Culture Journal

Racial Unrest and other news

It is 8:49 AM on Sunday May 31st, 2020. I have asked myself many times this year if things could get any worse. I quit asking myself that question months ago yet things continue to get worse. At this point I’m wondering if we will see a bottom for a while or if things will simply continue to decline along a steady pace as the months and perhaps even years roll by?

I’m on the verge of deleting Facebook again. I would love to do this but again, doing so would mean losing contact with hundreds of people around the world forever. I’m tried of reading everyone’s opinions but I have to say it is fascinating how quickly people will forget teachings of love and respect and choose a side. I was very disappointed in the boomer generation adult when I myself because an adult and now I am equally, if not more-so disappointed in the adults of my own generation. Adults are supposed to be smart and have answers. I’m realizing adults are amazingly dumb and this is depressing.

As with many things in this blog this explanation is so my ancestors can have an accurate representation. As there are no like buttons nor room to comment I’m not interested in feedback. It would seem that around ninety percent of Americans will just parrot their choice of propaganda and I could just get that directly from the source if I were so inclined.

So what is happening and why?

It is because racism is deeply ingrained in American society. It is not something a sports star nor black president can cure although the media likes to think it can. Human beings on the overall are very tribal and it is very difficult to eliminate the instinct. Humans have always mixed but the tribal instinct remains. Take the Arab Moors conquering Spain over hundreds of years and now most Spanish have black hair and black eyes. You know what else Spaniards have? Ancient hatred for the Arabs even though Arab blood is in their veins. Let’s stick with Spain and look at Mexican society. The rulers are mostly white and at the bottom of the social order are the natives. You go up in social class depending on how much Spanish blood you have in your veins. These rulers then do not care much for the natives although native blood also runs in their veins.

Here in America racism courses strongly through American’s veins and although diluted much over the past century is still as strongly present and real as a Spaniard’s black eyes. African Americans started out in this country as slaves and have had a very hard road since due to this racism. Simply put, it has been much more difficult for them to build wealth and prosper due to racism. If racism could be removed completely I imagine society would be quite harmonious and everyone prospering. But no, the racism persists and injustice after injustice is perpetrated on African Americans. The current unrest is the direct result of a racist society.

Reading the news today I see white leaders telling people they are dishonoring the legacy of George Floyd by looting and rioting. Well, let’s state things clearly here. Both peaceful as well as violent protesting has occurred many times int the past but it rarely does anything. Just a few years ago the Occupy movement had people marching all over the place, holding rallies and lots of people speaking lots of words up on stage. Then it ended and nothing changed. I remember the L.A. riots in the news and seeing video of a man being pulled from his truck and almost killed. Guess what came of those riots? A damaged L.A. came out of them and not much else. So what will happen with these riots? There will be damage, people will get arrested and pepper sprayed, they will end, and nothing will have changed.

The only thing riots serve is to harden the opinions of those who already hold racist views. But I understand the need to protest and even those that want to break things. They live everyday under suspicion, in a society where the feeling of being an outcast is always there although to varying degrees depending on the environment, socioeconomic status, and mindset of the individuals. This is everyday life for them and something that those who do not experience it really cannot empathize with since they have no idea what it is like. However, let’s not pretend that all of the protesters motives are pure. There are more than a few who are thugs, to cause chaos and steal. You see these thugs looting stores. But then I ask myself what is the difference between them looting stores given the opportunity and white collar executives looting their customers (or anything that can be looted) given the opportunity? I remember Wells Fargo charging customers for accounts they didn’t want and then calling it “deepening the relationship.” Perhaps these looters are deepening their relationship with Best Buy? Taking for personal gain is the American way! This is also deeply ingrained in the DNA of this country. The only difference is the ones on top can get away with it whilst the ones on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder cannot.

Let’s also be honest about the police and George Floyd. This is where I do not understand why white leaders keep saying “the legacy of George Floyd.” He was drunk and trying to pass counterfeit bills. He was not a role model. But here is the catch. When was the last time a white cop killed a white person for stealing? Reading the news I can count three times just in the past few months when extreme injustice occurred based on racism. Arbery, Edmondson and now Floyd. This is that native racism with the only difference from the past is it can now be easily recorded and shared when in the past it could not.

