March 30, 2020

Pandemic Prognostications

Life has always been a maze of unknowns, but from now on we will quit pretending that we have it all figured out, and admit that this is a much needed global humbling event.

“Disasters are an opportunity for the worst of humanity. And the best.”
- A. G. Riddle 

What happens when what we used to think of life as usual comes to a creaking halt? Where do we turn when what we think we know turns out to be wrong, or at least outdated?

We won't have to guess about questions like these, because all around us, day by painful day, we are finding out.

Looking a little farther down the line, here are are some of my thoughts on how this all might shake out. 

My Pandemic Prognostications

- introverts will have a better survival rate than extroverts (our culture selects for extroverts, but nature is selecting for introverts right now)

- anti-education, anti-specialist, anti-science proponents and areas will not fare well (see New York, the current COVID 10 epicentre, and Florida, where vectors are packing themselves on to beaches).

- people who have been living simply will prove to be better prepared to deal with this global forced simplification, which may turn out to be permanent.

- North Americans will abandon the handshake (I've never liked it, preferring a nod from a safe distance) after seeing that cultures with no-contact greetings/goodbyes have lower infection rates. 

- people will stop believing that our system is benign and beneficial to all when citizens are left to die by a structure that is incapable at protecting them at best, and is fanning the flames of a Darwinian dystopia at the worst.

- areas/cultures that celebrate individualism and "liberty" will have higher infection/death rates over those that recognize the value of balancing personal freedoms with responsibilities toward the needs of the collective.

- our dirty system is going to be exposed in all its decomposing glory, but some will still want to plant their gardens there.

- we will be forced to do away with useless things like cruise ships, flying for no reason other than one is bored or wants bragging rights with one's friends, personal vehicles, and any business that produces anything other than necessities.

- those who didn't realize it before, will come to see that billionaires, sports stars, and celebrities are expendable in this new world, while grocery check out clerks, front line health care workers, and regular working folks are the real heroes worthy of our worship and money.

- many will start to question the value of work, and the value of everything, then decide that staying at home and just living isn't as bad as they were told it would be.

- a decade from now people will still be trying to figure out where the virus originated, if bats were involved, and if it was really a bioweapon unleashed by the dark forces of the greedy elite.

- America's "China bad" propaganda will backfire, just like its Russiagate fiasco did.

- the simplification that the planet desperately needs will be hastened by this event, and we will see that simple is better

No one knows how this will end. No one. Anyone that says they do know is lying.

While it is interesting to watch and take a few wild guesses, like I have here, we will just have to wait and see. I don't know about you, but I am taking this one, one crazy day at a time.

Here is hoping that you and yours are fairing well, and even thriving, whatever that means in today's new world.

Love, peace, and good health to you all.

Now I am waving to you. And nodding, bowing, and giving you the Namaste hand gesture. 

Virtual hugs, too. 

But not the real kind. 

March 24, 2020

The Real Price Gougers

When corporate bigwigs raise the prices of things for no reason other than greed, they are doing their jobs. That is the system we live in, and no one says much about it since it increases the GDP, and makes billionaires like clouds make raindrops.

A common business adage is that a good capitalist will charge as much for a product as the consumer will bear. 

However, when one of the little people feels like being enterprising and taking advantage of the "freedom of the marketplace" and "supply and demand economics", all hell breaks loose.

$400.00 dollar hand sanitizer is likely to get a small business person scathing judgements and death threats, even though customers may still be buying at that price. 

Price gouging is considered unethical, and for good reasons. But only when the little people do it.

Drug companies are only one area notorious for unethical practices. Reading the following list it is obvious that price gouging is taking place, and people are paying with their lives.

  • The cost of Bavencio, a new cancer drug approved in March, is about $156,000 a year per patient.
  • A new muscular dystrophy drug came on the market late last year for an eye-popping price of $300,000 annually.
  • In 2016, the FDA appproved Tecentriq, a new bladder cancer treatment that costs $12,500 a month, or $150,000 a year. 
  • Even older drugs that have long been on the market are not immune: The cost of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, despite no notable changes in the formulation or manufacturing process. 
  • The four-decade-old EpiPen, a lifesaving allergy medication, has seen a price hike of 500 percent since 2007.                               - AARP Bulletin 

If Handwash Guy can't get away with earning a few thousand reselling his product, how does Big Drug get away with it?

“The simple answer is because there’s nothing stopping them,” said Leigh Purvis, a health services researcher.

So what other price gouging is taking place, since in the land of extreme capitalism there is nothing, legislation or morals, to stop them? 

Gas? Housing? Food? Internet access? Health care? 


And isn't capitalism itself about to price gouge all of us to the tune of several trillion dollars over the next few days?

It is obvious who the real price gougers are. 

Get ready to be gouged again.

March 21, 2020

World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day. How apt - who couldn't use a little poetry in times like these?

World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO in 1999, "with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard".    - Wikipedia

Why poetry?

•Poetry is a way to explain the inner feelings. 
•Poetry is the explanation of words. 
•Poetry comes from the heart.  

Could it be that poetry can describe truths that other language forms shy away from? Might it counter the use of language to spread the purposeful destruction of truth that we know as propaganda? 

If so, it is worthy of having a designated special day.

And don't you know that one of the endangered languages that is not spoken often enough today is the language of simplicity, thrift, frugality, freedom and slow. 

Hmm, what rhymes with frugality?

Inner pleasure.
Society's brainwash: 
Happiness and Having

- Syed Anwar Yarkhan Jilani 

Happiness means
The simplicity
Of life.

- Sri Chinmoy

The Garden Buddha

By Peter Pereira

Gift of a friend, the stone Buddha sits zazen,   
prayer beads clutched in his chubby fingers.   
Through snow, icy rain, the riot of spring flowers,   
he gazes forward to the city in the distance—always   

the same bountiful smile upon his portly face.   
Why don’t I share his one-minded happiness?   
The pear blossom, the crimson-petaled magnolia,   
filling me instead with a mixture of nostalgia   

and yearning.  He’s laughing at me, isn’t he?   
The seasons wheeling despite my photographs   
and notes, my desire to make them pause.   
Is that the lesson?  That stasis, this holding on,   

is not life?  Now I’m smiling, too—the late cherry,   
its soft pink blossoms already beginning to scatter;   
the trillium, its three-petaled white flowers   

exquisitely tinged with purple as they fall.   

Happy World Poetry Day everyone.

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