“Nations will rise and fall, but equality remains the ideal. The universal aim is to achieve respect for the entire human race, not for the dominant few.” ~ Carlos P. Romulo
I’ve never told this story (I promised that I wouldn’t). But enough time has passed, and the situation has become so obscene, that I feel compelled to reveal the essence of my encounter. I’ll try not to disclose any details that may betray confidences. But who knows?
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It happened around the turn of the century in a hotel bar.
My flight was delayed (again), so I checked in late, tossed my bag in my room and rushed to the hotel restaurant to grab a bite to eat. I was scheduled to give a talk to a large audience of business executives that next morning.
The restaurant was closed, but the bar and kitchen were still open.
I was sitting alone at the bar, enjoying a cold one and looking through the menu, when another weary traveler strolled in and sat down. It appeared that we were the closing customers. I glanced over and asked if he was here for the conference.
He said yes, and that he was giving a keynote speech the next day as well. I put two and two together and realized that he was the co-founder and CEO of an iconic brand; a fun-loving, values-led company. And he looked totally dejected and burnt out.
I asked him how everything was going, and that’s when he swore me to secrecy.
He said that he wasn’t doing well, at all. He was in the process of selling the business to a large conglomerate, but it looked like, in order to complete the deal, he would have to break a long-standing and very meaningful pledge.
He explained that one of the company’s key principles was that no one should or would make more than 7 times the lowest paid employee. He went on to say that the sale was contingent upon hiring a new CEO, and that the conglomerate couldn’t find anyone willing to take the job under such meager pay conditions (insert sarcasm emoji).
Welcome to the beginning of the age of greed.
It’s now less than 25 years later and a recent AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch Report revealed that S&P 500 CEOs averaged 324 times the median worker’s pay, and some firms had ratios above 1,000-to-1 (Amazon’s CEO makes 6,474 times the company’s median pay).
So if you’ve been wondering why the nation is being torn apart, look no further. Yes, I’m being quite sincere. You can not create a great country—a strong and unified community of accountability, virtue and honor—in a dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all culture devoid of the equality of human dignity.
It has never happened and… it never will.
☀️ Random information for the month of August
* US astronaut/moonwalker Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 jacket became the priciest item ever sold at a US auction. It went for over $2.77 million.
* The television series Stranger Things costs $30 million an episode.
* In 1908. Winston Churchill opposed giving women the right to vote. Irish suffragist Mary Maloney followed him around as he campaigned for Parliament, and clanged a large bell whenever he tried to speak.
* 76 years after its founding, The Blue Angels, the US Navy’s elite aviator team, just added a female pilot to its ranks for the very first time.
* Bridesmaid rental services are a fast-growing industry in China.
* Dijon mustard is in short supply thanks to climate change. Burgundy-based producers source most of their seeds from Canada, where a heat wave dramatically reduced last year’s harvest.
* A heartbeat-like radio signal was detected from space. The burst came from a galaxy about 1 billion light years away.
* Fin whales have returned to their ancestral home. A near 50-year-old hunting ban is finally bearing fruit in Antarctica.
* Woodpeckers’ tiny brains may be too compact to be damaged. Even when you’re pecking fast enough to make your head feel 1,400 times heavier than normal.
* Pokémon made 9 billion new cards last year. Hype to catch ‘em all was so high that the company printed more than a quarter of all the cards it’s ever created from 2020 to 2022.
* The striking blue Brazilian parrot, once thought to be extinct, has been revived by a successful breeding program helped by the popularity of the Rio movies.
* The Animation Guild has chalked up a number of victories this year, unionizing the production staff on shows including Harriet the Spy, Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites, The Simpsons, American Dad!, and Family Guy
* Nanoparticles might be the future of teeth cleaning. A “robotic microswarm” could function as a mildly terrifying three-in-one brush, rinse, and floss mechanism.
* Britain’s gray squirrels will be put on birth control. The menace to UK woodlands will be given oral contraceptives hidden in hazelnut spread.
* Sewage water is being used to make beer. Singapore’s “NEWbrew” is a blonde ale made from toilet water that aims to send a message about recycling.
* 22 years ago, Palm was worth more than Apple and Amazon combined.
* One in four UK households own a copy of Queen’s 1981 Greatest Hits album. The record became the first to sell 7 million copies in the country, breaking a chart record.
* The emerald ash borer is annihilating forests. The beetle has been dubbed “the most destructive and costliest forest pest ever to invade North America.”
* Italy’s Venice has become the world’s first city to announce an entry fee for tourists as it is trying to tackle the problem of overcrowding. The city will charge a €3-€10 entry fee from tourists starting January 16, 2023. Visitors will also have to make an online booking before travelling to Venice next year.
* Saudi Arabia wants to build a 105-mile-long city. The Line plans to run entirely on green energy, have no cars or roads, and champion a vertical structure.
* Wrist sensors can detect covid before symptoms emerge. The tech could help curb the spread of the virus.
* Influencers are fueling Malaysia’s online used-car market. Customers apparently trust YouTubers over car salespeople.
* Sand batteries can store green power for months. Finnish researchers believe they could be a simple and low-cost alternative to other energy sources.
👁 Take a look
This weird machine is from the 18th century. It allowed researchers to work efficiently with up to 8 open books at the same time.
I suppose it’s the original, “I’ve got too many tabs open.”🤣
🤔 Think about this
“To know yourself, you must spend time with yourself, you must not be afraid to be alone. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~ Aristotle
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka
“The purpose of life is to be defeated by ever greater things.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
☝️ And don’t forget
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Until next time, if you’re going to do it, go all out!
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Hat tip to Jonathan Ladd
I agree , Billy. And that’s a perfect example. I wouldn’t say that you’re disciplined. In my view, you do it because you enjoy doing it! All of it.
Hi Tom, I prefer to define "discipline" as a positive action that is taken in order to achieve something. For example, if I want to improve my golf I need to practice effectively, hitting lots of practice balls in an organized manner, playing golf (testing the practical effectiveness of my practice and having fun while doing so), reflecting on the outcome. i.e., any improvement and then taking further action.