Let’s start with this:
“Please allow me to introduce myself I'm a man of means and taste.
Been around for a long time, pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.”
That’s the Rolling Stones, their best song ever, my opinion, and he is talking about Lucifer, God’s fallen angel who they never mention in any sermon in the church.
He was an angel, right? Just with a different view.
“Stole many a man's soul to waste.” Mick Jagger says in the song.
Better words have never been spoken.
And wait, I will get to the rose soon.
In the world, the diversity idea is a misleading name, and a misguided concept because men are more interested in things, and women are more interested in people. We can’t be measured the same, try to make the best use of diversity, not introduce competition.
Engineers are interested in things and not surprisingly most of them are men. If you have a desire to become a nurse you are interested in people, and most of nurses are women. With the new concept you’re moving men and women against each other, not moving the world forward at all.
It’s been a couple of years now since anything I said mattered, but if you’re creative you know that the rose smells slowly and it’s addictive.
I spoke to an old priest a while back in the Sanctuaire Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec.
Read the name again now.
He said I am an aggressive man, and I asked him, “in all the years people came to you, confession or just talk, what did you learn from them? “
He said – “the dream, the vision, the desire. It never stops.”
You never stop having a dream.
I have two sons, aged 17 and 25.
The 17-year-old thinks I am an idiot, the 25-year old knows I am an idiot.
But I have my moments and this is when I teach them about live, the real one, like how things really happen. And about what’s really important in what you do. Funny thing is, they both turned up good in part because I was sharing my thinking with them since they were little. Driving them to school and talking over dinners. And they actually thanked me for my lectures, both of them.
The other day I was sitting in a restaurant with a lady I know for a while since I followed her though three countries and two continents over the years.
That’s a lot of commitment and the connection is real like IBM.
We were sitting in a coffee in Nyon, a city just east of Geneva.
I said “I am loosing interest with what’s happening in the world, I feel like I’ve seen it all.”
She put down her white cappuccino cup with a red Rougemont
sign on the side of it. Didn’t touch the croissant.
“Do you care?” She asked.
“I actually hopped you don’t, just make every day of your life stand for something.”
I’ve missed things, I compete with missed opportunities and I don’t have much time.
Ten, fifteen years maybe but I will accomplish what I want, you can bet your last dollar on me.
Problem is, we’re loosing the battle against the stupid. How do we fix that? Well, the first step is to bring back the word “stupid”. Totally incorrect statement these fragile days, but that strong word was invented for a reason.
Apple operating platform is that, stupid, electric cars are too, space programs, traffic cameras, #metoo movement.
Do you want to know what isn’t?
When I sit on a patio by the lake on a sunny day sipping coffee and I left my iPhone at home and I talk to someone and what she says impresses me.
Back to the stupid thing, and let me tell you this – when president Obama won the elections, the Republicans accepted it in the “yeah, fine” fashion. You just take it right? The people have spoken. When Trump won there was a fury from the left (and still is) not accepting any of it. Three years in and the political left cannot settle! What does democracy mean anymore? Just look at the Brexit mess, people voted, right, that doesn’t count for nothing?
And Trump will win the second turn and it will get even uglier, I am convinced we haven’t seen nothing yet.
Democracy is dead, a scary thought. We’re not progressing as societies, we’re moving backwards. In every sense of the word, the rules that made the western civilization great are out the window.
There are Polish people returning from living in Sweden for years because they can’t stand the mess that country has become. Police in the city of Malmö appealed to citizens for help to contain violence.
You know you’re in trouble if the police are asking for help.
Some people say stuff that goes against the common regression and they don’t get much recognition. I am one of them, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I hope that there will be more of us.
One thing to understand is this - it's dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong. Even worse, when majority of the people are wrong.
In closing, I maybe temperamental but I also push the envelope. I say things that are original and this has to count for something. And to be clear, I don’t like doing any of this, it feels like paddling up the creek.
My favorite quote comes from Charles Dicken’s novel “A Tell of Two Cities.”
Here it is: “these are the best of times, and these are the worst of times.”
And they are.
For all your sinners out there, see you in hell, first lap dance is on me.
Listen, I am from the past and I am here in the present thinking about the future.
Some people say “the future is now,” but it’s not - this is now. Future is then, and when we get to “then” that will be the future. It may be disappointing or not, it is up to our children and how we bring them up. And they have great energy and attitude towards life that impresses me constantly.
I was just thinking about it still lying in bed.
Let me explain my mornings to you.
I wake up and look at the tremendous cedar out there; it’s straight outside my bedroom window. It is quite possibly the main feat of nature that keeps me in Switzerland for so long, with all due respect to this great country.
With age I learned to appreciate the details of life, except this one is anything but a detail.
I don’t eat until the afternoon and I spend my days writing my new book, the Villa Rose. Yes, the famous one on Lake Lucerne and the story is about Marc Rich, the (in)famous financier. Rich was born to a Jewish family in Antwerp, Belgium, and moved to America as a kid. He is mostly known as the founder of the commodities company Glencore, but there was way more to him than that.
He was also an art collector and lived surrounded by Renoirs, Monets and Picassos, a dimension which I admire in a person.
At some point, before he died, he wanted to sell the villa for 100M – it is really that spectacular. His daughters accepted less after he was gone.
In 1983 Rich was indicted on 65 criminal counts, the biggest tax evasion case in US history. He fled to Switzerland and never returned, even to visit his dying daughter in California and that was tough on him.
Later, president Clinton granted him a presidential pardon on his last day in the office. It was controversial, but then the Clintons were always open for business.
Rich was married for 30 years to Denise Eisenberg, a songwriter from New England. I guess she was really something, keeping him on an even keel with all the shady businesses he was involved in over the years.
Funny thing is, marriage is a learning experience for men, for women is more of a teaching experience. The difference exists because women know what they want to do in life. They typically get married, have kids and bring them up, go to work if they feel like having a career.
Or not if they don’t.
It’s a pre-defined path.
Men don’t have any of this – we need to figure life out.
So, the book is coming along, writing it feels to me like a therapy in a way.
The night comes quickly and I like working during the night, except that I don’t see the big tree.
At night I get the feeling of time shattered in gray dust and sometimes someone in the building plays violin.
Blue Café is a place where the one who knows meets the one that does not care.
The irony is that it could very well be the same person.
I’ve been there, to the Café.
Now, sitting in the lounge at the airport watching flights to China being cancelled makes me think that this is a panic situation and life never goes well if you allow yourself to get into that mode.
Still, the tomato soup here at the Étude is excellent, the wine is not bad and I am not flying East. Enjoying life Chopin style.
The number of those affected in China’s population of 1.36 billion is miniscule, and the virus has a mortality rate of about than 2%. It is sad for those sick, but one has a bigger chance to be hit by a bus than die from this new virus.
Still, the activities of the “operation maximum redundancy” continue – on January 31st the American government issued a travel advisory, a class 4 emergency, which urges all U.S. citizens in China to leave, putting China into the same basket as North Korea and Iran. Just get real folks, will ya?
The coronavirus is neither as deadly nor as communicable as the SARS virus from 15 years ago. It probably won't kill nearly as many people as a normal flu season, so the public in most of the world should ignore the fear mongers.
The Chinese ruling party has made huge effort demonstrating its earnestness in the crisis, performing great feats like the construction of a one-thousand-bed hospital in ten days, shutting down the lunar new year festivities (it’s like cancelling Christmas here), and locking down a hundred million citizens in quarantine. Pretty impressive, but with the absolute power of president Xi comes absolute responsibility.
As any leader worth his salt understands – everything that goes wrong is your fault.
Impressive with the new hospital, and it takes fresh thinking to accomplish something like this. As they say - everyone understands that something cannot be done until someone new comes along who doesn’t know it yet, and he makes it happen.
Speaking about impressive - Greta Thunberg has been nominated to the Nobel Piece Prize. Not sure how world piece and climate change intervene, but I am no longer European and will let it go.
Don’t forget, as per Greenpeace gloom and doom we are all supposed to be dead by now or drowning because of rising sea levels. Apparently former President Obama did not believe his own warnings of climate change since he just bought a mansion on the beach (Martha’s Vineyard, no less, and he spent good money on it).
So what is Greta preaching? Not how we could better interact with our environment, just a head on attack on our way of life with nothing different to offer.
You can do better than that young lady. Where are your parents in this nonsense?
There is something I know for sure - facts can be misleading, but rumors are very revealing because they show how the world really is. They tell me to stay away from the nonsense and my definition of it may surprise you.
So, I hide behind my writings. My psychiatrist at the hospital looks at me waiting until I say something, and I try. We sit opposite each other in the cold office with the view of the lake; she dresses the same every time to keep me calm maybe, but I still just hide behind my words.
They hide my true shape like Dorian Gray.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler