Monday, April 19, 2010

Explosive Testimony

Lucky for me, each of you who reads this will be free to decide for yourselves what to take from this. I neither endorse nor refute any fact or opinion stated herein. I merely wish to provide a brief summary of what some alternative news sources are saying about various current world events. I will begin with excerpts from Carl Johan Calleman's article describing the characteristic of the Mayan 6th night, the cycle we are currently moving through according to the Mayan Majix calender, which fell on November 8th of 2009, and will be overtaken by the 7th day on November 2, 2010:

"What is about to transpire now is in other words not something that has ever happened before in the history of the universe. Maybe this impending change, partially unknown, causes the widespread denial that I feel dominate many people at the current moment. Rather than facing a great change in our socioeconomic relationships (since any change in human consciousness also implies a change in our relationships) many prefer to fantasize about some physical or astronomical event, that purportedly is going to happen on December 21, 2012. In reality the Mayan calendar is however not about something that will happen on a singular date, but a description of a divine plan for the evolution of humankind where quantum shifts between calendrical energies bring about shifts in consciousness. Thus, human consciousness will continue to be transformed step by step in accordance with this plan until we come to the real end date of the process of creation, October 28, 2011. At this date the highest quantum state of the universe will be attained ( 13 Ahau) when the shifts disrupting the harmony will come to an end. Obviously, we are not there yet.
"In this plan for the evolution of consciousness we are now approaching the sixth night of the Galactic Wave Movement, the eighth of the nine levels, which will begin on November 8, 2009. If my understanding of the Mayan calendar is correct we will in this coming night be witnessing the most significant transformation of consciousness ever in the history of mankind...
"I believe that what is happening in the world’s economy is something much more profound and fundamental than a temporary recession and is a direct consequence of the particular transformation of consciousness that the Galactic Wave Movement is bringing... A shift in consciousness is hence not something that only happens in our heads, but is simultaneously also expressed in changes in our relationships. Our economic relationships are thus also subject to shifts in consciousness and the evolution of this. We should then expect an even further escape from abstract values as the sixth night begins, a shift that may be expected to especially severely hit the western economies of the United States and the United Kingdom, which remain the financial centers of the world and control much of its banking activities. At the present time these nations, and especially the United States, are so indebted that there really is no need to present an explanation as to why there would be another downturn in its economy. All that is needed for this is something to trigger what is going to happen anyway one way or another...

There is much more to this article. Explore it here:

Our man in Japan, Mr Benjamin Fulford has this brief clip for those of us not paying for the information he provides:
"There are multiple signs the secret financial World War 3 that has been raging is reaching a dangerous climax. The Federal Reserve Board crime syndicate appears to be on its last legs. As a sign of their desperation Bill Clinton showed up in Tokyo last week trying to cash the $134.5 billion in bonds that were confiscated in Italy last July. He was not even allowed off the plane, according to a Black Dragon Society member who was on board with him."

The day before, this post appeared:
"Last week US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his de-facto boss former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson were in China asking for money. According to a Chinese source who was at the meeting Paulson actually got on his knees and begged but to no avail."

Then there is this rant, which I somehow see some merit in, despite the surprising source:
"LIMBAUGH: I played golf yesterday afternoon with some guys that are for all intents and purposes Wall Street guys. They don't live on Wall Street or work there but they're in the financial business. And they said, "Rush, a dirty little secret, this debt's never going to get paid down. It's gotten to the point where everybody knows we can't pay it down. There's no way to pay this debt down." There's no way California is going to retire its debt. There's no way California is going to make up for the unfunded or underfunded pensions, and one of the reasons is it's precisely because it's so big. It's gotten so big on purpose there's not even a pretense of paying it down. The only thing that has to happen is for leaders to appear responsible in managing it...
LIMBAUGH: I said to them, "I understand what you're saying, but this is all going to collapse at some point, it's unsustainable. You're talking about tax increases of the sort that are going to prevent economic growth. Look at Greece, look at a lot of these European Union nations. At some point it does come due. At some point the debt has to be paid down. At least you have to get started paying it down. If the attitude is it's so big everybody knows we'll never pay it down, that you'll never even start, then we've got even more problems than I thought we had."