Looking at my Facebook feed half have taken the side of police and half on the side of the protesters. None have written a post trying to understand both sides. This is the important point my ancestors. The truly intelligent can delve into and try to honestly understand the other side. This is not a talent that comes naturally and takes work. This also creates the ironic outcome where expecting to receive more answers you’re own viewpoints become less stable. The results in more reading, and the more you read the more questions you will have and it will continue forever. It can cause anxiety to never be steadfast in your own opinions, to never have an eternally correct answer. But it is also exhilarating!

You’ll soon see that those who are so sure of their answers are the ones that know the least. These are the ones who are the most vocal. In my own feed it is those who did not go to college and received C grades in high school that post the most and are absolutely sure of their own opinions. The Left side of the spectrum is smarter than the Right on the overall. But the Left is also blinded by their arrogance and smugness. They simply see the other side as dumb and that they must teach them. Well, the Right doesn’t want to be taught and hates the Liberals for it. The Right prefers tradition, the way things are and doesn’t want all this change. There is nothing inherently wrong in their opinion. They like sticking with their own group and do not want to be “sensitive” for every new snowflake issue that comes up. I remember myself hating how at OSU we were always taught to be “sensitive” to one thing or another. Exaggerating a wee bit it was like “Hey, this mess of a human wants to identify as a transsexual saucepan with a fetish for spoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but straightly bi-sexual on Wednesdays except on the weekends when she/he/we/it/us/they – please use whatever pronoun they would like – would just like to be known as asexual Bruce. For God’s sake’s man, you had to be sensitive to something new every other day and if you weren’t you were a neanderthal.

So yes, I can very easily see both sides here and seeing both sides is a mark of intelligence which we simply do not have enough of especially at the moment.

In other news I want to pick on religion a bit. The Orthodox Church in Greece uses the same spoon to dish out Communion. This means the same spoon goes in the mouths of the entire congregation!

Spoonful of disease

Contrary to what science says, the Greek Orthodox Church insists it is impossible for any disease — including the coronavirus — to be transmitted through Communion. “In the holy chalice, it isn’t bread and wine. It is the body and blood of Christ,” said the Rev. Georgios Milkas, a theologian in the northern city of Thessaloniki. “And there is not a shred of suspicion of transmitting this virus, this disease, as in the holy chalice there is the Son and the Word of God.”

It is quotes and beliefs like these that make me feel like Agent Smith from the Matrix.

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.

There is so much dumb in the world. I used to think we could trust the adults. As an adult myself I can see that becoming an adult is no cure for stupidity. I used to think that we could trust the President. Well, then I learned a lot about historical presidents. I learned that in a drunken rage Nixon ordered the atom bomb to be dropped a few times. I recently learned that Clinton is up to his ears in sleaze. And with Trump, well, it is something new with him everyday isn’t it. I also used to trust priests. Then I learned how many they abused even in my own parish. I was equally amazed at the nonexistent reaction from the parents. Since they were all absorbed into the religion priests doing something wrong just doesn’t compute. They say something like “Oh, well, he was a bad apple.” They are mentally unable to understand that the entire barrel is bad. Religion owns them, they are in a mental cage from which they can never escape no matter how much evidence is given. Jesus himself could come down out of the sky and say “You know what, this was all a joke.” The faithful would momentarily be shocked, unable to move until the brain swung into action. No, this isn’t true, you’re the Devil in disguise! This my ancestors is how religion works. Almost everyone will be the same religion as their parents. Technology, science and human knowledge will increase. Over time many more may be able to escape the mental cage of religion due to this knowledge or it could swing in reverse. The knowledge may be too much for many to bear and so they will cling to the familiar, to “the answers.” Clinging to anything is more secure than drifting out there in the unknown and usually all alone. As for me, I revel in it.

But going back to the spoon, it makes one want to say the trite phrase “Are you serious??!” This is akin to people of rational mind saying hey, you’re dishing out a spoonful of disease!!! And the response is, “No, no, the magic bread will gloriously remove any impurity!” Not only is this absurd but the thing itself is absurd. The magic break and wine was changed into flesh and blood and people want to eat it! I believe this goes back to pre-human times when eating that which you’ve conquered makes you stronger. Hey, Jesus, I am going to eat you. Jesus commanded us to eat him!


