It Can’t Happen Here

In 1966 Frank Zappa released his seminal double-LP, Freak Out! by the Mothers of Invention.

Freak Out! Album Cover

Album cover for Freak Out!

While the album was a sardonic and often critical statement on the state of the 1960s, it’s amazing how much the content remains relevant today, in 2024, 58 years later!

I still own the album on vinyl.  And more often these days, I’m reminded of some of the song titles and lyrics:  Who Are The Brain Police?  Trouble Every Day, and the song that inspired this post, It Can’t Happen Here.  Why?

Only a few years after the release of Freak Out!, I found myself the dependent son of an American diplomat posted behind the Iron Curtain, a term coined by Winston Churchill in 1946 to depict the divide between the Soviet Union and Western Europe. This was at the height of the Cold War, when Americans were viewed by communist regimes as “the enemy.” As a long-haired college kid at the time, I found the experience educational and informative.  Better still, I had the luxury of leaving any time I wished (college was in what was then known as West Germany) so I had enormous advantages that the everyday citizens of the country did not.  I drove an American car with diplomatic license plates when citizens had to save up and wait for years to obtain a terrible Trabant, Wartburg or similar examples of soviet “expertise.”

A Trabant (defunct) from East Germany, circa 1966 - 1985

A Trabant P 601

I knew I had privilege.  I was able to go places, buy things and enjoy myself at leisure.  I also knew (and had been apprised of this by embassy personnel) that I was under constant surveillance.  It’s likely my bedroom was bugged, our house staff would certinaly report anything that might compromise my family’s position, and that everywhere I went I was followed by the secret police.  In fact, I enjoyed spotting my “tails” and would sometimes lead them around on wild goose chases as I navigated the cities and countryside.  Despite my youth and privileged status, it was clear to me there was an “us-versus-them” air about my time there.

When the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, it signaled the end of the Cold War.  At least as we knew it (my father had a photograph of him chipping away a piece of it, and enclosed the fragment in a block of lucite).  What followed was a period of détente, where if we weren’t “pals” with the Russians, we at least agreed to trade, and generally cooperate.

So, now back to the topic at hand:  It can’t happen here.

For decades, Americans have been schooled on the “evils of communism.”  Until they weren’t!  At some undetermined point, but likely in 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved, the Soviet threat seemed to have lifted.  But that didn’t end communism; it just took on a new face.  For a few years, Russia struggled internally, and then in 1999 Vladimir Putin climbed the steps of power, becoming the country’s president in 2012, where he continues to this day (having rewritten the Russian constitution to allow him to do so, and by eliminating his political opponents — permanently).

America’s relationship with communism and Russia has been and up-and-down affair for years.  During President Obama’s time in office, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made famous the “RESET” attempt.

Spelling error -

Spelling error – “Reset” translated to “overcharge” on embarrassing attempt to mend US-Russian relations.

When Vladimir Putin assumed the Russian presidency in 2012, the wily former KGB officer began to put his lock on the Russian political scene.  At the same time, the values and practices of the soviets had been hard at work in the U. S.  The educational system was infested with leftist ideologues, and graduates from colleges and universities that had become indoctrination centers began to take up residence in schools, media, law centers and offices of government (local, state and federal).  The quote by former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev rings out:

Gullible Americans according to Nikita Krushchev

Krushchev quote on Americans accepting socialism and communism.

So, when Frank Zappa sang, “It can’t happen here,” he was not only satirizing mainstream middle America, but was also foretelling the direction the country would take when the “Hungry Freaks, Daddy” became mainstream (check the lyrics at the link).  Today, the halls of government, academia, healthcare and technology have upended the Constitution and turned the USA into a mirror of the soviet state.

We have a two-tiered justice system (“laws for thee but not for me”).  where you are protected if you’re a member of the privileged class, but jailed or ruined if you’re not.  The U.S. has become a surveillance state, as former CIA director James Clapper admitted to Congress. There is a secret court (FISC) with unnamed judges conducting investigations into private American citizens’ lives.  Profligate spending to send purported hush-money (and the anticipated kickbacks) has run the country to the brink of ruin, while the borders have become open doors to the world’s underclass.  As Donald Trump once said (and was pilloried for saying it), ““When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you.”  Few of the migrants breaking U. S. immigration law are likely rocket scientists, computer programmers, or brain surgeons.