I don't remember where I read this, but it has been suggested that the only reason the US is not facing insane inflation right now, after all the trillions of dollars we invented out of thin air and never even bothered to print, is that the rest of the world has refused to recognize it as legitimate currency. And why would they, when the dollar has been, in essence, hi-tech monopoly money since the institution of the Federal Reserve in 1916 and the subsequent abandonment of the gold standard (1971).
Here is a tidbit from the Planetary Activation Organization, headed by Sheldan Nidle:

"The major banks of your globe are awaiting the fate of the US Federal Reserve Bank because when this bank and its cohort in England collapse, the new global banking system can come on line in earnest. Until then, various methods are underway to force the recalcitrant banks out. All other components of this changeover are ready and waiting and under starter's orders. China, Japan, and a host of other nations are completing the steps to prepare for the moment when the present US administration is replaced by the American caretaker regime. This new governance is to formally mark the start of a period of friendly cooperation among nations. Most of your survival stresses are to be alleviated once the present US government passes from the world scene. The dark cabal and its hubristic manipulation of the American and Soviet governments are primarily responsible for the past sixty years of discord.
Your history is at a massive turning point. The dark cabal, which has been the de facto power behind the global scene, is on the verge of throwing in the towel, and its demise results inescapably in the full disclosure of our existence and of a veritable constellation of advanced technologies! At a stroke, you are to take a scientific leap of several centuries, and this demands a corresponding evolutionary jump on your part into higher realms of mind and heart. A new perception of yourselves and Creation must spring into being, generating a collective experience of Love, the higher emotions, and the potential that is full consciousness. You are embarking on something unique, and this something will challenge you and leave you ready for the wonders of full consciousness...
"Your society is shifting from a survival-based orientation to one of service and responsibility.... It is of paramount importance that these new governments begin to work together to set up the more equitable financial system, institute global debt forgiveness, and end the global UFO cover-up as well as the government-backed terrorism that plagues your world...
"Earth allies continue to work on undermining the present banking system. Since the start of fractional banking in the early 1810s, the dark cabal has managed to slowly gain control of the global banking system. This system, like its partner the nation-state, is beholden to the moneyed interests on your world. Opposing them is a group of enlightened ones who saw the gross inequities produced by these systems and sought to reform them. In the past few decades, the opportunity arose to pull off this massive reform. The desperate conditions now surrounding your world's economies are a pressing reason to do these reforms properly...
"The present is seemingly a time of great turmoil and danger for you. See it as a precursor to the great worldwide shift. Your world is racing toward first contact and Heaven is working miracles to wonderfully transform your lives. Happily, it is also when the dark cabal is to capitulate; when the truth of many things will be finally revealed; and when a new day of peace and prosperity dawns. A new abundance and a new financial system are waiting to roll out. This is not pie in the sky, but is to unfold before you as the old ways fade slowly but surely. Relish this strange and extraordinary time, and try not to be impatient."


Granted, Sheldan is what you might term a 'vehicle' through which 'intuitive' sources 'speak'. I don't honestly know whether it is my own intuition or maybe just my brain accepting what it wants to hear, but it matters little, for I am given great inspiration by Sheldan's weekly updates, and I believe that any input that encourages a person to live with a higher sense of hope and freedom cannot be all that damaging.
Who was it that said: "There are none more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free"? 'Twas Van Goeth. Thank you Google.

What else? This from David Wilcock:
"It's a sad state of affairs that the Rockefeller faction is a lot smarter than most people who read about conspiracy theories -- regardless of how savvy the readers think themselves to be. This is a source of great amusement for the elite. Of that I am absolutely certain.
Even as people awaken, they are led down the exact paths that have been made for them to travel -- so they will come to those very same conclusions they are intended to believe.
The propaganda articles are much more prevalent than genuine journalism. Go look at a conspiracy site, pore through the links, and you are diving into a veritable ocean of disinformation.
It becomes so much fun to hate someone public -- such a passion -- that many people literally don't want that fun to be spoiled. They will rage against it even in the face of unequivocal evidence."


We need ever be careful of the plausible lie, the projection of an idea, or some explanation of an event that is just barely unbelievable, therefore lending it great power and appeal. This is calculated disinformation, the influential parties interested banging the same oppressive drumbeat until the high-heaven-minded flautists give up and go home ignored despite their righteousness.
Am I contradicting myself yet? Offering information then asking you not to trust it? There is some other great quote about "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind and still retain the ability to function." Right, F. Scott Fitzgerald, of course.

