Saturday, May 27, 2023

Canadian Prepper, 5/27/23, "Here We Go!"

Canadian Prepper, 5/27/23
"Here We Go! NATO Moves Patriots To Border; 
Russia Full Mobilization; Belarus Deploys Nukes"
Video and comments here:

“Al Swearengen's Take On Life"

Strong Language Alert!
 "In life you have to do a lot of things you don't ****ing want to do.
Many times, that's what the **** life is... one vile ****ing task after another.
But don't get aggravated - then the enemy has you by the short hair."
“Al Swearengen”,
Ian McShane's character in “Deadwood”
o

 

"Wake Up, Things Are About To Get Very Real"

Jeremiah Babe, 5/27/23
"Wake Up, Things Are About To Get Very Real; 
US Economy Running Out Of Time And Cheap Money"
Video and comments here:

"15 Biggest Retailers in America That Will Disappear Soon!"

 

Red Pilled TV, 5/27/23
"15 Biggest Retailers in America 
That Will Disappear Soon!"

"Clayton Morris joins us to discuss the U.S. economy in this breaking news update. If you have a favorite store, you should probably visit it soon, since some of the biggest, most popular retail chains in the United States are rapidly decaying, and many locations are being shuttered at this very moment. According to UBS, over 50,000 stores are on retailers' chopping blocks, and that could completely change America's economic landscape. Never before in history, conditions have been so turbulent for companies, and even big names like Rite Aid, Amazon Fresh, and Big Lots are taking extreme measures to try to keep their businesses alive. However, retail experts seriously doubt the ability of some of these chains to survive the imminent retail collapse. That's why in today's video, we've compiled a series of retail stores that are at risk of going dark for good in the coming weeks and months, and some that are already liquidating all their assets and saying farewell to their customers."
Video and comments here:

Musical Interlude: Foy Vance, "Make it Rain"

 

Foy Vance, "Make it Rain"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“A now famous picture from the Hubble Space Telescope featured Pillars of Creation, star forming columns of cold gas and dust light-years long inside M16, the Eagle Nebula. This false-color composite image views the nearby stellar nursery using data from the Herschel Space Observatory's panoramic exploration of interstellar clouds along the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Herschel's far infrared detectors record the emission from the region's cold dust directly.
The famous pillars are included near the center of the scene. While the central group of hot young stars is not apparent at these infrared wavelengths, the stars' radiation and winds carve the shapes within the interstellar clouds. Scattered white spots are denser knots of gas and dust, clumps of material collapsing to form new stars. The Eagle Nebula is some 6,500 light-years distant, an easy target for binoculars or small telescopes in a nebula rich part of the sky toward the split constellation Serpens Cauda (the tail of the snake).”

Chet Raymo, “What Not to Believe”

                                      

“What Not to Believe”
by Chet Raymo

“In Stacy Schiff's biography of Cleopatra, I came across this epigraph from Euripides: "Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe." I have no idea which of Euripides' plays the quote is from, but it strikes me as a suitable source for reflection. Credulity is the default state of a human life. Children are born to believe, to accept as true what they are told by adults. An innate credulity has survival value in a dangerous world. If a grown-up says "There are crocodiles in the river," it is probably best to stay out of the water.

Skepticism, on the other hand, must be learned. I was late in realizing that I didn't have to believe the received "truth." My best teacher was a somewhat older Panamanian secular Jew I went to graduate school with at UCLA. We took our brown-bag lunches together in the university's botanical garden, and spent the hour talking about physics, religion, and the "meaning of life."

Moises was the first person I had encountered after sixteen years of Catholic education who mentioned the word "skepticism." "Why do you believe that?" he would ask, and often I had no answer except that it was what my family and teachers told me was true. The idea that I might actually examine the basis for my beliefs was a rather new concept. In matters of religion, like almost everyone else in the world, I had embraced uncritically the faith story into which I was born.