I really am in the Matrix aren’t it? People cannot get along due to the color of skin, the President is threatening to “release the hounds” like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons and some guy named Jesus is telling people to eat him and billions obey. Many of them with the same spoon. In a global pandemic.

The change from 2019 to 2020 was also us entering into a new dimension, an absurd timeline where nothing makes sense. Oh, well, just like being adrift all alone with no solid answer to ground myself on I will appreciate the experience of living in such an absurd time. I will write in my blog and still appreciate the blooming flowers, a nice glass of wine (not blood) and the beautiful sunsets. As is often said in the Tale of Genji, “This would is uncertain and nothing is secure.”

My life is as short and insignificant as the morning dew on a wisteria leaf.” – MdC

I was going to end there but just opened up my news and The NYT has an article of a reporter being shot with the headline “I’ve been shot!” You know what, if you’re going to go into what resembles a war zone you should probably be better prepared and not expect special treatment because you’re the media. This reminds me of a highly uncoordinated girl being asked to do some sort of physical activity. If she is not completely supported through the entire activity she will fall down in very dramatic fashion for all to see. She is a girl that can do nothing for herself unless given so much special treatment that it is actually done for her. Likewise, if you’re going to go into a riot zone you better have someone prepared for it. Not some weak person who expects her media badge will shield her from all going on around her.


Covid – 19 – Seventh Update

It is 6:50 AM on Sunday May 24th, 2020. The sun is just coming up over Sweeney Ridge and the morning temperature is still a little cold. There is a thin layer of clouds to the north but the rest of the sky blue once past Daily City. The sun will gain strength and it should be a beautiful day with forecasts in the mid-sixties.

I’m in my reading nook and the house is still quiet except for my son playing Fortnite with my cousin Bridget’s son Mitchell. As I wrote the previous sentence I realized that Mitchell must have had to stop playing as my son has fallen silent. The only sounds now are the hum of the fish tank and a small bird chirping outside. Silence is good and absolutely needed to keep one’s sanity. In silence I can almost feel my mind healing itself. This silence will not last as the rest of the family will wake up and constant noise will ensue. A car has just passed and from its loud intrusive sound I realize there have not been many cars passing by yet this morning. Silence is a treasure that I haven’t had completely in a long time. The invention of motors means an unrelenting, worldwide assault on human sanity.

This is a holiday weekend although my birthday falls just after in the workweek it still makes this weekend a bit special. I never liked having my birthday fall around Memorial Day because due to the long weekend my classmates would all go out of town and nobody was around for a birthday party. I did enjoy however that my birthday also marked the start of better weather, blooming flowers, the end of school and the start of summer. This weekend was always one that inspired joy and excitement in my childhood. Now I am turning 43 and that joy is no longer present. The weather is the same everyday here in Pacifica, there is no summer break for me and I certainly am not thrilled about being another year older. There will be no birthday party, no cake, and it might as well be just any other day. The only excitement I’ll have to create myself which I plan on doing by having a cookout and drinking wine. The joy and good feeling which so easily appears in childhood must now be artificially produced through drinking wine.

But at 43, the joy of alcohol also has lessened considerably. I rarely drink these days but if I do I’ll go with a bottle of wine. Beer leaves me feeling bloated and with a cheap, inferior buzz. Wine makes me feel warm, fuzzy and my mind is able to open up to unique thoughts and ideas. So long as I have no more than one bottle, there is no hangover the next day. However, over the past year the sugars in wine will not allow me to sleep. This may be a part of getting older but also I’m actually in better shape having worked out quite a bit recently. Alcohol and its sugars do not go well with a more in shape body. I’ve also learned to never mix alcohols again. If I mix then I will have a terrible hangover the next day. Finally another negative impact that goes with wine is although I do not have a hangover my mind is not at rest the day after drinking. I’m always glad in the morning if I decided not to open wine and slightly sad if I did drink. The reason is I like to be extremely productive and alcohol makes me a bit lethargic which means more of the day will be wasted.

As for COVID-19 the days roll by. One of the major changes in my mindset through this is I’m starting to detest the Democrats. Mind you I am liberal and have been for over 20 years. During the Hillary fiasco and her not taking any of the blame for causing our current situation I decided to become an independent but would still vote almost entirely for Democrats. Well, through their failures on the national level, letting Trump and the Neanderthals run rampant, the fact that Biden is not drumming up much enthusiasm and has a very good chance of losing, as well as that their policies have made San Francisco a drug-infested, poop-stained dump, I was already starting to sour on the Democrats. But there is one thing that is making me decide to never vote for any Democrat again and that is their policy of wanting to keep the economy closed forever.

