1. Trends & External Forces

Your Views:  Wisdom From Frankie Five Angels

Earlier this week I did a FaceTime in which I expressed a certain amazement with stories about how many men spent a lot of time on a regular basis thinking about the ancient Roman empire.  I mentioned that I’m not one of those men – I maybe think about it when watching “Gladiator” and “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum,” and that’s about it.

MNB reader Michael Estrada wrote:

You’re such a movie buff, how did you forget the dialogue between Tom Hagen and Frank Pentangeli in “The Godfather” discussing how crime families were modeled after the Roman Empire? Every time I watch the Godfather, I think of the Roman Empire.

You’re right – I should’ve thought about it.  It is a great scene in “The Godfather – Part II.”

Another MNB reader wrote:

I’m on of those guys who thinks about the Roman Empire a lot. I read about it a lot. I watch documentaries about it a lot. Simply because it is so fascinating. Worth noting as well that one of the most prominent living Roman Empire historians is a woman named Mary Beard, a British Professor of History at Cambridge. Her book “SPQR” is engrossing as are her many BBC documentaries on the subject. She focuses on nearly all aspects of the Empire, but often what it was like to be a common citizen of Rome during the height of the Empire. Her work is worth checking out. 

PS. Was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day and the question to a prominent historian was which historical figure he would like to meet. My answer, as I thought about it, was Julius Caesar, a figure whose story has so much application and parallel to so many historical figures in both 20th and 21st century history.

So you actually come to praise Caesar, not bury him?

MNB reader Larry Elias wrote:

I must admit I think of the Roman Empire quite a bit, but probably not for the same reason as a lot of other people. I think of it almost every time I think about Jesus’ ministry, because that’s the time period when it took place. As far as the form of rule and government, I can’t imagine that anyone would think of it as good, but it has impacted the world we live in today, from roads and architecture to the calendar we use. Think about it or not, we live in the shadow of what it was.

I get that.  It is just that, in so many ways, it isn’t on my radar.

We took note the other day of a Wall Street Journal story about how Amazon has three business pillars – online retail marketplace, its Amazon Prime membership program and its cloud-computing unit, Amazon Web Services – but had trouble getting traction with a fourth.

One MNB reader wrote:

I think that they are three-quarters of the way into the 4th pillar already:  Delivery.

Excellent point.

The Cincinnati Business Courier reported this week that Kroger Health is partnering with a company called Performance Kitchen to offer medically tailored meals (MTMs), which are described as “registered dietitian-approved meals that will provide nutrition for people living with various health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The meals are created to meet specific needs of individuals and may improve a person’s overall health and wellness.”

One MNB reader commented:

How do they taste. I’d be interested in that and the ingredients spectrum (fats protein salt calories etc).

There’s a plethora of frozen meals out there. On top of the the home delivery programs too. 

There’s already lots of options.

On the subject of a new lawsuit filed against McDonald’s over scalding hot coffee that spilled onto a customer’s lap when the top was not properly affixed by employees, one MNB reader wrote:

This is so frivolous.  How many times has anyone spilled coffee, soda, water, alcohol on themselves?  Again, because this person can’t handle coffee, they blame someone else for their lack of steadiness and waste tax payer dollars on a clear money grab. (Which they will most likely get settled out of court and get something just to close the case.)  Beware all businesses, if something happens to a customer, the customer will feel entitled to compensation no matter who’s at fault.  Just another sad example of the societal shift.

On another subject, I got this email from MNB reader Rich Heiland:

I agree with you that Amazon Prime fees should not go up to cover One Medical. I have to wonder if Amazon is trying to bundle it with Prime because it is not getting enough subscribers as a stand alone fee. If you already have good health insurance, I really see no value here. And, wouldn’t you think that people who already have Prime most likely have health insurance of some sort? I use Prime for TV, shipping and e-books. So far it is a bargain. But there is a break point where I might start wondering if it is really worth it. I see value in this move for Amazon, possibly, but not for Prime subscribers and that, to me, would not seem to be a winning proposition. The definition of “value” has to rest with the consumer, not the retailer.

Regarding yesterday’s reference to a Washington Post story about a new study suggesting that tobacco companies that “hooked people on cigarettes by making their products more addictive” used those same strategies to get people hooked on processed foods, one MNB reader wrote:

Did the formulas change when the tobacco companies took over?   That is the question.  Having worked for Kraft with Tombstone Pizza I can say they didn’t.  the only thing that changed was that they had a much larger marketing budget that could expand appeal to a broader consumer base.  To make correlation that because tobacco companies owned these products, they were bad for you, seems to be a major stretch since they were bad for you before they were bought.  I think the Post should publish an extensive study on the nutritional and “addictive” aspects of every fast-food chain out there. 

We took note the other day of a Fox Business report that Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is saying that “his administration is exploring a city-owned grocery store as a means of promoting ‘equitable’ access to food, though the plan has drawn criticism from skeptics of a government owned and operated store.

I commented:

I’m not sure that city-owned supermarkets is a good idea;  running a city and running a grocery store are very different skill sets, and there would be a number of people who would question whether Chicago’s politicians are good at running a city.

But I understand the frustration.  There ought to be a way to bring food stores to underserved neighborhoods, maybe through the use on non-profits that have different priorities.  Best way to make this work might be to create a fund for the food retail development, and then find a talented, retired and public service-minded food industry executive to come in and run it.

MNB reader Brandon T. Wiles had a nomination:

Howard Schultz was the first name that came to my mind!

I think that’s a fabulous idea.  He has stepped down from Starbucks’ board, he wants to do something new in food.  He must have plenty of money.  This could be the opportunity to do something really meaningful for neighborhoods often in desperate need of quality, affordable food.   And if it worked, the model could be extended to cities all over the country with similar problems.

Anyone know the Chicago mayor?

Finally, the other day we had an email in this space from an MNB reader who was annoyed with me because I mentioned having gotten an RSV vaccination and was planning to get my new Covid shot as soon as possible.  He wrote, in part:

Are you trying to sell us something? Is this like prom for you?  Did you circle the calendar and tell everyone when you had your colonoscopy or your annual physical?

Or is this what the kids call virtue signaling?  Frankly it is weird and a little creepy. Because either you are over the moon for a shot (weird) or you have an agenda (stay in your lane). Selling people on your choices is dystopic.

I commented:

Gee.  I was just saying something I’ve said before, and said consistently during the pandemic – that I trust the science, trust the medical establishment.  I’ve actually reported every time I’ve gotten a vaccine.

And by the way, I think I’ve had three or four colonoscopies since I started MNB, and I’ve reported on those, too.  (Just trying to encourage folks to get colonoscopies when doctors recommend it.). No agenda beyond that, though maybe it is a little too much information for some folks.

One thing I didn’t say in response, but should have – MNB readers know by know that I have a somewhat relaxed view of “my lane.”

MNB reader Todd Hudgens wrote:

The ‘rage’ response to your share on health IS an ‘agenda’ response. Thanks for caring and reminding us all to be proactive in our health.

And another MNB reader responded:

You handled that well.

Your just sharing and promoting a good cause that we should all do. Just realize we is everyone. And everyone doesn’t agree with you. As long as you can put up with it…

I can put up with a lot more than that, trust me.  I have a thick skin.  That was an easy one.

But thanks.

The post Your Views:  Wisdom From Frankie Five Angels appeared first on MNB.

View Original Article
Do you like MorningNewsBeat's articles? Follow on social!