“A reminder to myself when I feel discouraged: ‘Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.’”
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN SICILY:
1. Reunion with a beloved friend:
Sometimes in life if one is lucky, he or she will meet someone with whom they share a special bond of friendship — one that neither ebbs nor breaks no matter how long the friends are separated or how brief their time together. That was the relationship I had with Luigi (Gigi) Gallo.
In the late summer of 1968, following a two thousand mile trip with my two-year old son Jason from London in a nine horsepower three-wheeled automobile (Trojan), I arrived at my relative’s home in Canicatti, the first relation to return from America since three of the four children of my grandparents emigrated to America in 1928.
Needing a place to park the car for the duration of my stay, my uncle contacted Gigi who agreed to allow me to store the car in his family’s garage and it has remained more or less in Gigi’s possession ever since. (The story of the car, the trip and its amazing survival is one that I will save for another time.)
Anyway, as a result of that chance meeting, Gigi and I became inseparable friends during my stay in Sicily, my life in Rome and whenever I returned to Canicatti — until 1973 when my life changed. Then I met John Olmsted and became involved in the California coastal program. Shortly thereafter I lost contact with everyone in Sicily. Despite my sincere intention to return, for whatever reasons, I did not do so for forty years. I never forgot Gigi and longed to see him again.
Gigi and I in 1968
On this trip I, with assistance of Antonio, Guglielmo and Giovanni. was able to locate him. He was living in Caltanissetta, a city not far from Canicatti. So, I went to visit him. When I saw him it was as though we had never been apart. As we hugged each other, both of us cried. It could have been one of the happiest times of my life.
Unfortunately, Gigi developed Parkinson’s disease some years ago and shows all the signs of the malady. He is pretty much restricted to his home now. He had married. His wife was quite proud of their thirty-five year marriage. He has a son Marco living in Milan, a practicing sports nutritionist. During his life, before his disease struck him, Gigi was a well-known road race car driver and had, if I understood correctly, won the Sicilian championships four years in a row and had raced throughout Italy and Europe wherever they held mountain road races called Colina de Piste. His son was also a champion driver.
Later he took me into his garage where he kept some of his race cars including a Maserati and some others, as well as the three wheel Trojan and an antique car, a 1932 Balilla I think it was called.
Gigi and Wife in the Balilla
Leaving him that evening to return to Rome the next day was the saddest part of my trip.
2. Departure and Return to Rome:
The next day we left for Rome. Although the sky was full of rainbows I was depressed. It had been a special trip for me. I missed my kind relatives, Gigi and of course the food.
From rainbows to a final selfie
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
Following a hectic but un-notable series of flights Nikki and I returned to El Dorado Hills at about three in the morning and went straight to sleep. Sometime late the next evening Hayden, Richard, Nikki and I gathered for dinner and told stories. The next morning I went to the doctor because of a persistent cough and he told me that I had bronchitis. He said that they used to prescribe antibiotics for the malady but no longer did because the pathogens had mutated to have become resistant to the medicines. He said I would have to wait until I develop pneumonia before effective antibiotics could be prescribed. In the meantime he recommended bed rest and chicken soup. In accordance with his instruction I have remained in bed while the others have gone about whatever adventures they may find. I have, however, altered his prescription for chicken soup to minestrone.
Nikki’s new shirt from Denio’s
The collapse of the world economy a few years ago and the feeble attempts to save it has highlighted the role played in society by classical economics and economists. Not since the middle ages has a belief system and its episcopate so dominated secular society as classical economics and economists has these past 30 or so years. So what is wrong with that, you may ask?
Here is some of what’s wrong with it (Can you think of more?):
1. Despite every attempt to demonstrate its kinship to science there is no natural or scientific law that requires that it be set up as it has been.
2. It is a system set up by men to benefit men and based upon the evolutionary directives of their sex.
3. It assumes human behavior is deterministic and minimizes the unpleasant fact that people can and do choose and agree to live and act in ways inconsistent with its theology.
4. It was developed in an attempt to explain certain international transactions and the actions of a few men in coffee houses in sixteenth century England. It failed to establish any significant predictive value for those transactions then and it fails to do so now for contemporary transactions.
5. It has for the most part been immune to the advances of science, biology, sociology and psychology that have occurred over the past 300 years.
6. It relies on classifications of people and activities that at best are illustrative of certain past events and at worst worthless.
7. It claims, like a religion, that it can explain most significant political, commercial and mass behavioral activities while it steadfastly ignores other explanations and analyses for the same phenomena.
8. It refuses to recognize that is has a fundamental conflict of interest at its core in that its episcopate, the economists, generally are employees and agents of the system that rewards them and that they then claim they have the ability to describe and analyze without bias.
9. It has at best become neither a hard science nor a social science but a lobby for itself and its employers.
10. It has polluted the system by which we govern ourselves by claiming expertise where it is lacking.
11. It assumes that because its practitioners can articulate what may have happened in the past they are better suited to guess what will occur in the future than anyone else with access to the same information.
12. It steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that expertise in describing past transactions does not qualify one for advising on or administering anything.
In short, classical economics is treated today as a religion and its practitioners, the economists, as priests. In order to deal with the current world economic crisis we should add economists to Shakespeare’s famous quote about lawyers.
“I’ll just touch on something else: secrecy in government. Secrecy in government exists for only one reason: to prevent the American people from knowing what’s going on. It is nonsense to believe that anything our government does is not known to the Russians at about the same moment it happens.”