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CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FATHER – EXPECTATIONS

“This is the first of a series of posts with the same title:  “Conversations with my father”.  I like the multi-function use of the title:  It’s the title and the content.  Each post’s title will have the subject of that particular conversation with my father at the end of the title.  Enjoy!”

 

This was the last complete, coherent and contiguous conversation I had with my father; it was not that long ago. 

While visiting one Sunday, my father approached me and asked if I could spare him a minute or two.  My father was always the living example of courtesy and chivalry.  We sat in my study and he said;

“Son, I’ve come to realize and accept that you are a fully grown adult and have earned the right to be called a man.  That means that my job, the one I accepted as your father is complete and I am satisfied with the job I’ve done. Your job; the one you accepted, whether you like it not, is different, but that’s your road, not mine.  I’m just letting you know that you can start yours whenever you like, you’re ready.”

This was not not a typical conversation to have with my father and he was not one to say something like this as a prank, so I did what I usually did with anything my father told me:  I took it at face value and gave it due consideration.  Our conversations were not humorless, however; I took a moment to comment on how timely his announcement of my manhood was, after all, I was only 50.  We laughed for a moment and then I knew that he expected a reply from me.

I began to do some furious math in order to reply properly; there was not a single moment during his life that passed without my wanting to make him proud of me.  After considering his statement as carefully as I could, I had a reply for him; I said;

“You know, pop, that’s a very important issue for me.  I know I have a job to do.   I’m not scared and I’m confident that I am well prepared for whatever it may be, but it is somewhat unsettling at times to not know what is expected of me.”

My father jumped right back into the conversation with a combination of wisdom and mischief in those hauntingly blue eyes of his.  He sat upright and said:

“Excuse me.  What did you just say?  Did you say you didn’t know what is expected of you?  That isn’t even a coherent sentence in English – and you’re supposed to be the smart one!  There cannot be any expectation of any person without another person to hold that expectation; it’s a strictly human concept.  Oh, shit!   Now I’m beginning to talk like you!  He giggled and continued. How can you tell me that you don’t know what is expected of you without knowing or mentioning WHO is the owner of that expectation?  Only people can have expectations of other people, so who were you referring to when you said you didn’t know what was expected of you, perhaps Society?  Society isn’t a person, it can’t have expectations of you or anyone else, but we can choose to believe it can and if you do; you’re fucked. So, Mr. Smarty pants, would you like to try that again?

I said, quickly:  “Wow, Pop, that’s good” Because it was.  It left me pondering (a dangerous thing to do.)

After a few minutes, I turned to face my father, who was sitting patiently, immensely enjoying the opportunity to watch me squirm and said.   You are, of course, right Pop.  I have to re-do all the math on that.  Thanks, Pop, if you hadn’t brought the point up, I could have easily screwed the pooch when the time came!  Then I had a thought a with it the hope of redeeming myself from the hole I had so easily fallen into during that conversation.  Almost immediately, I said:

“Hey, pop, may I ask you something, since we’re here and already talking?”

“Of course!”  He shot back.

I looked him square in the eyes, which was not an easy thing to do with him, and asked him:

“Indeed,  you have completed your job and have declared as much, but you are still my father, so I ask you; Father; what do you expect of me, Sir?”

I thought I had him for sure, but then I saw his mischievous grin begin to form and he sat back in his chair, crossed his legs, put his hands on his lap and very calmly and very matter-of-factually answered:

“Me?  I expect for you to change the world.”

What else can be said and what else can any man hope to know beyond what his father expects of him.

That’s my Pop.

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How I learned about Shinola

This is the way that the story was told to me, it is the way I remember it and the way it made sense, it still does.  I don’t know this actually happened or not, but it doesn’t matter, it puts the lesson into perspective. It will tell you the tale in the same exact way; after all it is one of the most important rules of all time.

The story of shit and Shinola.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the great depression that followed was undoubtedly one of the most horrifying and impacting things to happen to a people, ever. By 1933 it had reached its peak.  Most of the pictures that we are familiar with from the “Great Depression” were taken during this time; the soup kitchens, the lines of unemployed people seeking a meal, the apple vendors.  1933 was indeed a very bad year for many. Not everyone was affected, however.  “Most” of the rich from Wall Street is not the same as “all” of them.  There were a few who weathered the catastrophe and they may not have been as wealthy in 1933 as they were in 1928, but they were still “people of means”.

The story takes place during this time.  Among the hardest hit were shoe-shine boys.  No one thinks about this much, but shoe shine boys were as much a fixture on Wall Street as stockbrokers and bankers, after all, during the 1920’s, walking was still the method of transportation of choice and on Wall Street, this meant looking sharp; a tailored suit and shoes that were shined to a mirror gloss on a daily basis by the army of shoe shine boys lining Wall Street.

In 1929, to be exact, a new product was patented and put to market.  It was called Shinola.  It was a shoe polish with a wax base that gave birth to the “spit shine”.  Within a year of being introduced, even during and after the crash, it became the only shoe polish desired by anyone who could still pay for a shine.   By 1933, however, the army of shoe shine boys sat idly, their shine boxes, rags and brushes ready, but not one cent with which to buy Shinola.  They simply did not know what to do and so they took to assembling in the mornings near the Northwest end of Wall Street, where it meets Broadway.  They assembled quietly and just sat throughout the day; during the time that they would normally be shining shoes.  At the end of the business day, they would head back to wherever it was they called home, with nothing more than what they had in the morning.

By the same token, the few wealthy Wall Street gentlemen simply went without their beloved “shines”.  One day, during this time, one of the shoe shine boys decided to not walk up the street to where all of the others would be waiting with an ominous silence. On this day, this one particular shoe shine boy decided to walk the other way, and he walked.  He walked until he got to the Brooklyn Bridge and kept walking.  Back then, there were still cow pastures in Brooklyn, even though it is hard to imagine nowadays. The shoe shine boy walked until his feet hurt and then he sat down.  He put his shine box on the ground as sat on it like one would sit on a crate.  It was only then that he looked up and realized how far he had walked.  He looked in the direction from where he had come and could see the Manhattan Skyline.  He turned to look around and realized that he was in a vacant lot with some grass and a few cows.  The cows looked at the boy with a bored expression as they chewed.  Directly in front of where the boy had put his box on the ground, he saw a fresh, steaming and aromatic “cow patty”.  For a moment, he thought that if he had taken two more steps before stopping and sitting down, he would have stepped right into the pile of dung.  He sat and stared at the pile of shit; there was nothing better to do anyway and this way he did not have to share his misery with anyone, he could take the full brunt of how bleak life was.  So he sat, for an immeasurable and uncounted period of time, just looking at the pile of dung and then suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, he had a strange thought.  In some ways, the cow manure reminded him of the one thing he so needed and desired; the instrument with which he practiced his craft; Shinola.  He stared at it and stared at it and thought;
-“They’re almost the same color, and from here they could even have the same texture.”

That’s when it occurred to him.  He looked left and right so as to make sure no one was watching and reached out.  He grabbed a handful of the cow shit and swished it around in his hand, thinking.   He wasn’t sure exactly what he was thinking just yet, but he was thinking.  After a while, he just couldn’t take it anymore, he had to try and see what would happen so he scooped up some of shit in his Shinola tin, took his rag, dabbed it in the brownish goop and shined up the tip of left shoe (it was all that was left that could be shined).  He used his best moves and lo and behold, the poop gave a great shine, in fact it was so good that for just a moment, he could swear it was the shine that only Shinola could muster and for just a moment, he believed it.  That was all it took.  He filled up his tin and two empty cans he found in some trash and whatever else he could fill with cow dung.  Once he had all he could carry, he made his best effort to cover up the smell and ran back towards Manhattan, as fast as his feet could carry him.

The next day, the boy’s cries of
-“SHINE! GET YER SHOE-SHINE RIGHT HERE! ONLY FIVE CENTS!” greeted the rising sun, to the great surprise, and joy, of many.  Within seconds, the first man to get a shoe shine on Wall Street in almost 3 years, stepped up to the boy and said:

-“Well!  Just in time, too!  Looks like I’m first!”  The man boasted as he hoisted himself up onto one of the high stool-benches that were placed by the very patrons of the shoe shine boys, so that everyone walking by could see them and know that it was they whose shoes were being shined.

-“Coming right up, sir!”  The boy smiled back.  He took out his rag and his Shinola tin and got to work as if ne’er a day had passed since he last shined a pair of leather uppers.  The boy had let the cow dung dry out a bit during the night, and covered the tin quickly after dipping his rag so the smell wouldn’t give him away.  Once it was on the shoes, no one could tell the difference.  The boy was good; hunger is an excellent teacher.  In no time at all, the gentleman’s shoes where like two mirrors, gleaming in the morning sun.

-“There you go, sir.” the boy said, shyly and just for a moment, he almost hesitated, but he didn’t; he reached his hand right out, palm up where a shiny dime landed firmly, almost as if choreographed.  A dime!  A dime for a five cent shines!  None of the boys had EVER been given an entire nickel as a tip before!  The boy’s entire face lit up almost as much as his benefactor’s, who slowly got up from his perch, ruffled the boy’s hair and said: -“See you tomorrow, kid.” before continuing his walk; much slower now and making sure to greet everyone he passed.  Word spread quickly and by noon, the boy’s hands hurt.  He huddled backwards into a niche between buildings, and emptied out his pockets.  He had nearly three dollars!  THREE DOLLARS!  That would feed him, his parents and his two brothers for a week, and it wasn’t even high noon!  By the end of the day the boy added another two dollars to his daily total and it was only then that he realized that he has shined one hundred pairs of shoes and could expect the same every day!  He loved that cow manure!

One by one, the other boys approached him, simultaneously in awe and shock.  The boy looked at his friends coming towards him and reacted; covering up his tin and protecting it, like a prized treasure.  One boy asked:  “Where’d you get the Shinola?”  The boy hugged his box tighter and said “Leave me alone, all of you!  You’re not going to take it from me!”  He ran off like a bolt, straight home and fell right to sleep, exhausted.

The next morning, he gave his mother $4.50 of the $5.00 he had made.  People say that she cried tears of joy for a solid month. He kept fifty cents, thinking to buy a supply of Shinola and continue his journey towards his good fortune.  On the way to the general store, he thought; “Wait a minute!  Nobody knew the difference!  Why should I spend this money on real Shinola when the cow shit is free, after all, they do the same thing!”  He turned the other way and went to the Candy Store and had himself a Malted Milk with two scoops of ice cream for breakfast!  He had actually believed his own lie.

The boy shined another 100 pair of shoes that next day, and 100 more for each day after that for 5 days.  His grin was so wide it challenged the great breadth of Broadway itself.  Everyone was HIS regular customer and he was only shoe shine boy on Wall Street, all thanks to cow’s four stomachs and what they left behind.  He would run to the field in the late afternoons, filling up his tin with more of the precious brown goo that had made him so happy.  Yeah, it wasn’t really Shinola, it was better than Shinola!  He laughed to himself all the way back across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now, all of this took place in late July, did I mention that?  Oh, yes, it was the dead of summer – and a hot one.  Manhattan was hotter than anyone wanted to even guess at, and then some.  The few rich men who had been getting their daily shines from the boy paraded themselves back and forth on Wall Street; to their meetings, their lunches and dinners, their offices and their homes.  None of them were the wiser; no harm, no foul thought the boy.  The summer sun thought otherwise however, and after five days and five layers of cow shit on all of those shoes it began, to cook – actually to bake.  Baked cow shit on leather; I don’t know if I can even imagine what that would smell like.

On the fifth day after shining his first pair of shoes with the manure, the benefactor of that shine was having a luncheon meeting with another businessman together with their respective wives.  They were in the fanciest restaurant around, high noon on a Wednesday.  The place was packed with the few businessmen left in a country gone bankrupt.  At exactly 12:07 pm.  The caked on dung on that first man’s left shoe, where the first dab of cow shit was so carefully applied five days before, finished baking and cracked, a slim plume of heat escaped from the crack, rising higher from the ground.  In seconds the other shoe also cracked and a plume of shit-steam began to rise from it as well – and then another, and another!  In ten minutes, the restaurant smelled like an outhouse.  When it no longer became possible to ignore, it was that first man to have his shoes shined who spoke first.  He threw his napkin on the table in a fit of rage and gave his lunch companion the foulest stare he could muster and blurted:  ”Well, Sir!  I never…”  The sheer insolence of the accusation brought the other man to his feet immediately and he retorted “What say you, man?  Me? Look to your own loins for the source of the stench, non to mine!”  Almost immediately, the same scene played out at virtually every table, and the few rich men left in America, found themselves having a knock-down, dragged-out bar-type brawl in the fanciest eatery on the Lower East Side.

Back to the first man, the one who got the first shine and who started this brawl, he received a jarring left hook that floored him.  The man landed with a THUD, right at his opponent’s feet.  After recovering his wits, he realized he was no more than two inches from the man’s shoes and saw the cracks that had formed where earlier there was the shimmering mirror-like shine.  The man took in two enormous breaths of the stench before recognizing it and screamed; “Bull Shit! This man shined his shoes with bull shit!” and laughter roared from his belly.  It spread quickly too, calming heated tempers with the thought of a man resorting to bull shit to shine his own shoes!  That lasted for about thirty seconds before every other man realized they were in the same predicament.  The laughter suddenly came to a screeching halt and a dumbfounded silence hung in the air – no one knew what to say, they had all played the fool that day.  Once again, it was the first man who spoke:  “The shoe shine boy!  We all got our shoes shined from him; he’s the only one out there!  He’s made fools of all of us.”   The men stormed out of the restaurant and straight towards the boy’s spot on the side of the road.  When the boy saw the literal stampede of men coming at him, he didn’t have time to even react.  They were upon him at once and literally kicked the boy’s ass all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge where they warned him to never show his face on Wall Street again or they might just forget he was a boy.  He was never heard from again.   His first customer was ridiculed by all of his peers for being the first sucker to buy the cow shit shine and the ensuing lambasting ruined him and few others as well.  These were tender times, after all, there was a Great Depression going on – but not so great that an entire city couldn’t stop to laugh at one man who could not tell the difference between the cow shit that was used to shine his shoes and the Shinola that he thought adorned them.   Sure, you could hardly tell the difference in the shine.  In the end, they both shined your shoes, but one of them is SHIT.   No one is allowed to make that mistake, ever.  And so it was that it came to be that to know the difference between shit and Shinola is one of the more important things, literally or metaphorically, that we must all never forget.

That is how I head the tale, one warm day in December in 1973; I now give it to all of you.  Share it if you like, remember it or forget the story, but never forget the lesson.  Shit can imitate many things, but in the end, its shit and we know this from the onset.  Remembering this will save your life; more than once, without fail.

I always say that we can do better.  Maybe this is a start.   I love you all; all 7 billion of you.

Ctwfrank.

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Maybe it’s about time…

Hi everyone. It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted – there is a reason for that and I promise to share the details, but that’s not for this post. This post has a different purpose – purpose. I’ve never been one to cite from other writers very much but I will now because this is no ordinary writer; this is, just as its subject: poetry in motion. I don’t know if a man has ever cited the following, if so, then I’m simply the next one but if I am the first, then it’s about time! Let this fill you:

Phenomenal Woman.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou – the one and only.

(My daughter; Maya. has some big shoes to fill).

ctwfrank

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…and while we’re on the subject of GOLD

Okay, let’s continue being serious for a moment about GOLD.  The gold phenomenon, as I like to call it, is very closely tied to the events that led to where we are today, which can accurately be described as a cluster fuck, but on a planetary scale.  If we take this disease that is killing the human race (because our idiocy has become a disease) and boil it down to the simplest possible explanation, it would be this:  When we developed trade and commerce and an economy, it was good – very good; we shouldn’t forget that the human race went from being little more than a handful of half-starved nomads always moving and looking for food to having excesses, luxuries, slaves, titles, position and properties in the span of a couple of thousand years.  After 250,000 years of looking for food and water all the time, this was the blink of an eye.  Civilization, as it were, was gourmet fare for the human ego, which ate it up with gusto; the way only we can:  by gorging on what felt good now without giving a second thought as to…well, as to anything.  We just kept heading in the direction of MORE!  Why should anyone think that we could run out of anything – the first 3,000-4,000 years after the Neolithic revolution was phat!  There was plenty for everyone, in fact we wouldn’t come up with the concept of poverty for some time; remember, you have to be free to be poor and you would be surprised at the percentage of the human race that were slaves and for how long.  We acted without thinking, planning or considering the consequences.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  It was the same 12,000 years ago.  We may have airplanes and computers but we have not curtailed our insatiable appetite for irresponsibility by even a little.  You can count on a human being to fuck something up, and that we did, especially when we picked a metal: gold, to be the raw material for this new thing we called MONEY.  Money was such an incredibly addictive and irresistible goodie that it simply froze our minds.  No one and I mean no one thought about or worried about what we would do when we ran out of gold.  Maybe there was some ignorance involved, but anyone who has ever been in charge of anything since we’ve had money had to have known that people multiplied, quickly, but not gold, in fact every year, it became just a tiny bit more difficult to find new gold.  We didn’t need to pinpoint a specific year, but just knowing that at some point in the future it just wouldn’t work anymore because there would be more people needing to use money than there was gold to be money was enough to act on.  It’s typical of us.  Right now, even at this stage of our descent into who-knows-what, if by some chance a huge asteroid made of pure gold were to pass within range of our rockets and we lassoed that planet-sized nugget of the stuff that dreams are made of, anchored it to the moon, took its measurements, and started to figure out exactly how much hold was on the asteroid, we would get to “more than what we need right now” and just stop counting.  Why bother?  We hit our nut!  We filled up the hole that we made!  We would, and we all know it.  We would have gold orgies and the filthy rich would become indescribably rich and be happy, and the poor and downtrodden would still be poor and downtrodden but happy because they would still have that shitty job that barely paid them enough to live on – the one that they lost at some point between 3 years ago and today.  We would continue to ignore half of all of us – the ones that there was never enough for in the first place and they would continue to starve to death because even though our own stupidity is killing us, we don’t want to change because change requires thinking and actual work and those things make our brains hurt – unless there’s money involved.

So we ignored the math and based our wealth on gold.  Fine, so how did the whole wealth thing work?  How was new money made?  Up until possibly the 1960’s (that’s a guess, but I think a good one) for there to be new money, there had to be new wealth. This requires a quick recap of the history of human wealth.   If you recall, the wealth  of the world and of nations had always been food, which may very well remain as the only real thing of value in human history, and then we came up with the concept of money to use as a medium of exchange because it was simply too cumbersome and tedious to trade in food directly.  We chose gold as the material from which we would make the money that would represent the wealth (food) and be much easier to carry and transact since it is a soft metal and easily formed into coins.  Then we got so used to dealing and transacting gold, that we forgot it only represented wealth and, just as Aristotle warned, we confused it with wealth – but no one said anything, we just took it as a given that gold was the wealth of the world and when food came up in conversation, it would quickly be referred to as a commodity, usually in the futures market – yes, futures, as in; not yesterday or today, but the future, you know that thing that we can not predict but for some strange reason can buy and sell.  This continued and evolved until trade and commerce became so widespread (because we love to fuck and reproduce like rabbits) that a sub-category of money had to be created: currency (including paper money).  The first bank notes appeared sometime in the 16th century of thereabouts, in Scandinavia (That’s an interesting story, remind me to write about it sometime.) and it caught on quickly.  By the 19th century, paper money was in common used and was valued at par with gold because they were redeemable for gold at just about any bank.  During all this time, gold was wealth.  Paper notes were portable representations of gold and therefore notes were only printed based on how much gold there was.  At some point we realized that the amount of gold was finite; that’s when wealth became a privilege and we began to acquire it by using war or theft or fraud, you know good old fashioned proven techniques.  Then, all of a sudden, just like that:  there was no more new gold.  That was it.  All the money there was, was all the money there was, but the human progress train didn’t notice, it kept right on going.  Oh Shit!  What do we do now!  There’s no more gold to make more money!  If people find out, it will be a freaking disaster!  What to do?  What to do?   It didn’t take us very long, we figured:  what the heck, if we’ve screwed the pooch, then let’s screw it properly!  Nobody said anything, not a word, then, suddenly (and I mean suddenly) in August of 1972, the President of the United States of America went on the air (TV and radio) early in the morning, before the markets opened and rattled off a list of “executive decisions” which included:  “a 90 day freeze on prices and wages, an immediate 10% import surtax and the severing of the link between the dollar and gold (meaning that one could no longer want into a Federal Reserve bank with a $20 and walk out with however much gold that got them).  It got a little attention at the time, it’s getting A LOT of attention now.  That single act literally killed the concept that we know as money.  The price of gold was fixed in dollars and the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world (gold being the official currency).   Here’s the part that we MUST understand if we are to survive this.  The link between the dollar and gold was cut, not because of any of the reasons given (which don’t matter); it was cut because WE RAN OUT OF GOLD and someone at some point realized that there were more bank notes floating around that there was gold, not much, but just enough to blow the whole thing to kingdom come if anyone found out.  They didn’t have to do it, they chose to do it because the alternative was to do what we’re going to have to do shortly:  build a new economic infrastructure.  They figures, what the heck?  Nobody knew what was going on, it would take YEARS before the decision would begin to stink as it does today, so they cut the link between gold and the dollar and the wealth that was gold stopped at however much there still is.  That did not stop us from propagating our species however and developing technology and adding more people every year to that exclusive club made up of people addicted to excess and other people’s envy.  We continued forward and our economy GREW.  (Screeching record sound)  Wait a minute; didn’t I just say that we had run out of gold?  How could our economy grow if there was no new gold?  No new gold, no new money, remember?  But there was new money.  Crisp and freshly printed dollars were pouring out of the US mint and currencies all over the world continued to be incrementally printed and introduced into circulation.  But how could anyone get away with this?  It was easy, we printed money based on new gold that was BORROWED (it also didn’t exist, because there was no actual gold to borrow, that was just how they did the math).  This fictitious quantity of borrowed gold didn’t exist; therefore the convertibility of paper currency to gold HAD to be cut – because there wasn’t enough gold, get it?  This new “way” of printing money based on the assumption that if there were gold that could be borrowed, we would, but there isn’t, but we would if there were, so we’ll act as if we did and print money based on the value of this new DEBT.  And there is was, that’s how the DEBT was born.  We owe nobody approximately 52 trillion dollars worth of  “borrowed” gold, which never existed but was used to print currency that was spent as legal tender.  It was made possible because our banks created this money by issuing, buying and selling LOANS.  In some part of our non-functioning brains, it could be said that these loans were what created the “borrowed gold”.  At first, loans were made by banks with our deposits; yes, the loan that you had for your car or for anything, 25 to 30 years ago was actually other people’s money, deposited at the bank that gave us the loan.  They had permission to do this and, after all, we weren’t using the money, we deposited it, remember?  Very quickly however, the banks didn’t need our money, the money that they created by lending out our money and charging interest on it was re-deposited by the banks, and by the 1980’s, they didn’t need our deposits.  They were making new money left and right, lending out larger and larger portions of this gold that doesn’t exist to themselves and then transacting money on that DEBT.  Our governments told us, “don’t worry about it, we’re good for it, trust us.” Maybe this is why it’s called fiat currency, because fiat means “authority” in the dictionary (sic), but authority is the basis for credibility and credibility is the foundation of trust. You see, the root morpheme fiat also forms part of two words that came from Latin and are used by romance languages:  confiar; which is Spanish for TRUST and fiar: which is also Spanish for TO EXTEND CREDIT TO, TO LEND.  Wow, is all of this a coincidence? I don’t think so.  Am I a conspiracy theorist?; hardly.  This is simply what we did.  When we ran out of gold and we borrowed the gold that we would need if the gold actually existed, but it didn’t, so the only way to get away with it was to treat the DEBT as real.  This would make the “borrowed gold” real, as it were.  And they did, and we bought it and theydid it more and we bent over and took it all.  

This “debt” that took Greece and Italy from our world (because they are no more) is not real, but it is killing us and it might just succeed.  Now if you’re thinking, if it’s not real, then it can’t kill us, then you get detention and here’s why.  It’s like WATER.

WATER?  Yes, water.  We need water in order to survive.  Without water, we die, quickly, of dehydration, this is a commonly known fact and the visual image that comes to mind is of a person in a hot and arid place like a desert, dropping dead from the thirst.  Scratch that image for a moment and replace it with this one:  You are in a life raft, floating in the ocean, lost and adrift.  You are the sole survivor of a shipwreck and you’ve been out at sea for two days now, in the raft, in the sun with no provisions left.  You start to get thirsty, very thirsty.  You become delirious and suddenly you realize Wait a minute!  I’m floating in an ocean of WATER!  You laugh and you drink and drink and drink and 8 to 10 hours later, your kidneys shut down and you die, of what is essentially DEHYDRATION, because it’s not really WATER, it’s SALT WATER.  Oh, they’re both wet, but the salt water is poison and will kill you.   The DEBT is our salt water.  We ran out of fresh water and just began drinking that salty debt water up in our delirium for more.  If you can imagine some math to convert salt water to debt and establish a parallel between the time it takes salt water to kill a person and the time it will take the debt to kill what’s left of the human race, you could say that we’re in the 6th hour of the last 8 hours of our life as we know it.  If we keep drinking the salt water for 2 more hours, we DIE, but if we stop drinking the fucking salt water we will have landed on a sandy beach with a beautiful fresh water spring nearby and we will LIVE.

I want to LIVE and I think that you do too.  Please, stop drinking the salt water, it’s NOT REAL WATER.  If we stop feeding this nightmare called the debt and stop believing that it’s real, then we can just throw away the civilization that we broke and BUILD ANOTHER ONE.  After all, whose planet is this, ours or the debts?

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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That which has value

The whole of human existence has become blindly obsessed with the issue of having possession of, if not the right to possess (by virtue of debt) those things that have value, specifically; money.  No thing has any more or less value than what we assign it and it is woeful to contemplate that we would, individually or collectively, assign a higher value to any thing than what we reserve for ourselves, yet we have.

In the universe, there are only two values, these being the same ones we should concern ourselves with, lest we lose all reason and rationality:  There is that which is TRUE and that which is FALSE and to count them as two values is only insofar as there are two different words to count, for they are in essence, opposite views of the same value; its validation and its negation.  The only actual and real value that exists is truth which is simultaneously the only thing of value, yet we have come to value money more we value ourselves and even more than truth, and because of these we are all but lost in our own lie.

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Untitleable

It has always been generally considered that our modern globe-spanning Western Civilization chose Greece to be the place to herald its birth.  Now, all of a sudden, it might just be that it also chose Greece to be the place where it lay down to die.

ctwfrank

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The price of excellence

In today’s world we try to teach our children to excel and to do their best and we believe this, therefore it is fair to say that this is true. At the same time, whenever anyone excels or does their best or does something that is considered valuable or important and is recognized for doing what we have instilled in them since childhood, what follows the recognition is a barrage of envy, resentment, exclusion, rejection and even mistreatment on a personal level; not by everyone, but by almost everyone. If each individual instance of this negative response was to be analyzed and dissected, one would see that the reason and cause for it boils down to the simple thought: “Why couldn’t it have been me? Why did it have to be him/her?

So widespread has this phenomenon become, and so used to it have we become that it is not only expected, but has become that which is desired, for which one of us can stand in front of a mirror and deny that some, or all of the motivation or inspiration that we may have to accomplish anything is based on how much others will envy us for being recognized and financially compensated.

It is very possible that this very real aspect of humanity may be the reason why so many arrive at the conclusion that it is futile to excel or contribute for any reason other than the financial benefit, the latter having become the only motivation we may have left. It is also very possible and quite probable that many people have actually solved this equation and concluded that the only way to not experience this phenomenon is to be mediocre.

If we look around, we can see that what we actually teach ourselves to aspire to is mediocrity, for what greater accomplishment can there be than to “not attract too much attention?” Just ask any celebrity.

An exceptional thought, action or creation born of any one of us requires the good will, acceptance and simple courtesy of the rest of us; for what benefits one of us, benefits us all. We already know this.

Isn’t it time to forgive the past and build a future? We’ve made enough mistakes to learn from them instead of repeating them.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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Playing the odds

What we once mostly called the “economy” or at times the “financial infrastructure” at other times the “fiscal structure” and every once it a while we would call it the “banking structure” or the “commercial structure” of the world, or to be more general; the systematic functional management and administration of wealth and value – ended, or died, or disappeared or was replaced some time ago.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when, but it doesn’t really matter at this point.  If anyone might ask the question:  “If this is true, then what has existed in its place since?”  The answer to that would be a casino, with the only exception being that there is no house.

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How to talk like THEM.

Have you ever wondered how they do it?  I’m referring to any of THEM (or “they”, you know; the same ones who “say” – ‘They say the economy will get better.’) who stand in front of large groups of people and give speeches.  It doesn’t have to be any particular one of them; it could be any one of them; politicians, corporate tycoons, millionaires, dictators and the like. How is it that they are able to stand up there for such a long time and talk as much as they do and say NOTHING at all, yet leave us in awe and impressed with the superlative oratory that we were fortunate enough to witness.  How is it that they do it?  They’re not THAT charismatic or charming or spellbinding, so how can so few talk so much crap and have it result in our applause, admiration, donations or votes? I’m not implying that an impressive and impacting discourse is never genuine, there are those who have the presence, power and passion to communicate a message to a large group of people and succeed with an impeccable power; it’s just there are far too many of them that don’t have any of these talents who manage to get away appearing as if they did every time they open their yapper and I think it’s about time a cat or two is let out of a bag or two.  Impressive, impacting, breathtaking and moving speeches can be made by anyone, with the assistance of a little math.  In this case; linguistic math. Would you like to learn how you can easily and simply give a knock-out speech that says absolutely nothing of any significance yet leaves the audience impressed, applauding and vowing life-long loyalty?  Let’s have some fun.

Below is what I call a ‘linguistic speech matrix’.  It breaks down key sections of sentences that contain words to which we are programmed from birth to respond to.  This is no joke, try it and you will be blown away.  The matrix is in the form of a table, with rows and columns.  There are four columns, numbered 1 through 4 which represent sentence segments.  These segments are interchangeable with other sentence segments containing the same component key words.  The matrix also has several rows and these are indexed by letter, alphabetically (A, B, C, etc).   Here’s how you use it: Starting with column 1, pick any row you like for the first part of what will be a 4-part sentence and then pick a different row for columns 2, 3 and 4 to form a sentence.  For example; you can start off with F1, D2, G3 and E4.  This gives you the following sentence, in this example the content of each cell has a different color font to help identify them: “The burden of daily life proves that the present structure of the organization facilitates the creation of new propositions.”  Afterwards, simply continue mixing and matching columns and rows, as long as they are in column sequence 1-2-3-4.  The more sentences you form, the longer and more impressive the speech sounds.

The matrix also has a bonus: it is flexible and adaptable so that it can mimic relevance.  It accomplishes this with column 4, which contains the wording which is the pivotal object of the sentence.   All of the rows in column 4 contain key words that sound important but mean nothing, however you can replace the words in column 4 from the matrix with something current, as long as it can follow “of” in terms of sentence structure.  Let’s use the same example as above but in this case, we’ll replace what is in E4 with something current and on the minds of many people, like the economy.  You can modify it like this: “The burden of daily life proves that the present structure of the organization facilitates the creation of a new global economic infrastructure.”  You can insert relevant topics into the column 4 segment here and there and voila! You’ve just made a top notch, expert level and knock-their’s-socks-off-speech.  Just imagine how much fun we could have with this knowledge!    Give it a try, it’s the real deal.  Now you not only know how to put together a world-class speech, you also have a tool to help you differentiate between an talented speaker and someone who is using a matrix: content.   Maybe this will level the playing field some, who knows?  Enjoy!

row/column

1

2

3

4

A

My fellow citizens, In order to reach the goals of the program We are obligated to perform a detailed analysis of the existing financial and administrative conditions.

B

On the other hand and given the present circumstances the complexity of analysis performed by management plays an essential role in the structuring of the development directives for the future.

C

Therefore. the constant increase in the quality and quantity of our activities demand exact precision and the complete support of the main participating system.

D

Regardless, we can not forget that the present structure of the organization assists in the preparation and completion of the member’s attitudes towards their unavoidable duties.

E

Similarly, the new distribution of duties of the organization guarantees the participation of an important group in the formation of new propositions.

F

The burden of daily life proves that the continuous development of different types of activities complies with important obligations in the determination of the learning curve, in terms of pogress.

G

It is not an absolute necessity to argue the complexity and the meaning of these problems, given that our activity and progress in the areas of information and propaganda facilitates the creation of the structure of programs that relate to specific needs.

H

A diversified base of meaningful experiences teaches us that the reinforcing and development of the structures prevents the appreciation of the importance of the conditions of the appropriate activities

I

It is the eagerness of the organization and also that the advice of of several militants offers us an interesting opportunity to test the validity of the development model.

J

Superior ideological principles are what allow that the beginnings of the process of forms the new attitudes which implies the process of reconstruction and modernization of the various types of action.

K

Additionally, we could very well dare to suggest that a specific re-launching of all the implied sectors will have to indicate an authentic starting point of the basic premises as adopted.

L

It is obvious to point out that that the overcoming of outmoded ways of thinking will, in any case, specify the fundamental basis of an actual wide-spectrum casuistry,

M

But we would commit the sin of insincerity if we were to avoid the fact that an indiscriminate application of conclusive factors assures us, in any case, of having a sensible investment process of the resulting elements.

N

Finally, and as a definitive final statement, it is necessary to add that the consensual process of various and other concurrent applications is derived by overcoming the indirect occurrence of a whole series of ideologically systematized criteria sharing a common front of regenerative acts.
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A most interesting modification to the solution of the global economic crisis…

I most definitely hope to be able to say that I “spoke too soon” if I waxed a bit too critical in yesterday’s post: The solution to the global economic crisis.   I don’t have all of the details yet, but I just now learned that there is a “Global Insolvency and Restructuring Conference”.  From what I have seen so far, these conferences are occurring at regular intervals, given that the web page I just looked at was about the 17th Global Insolvency and Restructuring Conference.   Perhaps some of us are looking at possible ways to restructure after the present insolvency bottoms out, and at a good pace too!  They’ve already had 17 of them!  They must have these conferences on a weekly basis, or possibly on a monthly basis; the last 17 months have been the hardest so far.

What confuses me a little is that the web page for this conference lists the last one in May of 2011.  There should have been at least 3 more since May, if not 12.  It must be a typo; I mean, come on; there’s no way that this could have been the 17th annual Global Insolvency and Restructuring Conference, could it?  That would mean that they have known about the insolvent state of the world for at least 17 years, perhaps more.   That couldn’t be possible, could it?  17 years ago; in 1994; there was no clue that the massive hammer punch we took in 2008 would happen or that any of these economic “bubbles” that exploded would exist; right?  I mean; if this were the 17th annual Global Insolvency and Restructuring Conference, then. . .  have we been insolvent since then or did we know that we would become insolvent?  Since 1994?

Excuse me for a moment, I just got a headache; I’m going to take an analgesic.

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