high on the priority list for the damned, contractual agreements notwithstanding. Still, I have to congratulate the Eternal Earth-Bound Pet folks. Rarely do atheists mock Christians in a witty way. Usually, they amuse themselves, but that is not that difficult. The rapture pet racket, however, is pretty clever. Maybe I am biased, though, having been subjected to the likes of Jack Van Impe. Such renders one a bit jaded toward millenarian nonsense.
I am a fan of fonts, though I am obviously an amateur in the realm of typology when compared to some:
Are you enraged by these new fangled fonts? You may then wish to visit Ban Comic Sans to enlist in their crusade.
Alternatively, you may be interested in the documentary Helvetica, which examines that heartless typeface.
I actually dislike all sans serif fonts, though I suppose that Helvetica is less mind numbing than Arial. Seriously, who enjoys the minimalist, atheistic, hellish nothingness of Arial? We can all agree, I hope, that only Satan and his minions would inspire such a nihilistic font. It is the typological equivalent of grunting and pointing—conveying only the absolutely necessary without any regard to style, beauty, or, as the fellow in the video above notes, propriety for a given setting. Its deluded partisans may claim that it is clean, neat, and tidy, but their uncluttered utopia betrays the desert of their soul.
If you think that I am overreacting, just meet the anti-papyrites at I ♥ Papyrus and Papyrus Watch. The next thing you know, they’ll foment pogroms in the print shop.
I do understand font passion. I just wish that the various browsers displayed fonts the same. I have designed my pages according to how they look in Internet Explorer, as more people use Microsoft’s browser. However, it seems that the web elite (i.e. geeks) prefer Firefox. So, I wish that I could figure out how to make the site pleasant looking in both browsers. For I hate the way my page fonts look in FireFox; they assault the eyes and are hard to read. Any ideas?
When my father and I were in Vermont last week, we went on the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour in Waterbury. I knew that wandering through Peacenik Vermont would be a culture shock, but I insisted in indulging in some anthropological field work.
The factory was full of colorful eye candy, the tour was efficiently conducted and informative, and we were able to sample one of the ice cream flavors being processed that day (Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, which was quite tasty). It was definitely worth the stop.
The flavors are great. Yet, something annoys me about Ben & Jerry’s “progressive” company.
Now, I do not have a problem with its company mission. Indeed, I think that its three part mission statement is an admirable example for corporate America. The three parts are the social mission (being a responsible corporate member of the community), the product mission (developing and maintaining excellent products), and the economic mission (being a sustainable, profitable company for shareholders that offers opportunities for workers). I think that the last two are necessary considerations for any business, whereas many capitalists only concern themselves with the last one and subsume other considerations as merely instrumental ways to further profitability. In contrast to them, I think that the production of goods ought to aim at excellence in the product even without consideration of profit, while, of course, realizing that at a certain point one’s striving for a better product could sacrifice necessary profitability. My point is that businesses should consider both as natural ends for their activity.
I am not so sure that I agree with the “social mission,” thinking that “social justice” is an individual matter rather than business’s business. A company improves its community by employing people with honest work and fair pay. It ought to be responsible with the natural and cultural resources that its uses. Beyond that, I think that Ben & Jerry’s social activism would be better carried out by Ben and Jerry as individuals or through their charitable foundation. “Corporate charity” does cause confusion about the proper role of businesses and about the true nature of charity, in my opinion. However, it’s their company, and it certainly isn’t doing bad things.
So, what is so objectionable about these left-wing Vermonters? They shamelessly display their obnoxious, Leftist preachiness. At the factory and in every one of their ice cream parlors, one encounters in every direction the self-righteous, smug back-patting that I find so distasteful among Leftists. Signs, brochures, product design, and wall paintings all invite the snarky observer to scream out, “Good for you!” à la South Park.
What is with these latter day righteous crusaders? From folks who seem quite sensitive to the “holier than thou” attitudes of arrogant Christians, one would expect more discretion and humility.
I suspect that Ben, Jerry, and their pals would defend their self-glorification as an “awareness” campaign: “See, we do our part, and you can do your part, too.” I see the point, but I don’t believe it. Rather, I think that we see in them the secularized traits of their “divinely elected” ancestors’ spiritual prelest. For Yankee Leftists, their green communities are the City on a Hill, and their social justice activism are signs of their election. Not to preach the gospel of global warming, recycling, clean energy, and anti-racism would be to hide one’s light under a bushel. Instead, let your light shine before men—and remember to contribute to the D.N.C.
