Friday, April 8, 2016

History: The Year is 1762

I've uploaded year 1762 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Taking a Gamble on the Sandwich -- The Earl of Sandwich is so busy gambling that he can't stop for a meal so he has his servants... well, it's called a sandwich now. I talk about what a pig the Earl really is.

'What are you afraid of?' The First Grammar Troll -- This grammar book explains why one should never end a sentence with a preposition. It is responsible for a world-wide army of Internet grammar trolls, self-appointed guardians of the English language.

The Final Bubble Bursts for New Orleans -- France sells New Orleans to Spain to pay off its war debts. I talk about the movie the Fifth Element and Japan's Lost Decade.

Taking a Gamble on the Sandwich

By next year the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montaque, will rise to high office in the English government based on his merit. (It won't be because of his money since he is always hitting up the Prince of Wales for a loan.) This year the Earl will become famous for eating meat between two slices of bread. People will name it "The Sandwich" after the Earl. He is the same fellow who will become 1st Lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolution. His decisions on the deployment of the fleet will reflect worries that the French might launch an invasion across the English Channel. The Earl will take a lot of the blame when Great Britain loses that war. Once Cornwallis surrenders to Washington in 1781, the Earl of Sandwich will fall from power. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The reason the sandwich was invented was because the Earl didn't want his 24 hour gambling binge to be interrupted by a formal meal. The Earl had issues and if anyone feels compelled to hate the British leadership during the American Revolution, one can't go too wrong with hating the Earl of Sandwich. He was a pig. If it was just the one report on gambling I probably wouldn't mention it, but it was also the Earl's adultery, Satan worship, pornography and uh... never mind. I'll stop there. Some of the intellectuals and aristocrats of the time had gone right off the rails. It wasn't everyone and not all of it was bad, but some of it was very, very bad. Society was finding its way, and in many ways it still is. This world might not be 'the best of all worlds', but it is still pretty darn good compared to the 'good old days'. Frankly, they weren't all that good, so I'm going to live in a better day in a better way, starting today. [6]

'What are you afraid of?' The First Grammar Troll

Despite the advice of Samuel Johnson that future English teachers should remain flexible, Robert Lowe publishes A Short Introduction to English Grammar. His textbook not only teaches the language but it is critical of the so-called misuses of the language. The author is famous for criticizing the practice of ending a sentence with a preposition. For example: "What is he afraid of?" or "What is he complaining about?" Robert Lowe is not the first to offer this criticism, but it is now official. Hereafter, future generations will be hounded by the self-appointed guardians of the English language. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Good grammar is important, and I think that Robert Lowe realized that one should not be pedantic about grammar usage. Nevertheless, his gentle scoldings were turned into a world-wide police force of Internet trolls delighting in correcting the slightest grammar misstep. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." The whole business of proper grammar has become a bit of a joke, forcing Winston Churchill to quip, "This is the sort of tedious nonsense up with which I will not put." Good grammar is a happy medium. It is only bad grammar when one pays little attention to it... or pays too much. [8]

The Final Bubble Bursts for New Orleans

Remember back in 1720 when the Mississippi Company's economic bubble burst? It was a scheme to lower the government debt of France by selling stock in the vast tobacco plantations along the Mississippi River. You might ask, "What tobacco plantations?" Yeah... uh... tobacco doesn't grow very well along the Mississippi. Yet even as anxious landowners were headed for their new homes and riches beyond the dreams of avarice, there was a run on the bank. The French economic bubble burst and today the venture has totally collapsed. New Orleans and the surrounding area have been transferred to Spain to pay off the French debts incurred for the Seven Years' War. The War is nearly over but the bills just keep on coming. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A war is rarely paid for in advance so that means loans with the expectation of winning the war. Winning means an expanded tax base, more resources, jobs making weapons and feeding soldiers which leads to overall economic prosperity. This is Keynesian economics and I've seen this same bull trotted out in the movie "The Fifth Element" as the bad guy explains how destruction is actually good for the economy. (See video clip below.) When Japan's runaway economic prosperity hit a brick wall in 1991, they tried to fix it using massive government spending in infrastructure... what President Obama calls "shovel-ready jobs". Japan calls it "the Lost Decade" but it was actually two decades. They now have a debt that is 240% of GDP and they still haven't fixed it, though they are stable now. There is no law a government can pass that will make every citizen rich, but they can pass laws that can make most of them poor for generations. [12] [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1762, Wikipedia.

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