Merchant of Menace

    Ted got his start in business when his parents were killed in an accident and he took over the tiny corner store they ran.  He was only twenty two.  
    The business had not been doing well and he was advised to sell it.  He didn’t take that advice.  He had his own idea why the business made little profit.  In short, his parents were too soft.  They were suckers for sob stories.  They frequently wrote off bills for those who were having financial problems and gave things away to those who couldn’t afford to buy.
    While he loved his parents, he vowed he would not repeat their business mistakes.  No more handouts.  Credit only to those with a good credit rating.  His business philosophy was a simple one — make profit.
If the store had products on which he could not make much profit, he replaced them with other products that brought in more profit.  If he thought he could get away with raising the price on an item and still get a reasonable amount of sales, he would do that.
    His strategy worked.  He did loose a few long time customers, but gained new ones when he added more upscale items to his inventory.  The gourmet food and designer kitchenware brought in a whole new clientèle that spent a lot more than those losers in his neighborhood.  Within a year, he was doing well enough to expand.
    He heard that another neighborhood grocery store in another part of the city was failing and the owner was trying to sell it.  He thought an additional store in that part of town could do well with the right person operating it and it wouldn’t take business away from his current store.  So he arranged to meet the owner.
    First, he hired a private detective who had a reputation for helping people getting divorced to dig up dirt on their spouse.  He had the detective dig up dirt on the owner of the store.  
    The detective didn’t find much.  Just a few pranks and an arrest way back when he was in high school.  It wasn’t much, but It would probably be enough.
    Ted showed up at the meeting to negotiate to buy the store.  During small talk before actually getting down to business, he jokingly asked if the guy still liked to play pranks like he did in high school.  This surprising statement set him up just as Ted planned.  He ended up getting the store for much less than it was worth.
    The new store did well and the old one continued to grow.  Soon Ted was ready for more investments.  This time he bought an old hotel for very little, spent a few thousand fixing it up, and reopened it under a new name.
    And on it went.  Stores, hotels, apartment houses, business buildings, even part owner of a small airline.
Ted was now eighty years old and was believed to be worth over one billion.  
    Nobody lives forever, at least not in the physical world, and Ted died of a heart attack at age eighty-two.
He arrived at the pearly gates expecting to be let in.  After all, he was a big success.  But Ted found the definition of success in Heaven is a bit different than it is on earth.
    “But I fed an orphan once.”  he argued.  “Yes, but you also tore down an orphanage to build a condominium complex sending more than a hundred orphans away, many, back to the streets” was the reply.  I made some large donations to charity” he insisted.  “True enough” was the reply, “But only to charities that gave you plenty of publicity for making the donation.  That not really giving.  That’s buying advertising.”
“But what about” began Ted’s next argument.  “Enough” said the voice from beyond the gate.  “You made your choice.  You had your reward on earth, wallowing in wealth while others went hungry, naked and without medical care when they needed.  You didn’t care because all you cared about was yourself.  You divorced yourself from the human race while you were alive, you don’t get to change your ways now.  It’s just too late”.


Random Thoughts

Dumb criminals for the week.
This week we had two real winners.  Is there a lot of sunspot activity this week, or is it a full moon?
Anyway, dumb criminal number one just got out of prison so he tries to hijack a car in the prison parking lot!
He got caught of course and his explanation was that he didn’t feel like walking.
If that’s not dumb enough for you, here’s dumb crook # 2.  This guy tried to rob a store but the clerk told him he didn’t have the combination to open the safe, only the boss could do that.  So the crook left his phone number and told the clerk to call him when the boss got in.  The crook actually returned when he was called to find that the cops were waiting for him.  Sometimes I think these guys want to get caught so they can get a few months free room and board.  But maybe they really are dumber than a root vegetable.

Dogs and cats do not run around naked.  They wear fur.  Even short haired dogs are dressed more modestly than the guys in those spandex bike shorts.  And the ballet dancers.  I think some of the guys I see in the adds in this area for the Manassas Dance Company are really just wearing body paint.

In January, a man in California was seriously injured when he crashed his car.  He wasn’t wearing a seat belt.  Fortunately, he did have enough sense to strap in his twelve-pack or beer, so the beer escaped uninjured.  You gotta have priorities.

An interesting article on the Huffington Post about an undergoing paradigm shift in corporate hiring and job definitions.


Scripture: Manichaean Psalms

From: A Song From the Manichean Psalms of Heracleides

Mary, Mary, Know me,
but do not touch [me],
[Dry] the tears of your eyes,
and know that I am your master,
and do not touch me,
for I have not yet seen my father’s face.

Cast this sadness away
and perform this service.
Be my messenger to these lost orphans.
Hurry, with joy, go to the eleven.

Rabbi, my master, I shall carry out your instructions
with joy in my whole heart.
I shall not let my heart rest,
I shall not let my eyes sleep,
I shall not let my feet relax
until I bring the sheep to the fold.

This song starts with the resurrected Jesus talking to Mary Magdalen (or Magdala), and sending her to get the apostles and give them the news and to get them to return to the tasks Jesus gave them as “fishers of men”.
Mary’s reply shows such devotion and dedication, it is no wonder she was a favorite.


Ancient Encryption

    In our modern world, governments and universities have top mathematicians developing encryption algorithms for storing or transmitting sensitive or classified data on computers.  
    The Incas had something similar.  While they had no known written language,  the priests and nobles and merchants could send messages and keep records.  They did this with quipas.  It’s a bundle of colored threads or chords of various lengths.  The colors, the length of the cords, and how they were bundled and knotted together all told part of the message.  This encryption system was so successful that, even today, we cannot decipher the details of a quipa message.  The best we can do is get a general idea of what the message was about.