So I've thought for a while now that food, drink, shelter, and technology at this time of human civilization are really good. Insanely good. Maybe that's because I have always lived in a small house and found it more than adequate even though it is certainly on the cheap side. Or that I grew up eating canned soups and TV dinners, and didn't find restaurant food much better. What I was thinking back then, and realized later, was that it is really hard to be objective about this stuff. I felt that if one were, one would have concluded that this whole material thing has gotten way out of hand. It can't be all relative. You need some kind of absolute scale that says: I can buy THIS food for a BUCK? If not absolute, at least it must be a relative scale tempered by history.

Actually I read this thing once that moved me. Maybe it was two years ago. It was either by Einstein or Henry Ford. He said something like, "if you just stop and think what you are actually buying for your money, you will gladly pay." You can see why I might be confused, and no it was not marketing about Ford's Model T. Friedman in Free to Choose taught me that I could hold principles that I had thought about carefully and express deep compassion about them at the same time. It needn't be cold. I thank him deeply for that and admire him very much.

I have vices, though, like any other person. But for some strong reason, beer and coffee are about the most serious forms I am comfortable having. Yeah, like ever.

I don't mean to boast, and I have also told myself that if I ever feel the need to express that caution, I'm in trouble. But whatever.