Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Fame and money!

Even the seemingly good ones do it: Barack Obama is going to speak at a healthcare conference organised by a Wall Street firm. He is going to be paid $400,000 (£312,000). That's rather a lot of money. That's four years' pay at $100,000 per annum or eight years at $50,000. Call it ten to fifteen years on a more modest salary. And that's his fee for a few hours working on his speech and then an afternoon or evening of his time. Not a bad hourly rate. It is to be hoped that he donates some of it to a worthy cause, maybe something connected to healthcare!

Here's another story about money. A piano was donated to a school, a community college in Shropshire. They arranged for a piano tuner to come and give it the once-over. He discovered 633 full sovereigns and 280 half sovereigns dating between 1847 and 1915 hidden away beneath the keys. Some of the packaging suggests that the treasure was hidden somewhere between 1926 and 1946. Good quality examples of first world war-era gold sovereigns can fetch £375 each. So that little hoard is rather valuable.

The couple who donated the piano to the school seem not be claiming the hoard as theirs. Efforts have been made to trace whoever might have owned it at the time the coins were hidden. So far to no avail. The coins might be acquired by a museum, in which case the piano tuner, the discoverer of the treasure, and the school, the official owner of the piano, will be eligible for a reward. Now, that is a much better money story!

As a rule money seems to go to those who already have plenty. Nobody has offered me huge amounts of money to go and address them on some subject close to my heart. But then I am not famous.

If you are famous, people sometimes name their children after you. I read today that Syrian families are naming their children Putin as a mark of gratitude for the Russian president's support of Assad. As a Russian, Vladimir Putin will be used to such goings on. Apparently early Soviet families named their children Vladilen , for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, or Rem, for revolyutsiya mirovaya – world revolution.

 And Kosovan Albanians showed their gratitude to Britain for their part in the NATO attack on their Serb adversaries by naming their sons Tonibler!

I do not know whether to laugh or cry!

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