Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

Richard Ebeling explains that when the first settlers tried communism, most of them died. There was incentive to shirk, not work. What saved them?

Gary Galles also has a piece on the real meaning of Thanksgiving, as does Gary North, who relates the event to marginal utility theory.

Unlikely friends

A friend sent me a link to this YouTube video, which has over 5 million views. There's no indication of how this "friendship" ends, but it's amazing to see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day Slaughter

As economist Bill Anderson notes, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is memorable for one more eleven: There were 11,000 casualties that day, including 320 Americans killed in action. His great-uncle was one of the fallen.

John Hayes-Fisher writes:
The respected American author Joseph E Persico has calculated a shocking figure that the final day of WWI would produce nearly 11,000 casualties, more than those killed, wounded or missing on D-Day, when Allied forces landed en masse on the shores of occupied France almost 27 years later.

What is worse is that hundreds of these soldiers would lose their lives thrown into action by generals who knew that the Armistice had already been signed.
Of course, the myth persists that these and the millions of others who lost their lives were "serving their countries." They were pawns whom the politicians and their banker buddies manipulated and eagerly sacrificed. Commenting after the war, H. L. Mencken observed:
The Government hospitals are now full of one-legged soldiers who gallantly protected [J. P. Morgan’s] investments then, and the public schools are full of boys who will protect his investments tomorrow.
And the Federal Reserve was behind that lovely war, too [p. 124].

Friday, November 7, 2008

Michael Crichton

I was shocked this week to learn of the death of Michael Crichton, 66, from cancer. Thirteen of Crichton's books became films, including the blockbuster hit, Jurassic Park. The Harvard medical school graduate also published under pseudonyms, John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. His Jeffery Hudson novel, A Case of Need, won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel, 1969. He created the hit TV show, ER, and directed or wrote several movies, including Coma, a Robin Cook bestseller.

As his Wikipedia biography states, "In December 1994, he achieved the unique distinction of having the #1 movie (Jurassic Park), the #1 TV show (ER), and the #1 book (Disclosure, atop the paperback list)."

Crichton was rumored to have written 10,000 words a day at his peak. "He wrote seven days a week and would hide himself away in a sparsely furnished room to minimise distraction, eating the same thing for lunch every day . . . He would break off from his labours only to take exercise or to see his family. As each work progressed, he would wake up earlier and earlier until towards the end of each book he would be at his computer at 2am."

His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. As Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg commented, “Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place.”