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Taking a Gamble on the Sandwich

By next year the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montaque, will rise to high office in the English government based on his merit. (It won't be because of his money since he is always hitting up the Prince of Wales for a loan.) This year the Earl will become famous for eating meat between two slices of bread. People will name it "The Sandwich" after the Earl. He is the same fellow who will become 1st Lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolution. His decisions on the deployment of the fleet will reflect worries that the French might launch an invasion across the English Channel. The Earl will take a lot of the blame when Great Britain loses that war. Once Cornwallis surrenders to Washington in 1781, the Earl of Sandwich will fall from power. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The reason the sandwich was invented was because the Earl didn't want his 24 hour gambling binge to be interrupted by a formal meal. The Earl had issues and if anyone feels compelled to hate the British leadership during the American Revolution, one can't go too wrong with hating the Earl of Sandwich. He was a pig. If it was just the one report on gambling I probably wouldn't mention it, but it was also the Earl's adultery, Satan worship, pornography and uh... never mind. I'll stop there. Some of the intellectuals and aristocrats of the time had gone right off the rails. It wasn't everyone and not all of it was bad, but some of it was very, very bad. Society was finding its way, and in many ways it still is. This world might not be 'the best of all worlds', but it is still pretty darn good compared to the 'good old days'. Frankly, they weren't all that good, so I'm going to live in a better day in a better way, starting today. [6]

'What are you afraid of?' The First Grammar Troll

Despite the advice of Samuel Johnson that future English teachers should remain flexible, Robert Lowe publishes A Short Introduction to English Grammar. His textbook not only teaches the language but it is critical of the so-called misuses of the language. The author is famous for criticizing the practice of ending a sentence with a preposition. For example: "What is he afraid of?" or "What is he complaining about?" Robert Lowe is not the first to offer this criticism, but it is now official. Hereafter, future generations will be hounded by the self-appointed guardians of the English language. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Good grammar is important, and I think that Robert Lowe realized that one should not be pedantic about grammar usage. Nevertheless, his gentle scoldings were turned into a world-wide police force of Internet trolls delighting in correcting the slightest grammar misstep. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." The whole business of proper grammar has become a bit of a joke, forcing Winston Churchill to quip, "This is the sort of tedious nonsense up with which I will not put." Good grammar is a happy medium. It is only bad grammar when one pays little attention to it... or pays too much. [8]

