El Dorado – Part II

View-of-Doha-Skyscrapers

Doha, Qatar

It is astonishing as well as alarming! Doha, Qatar, one of many “Emerald Cities” in the Persian Gulf springing up from hot sand into vast riches of oil and gas then spectacular skyscrapers is since the early 2000’s, mostly empty. That’s right, 90% empty! And the reasons are telling!

But before examining the reasons, let’s first review where we left off in El Dorado — Part I… since it has been almost two months and nine other posts since I published it.

* * * * * * * * * *

American workers between the age of 25-54 work an average 63 hours per week, 7 days a week, equating to almost 9-hours per day. Of all Western nations this work-rate is the highest among industrialized countries. This obsession to work looks like this: their 7-day work week earns them an average wage of $47,000 per year, or $14.35/hour and this wage often does not come with medical-health benefits from the employer — most American low-wage jobs don’t. Therefore, factor in that deduction from $14.35/hour and you only begin to see the real picture for much of the American workforce.

At the other end of the spectrum you have attorneys at-law, the highest wage-earners, making between $105,000 to $192,000 per year (in the 48 conjoined states) according to the American Bar Association 2011. This job-sector also has the nation’s highest rates of depression and suicide, along with American teachers, counselors, and executive assistants, respectively. What is more bewildering is that universities across the United States “report steady or increased enrollment into their law schools and medical schools, and not so surprising decreased enrollment into their schools of education and counseling.” The steady or increasing numbers to law schools and the declining numbers into teaching or counseling classrooms are directly related to their average salaries.

Fortunately, this subtle American tragic disunion has an upside… which I will get to momentarily.

Visions of World Grandeur

Emir of Qatar

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – Emir of Qatar

Accounting history has shown over the last two decades that to host a FIFA World Cup is extremely stimulating for a country’s economy, employment, its leadership, and world image. The spectacle of the four-week tournament includes 32 different nations and their raving fans, unimaginable TV exposure and revenues, exceptionally high tourism revenue, fan sites and events at each game just outside of stadiums, all-encompassing millions upon billions of dollars. Glitz, glamour, and metaphorical-gold abound! Not surprising, the bidding war for the 2022 World Cup was fierce between the U.S., Japan, and Qatar, with Qatar coming out as the highly controversial winner. As mentioned, Doha, the capital of Qatar, will host several of the games. The Qatari ruling family (Emirs, Faisals or Kings), the house of Al-Thani, began in 2010-11 implementing very bold construction plans for a “New Qatar” as a whole, but in particular the FIFA game-venues throughout the eastern portion of the country as the chance to awe not only the sports world, but the entire modern world after the games. Qatar shipped in thousands of foreign workers and erected several “Emerald Cities” the world would envy!

Why then, as of October 2014, is the capital Doha 90% empty?

BQDoha.com (Business Qatar) explains three primary causes and symptoms to Doha’s emptiness. Oneovercrowded cramped housing. The average person, mostly foreign construction workers, live with other families or individuals in “villas” — many semi-dilapidated buildings — partitioned into family-sections in order that landlords turnover a bigger profit. Twoa wait-and-watch holdout policy by landlords for the foreign corporate residents. Landlords can better gouge big corporations for higher rent and get the rent in one lump sum for a 3-year contract on average. And Threea saturation of aggressive street peddlers disguised as “real estate brokers” but paid by landlords discreetly. Rents quoted by these illegal peddlers are high to pad their finder’s fee and compensation. From these three causes follow symptoms of a city and nation struggling with traditions, expatriates, and modernism heavily pushed by the Emir and extremely wealthy faisal families-business élite. A quick read of The New York Times Middle East beat-writer Anthony Shadid’s November 2011 article, shows how the capital city, its nation and upper-elite, versus its common people are sharply contrasted behind the imposing Emerald City façade. Visions of world notoriety and wealth come only from a tiny privileged percentage of Qataris.

The United States has its fair share of Emerald Cities too:  Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio are two most notable emptying facades out of several.

Getting Behind the Glittering Veil

In Part I of El Dorado I touched on the highly clever, complex marketing schemes (Ponzi Schemes?) America’s upper 10% and corporate executives promote to consumers — extensive details of the schemes were found in five previous posts. But rather than hunting and gutting the schemers, I want to delve into the uneducated gullible consumer’s mind; why do they/we swallow El Dorado hook, line, and sinker? Why does one incessantly chase Emerald City citizenship with big eyes and panting breath? Probably five reasons:

  1. Values
  2. Goals/Dreams
  3. Respect of Peers
  4. Learned Skills
  5. Time and one’s concept of it

What do you value in life? What activities do you enjoy most? If you are unable to satisfy your value-systems, what goals or dreams do you have in order to work for and satisfy your values? Typically, we all value the respect of someone:  our parents, spouse or intimate partner, coach or boss, a fan-base or maybe the approvals and recommendations of institutions or associations, like universities or writers guild. Everyone seeks some degree of respect from others. What skills or talents have you been taught? Are those skills considered excellent? Average? Evaluated by whom? Certainly everyone cannot be self-proclaimed tycoons, right? Therefore, respect and skills are irrevocably linked.

ringing alarm clockPerhaps the most significant reason one seeks El Dorado-Emerald City citizenship is their concept of time. In Western industrialized nations, the average lifespan is 78-years; for women 81-82 years. Depending on where you are born and to what parents may dictate how much time you have to obtain the coveted citizenship, march through the golden gates, and into worldly bliss. Then again, many believe existence does not end at 78 or 82 years. For them it might be eternal and as such feel much less pressure to pass through those gates — atheists and deists may not bother with citizenship-anxiety at all. Eat, drink, and be very merry might be all that matters to them — a lifestyle this Bohemian doesn’t scuff off but happily joins on several occasions!

These five above appetites that hungry consumers have are well-known and pandered to by the Kings and Queens of El Dorado and Emerald City. Their accompanying marketing departments probably know even better. Fortune 100 companies pay millions, maybe billions, to the élite Top marketing firms or internal departments to CREATE insatiable consumer appetites! For a population that doesn’t have easy access to alternative lifestyles’ skills or services (such as, living off-the-grid), or the matching business-marketing masters degrees or PhD’s, the consumer’s future is an increasing metaphorical obesity epidemic. The gourmet chefs of this buyer buffet — the Fortune 100 or 500 businesses and executives — won’t ever stop crowding your table and plates with “masterpieces” unless you break the trance and walk away by your own will-power!

The New Tiny Living Tiny House Movement

TinyHouses-Infographic

Click to enlarge – image courtesy of TheTinyLife.com

The Wall Street Crisis of 2007-08 and to an extent America’s metaphorical appetite for obesity, jump-started the Tiny Living Tiny House Nation and Movement as an alternative to high-debt living and mortgages which greatly limit owner’s freedoms and R&R in a hectic ultra-competitive free-market economy. From 1978 to 2007 the average size of new single-family American home grew from 1,780 sq. feet to almost 2,500 sq. feet. With that growth followed all accessory businesses such as landscaping and home-improvement. By the time President Ronald Reagan finished his last term in 1989 and put into law his Tax Reform Act of 1986, the make-it-bigger home market fly-wheel was at full-speed-ahead until it hit the granite wall in 2007.

Today, on top of the purchase-price, down payment, principle paid, interest after-tax, taxes and home insurance, maintenance, and major repairs and/or improvements, the final amount out-of-pocket for a typical single-family home reaches over $1-million for a 30-year term. If you are the 76% – 90% portion of the typical American family earning between $35k – $50k annually, where is the fiscal wisdom in living so far out of your means?

The fantastic people at TheTinyLife.com offer home-buyers interested in more freedom, more time, more environmentally conscious, more fiscally responsible, just more modesty and simplicity for hectic lives by liberating themselves from America’s bigger-is-better GAUDINESS! It’s just smarter.

For most Americans 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; This translates to 15 years of working over your life time just to pay for it and because of it 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
— TheTinyLife.com

Please stop by their website to learn the brilliance in unburdening yourself from the modern home-building, home-improvement marketing schemes that imprison and overload many nose-diving Americans. Wise up!

Labor of Survival, Status, or of Love?

It is perhaps the most introspective questions we ask ourselves: Am I working to survive? Am I working to gain status? Am I not “working” because I love my job? In which group do you fall? In which one would you rather be?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinding our bearings through these questions and possibly changing our heading in today’s labor and social environment can seem daunting. Marketing impulse-triggering wizards with million-dollar Ivy League business degrees wickedly cleverly pull at our heart-strings. But the consequences of not checking your bearings and heading could prove to be much worse on one’s emotional, spiritual, and physical health. It would be wise to ask yourself at least twice a year, What am I laboring for and will it be worth it come retirement? For many Americans “retirement in luxury” is a distant fantasy due to a lifetime of survival mode and seemingly never-ending self-sacrifice. If this is the case, maybe a second and third question should be asked… Where is the majority of my paycheck(s) going? Are those credits bearing valuable fruit or evaporating, or padding a total stranger’s pocketbook?

Laboring for status is perhaps the greatest American trickster scheme. It can at first be mistaken for love. There’s no better example of this than in the top four U.S. sports markets. Coaches, General Managers, Athletic Directors, and finally the players (with the exception of NCAA collegiate athletes) face the very real possibility that their employment or their role will be terminated or replaced by another every year, sometimes less than a year! In the NFL (National Football League), the #1 most popular sport in America, a head coach lasts an average of 38-months. NFL General Managers last a bit longer at 44-months. In the MLB (Major League Baseball), the #2 sport in America, a Manager/Coach lasts about 24-months. And unless players in both the NFL or MLB are tagged franchise-players, they stay only 24-months on average with one team. Athletic Directors with NCAA Division I universities enjoy more stability and longevity at 7.5 years on campus, but over the last decade this average has steadily dropped due to collegiate sports (and revenues) becoming more widely competitive. There has also been increased mobility or transfers by NCAA football and baseball players for improved exposure to NFL and MLB scouts, especially in baseball given its now global appeal. In the NBA (National Basketball Association), the #4 most popular sport (along with auto-racing), staff and player positions and vacancies have become a near non-stop marry-go-round with replacements, no check that, scapegoats… with an average stay of only 9-months; the NBA season is only 6-months long.

What does all this mean? In the American sports culture it means one thing: winning championships or very least, consistent playoff births. Status. Nothing else matters; truly a What-have-you-done-for-me-lately intolerance. Just how much does the American sports world permeate American occupational and economic culture? Answer:  Factor in all games and events, merchandise, and other incidental sports activities, and the dollar figure goes easily into the upper billions! Yes, 60.9% of American sports fans, i.e. the men, fantasize and live vicariously through their favorite pro and collegiate athletes and spend royally to feel and look like them.

According to Forbes.com and NSGA.org (National Sporting Goods Association), every year Americans spend around $43-billion on retail sporting goods such as gear and equipment, logo’d-apparel of their team(s), not counting game or season tickets. Sports gambling, e.g. fantasy leagues, rake in $20-billion from American sports fans in a $400-billion dollar sports gambling industry. Parents of little American athletes spend $300-million a year for various league registrations, uniform fees, etc, then the figure leaps to $900-million per year for goods, incidentals, and travel for their athletic kids. Let’s not forget how much companies spend on TV advertising, and fans on Pay-per-View events; that figure is in excess of $10-billion per year.

Those dollar figures beg many serious questions, not the least of which is why do American taxpayers bitch and whine about taxes and tax-levels, the national deficit, poorly run government programs, and struggling public infrastructure when clearly the private sector, i.e. businesses and individuals, spend over $474-billion dollars PER YEAR on sporting entertainment alone? Should I remind us of what those same entities spend on real estate, homes, home-improvement, home accessories, and automobiles to park in the two-car garages? No? Then at least remember $474+ billion dollars annually just on entertainment.

A laboring of love is generally accepted, or should be, as the way to live. Though by the time I reached my 30’s or 40’s, with a marriage or two, and then children — you know, after all the trials and tribulations getting through my teens and twenties — the light-bulb didn’t come on…I was halfway finished with my life! Time to get serious and ask myself those hard questions. I won’t bog you readers down with another convincing argument (wink) of why a life of experience, experience with others, with the ones you care for deeply and go through thick-n-thin with to come out singing and dancing… is the way to go. No, I hope all of you can grasp and understand what Albert Einstein profoundly distinguished:

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
Albert Einstein

For those who might need a hint, Dr. Albert distinguished two opposite concepts in just those twelve simple words. The first-hand experience to love and be loved is the best labor in life, not status or success. I would add to Einstein’s point that modesty and moderation will limit, even save one from the dangers and risks of metaphorical and yes, literal obesity.

El-Dorado

Hidden city and legend of El Dorado

These are very difficult concepts to execute for many Americans because we are surrounded and bombarded by remade patriotic 19th and 20th century cheers of Seek in earnest El Dorado and you will find and sit on its throne. But the more feasible reality involves your immediate and intermediate circles of influence and experience. Beyond those lines, beyond those outlands are the experiences and lives meant for others, not just you. Everyone has a “sandbox” to build and play inside, but the walls enclosing your sandbox should never be inflexible nor perpetually expanding or worse, imperializing. Am I saying humanity as a whole should not collaborate for an improved more healthy sustainable self and planet? Not in the least, no. However, if every single human is supposed to build their own El Dorado, then it seems to me we will all manifest Aristotle’s fabled King Midas of Phyrgia turning everything, including ourselves, into unsustainable useless gold with 7.4 billion King Midas’s running around atop 7.4 billion useless thrones ruling an unsustainable golden rock-planet of 7.4 billion useless Phyrgia kingdoms! One fashion color and one fashion color only! One texture and one texture only! One food group and one food group only! Eeeeek…

Is that the life on El Planedo you want to live?

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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93 thoughts on “El Dorado – Part II

  1. Professor, I am one of those tricked into the American dream of status who now works 60-70 hours a week, commutes 10-15 hours a week, and has no other option because of massive educational debt and contracts to work for both me and my wife. I consider myself a debt-slave in this manner. It’s not that lending and debt are evil in themselves, it’s that you become enslaved to society’s power and they beat it into you with the threat of losing your status or going to prison. The demon is in deep; on weekends, I mean days which I am not on-the-clock, I have to consciously suppress the guilt of not working.

    I definitely like the idea of the Tiny House movement! Thanks for posting this.

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    • Brandon, I’m sorry you are one of those (couples?) seemingly trapped in that American “dream”, but I am happy if my mention/links to TheTinyLife.com and the Tiny House/Life Movement helps initiate your way out of the jungle! And if so, maybe you’ll discover/rediscover what it’s like to be an adult kid loving life with other adult kids, and NOT feel guilty about it, eh!? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brandon, I also spent some years working incredibly long hours. When I woke up to the idiocy of it, I resigned, and my employer tried to dissuade me by offering me more money to stay. I said I wanted to move to another state also. Their response, we can sort out something that enables you to move States. I said no, and went to a lower paid less intense job in a quiet backwater of my country. Best decision I ever made!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is great to read Peter! RoughseasintheMed (down below) is a Minimalist and knows well the tranquility & freedom of the very simple lifestyle! 🙂

        It is interesting that the minimalist/simple life usually does not (never?) include(s) monetary wealth. ❓ Hmmmm. *rubs chin*

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      • Peter, that’s great! One day I’ll follow you. At this point we have roughly $500,000 educational debt that must be paid off before I can get a better contract or change careers. I just don’t have any other skills that could even dent this kind of debt. The other option is to quit and get on income-based repayment for 20-30 years and they will forgive the remaining balance. I think the latter option is dishonorable and cowardly. Sure, I’m basically destroying my body with stress and dissatisfaction for this job right now, but it pays enough that I can knock out the balance in maybe 5 years while living in a small house with used cars, etc.

        Someday I’ll definitely join you with a more manageable job!