Noam Chomsky is nervous. Said so himself. See:
"...It is very similar to late Weimar Germany...
"The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says 'I have got an answer, we have an enemy'?
There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don't think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.
"I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime," Chomsky added. "I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope. The CIO was organizing. No one wants to say it anymore but the Communist Party was the spearhead for labor and civil rights organizing. Even things like giving my unemployed seamstress aunt a week in the country. It was a life. There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.
"I listen to talk radio," Chomsky said. "I don't want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing."

"I try to encourage people to think for themselves, to question standard assumptions," Chomsky said when asked about his goals. "Don't take assumptions for granted. Begin by taking a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom. Make it justify itself. It usually can't. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself. There is plenty of information. You have got to learn how to judge, evaluate and compare it with other things. You have to take some things on trust or you can't survive. But if there is something significant and important don't take it on trust. As soon as you read anything that is anonymous you should immediately distrust it. If you read in the newspapers that Iran is defying the international community, ask who is the international community? India is opposed to sanctions. China is opposed to sanctions. Brazil is opposed to sanctions. The Non-Aligned Movement is vigorously opposed to sanctions and has been for years. Who is the international community? It is Washington and anyone who happens to agree with it. You can figure that out, but you have to do work. It is the same on issue after issue."

What he said. Oh wait, there's more!

"I'm just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler's speeches on the radio, and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering here at home...
"The level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime..."
"Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error...
"the colossal toll of the institutional crimes of state capitalism" is what is fueling "the indignation and rage of those cast aside...
"People want some answers, and they are hearing answers from only one place: Fox, talk radio, and Sarah Palin...
"The Weimar Republic was the peak of Western civilization and was regarded as a model of democracy...
"the German people were susceptible to appeals about "the greatness of the nation, and defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence...

"These are lessons to keep in mind."


There is more where all this came from. I have entirely neglected to mention the suspect nature of the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes (maybe try googling "HAARP" in relation to these topics if the fancy strikes you), much less the recent volcanic eruption in Poland and the subsequent European disruption. These events might could maybe be intended to encourage us human inhabitants of this lovely planet Earth that things are not quite normal at the moment, and that there are grand scale changes occurring all around us all the time. To what extent we tune in and attune to these developments is of course, entirely up to us.

I conclude with a quote from The Lyre of Orpheus, by Robertson Davies (p 231):
(Professor Simon Darcourt says)"Very well, simpleton, don't call it God. That's only a shorthand term anyhow. Call it Fate or Destiny or Kismet or the Life Force or the It or any damned name you like but don't pretend it doesn't exist! And don't pretend that the Whatever-You-Call-It doesn't live out a portion - a tiny portion - of its purpose through you, and that your pretensions to live your own life by the dictates of your intelligence are just so much nonsense, flattering to fools."
(Arthur Cornish, in response): "No free will then?"
(Darcourt): "Oh yes. Freedom to do as you are told, by Whatever-You-Call-It, and freedom to make a good job of it or a mess, according to your inclination. Freedom to play the hand you're dealt, in fact."

That is all for now.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Checking in from Manizales, Colombia. We are staying at the Irish-owned Pit Stop Hostel, now in its third week of operation. We have a hot tub, a big comfy couch in front of a flat screen TV with Xbox and Fifa'10, free first-world internet and a prime location, just around the corner from the main strip of bars. We watched three movies today, including Clooney's latest, Up In The Air, which we found to be rather brilliant. Yesterday we went on a coffee plantation tour, so now we know what coffee looks like. It grows on plants planted in rows with beans red or green when ripe. Machines do most of the work, soaking, husking and drying the beans, then this little plantation sends everything off unroasted, in order to preserve maximum flavor and freshness. The little cups we received were indeed overflowing with flavor. Fresh roasted and toasty with a hint of caramel. So we toured, we lunched, played catch with an overripe orange, and lounged in the hammocks. I had time to take a siesta and read a little book called "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be". Some nice thoughts in there about creativity and initiative in the workplace. And yet somehow, today I remain unemployed.

