Queen Elizabeth II died. You know that.
She was very well loved across the world. I read several well-crafted reflections by both English citizens and Americans about what a wonderful lady she was. Besides being the sovereign of a country for more years than most people live, she was able to ride the balance between leadership and humility. She commanded respect by her character and not by requesting it from her subjects.
So what does a crossing guard toy have to do with the Queen? In some ways, very little. But in other ways, she reflects some of the best parts of English culture. Ms. Lollipop Lady (as it says on the back of her coat in small print) commands respect, though she may not be the fiercest presence you could imagine at a street crossing.
And the Queen reflects consistent branding in England. Around 25 years ago, crossing guards all across England had the same uniform. Likewise, the queen was part of the brand of the English Empire. Her visage appears on currency and postage stamps of several countries. Slowly, Charles will replace the Queen on both money and letters. Sad.
So when I heard about Elizabeth’s passing, I was sad. I know less about Charles. And I promise you, his aura won’t outshine that of his mum.
What a wonderful lady she was.
We lived in Kenya, Africa for five years.
The most numerous non-African people in Kenya are from South Asia.
(There is some pretty awesome Indian food there – in fact, the best I’ve ever tasted.)
One day I went into a shop run by South Asians and found a poster – “An Ideal Boy.” I bought it instantly because of the reflection of a quirky part of India’s colonial-era past.
And all these years later, I found that poster in our attic.
I’m sharing it with you.
You can see a PDF of “An Ideal Boy” here. Download the file, enjoy it, whatever.
If you want to buy one of the panels, I’m selling them for $5 each, which includes shipping to US addresses. There are 12 panels, and there’s just one of each. I plan to keep one or two for myself (whatever is left). If you’re interested, send me an email at paul at pmerrill dot com, and I’ll be in touch. Send me your address too. We’ll exchange the funds via PayPal or Venmo.
First come, first served. (There’s only one “Salutes parents.”)
Each panel is about 5 1/2″ x 6.”
Prada has a new pair of shoes – the Cloudbust Thunder.
They look like kids’ Power Rangers shoes. They appeal to… I’m not sure who.
And they are priced at $895, before taxes.
I’m sure they cost more to make than the Nikes people buy at Walmart. Prada designers are more highly-paid. Their nylon threads are sustainably-sourced. (Maybe not on that last one.)
It’s a luxury product from a luxury manufacturer. The outsized lug soles will not provide greater traction as the wearer navigates moonscapes. But the style will stand out in any crowd – at least to the shoegazers.
Interestingly, these shoes are in Prada’s “Must Haves” category.
Not for this shoegazer.
Some praise the idea of increased rules. Others tout the benefits of self-regulation.
I argue for somewhere in the middle.
I am old enough to remember cities before the era of car emissions laws… a brown layer of thick haze covered the skyline on most days.
Today, new passenger vehicles are 98-99% cleaner in what comes out of tailpipes compared to vehicles from the 1960s (source). That change would not have happened without government regulation.
At the other end of the spectrum lies the ridiculous state of health care in the USA. Because of government regulations (and also private litigation), it takes months to pay a single doctor’s bill. And it’s nearly impossible to find out the real cost of a simple procedure because of added complications from the insurance industry.
Why does government involvement in one area yield good results in one area and bad results in another? I’m not sure.
One end of the spectrum says groups have no wisdom. The other end says the individual has no wisdom.
Both are incorrect. Groups and individuals have wisdom – some of the time. And some individuals have no wisdom, just as some groups have no wisdom.
When we go out to eat, my wife’s choices are limited… she has gluten sensitivity challenges.
If a restaurant has gluten-free options, there are few. And they may not be marked as such.
We also get to pay double for the pleasure of knowing that the half-size pizza does not contain heavily-processed wheat flour.
Living in Clarendon, Texas (population 1,857) would cause even more limitations for someone with gluten issues.
Vegan? I won’t even go into that realm, but you see that the same issues apply. (There is no Ruth’s Chris Tofu House.)
Live with a wheelchair? There are not many off-the-shelf choices in the Ferrari line that will allow you to drive.
Is there a solution?
One might be for a Clarendon resident to move to the big city.
The big city resident might move closer to a Whole Foods supermarket and adjust their budget accordingly.
But basically, it’s just not fair if you fall outside the mainstream.
Today, it’s bad form to say anything about gender that was the popular view twenty years ago. But it’s very acceptable to criticize religious choices.
Thirty years ago, socially acceptable norms of discussion were the complete opposite.
There seems to be a rapid change of pace in what’s OK to talk about and not talk about.
And then there are areas that are never acceptable.
Many years ago, I was flying to California with a leader I respected – and respect – a great deal. The flight allowed us to talk more freely than our normal daily work life would ever permit.
He mentioned how some people needed just a few tweaks to their personal style for their image to be improved. But neither he nor I could ever mention those tweaks to those style-deficient individuals.
That would be crossing the line.
Heather and I have several years of experience at the game of parenting. We’ve learned a few things during that journey. But the opportunities to share those lessons are few. We fear accusations of being proud or not understanding the other side.
“Lead by example” only has so much impact. Sometimes a deficit and later a positive change need to be spoken about.
Thankfully, there are always outspoken individuals. If it weren’t for them, change would rarely happen.
Not everyone knows that I run a toothpaste museum. If you go to Google and type in: “toothpaste museum”, you will see my site as the top result.
One of my sisters and I started exchanging toothpastes many years ago. (Since Amy lives in Belgium, she has access to vast swaths of toothpastes that are unknown on these shores.)
And it went from there.
Friends have brought me toothpastes from all over the world.
So you’ll have to check it out here.
p.s. The Museum “lives” at my office. I feature a new toothpaste every month. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by.