Framing the Dialogue

Archive for February, 2009


A number of my recent book reviews were written decades ago.  The odd thing about all of them has been how pertinent they are to the world we live in.  Economics In One Lesson, written in 1946, seemed as if it was written to address our current economic woes.  The 5000 Year Leap was written in 1981, but is based on teachings from the 1970’s and unveils the glories of our Constitution for many of us who learned very little about our founding documents other that memorizing a few pages.

True American Hero – Lia ???

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” 

                                            Christopher Reeve

When I heard my second True American Hero’s presentation replayed on the radio this morning I was impressed with her passion and clarity of thought.  Her stance against abortion was not a popular position to present to her audience yet she persisted and gave a great speech. 

The Five People You Meet In Heaven

“This book is dedicated to Edward Beitchman, my beloved uncle, who gave me my first concept of heaven, Every year, around the Thanksgiving table, he spoke of a night in the hospital when he awoke to see the souls of his departed loved ones sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for him.  I never forgot that story.  And I never forgot him.

Everyone has an idea of heaven, as do most religions, and they should all be respected.  The version represented here is only a guess, a wish, in some ways, that my uncle, and others like him – people who felt unimportant here on earth – realize, finally, how much they mattered and how they were loved.”

Stop The Presses

I was recently watching a movie that involved the newspaper industry.  The deadline had passed and the main characters were in the factory where presses were printing the next day’s papers and the rollers were folding and transporting them.  There was a furious debate about the feature article being wrong.  It was apparently too late to change the paper, but the brave editor gave the order, “Stop the Presses!”

Economics In One Lesson

In 1946 the price of gasoline was 15 cents a gallon, the average cost of a car was $1,120 and an average house was $5,600 and I wasn’t born.  Also in 1946, Economics in One Lesson was published as an economics textbook.  A few questions probably come to mind:

  • Why read a textbook?
  • Why read a book about economics?
  • Why read a book written in 1946?

I bought the book because Henry Hazlitt is credited as the author of the Broken Window Fallacy and I was interested in the concepts behind the story.  I did not realize that it was a textbook and didn’t expect much as I started to read.  It only took a few pages to become immersed in the pages.

The Broken Window

I started to write this posting a month ago.  As I started my research about the broken window economic “fable” I found out that it is attributed to Henry Hazlitt.  He was a noted economist that I had never heard about.  I really wanted to find out about his thoughts and purchased his book, Economics In One Lesson.

More about the book in a later posting, but here is an abbreviated version of the broken window:

Fuzzy Math

I was having dinner with some friends a while back.  I was speaking to one of the husbands about fuel prices and was interested in his thoughts as he works in the industry.  One issue that seems to be in dispute often is the lack of refining capacity.  During our discussion, he said something that blew me away.

He said that he used to pay attention to politics, but it drove him crazy and he just started tuning out.  I have heard a few people call in to talk shows expressing the same sentiment and I have a hard time understanding that attitude.  How do you deny knowledge that you already have?

True American Hero – Rick Santelli (CNBC News)

Update March 27, 2009:  Rich Santelli started a firestorm (in a great way) across the United States with his comments a month ago.  Tea parties have been been held across the country attracting up to 15,000 at an event in California.  Glenn Beck has championed the tea party movement and has provided a link to planned events.  April 15 seems to be THE big day for tea parties with an estimated 150 planned.

In a recent posting on the Investor’s Business Daily Editorials page, they questioned the lack of coverage by the mainstream media.  I think that many of us who no longer get their news from traditional sources know why. 

All About Cheese

I recently reviewed a book titled Who Cut the Cheese that prompted this posting.  In the book, cheese is a metaphor for whatever you want out of life.  I wondered about that.  What if you just want some cheese?  Cheese doesn’t have to represent success or money or fame.  It’s just cheese.

Can’t life be that simple?  I love cheese and I am not ashamed to admit it.  Sorry to all of you lactose intolerant people.  Try to be more accepting of us cheese lovers.  Can’t we just get along? 

Who Cut The Cheese?

There are many management improvement books around and this is not one of them.  It is more of a parody of Who Moved the Cheese by Spencer Johnson.  Who Cut the Cheese?
advances a less than optimum method of management by shifting the blame.  As in Johnson’s book, “cheese” represents what you want out of life. 

I am a literal guy and cheese is what I want out of life.  It’s like the perfect food.  In this humorous book, Mason Brown advances one of my favorite quotes:

“The person who smiles in the face of adversity has found someone else to blame.”