My mind now wants to put everything the Democrats and Republicans have ever done aside and focus on the single most important thing which is the ability to earn a living and provide for my family. The Republicans want to open things up and the Democrats want to keep them closed. This makes the Democrats a direct and severe threat to me. My political bent is no longer made by national policy, how many foreign wars the US wants to start, stances on societal issues of the day. No, it is on something that affects me right now and in a very severe way. The Democrats want to keep all of us in a home prison and destroy us all financially and the Republicans don’t. End of story.

So due to COVID-19 a major shift is happening in my thinking. I was a Republican in business college at OSU. I became enlightened while overseas and saw that being a liberal what what the smart people became. But now I’m solidly independent. The liberal San Francisco policies have failed. What you’ve got there is a mixture of naked perverts, drug addicted homeless which defecate on streets and threaten passers by, and politicians who think that giving everyone free drugs and money will make things better. Now it is easy to see how the mood of society can swing as the mood has shifted greatly within myself. I was all for opening up, decriminalizing drugs, letting people be. But now I realize that humans become a mess without some structure. Enough is enough, I’m going from laissez-faire to almost fascist! Clean it up, kick those bums out, tell the liberals to stop whining and so on. Liberals really are a bunch of sissies aren’t they? All of this is what a small but growing voice inside of me is saying. Biden is probably going to lose to Trump, the Democrats fail again and it is all their own fault.

It is time to open the economy and Trump has it right. The Democrats are falling right into the Republican trap in being able to portray them as the party that wants American and Americans to fail. What better way to do so than by keeping them trapped in their homes and not allowing them to make a living? This disaster is of their own making. Even me, a supporter of the police, a law abiding person who always uses his turn signals is contemplating whether or not to ignore the Shelter In Place order and have people over for drinks this weekend. Democrats do want to keep everything shut forever and it is very telling when I’m actually considering breaking the law because enough is enough! Well, if someone like me feels this way I imagine that this pot is not only going to boil over but about ready to completely explode. And guess what, the Democrat leadership is caught flat footed again. This is a shame. I think we were all ready to get Trump out of office but here he is, saying lets open things up and even liberals like me are nodding their head. The Democrats? I think they know they cannot just issue another blanket SIP order. That is why Gov. Newsom is opening the door here in California but only a crack. I don’t put it past the Democrats to make another huge mistake though and try and keep things closed longer.

You know what all of this is going to get? It is going to get four more years of Trump. And it means I will never vote for another Democrat for as long as I live.


COVID-19 – Second Update

It is 6:52 on Sunday the 5th of April 2020. We are still in “shelter-in-place” and will be so at least until the beginning of May.

I read somewhere on the internet that during this time where we’re all stuck at home that writing in a journal is a good idea. This virus is the most historical event that anyone under the age of 50 has ever experienced. Like a stone thrown in water we’re in the big splash phase but the ripples from this will be large and continue for some time. So the thought about writing a journal is that future historians would be able to draw on plenty of primary sources from many individuals who have lived through it. This certainly reverberated with me as I’ve kept a journal my entire life and this will be an interesting chapter for future readers.

The reason I haven’t written more is that my son has discovered the joy of the laptop and PC. He learned that playing Fortnite is much better on a PC than on a Nintendo Switch and that using my laptop to have Fortnite YouTube videos running at the same time is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. So I immediately lost both, my PC and laptop because he really wanted to have the improved experience and I understand how exciting video games were to me when I was a kid. Fortnite is also a great game for a lockdown like this because it is the ONLY game that friends from around the world play at the same time. You can just open it up and be sure to have a few friends to play with already in game.

But going back to my journal, I had a major scare recently. WordPress just came out with version 5.4 “Adderley” and usually updating isn’t a problem. Before updating they always recommend backing up your WordPress site in case there are any issues. Well, given the importance of this website to me I definitely have plenty of backups but the most recent one was from late last year. And since I haven’t had problems with upgrades before I just went ahead and pressed the upgrade button. That was a mistake.

Suddenly I was greeted with a wall of text saying that folders and files could not update due to CHMOD permission errors and a lot of them. This meant the upgrade failed and now I could no longer log into WordPress. This is definitely no bueno and going to take more to fix than just pressing a few buttons. I really didn’t understand why I would have received those errors, my permissions are on the liberal side of things, I hadn’t changed them and they worked for all the previous upgrades.

So I went to the forums and it looks like more than a few others have had the same error. The solution was to manually do the upgrade which means downloading the new distribution, deleting old files and uploading new ones. This is a pretty scary to do because if you mess up your whole site could quickly become very broken and in the worst case require a fresh install. For me, yes, I do have backups but would have lost my posts from late 2019 until now. My posts are precious to me as they are a record of my life and I’m very cognizant of how this is all very temporary, things will change and soon nothing will be left of me but the words I write in this journal. Each and every post is a moment in time of my mind and that is more precious to me than gold.

Speaking of moments, we’re certainly going through an unprecedented time that nobody, not even those above 50 have ever experienced before. We find ourselves looking back at the 1918 pandemic “Spanish Flu” and the Great Depression for some sort of guidance but only the very elderly remember those times, for the rest of us we look to the history books. Therefore, we really have no direct precedent for a time like this and not knowing what the outcome will be is a very scary thing.

On a personal level my family and I are all still OK. This seems like nothing more than an extended snow day that if it ends at least by the end of May everything will turn out fine. I do work in one of the top two hardest hit industries but my company is wonderful and has a very good balance sheet. However, I would need things to get back to “semi-normal” by the summer at least or things could get tough. I keep the anxiety at bay because I am an optimist and believe that although there still may be concerns and infection cases in the summer the economy will resume. After all, things could get very ugly if you do not allow your people to make a living. Eventually the need to earn a living will outweigh even high death tolls. If people cannot earn a living then society will disintegrate and people will be killing each other along with the virus. This is a very apocalyptic scenario I know but without precedent it is very hard to see the future.

I am also not too worried because I had a front row seat to the financial crisis of 2008. I worked for an industrial supplies company and it was my job to call on the maintenance engineers in the skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco. I was shown the actual floors in those skyscrapers of companies that had absconded in the night because they could no longer pay their rent. I remember walking by Countrywide Financial with their big glass front that let you see people working at their cubicles. I remember walking by one morning when they had locked the doors and seeing a manager up on a podium speaking to all the staff members inside. A few days after that Countrywide was gone. I also remember sitting at the bar of my favorite dive Chelsea Place listening to a stock trader who worked for Charles Schwab that was being transferred to Denver. Not even Schwab was immune as one of their main offices moved from the prestigious middle of downtown to a cheaper (albeit still expensive) area south of Market St. I remember seeing the Dow Jones ticker on that building go up and down with wild swings. I remember my boss saying “oh man, the DOW just went down again.

But I also remember not being too concerned. I had only been back from Vietnam for two years and had no money to speak of. We didn’t own any stocks, we rented an apartment, my salary was very low and as a salesperson I was confident I could get another job quite easily. If we needed to pick up and move we could easily do that whether it was to a different state or even to a different country. So although the Financial Crisis was terrible from a macroeconomic scale and affected millions of people it had virtually no effect on me personally except for perhaps keeping my salary a little lower.

Now we find ourselves in a situation that is looking to be much worse than a recession and are throwing out the word depression. This time around I’m firmly midlife and I do own stocks, I have a house, I have kids and thus a tremendous amount of responsibility I didn’t have before. This time around I cannot just pick up and go elsewhere like I could during the Financial Crisis. I’m not in immediate danger of losing my job so long as things get better by late summer.

As for the disease itself nobody I know has died from it. The only time death has even remotely touched anyone I even know of is one that made the news because three people from her family died. But outside of that nobody in my over 1,000 acquaintances have died from this disease. So on a macro level, yes the toll is devastating but looking at the hard facts and figures I don’t see a need to worry about anyone I know dying from this. That does sound rather cold to say but in a similar way I cannot concern myself with all those that die from car crashes or the thousands of other ways people die everyday. This is new and has the potential to affect everyone (unlike the car example because some people can choose to not drive.) and we are all likely to get it. We are all likely to get this disease eventually but the hard truth is we needn’t worry too much unless macroeconomic figures really affect our moods.

To put it another way people should also concern themselves a bit more with the regular flu. That is a terrible disease thousands die from every year. Yes, there is a vaccination but I don’t remember me, or anyone I know getting one until the early 2000s. I still don’t usually get one because the first one I got in 2006 made me sick! So again, to put reality in a very cold, unfeeling words, yes people are going to die. Yes, many people are likely to die, but most likely nobody that you actually know.

Going back to the economic aspect, during the Financial Crisis the word depression was also thrown out and apocalyptic scenarios were envisioned. Such scenarios sell newspapers! But we came out of it alright and experienced tremendous and unprecedented growth for the decade that followed.

Here we are again envisioning terrible scenarios but scenarios I think are a result of hyperventilating as society as a whole. Yes, shutting off the entire economy is certainly something to be scared of. Yes, the ripples from this will be huge and the world is going to look a little different afterwards. But this is something that all of us have to work through and I think we have the smarts and technology to make it happen. Pharmaceutical companies have never worked so hard on a vaccine (the payoff will be enormous), we’re learning to work from home, we’re discovering the importance of health and so far everyone is behaving themselves outside of some hording and ignoring social distancing. Perhaps this will also spur the population to pay more attention to global warming as that is something else which will affect us all. I don’t expect too much from the half of Americans who elected Trump but perhaps the smarter folks will gain a majority again and action will be taken.

I think we’ll turn the engine back on and slowly things will start moving again. Yes, many places will go out of business, yes there will be a lot of unemployment but I think the recovery will be pretty quick given how fast everything shut down.

But should they not and everything continue to deteriorate it is important to realize that the sun will still shine, flowers will still blossom and we get to live another day. Death comes for us all, some more quickly than others but we are all slowly dying, it is just a matter of time. It is best to use the time we have to really appreciate simply being alive. Perhaps this is a lesson that the virus could teach us. Yes, we should do all we can to help keep everyone healthy, for all life is precious, but we should not spend our time being scared or anxious.


COVID-19 – Coronavirus

It is 5:26 AM on Sunday March 15th, 2020. These are strange times. I wanted to get this post in because we are in the middle of virus hysteria and it will be interesting to read my thoughts many years from now.

The future is always uncertain and hindsight is always 20/20. This is so unusual and unique that I have nothing to compare these times to. The only thing that comes close is the financial crisis of 2008. At that time I remember seeing the DJI index counter outside the Charles Schwab office go down to the 8,000 level or something like that. The only tangible thing I experienced were that businesses suddenly disappeared in the skyscrapers whose maintenance engineers were my customers. I actually got to see the empty floors that just a few weeks ago were brimming with desks, people and activity.

At that time I didn’t have much money to invest as I had just returned from Vietnam where my salary was $22,000 per year. Very good for Vietnam but nothing for San Francisco. However, I did put my meager savings into a few stocks and they performed very well over the past decade. Those stocks are Bank of America, Costco, and GoDaddy. Unfortunately I sold Facebook and Netflix much too early and still kick myself for it.

During the financial crisis we didn’t know if we were about to face another depression that could last a decade or more. Perhaps there would be a return of the depression era bread lines. We didn’t know how bad things would get and people were scared. Eventually everything turned out alright and we had a decade of explosive growth.

Enter COVID-19 and all that growth has abruptly come to an end and is crashing hard. I waited for many years for stocks to come down again but just in the past two years I’ve put my money back in the market. Being a bit more savvy this time I put my money in blue chips that were already way down, paid dividends and are generally seen by the finance community as safe stocks. I also saved a portion in cash for when stocks did crash.

My moment came two weeks ago with the first major declines. Unfortunately, I “blew my load” too early and bought Delta Airlines, Boeing and J.P. Morgan. Well, I should have waited because stocks crashed hard last week. I’ve lost all my gains from the financial crisis and am currently down $14,000. This is a relatively small number compared to the devastation Coronavirus is causing Boomer 401Ks and my older friends who frankly have a lot more money than I do.

I am not worried about the stocks being down however. These are in buckets that won’t be touched for 10 to 20 years, are dividend paying and I’m confident will turn out very well.

What I have been growing more concerned about is the effect this is having on the economy. Life for the most part is pretty much shut down. Everything is cancelled or suspended. Mass gatherings are prohibited and everyone is wondering if we’re going to go into complete lock down like Italy. To the rational person this is most likely the logical next step although nobody wants it to be.

Just like the financial crisis businesses are going to start disappearing. This time the crisis is much more real to me because I’m farther along in my career than in 2008. The job I have has taken a long time to get to. I have more bills and responsibilities now. Unlike when I was 30, I cannot just ditch the job and find a new one as quick and easily as I used to. It is also much more real because everything is being cancelled and we’re on the verge of a complete lock down! This wasn’t the case with the financial crisis. Nothing was cancelled, people still went about their lives and I really didn’t notice much of a difference.

But this time is different. There are long lines in the supermarkets, everything is cancelled including school, there is the possibility of mass lay-offs and the Fed can’t fix a disease with liquidity injections. So here we are again. Does the future hold that things get better come mid-April / May or do we continue on our downward spiral? Forget everyone talking about a ‘recession’ how about a full on depression?

I wish I could time travel to the future to see how this plays out. Actually I wish I would have had that ability a month ago because I’m locked in at the moment with little cash to invest should things fall further. Looking back at the financial crisis I often kick myself for not investing more. But that isn’t fair to do to myself because there was so much fear, so many unknowns. Therefore, many years from now when I look back at this time I cannot kick myself because there are too many unknowns now! Yes, I would invest more and already have although I acted just ahead of the main bloodbath. I’ll invest the little cash that remains in those savings buckets just as soon as I think the corner has been turned. The thought is this could go on for a while so I’m not going to rush and wait until things start to get better. I feel we’re in the darkest part now as we’ve not hit the climax of the outbreak, are on the verge of a complete lock down and all of this is really going going to F-up the economy pardon the language.

As for cash not in those savings buckets I figure we could go for three months before I’d have to sell stock at a loss. This puts us in pretty good shape and certainly in better shape for a large amount of Americans that live paycheck to paycheck. Furthermore, my company is very strong but we are having pretty much weekly calls because like my personal finances, the cash reserves cannot hold out forever. My current thought is that there will be furloughs by May. I’m on the corporate side and we need to take care of our customers regardless so it isn’t as cut and dry as those on the operations side of things. If things get really messy then I’d still work without pay but would do so from Ohio or Japan. Might as well make the best of the situation and this one-in-a-lifetime surreal situation we find ourselves in.

But to summarize, there is real fear right now but for me it is due to what this virus is doing to the economy. I’m not concerned about the virus and we even went to karate yesterday. That is one of the few places that isn’t closed although it may this week. The Jiu-jitsu place across the street had closed. The reason people say this is worse than the flu is that there is no vaccine and the mortality rate is higher although some say it is only 1% higher than the flu while others say it is 10% higher. Either way it affects mostly the old and only those with underlying health conditions.

Therefore, I don’t need to worry much about the effect of the virus on my immediate family but I do have concern for my parents. I spoke with them a few days ago and they do not seem overly concerned. In fact they are still going to church which kind of irks me. Here we are with governments banning meetings with 50 or more people yet the church, slow as always, has yet to tell people to stay home. Yes, continue coming to the place of salvation only to be killed by a virus for going. How is that for irony? By the way, can’t people just pray harder and make coronavirus go away? No, no, God doesn’t work like that of course. Some preacher please tell me whose fault the coronavirus is. Is it the gays again? The Democrats? Yes, I know, God works his magic when the house has burned down but the Bible is left untouched. Yay Jesus!!

So where do we go from here and how long does this last? What will the markets reflect tomorrow? I’m sure it will go down again but I wish I could be certain. I’m starting to think that the market swings are my own fault. When I finally invest markets go down. If I sell then markets go up. There seems to be no certain logic to how the markets react except for a negative reaction to the actions I take?Perhaps life is all one big simulation and those playing are having fun at my expense?

If I were to predict, I think the markets are due for another big drop but will settle out following a larger than usual up/down pattern but not deviate too much from one more new bottom which will occur in the next two weeks. We’ll have the worst behind us by mid-April and things look better by May. If a vaccine can finally get out then the markets won’t be too concerned about a resurgence come the fall.

But then again, who really knows. This is my optimistic forecast and I’m sticking to it. I don’t want to think much about the alternative.