A summary of my 2022 trip to Europe and trans-Atlantic cruise on the Wonder of the Seas. Cities visited include London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Cartegena, Málaga, Nassau, and Port Canaveral/Orlando.
In 1778, The Duke of Cornwall threw a legendary, invitation-only and fancy-dress party near Newquay on the southeastern coast of England. What made this festive masquerade noteworthy however, is that it was considered the high water mark for the golden age of the beach ball. Rather than hosting it indoors in a manor house or palace, this spectacle took place on the sands of Perranporth beach.
Two weeks ago (April 13th, 2021), the Idaho House of Representatives voted 34-34 after a contentious debate on an appropriations bill. HB354 was supposed to fund K-12 education in the state, including salaries and benefits for teachers. Lacking the necessary majority support, it failed to advance.
One of my frustrations with the state of political discourse these days, is the focus on people rather than on the ideas or principles that they are supposed to represent. For example, during the 2020 US presidential election, most of the ‘reasons’ I heard for supporting a candidate amounted to personal and character attacks against the other candidate(s). When asked what their preferred candidate actually represented ideologically, or what their platform or policy proposals were, many people drew a blank. Usually, the answer was something along the lines of, “Well, he’s not the other guy.”
When I was preparing to give overseas dating a try back in 2017, I heard many stories and warnings about Email romance scams. People (typically men) spend hours corresponding with someone overseas who they believe is a romantic interest. In reality, the person they’re talking to is not who they say they are, and they are most certainly not in love. In fact, these are often sophisticated operations—ran like call centers—involving teams of Email writers who make money ‘stringing’ victims along with hopes of romance, companionship, future visits, and intimacy.
My lease was up in New Jersey at the end of September 2020, so I decided to move to Idaho to save on rent, take an extended break from work, and be closer to family during the COVID-19 pandemic. I drastically downsized by selling or getting rid of most of my furniture and possessions, shipped a few boxes of stuff I wanted to keep to Idaho, and then took Amtrak trains from Newark, NJ to Salt Lake City, UT.
In his most recent letter, my dad shared some thoughts and asked a really interesting question that I’ve been pondering on for the past few of weeks. I decided to share and respond here, mainly so that I could link to some sites and graphs in my response that I found to be of interest, but also to ensure it’s legible!
Another myth I often encounter regarding socialism is that it is somehow antithetical to democracy; that it breeds despotic regimes and runs counter to the American notions of freedom. We often hear about ‘communist dictators’, but rarely ‘capitalist’ ones (though they most certainly exist).
Various suggestions have been floated on how to deal with statues and monuments that idolize people or ideas that have wound up on the losing side of history, and have since fallen out of favor with the general public. Some want them gone completely. Others say to leave them in place—to do anything otherwise would be erasing history.
In part 1, I mentioned being raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and used it as an example of something that tends to be surrounded in a lot of misconceptions and untruths in popular culture and the general public. Bear with me as I use the Church as an example once again.
I was raised in a family that were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and like other children of Latter-day Saint families, I was baptized at the age of 8. My mother was also raised in a Latter-day Saint family, and my father was a convert to the Church in his 20’s.
Recently, I received the following text from a family member eager to share a compelling video they had viewed. This isn’t the first time I’ve been sent a link to QAnon-related content, but it has been a while (especially since I ditched social media) and I was a little surprised that this stuff is still making the rounds. I don’t know if this is due to the conspiracy theory gaining something of a ‘second wind’, or if it just never really subsided like I had imagined, but either way I’ve finally decided—reluctantly—to address it here and share some of my thoughts.
In part 1 of this series, I touched on the opinion often pushed by advocates of capitalism that the poor are merely trying to take advantage of or ‘steal’ from the wealthy. This sentiment is used as the rationale for various arguments against any sort of public spending, taxation, welfare etc. It’s used to portray any sort of financial or social obligation not voluntarily or willingly fulfilled by an individual as theft.
Two men found themselves stranded on a desert island with no provisions. Realizing that they would need food, both struck out to survey the island to see what was available. One headed inland, while the other, David, decided to skirt the coast along the beach. After roaming for a day and a half, he found nothing to eat or of utility along the coast. The beaches of the island were truly devoid of anything that could be used for sustenance. Exhausted, and thirsty, he too realized that heading inland towards the center of the island was perhaps the best hope of finding food and fresh water after all.
A libertarian friend once explained his grievances towards socialism or—as he put it: “Taking a man’s property by threatening force if he did not comply in order to benefit those who did not work for it.” To him, socialism meant the theft of the fruits of his labor by taxation or force. He then proceeded to use an allegorical tale to animate his point that was essentially a rehash of The Little Red Hen. It went something like this: