Howard Schultz

 

Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz (former CEO of Starbucks) just announced that he was seriously considering running for president in 2020. Why not? But as an Independent?

Howard, you dummkopf, have you totally lost your f*****g mind? Did you indulge in a late-night espresso binge? By running as an Independent, you will divide the Democrats and boost Trump’s chances to be reelected for a second term. Боже мой! (bozhe moy/oh my god).

If you persist in this vanity run, you will damage and possibly ruin the Starbucks brand forever. Legions of people are already eagerly waiting for an excuse to boycott your octopus-like organization.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, and obviously, history was not Mr. Schultz forte. Caesar old adage “Divide and conquer” is still relevant today. Divide your enemies into small tribes and destroy them one by one.
POTUS would be absolutely delighted to see this happen and he is baiting Schultz to launch his ill-fated adventure.

The big Democratic donors, on the other hand, are not pleased and will certainly try to foil Howard’s aspirations. Another reason to get out of the race and give a streetwise woman politician the chance to recover an obviously misappropriated election.

The 2020 contest is shaping up as another Kursk battle. The Republicans panzers will try to destroy the Democratic legions but will face highly motivated vengeful troops.
According to pundits, this could be another Waterloo for the MAGA forces. And Trump is no Napoleon.

St Helena island (population 4534) is still looking for settlers and it would be a good place for a deposed would-be emperor to exercise his building talents. He could erect his cherished “beautiful wall” around the 10 by 5 miles island without the assent of pesky legislators… and it would definitely cost much less than $5.7 billion.

By the way, there is a nice little 9-hole golf course in St Helena where Mr. Trump could indulge (after building his enclosure) in one of his most assiduous activity.

The island is still one of the most remote places in the world, but since 2017 it has an airport and is a little more accessible.

A Trump jet could make a splendidly splashy touchdown there.

Alain

Friend or foe?

“Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within.” Miguel de Cervantes

Who is your most trusted confidant? Who is the keeper of your most intimate secrets? Who knows everything about you?
Your mother? Your lover? Your priest? Mark Zuckerberg?
Wrong! Wrong on all counts.

Your most trusted friend, the guardian of all your secrets is your smartphone. It knows absolutely everything about you. Who your friends are, who you called, who called you, where you have been…? It retains (compromising?) photographs and videos….
No denying it… the device that you keep the closest to your heart knows more about you than your accountant.

But is it really a friend? Can it be trusted? Could it ever betray you? The sad truth is that, even without torture, if you ever get into trouble, your BFF will sing like a canary on a summer night. It will tell everything it knows about you, warts and all. All your saucy messages, all your naughty sex texts will be revealed for the world to know.

Because your smartphone is not really your friend; it is your servant, and servants are known to spill all the beans for their 15 minutes of fame. As a matter of fact, all your connected devices are double agents. They will work for you but have no qualms about working against you. They are mercenaries, pure and simple.

As the saying goes, if you want a friend, get a dog. It will never let you down and will never ever reveal any secrets. Of course, when it comes to communication, a dog is not as reliable as a phone, but it will keep you warm and let you sleep at night.

So, what should you do? Fire your phone? Live without this traitorous piece of technology? Unthinkable!

The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy. Friedrich Nietzsche

Divide and conquer. Use the two girlfriends’ technique. Get a second phone and make the first one jealous. Let them compete for your affection. And don’t share with the first one what you told the second one.

In conclusion,

your phone is not your friend. It is more like a jittery lover. As long as you get along, you are fairly safe. But if you ever break up, watch out and batten down the hatches. Your vindictive phone will talk like a Trump minion.

“Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” 

 Alain

Noise bath

“All noise is waste. So, cultivate quietness in your speech, in your thoughts, in your emotions. Speak habitually low. Wait for attention and then you low words will be charged with dynamite.” Elbert Hubbard

I was born in a large city and I have spent most of my life in such an environment. This lifestyle conditions you to the din inherent to any large metropolis. After a while it becomes part of your habitat and you don’t notice it anymore.

If you leave the city and move to suburbia though, you will be pleasantly surprised. You won’t be subjected to this incessant noise and you won’t feel so jumpy anymore. You will get accustomed to this more relaxed context and be thankful for it.

Once in a while though, you will crave the excitement of city life. You will jump in your car and motor to San Francisco for a little look-see of your old neighborhood.
And this is what happened a few days ago. I went back to the scene of my dissolute youth to see what was going on.

The Golden Gate Recreation Area, particularly Crissy Field (a former US Army airfield) is particularly popular. On a sunny day it is awash with walkers, joggers, dog walkers, cyclists and bipeds of every persuasion.
One of the best things the US National Park Service ever did.

In the Marina district,

I was set upon by the noise pollution level emanating from Lombard street. Incredibly, nobody but me seemed perturbed. This goes to show that you can get accustomed to anything, including very unhealthy living conditions.

The residential area looked fairly unchanged, but its commercial streets were buzzing with excitement. Chestnut and Fillmore streets particularly, looked livelier than ever and sidewalk cafes have sprouted everywhere. Doing my heart good, I noticed that dogs are finally welcome in many eateries. The old American fear of gems has slightly abetted and animal discrimination is slowly ebbing.

I must say that I have personally cavorted with cats and dogs all my life without ever feeling any ill effect. I couldn’t say the same thing about human beings.

Parking in the city has become utterly impossible. Unless you are unbelievably lucky, you won’t find a free parking meter anywhere. And if you find one, you have to be extremely quick or somebody with snatch it before you.
The only plus is that you don’t need small change anymore. A credit card will do anytime.

We lunched outdoors at the ever-popular Balboa Café. You can judge its popularity by the amount of time you have to wait for your dishes. We waited a good 20 minutes. I did not mind waiting too much because of the unending flow of pretty girls walking by. A perk of living in a large city.
The food was good. Good, and pricey.

Once in a while, you need to get out of the rut and have a “cure of Jouvence” (rejuvenating experience) to feel alive. A brief, noisy crowd bath might do the trick.

Alain

PS: Feel free to download any of my pictures, but when posting any of them on social media, please include photo credit (Photos by Alain Efron). Thank you.