ERROL CASTENS: This and that about t’other …

A reader lambasted my suggestion last week of a parallel between the medical experts who bled George Washington to death while trying to cure him of a cold and the current financial experts who tout bleeding barrels of red ink as the cure for our economy.
The man did not say how my figures were wrong but insisted that until I have an economics degree I should refrain from opining on fiscal matters. I took from his comments that he is an expert, which may explain why he missed the whole point about the fallibility of experts.

Like a thief in the night
Anyone who lived through the late ’70s and early ’80s can attest to the truth of Thomas Sowell’s assertion this week that “[i]nflation is a quiet but effective way for the government to transfer resources from the people to itself, without raising taxes.”

Allergic to goldenrod?
According to several sources I’ve checked, few people get their stuffy nose and red eyes from the lovely wildflower, which is bee-pollinated. Its frequent neighbor, the wind-pollinated fiend ragweed, is autumn’s most likely allergy aggravator. Lots of grasses are blooming now, too, and they may be part of the problem, too.

Fine line
One of the difficulties not only in government, but also in person-to-person charity is determining when a safety net becomes a hammock. (I say that as a reformed hammock-dweller.)
A long-ago chronically unemployed acquaintance turned down a gift of store-brand canned goods, asking the givers to exchange them for name brands. He also declined a tomato seedling and the offer to plant it for him because “it would be too much trouble.” His would-be benefactors put their heads together and invoked 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

An ever-more-favorite quote
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm – but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” – T. S. Eliot

Can’t fix stupid?
Friend John Cox heard a guy on radio say, “You can’t explain stupid.” Ah, but you can – from a number of directions, all of which wend to the Fall of Man. We think what the radio guy meant to say was, “You can’t fix stupid,” but having dropped a tree on myself once – and only once – I try daily to prove there’s wiggle room in that assertion, too.

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

Errol Casten/NEMS Daily Journal

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