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Calling BS On The Vow

 Like a great many others, I recently watched “The Vow”, a documentary series about the NXIVM personal growth cult, with a mix of curiosity and incredulity. As a child in the 70s, I watched the tragedy in Jonestown play out on the nightly news and have been intrigued by cults ever since. Strangely enough, there were two cults operating in my hometown a few years back, so there was always some easy research at hand. NXIVM appeared to be an executive-level self improvement group on the surface but things got weird. Submission, late night calls from the leader, eventually women branding themselves with a symbol that no one bothered to look closely at and see the founder’s and an associate’s initials incorporated into the design. Like I said, weird. The members weren’t the downtrodden that Jim Jones preyed upon; NXIVM recruited the wealthy and educated, all the better to give the group image a boost.  This is where my call of BS radar beeped. One of the members was a filmmaker named Mark V

How To Own The World, Part I

 I haven't posted much about the COVID world because, frankly, it is overwhelming. Hundreds of thousands dead, millions infected, lockdowns ongoing, economies teetering or skyrocketing on the words of government agencies or private investors. As I write, my podunk rural county leads the state of Georgia in resurgence of transmission of the virus and PEOPLE ARE STILL GOING AROUND MASKLESS. I know, it's all about "muh rights" or whatever, but what about your responsibilities to others and society as a whole? Common courtesy? Human decency? Enough of the rant. Let's talk about investing in a "this is not investment or financial advice and is not meant to be taken as such" kind of way. Today's topic: real estate investment trusts.  A Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT for short, is a trust that owns and operates commercial real estate, such as housing, apartment complexes, malls and shopping centers, industrial parks, storage, even cell towers. A Mort

Carrying Fire

 I started carrying a lighter a couple of years ago. Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it struck me that most of the soldiers carried matches. Imagine being in a trench, under a cold rain, the only source of heat now rendered useless in your pocket as the rain continues to fall. What would a doughboy have given for a small, reliable source of flame with which to build a fire to warm himself and his fellows? All the roses in Ireland, I suppose.  My carry began with a Zippo that belonged to my late father-in-law, but I decided it had too much sentimental value for everyday use. Also, Zippo lighters have a habit of leaking or evaporating fuel. This isn't something you want when your lighter is needed, so I put the Zippo away for safekeeping and picked up a mini Bic.  Tiny, almost unnoticeable in the pocket, the mini carries well. It has also came in handy on many occasions, such as at a child's birthday party when the time comes to light candles and t

Tiny Treasures: Geocaching With A Kid

The Loot Need a little adventure in your life? Try  Geocaching . It's an old-fashioned treasure hunt made modern by GPS and a global network of players. Just download an app, sign up and go hunting. With millions of caches across the globe, chances are you'll find something.  A typical cache is a small container, within which is a log of players who have found it. Also likely to be included is any number of small keepsakes, the treasure of the hunt. The photo above is of some of the loot found on a recent outing with my wife and son.  Speaking of which, if you want a lot of adventure, go geocaching with a kid. Even a grizzled old veteran of the game like myself is made youthful when a kid plays, because the expression of wonder and joy on the face of a child who finds a small box hidden away by persons unknown is truly a sight to behold. There's something magical about the act, and the taking of a keepsake (and leaving a replacement of your own) only makes it better.  Some

The World In Which We Live: USS Georgia Edition

Yes, hindsight is truly 20/20. Georgia is drowning in new cases of Covid-19, no doubt due to Governor Brian Kemp's insistence to re-open the state to please his hero at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Kemp, the same man who ran for Governor while holding office as Secretary of State, an office in charge of overseeing the electoral process , has bumbled his way through the pandemic almost as embarrassingly as Trump, complete with dumb quotes, obvious ignorance of the situation he faces, and surrounded by flunkies who assure him he's doing everything well. At least his body count is lower than Trump's. Georgia is devolving into Florida North, but this will somehow be blamed on migrating birds bringing the madness north as they fly north for the winter. Times like these make this writer ask "What if...?" but such an exercise is exhausting and ultimately frustrating. Election day is only 16 weeks away. What unfolds in anyone's guess.

Quote Of The Day, Boggan Edition

Aside from leaving behind my partner, abandoning my regular work and travelling half-way around the world, I had done nothing yet to suggest I was becoming obsessed with the precious metal. - Steve Boggan, Gold Rush: One Man's Adventure on the Trail of the Gold Rush