Russian author Elena Gorokhova wrote in her book, A Mountain of Crumbs, “They lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying but they keep lying anyway, and we keep pretending to believe them.”  That pretty much describes the current status of USA.

As Walt Kelly’s Pogo once observed, “We have me the enemy and he is us.”

We Have Met The Enemy...

Walt Kelly’s Pogo the Possum, © 1971

It can’t happen here.  Right?

Where Has “The Science” Gone?

A thought occurred to me today while I was out running (yes, I’ve started back; it’s a long way to go, but the benefits call to me…), the old saying, “Boys will be boys.”

This line was often used to excuse obstreperous, reckless, sometimes unruly behavior, because after all, boys will be boys.  The typical reaction to an overly-rambunctious boy was a “time-out,” sometimes accompanied by sitting in a corner.

Somewhere along the line, “scientists” decided that boys were afflicted with some made-up affliction they termed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and invented drugs to counteract this behavior.  In other words, don’t let boys be boys, but turn them into malleable zombies.

Today, it’s gotten worse.  No longer do the “scientists” want boys to be boys, they want boys to be girls!  Yes, as the “woke” pandemic propagates, it now seems that every little boy is a mistake, and “science” determines that they should indeed, be girls.

THEN:  Boys will be boys

NOW: Boys will be girls

Except that this entire trend lacks any true science behind it.  Now, I’m not a scientist.  I don’t even play one on television.  But I have achieved that rare quality:  An education.

Thus, despite the claim of “scientists,” boys are born boys and girls are born girls, and no amount of makeup, surgery, and/or indoctrination can change that.  How can I say this?  Science.

Research has determined that human DNA contains 23 pair of chromosomes.  Female humans have two “X” chromosomes and male humans have one “X” and one “Y.”  DNA exists in every cell of the human body.  It is beyond the reach of science to alter a human’s DNA to add, remove or change a chromosome.  Thus, males are born male and will forever remain such, as females will always be female.  Science.

“Fake science” seems to have overtaken “fake news.”

Take “climate change,” for example.  Doomsayers are claiming that anthropogenic (man-caused) climate change will destroy the planet.  They even say that the year 2030 is the deadline to enact programs designed to prevent this catastrophe.

But where is the science behind this?  Proponents of “green” technologies and “new deals” point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a “scientific” group established by the United Nations (let’s dispense with any commentary on the uselessness of the U. N. for now, shall we?) that issues dire reports on the state of the earth’s climate.  On what does the IPCC base its science?  A simple answer:  Political science.

The upcoming sixth report from the IPCC, in a leaked documents, says, “Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems,” the draft reportedly says. “Humans cannot.”  No, humans cannot.  And in fact, NO SPECIES HAS EVER BEEN PROVED TO EVOLVE INTO A NEW SPECIES.”  Science?

Geologists (and now the astrophysicists behind the Hubble and Webb telescopes) are constantly proving the origins of the universe, the earth and of mankind.  Once again, the amateur scientist, through my reading, listening and observation, understands that the universe is some 13.7 billion years old and is constantly expanding.  As it ages, old stars and planets die and new ones are born.  Earth was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago, and as our sun ripened, cooled a bit, and continental shift occurred as the seas receded (a through reading on earth’s geological history may be found at the very scholarly Encyclopedia Brittanica) and an environment suitable for life was created.

Ah, science.  Much of our understanding of earth’s history comes from the fossil record.  Let me state what has been known and is known:  The fossil record never shows evolution.  Particularly of man.  Those who claim man descended from apes are “science deniers.”

Speaking of fossils, where does the idea that petroleum is derived from dead and decaying dinosaurs?  A few data, mostly buried and forgotten, reveal this to be possibly false (a brief article and interview on this topic can be found here: Oil As A Fossil Fuel Is Fake Science).  Two important takeaways:

  1. Oil is frequently found at, and drilled at, levels far below that at which fossils are found
  2. At the 1892 Geneva Convention, John D. Rockefeller lobbied to have petroleum listed in the definition of organic materials, hoping to increase its value as a “scarce” resource.

The debate over oil being biotic (formed through the decay of organic material) or abiotic, which Richard Heinberg states, “[H]olds that there must therefore be nearly limitless pools of liquid primordial hydrocarbons at great depths on Earth, pools that slowly replenish the reservoirs that conventional oil drillers tap.”

Governments seeking power and businessmen seeking riches have always been the driving force in moving man’s “progress” forward.  They don’t always use science.

One final note:  I have read (and am re-reading) a book that addresses many of these topics in detail and scientifically.  Its title is Why The Universe Is The Way It Is, by Hugh Ross.  Spoiler alert:  Ross states, and then goes on to demonstrate scientifically, that the Bible, written in antiquity, reveals more about the universe than most “science” these days.

What’s In A Name?

I often resist the urge to post articles about politics, despite the political overtones of this site’s name.  But recently an issue has come up that has me both scratching my head as well as wondering how names change, and who decides?

As I write this, Russia is invading Ukraine.  I will leave the emotional and humanitarian aspects of this aside for the moment, since my topic is about a name:  The name of Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev.  Or, as many now would have it, Kyiv.

Some quick study shows that Kiev (KEE-ev) was the common English spelling and pronunciation up until the Russians invaded, at which point the “formal” Ukrainian spelling and pronunciation of Kyiv (KEEV) was adopted by the western press.  (n.b., the phonetic spellings are taken from Wikipedia or are my own when transliteration is impractical).

Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union since 1922 as one of its “soviet socialist republics.” Ukrainian itself is an ethnic group, and traces its roots back to 32,000 B. C. As with most of Europe, empires have come and gone, and Ukraine has been absorbed and integrated into many of them.  Which brings us back to the name.

Kiev is considered to be the Russian spelling and pronunciation, and for 70+ years was the accepted form.  In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine declared its independence.  Western usage of the name continued, although Ukrainians quickly adopted their “proper” name, and in 2019 petitioned the United States Board on Geographic Names and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to do the same.  Officially, on maps and other cartographic instruments, Kyiv is now the official name and spelling.

So the question I have is this:  Why does the media, in its “hive mind,” choose to make the distinction now?

(Side note:  As a youth, and after college, I knew the name of the Chinese capital as Peking.  In 1979, the Wade-Giles system for the romanization of written Chinese moved from Cantonese to Mandarin, and thus Peking became Beijing – technically a restoration of the name and not a change.  This was my first exposure to how different cultures apply their conventions to others).

Tossing aside the fact that Kyiv is technically accurate, why does the media now uniformly decide to use it?  There was no such focus prior to the Russian invasion.

Which got me to thinking:  If western media wants to be accurate, why do they not apply the same standard to other capitals?  A few immediate examples I can think of, and their native (albeit phonetic) pronunciations) are:

  • Moscow (Moskva)
  • Paris (Paree)
  • Munich (Muenchen)
  • Budapest (Budapesht)

And one of my favorites:  Copenhagen.  The capital of Denmark is pronounced “Koobenhavn.” English speakers typically pronounce it “Copen-hāgen.”  Some, who wish to appear worldly and effete pronounce it “Copen-hoggen” without knowing that to do is an affront to the natives.  Most Danes are too polite to mention it, but the Germanic pronunciation still carries with it the resentment of the German treatment of the Danes during WWII!

And how about Bangkok?  In Thai, the official name of the capital is Krung Thep Maha Nakon, or colloquially as Krung Thep.  According to Wikipedia,

Officially, the town was known as Thonburi Si Mahasamut (ธนบุรีศรีมหาสมุทร, from Pali and Sanskrit, literally ‘city of treasures gracing the ocean’) or Thonburi, according to the Ayutthaya Chronicles.[15] Bangkok was likely a colloquial name, albeit one widely adopted by foreign visitors, who continued to use it to refer to the city even after the new capital’s establishment.

When King Rama I established his new capital on the river’s eastern bank, the city inherited Ayutthaya’s ceremonial name, of which there were many variants, including Krung Thep Thawarawadi Si Ayutthaya (กรุงเทพทวารวดีศรีอยุธยา) and Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (กรุงเทพมหานครศรีอยุธยา).

As one who has traveled extensively, and who has visited many of the cities listed above, it strikes me as humorous (and perhaps even disingenuous) how the media all of a sudden “discovers” a new name for a place, and then pretend to be intellectually and snobbishly superior by using it.


I don’t update this site on a regular schedule; I do so whenever the mood strikes. I debated making this post for a day or two before actually sitting down to write, and if it weren’t for the fact I was notified of some necessary site maintenance, might have let the moment pass.

Yesterday (March 32, 2021) was the birthday of Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, known worldwide by his pen name: Dr. Seuss (in truth, he was never a doctor). It was also Read Across America Day, chosen specifically to coincide with Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Geisel authored 60 books, which sold upwards of 600 million copies, and were translated into 20 languages (source: Wikipedia).

As a kid, I remember reading his books, their rhyming, almost-doggerel and bendy, twisty figures spanning pages and telling stories that were both lighthearted and childish as well as morality tales. Horton Hears a Who!‘s moral was: A person’s a person, no matter how small.

The same “Horton” (an elephant) reprised his gentle, caring role in Horton Hatches The Egg. The moral of this story is about keeping one’s word. “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. . . . An elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!”

Dr. Seuss’s honors include two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, the Inkpot Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Additionally, he was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame (ibid).

All of this sounds perfectly deserving of the acclaim and honors bestowed on Geisel, during his life and after his death. So why then, is this post entitled, “Unsanity?”

There are other uses for this term. I chose it because “insanity” doesn’t seem to even begin to describe what’s going on in the U. S. A. and by inference, the rest of the world today. There is a concerted effort to rewrite history, and a growing “cancel culture” has arisen that seeks to airbrush (or worse) elements of the American experience from all media and mention. Statues of Founding Fathers have been toppled Taliban-like, posts and articles have been “fact checked” and blocked from social media, and even upcoming social media site Parler was “de-platformed” by Amazon Web Services, causing the site to go completely offline for weeks until it could find another hosting service.

All of this reeks of a world gone mad. America is supposed to be the “shining city on a hill,” as Ronald Reagan quoted in his farewell address. A beacon of hope and freedom. The Statue of Liberty beckoning those “yearning to breathe free.” So, what happened?

The Loudoun County, Virginia public school system (the county in which I currently live) has determined that “after studying” Geisel’s books and tearing them apart under the guise of “social justice,” they now are deemed racist in nature and should no longer be the “focus” of the Read Across America Day. Right.

This comes right on the heels of a decision by the Hasbro Toy Company to remove the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” designations from their Potatohead toys (point of historical fact: When I was a kid, a real potato was used as the subject one plugged in the articles – eyes, glasses, hands, feet, etc.). Really? IT’S A POTATO, folks!

It would be easy to say these “issues” and items being promulgated today are insane. But that’s an easy out. It goes beyond sane or insane. It’s UNSANE!

An Open Letter to Apple

Dear Mr. Cook:

I am dismayed at Apple’s decision to remove the Parler app from the App Store. In many ways, this seems contrary to Apple’s founding and original character.

The Mac Team and the Pirate Flag

My love for Apple and its products began in the late 1970s. I had first an Apple //e, then a IIc. When I was able to get my hands on a Macintosh, I replaced the IIc quickly. I’ve read all 122 stories by and about the Mac team at When Steve Jobs raised the skull and crossbones flag and declared, “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy,” the tone was set. Apple wasn’t going to “go along,” Apple was going to be a challenger. A trend-setter.

I remember the “dark days” of Apple after Steve left. I remember Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio and the horrendously complex line of boring, tan computers. I remember the rumors that Apple was going to be acquired by Sun Microsystems. I remember Microsoft, considered to be Apple’s staunchest rival, infusing Apple with $!50 million to keep the company solvent. I remember buying Guy Kawasaki’s book, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, and buying and proudly wearing a “Mac Evangelist’ shirt (which I still own).

The one and only MacWorld D. C. occurred in 1989, and I attended gleefully. I won a copy of Informix’s Wingz program which was completely ahead of its time. I belonged to several Macintosh user groups. I bought the first three volumes of Inside Macintosh (hardcover!), and the first edition of The Macintosh Bible, and I still revere its First Commandment: “This is the Macintosh. It’s supposed to be fun!”

This is a Second Edition cover; I couldn’t find a First Edition.

Owning and using a Mac, and then later Apple products was a pleasure and filled with satisfaction. A quick inventory of Apple products I own shows Macs (6), iPads (2), iPods (7), Airpods (2), iPhone (1), Magic Mouse (3), Apple Watch (1) and assorted cables, cases, connectors and keyboards. On top of that I have five shirts, including the Mac Evangelist shirt mentioned above and two coffee cups.

I became a shareholder 20 years ago. Apple’s stock has been one of the best investments I have made! I cheered when Apple became the first company ever to exceed the $1 trillion market valuation.

Somewhere along the line, Apple became the “establishment” as we used to call it. That same establishment that Steve Jobs so despised. I’m sad to say the products don’t work the way the old ads used to claim: “There is no step three.” I have experienced software glitches with macOS security updates, my new iPhone didn’t automatically transfer data from my old iPhone, and crashes are now more frequent than the “sad Mac” one would rarely experience.

And now, Apple has put the icing on the cake with its decision to remove the Parler app from the App Store. Personally, I don’t like and have little use for “social media” (which is anything but, in my opinion), but this move seems capricious and divisive. I’ve been to Parler, and I have never read any article or posting there inciting anyone to violence. I have read and seen worse on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Those apps are not banned from the App Store, which makes me wonder about selective indignation. If Parler were offering pornography, weapons building instructions or clearly illegal content, I could understand it. But this strikes me as a move to silence voices you don’t want heard.

Would you have silenced Steve Jobs because of his pirate flag?

With an Asterisk (*)

Lately I have been seeing a number of (mostly op-ed) articles placing an asterisk after Joe Biden’s name: Biden*

I am going to adopt this typography, as it speaks volumes to how the political landscape in the U. S. A. works today. At present, Joseph Robinette Biden seems poised to assume the office of President of the Unites States despite all logical indications he did not win that office. At least not fairly.

I won’t go into the many arguments, papers, treatises, videos, affidavits, charts and proclamations that make the point that massive fraud occurred during the presidential election of 2020, and that the true winner was the incumbent. It’s extremely rare for an incumbent to lose re-election. Especially when the record of accomplishments is as lengthy as president Donald John Trump’s.

Pictures Say More Than Words

The image above, as unfocused as it may be, tells the story without words: BIden rarely left his basement, and even put a “lid” on public appearances, while Trump traveled the country holding rallies, where thousands of enthusiastic supporters showed up. Weather be damned and COVID be damned. There is so much wrong that “statistics” show how improbable Biden’s “victory” could be. Yet, the media and “big tech” played handmaidens to the Democrats, and Biden’s victory has been proclaimed as if it were a fait accompli.

Thus the asterisk. I will never believe that Biden* won the presidency. If he takes the office on January 20th, 2021, he will be a “pretender.” A “president-select,” as it were. There will always be an asterisk attached to his presidency. For me and for 74 million other Americans.

Can We Return To Normal?

The headline is one I’ve been seeing and reading a lot recently. In my opinion, it’s an unanswerable question until we first define “normal.” I have long held that “normal” is a setting on a washing machine. There are no “normal” people, and I think a fair argument could be made that the year 2020 was anything but normal!

First, there was the COVID-19 pandemic, which as I write this, is still front page news, and has half the world’s population cowering under the bedsheets. Then there was the U. S. presidential election with the revelations of media bias, pollsters making, not taking opinion, and big tech become the ham-fisted Big Brother we’ve talked about but never worried about. Until now.

“Rebel Alliance” Post-It Note

The divisiveness heightened by the election campaign continues even post-election. It staggers my mind to think that as technologically advanced as is the United States, a secure, streamlined process for holding elections — a mainstay of the American system — can’t be implemented. Oh, that’s right: One of the allegations raised is that bogeyman George Soros financed, at least in part, the manufacturer of the voting machines used in 16 states. As one side proclaims victory, the other side continues to challenge the validity and honesty of the election. What strikes me as pathetically laughable is that the presumptive winner is vowing to be “president of all,” and is expressing a desire for unity. Excuse me? This is the same party that nineteen minutes after President Trump was inaugurated proclaimed, “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.” (Washington Post, January 20, 2017). Funny, they had four years to “unify,” work “across the aisle,” and the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) concerned itself more with bogus documents, anonymous whistleblowers and efforts to block any progress by the Trump administration — including COVID relief. Were it not for Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate, it’s unlikely Trump would have been able to appoint three Associate Justices to the Supreme Court.

That all may be part of the way sausage is made, as the old saying goes, but this time, not only was the sausage-making in full view, but the mask of impartiality was stripped from the media, the pollsters, and even the big tech giants.

It has been my observation for close to twenty years, that the media had stopped reporting the news and had become a 24-hour-a-day propaganda machine. Only when cataclysmic events (fires, floods, earthquakes) transpired did the media avert its gaze from its attempts to brainwash us to do actual reporting. I have since sought to get news from abroad, where the media doesn’t have as deep an investment in the American landscape (sure, many of them are part of the globalist agenda, but they aren’t fixated on the U. S.).

When the polls were so obviously wrong in 2016 (Hillary Clinton was posted to a 96% assurance level of winning), the thinking was that the pollsters would reset their algorithms and do better next time. 2020 was that “next time,” and once again, they got it wrong. Not entirely, though. Being part of the campaign to elect Joe Biden, they continued to flog the beast in the attempt to influence voter opinion, not take it. However, they neglected the local races and House and Senate races, and came up far short. Their dishonesty is a visible as the media’s.

CEOs of Google, Facebook & Twitter

Big tech is the eye-opener. But maybe it shouldn’t be. It’s no secret that the majority of campaign contributions from the big tech companies go to Democrats and Leftist causes. While I can’t fully explain the why of this, I suspect much of it has to do with the Democrats’ continued outsourcing of intellectual property and manufacturing, thereby lining the coffers of the tech elites. As Dinesh D’Souza put it in his film, Trump Card (paraphrasing), “Remember when your parent told you to eat your dinner because there were starving kids in India? Nowadays, they tell their kids, ‘go to college, there are Indian kids out after your job.'” By cozying up to Washington, the big tech companies can avoid close scrutiny and possible anti-trust regulations.

The genius of the American system is twofold. First, the adventurous and entrepreneurial will find alternatives. Already, there are new social media platforms showing up that promise no censorship, and privacy of information. I have already joined MeWe, and I’m looking into Parler.

You see, it’s been my experience that when dictators, autocrats and oligarchs begin acting TOO tyrannical, the serfs rebel.

My rebellion has started. We may never get to “normal,” but then again, what is “normal?”


As I prepare to embark on what looks to be the strangest vacation I’ve taken, due mostly to the coronavirus and the restrictions it’s imposed, I’m thinking to myself, “I need to get away from all the hectoring. The thought came to me this morning, “When did we become a nation of busybodies?”

I don’t think it’s just because this is an election year, although that may play a large part. The impact COVID-19 has had on our lives has a lot to do with it too, I think. It seems no matter where you go, what you read, see or hear, somebody is trying to dictate their beliefs on everybody else. “Wear a mask.” “Vote this way.” “Or that way.” “Black lives matter (but apparently not others).” Life in the year 2020 has become positively Orwellian. Just 36 years later than predicted!

Having grown tired of the inane, often thoughtless bickering I’ve seen on social media sites, I have come to the conclusion that, “One person’s ‘social justice’ is another’s mental tyranny.” As the title of this piece suggests, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

Recently I posited the opinion that perhaps legislators — whose hypocrisy knows no bounds — are experimenting with testing the limits of their authority. It’s almost as if they en masse have decided to stretch the boundaries of their dictates to see how far they can push the people until the breaking point. The problem is, if and when that breaking point is reached, the result won’t be pretty.

The vacation I’m about to take has already been impacted by events. Flight cancelations have shortened my trip by two days, and I will end up spending the equivalent of two days sequestered in “secure” areas in airport terminals. Certainly not the kind of vacation I had envisioned.

But it’s better than sticking around and being deluged with negativity. At least for a few days.

There He Goes Again…

Fully aware that I tend to take on a new project or a new pastime by diving head-first into it, only to have it subside — if not die out completely — after a while, I’m now spending some time researching my future.

I recently received a statement from the Social Security Administration (SSA) reminding me I should make my annual review of my statement and projections for what I expect to earn once I reach retirement age.

A few years ago, I would have shrugged off the idea of retiring. Or of even being near retirement age. But that was then, this is now. The fact is, I’m 68 — soon to be 69 — and the way things are going politically, economically, and culturally has gotten me very concerned. There is an election coming up this November that may be the most important in my lifetime; the outcome of that could really push me into going. Or staying.

Going. To this point, I have pretty much set myself to staying put. I bought my home three years ago, and I like it a lot. It’s in a nice neighborhood, has all the amenities I want, and is a 30 minute drive away from my daughter and grandkids. But, calculating realistically, my retirement savings, stocks and Social Security will put me into a new “quality of life” category. My needs aren’t great, but the cost of living when my regular paycheck stops may be too high to keep me here.

So, where to? That’s what I’ve been researching. I love to travel, as I’ve documented here many times. Could I move to another country and live comfortably there? Thanks to the Internet, I can do all the research I want from the comfort of my sofa!

One of the best sites I’ve found, and visit often is International Living. This may be the granddaddy of ex-patriate (expat) living, since it’s been around since 1979. Today, it’s a pretty data-rich web site that offers a subscription service on top of its free articles. I may take advantage after some more investigation. I started out with a couple of places in mind, but only one I’ve been to and the other is likely too expensive to live on a pension: Costa Rica and Austria. Surprisingly, though, some other countries have popped up that I want to look into further. They are

  • Portugal. This seems to take the top spot every year for expat retirement living.
  • Panama. With the U. S. Dollar as its currency and ties to the U. S., this ranks high.
  • Costa Rica. Beach living or mountain living. It’s all there, and it’s al Pura Vida.
  • Malta. European/Mediterranean. I know little about Malta, but its location is gravy!
  • Belize. English is the official language (it was formerly British Honduras). I didn’t see any expat communities when I was there, but I know they are in off-the-main-road settlements.

What about staying in the U. S? Well, once again, the November election might have a big influence there. One site, Best Places To Live has a quiz that you can enter your likes and dislikes, and it will suggest locales that have the specifics you’ve entered. Three times, in my limited experience with the site, has Hot Springs, Arkansas been the result. It even shows real estate listings, and some of the homes there going for less than half what my home costs, look quite nice.

I don’t have to make that decision right now. But the SSA says I have to start taking distribution of my allocation when I turn 70. Better to start planning now, right?

Enough With The “Virtue Signaling” Already

The latest trend to sweep the online world is the craze known as “virtue signaling.” No one by now has likely been untouched by this madness. It seems to be more infectious than COVID-19. And because it is transmitted online, no one is immune unless they “self-quarantine” by pulling the plug.

According to Urban Dictionary, virtue signaling is defined as “To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.” Exactly.

Recent events have spiked the generation of these expressions of moral outrage. It seems that every CEO, company president, spokesperson or media relations representative now feels it necessary to publicly proclaim their position of dancing with angels.

Two examples, both occurring on the same day, underscore the point. The first is the Twitter post by Reverb, an online marketplace for musical gear, akin to an eBay for musicians. Reverb has been very visible on their web site with their holier-than-thou attitude. When Michael Fuller, founder and president of Fulltone guitar and bass effects (pedals) posted online his reaction to news of rioting and looting, Reverb reacted by issuing a public statement proclaiming they were “suspending” sales of Fulltone products on their site, and would be donating proceeds from current sales to some nebulous “racial justice organization.” Huh?

This is virtue signaling as its “finest.” Note the wording. Reverb doesn’t say “canceling,” “terminating” or using otherwise strong language to distance themself from Fulltone. Rather, the use of the word “suspend” suggests they will resume their original practice at a later date. They also don’t specify to which organization they will be donating their selling fees? Fuzzy, much? Sheesh.

Second, is the email sent out by Sarah Friar, CEO of Nextdoor is a social media site meant to focus on neighborhoods nearby one’s home. It offers announcements, for sale items, services, advice and community news. Ms. Friar had to join the virtue signaling crowd by sending her blog post to all registered subscribers. Her message begins, “Let me say it unequivocally: Racism has no place on Nextdoor.” Uh, does racism have a place anywhere?

I don’t believe that at my age, I’m overly naive. Over the years, however, I’ve also learned that “feelings aren’t facts.” My career working with data, combined with life experiences, tend to make me look unemotionally at facts, trying not to let emotional baggage influence investigation. A correlative saying goes, “You can have your own opinion, but you can’t have your own facts.” There is a tendency these days for “scientific investigators” to disregard facts that don’t support a prior conclusion. That isn’t science, it’s ideology.

It’s one thing for a company to promote its “clean” technology, recyclable products, “fair trade” practices, and so on. But virtue signaling just seems to me a form of chest-beating and false braggadocio.