When it comes to the covid-19 problem, the media in the western world all tweet with the same key, which usually means they’re paid from the same pocket.
Not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just how the power works.
This is the first deadly virus in human history you need be tested for to find out if you have it.
Some aspects of it are amusing - if you start coughing hard in a line up you will clear the store in seconds.
But what’s most important is invisible to the eye, and this is a quote from the “Little Prince”, a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I remember reading it with a flashlight under the blanket after my mother sent me to bed, way back in Eastern Europe.
What has disappeared? For starters face expressions under the masks, we are no longer interacting as humans, which is what has created our culture.
I had no idea that this will bother me so much, but it does.
With the remote working regime I could be in Switzerland, or on the Amalfi coast on my motorcycle, I could be in the beautiful city of Warsaw, or up North in Ontario with my computer and headsets for calls and I will do my job.
I may have done most of it.
A few hints about transatlantic travel - they encourage you to buy food and drinks in the terminal and bring in onboard as the service during the flight is limited. What they don’t say is that for the night flight there is just water, no glass of wine before sleeping and you can’t bring you own. No pillows or blankets either.
The flight attendants are fully gowned up and look like doctors. I felt like I’m about to get a colonoscopy (recent memory) so I was sitting straight the whole night.
When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedoms, you know. The media and the governments are doing a terrible job handling this crisis, and the worst part is how this will destroy confidence of the people.
Negative interest rates demonstrate just how bad the confidence level of investors is, meaning they prefer to pile money into governments debt, facing certain loss, then in the real economy.
It also means that too much money was created, way above the needs of the economies to function. The argument always is – how do you know how much money in the system is enough? Well, there is actually a good answer to it – the retirement funds need about 8% annual return to meet their obligations. By law, they have limitations not to play with risky assets, so they are primarily invested in government paper.
So, here it is: a 30 year bond should yield about 8% per annum to make us safe in our golden years.
It yields minus 0.317% in Switzerland as of today, this is how far away we are from normal. This is a big deal, don’t take it lightly.
In the past, when people felt that the tax oppression and income inequality was to high, it would result in a rebellion on some scale, revolution even, and the French are always first to do it.
So, people would go after the real estate, land and gold of the rich, but the point is - it doesn’t make sense anymore.
Bill Gates’ house is not even in the first 50 most expensive properties, gold is a shallow, tiny market and the assets of this world are represented by entries in computers, be it stocks or bonds. What will happen if you go after it if you’re a rebel? Distribute the digital assets among the people, so they’ll try to sell it causing prices to collapse? And who will buy?
To end with an AC/DC moment, I got it all from a sweet woman and she was telling me no lies.
In politics, the men and women who are elected to public offices have the feel of what their country needs and wants, and that knowledge is indispensible.
This is very different from professional expertise, which is very helpful only when controlled and managed.
In that sense Donald Trump is different, and right too, because he doesn’t trust experts.
It’s not that he doesn’t believe them; he thinks they don’t understand the consequences of what they’re saying. The clash here is that the technocrats believe that the management of the country should come from experts. Trump believes it should come from the understanding of the public.
Put another way – the question is if the solutions should be imposed on the public, or should they be negotiated with the public.
The latter attitude is called “populism” in the current media lingo, a really wrong take on life.
The fundamental truth is that a country is composed of people with different views, if you don’t understand that, you’re either a dictator or incompetent.
A good example is China - they elected a technocrat to manage the country, and for life term no less – meaning his life or the life of united China, whichever ends first.
So far president Xi has failed on all fronts – he is a massive failure as a politician in internal and foreign affairs.
Another aspect that is seldom understood is that different countries require different level of oppression to function. Iraq was once a place where people went to work, then retired, kids went to school and play sports, the life was normal.
Was Saddam a tyrant? Yes he was, but a tyrant was needed to make the country function.
Now with the imposed democracy it’s a failed state, you leave your house in the morning not sure if you will come back in the evening. You or your kids.
Russia is a similar example – president Putin has support from the public at the level western leaders can only dream of. And he is tough on the opposition, makes deals with the oligarchs and likely with the mafia too, but this is what it takes to keep the country together, this is the only way you go. People there know and accept that.
Looking at the demographics, the western world is a retirement community with the exception of the US. The average American became younger than the average Chinese some four years ago. The one-child policy imposed over there about 30 years ago means that they’re running out of 30 year olds, because that is how the math works. Meaning even less domestic demand at the time they need it the most, at a time when the population is shrinking (China replacement ratio is 1.7 kid per family and they need 2.1 to keep the population steady).
As you can gather from the above, I think that I am right and the rest of the world is not marching in sync. This comes from the fact that my logic is as clear as an Alpine waterfall.
However, what I learned in life is that logic alone doesn’t bring you far.
It feels good, but it’s useful when solving crosswords and that’s about it.
Things that run life are grey, and the cool name to navigate through them is now called “emotional intelligence”.
Or, if you a stubborn, thinking person – it means, “giving up on what made you”, or at least on a significant part of you.
The emotional intelligence is not worth your time – applying it is how we become mediocre. One needs to be real, sometimes controversial, to matter in life.
Try that, don’t try the other new thing.
It can’t be all-smooth - real life experience will leave you breathless or with a nasty scar, but you will know that something important happened before you’re gone.
It’s either that or just the therapy talking.
There is a massive market for high-level intellectual engagement. The narrow band of TV made us feel stupider then we are, and people have a real hunger for deep intellectual dialog. I know that I do, which is why I am typing these essays every week and I don’t even consider selling any advertisements, even though the readership is through the roof, from Japan to São Paulo and everything in between. It’s free of commercials and always will be.
A good example of the TV narrow band came just in recent days again. Chancellor Merkel announced that it’s time for Germany to take more of a leadership role in Europe. Now, Germany is already the most dominate economical and political power in Europe. They also control the currency through the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, so what other increased leadership is she talking about?
Not in the movie making, I hope.
She is talking about the military build up.
With the US withdrawing from managing Europe, and the world at large, the problem that Germany has is plain to see. Their supplies of energy and raw materials are from outside of the EU, hence outside of their control. The same holds true for the markets they sell to (the automotive market alone exports 80% of what they make, there is hardly any domestic demand).
The obvious way forward for them is first to get close with Russia to secure the supply side, but they don’t have a great history in doing that – the last pact lasted only 22 months before they started shooting at each other (Ribbentrop – Molotow in 1939).
There is also an internal problem that Germany has, and it’s the collapsing demographic.
This is the reason for their desperate attempts to bring people from outside, the Turks back in the day and the Syrian refugees recently.
As for the access to oversees market part of the equation, Germany needs to develop a serious naval power to secure it and in doing so, it will face fierce pushback from Great Britain.
They say that history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes, and we will see how close the rhyme comes this time around.
Not the time yet for red shoes dancing the blues, I will say my two cents on the economy first.
The markets are massively overvalued. In fact – a recent Bank of America survey had 78% of fund managers saying that stocks are overvalued higher than ever in the history of the survey, and it includes the Internet bubble from 20 years ago too. More importantly – we never saw a stock bubble like this in times of such political and social uncertainty. Now add the covid disaster to top it off.
The one thing that surprises some market players is that gold isn’t reacting to the super massive money printing by the central banks.
I subscribe to some Swiss gold promoter’s websites (physical bullion selling and storage services) and lately they’re getting plain angry, as they don’t understand what’s going on. Well, boys and ladies, the concept of money is changing, and since it has zero connection to gold since 1971, you’re left behind.
May as well leave the gold in the tunnels drilled in Swiss Alps - nobody is going to come and look for it anytime soon.
The important point is that this covid crisis is different enough to matter. We haven’t have a lockdown of the global macro economy for any pandemic - the polio epidemic of the 50s, for War World I, World War II, for the Spanish flu, this one now is a first. It’s the biggest disruption by far to the economy since the Great Depression (and even back then we didn’t have a lock down of businesses).
The decision to shut down the economy was a political one and it will be studied for years as an example what not to do.
Now, did you want to hear about the deal?
Let's dance, she said, while colour lights up your face.
For fear your grace should fall
For fear tonight is all *
And all this happened, more or less.
* Lyrics by David Bowie
China exports about half a trillion worth of products to the US annually and purchases about 165 billion. China’s manufacturing industry is totally dependent on the US, and so the primary job of the Chinese president has been to keep the US presidents under control and don’t get into a fistfight with his best customer.
He did it with Bush, he did it with Obama, but he is not able to do it with Trump.
The Chinese president has a really bad run of late. His relationship with the US went south, the protests in Hong-Kong erupted with no end in sight, economy stopped growing and the corona virus started in their own Wuhan.
Talk about a bad year!
Adding to it – the US may delist certain Chinese companies from American stock markets unless they allow the auditors to look at their books, as it is the case with other listed companies. Obviously that’s a problem - Alibaba’s Jack Ma was quick to step down and let his successor handle the mess.
With the virus story, it’s clear that the Healthcare system failed us, which is the reason why president Trump cut the funding to WHO (the specific reasons why are documented in a 12 page US government report).
The Healthcare profession was not geared to deal with a pandemic like this.
Should they have been? Well, hell yes, especially after similar scares like this before – SARS in 2002 – 2004 and HIV before that.
The world powers reacted to the virus problem in the way they do best: the US president invoked war powers, which he can do without the consent from congress, because this is what the US is good at – war. Except this time the enemy is not visible.
Russia went into denial, and China rolled out the propaganda machine boasting how they are the greatest country there is. In Europe the Schengen zone collapsed, borders went up and every EU country makes their own decisions now.
This is the end of EU as we know it – it makes sense as a trading block, but not as a political entity, simply because the countries interests differ significantly.
There is a clear trend of people trusting less and less in the mass media coverage of the pandemic. In the UK, a recent Reuters Institute polling found out that only 28% of the people trust consistently in what the media are reporting. The trust in BBC news dropped 20% since 2018 alone.
The problem is, that the media will report some expert’s opinion and once they are broadcasted, there is no going back, like you can’t put tooth paste back inside the tube. Then the politicians have to act on the hype.
Experts know their area, but very little of the next area over, meaning that they don’t have a good understanding of consequences of what they are saying. This is what differentiates them from politicians, a definitely more sophisticated breed.
A politician has to comprehend a spectrum, not just an isolated field. He or she also has different objectives – you need to keep people’s confidence, energy and engagement high, and to achieve this you have to lie sometimes.
Unthinkable for an expert, but - they started the corona virus mess and it is now up to the politicians to clean it up.
As for the title of this essay, dog days refer to the Dog Star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens. In Homer’s Iliad, it’s referring to Sirius as Orion’s dog rising, and it describes the star as being associated with war and disaster.
Not a war for us this time, I think, but a long way to recovery.
This is the Beatles song that I am sure you know, partially sung in French.
“Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble.”
I don’t have a woman named Michelle, but I like the language and the song a lot. And the way the song is written, every woman could be a Michelle.
I took French lessons extensively in Suisse for quite some time but I was a terrible student. Once I stopped taking them, I started speaking it more and more. I can roll the “rrrr” easily, to the point that you would think I am from Montreal.
I can attend meetings in French now, but I ask questions in English.
Still pretty good, I think.
I could easily mess with people’s heads speaking Polish, like saying “generalnie jest kapitalnie.”
The meetings gravitate around how to get things kind of done, which is also known as OE, operational excellence. Every company has this function now, big time.
You need to switch gears and see it as overall equipment efficiency – but isn’t that in every manager’s job description to begin with, to maximize it?
OK, let’s start at the beginning.
In a school or university the key is not the level of teachers, is the level of students that matters and it goes with the price of admission. You need students who were taught by parents not to act on emotions, but on facts. It is tough as hell, but that’s how you get the best of the best. The teachers just guide them through the thinking process.
One thing for sure, the teaching and political elites are sensitive to criticism and they should be, because they’re mediocre. Things go high wire fast and the incompetence shows.
I give you one example – some months ago the Swiss government decided to tax people with company cars for some more money. Just milking the cow, and with enthusiasm.
Guys and girls – you have a budget surplus anyways, why you’re going after us? What’s in it for you? Leave the people alone, let us spend our money as we see fit.
The sad thing is, the bureaucracy can only function if the structures are the same across the society, otherwise they would go crazy. It is by definition a big equalization program. The school programs and graduation standards are same across the system and this is just the beginning of the problem. The interest rate is the same across the country despite plenty of proof how this doesn’t make any sense, as economies differ from oil to mining to agriculure to high tech. Every one of these sectors has different financing requirements and reacts differently to market moves – they can’t be covered with one rate! It is plain stupid.
The media don’t pick up on any this and I have a theory why. You can’t really hire smart people and ask them to come in front of the camera and say what doesn’t make sense. Impossible to do.
The key is to hire people who don’t comprehend much of what’s going on out there and are convinced of the good job they’re doing just providing bullet news, like about a car accident on the bridge or a cat stuck in the tree, or somebody just bent the windshield wipers on the neighbour’s car.
