One of my favorite columnists is Thomas Sowell, a conservative economist at the Hoover Institute. Every once in a while he throws together a “random thoughts” column – observations that aren’t long enough to warrant an entire column, so he puts a dozen or so of them together. They’re always good. Here’s my lame attempt at the same.
1. Lending money to people who can’t afford it at lower interest rates than their credit histories justified is the major contributing factor in this financial crisis. What is the government’s proposed solution? Let’s loan everybody more money at lower interest rates.
2. I don’t like Elvis and I don’t like gospel music, but for some weird reason I love Elvis singing gospel music. His version of “How Great Thou Art” gives me goosebumps.
3. If my choice is to let corrupt businessmen like Dick Fuld run a bank, or congresspeople like Maxine Waters (who thinks the government should control the banks and the oil companies), I’m going with Tricky Dick every time. At least he has a clue about how a business is actually supposed to be run.
4. One of the most ridiculous commercials I have ever seen is one for Tylenol that ran about a year ago. In it, employees at Tylenol try to convince you to buy their product because they really care about you. They make it for their families too, so you can trust them. One woman even says, “I put love into this product.” Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to buy Tylenol because she puts love into it, even though it costs about 50% more than the Walgreens brand that is chemically identical? As my college roommate Jay used to say, “Oh, that’s rich.”
5. My favorite memory from childhood is coming home after school on a rainy day, sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace with my mom, eating Twinkies and drinking hot chocolate.
6. Thinking is not something that just automatically happens — it is a learned trait. I have a friend with a 3-year-old son. When they are in the car and the boy asks his father why something happened, instead of providing an answer immediately, his father asks him, “Why do you think?” That boy is going to be very smart when he grows up.
7. My favorite television show that nobody else I know seems to know about: The Unit. This season’s premiere was one of the best hours of television I have ever seen in my life. David Mamet’s writing is occasionally too clever by half, when you pause for a second and realize that nobody in real life would ever talk like that except perhaps David Mamet himself. But the rest of the time the show is amazing.
8. My breakfast these days has been a shake that I saw B.J. Penn make during the UFC Primetime episodes leading up to his fight with GSP. Put one small banana, 1/2 cup of instant oats and 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder in a blender and add about 10 ounces of water. Blend on high until smooth. It tastes very much like a banana milkshake. It’s quick, nutritious, and very inexpensive.
9. The only thing I regret about my college experience is that I did not take a semester abroad. Every person I know that did had an unforgettable experience.
10. My two favorite books ever are Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The first is a romantic vision of a world centuries ago where, through hard work, a man creates an amazing life for himself and his family for generations to come. The second is the exact opposite: a bleak vision of a world thrown to the brink of destruction because politicians do things because they “feel good” and people soon realize that productive effort is not rewarded, so most simply stop trying. I used to think that the world depicted in Atlas Shrugged would never happen, but now I’m not so sure…
P.S. If you clicked on the Sowell link and enjoyed his writing, you’ll probably like Walter Williams too.