Saturday, July 4, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 32 (July 4th Edition)

A Tribute to Mattress Mac
If you have spent more than 5 minutes in Houston, chances are very good that you have been exposed to an advertisement for Gallery Furniture. Whether it is print media, radio, television, or billboards, Gallery Furniture seems to be everywhere.

Jim McIngvale--Gallery's owner--is a Houston icon. In the early days of his store he was a constant fixture on television, often dressed in a mattress (which earned him the nickname "Mattress Mac". He crammed 60 seconds of dialogue into a 30 second commercial, ending each segment buy jumping in the air, waving dollar bills, and shouting "Gallery Furniture saves you money." While these ads were cheesy, they were effective. Gallery Furniture has grown to be one of the nation's largest independent furniture stores and one of Houston's most respected businesses.

On May 21 tragedy struck Mac and Gallery Furniture when a fire raced through his warehouse. The fire has been ruled an arson. Millions of dollars of inventory were destroyed, and Mac was forced to close his main showroom. His business facing possible ruin, Mac responded by vowing to rebuild. And like most things he sets his mind to, he has been successful. Today, on July 4th, his store will reopen. I wish him well--he deserves it.

An Interesting Story
The Wall Steet Journal has an interesting story about Thomas Jefferson and his interest in coded messages. (HT: Elaine Phillips) Apparently, Jefferson had received a coded message from his friend and frequent correspondent, Robert Patterson that had remained unbroken for more than two hundred years.

The New Sons of Liberty
Edward Cline has an inspiring piece on Rule of Reason. Here is an excerpt:
A good friend wrote me about the speed with which the government is erasing freedom and establishing a fascist regime, and the despair this phenomenon can cause: “If presented with an existential crisis, I don‘t see a modern day Sons of Liberty around to fight for liberty.”

I will reply that we are the new Sons of Liberty. We’re all over the place.

Read the whole thing. Print it out, and when the latest shenanigans in Washington get you down, read it again.

Celebrating the Fourth of July

Unlike the Iranians, we can still voice displeasure with our government without having our heads bashed in (at least for now). I made use of this freedom yesterday. At the Houston Tea Party, I and several friends distributed copies of "Health Care is Not a Right", "Why Atlas Shrugged is Relevant Today", The Ayn Rand Sampler, "The Meaning of Money", Atlas Shrugged, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

My favorite July 4th was the one I spent in Philadelphia touring the historic sites. Ten years ago today I stood in a sweltering Independence Hall, in silent reverence of the greatness of what our Founders had accomplished in that room. I recall thinking that the room seemed too small for the giants it once housed.

On this day, the words of many Founders come to mind and seem relevant. Perhaps none are more fitting than those of Thomas Paine. During the darkest days of the Revolution, when freedom seemed lost, he demonstrated that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword when he rallied Washington's troops prior to crossing the Delaware:
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.
Indeed, tyranny is not easily conquered. But those of us who value our freedom will not shrink in the service of our lives. We are, as Edward Cline said, the New Sons of Liberty.

Happy Independence Day.

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