• “WORK IS A SERIOUS MATTER BUT CANNOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY ALL THE TIME, especially when things happen that are inherently ridiculous… Humor is a natural and healthy reaction to setbacks or irrational commands of a Boss (like egotistical managers played on ‘The Office’) …A sense of humor is, by and large, a useful thing to have in life, and a study of undergraduates found those with a strong sense experienced less stress & anxiety.” So, another unfortunate impact of coronavirus is that Remote Working creates a “virtual impossibility of making a joke work, since by the time one has found the ‘raise hand’ button and been recognized/unmuted during a Zoom conference, the ‘moment’ (which requires spontaneity & timing) has inevitably passed… A shame, as most of us could do with a laugh now & again to get through the pandemic.”  [ECONOMIST – 10/3/20]
  • ODDS & ENDS: (1) Of the some 140,000 U.S. businesses marked ‘temporarily closed’ at the onset of the pandemic, over 70%, more than 100,000, have already permanently shut down, according to Yelp; (2) Low interest rates have encouraged sales of Southern California home sales – 22% of which at prices exceeding $1M – but increased prices effectively ‘cancelled out’ purchasing power benefit from the reduced rates;  (3) Federal Tax Fraud is forecast to cost the government around $7.5 trillion over the next decade, however IRS annually audits only 1.5% of returns for the top 1% of earners – the same ratio as for people earning below $20K annually;  (4) The ‘value’ of five companies (Apple/Microsoft/Amazon/Facebook/Alphabet) now represents almost a quarter of the S&P 500 and is nearly 10% greater than the bottom 300 companies combined;  (5) U.S. Treasury last week reminded insurance & financial institutions that facilitating a Ransomware payment to cybercriminals or sanctioned organizations is illegal and subject to ‘enforcement response.’
  • THE PATH WE’RE ON TOWARDS A CULTURAL ‘RESET’ IS NOT UNIQUE. “At the core of modern history lies a remarkable pattern: Over the past five centuries, Anglo-American society has entered a new Era every generation or so (a ‘Turning’) where younger generations change how they feel about themselves, the culture, nation and future.” And every four Turnings – roughly every century – the cycle goes full circle: The 1st  Turning is when prior chaos subsides and society sort of gets on a same page (in America this was after WWII); 2nd Turning becomes an era of passionate spiritual upheaval, when civic order comes under attack from new ‘values’ with aggressive moralism and culture wars raging (the 60s Hippies); 3rd Turn evolves to a period of strengthening individualism and weakening institutions, with young adults becoming hostile toward the corruption of civic life (Millennials); “the 4th  Turning – where we are today – becomes a crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when a new values regime propels replacement of old civic order toward a complete Reset.” Today’s Activist Progressive views have been shaped predominantly from texts/ tweets/ blurbs/ & banners exacerbating issues including gender & racial diversity, religious tolerance, corporate avarice & income inequality, environmental concerns & world order – with little, if any, perspective on life before the Digital World. Historical patterns suggest the likelihood that “sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression & WWII.”   [THE FOURTH TURNING – Strauss & Howe, 1997]

         A fascinating presentation on the interrelationships globally between population, cultural control, health, mortality, income distribution, internet usage and technology (20 min): https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen#t-364183 

         California Governor’s latest pandemic edict, after 100 Executive Orders without authorization and virtual silence of local officials, are that ‘Reopening’ criteria now include Counties demonstrating that “Covid-positivity rates in disadvantaged neighborhoods do not significantly lag behind the overall county rate… with a Plan for spending at least that percentage on ‘targeted investments’ to interrupt disease transmission in these populations.”