154/80

I think this picture will become emblematic of the Trump administration. A moment of silence while we pause to appreciate its demise.

Someone is home but the lights are out. He’s huddled down in the same underground bunker Cheney huddled in on 9/11

Yes, he’s huddled down in the Dick Cheney memorial bunker. When the Dick occupied it, we were under attack from without. Now we’re under attack from within, and he is powerless to know what to do. He was always incompetent, but the stakes were lower. He’s still incompetent, but now the country is melting down. Erik says it’ll all stop by the end of the week. I’m not so sure. A combination of frustration over unemployment, the virus and now the death of another black man is more than these kids can handle. Here’s another picture to contemplate.

The I-95 Welcome Wagon when peaceful protesters shut down the interstate in both directions for about 90 minutes.

Yes, that is I-95 early Sunday evening here in Palm Beach County when protesters took over both sides of the interstate for a while. What does that say to you about the state of affairs in this country? Do you think it’ll stop in a week, or will they become like the kids in Hong Kong, leaving school, home and family to become professional mobs?

It’s like deja vu all over again, sayeth Yogi Berra

My text sounds like I disapprove of what these kids are doing. Most of them are just going to the protest because that’s a cool thing to do. Girls are clad in black yoga pants, tapping on their phones. The guys are wearing tie dye (remember that from our era?) or shirtless, waving signs and shouting? When kids get shot, like at Kent State, will they quit or become more militant? I suspect the cool kids will abandon the field, to the new revolutionaries who will not. They will be there in sufficient number to get the media’s attention. That will draw more in, and, well, here we go – Hong Kong redux.

By November, I calculate the US will incur a total of 285,000 deaths from SARS-2. The economy will be in a state of virtual collapse by the end of August. There are already articles saying restaurants are in worse shape after reopening, because of limited seating and likely not even using what they have. I am afraid to go to a restaurant, and I don’t think I’m all that unusual. We, like Trumpedo the Maleficent, are hunkering down until the ‘thing’ goes away. You mean the virus or the protesters? You decide.

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary. The Guard continues but nobody is there to see it

A lot of people that hate Trump will welcome all that dismal news. Then, at some point, reality will hit, maybe when his unemployment runs out or she gets sick and incurs a whopper of a hospital bill she can’t pay because she lost her insurance when she lost her job. Then what happens? At some point, a genuine leader will emerge from the shadows and start to make things better. I expect to see that some time in September, when it becomes exceedingly clear that Trump and his gang are done. Then and only then will the Republicans figure out that they’ll be swept out of office too. The tunes will change bigly then. You’ll start hearing, “Well, I never really agreed with him, but the party leadership made me toe the line.” Or how about, “Now that I see what he’s REALLY like, I disagree with his policies and believe we need a change in this country.” But by then it’ll be too late. We’ll all vote by mail, because the second wave of the Cvirus will make it too dangerous to go to the polls. Why? Because poll workers won’t show up, fearful of the same thing. Lines will be too long to process with social distancing. Vote by mail will be the only solution. And when the results do finally get tabulated – maybe two weeks or so after the election? It will be chaos in Washington with the changing of the guard. It won’t be pretty.

We’ll All Feel Like We’re on the Pequod Soon

What to do in the meantime? You know the drill. Do what you’re supposed to do to avoid getting sick. Stop listening to popular media because they are clueless, grasping at straws. Like 60 Minutes last night, showing one man who believed he was saved by antibodies in plasma from a donor. Maybe he was. But there aren’t enough plasma donors to make any kind of dent in the number of serious cases that will need antibody therapy. So, come on Scripps et al – do your thing and work on a treatment with those monoclonal antibodies! We need to turn this battleship by January, 2021, when a whole new administration will take over. They will have a whale of a set of problems to solve. But with Democrats in charge in the White House and both sides of Congress, I believe it’s possible to begin to rebuild. Or not. Biden’s choice of a VP will be essential to this task. I don’t believe he has what it takes to do it alone. We need a hero(ine)!

My temperature is 98.1° F. My blood oxygen is 96% and my heartbeat is 79 bpm. Good vibes here.

157/77

It’s Friday, the 29th of May. According to Worldometer, there were almost 25,000 new cases of SARS-2 in the US today. There were almost 30,000 in Brazil, and 125,000 in the world. So between us and Brazil, we accounted for 44% of all the cases. This is not a tragedy; this is a crime. The crime scene? The entire country. Yes, the virus is infecting everyone now. Was it too early to open? Gee, what do you think?

I Get Anger..I Really Do..

Minneapolis is still burning, and protests/riots are spreading all over the country: Atlanta, San Jose California, Houston, and yes, still in Minneapolis. I think George Floyd’s death has set off a spark to a pile of kindling created by a pandemic and a psychopathic president. David Brooks on PBS tonight said it was one of the worst weeks ever for this country. He was angry; he was heartbroken. His partner in the piece, Mark Shields, was philosophical. What’s at stake here is that people just give up on this country and its people. I know there are lots of good folks out there just trying to get by and be decent citizens. I count my family in that group. But a whole lot of other folks are so angry or frustrated or just fed up that they are burning, looting and creating contagious mayhem. This is a bad time for all that. People: we’ve got to get it together and go way back to where we were before this madness called the Trump Administration began. We need to find a way to heal this gash in our collective sides.

The Death Machine for Alleged Terrorists Now Surveils Protestors/Looters in Minneapolis

And then there’s the deployment of a drone over Minneapolis for ‘situation analysis’. Yes, an unarmed (thank God!) drone was rerouted from routine patrol over Canada (?) to fly over Minneapolis at 20,000 feet. Somebody, somewhere thought that was a good idea. Fortunately, before it had hovered just long enough to be spotted by a group of monitoring civilians, it left Minneapolis and domestic spying. Next time will it be armed, or will they just threaten that it will be armed (ref: notable quote from Trump about looting and shooting, which he says he didn’t know came from the Liberty City riots in Miami way back when). This is way out of line, but with the entire government and half the Congress held sway by that psycho in chief, it will not be investigated or condemned. Remember when the FBI infiltrated Vietnam Veterans against the War? Are we back to those days again? Damn it all to hell. I fear we are.

Rest in Peace, Larry Kramer

There will be no end to this pandemic for at least another 18 months. In the meantime, we need to get really angry. That’s the only way things will change. Larry Kramer taught us that, and now he’s dead. At least he lived to age 84 in the age of AIDS. He may not have always had the right idea, and I’m not sure whether it was him and ACTUP or Liz Taylor that shamed or influenced the government to act. But at least he tried. And we need to be doing the same. I am angry. Something has to change. Otherwise, we are doomed. I know, I know, I keep saying that. But God almighty, how much more can this country take? Will we even make it to November?

158/76

Got the results of my blood work today from Dr. Viera. It was all within limits. So I guess that means I’ll be around to fight another day, Cvirus notwithstanding.

Words Emerge from the Keyboard

I also wrote some more on my Clemmie sequel. It is interesting to describe my process to Elaine, my therapist. It is no process, no outline, just put down whatever happens to the keyboard. There are certain parameters. I am ten years old in the back room; I am a 70 year old woman in the front room, with the ten year old within me, alive, aware, functional and partnering with me in my endeavour. That means conversations between the 70 year old and the ten year old – me. I don’t know if anybody has effectively done that in literature before, at least not that I’ve seen. It will be tricky, but necessary. As I said to Elaine, I only want to go down this road once.

Mad as a Hatter? No, a Trump

Meanwhile, our existing world is in the throes of complete madness. It’s continuing to be challenging to watch the news, where media personnel treat Trump’s actions as though they are those of a rational man. He is not a rational man. He is, as Bill Maher said to Tom Friedman, the mad king. I know it; you know it, if you’re willing to admit it; and so do those media people who pretend it’s still a rational world. It isn’t. Get over it. Stop watching it, if you don’t like it. OK.

Any Excuse to Keep from Losing the Election. Hey! Just don’t have one! That was Easy

Elaine says she’s waiting for someone – just before the election – to stand up and call bullshit on all this. She said it in a much more refined way than I’ve expressed it, but it’s still the bottom line. How we are living is unsustainable. We cannot continue to pretend that all is well. The stock market keeps going up, despite 20% of the working population being unemployed. The media reports on Trump signing an executive order to rein in social media platforms, when over a million people are desperately trying to survive a deadly virus in this country – nearly 3 million worldwide. I fear the time for the election will come and go, and nobody will stand up and say what needs to be said. Trump will be ignominiously defeated, if he allows the election to proceed. Ah, there goes democracy out the window, the thing that Republicans claim has already happened by them being asked to wear a mask. But they’ll be perfectly comfortable with postponing the election. Sigh.

Kind of a Wreck that needs real work – last room to need it

The back bedroom – Kiernan’s old room – still needs to be cleaned up and reorganized. She’s left lots of stuff in the closet and on the bed, but all that can be bagged up and put with the rest of their stuff. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that a king size bed simply does not fit in that bedroom. What’s wanted here are two twin beds, straddling the east window. There are french doors on the south side, and I don’t want to put anything in front of them. So somehow, I need to swap out a king sized mattress for two twins. Alternatively, I can let the bed float in the room a bit, so there’s room behind it to exit through the french doors. I’ll give that a try.

No Baseball for the Foreseeable Future

Finally, there’s baseball. Actually, there isn’t…baseball. The owners of the teams are trying to find ways to save money, so they dump the players from the minors because they have no union protection. It says a few million, when they made billions last year. It doesn’t seem fair, it isn’t right from the kids in the minors’ perspective, but as a business decision, I guess it’s right. But what do you jettison next? We won’t be able to attend games likely for another couple of years. They won’t go broke, but it will rankle that they must pay the players who do nothing but stay home. Baseball will change, along with everything else. Union busting in the offing, or bringing the kids in the minors into the union tent? Time will tell..we shall see. Money isn’t money anymore. It’s a means to monitize debt. Whatever that means…Sigh..

My temperature is 97.6° F. My blood oxygen is 95% and my heartbeat is 75 bpm. Clearly I am well as can be.

159/75

Apparently, addition is a skill too far for us in America. According to Worldometer, we passed the 100 thousand death mark yesterday. Everybody in this country’s media thinks it was today. So apparently accurate counting is just too hard for us. Oh my God.

Why are There numbers 30% less than everybody elses?

Speaking of Worldometer, they have our death toll at 102,107. The CDC says the death toll is 76,874. Johns Hopkins says it’s 100,396. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Why don’t these numbers agree? Why is the government estimate so much lower than a website designed to attract advertising dollars or a great American university? Enquiring minds want to know, but I doubt we’ll ever know. The truth is, the death toll since the virus has exceeded the norm. Anderson Cooper had a graph showing that’s been the case since March. That I do believe.

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Lose. Dan Quayle

So what happens now? We keep social distancing; people will keep dying. No matter whether the government ‘opens’ your state or not, if you’re 70 or older, you must socially distaince yourself. No restaurant meals. No bowling alley gatherings. No pool parties. The best you can do is takeout with a mask and staying at home with your family. If you manage to escape the virus, you’ll thank me. That is assumng you don’t lose your mind in the process.

My friend Bobbi and I walked around the parking lot by the Chinese restaurant, and then got a takeout. The walking was fine. The food was mediocre. It tasted like they cooked it yesterday and warmed it up today. That seems to be the norm with takeout food these days. We’re better off fixing our own, but cooking and cleaning up gets old too. What’s the answer? Beats the hell out of me.

Time is Better Spent Writing than Zooming to Talk about Writing

Ray heard from the old writer’s group, welcoming him to a Zoom session. I think I’ll pass on that, and focus on just getting some writing done. Lots to write about, and plenty of time in which to carry out those assignments.

My temperature is 97.9° F. My blood oxygen is 94% and my heartbeat is 79 bpm. I’m alright..nobody worry ’bout me. (Thank you Kenny Loggins).

160/74

As of 7 PM tonight, Tuesday, May 26th, 2020, we have seen 100,500 Americans die of SARS-2. That is 28.6% of all the deaths in the world. The next highest death toll comes from Brazil. Their unfortunate claim to fame is 24,500 or 6.9%. While Brazil and Russia are rushing to catch up with us, we have a much greater head start. The trend in this country will continue unabated. Why? Because we aren’t testing enough people to quarantiine the vulnerable away from the people who think it’s ok to get ‘back to normal’.

Who Knew Going to Lowe’s Would have the potential to kill you?

As a result, the vulnerable have to quarantine themselves. There’s no going to dinner and a movie for us folks over 70. Just going to Lowes to look at flooring is a risky venture. The most fun we have these days is when the family comes over and we have a few hours of talking and laughing. That is really kinda sad, but hey: that’s the way it is.

Tomorrow I’m going walking with my friend Bobbi over by our favorite Chinese restaurant. I haven’t walked more than a third of a mile in the past 74 days. I warned her we need to take it slow and not go very far until I start getting back into shape. I miss my Silver Sneakers class, as it was the perfect exercise for someone like me. It was one part aerobic, one part upper body strength building and one part balance exercise. Perfect. But now a thing of the past.

Walking into a Minefield? Necessary but Scary

I did do a little work on my Clemmie story yesterday, and it’s like wading into a minefield. To say I am tentative about it is an understatement. But if I take it slow, just write as much as I can without having an anxiety attack and then putting it aside, then I’m good. That’s the game plan, anyway. We’ll see how it goes. It looks like it’ll be stream of consciousness along with dialogues with trumpeters and Clemmie. That part I’m looking forward to, because it will create humor and perspective. It is the front room dialogue I fear. What child likes to confront their parents for their failings? I didn’t do it much while they were alive: can it really be effective when they’re both dead? We shall soon find out.

That will look good under my Basquiat!

I need to find the perfect little piece of furniture to go under my Basquiat picture across from my desk. There’s a space there, crying out for something precious. Where to find such a thing? Ebay means having to pay shipping, which makes no sense. Surely there’s some place around here where I can find one. Let the search begin! Wayfair! Nah..I’ve bought from them before. You have to put it together. Never looks quite right. Continue the search.

My new, temporary employer

I went to Stuart today to get fingerprinted for my soon to start temporary job with the United States census. They have assured me that there will be no risk taken in collecting information. We shall see about that. In the meantime, unless my fingerprints come back showing I was an urban terrorist in my 20’s (not likely), I should be starting training soon. It pays $17.50 an hour, even for training. No too bad. What will I do with the money? Give it back to the government in July when I pay our tax bill, of course!

My temperature is 98.1° F. My blood oxygen is 97% and my heartbeat is 79 bpm. Still kickin’, here.

161/73

Today is Monday. I did some laundry and John made lovely porterhouse steaks for our dinner. Erik and I went to Lowe’s to look at flooring. We’re going with vinyl plank for the 2nd floor Tallahassee house instead of laminate. It costs a little more, but is waterproof and decidedly more substantial. We want it to last for a very long time.

Dedication of Finschafen Cemetary, Papua, New Guinea, February, 1944. Clemmie was buried there at the end of April, 1944. His remains returned to Miami in 1949

Today is also Memorial Day. I’ve been thinking and talking today about my deal with God, and then thinking about how my father’s family dealt with the death of their son, brother, grandson and nephew. They mourned. More than once, they mourned. First, they mourned when they got the news of his death. Then they had to mourn again when his remains were returned some 5 years later. It wasn’t the government’s highest priority to return dead soldiers’ remains. He’d been buried in a German (!) cemetary on the north coast of New Guinea, not too far from where he flew out of at a place called Wewak. Public pressure led to the government returning the remains.

I thought a lot about Erik and his deployments. He posted on Facebook for people to remember the departed instead of thanking him for his service. I thank God for his safe return home and in one piece, since that was our deal (ref: previous post). He is now a stalwart observer of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day, since he has an overarching appreciation of what that sacrifice is about. Since we are not going into crowded public places, I just remembered quietly, in my own way. I started writing the second part of my Clemmie series. This one is called Trumpets and Trauma. It’s set back in the south Miami house, but there are two distinct parts: the back room and the front room. The back room is a place of refuge, of happiness, joy and artistic expression. The front room is about trauma remembered, confronted and potentially re-experienced. There’s a closet in between that is in the transition area. I change between the back room and the front room, going from being an adult to a child. But I have begun, and that is what is notable.

If you’re young and fit, you’ll be a sheep. If you’re old or consume food cooked with seed oils, you’re a goat and you’ll be dead. Ask Bill Maher

We’re right on the cusp of a hundred thousand SARS-2 deaths. By tomorrow we will likely exceed that milestone, if you want to call it that. At this point, I’m not sure it’s entirely a bad thing. If young people get it and become immune, scientists will use their plasma to develop a treatment and potentially a vaccine. That will save us vulnerable people. The trick is to know if you’re a sheep or a goat, euphemistically speaking. It doesn’t do us any good if you are dead. Dead plasma won’t work. So hey, you old folks, continue to take all precautions and let the youngsters get it and recover.

My temperature is 98.1° F. My blood oxygen level is 95% and my heartbeat level is 78 bpm. All continues to function well.

162/72

Erik’s in the other room watching CNN regurgitate all the ways idiot Trump has screwed up managing this pandemic. I said that was like flagellation, and made me compare Trump to Idi Amin. Remember him? I think they had/have similar IQs.

Too expensive! Not worth it, even if it is deductible

We did the family gathering today – lovely as ever. Ray and I discussed how to attract people to our writing group. It turns out Meet Up costs $120 a year. Not worth it. Instead, we’ll try the Palm Beach Gardens writing group on the 15th of June. Then we’ll decide if we want to start our own.

Tomorrow I’ll start working on the Clemmie sequel, because it’s Memorial Day. We won’t go out and mix it up with any groups, so it’s the least I can do. I’ll give Erik a call too, just to see how he’s getting along being at home by himself with just the dogs to keep him company.

This is what I have in mind for the stairs

Slowly the house is coming together. I’m going to work on the Tallahassee house for a while. We need new flooring upstairs, and laminate instead of old carpet makes sense. Lowes’ contractor is coming to measure on Tuesday, so I hope by the end of June to have the new flooring in. Then we’ll need to go up there and work on the stair steps. We’ll take the carpet off, paint the steps and risers white. Then put a rug up the middle, held back with brass carpet rods. It will look great. The last major project will be the kitchen floor and backsplash. The backsplash is easy: brick. The floor is more difficult. Getting someone to come out and take a look has been quite a challenge. We’ll see how Lowes does on this project and maybe we’ll let them take a crack at it.

It’s Sunday night and I’m tired. My temperature is 98.0° F. My blood oxygen is 97% and my heart beat is 76 bpm. All is still well.

163/71

I took the vintage Ringling Brothers poster depicting a chariot race to the frame shop in Lake Park. They do a good job there, better than Michael’s for not that much more money. I saw the poster on the wall next to Max Cherry’s desk in Jackie Brown, and I liked it. Turned out there was a back story involving Robert Forster. The actor’s father was an elephant handler for Ringling Brothers, and it was his poster on the wall. I used the same frame, but with better matting, picking up some of the more obscure colors in the poster. I hope it looks good at the Tallahassee house, and that Kirsten likes it.

The Fallen. May They Rest in Peace

Monday is Memorial Day, and I’ve been giving that some thought. Erik and I used to attend every Memorial Day service when Erik the Younger was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. It was my deal with God to attend the ceremony honoring war dead in exchange for Erik coming home alive and in one piece. Then there’s the Clemmie story on top of Erik’s wartime experiences. All in all, it makes Memorial Day rather special for me. I will celebrate it in my own way, not by exposing myself to any potential SARS-2 carriers, but by beginning to write the sequel to the Clemmie story where he can talk through his experiences. I think it apt.

We’ve been slowly picking away at getting the house in shape, moving some things around and hanging some pictures in appropriate scenarios. Today was scrubbing the kitchen floor, a task that probably hasn’t been done in six months. It was gross. There’s been a lot of cookin’ in that kitchen in these past 19 years. It still has the original gas cooktop, though some of the igniters don’t work any more. I’m just afraid to change it out, because you and I both know: they don’t make ’em like that anymore. So I keep my bbq lighter handy for the burner that won’t ignite, and carry on. Maybe someday.

Last Thursday Erik and I went to Dr. Viera’s to get blood drawn for our regular checkups. I’ve been working hard on maintaining good cholesterol, managing blood sugar and taking Vitamin D. We’ll get the results next week, and I’m confident we’ll both be doing OK. He takes good care of himself and I have good genes. There you have it.

Writing Group Will be Fun

Finally, the family is coming over tomorrow to drink wine and talk about starting a writers’ group here in Jupiter, as previously mentioned. Ray has dug up a whole lot of criteria to be considered, and I want the artist ladies in the family to make us up a logo like the one I found with the cowgirl and the lasso. It may have to be virtual at first, but eventually we’ll figure out how to get like-minded people in the area to come together and share their writing. Looking forward to it.

164/70

Lots to talk about today, having saved up for three whole days. Inspiration sometimes takes a little while to rise.

On Wednesday, I watched the webinar entitled Survivors of Coronavirus May Hold the Secret to Stopping Covid-19. However, his presentation wasn’t really about using affected people’s plasma directly. It was another take on Scripps’ work developing what they refer to as monoclonal antibodies in the lab.

The first part of the presentation was about the Cvirus itself, and how it works. We’ve seen that already, so move on. Then he described the body’s reaction to the virus. This was the slide he used.

The way the body fights the virus: first T cells, then binding antibodies, then finally neutralizing antibodies, which actually do the work

Antibody tests detect the binding antibody, rather than the neutralizing. As a result, there’s no way to tell how effect human’s antibodies are from their plasma to help other infected people. That was it. Move on to other topics. And here I thought we were going to talk about the effectiveness of that plasma as a treatment – just because that’s what the title implied. Nope.

Next he talked about all the different types of vaccines being developed. Here’s that illustration:

An Illustration of the Different Types of Vaccines being developed

None of these is how Scripps intends to pursue a treatment for SARS-2. Instead, they will take antibodies from humans that have been infected, define the ‘shape’ of the key part of the S protein, replicate that shape in the lab, inject it into other humans and watch which they develop antibodies. Using the lab gets at the need for billions of doses of this treatment, instead of taking it straight from the human donor.

But then again, we’re still stuck with the time frame: 12-18 months, and that’s if everything goes well. You and I both know things are not and probably will not go well in the near future. I’m suggesting third quarter of 2022 before we will have this treatment available on a widespread basis. They’ll work with health care workers first. Why? Because the results are terrible and we need those health care workers.

Yesterday, according to Worldometer, there were over 28,000 new cases and 1400 deaths in the US. So, you say, that’s not all that different. Actually, it is. Where prior to this, 80% of the cases were occurring in 20% of the states, now they’re spread out all over the country. As we ‘open’ more states, more cases of Cvirus are being developed. As of 2:30 today, we are seeing nearly 12,000 new cases. Here’s what I find fascinating. Each day, if you divide the total number of deaths by the total number of cases in the US, you get a fairly consistent 6%. Yesterday was 96354/1620902 = 5.94%. It is fairly constant, which says to me that the death rate is remaining consistent. Alternatively, if you look at the closed cases, the ratio of recovered to dead is 80%/20%. In Italy, for most of the most difficult time for them, that ratio was 60%/40%. Now Italy is 99% recovered/1% dead. What does that tell me? The Cvirus has run its course in Italy, and moved on to other shores to infect you and me. While it was there, Italy had a death rate of 539/million population. We are currently at 294 per million. Assuming the virus behaves here as it behaved there, we will see over 172,000 people lose their lives. Right now, we’re at 97,102. So we’re likely about half done with this pandemic before it exhausts all its hosts.

Those are rather sobering numbers. But what’s the takeaway? Continue to self-isolate. Eat right and get enough sleep. Wash your hands. Take your temperature and get one of those oximeters that snaps on your middle finger of your left hand. It measures your blood oxygen and heartbeats. According to Dr. Eric Topol, your heartbeat increases before you even get a fever. Early detection and treatment is often the key to survival if you should get it.

We need some kind of logo – maybe like this, but with Jupiter instead of earth in the background

Other news? Ray contacted our old writing group. The person he emailed did not recognize his name. We went there at least 4 times, and everybody loved Ray’s work. Our conclusion? We should start our own writers’ group right here in Jupiter. Name? Jupiter Writer’s Guild/Wranglin’ Writers. I like it. Guild implies professionalism; no rank amateurs we. And Wranglin’ Writers is intended to convey that we engage in long, complicated disputes or arguments. No superficial writers, we. Very cool. I’ve even had business cards make up to reflect that. Can’t wait to start handing them out.

Finally, I did as I said I was going to, and contacted my therapist for a Zoom session. We did that yesterday, and it was good – maybe better than in person. We’ll have another session next week and likely for the duration. Why go out if you can Zoom in?

I love it. My temperature is 98.1° F. My blood oxygen is 96% and my heartbeat is 85 bpm. Still alive.

167/67

The Dow was off 390 points today because of the testimony of Jerome Powell and Steve Mnuchin. What did they say that was so bad? It wasn’t what they said: it was the fact that they fundamentally disagreed about how to fix the damage done to the economy.

Mnuchin says open everything up and the economy will be self-healing. Powell says until physical health is restored (i.e. with a vaccine), economic health will continue to suffer. I think Powell is right. We’ll open everything up and then by the end of the summer and a couple hundred thousand deaths, we’ll have to button it down again. In 2008, Bernanke, Paulsen and Geitner all sang from the same hymnal. The government didn’t do nearly enough, but their leadership helped restore confidence. This government has provided no confidence whatsoever, except to a crazy few. As a result, we’ll be further along on the road to disaster.

How about this for a diagram?

Where are we on this curve?

I’d argue we’re at the top of the S curve and on our way down. How long will it be before the economy collapses? According to my projections, we’re probably looking at around another 8 years. Climate change will exacerbate our already difficult time from the Cvirus. Mounting expenses from the impact of those things on insurance costs will likely bankrupt nearly all. Alternatively, the impact will cause premiums to rise to the point where they’ll be all we can afford. People will drop their insurance and suffer the consequences.

What happens to those of us on Social Security? We are left like Russian retirees after Russia defaulted on its debt in the early 90’s. We will go broke and then we’ll go hungry. How to prepare? First of all, don’t pay off your debts because after inflation kicks in, your debts denominated in dollars will be worthless. What is inflation? Even Emily knows: too many dollars chasing too few goods. So own a house, or two houses, even with mortgages. If we all go broke at the same time, who will want to take back your house that nobody else can afford to buy? Grow a garden and have a breeding pair of pigs and some chickens. That way you’ll have eggs and meat. 2028 isn’t that far away. In 2028, I’ll be 78; Erik will be 82. I’m pretty sure we’ll still be around, unless this or another virus gets us. Life is tough, and it’ll get tougher. You need to get tough too.

My temperature is 98.0° F. My blood oxygen is 98% and my heartbeat is 79 bpm. I aint’ dead yet!