Then you have the other class of people, the ones who have the drive and are creative. You can see them on a corner of the street looking around in a composed way, but for a good observer they have an engine inside that never stops. They also tend to do some crazy things between being brilliant.
Problem with people like this is that they make mistakes more often than not, but if they hit it good – things happen, it’s called progress and this is how we move forward.
I am one of them.
So, my Michelle? Life is rocky, but we may just make it.
The economy works in cycles, from high spending to merciless cutting despite (mostly) failed attempts by governments to stabilise it (i.e. interest level manipulation).
The leaders consistently make every crisis worse than it could have been, but they like to fly high on catchy phrases – flatten the curve, tax the rich, no child behind left… no wait, that’s the Vatican version – no child left behind.
Talking about income inequality is another one, but we can flip it around and call it outcome inequality, switching the meaning to the level of output.
Then the question becomes – how do we handle this, and all of the sudden the discussion gets real. The idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which makes rounds through the media outlets, is no solution to no problem.
No problem because progress of the world is not a problem and never will be, and no solution because this is like giving a person a fish, instead of a fishing rod.
Instead, too much time is devoted to nonsense - the Artificial Intelligence is a buzzword, nothing more than pattern recognition, it is in the category right up there with Blockchain which is in essence just an advanced spreadsheet.
And by now nobody really knows what to do with any of them.
AI will mean anything if it’s a software that writes itself and if you believe we’re anywhere close to that, I have the Eiffel tower to sell to you.
The point is - both get more attention than they’re worth.
There is nothing in the computer world today even remotely approaching creative thinking, which is the key in moving the humanity forward.
What doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the idea of meaningful work, which goes together with being creative and original. Meaningful work requires mental effort, routine doesn’t . Mental effort is harder than physical effort.
As humans, we were never programed for the 9 – 5 working days; that came with the industrial revolution and it is going away.
The information age will reverse the industrial age, and the smart people already started figuring it out and they started to work more and more remotely, on their own schedule, their own time and pace and in their own way. And this is actually how we’re most productive.
Human nature doesn’t change with the speed of technological progress – evolution takes time. As hunters-gatherers we had moments of high performance followed by periods of rest. Think lion’s lifestyle.
As farmers and settlers we became more structured, but it was mostly family driven. What we have now is a new way of working, with four or five levels of management and this is fresh on the time scale of human progress. The important (and attractive) part of it is that it dilutes accountability.
It goes with the size of a company, no question, but they will become smaller as we move on.
The current virus scare that we are going through, will seriously weaken people’s trust in governments and media, but businesses will adjust the ways they operate to a more lean way.
Truly, socialism comes from the heart, we all want to be good, but capitalism comes from the head, and this is how we survive.
I like Nassim Taleb’s take on this – “with my family I am a communist, with most of my friends I am a socialist, at the province state level politics I am a democrat.
At the federal level I am a libertarian.”
Now I am asking myself who am I, sitting here in the sun typing this essay – creative and cynical I think.
There is a lot of Kurt Vonnegut in me, if you know the writer.
Also, I used to do boxing hard, I can hit 200 on my motorcycle and I admit that I did things in life I should have done better.
So on a second thought - replace cynical with real.
A transition from public to private is taking place… is why the future will be very different this time around. The confidence in governments is fading away for a number of good reasons, and it will change the world we live in.
The bond market will go through painful convulsions, which is a big deal.
China is in a free fall, which translates into “take your money and run.” Middle East is in transition, to put it mildly, and then there are some interesting things about Europe. You can never underestimate the Old World, when it comes to making a mess of things.
Northern Europe is flat and well rivered and so countries there can achieve efficiencies and economies of scale. Southern Europe is rugged and lacks rivers and so cannot. The bottom line is that Southern Europe will never be able to compete with Northern Europe economically, just as Northern Europe cannot hope to compete with Southern Europe when it comes to sun, fun, food and flair. (France has a foot in both worlds, which is part of what makes the French so cool.)
The bottom line is that the European union can’t last and the Euro can not either.
However, the thing to understand is that we’re not heading into war, because there is no business in it - nobody wants to occupy the other. All the talks about world war III are nonsense, there are better ways to make money and all the players know it.
But, there are huge differences how the world works from place to place.
In Europe the welfare state is in essence a huge shock absorber, but they’re paying for it with lower living standards.
Or, as in China, the command and control state provides the same function – as long as you play along, you’re left alone.
