Miscellany

LEADER’S LOTThe manager has to live with a life in which he never really gets the luxury of choosing between [...]

May 1 1992 by Chief Executive


LEADER’S LOT

The manager has to live with a life in which he never really gets the luxury of choosing between right and wrong. He has to decide usually between two wrongs. In any decision he makes, he hurts somebody. And that’s his career. If he’s too uncomfortable with that, he ought to be in some other business. Obviously, he ought to be uncomfortable with it. If he isn’t uncomfortable, he’s not very human.

- J. Irwin Miller, Thoughts on Leadership

PRIMARY EDUCATION

One of the main bottlenecks in our electoral process is New Hampshire. Every election, it gets first cut. Its inhabitants pass themselves off as some kind of Normal Rockwell poohbahs. Well, my question is, who died and made them kingmakers? It just isn’t fair. If the primaries were all at the same time, my apartment building could vote as a bloc and cancel out the state’s entire electoral body.

- A. Whitney Brown, The Big Picture

ZZZEROING IN ON GOVERNMENT

American lack of interest in government is well developed, but American ignorance of government is perfect. Almost everything we know about the workings of Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and so forth comes from one high school civics course and one spring vacation when Dad took the family to Washington, D.C. On that trip we learned that the three branches of government are the White House, the top of the Washington Monument, and the tour of the F.B.I. building. In the high school civics class we learned just how long an afternoon can be made to seem with the help of modern educational methods.

-P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores

DEFENSE EXPENSE

From Florida came this pithy description of William Kennedy Smith’s lawyer, Roy Black: “Roy represents people who can afford him. You’re basically innocent until proven broke.”

-The Washington Monthly

WELL, EXCUSE US

The excuses some employees give to explain why they were late to a meeting reflect a remarkable degree of creativity, according to Robert Half, founder of Accountemps, a personal service that recently developed a survey to uncover some of the more unusual alibis. And the survey said: “I had to round up my cattle this morning,” “The rough elevator ride made me spill my breakfast all over my shirt,” “Security stopped me and thought I was on a ‘wanted’ poster,” “My cat had a litter of kittens on top of the proposal needed for the meeting,” “I was so intent on making the meeting on time that I dropped my money into the sewer and it took a long time for me to get it back,” “I locked my shoes in my closet.” -Accountemps

FAST FOOD

“Once we’re geared up,” said a Yeltsin aide enthusing about his country’s potential, “within 10 years 80 percent of Muscovites could have their own private jet.”

“But what would they want one for?” asked a western listener.

“Well,” came the reply. “Supposing they heard there were potatoes in St. Petersburg, they’d be able to get there quick.”

-Financial Times

SORRY, SISTER

PC has taken a novel turn in the U.S. British author Emma Tennant’s latest book, Faustina-a fable about a 48-year-old granny who sells her soul for beauty and success-has been turned down by three publishers, including Random House, for being “politically incorrect.” Apparently combining the tender role of granny with that of still-sexy working woman doesn’t go down well with feminists who struggle to further the sexy older woman’s cause.

You never know what’s going to upset Americans. Little Red Riding Hood is banned in Californian schools because an illustration shows her basket containing a bottle of wine, while C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came unstuck in Maryland classrooms for “graphic violence, mysticism and gore.”

-Observer

LIVE IT UP

You already knew that the rich are different-because they make more money. But did you know they also have a lower rate of inflation?

The folks at Schieffelin & Somerset Co. recently released their eighth annual Moet & Chandon index of luxury items like fur coats, Dom Perignon, caviar, Rolex

watches and maid service. In 1991, the luxury index rose 1.8 percent, while the consumer price index soared 3.1 percent. Schieffelin’s Robert Meloni said the lagging pace of the index was due to “decreased demand, ” because “the Noveau Riche of the 1980s no longer exist.”

A 30-gram tin of Petrossian Russian Beluga Caviar cost $59 last year, a 15 percent drop from its 1990 price of $69.50. Other item prices remained the same: A Rolls-Royce Corniche III convertible for $226,700; one pound of Teuscher imported chocolate truffles at $40; and a men’s Rolex Oyster perpetual day-date watch for $13,750. However, the price of Dom Perignon Champagne increased five percent to $83 a bottle.

-New York Post