And thus began my search for "a judicious sense of what not to believe." When later, as a teacher, I wrote a little column for each issue of the college newspaper, I called it "Under a Skeptical Star," from a line of the Scots poet/scholar William MacNeile Dixon: "If there be a skeptical star I was born under it, yet I have lived all my days in complete astonishment." A liberating sense of what not to believe opened the door to a vastly more interesting world whose diverse and astonishing riches I continue to explore to this day."

“As I’ve Aged”

“As I’ve Aged”
- Author Unknown

“You ask me how it feels to grow older. I’ve learned a few things along the way, which I’ll share with you…

As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avante-garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of many years ago, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love… I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it). May our friendship never come apart especially when it’s straight from the heart!”

The Daily "Near You?"

 

Oaxaca, Mexico. Thanks for stopping by!

"That's Where It All Begins..."

"That's where it all begins. That's where we all get screwed big time as we grow up. They tell us to think, but they don't really mean it. They only want us to think within the boundaries they define. The moment you start thinking for yourself - really thinking - so many things stop making any sense. And if you keep thinking, the whole world just falls apart. Nothing makes sense anymore. All rules, traditions, expectations - they all start looking so fake, so made up. You want to just get rid of all this stuff and make things right. But the moment you say it, they tell you to shut up and be respectful. And eventually you understand that nobody wants you to really think for yourself."
- Ray N. Kuili, "Awakening"

"How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level: Everything You Wanted to Know"

"How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level:
Everything You Wanted to Know"
by Karen Reed

"You’ve heard all about how high cholesterol levels are causing ill health. More importantly, you’ve heard about how bad cholesterol is causing ill health. It affects your arteries and blood flow, putting your heart under more pressure to perform properly. Those with high cholesterol levels are more at risk of stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease.

Cholesterol has long been linked to the food we eat. There are certain foods that we’re recommended to stay away from and others that we should get more off to promote good cholesterol levels and help protect the arteries. Did you know that it’s not just food that affects the cholesterol levels? Stress has been linked to high cholesterol. In fact, some studies now show that stress is worse than the food we eat for cholesterol levels and ill health.

The problem is that stress is a silent killer. We don’t realize that our cortisol levels are up and causing these problems until it’s too late in some cases. It’s important to reduce our stress levels to keep our cholesterol levels down. Here’s a look at just how stress causes high cholesterol and what you can do about it.
What Exactly Is Cholesterol? Before you start looking at stress and how it affects to high cholesterol levels, you need to know more about it. What exactly is it and what does it do?

There are two types of cholesterol: good and bad. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL cholesterol, and you shouldn’t have any more than 100mg/dL of this type in your body. Good cholesterol is HDL, and you should have at least 60mg/dL. A good level of total cholesterol, according to physicians, is 200mg/dL and this can be made up of both good and bad. Considering you shouldn’t have more that 100mg/dL of the bad stuff, you want at least 100mg/dL of the good stuff. The more good cholesterol you have, the better it is for you. Good cholesterol can keep the bad stuff at bay and under control.

What exactly is cholesterol? It’s a fatty substance that is only found in animal products. It is naturally produced by your body, but can also be added to food. The body will make more cholesterol due to trans and saturated fats being added through food. Both types of cholesterol will enter the arteries and build up. The good stuff builds up as a lining to the arteries, protecting them from damage. The lining is soft and makes it easier for the blood to flow through the veins.

On the other hand, bad cholesterol blocks the arteries. It creates a friction layer that stops the blood flowing freely. The heart and brain don’t get the blood that they both need and clogs can appear in the arteries. You’re at a higher risk of suffering various health problems, including stroke and heart disease, because of your high bad cholesterol levels.

There are various types of people more at risk for having high cholesterol levels. There are certainly genetic factors involved, but there are also lifestyle factors. One of those is stress levels, especially in those who are overweight, smoke or have other health problems.
Stress and the Unhealthy Lifestyle: One of the reasons found for the stress and high cholesterol link is bad lifestyle habits. Those who are stressed are more likely to follow less healthy habits in other areas of their life. They’re less likely to exercise and more likely to eat bad food. After all, saturated and trans fat foods tend to be the comfort foods – those that people crave to try to boost their endorphin and serotonin levels.