Once you get to United States, it’s a totally different growth model – the idea here is to optimize the run with no buffers. We will accept short, sharp shock, which will allow the economy to come back without massive amounts of new taxation or state intervention. It is a more difficult method, but it tends to work.
It’s an American thing.
Russia is quiet, and this is not good, the media are not picking up on what’s going on there.
And you know, I have a problem with that – in the communist Eastern Europe years ago, the TV had specialists for each region who would come on and explain the settings as things unfolded. There is nothing like this today, we’ve lost the depth of thinking in understanding the world.
On a lighter note, I rode far North the other day and I was talking to a beautiful gypsy woman while my motorcycle was cooling down in front of a restaurant.
She started the conversation.
“Never take advice from someone wearing a suit and tie,” she said.
“How do you know I am even around people like this?”
She just looked at me.
I put my helmet down and unzipped my jacket. “Now you’re getting into my head, which is a mistake, my head is not a place you want to get into.”
“You know the boss, no?” she ignored what I said.
“I do, and she talks in her sleep.”
She laughed quietly. "Your wife."
“I hope that life will treat you kind,” she said.
“What will happen when they call for you?” she asked sitting comfortably in her light flowing brown dress, the wind moving it as she spoke.
I understood right away what she was saying.
"I never get into a situation without knowing the way out."
She looked at me again.
“They can leave a message at the beep.”
The lockdown of the economy is easing a bit, but I am sure that the hysteria will come back in the fall with the new flu season. The only way out of this mess is for people to stop paying attention to the constant flow of bad news from the media and move on with their lives.
The damage to the economy is huge and our governments are doing a terrible job in handling this simple issue.
As always, over time the economy will adapt and it’s not just about working from home. It is about office space that is not needed and shopping malls that are not important anymore. Working from home means less demand for cars (I just gave up on buying one in Canada and may give up on buying one in Switzerland too.)
The restaurants will stay in business, I hope. I still like to go out and I am a simple man with acquired taste– I like the Kempinski hotel on the boulevard Mont Blanc in Geneve.
The restaurant there is called “Le Grill” - a fantastic view of the Jet d'Eau when it is on, meaning when a high wind is not spraying the water over the city.
It’s a hell of a design.
Back to eating - I am not good at trying new things and I prefer to eat the same meal every time. This tells you how we square-headed civil engineers think, or at least this one here, typing this essay with one finger.
Let’s get down to business, but I will save some good news for the end.
The German government will take 20% in Lufthansa, really nationalizing the business, and this is just one of many to come. The airline will be flying, of course, just under different owners. What people don’t understand is that a bailout is a transition of ownership, from private investors to the government. And there is a long line up for bailouts – we’re looking at a massive nationalization of the economy in Europe.
Throughout history there are three schools of thought in my view. The first is liberalism, which lasted the longest and brought most of the progress. In essence that is the freedom of a person to develop, grow and act.
Then you enter the vulgar ones – first was communism, where the class of people matters, not the individual. That lasted over 70 years, ruining the life of millions. You would think that nothing worse can happen, but it did. The leftist fascist ideology was about dominant race, not person, not class, and it was spit out to the garbage of history after just 17 years, but with the greatest human suffering ever.
I think that this reflects on the human nature in good way – we dispose of nonsense quickly and hard. That means that there is God in us, or at least our vision of him is in us.
The settlement after the war was called the Nuremberg trials when the justice was served to the war criminals.
By the way, don’t believe in the suicide stories among some of the top nazi officials – they were beaten to death, like Heinrich Himmler. Herman Göring was too, I am pretty sure.
History will always repeat and your memory becomes your greatest weapon so use it good, which is harder for men since the ladies are so much better at remembering things.
I have a woman in front of me right now and she remembers what shoes she was wearing at the high school graduation party and I don’t even remember that there was a party. I think she had a dark blue dress on, but I may be mixing events.
Now for the good news, and no, it will not be from the gospel of St. John.
I bought a Yamaha VMax motorcycle, which is capable of 200hp and 300 km/h on the highway.
“I may have gone crazy,” I said to a friend of mine.
“It wasn’t a long trip,” she said.
I knew that this week was going to be weird because it started off weird.
On the floor of the Italian Parliament, Bill Gates was accused of intentionally looking to reduce the world population by 10-15%. There were politicians, and you can watch it on youtube, who immediately protested to protect him. Why not let the investigation take place for they have no answers unless they are being paid to have none.
The US Senate approved by unanimous consent legislation that could bar some Chinese companies from being listed on U.S. stock.
The bill would require companies to certify that they are not under the control of a foreign government, but obviously there is way more to it.
I grew up in a communist country and I know it first hand – EVERYTHING is under control of the party. That’s the very definition of the communist system, that’s how the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) stays in power.
So the US now has the power to chase out any Chinese company that happens to be listed in New York, the most liquid stock market in the world, and China will retaliate in the effort not to lose face.
It is useful to look this way at what’s coming – China’s main customers are entering a serious recession and the Asians have no domestic demand, except a few cities on the East coast. Say, the foreign demand goes down 20% which likely means about 100M jobs lost in China. How long before these people will be on the streets rioting? What is the brilliant plan to deal with that? Increased oppression works for a while, but not for long. And there is no back up plan.
Let me tell you what I learned in life – if you don’t have a back up plan, you don’t have a plan. I’d say I am a little concerned of what’s coming, and if somebody says they’re a little concerned – that means they’re very concerned. And if they say that they are concerned means they’re desperate.
The Japanese can one day wake up on the wrong side of the bed, scream banzai! and shut the whole Chinese economy down, given the strength of their navy and easy access to oceans, two factors that China doesn’t have. Cut off the supply and delivery lines, that means. It could be a matter of weeks.
Here is my take on it – if your company has a business with staff in China, now is the time to get them the hell out of there.
America will re-industrialize, and we will do it fast, and the rest of the world will have a reality check.
The so-called “developing countries” need to get their affairs in order. You look at sub-Saharan Africa – it’s a royal mess and no leadership.
Who should solve it for them? The Americans used to care but they do not anymore.
You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
In Western Europe the political leadership is nowhere to be found since the problems started, and things go bump in the night..
Saudi Arabia has just tripled its taxes from 5% to 15% percent, as it is suffering from the collapse of oil demand and price. Not to be outdone, federal finance minister Olaf Scholz of the Socialists in Germany (SPD) floated the idea to raise income taxes to 70%. So you make 100K and you bring home 30. Let this thought sink in for a while. This is how problem-solving thinking went at the highest level there.
Or what passed for thinking.
It is not less wild in the US – some states impose what are known as inventory taxes, which means that regardless of whether a business makes a profit, they will be taxed on having inventory, which in this environment they were prohibited to sell anyways. You can’t make this stuff up.
And I know what’s coming next – property taxes will rise, as the municipalities are starved for money. The mad hunt for taxes is on.
I have no idea who is pushing this corona virus nonsense, but someone is.
What I know for sure is this: one of the main functions of power is to conceal power. If you don’t have a lot of power you have to exaggerate your power. You try to conceal your weakness. People who have lots of power don’t want to attract attention to it, so it is really difficult to know where power lies in the 21th century.
What is clear, however, is that the way the elite stays in power is by shaping the way we think, mostly through the mass media narrative.
The politicians are playing along – they don’t bother to look at the data, which proves this virus has been tiny in comparison to the flu.
Times of extreme change are often painful, but for many they provide an opportunity - the Chinese alphabet has the same sign for crisis and opportunity.
In all fairness, they don’t live by it at all. They screwed up royally the handling of corona virus, which simply shows the lack of quality leadership over there. Beijing has accused the French of using their nursing homes as death camps, has blamed Italy for being the source of the coronavirus (at the very peak of Italian deaths) and has charged the US Army with bringing the virus to China in the first place.
And you know how easy it is to offend the French, they live the life their own way, which I admire by the way. Even on iPhones they don’t have Siri, they have chéri.
And I realize that my opinion comes form nostalgia for a better world. Dispensing it is my way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the economy.
And I will keep doing it, simply because I grew up listening to people who had something original to say and I learned that basic rules of life mean a lot.
Strong leadership is essential.
Now for the title of this essay - afterburner is a device fitted to the exhaust system of a turbojet engine to increase thrust for the few moments when you really need it.
Or in life, if you go strong for something and you make the extra effort and it costs you.
I can relate – I am not a steady performer, but I have brilliant moments and I live for them.
Luckily I have a hard loving woman who takes me as I am.
It was a late, chilly spring night, and we were sitting on a balcony in the old town with a friend of mine.
“Let’s have a toast”, he said.
“For keeping the rules.”
“I’ll drink for that.”
My rules are from the times before political correctness poisoned the society.
Guess his are too.
All of us, old guys, are pretty strange.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler