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Did you see Amadeus?

I think I got the italics right. :)

Margo gets Time magazine and she is on the cover this week. I know nothing of her except that she is everywhere and all you write seems to be true. Describing me in paragraph four was kind of mean. :(

I actually was thinking of someone we both know. But it wasn't you.:-) I suppose most of us who aren't extraordinary feel somewhat that way.

No, I didn't see Amadeus, but have heard enough about it to see its relevance. Though I've read that Mozart wasn't quite the wacko that he was portrayed as being in it.

I ask this all the time. Partly, it's because I come into contact with so many people who do not have food or a place to sleep, but it's also about the sort of things we talk about here. Why do I get to be Catholic and why is my faith strong when so many people have to struggle with that? And why was I privileged enough to read all these books and learn to speak proper English when I was young, and have parents that didn't get divorced?

In a way, it's a bigger mystery to me than the mystery of suffering.


Yeah, and Salieri didn't kill Mozart, either.

Poor Salieri: outclassed in life, slandered in death.

Me too, Janet.

I feel like Janet all the time, and I am acutely aware that it is not due to any merit of mine. Just the other day I read a secular version of the gospel of the talents in the context of financial health: everyone gets luck, good and bad, but some people blow the unexpected windfall on ephemeral indulgence while others invest it in future security. To me this just pushes the question back one layer: why did I get parents who taught me to be frugal?

Or why did both you and your parents have the temperament for frugality? You didn't *have* to accept what they taught you. Impossible to unravel all that, but the part that is truly our own responsibility is probably smaller than we tend to think.

I remember my father telling me about a family he knew who weren't quite poor but close to it. They inherited $10,000, back in the mid-'70s or so when that was more like $50,000 in today's money, and immediately spent most of it on a brand new Lincoln Continental.

I agree with you, Maclin, it is a mystery. I hope nothing bad ever happens to her, b/c I don't like it when people suffer, but since she is only 24, who know what sufferings may be ahead? If that sounds needlessly glum, I'm sorry, but in recent years I've become more aware of the sometimes treacherous paths we have to travel on our life's journey.

I am sometimes terrified by the good fortune of my early life - I believe I must have been one of the happiest people to have ever lived b/c of God's great gifts to me. Not ability or anything very particular to me like that, but more in terms of the good living conditions, loving family and friends, education and the Faith etc which I received. (All this in spite of growing up in the 70's!) And I hate to think how I have squandered those gifts. Just as well God loves me.

immediately spent most of it on a brand new Lincoln Continental

During the fortnight I spent in South Africa a few years ago I drove past a couple of Black suburbs of Cape Town that would presumably once have been "townships". It struck me that the houses didn't look much more than shacks, certainly nothing I'd want to keep my family in, but a number had gleaming cars, well out of what I would consider my price range, parked in front. The cars seemed to reflect achievement and pride of ownership more than the houses. I thought this was odd, and didn't entirely trust my own perceptions (only having been driving past), but when I mentioned it to a South African academic she just said "Oh yes, that's typical."

You see the same in Belgium, in a sense: Moroccan immigrants who can't get on the property ladder driving Mercedes. I wonder if in some economic situations it makes sense (or appears to make sense) to spend a relatively large amount of income, or a windfall, on an expensive car, and that in this respect this family may have been unwise but was not untypical.

I have to admit to not really knowing anything about Taylor Swift. I've heard the name, but have nothing to associate it with. The sort of pop music listened to in this house has for years been more along these lines. Not, I hasten to add, by any choice of mine.

At least it's catchy, and not obviously toxic, which is more than you can say of most commercial pop here.

The poor-person-with-expensive-car is very widespread here. I think there's probably a bit of vicious-circling going on there: if you're poor and low-status, why not claim at least as much status as you can, even if it's not prudent and doesn't really change your basic situation? But acting on that impulse helps you stay poor.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there's something along the lines of a racket going on with some car dealers, who get people into car loans knowing that they won't be able to keep up the payments and the car will be repossessed.

"Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there's something along the lines of a racket going on with some car dealers, who get people into car loans knowing that they won't be able to keep up the payments and the car will be repossessed."

All too plausible.

More than plausible. I've read a memoirist whose father boasted of having sold the same car three times to one poor man.

I'm sorry to hear that. As I wrote the preceding comment, I was doubting it--thinking that although that might seem likely to an outsider, the reality might be that the expense and hassle of getting the car back, the likelihood that it wouldn't be in very good shape, etc, would make it undesirable.

Not for nothing do car salespeople come in third from the bottom in Gallup's poll of opinions on the honesty and ethical standards of different professions. But they are ahead of members of Congress and lobbyists!

Interesting thread. Of course, no one here needs to be reminded of "free will" and just how impactful they are, those decisions we choose to make each day.
Taylor Swift made decisions early on which set her on a path of musical expression, both in her creative writing and the desire to employ instruments. She did grow up in a well grounded family unit. Such a significantly fundamental tenet in human development.
Her strength is surely being tested with the fame and celebrity she's encountered. We'll see.
I wish Taylor Swift all the best. For so many reasons.
All the best to each of you as well.
Scott (Clarityseeker)

So far she seems to be avoiding the worst celebrity excesses. I'm tempted to add "but give her time." I hope that's not justified.

And best to you, too.

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