There is No Return to Normal for the US Economy

According to a piece published on March 17 by Popular Science, when the COVID-19 Pandemic is over depends on our actions in the United States.

“Nobody knows what the coming months are going to hold. When asked when life might go back to normal by ABC News on March 15, Fauci stated that it will likely be ‘several weeks to a few months.’ So COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while.”

Today, March 25, we are about 7 months from the November 3, 2020 election, and President Trump has been talking about going back to the way it was to save the economy. In fact, since he made that announcement, the average of all the reputable polls, according to Real Clear Politics, Trump’s unpopularity dropped more than half from a minus 8.5% to a minus 3.5% in a couple of days.


This YouTube video is a news report.

If Trump takes the advice he heard from Tucker Carlson Tonight (to be clear, this Fox show is not news, it is opinion) recently, and is also influenced by the biggest two-or-three day-improvement in his poll numbers, and he decides to go back to normal and let seniors sacrifice themselves as Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (a 69 years old Republican) suggests, then the United States will become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and by November the number of deaths in the United States could reach into the millions.


This YouTube video is an Opinion based in the news

How many Americans could die from COVID-19 if Trump decides to return to normal, thinking that will help him win the election in November 2020?

CEBM Research reports that the global prediction interval for deaths from COVID-19 is different for each country and the current death rate runs between 0.51% to 8.32%.

The United States has a population of 331 million. The death rate from COVID-19 depends on what each country is doing to protect its citizens. Until we know what Trump is going to do, we have no idea, how many will die in the US.

If Trump orders a return to normal, the death rate could reach as high as 27.5 million or more.

If Trump actually listens to the experts and takes every precaution possible to protect the population instead of the economy, the death rate could be 1.69 million or even less, a few hundred thousand.

If Trump returns to normal to save the economy, he won’t stand a chance of winning the election in November. And if Trump listens to the experts and keeps the death count down, he still might lose because Trump’s ignorant, super-biased supporters (most of them are told what to think from Fox News and similar misleading and biased media outlets) think it is possible to return to normal and will think he sold them out since they are the ones that improved his poll numbers in the last couple of days by a dramatic margin.

In other words, the odds of Trump winning the election are slim at best no matter what he does. In fact, if Trump orders a return to normal to save the economy and the U.S. becomes the epicenter of the pandemic, the rest of the world might blockade and boycott the U.S. so nothing gets in or out.

What do you think that would do to the U.S. economy before November?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Who Controls Your Life — the Big 5 Tech Giants or You?

This morning I read, I Cut the ‘Big Five’ Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell by Kashmir Hill, and I left this comment:

I dumped my smartphone for a dumbphone several years ago. I don’t text. When I leave home, I leave the Internet behind and spend less than 5 minutes a month on my dumbphone.

When I get up in the morning, I leave my multiple screens (yes, I have more than one screen and I am tempted to add another one … or two) and desktop computer off until I finish the exercise routine of the day, and that exercise can take anywhere from an hour to two hours.

When I bought a new Kia Niro plug-in hybrid, it came with a radio that didn’t have a CD drive but it did offer SiriusXM free for several months.

What did I do? I had the original radio replaced ASAP, and a few months later got a “phone” call from SiriusXM asking me what happened to my car, that they couldn’t find/track it. I told the caller what I had done, and added if I had control of enough missiles I’d blow SiriusXM’s satellite network out of the sky. SiriusXM has been and keeps sending me ads through snail mail. I tear them up and drop them in the recycle bin. SiriusXM never gives up, but they aren’t alone. Most corporations constantly “harass” us with their unwanted ads.

I gave up my Kindle e-readers before I dumped my pest of a smartphone and only read books printed on paper or listen to them on CDs in the car with my new unconnected radio that came with a CD player, and it doesn’t even have GPS.

Although I still use Facebook, Amazon, and Google with my desktop and its two monitors, I have a lot of free time even if the kleptocracy’s autocratic technocrats are still harvesting information from me and making a profit off it.

With all that time to myself away from their digital claws, I still think for myself and easily avoid all the techno crap, cookies, traps and pitfalls when I am online. Every time I log off, I log onto the control panel and delete browsing history, cookies and saved website data, catched data and files and tabs I’ve set aside or recently closed.

Well, most of them anyway. Because once a month I also use the free editions offered by Malwarebyts, SuperAntiSpyware, and CCleaner, that just told me it can’t run on Windows … but it always worked before. Now I wonder why Windows must have blocked CCleaner. Maybe because it actually worked.

After all, I did click on the link to Kashmir Hill’s post and enjoyed reading it. We all know why it was recommended to me because some spy-app called a cookie from Amazon and/or Google that tracks what I’m interested in, sent it to me based on my internet history use.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Boredom

I can’t remember ever being bored. When I was a child, I must have been bored at least once. Maybe I said the word but didn’t mean it. After all, a lot of people talk about being bored, especially children.

In an interview, the teenage pop-singer songwriter I admire the most even mentioned being bored. I was surprised. How could anyone as talented as her be bored?

Looking for a reason why people get bored, I looked up the definition and the first one I found offered no help. The first definition was “The state of feeling bored.”

Huh?

I wondered if the person that came up with that one was bored when they wrote it, so I found another one, and Merriam-Webster at least tried to come up with a more interesting one.

“The state of being weary and restless through lack of interest – the boredom of a long car trip.”

I can’t remember ever being bored on a long car trip. My legs and back get stiff. I might get sleepy, but never bored. The scenery grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if it is in the mountains, desert, farmland, a forest, there is so much to see that I’d rather let someone else drive so I’m free to explore with my eyes, and I always take audiobooks on long car trips and the stories keep me focused and awake because I want to find out what’s happening to the characters in the stories.

The video above mentions one writer who said, “Boredom has historically been an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.”

After hearing that I thought, maybe I’ve been bored but didn’t know it.

That’s where my overactive imagination comes in. When there is nothing else to do, my imagination fills the empty time with amazing or frightening stuff. Then I have my woodshop with all those tools and the house I’m renovating.

As a child, when I had nothing else to do, instead of sitting around complaining about being bored, I went outside and let my imagination carry me away to other places and times. I literally became a time machine where I could become anyone I wanted to be at any time in history, even the future.

Scientific American says, “There is no universally accepted definition of boredom. But whatever it is, researchers argue, it is not simply another name for depression or apathy. It seems to be a specific mental state that people find unpleasant—a lack of stimulation that leaves them craving relief, with a host of behavioural, medical and social consequences.”

The narrator in the video with this post also said, “People who are often bored are at greater risk of developing anxiety, depression, and drug or alcohol addiction; displaying anger, aggressive behavior and lack of interpersonal skills …”

After reading the last two paragraphs, I was glad I never feel bored.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Failing at Dating the Third Time around at Seventy-Two

When I joined Plenty of Fish (POF) in 2016, I paid for several months, and eventually dropped my membership, because I decided it wasn’t worth it.  There were not enough choices that came even close to my lifestyle.

Why would a tall, slim vegan that doesn’t drink alcohol, party, travel the world, or do drugs of any kind, doctor prescribed medication or illegal, want to date an overweight, unhealthy, meat eating, party animal with a desire to travel the world?

And why would a rare healthy woman in her fifties or sixties — trust me, there are not that many of them — want to date a man in his seventies no matter how healthy his lifestyle was?  A woman that healthy and in great shape probably has her pick of younger men that still look healthy.

Then I paid and joined Match for a few months thinking it would offer a better experience but it didn’t.  I dropped out there too.

My third experiment with dating was with eHarmony, but that site also did not match my expectations.  Last month, I cancelled my membership so it will not automatically renew. Until later in April 2018, I’m still a paying member of this dating site but then … no more.  That will be the end of my “failed” internet dating experiment.


“It’s obvious that no matter how old men are, they go after younger women,” and “The higher a man’s salary, the more women will like him.”

Seriously, many of the profiles of women POF and Match recommended for me had photos of women drinking booze and traveling the world even when they were decades younger than me and not interested in a man my age. Do you have any idea how much it costs to be a global trotting, older tourist supporting a young trophy wife in her forties, fifties or sixties that still craves that life?  And imagine her medical costs if she doesn’t have her own medical care?

I do not want to be a younger or older woman’s bank account or credit card generating debt machine.

Then again, maybe this dating experiment failed because I’m too picky. That’s what my former wife said – that I’m too picky.  We divorced in 2015 but are still friends. She’s dating again as long as the man she’s dating pays for those meals at expensive restaurants.

Or maybe those experiments at dating failed because I do not want to belong to a religion and most of the profiles of women of all ages all three of the dating sites sent me belonged to religions I wasn’t interested in being part of. I divorced the guilt ridden, always forgiven Catholic religion I was born into back in my twenties and pledged to myself, “Never again!”

I also don’t party, don’t drink, don’t smoke, and I live a strict vegan lifestyle. I think being really healthy is much better than living a fast paced nightclub, cruise ship, globetrotting, theme park lifestyle, and it is obvious that most people at my age are not willing to give up that lifestyle that also often comes with doctor prescribed medications to help mask all the health problems that come with it.

It seems that most women, no matter what their age, dream of an Eat Pray Love lifestyle that most of them can’t afford so they want someone else to pay for it.

I don’t travel a lot because I’ve had my fill of other countries. I’ve been there and done that enough. I still enjoy the occasional causal hike near my house that’s away from the urban sprawl, and there are still a lot of great outdoor locations in the United States and Canada I haven’t visited. I also enjoy working on the house I’m renovating.

There will be no more internet dating sites for me. Was it a waste of money? No, because it was a worthy experience that taught me a lesson. It isn’t easy at my age to find someone I want to be with who wants to be with me too. Then there is the fact, that I do not fake a smile for photographs. My smiles have to be natural and unexpected, and I do smile but not on demand in front of a camera lens.

What I learned?  I enjoy my life. I like who I am. I’m okay with living out the rest of my life alone.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Thank President Trump and his Deplorable supporters for a future without Chocolate and Coffee

My January blues didn’t kick in until I read these stories.  All chocolate lovers and/or addicts take a long, deep calming breath before reading further … especially if you are young enough to be still around in thirty-two years.

The Mirror reports, “World could RUN OUT of chocolate by 2050 as cacao plants struggle to cope with effects of climate change.”

Sigh, and Business Insider says, “Most of the world’s best places for coffee will be gone by 2050” because of the climate change that isn’t happening according to U.S. President and Liar-in-Chief Donald Trump (who made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days).

After all, Trump is the deplorable idiot that is convinced global warming and climate change is a hoax. Do you think he will be around in 2050?

Imagine a world without chocolate and coffee.

That’s just 32 years from now.

Wait, I don’t think I will be around in 2050. I’d have to be 104 to reach 2050. Maybe I won’t have to live without chocolate and coffee during my lifetime. but I think I should start stockpiling a supply now so it lasts to my last breath even after the shortages begin and the prices skyrocket until only billionaires — that are getting most of the tax cuts from Trump and the Republican Party — will be able afford the luxury of chocolate and coffee.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

I am a very boring guy

Recently I was asked this question: “Do you take weekends off to do some fun things? I hope you take a break once in a while.”

Here’s my rambling reply (with a few revisions):

Do I take weekends off to do some fun things?

No. Everything I do is fun to me. I enjoy building things. I enjoy exercise. I enjoy reading books, and I enjoy writing them. I enjoy going out to see a movie at the theater (mostly alone). I don’t pay for cable TV, because I can’t stand all the advertisements and news that is almost always depressing especially with Donald Trump as the President of the United States. Trump is nothing but a pile of vile orange turkey crap. Why let him ruin my day? If I watch anything on a TV, it is after 8 PM and it is always from a DVD.

In short, I enjoy life, because every day is a holiday to me and has been since I retired more than twelve years ago. Sometimes I go out to eat alone and sometimes with a friend or friends. I enjoy eating alone or with friends as long as the food is healthy and my definition of healthy food doesn’t match most people, because I’m a vegan and have been for thirty-five years. Most American’s would not go one day without meat, sugar, sodas, sugar, dairy products, or sugar.

Going out to dance would not be fun for me so I don’t do that. Going out to party is not fun to me, and I don’t go to bars because drinking booze or beer is not fun to me. Paying to go and watch a football game or any sports would not be fun to me.

Celebrating my birthday is not fun to me. Celebrating any holiday is not fun to me, because every day is a holiday to me. If I get through a day without pain, loss or an injury that is a good day and most of my days are good ones.  And even when I injure myself, I do what I have to do to treat the wound, and return to what I was doing when I injured myself. Since I’m a woodworker and have a lot of dangerous power tools, I do cut myself and all I do is clean the wound, pack it with cayenne pepper, bandage the wound, and get back to work. The cayenne pepper stops the bleeding, protects the cut from infection and blocks the pain from the cut so I don’t feel it. It also speeds up the healing process.

If I had to go back to work to a job with a boss, that probably would not be fun because during the 45-years I worked and had bosses most of them were tyrants and/or were incompetent, and I even hated a few of them. But since I retired, every day is a fun day just because I’m alive and healthy to enjoy it. I have no desire to spend money just to have fun. For instance, I have no desire to visit theme parks like Disneyland. To me, that is an expensive waste of time. In addition, even though I was once a gambler and card counter, I don’t gamble today. Even though it isn’t illegal, there is too much stress counting cards in a casino and avoiding getting caught. I did that for several years and always won more than I lost, but the stress wasn’t worth it.

I take and enjoy life one day at a time no matter what I’m doing. I see no difference between any official holiday and all the other days of the year. They are all equal to me. I think most people have been programed to spend too much money on official holidays, but spending money to make someone else wealthier, isn’t fun to me.

I enjoy listening to music and right now that music is from Grace VanderWaal or Angelina Jordan, the eleven-year-old Norwegian jazz singer. For instance, this video of Angelina singing is incredible and I never get tired of watching it.


Every time I watch this video, I have fun because of Angelina’s amazing voice. Wow!

And I’ve watched Grace VanderWaal’s first concert for her first concert tour so many times, that I have lost count. Every time I watch her first Austin City Limits Music Festival concert for her own fans, I enjoyed stopping the replay to scan the crowd looking for expressions of joy and there was a lot to enjoy. For me, that is fun. And Grace’s expressions of joy are fun to watch too. It’s obvious that she is having fun providing music for her fans.

I have a vast choice of things to do every day that I enjoy doing. The list is so long that I have to manage it so I don’t spend too much time doing one thing. For instance, I just got in from doing two hours of yard work and I enjoyed the results and the fact that it was also free exercise. Now I’m writing this post and when I’m done, I’ll work on a chapter for my next book.

Why pay someone to mow my lawn while my body rots? It is a fact that if we don’t use our bodies, our bones will become brittle and we will lose muscle mass. Why should I pay someone to do the yard work for me and then pay to join a gym and exercise when I can do it for free?

For those two hours mowing, trimming and cleaning the yard, I was constantly on the move and I think that counts the same as a two-hour walk. I know going out to drink and dance is fun to many people, but I don’t pay to go out and drink booze and beer and dance. That is not fun to me. I will probably never pay to go on a cruise and eat too much bad food and gain ten or twenty pounds because that is not fun to me. The only winery I want to visit is a castle in the Napa Valley called Castello di Amorosa. I wouldn’t visit it to sample the wine or buy any wine. I’d visit it to see the castle. I like castles, and that is one trip I wouldn’t mind taking.  I’m even willing to travel to Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal to visit their castles. I wouldn’t go for the food or the alcohol. Why is eating unhealthy food and drinking alcohol considered fun to so many people?

Yep, I’m a really boring guy because I don’t do what many people think is fun.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Columns of Ants Invaded Right on Schedule

The season for invading ants arrived, and the best defense I’ve been using for decades is an environment friendly attack with help from Trader Joes.

For decades, I’ve suspected it was the weather and years ago I stumbled on the best method, for me, to control the ant invasions.  I spray the ants with Trader Joes Fruit and Vegetable Wash.  It kills the ants the instant the spray hits them and ants that enter later tend to avoid the area that was sprayed because it appears that just walking across TJ’s F&V Wash while it is still wet is enough to not only disrupt the trail but kill those ants too.  If you can find the entry point and spray that, it forces the ants to find another way in or they don’t return.

I don’t use pesticides inside my house. Can’t stand the stuff. Instead, I use TJ’s Fruit and Vegetable Wash and it is non-toxic.  I learned about this product designed to safely clean what we eat by accident. I grabbed the only spray in sight and haven’t stopped using it since. The neat thing is: it is formulated to remove waxes, pesticides, and chemicals.

After decades of winning these invasions and driving the ants out of my houses, curious, I finally Googled the topic to find out if my suspicions were correct, and discovered from a study out of Stanford that they were.

The Stanford News Service reports, “Household ant invasions are determined by weather, not pesticide use, new study finds … “Ants are most likely to enter homes in cold, wet conditions, typically in the winter in Northern California,” they write, noting that a smaller peak in the level of infestation occurs during hot, dry conditions — typically in August and September.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.