AS I pass another “timeline” milestone this week, I will admit that 40 years ago I genuinely thought that by this time I would be “mellow.” The word comes from the Late Middle English period from the 14th century and until the 15th century and meant “ripe, sweet, and juicy.”
“War” was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1969. The lyrics read, “War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, listen to me, It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker, It’s got one friend that’s The Undertaker.”
I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone. Stand in the desert…. And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
For half a century Bernard Baruch, who died in 1965 at age 94, was one of the USA’s richest and most powerful men both as a stock market trader/broker and as a close trusted presidential adviser during both world wars. Baruch once said, “The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.”
IT is Sunday morning—October 8th—in Manila as I put fingers to keyboard, so as you read this, what has transpired in the past 48 hours in anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, the events of Saturday morning in the Middle East marks a defining point between “before” and “after” not unlike similar crossroads after the German invasion of Poland, the 9/11 attack, and domestically, the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.
Back in the day, we called them “Old Wives’ (Woman’s) Tales” or the formal term cliché, for a phrase expressing an idea that everyone knew to be true. We did not need any personal or even empirical knowledge of it being a fact, just that it was a passed down “generational truth” or “conventional wisdom” that “everyone knows.”
The most iconic photograph of the 20th century was taken in February 1945 at Yalta, a resort city on the Crimean Peninsula. At the “Yalta Conference,” three men—US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin—discussed the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe.
One fundamental tenet I consider of highest importance is to see the historical perspective of whatever subject you are talking about. “Historical perspective is understanding a subject in light of its early phases and subsequent evolution.” Everything must be put in context and the one that matters is “The History.”
“Sunset Boulevard” is a 1950 film about an aging, forgotten silent film star Norma Desmond, who dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen. Desmond refuses to accept that her fame has evaporated and is unaware that her butler secretly writes the fan letters she receives.
The recently concluded BRICS summit gave no surprises but did have a bit of the feel of a beauty contest. The major announcement was that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have been invited to join, and that their membership would begin in January.
A most important development in personal banking occurred in 1967 when a cash machine was put into use by Barclays Bank, Enfield, in the United Kingdom—the world’s first ATM. By 1968, ATMs had been installed in Australia, West Germany, and Spain. BPI was the first bank in the Philippines to deploy an ATM in 1981.
I have always assumed that the only place to find “life” is on planet earth. I believe this because from the simplest single cell bacterium to the epitome of complex life forms (humans) staying alive is a lot of work. Survival is a constant, never-ending battle and eventually everything loses the war against becoming individually extinct. Why bother?