Man does not live by bread alone, but I come close to it. I love bread—all kinds, styles, and flavors. It necessarily accompanies most meals, and I believe that dietitians who preach a carb free lifestyle should be exiled to some unpleasant Asiatic desert. Woe unto the Atkinsites! Let them be anathema!
I agree with our arrogant European brethren that mass produced packaged bread cannot compete with fresh local bakery goods. When I lived in Paris, I visited la boulangerie multiple times each day for my staple food. I also hold that no one makes white bread as well as the French and that no one makes dark breads as well as the Germans.
That said, we take what we can get, and it is not always convenient to purchase bread at a bakery in the United States. In Cincinnati, I used to live within a block of Grote Bakery; so, we could have fresh bread all the time. (Grote bakeries sadly closed after fifty years in A.D. 2002.) In D.C., there is a lovely German bakery in Arlington, but who wants to travel across the Potomac to buy bread? So, one often must settle for grocery bakery bread or worse—prepackaged industrial bread.
Among the mass produced breads, I have discovered a new favorite—Pepperidge Farm’s German Dark Wheat bread. It has a strong grainy taste, though without the bitterness of most dark breads. I love rye and pumpernickel, but sometimes they overpower their meal complements. This German dark wheat bread offers a milder though flavorful choice for dark bread.
Pepperidge Farm’s German Dark Wheat is from their “100% Natural” line of breads. Loaves from this line do not have the soggy, “hold your fingerprint” quality of many mass produced breads; they have a firm but soft texture that holds up well in sandwich conditions.
If you like dark bread and if you condescend to eat prepackaged bread, you may wish to try Pepperidge Farm’s German Dark Wheat.
If you are interested in vegan food and you do not have the time or the will to make dishes from scratch, I recommend that you try Amy’s brand of foods. Amy’s makes a wide selection of packaged foods, from frozen meals to cans of soup. I especially like Amy’s soups because I love soup and because it is hard to find soup without animal stock. If you can stomach eating victuals loved by insane smelly Leftists—and there is not much of a choice if you are a vegetarian—then you might as well enjoy some good food. The family owned business makes products that are vegetarian, organic, and created with Jewish Zen love in California.
By the way, the “Amy” name comes from the owners’ daughter, who was born along with the company.
The stock market has plunged over the past year, and everyone wants to know if it has hit bottom, yet. I have no idea, and I do not have much confidence in anyone else’s opinion on the matter, either. Americans want to consume more than they produce, and we have an economically incompetent government. Who knows how much the market can bear even as a bear?
However, if you suspect that it can only get better, then it is time to purchase stocks when they are cheaper. If you do not have your own broker, you may wish to build your own portfolio with TradeKing or ING Direct’s ShareBuilder. Some companies even sell stock directly, usually through an automatic monthly share purchasing program in which you can enroll.
If you would rather invest in a mutual fund, then you may wish to consider Ave Maria Funds. I invested a bit in the Ave Maria Growth Fund (AVEGX) and in the Ave Maria Catholic Values Fund (AVEMX) four years ago, and until last year, I was pleased with the return. However, I am back to three quarters of my initial investment because the market’s dive in A.D. 2008 wiped out half of my funds’ worth. Hopefully, it will bounce back.
The Ave Maria Funds are like any other mutual fund except that the investors do not purchase stock in companies that violate the basic social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. They do not purchase stock in companies that support or profit from abortion services, abortion rights political activities, pornography, and attempts to undermine traditional marriage. So, if you are concerned about indirectly promoting the enemies of civilization through your investments, Ave Maria Funds might be for you.
The Schwartz Investment Council handles the Wall Street element, while the Roman Catholic advisory board includes all around intellectual Michael Novak, economist, investor, and National Review’s editor Lawrence Kudlow, Domino’s Pizza founder and philanthropist Thomas Monaghan, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, and the Latin Archbishop of Detroit Adam Cardinal Maida. The investors simply exclude the companies that the advisory board marks as unsuitable, and they manage the funds accordingly.