Monday, October 29, 2018

Why Cannot I be a Turkey?


Turkeys have invaded our backyard. Two mothers, one with eight babies, the other one with a lonely slightly bigger baby. The eight dwindled down to six, then to four as the spring went by, but finally mother nature settled on a number and the 5 of them have been steadily coming, always accompanied by the second mother and her lonely juvenile.

They used to be these adorable little fluff balls, but now I cannot tell who is who. Is it a mother or a baby? Is it a juvenile? I have to count them to make sure I am looking at the same group that we have been feeding throughout the spring and summer, against the advice of the ‘professionals’.

There is nothing ‘cute’ about them any more. They fight, chase each other, spread their large wings to scare each other off, and once in a while you see one fly into a tree, when they have had enough of the sibling rivalry. Yes, turkeys can fly. Not well, but enough to give the others the finger: ‘Fuck you, I am outa here’.

Now I am wondering: are they really the same turkeys as these cute little balls of feathers that first appeared in our yard? If they are like humans, new cells have replaced every single cell in their body multiple times. Just like new ‘Madeleine’ cells have replaced my cells at least 10 times, depending on which type of cells we are talking about. Except my brain cells; they have never been replaced. If you wonder about the poor quality of my writing, it is because I am writing with the same old brain cells that I was born with 75 years ago. Read more...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Getting there is (Not) Half the Fun

My wife Anita and I have been back from Europe for a few weeks. We have finally caught up with the many errands that pile up during one’s absence, so I can now begin to tell you about some of the more “interesting” things that happened during our 4-week journey to Belgium, Paris, Switzerland and Rome.

I use the word “interesting” both in its general positive meaning , and also in the sense of the old Chinese curse wishing someone “an interesting life:”

As one gets older, international travel becomes more challenging, especially for those of us who refuse to throw in the towel, and who continue to travel independently rather than joining guided groups or going on cruises. We still rent cars and brave European traffic, we run around foreign railroad stations and airports for local connections, we take local subways and buses. We do it all, because we value authenticity. We also have friends and relatives in several of the countries to which we go. We are not just tourists. Read more...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Expropriation as a Remedy

I have been worrying about the dual economic disaster threatening America:

1. The skyrocketing federal deficit: In 2018, the federal government is spending over one trillion dollars more than it makes. Its cumulative debt has reached $22 trillion, which is 105% of its GDP. This year, the government spends about $315 billion dollars in interest to finance its growing debt. This is 8% of the total federal budget. Imagine how much our government could do with all this money - schools, infrastructure, health care, scientific research, space exploration, saving the environment, etc.

And of course, each year the finance charge increases. In time, financing the debt will become the government’s largest obligation. Eventually, the (near) TOTALITY of the government’s budget could be spent on interest payments. In sum, utter and total bankruptcy. This happens to countries from time to time - France before its 1789 revolution, Argentina, Greece and other countries more recently, etc. America is in a vicious downward spiral. Read more...