People who are stressed will look for ways to counter their cortisol levels, and that is usually through unhealthy methods. People are more likely to drink or smoke, which puts other strains on their body. The body isn’t able to produce the good cholesterol and is encouraged to create bad cholesterol. This reason is highly common in men. It is men who tend to deal with stress the worst, possibly due to misconceptions that relaxation techniques are for women. They also tend to have higher stressful jobs than women, since many men are in higher positions of power and authority. Men tend to be in more leadership roles, which means more responsibility and decision making. It may not seem fair, but that’s just a common view.

How the Body Reacts to Stress Causes High Cholesterol Levels: Another study found that people who suffer from high levels of stress have higher bad cholesterol due to the high levels of triglycerides. The triglycerides are the components that encourage the boost of bad cholesterol levels, causing major health problems. It doesn’t matter what your diet is like, although the unhealthier diet will put you more at risk.

The study researchers considered the reasons for the higher triglycerides. While the exact reason isn’t known, the theory is that it is due to the stress hormone cortisol. This is common is people who suffer long term stress, and leads to the release of adrenaline in the body.

Adrenaline is the body’s “flight or fight” response and helps to deal with the stress levels. It pushes people into making decisions and keeps them alert and active when they desperately need to be. Many people in trauma incidents report that they don’t know how they kept going. The adrenaline pushed them forward until they were given a chance to relax. That was when their bodies shut down, and they had the chance to allow the trauma to affect them. Adrenaline can certainly have benefits, but it causes the increase in triglycerides. This then triggers the high levels of bad cholesterol, which can later affect the body in other ways.

Stress Can Cause “Stickiness” in the Arteries: Another study has found that the arteries can be “sticky” due to high-stress levels. This may or may not be linked to high cholesterol levels. It could be a problem on its own that makes it look like someone has high cholesterol levels.

Stress makes the muscles spasm. This affects the arteries, which causes problems with the blood flow. The platelets in people with high-stress levels are commonly “sticky.” They cling to the artery walls and create bumps and friction for the blood flow. The blood is more likely to clog, and other health problems arise. The constriction of the arteries certainly doesn’t help things. When the arteries constrict, the area for the blood flow gets smaller, and it causes the blood flow to slow down. Mixed with the stickiness or high cholesterol problems, the blood gets stuck and clogs. It’s harder for the heart and brain to get the blood that they both need.

Stress causes many other health problems and affects the body in more ways that we currently know or understand. It is possible that stress isn’t just a factor for high cholesterol but makes high cholesterol worse for the health.
Reducing Stress to Prolong Life: Many scientists now recommend not focusing on reducing cholesterol as much as reducing stress. Cholesterol gained a bad rep for a long time, including good cholesterol. It’s taken time for the medical world to realize that not all cholesterol is bad and there are other factors that cause many of the same risks. One of those is the high-stress levels. It’s important to keep them to a minimum so the whole body can work effectively and we can prolong out lives.

The tricky thing is finding a way to reduce stress levels. Understandably reducing stress isn’t always easy and people can end up even more stressed because they’re trying to reduce it. Think about how you feel when you’re struggling to sleep because of stress. You get more worked up, which releases more cortisol and more adrenaline into the body. It’s harder to get to sleep, and this cycle continues until you find a way actually to reduce the stress.

Meditation and exercise are often considered the best ways to reduce stress. Yoga is a popular option since it combines the two together in many ways. You get to become one with yourself, focus on your breathing, and tone your body at the same time.

Both meditation and exercise help to release more happy hormones into your body. The right chemicals help to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. You’ll have less adrenaline keeping you awake and fewer triglycerides causing your bad cholesterol production to increase.

It will be tempting to reach for a glass or two (or even a bottle) of wine to deal with stress. Smoking is tempting, along with binge watching a TV series while you struggle to sleep. You want to look for healthier ways to handle your stress. The negative ways will just cause more problems for your health.
Long Term vs. Short Term Stress and Cholesterol: If you have the odd day where you feel like you’re at the end of your tether, don’t worry about it too much. It’s not the short-term stress that causes the increase in cholesterol levels. The studies show that those who suffer long term stress are the ones who are most likely to see all the negative side effects.

