A couple of month’s ago, when I saw Notre Dame burning it was quite startling. A few years ago Kathy and I visited this wonderful cathedral. As we walked around the interior perimeter I remember thinking of the history involved. Not so much the art work but how many people had come and prayed and gawked over those centuries.
Churches represent so many facets of life. In their day they were built to provide a place of worship but also education. Not a lot of people read or wrote so the stained glass windows told a story to the peasants. Alas also a place to confess but also to be browbeaten by fire and brimstone sermons from the lofty pulpit. I personally like when the priest or minister has a mic and walks down the aisle to address the faithful. Almost like he or she is one of us.
I have never quite understood the grandeur. Was it to pay homage to God or to back up the power of the church and government all in one swoop? Back then, popes had to approve of new monarchs so the concept of separation of church and state was a joke. Do the spires ascend to or taunt the Creator with a “You think You are cool, wait til you see what we build next”?
I understand the rebuild of Our Lady will run up to $8 billion which of course will balloon to $10-15 billion when all is said and done. The Yellow Vests are going nuts and maybe they should.They will have a pretty church but who really cares if no one attends. Maybe we should have naming rights? The Paribas Cathedral of Notre Dame. “Your money is in God’s hands.” How about The Total Petroleum Religious Gas Station? “Get fueled up for the after life.”
Aside from churches we seem hell bent of reflecting our souls with our edifices. Skyscrapers now soar for work or residence. No longer a three room apartment but a three floor monument to me. There was a fellow down at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale who built a 10,000 square foot house with two bedrooms. Go ahead. You can spend your money any way you want, but isn’t that a tad gauche?
Go into a law office, investment bank, or architectural firm. There are at least three forests worth of wood paneling in the lobby or should I say sanctuary. Wait until you see the place your meeting is in and if you are really lucky you get to see the board room sans the big wheels. Armani suits, limos and the like are part of the act. And with all that you are supposed to be dumbstruck and sign blindly on the dotted line. Might is right!
I always ask the question if these people really know what they are doing? The retort is a brusque snort as they display their diplomas from the Ivies or Wharton or Kellogg. People tell me that my alma mater, Georgetown is a fine school. My poly sci degree doesn’t mean diddly but some poor fool thinks I am smart anyway.
We visualize cars, yachts, private jets and even exotic pets as the marks of truly remarkable men and women. We ooh and aah at the runways of Hollywood and Wall Street. The Hamptons and Malibus. We read Architectural Digest and gaze longingly at the Robb Report. With all the puff and pomp how do we know what is real?
Maybe I am getting old but it really does not matter to me. I just threw away a golf shirt that my daughter gave me 15 years ago. We live in a “modest” home with three bedrooms and OMG only two baths! We drive decent cars and don’t have to spend $500 on dinner to feel good. We had lunch awhile back with an old friend from Swift Boat days. The four of us ate at a wonderful dockside restaurant that was overshadowed by double wides. Worked for us.
It is very interesting and somewhat unusual where we live. There is never a conversation about curriculum vitae or net worths. There is plenty of money but it just does not matter. I have had some of the most marvelous conversations that could be, over a glass of scotch or a cup of coffee from a simple deck overlooking the water. Nothing crazy but going deep into this or that. Great stuff.
Cut us open and we are all the same. We treasure our looks and our place in society. When it is over who really cares? Your clothes or cars or undrunk rare wines in your cellar are residue. Did you leave the world a better place or is the world better without you? Interesting question.
I am not really sure if Notre Dame should be rebuilt? Is it emblematic of a time gone by? Maybe leave the walls and just put in a small chapel. Churches shouldn’t be points of interest on the Hop On Hop Off bus. Not a totem of a city or nation to be cashed in on. Pop in and say a prayer. Think a kind thought. Sweet and simple. I think that is an image I can live with. How about you?
Ted The Great.
Tracy Morgan who almost died after a wreck on the NJ Turnpike years ago, was sideswiped a couple of miles from the dealership. He had just purchased a $2 million Bugatti and the woman was driving a Honda CRV. Priceless!
There is an extremely wealthy magnate that has five homes throughout the world. Everyday they are stocked with fresh flowers and provisions and fully staffed on the chance he may want to drop in.
A Stuart Hughes Diamond edition suit costs $892,500 Savile Row in London boasts suits for anywhere from $25-100,000. Shoes can run $500-2,000 per pair. There is even a self tying pair of of Nike sneakers that go for $28,000. I wonder what the Odor Eaters cost?
Ringing in at $22,900, this Dubai suite from Burj Al Arab provides Hermes bath products and five-head rain showers to create the ultimate bathroom experience. The suite also features 17 types of pillows, a rotating four-posted bed, full-size Jacuzzis, a private butler and even the free use of a 24-carat gold-plated iPad. I wondered if sitting on the Jake feels any different?