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  2. Phew. Finished work for the day. Time to take a break and read some light-hearted blog posts 🙂

    Oh. Wait. Hit the wrong blog. Qué va.

    But now I’m here, I suppose I should comment. Firstly, yes I did read the previous post. And read all the links even though quoted one verbatim so needn’t have read it. I even ploughed through the sport, well sort of. I read the figures.

    Now, where was I?

    Oh yes, the goldmine of El Dorado. Or was it the minefield?

    I agree with MMJ and John, but then I mostly do. However it is easy to say people are stupid, but we don’t usually include ourselves in that. Or do we?

    I’ve made a couple of crap decisions, or rather, they weren’t even decisions, (excuses excuses), just life choices made on little knowledge. And I think that happens to a lot of us.

    So, while I’m normally happy to judge people for making the wrong decisions, I realise others could do the same and judge me. And probably rightly so. OK, maybe. Well, not really very much at all …

    But let’s talk about consumerism, peer group pressure, aspirations, greed, and selfishness.

    One of my favourite Rousseau quotes is about ‘living in the eyes of others’. (On the Origin of Inequality). I liked the contrast between the savage and social man, the one lives within himself and the other, as quoted above.

    But to what extent are we pressured to conform, to achieve, to appear affluent, educated, successful? And if we want to ‘get anywhere’ surely we need to buy into these myths and expectations? Conform? Play the games? (Note I haven’t mentioned patriarchy and sexism once).

    At one point do we lose the will to live and become puppets, or rats running ever faster? Your point about home improvements, people change kitchens and bathrooms and furniture like hair colour. I mean just why? They need new cars. They need new TVs, bigger, better. And that’s before we start on computers and phones. (I need a new computer actually …) Show-off holidays. Bigger and better houses, while half the world struggles to eat and we destroy the environment.

    How long do you want me to rant on for? Which particular aspect of crass greedy human behaviour would you prefer me to address first? And not nec tonight 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh. Wait. Hit the wrong blog. Qué va. Hahaha. You’re so funny. 😛

      I’ve warned you and everyone else on my About the Professor page, I rarely do fleeting (light-hearted) fluff posts reminiscent of Facebook. That’s mostly a waste of quality life. You’ll get no sympathy from me Ma’am. 😉

      Seriously, I know taking time out to read some of my posts is usually…(and I say this in all sincerity)…a step-out of (step-down from?) your prestigious halls. Believe me, I know too well you read much quality literature and writing that I can only aspire to write here in my lifetime. I’m shocked but very honored “Rough” that you take time away to visit my blog. Many humbled thanks. ❤

      …but we don’t usually include ourselves in that. Or do we?

      You are indeed correct Rough. However, my family (both sides) is NOT your typical Texas/American family. We have a long “heretical” history that in several ways continues to this day. If you’re interested in more of my novice writing-blogging skills and family history I speak of…then read my April 2013 post My Heretical Heritage. Are you familiar with the Waldensians?

      How long do you want me to rant on for? Which particular aspect of crass greedy human behaviour would you prefer me to address first? And not nec tonight 😀

      Honestly, I’m happy for you to continue to your heart’s content, but as we both know, eventually we must both return to the better life of living presently in tranquility, investing MORE TIME in people & things which are eternal/more valuable than gold. 😀

      I know it’s very late there in Gib, so sleep peacefully and well my Lady!

      Like

      • Hahaha. You’re so funny. 😛 🙂

        I’ve warned you and everyone else on my About the Professor page, I rarely do fleeting (light-hearted) fluff posts reminiscent of Facebook. That’s mostly a waste of quality life. You’ll get no sympathy from me Ma’am. 😉

        And did I ask for any? Sir?

        Seriously, I know taking time out to read some of my posts is usually…(and I say this in all sincerity)…a step-out of (step-down from?) your prestigious halls. Believe me, I know too well you read much quality literature and writing that I can only aspire to write here in my lifetime.

        What on earth does that mean? I’ve just read a brain dead ‘erotica’ 78 page something or other because I needed to chill out and stop thinking. I’m not so sure you know what I read, so that sounds rather like a presumption.