The best part of the tour was the ride home. In the morning, we had had 2 trucks to transport 10 gringos to the plantation. These were pickup trucks with benches in the bed and a metal cage over the top. However, on the way home, they decided only one truck was necessary. So we squeezed. Keir convinced our Irish friend Dee to sit on his knee, and I started out sitting with my legs hanging out the back. But there was no padding for my derriere, and I soon found it was far more comfortable to stand on the generous metal step protruding from the bumper. I swear it was less dangerous than it looked. It felt like water-skiing. While everyone was huddled under the tarp, I was enjoying the vistas as we bumped along the road cut into the canyonside. Once or twice a feeble tree branch brushed my face, but I had my protective goggles on (ie sunglasses). Seriously, some of the best fun I've had this whole trip. Such simple pleasure. When we got back into town, we stopped at a light and a police officer on a motorcycle was right behind us. I smiled, gave a little wave and he just laughed. Gringo loco.

Okay I know I've got some gaps to fill. Where were we?

We left Keir in Bariloche for a week of Spanish lessons, and went down to El Bolson. It was a quiet little town with an excellent ice cream parlor. There was some decent scenery - mountains, a river and waterfall, trees, the side of a cliff in the shape of a face, standard fare really - but after Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine, we were suffering from severe scenery fatigue. We stayed one night each in two different hostels. The second night was basically in a fancy barn, with a kitchen on the ground floor and bunk beds in the loft. We engaged ourselves in tense political-spiritual discourse with an aging couple of jaded, self-hating-American hippies. The level of disillusionment and self-delusion was underwhelming, and when I insisted on unfailing optimism they resorted to accusing me of naivete (because I'm an over-privileged American, obviously), so then it got really real and the could say nothing in the face of my impeccable empathy and self-possession, so they attempted to debase everything else I said by demanding "proof", employing petty epistemological tactics that accomplished little except to exhaust me, so I politely removed myself to bed. The next day the guy judged me for the size and weight of my backpack. Very mature.
So that was that.

Next stop was Pucon, back in Chile, but first we had to go back North to Bariloche. Of course we missed our connecting bus by 20 minutes, and so spent some 5 hours in the terminal playing chess and eating greasy empanadas. Good thing we always carry hot sauce. Having missed the bus we wanted, we were required to stop for the night in San Martin de Los Andes. This was another touristy little town set on a lake and surrounded by mountains. We stayed at a "bed and breakfast" which was actually just some guys house. He pitched us at the bus stop, and provided a ride all 500 meters down the street to his house, so hey, porque no? Cap and I then set out about town, strolling up and down the main strip in search of the pizza joint we'd been recommended by a dude from Ohio named Remington. Found it. Loved it. Great flavor combinations, just the right spice, and for once some complexity for our simplistic palates. No mushrooms though; not in season we suppose. So pizza was an appetizer, had a mid-course Manhattan at an upscale Irish pub, then enjoyed some black ravioli stuffed with bison in a mushroom cream sauce. Everything good and nothing bad. But where'd they get their mushrooms?

A sunrise bus then brought us back into Chile for the third time. We arrived in Pucon, and once again were greeted by a local, insisting her house was the best place to stay. We said okay. She proceeded to recommended us a guide for the volcano climb, and for this we remain grateful. We were in a group of three (me, Cap and a nice fella from NYC) and our guide, Paco, was a famous mountaineer. He has been to the South Pole 6 times, and is a highly sought after trekking guide. He has worked with many climate scientists, assisting them in various technical areas. We were the last group to start that morning - seeing as we were the only people not to pay the U$15 for the chairlift at the base - and the first to reach the summit. Ever improving the view by moving due North (North is Up; you see, siempre arriba). There were several groups of between 15 and 30 people, mostly Hawaiians, and when they were in our way, Paco created a shortcut, straight up, and we cut them off before the next turn.

World-famous mountaineer(s):

We zipped right up, and got going even faster once we put our crampons on. With unlimited traction, we could literally run up the steep, icey slope. So fun. At the top, there was sulfur. Spectacular views, and suffocating sulfur. We were pleased to discover gas masks in our backpacks (another benefit of a small company, we were the only folks with masks). This made the summit tolerable, and we wandered around, peeking as deep into the Earth as we dared. There is some stunning documentation of these events, but obviously I am not ready to post pictures yet. Also, I would tell you the name of the tour company, but I don't remember it. Just know that it's on the main drag, right next door to the best burger joint in town.

Oh, then we got to slide down. The first time, it was an accident. I was running downhill with my crampons cramping, but I tangled my feet and fell and slid some 500 ft down, just letting it ride until I was going scary fast and needed to employ my ice pick. Like a pro. But then we removed the cramps, and strapped on our butt-protectors, and just rode the mountain. Some of the best fun available, I must say. Rather comparable to riding on the back of a jeep, actually, except slower and with better scenery. And more control over whether or not I was going to die. We slid damn near all the way down. Then when the sliding was over, there was a steep section that was covered in deep, loose gravel. Bounding down this bottom section was like moon-walking, I imagine. Very little resistance, just a bit of cushion and some bounce. When everyone was down we drank champagne and shared Doritos.

That smoke you see rising from the volcano is just the dust Cap and I left in the wake of our conquest.

Back in town we bought Paco two beers on the front porch of the Mexican restaurant, had some fajitas and then scuttled back to Sylvia's house to collect our gear and get outta town. An overnight bus to Santiago was just what our stiff legs needed. We refused to stretch, on principle.

Never forget the age-old adage, vaguely inspired by our fellow ex(com)patriot, the late Papa Hemingway: If you wanna get tight, you must first get loose.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Events continue to occur...

Cada dia. Believe it or not.

It is raining in Bogota, and I can-t find the apostrophe key. It-s Sunday and the streets are empty or full of bicyclists, there is a market nearby we cannot be bothered to peruse so we are sipping aguardiente in the Platypus dining room, watching the Twins on Gamecast and keeping track of Tiger's (not-so)-triumphant Masters re-emergence.
I've found the apostrophe, but I really wanted to use a semi-colon in that last sentence, after bicyclists, but Keir's little keyboard is struggling through some identity issues. The question mark is represented by the dash and underscore, whereas the dash and underscore are hidden under a question mark and backslash. This is also the key that claims to represent the apostrophe but no, don't be fooled.
Last night the power went out and we ate Mongolian barbecue in the dark. Then there were candles and it got romantic. The power stayed out in our humble neighborhood of La Candelaria, but strangely enough the ritzy Zona Rosa experienced no outage at all. Funny how that works.
It's 4-4, top 7. Nick Blackburn has apparently pitched a gem, except for three pitches which the White Sox have punished over the outfield wall. Still, somehow I get the sense we've got the Sox in our pocket. ESPN disagrees, says the home team has a 59% chance of winning from this juncture. Mas aguardiente, por favor.

So far Bogota only makes me miss Buenos Aires. It occurs to me that when this Colombian venture ends I might need to max out the AmEx and finagle my way back to BA. I know my dear mother would prefer to visit me there, as opposed to here or Medellin. We'll see.
Speaking of my mother, I imagine she'll be curious to hear what I'm reading. I just finished Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union". For me, it was an incredibly synchronistic book to have read, mostly based on the fact that the plot centered around a chess problem. There were a number of other "coincidences" that came up, but it is going to take too long to explain the context of their apparent or imagined significance so instead I'll spend just one rambling sentence explaining why I am choosing not to explain.
So today, I traded in a Bill Bryson book about England that none of us read, and in return chose "The Lyre of Orpheus", by Robertson Davies. All I know so far is that it is the third book in a trilogy, and that Davies has a truly transcendent beard. Supposedly he's very funny. I'll let you know.

Okay for now.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Siempre Arriba

Okay! We are back in Buenos Aires, it's Cap's birthday mañana, we're back with the Doub, and we have my dear friend Ms Sarah Zellweger in the mix with us, which is nothing but the best kind of trouble. Indeed, the view is steadily improving.

Where did I leave off? Right okay, the NaviMag. The NaviMag is a boat, or rather, a large cargo ship that some time ago was converted into a cruise vessel. It accomodates several hundred passengers on its journey from Puerto Natales, Chile up the coast to Puerto Montt. The ship cruises through the fjords, past glaciers and through fog-ridden passes barely wider than the boat. We were on the boat for 4 days and 4 nights. We brought 18 bottles of wine (6 white, 12 red) and 2 books per person.

Kier was reading The Power of Now, his first venture into the self-enlightenment genre. I was working my way through The Power of Silence: Further Teachings of Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda (hardly my first exposure to shifts in the assemblage point), and Dune Messiah, the second book in the Dune series, which I absolutely loved, but have heard that there is a steep drop off in the quality of the rest of the series. I cannot remember what Cappo was reading, but he will walk past me in a minute here and I'll be sure to let you know.

This was St. Patty's Day, clearly:

So we drank, and read, and played innumerable games of chess. There were some real battles, some unbelievable blunders and no shortage of bad language. As Michael Chabon puts it, chess is "a cruel and pointless game". We're getting better though. We've been reading a lot about basic theory and strategems, including the Queens gambit, the Nimzo-Croation Defense, Fianchettos and Zugzwang (a German word meaning "obligation to move"). If nothing else, there is some amazing new vocabulary to be gained from this fresh obsession.

At night I involved myself in several games of charades, providing ample opportunity to display my theatrical talent and therefore make a fool of myself before all the lovely people assembled in the bar on the top deck. Could have been worse. I could have been one of the winners at bingo on the final night aboard and been forced to dance, alone, in front of literally everyone on board. Plus, they would then have given me a NaviMag baseball cap which I might have felt obligated to keep.

Cappo was reading Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje. It is a very literary tale of intersecting lives and the divides we create, for self-protection and otherwise. It is mellow, almost loping, but with flashes of poignant violence. I loved it; Cappo came around by the end.

Here: insert 15 hours of socializing.
Here: the catching up continues.

So like I was saying, we got drunk on boat. Just attempting to relax for once in our lives. Soy furioso.

Patagonia is full of gringos. Everyone speaks English. This is unfortunate por que quiero practicar mi español. Es porque estoy aqui. Pero, cuando todo la gente hablan ingles, y quieren practicar, es imposible que practicar mi español! Entonces, no es importante por que todavia estoy apprendiendo. En verdad, es un idioma muy facile, pero hay muchos significas para todo los pallabras. Un pallabra tiene dos o tres significados, quando en ingles, tenemos dos o tres pallabras para unos de los significados. Ingles es toda acerca de la especificidad, mientras que el español es perfecto para elusion y la metafora.

English again: sorry for my broken Spanish.

We arrived in Puerto Montt, a nothing town we were advised to escape immediately, but which we were able to explore un poco while we waited for our bus to Bariloche (Argentina). We ate at McDonalds. I hate 10 McNuggets and a Big Mac, plus some stale Sprite and soggy fries. Delicious. For some unknown but entirely justifiable reason they were blasting "The Final Countdown" in the central square, a reality which inspired Keir to dash off, leap over a bench in victorious ecstasy, then sprint across the street and half a block down before the music faded with the inspiration. Sensational.

The only other interesting thing that happened in Puerto Montt was when I put a book in Cap's hand that he ended up buying, called "Boss", all about former Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley, and his various exploits. It is rather scathing, though accurate. Basically, we learned that Dick Daley gave everyone the business, just to see if they liked it, and they did. Corruption was rampant, but everyone was winning (except for the blacks, who continued to vote for him for some unknown reason; like super-poor folks supporting tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%). Incomprehensible, but the manner in which he wielded power was nothing short of astonishing. One of the most powerful people in the world, for 20-plus years. He spent his time demanding that people "make sure That gets taken care of", and passing down advice like, "never take a dime, just give them your business card". Genius.

That reminds me: Cappo and I are in the process of starting a company. It is called The Business Corporation (or BizInc, for short), and our motto is, "They want your business. We are prepared to give it to them." I think we consider ourselves consultants, people willing to engage in any and all negotiations in the interest of procuring everything good and nothing bad, not to mention at least the maximum. We are struggling to see how this could ever possibly go wrong.

As has been mentioned, we spent my birthday whiskey go-karting in Bariloche. Great races led to minor injuries, followed by silly little stories I do not care to repeat in this space.

Basically, we told some British dude to leave us alone because we were at a club full of beautiful women and were not in the mood to discuss the imperial tendencies of the United States, especially not with a Brit who is implicitly implicated in damn-near-everything 'we' do; so he spent the next hour asking us why we were threatened by him and hoping to reconcile all (imagined) hostilities between us and simply could not understand why we did not want to discourse on international politics tonight, right now, be we American, Dutch, Hawaiian or Chilean. So as I said, nothing to discuss really.

All in all, a very happy birthday. Cappo bought me a sexy silver corkscrew. Keir bought me a bottle of Malbec I chose all by myself. What else could anyone ask for?

Oh whoops its 8 am on Easter Sunday. I will now consider sleeping. Peace.