The Final Bubble Bursts for New Orleans

Remember back in 1720 when the Mississippi Company's economic bubble burst? It was a scheme to lower the government debt of France by selling stock in the vast tobacco plantations along the Mississippi River. You might ask, "What tobacco plantations?" Yeah... uh... tobacco doesn't grow very well along the Mississippi. Yet even as anxious landowners were headed for their new homes and riches beyond the dreams of avarice, there was a run on the bank. The French economic bubble burst and today the venture has totally collapsed. New Orleans and the surrounding area have been transferred to Spain to pay off the French debts incurred for the Seven Years' War. The War is nearly over but the bills just keep on coming. [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
A war is rarely paid for in advance so that means loans with the expectation of winning the war. Winning means an expanded tax base, more resources, jobs making weapons and feeding soldiers which leads to overall economic prosperity. This is Keynesian economics and I've seen this same bull trotted out in the movie "The Fifth Element" as the bad guy explains how destruction is actually good for the economy. (See video clip below.) When Japan's runaway economic prosperity hit a brick wall in 1991, they tried to fix it using massive government spending in infrastructure... what President Obama calls "shovel-ready jobs". Japan calls it "the Lost Decade" but it was actually two decades. They now have a debt that is 240% of GDP and they still haven't fixed it, though they are stable now. There is no law a government can pass that will make every citizen rich, but they can pass laws that can make most of them poor for generations. [12] [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1762, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “Once, in 1762, he spent twenty-four hours at the gambling table, unable to stop even to eat in the usual manner. In order to keep going, he had servants bring him slices of cold meat between pieces of dry toast.” 
  2. John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 February 2015.
  3. Sandwich - definition of sandwich (2016). Retrieved on 7 April 2016. “named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718–92), who ate sandwiches rather than leave the gambling table for meals”
  4. Guide to the Papers of Lord Sandwich, 1718-1792. National Library of Australia (GOVERNMENT SITE) (2016). Retrieved on 7 April 2016. “Sandwich left the Admiralty in 1782 and largely retired from public life, spending most of his time at his country seat of Hinchingbrooke in Huntingdonshire.”
  5. John Montagu, 1718-1792. The Montague Millennium (2016). Retrieved on 7 April 2016. “A minister of state passed four and twenty hours at a public gaming-table, so absorpt in play that, during the whole time, he had no subsistence but a bit of beef, between two slices of toasted bread, which he eat without ever quitting the game. This new dish grew highly in vogue, during my residence in London: it was called by the name of the minister who invented it.”
  6. The Medmenham Monks, a.k.a. The Hell-Fire Club. The Montague Millennium (May 20, 2000). Retrieved on 7 April 2016. “Rooms adjacent to the chapel were designed to heighten the sexual utility of the place. There was a Roman Room, its wall hung with paintings copied from ancient and indecent Roman frescoes. Also on the walls were paintings of famous English prostitutes... Small statues of Egyptian gods and goddesses sat in niches in the walls. The abbey's library was situated near the Roman Room. It supposedly contained one of the most complete collections of pornography in England...”
  7. Robert Lowth - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 14 January 2016. “Lowth is also remembered for his publication in 1762 of A Short Introduction to English Grammar. Prompted by the absence of simple and pedagogical grammar textbooks in his day, Lowth set out to remedy the situation. Lowth's grammar is the source of many of the prescriptive shibboleths that are studied in schools, and established him as the first of a long line of usage commentators who judge the English language in addition to describing it. An example of both is one of his footnotes: 'Whose is by some authors made the possessive case of which, and applied to things as well as persons; I think, improperly.' His most famous contribution to the study of grammar may have been his tentative suggestion that sentences ending with a preposition—such as 'what did you ask for?'—are inappropriate in formal writing. (This is known as preposition stranding.)”
  8. Pedantic - definition of pedantic (2016). Retrieved on 8 April 2016. “Characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for academic knowledge and formal rules: a pedantic attention to details.”
  9. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “Tobacco mania spilled over to France. The cash-strapped French court, which ordinarily regarded its American colonies with indifference, even annoyance, spent a fortune to found New Orleans because the crown was appalled by the sums French smokers were spending on English tobacco. In a debt-for-equity swap hatched by the brilliant economist John Law, the court's lenders were allowed to trade government bonds that Paris couldn't pay off for shares in the profits from the new colony, which was envisioned as a huge tobacco farm powered by slaves: a replica of Virginia, with Bordeaux instead of London grog. The public rushed to buy shares, driving up their price in a classic speculative bubble. Law hired armed guards to protect himself from importuning would-be investors and was awarded a dukedom in Arkansas by a grateful ruler. The bubble burst in 1720, but the first shipments of would-be nicotine magnates had already left for the Americas, where they learned that New Orleans wasn't, in fact, especially good tobacco land. Exasperated by the continuing losses, France happily handed the city to Spain in 1762 as payment for its aid in the Seven Years' War.” 
  10. Edward Moore (dramatist) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 8 April 2016. “He wrote the domestic tragedy of The Gamester, originally produced in 1753 with Garrick in the leading character of Beverley the gambler. It is upon The Gamester that Moore's literary reputation rests; the play was much-produced in England and the United States in the century after Moore's death. The oft-quoted phrase rich beyond the dreams of avarice is spoken by Mrs. Beverley in the play's second act.”
  11. Star Trek IV - Why did Scotty not recognize the inventor of transparent aluminum? (2016). Retrieved on 8 April 2016. “
    NICHOLS: Transparent aluminum?
    SCOTT: That's the ticket, laddie.
    NICHOLS: It would take years just to figure out the dynamics of this matrix.
    McCOY: Yes, but you'd be rich beyond the dreams of avarice.”
  12. Lost Decade (Japan) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 8 April 2016. “In response to chronic deflation and low growth, Japan has attempted economic stimulus and thereby run a fiscal deficit since 1991. These economic stimuli have had at best nebulous effects on the Japanese economy and have contributed to the huge debt burden on the Japanese government. Expressed as a percentage of the Japan's GDP, at 240% Japan has the highest level of debt of any nation on earth.”
  13. Gary Oldman (Zorg) explains why breaking things is good for the world! (Length 00:01:05). YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 8 April 2016.

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