Sure, stress isn’t good for you, but it is also a normal part of living. There are times that adrenaline and cortisol are needed. They can keep you going when you run out of energy or when going through trauma.

Those who suffer long term stress will have prolonged cortisol and adrenaline levels. Those hormones will be much higher than they need to be and in the body for much longer. They cause a range of health problems when around for long periods of time, including high blood pressure, insomnia, and even Type II diabetes. It shouldn’t be surprising that high cholesterol levels are also a problem.

Healthy eating is an important lifestyle choice. Not only will it help to reduce the foods that cause cholesterol production but it can also reduce the cortisol release. Healthy foods protect the body, supply energy, and help to boost the production of happy hormones, which help to reduce the stress hormones.

When you suffer from long term stress, you will want to look for ways to eliminate the reason for stress as much as possible. I know this isn’t always going to be easy. You may enjoy your career, but there will be times that you struggle to cope with all the demand your job throws at you. It’s not like you can just pick and choose. However, if there is a way that you can reduce the stuff you do that causes stress, such as delegation, then you want to do it where you can.

Long term high-stress levels may not cause immediate problems. There are links to issues years down the line because of the stress levels that you have felt at some point in your life. This issue is linked more with long term stress, but some bouts of short-term stress can also be a problem.

Stress Isn’t the Only Culprit: It is important to note that stress isn’t the only reason we suffer from high cholesterol levels. While it’s a silent killer and common, there are many other reasons your cholesterol levels could be high. Diet is certainly a factor, but so are genetics and other lifestyle choices that you make. The place you work or the chemicals that you inhale from where you live can also cause cholesterol levels to increase.

This is something that scientists are still trying to understand. We have come a long way since believing that all cholesterol was bad. Now we know that some cholesterol is good, and we want it to our bodies, but we need to make sure that it is good. While stress isn’t the only culprit, it is one of the main reasons for high cholesterol levels and other health problems. It’s best to keep the stress levels at bay as much as possible.”

"Any Other View..."

"Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told - and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion."
- Michael Crichton, "The Lost World"

"Holy S$%! Genius That Predicted Chat GPT Has Grim Warning For Humanity"


Canadian Prepper, 5/27/23
"Holy S$%! Genius That Predicted Chat GPT 
Has Grim Warning For Humanity"
Video and comments here:

Learn more about Dr. Hugo De Garis
o

"How It Really Is"

  

"Dan, I Allegedly, 5/27/23"

Dan, I Allegedly, 5/27/23
"We Can Settle This"
"Once and for all, we need to sit down and work this out. So many people don’t take a step back and try to work out any financial difficulty. You have to do that the debt ceiling nonsense looks like it’s going to be resolved."
Video and comments here:

"Col. Douglas Macgregor, Straight Calls, 5/27/23"

Col. Douglas Macgregor, Straight Calls, 5/27/23
"The Russians Are Overrunning 
The Two Areas That I Just Mentioned"
"Ukraine news today and in-depth discussion of 
current geopolitical events in the United States of America."
Video and comments here:
o
Hindustan Times, 5/27/23
"Putin's 'Flying Tanks' Decimate Ukrainian
 Platoons That Escaped From Bakhmut"
"Russia has deployed its 'Alligators' to sniff out and destroy Kyiv's camouflaged units. Ukrainian platoons who reportedly withdrew from Bakhmut after setbacks are now hiding in forests and plotting a counteroffensive against Russia. After receiving intelligence input on such Ukrainian platoons, the Russian army unleashed its KA-52 "flying tanks" to decimate the units in Donetsk."
Video and comments here:
o
While our own country is going straight to hell in every imaginable way, 
watch what you and me and all of us have paid at very least $120 billion for...
in something that was none of our damned business.

"Adventures With Danno, 5/27/23"

 
Adventures With Danno, 5/27/23
"Last Minute Shopping At Kroger! 
Get This Before It's Done!"
"In today's vlog, we are at Kroger and are finding some good last-minute ideas for Memorial Day Weekend! We also find some decent deals that you might want to stock up on before the prices go up again."
Video and comments here:
o
Compare this to your supermarket...

Travelling with Russell , 5/27/23
"Russian Typical Supermarket Tour: Victoria Supermarket"
"Everyone wanted me to visit more Russian owned typical Supermarkets. So here it is, a Russian Owned Suermarket chain based in Russia. Victoria Supermarket chain originally opened in Kaliningrad, but is now spread all over Russia."
Video and comments here:

Comments?

Enforced Post Format Change

Enforced Post Format Change: Immediately after posting this "Durham Report Exposes Greatest Crime in U.S. History? This Was A COUP!" Blogger for unknown reasons began denying the upload of any new graphics or videos, though text could be uploaded. Attempts to do so raised a window informing me I had to log into Google in order to do so. Well, geez, I'm already logged into Google for Blogger, YouTube and Gmail, but even trying to do so was pointless as the sign-in box instantly disappeared. Blogger has ignored 2 support requests to fix this. So, until this is resolved, if it ever is, new posts containing videos and/or graphic illustration will simply have the URL for it instead of the actual YouTube video or picture. Videos and graphics already uploaded and archived can seemingly be transferred, and will be used when appropriate, but expect non-usual posting. I'll do my best. I hope this blog doesn't suffer the same fate as its predecessor, but as you see below there are no guarantees... and, of course, no appeals.

Steve Jobs said, "We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" After 12 years and one month of daily posts the original "Running" was suddenly, with no warning or explanation whatsoever, deleted by Blogger on Sept.10, 2020.
This was our "dent"... to 9/10/20
Posts Since 8/14/2008: 63,149
Unique Visitors 3,130,395
Total Pageviews 8,988,153
374 Followers
Stats updates ended then.

Archived material may be viewed here: https://web.archive.org/
Paste this in search field: running 'cause I can't fly

I'll answer any questions or comments here:
coyoteprime@gmail.com

And, as always, folks, thanks for stopping by! Onward!

Friday, May 26, 2023

"The Biggest Crash Of Our Lifetime Has Begun!"

Red Pilled TV, 5/26/23
"The Biggest Crash Of Our Lifetime Has Begun!"
Clayton Morris joins us to discuss the 
U.S. economy in this breaking news update."
Video and comments here:
o
Red Pilled TV, 5/26/23
"20 Needed Foods That Will 
Go Out of Stock This Summer!"
Clayton Morris joins us to discuss the U.S.
economy in this breaking news update."
Video and comments here:

Musical Interlude: Deuter, "Atmospheres"

Deuter, "Atmospheres"

"McDonald's Is In Deep, Deep Trouble As Biggest Fast Food Chains In America Face Collapse"

"McDonald's Is In Deep, Deep Trouble As 
Biggest Fast Food Chains In America Face Collapse"
By Epic Economist

"Now this is very serious, folks. A new report by Franchise Consulting Group has exposed that McDonald’s business model is in its dying days. Believe it or not, the biggest fast food chain in the entire world is facing rising unrest among franchisees that generate over two-thirds of its revenue in the U.S. and say the company is on a “destructive path.” One of them has gone bankrupt and filed for bankruptcy just 45 days ago, and insiders familiar with the matter are saying that systemic risks are rapidly growing for the food service retailer given that about 30% of franchisees are currently insolvent. To make things worse, by the end of 2023, 2,000 McDonald’s restaurants may disappear from U.S. cities. Pressure from regulators, labor tensions, and financial losses may force the fast food giant to sharply reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint this year as it faces a reckoning after years of mismanagement, according to the analysis.

The report notes that management is struggling to justify higher fees and other charges to franchisees that are already coping with rising wages and the unrelenting climb in costs for ingredients and packaging which have been eroding profits over the past few years. Franchisees operate 95 percent of McDonald’s locations in the U.S. and generate about 70 percent of revenue in the country. The National Owners Association estimates that McDonald’s restaurants, on average, will generate less cash for a second straight year in 2023, further complicating the situation of operators that aren’t financially sound.