        I’m shocked but very honored “Rough” that you take some time away to visit my blog. Many humbled thanks. ❤

        Can we drop a) the “Rough” and fit in with most people and use roughseas. Is that too difficult? Without quotation marks, preferably, and b) stop the unnecessary grovelling.

        Are you familiar with the Waldensians? Some whacky European sect comes vaugely to mind.

        I know it’s very late there in Gib, so sleep peacefully and well my Lady!

        It’s 22.20. Even I am occasionally awake before midnight. As I said before, enjoy painting the town/state red while I dreamily snooze, darling. 💤

        Like

        • What on earth does that mean? I’ve just read a brain dead ‘erotica’ 78 page something or other because I needed to chill out and stop thinking. I’m not so sure you know what I read, so that sounds rather like a presumption.

          Rough…seas, should I go copy & paste here all of your awards & accolades in journalism, editing, writing, et al? You’re being modest Ma’am! 😉

          Can we drop a) the “Rough” and fit in with most people and use roughseas. Is that too difficult? Without quotation marks, preferably, and b) stop the unnecessary grovelling.

          😈 My apologies Rough…seas. I don’t THINK it will be too difficult, but I don’t like making promises I can’t keep. “Grovelling”? Are you saying you sit on the pot the same as everyone!? 😮 *prepares to dodge incoming objects from Gib!*

          Some whacky European sect comes vaugely to mind.

          Aaaaahhhhkkk, that would be wrong; but thanks for playing. 😀

          Nonetheless Rough…seas, I do appreciate you taking some time to read my stuff, even at 22.47! ❤

          Like

        • Rough…seas, should I go copy & paste here all of your awards & accolades in journalism, editing, writing, et al?

          Whatever you think they are, no. Not relevant.

          You’re being modest Ma’am! 😉 I’m not being anything.

          My apologies Rough…seas. I don’t THINK it will be too difficult, but I don’t like making promises I can’t keep. “Grovelling”? Are you saying you sit on the pot the same as everyone!? 😮 *prepares to dodge incoming objects from Gib!*

          Jeez, one minute I’m receiving unnecessary plaudits and the next I’m having a crap! What happened to your non-fb type comments?

          Some whacky European sect comes vaguely to mind.
          Aaaaahhhhkkk, that would be wrong; but thanks for playing. 😀

          Am I? Origins of Waldensians please?

          Nonetheless Rough…seas, I do appreciate you taking some time to read my stuff, even at 22.47! ❤

          I read it earlier. But I had to finish what I was doing before I could give you my undivided attention (not much happening tonight on the internet anyway).

          And now we have rough…seas (ellipses should have a space either side, acc to Chicago Manual of Style, JFYI)

          Liked by 1 person

        • G’morning Roughseas! 😀

          Whatever you think they are, no. Not relevant.

          I disagree. Your awards, accolades, education, I’m sure were all hard-fought and deserved. I’m recognizing your expertise and in my own weird qwerky way, paying homage while trying to remain personal and human… as we’ve done via emails. I’ll stop it now. Don’t want to irritate or annoy with “grovelling.” 😉

          Am I? Origins of Waldensians please?

          The link to my older post discussing the Waldensians & my family heritage was provided earlier. If you’re really interested, you’ll go there. 😉 It does explain our family “uniqueness” in Texas and the U.S. by comparison. ❤

          And now we have rough…seas (ellipses should have a space either side, acc to Chicago Manual of Style, JFYI)

          I prefer real first names but as we’ve discussed, it’s wiser to carefully thoughtfully choose one’s battles with the general public, and now with the internet, the entire world. Roughseas it is from here on out. The Chicago Manual of Style? Oh dear! What university classroom am I in and how much was the tuition!? 😮 😉

          Like

        • Good afternoon my dear 🙂

          I’ll stop it now. Don’t want to irritate or annoy with “grovelling.” 😉

          Good.

          The link to my older post discussing the Waldensians & my family heritage was provided earlier. If you’re really interested, you’ll go there. 😉 It does explain our family “uniqueness” in Texas and the U.S. by comparison. ❤

          I did today. Hence, whacky sect in Europe was right. You even said that, if not in so many words.

          I prefer real first names but as we’ve discussed, it’s wiser to carefully thoughtfully choose one’s battles with the general public, and now with the internet, the entire world. Roughseas it is from here on out. If you prefer Kate, up to you. Others use it. Without permisdion. But, still seems like one law for you and one for others … so I’ll grant it to you, should you so choose.

          The Chicago Manual of Style? Oh dear! What university classroom am I in and how much was the tuition!? 😮 😉

          The extremely tedious, mainly literary American rules for fiction, although the British one is the same. I just ref’d the American one. Free. I do freebies occasionally.

          Like

        • I did today. Hence, whacky sect in Europe was right. You even said that, if not in so many words.

          Ah, good. Did you catch the distinction between the Upper-class/status of nobility/papacy versus the modest philanthropic lifestyle & community of the “Poor of Lyons” and Waldensians? Not sure I’d describe them as “whacky”. Anti-establishment? Absolutely. 🙂 My point is that my family, especially my paternal side, aren’t the least bit interested in status and wealth. We believe in humbly saving/storing-away wealth, not showing it off. This lifestyle is NOT mainstream Texan or American. Anyway, moving on…

          Thank you Roughseas/Kate for the special leeway. ❤

          I do freebies occasionally.

          Mmmmmmmm! Now why do I find that… enthrawling!? 😈

          Liked by 1 person

        • All the world’s a stage,
          And all the men and women merely players;
          They have their exits and their entrances,
          And one man in his time plays many parts…

          I grow tired sometimes as a “player” and the stage. Theater is not my cup-o-tea…in daily life that is. 😛

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Superb post, Professor. I’ve been living tiny for several years now and I’ve never looked back, although I wished I could live in a less superstitious, fear-oriented, dopamine addicted culture.

    “For men tied fast to the absolute, bled of their differences, drained of their dreams by authoritarian leeches until nothing but pulp is left, become a massive, sick Thing whose sheer weight is used ruthlessly by ambitious men. Here’s the real enemy of the people: our own selves dehumanized into “the masses.” And where is the David who can slay this giant?” ~Lillian Smith

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t talk about the 2022 World Cup! My Government (Australia) was conned by the local Soccer Federation into funding a bid. $50 million dollars later, Australia received one vote and was eliminated in the first round.

    Despite allegations (unproven) of inappropriate enticements offered by the Australian’s to secure votes, it seems they were not even any good at corrupt behaviour!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello again Peter! Welcome back!

      Yes, Australia was certainly in the final-four, but for exactly the reason you mentioned — eliminated in the 1st round — I didn’t mention them. However, that doesn’t minimize the country’s ability (and fan support!) to host a World Cup. Australia is a beautiful hospitable nation & people… well, at least all the Aussies I”ve ever talked with in my long life; about 5 or 6. Guess I can now include you Peter? Six or seven!? 😉

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  5. Excellent post professor! I especially liked what you said about marketing in regards to them inventing things for us to need even if we don’t. It’s one of those things that even the wisest cannot tell everything that is being pushed in their face is not really necessary. Since I got rid of cable I have to say that it has really improved my quality of life, not because I necessarily watch TV or saved money, but being hit by commercials daily I feel is unhealthy. My short patience for commercials has dwindled down to zero patience. If I never see a commercial again (I mean of course I will) I would never care.

    A couple of quick things I thought of when I was reading: One was what you mention in regards to time, which is a fascinating subject to me. I know in Indian communities and I think this is true for a lot of eastern culture, kids are everything and many families that came to Canada while I was growing up had the mentality that whatever ridiculous hours they worked was okay because they wanted to give their kids an education and give them the life they could not have. Unfortunately that often comes with a caveat that their child choose something that will be guaranteed to make a good income, which is usually a doctor. So while I admire such dedication and love, that love always seemed a little bit off the mark, because both the children and parents end up not living for themselves. At it’s heart the parents want their children to have the freedom they didn’t, but instead of giving them the freedom of choice, they only think of financial freedom. Many educated people came too to Canada and ended up working jobs as taxi drivers or whatever. So perhaps in their logic, what you do isn’t as important as being financially secure, but I know not every one was overly happy living that kind of life. Parents or children. Another thought that came to my mind as a possible factor in our desire to live beyond our means when it comes to real estate is that their is some old wisdom that keeps getting passed down, which probably isn’t even mostly true anymore is the idea that real estate is the safest investment you can make, or that “you ain’t no kind of man if you don’t have land”. I think this kind of mentality plays a part in why people go after bigger houses and bigger lots. I read an article a few years back saying that really for the past 20 or so years, buying a house wasn’t really a great investment at all, unless you can be really sure you are going to live there for about 20 years or so and with the volatility of housing markets these days, you can really lose a lot of money. Obviously there are smart real estate investments, but mostly you should approach buying a house with an air of financial modesty.

    There is no question that money has taken over our society as the thing we focus on. It’s hard not to completely care about money. Douglas Adams used money as an analogy to religion in that it is a fiction that we have all agreed to subscribe to. You cannot live off of money, you can only live off what money can get you. And of course there are plenty of things money can’t do at all. At best it’s a middleman, and yet our society worships this middleman, which is probably why it’s kind of screwed up. Rich people horde it like it might actually do some good if the numbers in their bank account continue to rise, but all they are storing is a fiction that has no actual value by itself. It is treated as the primary resource now, but before there was money resources were actual things we could use and we would trade. Wheat, weapons, fabric, technological advancements,. The things that were commodities were actual things we could use. We need to focus on making where we live into a home and not worry about houses. We need to pursue happiness instead of money. But as long as wealth remains the primary driving force in society, this will seriously hamper the progress in making a society that benefits everyone, not just the rich.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Swarn!

      Well I’m certainly glad you took just 5-seconds to think of your comment then type it out! 😉 😛

      Seriously, you do me and this post much flattery; many thanks Sir! I found your point about dropping cable-TV due to tons of non-stop intrusive commercials to be ESPECIALLY true for American (and Canadian?) TV. Since I am an obvious sports fan — soccer/futebol #1 of course; all other sports rank way below The Most Beautiful World Game 😀 — I am now appalled by the number and frequency of commercials in ALL of America’s top 4 sports! It has reached absurd epidemic amounts! Now, when I infrequently watch those less-than entertaining American sports on TV, I mute the volume the entire commercial, only flipping it back on when it’s back to the game. What is more telling is how often I now do that compared to commercial interruptions 10-20 years ago for the exact same AMERICAN sports; it is night and day now. But Swarn, based on those dollar amounts, I gave in this post, the American consumer will keep feeding that monster. 😦

      Now soccer/futebol has no where NEAR the same absurd problem… and it is STILL the most popular sport in the world! 🙂

      Thanks again for thoughtful, true, extensive feedback. I had nothing else to add — except my “plug” for soccer — because you covered it very well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am a huge soccer fan myself. Well Canada doesn’t have much of a team. I decided to be a fan of Holland. Not sure why. Mostly I wanted to choose a team to cheer for that was good, but also not that good so that I had to work for it. lol Mostly I think I just like the orange. 🙂 It’s been a thrilling couple of world cups though. 🙂

        Being Canadian though I’m still at heart a hockey fan. it’s been harder for me to follow since I moved to the Eastern Time zone. I grew up with western teams and my home town is in Mountain Standard time and all the games are quite late, and I get up fairly early, so I do what I can. But definitely the commercials are getting out of hand for sports. Football, the absolute worst. We even celebrate the commercials as an important part of the championship game. Crazy! Did you know that the U.S. tried to get FIFA to change the rules to 3, 30 minute periods, so they could have two intermissions and more commercials? This was before they hosted the ’94 world cup. Crazy! Only the U.S. would try to change the most popular sport in the whole world just so they could more a bit more money.

        Thank you for your kind words. If my words brought you joy then it is only because it was your writing that inspired them. 🙂 Have a good evening!

        Liked by 1 person

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