Aha! I finally understand our recent ECONOMIC COLLAPSE

MONOPOLY in the marketplace:  the return of feudalism

MONOPOLY in the marketplace: the return of feudalism  (Wikimedia: Fir0002)

I’ve been perplexed since 2008, unable to comprehend what happened to alter the arena of commerce so badly as to be no longer recognizable. Now comes an article which has thoroughly opened my eyes to something I’ve long suspected, but couldn’t quite explain to myself. (The article is a bit long, but worthy of your consideration.) It articulates how voters and elected representatives alike have been seduced by a false premise, posing as a¬†FREE MARKET ‚Ästbut aggressively buying up the competition. This commercial coup has emerged as vast monopolies in nearly every sector. What we have today, as a result, is a new feudalism where competition has been eliminated by politicians cooperating with big capital.

I’ve been pondering this recent pratfall while reading a new book belatedly titled The Fourth Revolution which comes from pedigreed talent at The Economist magazine ‚Äď (my review of the above book is linked at Amazon, and your votes are coveted). But the pair of ¬†authors has missed it. The revolution wasn’t even televised! Young people world-over have inherited not a serious recession, but a long term depression, even for those who might find jobs. It’s time to take back the marketplace. Ralph Nader has a new book about opposite sides working together to take it back; but that may be a long wait.



Photo by Felipe Baenninger/Projeto Transite, Wikimedia

Photo by Felipe Baenninger/Projeto Transite, Wikimedia

I’m lazy about physical exercise, preferring physical work, over workout. No longer working, I’ve started going to the gym, which never appealed to me previously. And I’ve learned a technique which is really efficient, and very effective. The method, developed by sports physiologists, described in this article, uses a quick sequence of bursts on a stationary bicycle which will get your system pumping vigorously for the entire day. By doing a mere TWO MINUTES of 30-second high-intensity, high-resistance sprints you will do much for your well-being. I’ve been doing this up north, and at California Gym in Merida, (c.37 x 60 y 62). It has made a significant difference for me. Astonishing! (If you are unwilling to work out for a total elapsed time of about six minutes, including rests between bursts, then perhaps you simply don’t aren’t interested.)¬†

ADDENDUM: I love the way the Creator evolves our family. Yesterday I found this compelling article, which looks both at fitness and diversity.


BBC: Art, as Mexico ‘by Rail’

SEFT-1 Railcraft


Crossing Mexico in a home-made ‘spacecraft’

20 June 2014 Last updated at 00:28 BST

In the second half of the 19th Century, the Mexican government partnered with British companies to build the railway line that would connect Mexico City with the Atlantic Ocean.

But over the past few decades, Mexico’s railways have fallen out of use, leaving hundreds of miles of disused track snaking across the country and cutting rural communities off from the large cities.

Artists Ivan Puig and Andres Padilla Domene decided to build a car capable of travelling on train tracks and explored the country’s abandoned railway lines.

Along the way they photographed hundreds of ruins and recorded the stories of the people that they met.

BBC News went to meet the pair as they brought an exhibition about their journey to the UK.



A Thought Experiment

Inspiration for A Thought Experiment.  (Photo by me, taken at La Flor, near Santiago Plaza)

Back in 2011, as a gesture of support for my Spanish teacher who was additionally ¬†conducting an ethics course at a local university, I voluntarily concocted a thought experiment¬†for her to inflict upon her students. ¬†I typed and submitted it to her¬†in my¬†poor Spanish after her mention of ¬†her class, hoping she would try it out; but I’m too embarrassed to show my poor language skills here. ¬†She was delighted, and she did share it with her students, conducting the experiment ‚Äď although she didn’t use a secret ballot, which contaminates the experiment with observer bias.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of thought experiments, I’ll tell about one which has changed history for everybody on the planet. It was devised by Albert Einstein on his way to work one morning. He looked at the clocktower down the street in Berne, Switzerland, as he walked to his desk at the patent office, and began to think about the light bouncing off the hands of the clock, revealing what time it was. So he asked himself a question about that light: What would I see, if I could catch a ride on a beam of light, traveling at¬†light speed? Well, his pondering of that question, we’re told here, radically altered humankind’s understanding of the laws of nature. A simple question. A profound experiment. A different world. That cellphone in your pocket, your tv, computer, digital gear, all of it harks back to his thought experiment.

Asking the right questions can change the course of your life. Ah, yes, it takes some pondering, and some listening. But intense¬†curiosity comes first. (And I do think it’s important not to allow anyone else to answer for you ‚Äď not your grandma, not your pastor, not your professors, nor any¬†authority figures. You arrived, pre-loaded with cosmic wisdom and spiritual aptitude! Go inside your own consciousness, and listen.) The experiment¬†I devised for my Spanish teacher basically asks individuals which role model they would prefer: the suffering but fashionable and popular artist, Frida; or the suffering, failed¬†messiah (or so it seemed, even to his disciples), the¬†crucified Jesus? Secret ballot is intended. So then, what’s you’re choice? Whom will you emulate?

If you’re not familiar with the life of Frida you may review¬†it before voting. For those not familiar with the¬†life of Jesus, I’ve linked The Message translation of the shortest gospel, that of Mark, as it is fast-paced, and rendered in lively contemporary English. (If you prefer a different translation or another language version, from Amuzgo to Uspanteco, including Espa√Īol and Polski, ¬†you may select, using the pull-down menu, at the linked site.)

NB: in the comment section below this post, and in this note, there is a link to a blogpost written by a philosopher and friend who has some genuine insight on issues of consciousness and godtalk. 



The Healing Power of Story

So, what's your story?

So, what’s your story?

It’s not where you live, or work, or study, but the stories you tell yourself that determine who you are ‚Äď that shape your character, and then come alive in your daily experience. An article in TIME¬†magazine argues that storytelling is a most important life skill. How do we acquire this vital skill? Do tell! (I found the book below to be very instructive some years ago.) One of my persistently favorite storytellers has been CS Lewis, who’s work runs the gamut from fantasy to criticism. And his own life story¬†which details his transition from atheist to Christian believer, is worth reading, too.¬†


In the Mind’s Eye

Foggy farmstead.

Foggy farmstead.

But there went up a mist . . .¬†This morning we awoke to dense fog. ¬†I’m confident it did not make the sun blink, attempting to clear sleep from its singular eye, as it were. From that perspective, eight minutes away by photon express, all was bright, even if we can’t see much ’round the bend. Our days at this address are passing as we gradually transition towards Merida. It’s been lovely living in this grove of sugar maple trees, on this fertile farm. It’s been a promised land, which I claim ever to be beneath our feet. Even if we can’t see what’s up ahead.





Author and naturalist, Jim Conrad

Author and Naturalist, Jim Conrad

Jim Conrad has written from, and lived in Mexico, off and on, for many years. One of my early delights was to visit him at his palapa near Piste on our second vacation to Yucatan, in 2010. 

My friend Hammockman tells me that Jim has a new book out:¬†TAP DANCING WITH SANDPIPERS,¬†which can be downloaded for free. This book is an extraction of his philosophical insights which have usually appeared at the close of the¬†weekly blogpost of his nature writing (also visible on fb). So it’s momentous to have this work gathered together into a single digital volume. Maybe someday it will actually become a pulp edition! (If you click the topmost link above, you will see several other digital volumes written from various locations around the globe, as well. There are a few pulp books from the past, which can be found at used booksellers such as ABEbooks.com by searching on the author name Jim Conrad.) These insights are frequently transcendent. Another book, GAIACOYOTE, sorta autobiographical (a novel, scroll to bottom of linked page), is quite a hoot. These insights are frequently transcendent. If you find the writing to your liking, you might consider buying the author lunch by clicking his DONATE button. Jim lives mostly off the land ‚Äď and the kindness of strangers. I believe he is ineligible to draw social security; but a happier, more fulfilled guy you will rarely meet.¬†

Presently Jim is living in Uvalde County, Texas where he is helping to establish a nature¬†visitors-facility on somebody’s ranch. People who might enjoy a guided tour with this colorful guy can reach him there through his blog, BackyardNature, which appears on facebook, and at the second link above. (Those who don’t use facebook, but who would like to receive a weekly installment of his nature blog directly on their desktop are invited to be in touch with me for how to receive the blogpost by email.)

Jim invites an elderberry bush to say cheese.

Jim invites a bush to say cheese.


Painting by Paul Schad-Rossa, Wikimedia

Painting by Paul Schad-Rossa, Wikimedia

Juxtaposition rarely fails to amuse me. This morning we spotted an ad in New Yorker specifically touting the retirement paradise of Merida (while also including other locations in Mexico) ‚Äď after reading a rousing examination of the concept of paradise (and slavery) written by Toni Morrison, who shares some quotes from Milton’s Paradise Lost¬†to help make her case against exclusivity ‚Äď which has¬†happily not been our experience here in Merida’s Centro Historico. Indeed, we love the peaceful blending of economic classes here. (While Morrison’s article looks grim at first encounter, her treatment of the topic of inequality may be worth pondering at this point in time.)