Squeezed by higher costs and grumbling at new operating rules, franchisees are joining a meeting this month with the company’s board to press their case in person. The session will give U.S. operators “an opportunity to share with the board of directors why we believe we are on a destructive path,” one group of owners said in an emailed newsletter to about 1,000 members. Backed by analysts, many of them fear the franchise system is nearing a major crisis, some going so far as to suggest the business model is doomed. “The CEO is sowing the seeds of our demise. We are a quick-serve fast-food restaurant, not a fast casual like Five Guys or Chipotle,” said one franchisee. “The system is very lost at the moment,” said another franchisee. “Our menu boards are still bloated, and we are still trying to be too many things to too many people. Things are broken from the franchisee perspective.”

In a financial survey by the Nomura Group, a franchisee stated that the company is in the “throes of a deep depression, and nothing is changing” and exposed that roughly “30 percent of operators are now insolvent”. Another franchisee cited by the FCC report went as far as to speculate that McDonald’s is literally “facing its final days”. In recent months, Americans have taken to social media to voice their outrage about the McDonald’s prices. They say the chain has become wildly overpriced while quality is deteriorating. For U.S. consumers, some of the biggest draws of eating at fast-food chains are convenience and comfort, but the biggest of them all is certainly affordability. And while McDonald's customers reckon with higher fast-food bills, the company itself is also in the midst of a reckoning about its future. The bankruptcies, the closings, and the layoffs demonstrate why analysts believe McDonald’s business model is collapsing."
Video and comments here:

Musical Interlude: Il Divo, "Wicked Game"

 

Full screen recommended.
Il Divo, "Wicked Game" ("Melanconia") 
(Live In London 2011)

"A Look to the Heavens"

“From Sagittarius to Carina, the Milky Way Galaxy shines in this dark night sky above planet Earth’s lush island paradise of Mangaia. Familiar to denizens of the southern hemisphere, the gorgeous skyscape includes the bulging galactic center at the upper left and bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri just right of center. About 10 kilometers wide, volcanic Mangaia is the southernmost of the Cook Islands. Geologists estimate that at 18 million years old it is the oldest island in the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, the Milky Way is somewhat older, with the galaxy’s oldest stars estimated to be over 13 billion years old. (Editor’s note: This image holds the distinction of being selected as winner in the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition in the Earth and Space category.)“

Chet Raymo, “A Few Words Inspired By The Tomato Plant”

“A Few Words Inspired By The Tomato Plant”
by Chet Raymo

"Mostly we think of life in terms of individuals - this person, this tomato plant, this frog, this oak tree, this gnat. And we talk about birth and death as the beginning and ending of life. But there is another sense in which life is just one thing, whose beginning is lost in the depths of time and whose end is not in sight. Life in this sense embodies itself in matter, temporarily, as a tomato or a frog, puts on matter and puts off matter as we might don or doff clothes. By this account, I am an ephemeral conglomeration of atoms that life is using to perpetuate itself.

But what is this thing called life? It cannot exist except as embodied form, but it maintains a continuity independent of any particular embodiment. It is a strange enduring wave that stirs the material world into purposeful and directed avenues. With Johannes Kepler we might call it the facultas formatrix of nature, the formative faculty, but giving something a name doesn't explain it. Whatever life is - in the unitary, enduring sense - it would be surprising if it only existed here on Earth. If I were a betting man I would bet that life is as pervasive as matter itself, or energy. Matter, energy and complexification. We have lots left to learn.

But let's be cautious. There are lots of folks out there with half-baked biocentric theories of the universe. Someone once chided the philosopher W. V. O. Quine with a quote from Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” To which Quine is said to have responded: “Possibly, but my concern is that there not be more things in my philosophy than are in heaven and earth.”

"Death in the Afternoon"

"Death in the Afternoon"
by Joel Bowman

"To be immortal is commonplace; except for man, 
all creatures are immortal, for they are ignorant of death; 
what is divine, terrible, incomprehensible, is to know that one is mortal."
~ Jorge Luis Borges

"Everything is illuminated against its opposite; truth against fallacy; light against darkness; life against death. And who would have it any other way, even if they could? What would life on this mortal coil be, for instance, without the eternity of its terminally mysterious counterpoint?

If there exists a perfect setting for these and associated meditations, it must surely be the magnificent Recoleta Cemetery, located right here in Buenos Aires. On any given weekend, this sacred resting place for thousands of the city’s most famous – and infamous – people is found to be one of the liveliest places in town. Notable interments include a who’s-who list of Argentine writers, painters, poets, musicians, scientists and luminaries from other noble fields of interest. And, because nothing, including death, is beyond the law of equilibrium, a handful of politicians also rot underfoot.

Tourists pour in to adorn Maria Eva Duarte de PerĂ³n’s grave with flowers, for instance, bypassing the resting place of a Nobel Prize-winning chemist and a dozen honest writers to do so. Other, temporary attendees pose with Colgate smiles to have their picture taken beside weeping cement angels, frozen, as they are, in a state of perpetual sorrow. Young boys give the “peace” symbol next to the generals’ tombs whose armies laid to waste to tens of thousands of men, not much older than they, the bodies of whom are long forgotten, their makeshift graves unmarked.

Nowhere does irony live a fuller life than in a cemetery. Walking among the deceased, reading bookend dates on the bronze plaques, one is reminded of the finite nature of all things; organisms, currencies, political regimes, class structures. When the cemetery was constructed, back in 1822, it must have been a good ride from the exclusive barrios of San Telmo and Montserrat. The rich probably wouldn’t have been caught dead around the grounds of the Monks of the Order of the Recoletos, nor near the shabby, patchwork graveyard that was built there the same year the group disbanded.

Half a century later - and with Argentina still reeling from the War of the Triple Alliance and its own, subsequent civil war - a yellow fever epidemic tore through the capital city. Its wealthier, southern quarters were among the worst hit areas. Death toll estimates range from thirteen to twenty-five thousand. The clase alta packed up and moved north, largely into and around the Recoleta barrio. As such, the marbled vaults came to be populated with members of this same aristocracia, who, though they escaped the fever, came to rest here eventually just the same.

Today, you could buy an entire building in San Telmo for the same price as some of the finely appointed homes in Recoleta. An entire block in Montserrat might go for half that much.

And so it goes. People die…cities and empires crumble to the ground…and time, indifferent to the fleeting anguishes and triumphs of men, presses on.

At the turn of the 20th century, Argentina was ranked as the 8th most prosperous nation on earth. Only Belgium, Switzerland, Britain and a handful of former English colonies - including the United States – were more favorably positioned, economically. In 1913, Argentina’s bustling, cosmopolitan capital, Buenos Aires, had the thirteenth highest per capita telephone penetration rate in the world. Her per capita income was, around this time, 50% higher than in Italy, almost twice that of Japan and five times greater than its northern neighbor, Brazil. Argentina’s industry churned out quality textiles and leading edge, refrigerated shipping containers carried her prized beef, first introduced in 1536 by the Spanish Conquistadors, from the fertile plains of the pampas to the farthest reaches of the known world.

As the century wore on, protectionist policies at home and increased competition from the export-led, post-WWII economies – particularly from Japan and Italy – undermined Argentina’s international advantage. From 1900 through to the beginning of the new millennium, Argentina’s real GDP per person grew at a rate of 1.88% per year. Brazil outpaced her handily, clocking a 2.39% annualized growth rate. Japan, starting with a real GDP per person of just over $1,500 (2006 dollars) at the turn of the twentieth century, grew an average of 2.76% per year. By the middle of last decade, Japan’s real GDP per person had doubled that of Argentina. By 2020, it was more than quadruple.

The phenomenon is so conspicuous, the local Argentines even have a joke for it. “There are four types of countries in the world,” they lament. “First world. Third world. Japan, where nobody can figure out how they did so much with so little. And Argentina, where nobody can figure out how we did so little with so much.”

War, currency debasement, civil unrest, military rule and the catalyzing agent of political aspiration, harbored by the equally corrupt and inept, all conspired to stultify this once-proud nation’s potential. The great Argentine poet and essayist, Jorge Luis Borges, described one such retarding factor with characteristic flare and wit: “The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb.”

On a comfortable Sunday afternoon in late February, an elderly group of well-dressed gentlemen met at their favorite restaurant, right by the gate to the Recoleta Cemetery, for lunch. They took a table outside, one in the shade and with a view of the passing foot traffic. The waiters, having brought the regulars the same thing, more or less, every Sunday for as long as they could remember, immediately set about filling their table. There was bife de lomo and chorizo sausages, mozzarella and buffalo tomatoes and papas fritas by the pile. Rich, Argentine Malbecs and Cabernets flowed freely and the merriment of the group soon became infectious. They flirted with the pretty waitresses and joked with patrons at the nearby tables.

After more than a few bottles, one of the gentlemen got chatting with an Australian editor of no particular importance. “I am a judge here,” he eventually told the younger man. “My friends and I have seen it all in this city…riots, economic crises, war, people’s entire life savings wiped out overnight.”

One of his friends lent over and placed a knowing hand on the judge’s shoulder. “Today, we enjoy the moment,” he said to his lifelong friend, before adding, one long finger pointed over the cemetery wall, “because tomorrow…ha ha…well, you know our next stop old man.” And the table erupted in laughter, as the sun set over the angel’s heads in the background.

Cheers,"

"Never..."

“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest - forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.”
 - Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Freely download "The Origins of Totalitarianism" here:

"Jeremiah Babe, 5/26/23"

Jeremiah Babe, 5/26/23
"Buying An Overpriced Home; Financing A Cellphone; 
Prepare For Job Losses"
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"Walmart Food Prices Are Now 200% More Expensive This 2023"

 

Finance Today, 5/26/23
"Walmart Food Prices Are Now 200% 
More Expensive This 2023"

"We're sorry to break it to you, but if you typically buy for groceries at Walmart to save money, you're not saving as much as you think. You've undoubtedly already noticed that supermarket costs are rising across the board at all stores. However, a recent study shows that, despite Walmart's promise of low prices, this is particularly the case there. The editorial staff at Trading Pedia looked into 34 grocery items' price fluctuations at Walmart during the preceding two years and noticed that the bulk of the items' prices had grown considerably, with many of them rising by more than 100%. In October, 90% of Americans expressed concern about food prices, which is understandable. However, decreased food production and supply chain issues will worsen the affordability crisis in early 2023, causing food inflation.

TradingPedia financial analyst Brian McColl and his team analyzed data for the world's largest retailer's most popular foods and found shocking results. According to the data, the merchant charged 31% more for a package of chicken breasts during the last two years, 126% more for a package of 18 eggs, and 150% more for a gallon of milk. Dairy and eggs saw a 70% average increase. Sweet onions rose 165% and an eight-pack of Pepsi 67% from 2020 prices. Walmart saw an average price increase of 22% for meat and seafood and 29% for veggies. Olive oil rose 48% and tomato sauce 57%.

In example, a recent viral video showed a Walmart employee boosting the price of salad dressing from $2.24 to $7.88, a more than 350% increase. According to JP Morgan retail specialists, Walmart raised prices the most among leading food retailers in the latest quarter. Walmart's grocery prices are rising due to store price increases. The company's leaders have also stated that "double-digit" food inflation has hurt sales in other superstore departments and will continue to do so this year. The company forecast an 11%–13% drop in fiscal 2023 earnings per share, below Wall Street expectations."
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"There Are Always Two Voices..."

At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other, even more reasonable, says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man’s power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of events; and that it is therefore better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second.”
- Leo Tolstoy, “War and Peace”
“All our mortal lives are set in danger and perplexity: one day to prosper,
and the next – who knows? When all is well, then look for rocks ahead.”
- Sophoclese, “Philoctetes”
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A little light reading from Tolstoy… 
Freely download “War and Peace”, by Leo Tolstoy, here: