Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 14th, 2009

Is fasting hard? (September 12, 2009)

Fasting from drinking (even water) or eating for 14 hours, from let say 4:30 am to 6:30 pm, should not be hard if you don’t cheat drinking a little in the morning.  If you refrain from over-indulging when you break the fast , you will feel very fine physically and mentally.

You may get all the nutrition you need by not being very selective in your diet and cutting down on man-made sugary stuff  deserts.  The body does not need to drink and eat more than once to sustain its energy.  The hardest to contain are the excitation of the senses: It seems that the taste buds and smell molecules revolt at this change in habit and need their daily intakes and thus, senses harass the fasting individual continuously all day long.

The eyes and touch exacerbate the fasting condition because they send intelligence messages to the smell and taste buds that potential resources are within grasping distances for their satisfaction.  Taste buds and smell are the addictive senses that require their daily dozes at specific periods because they were trained to wait for them and be calmed.

Fasting people prefer to sleep. Not because they have no energy to function, but in order to relax those demanding senses that are driving them crazy with anticipation.  I once fasted for 30 days to share this harsh period with a Moslem friend of mine.

The few first days are the hardest and then it becomes an acceptable routine.  Actually, if you fast breakfast you will not feel that hungry at lunch; this is contrary to how hungry you feel at lunch if you had something in your stomach in the morning which stimulate eating.

Many people prefer to have supper (or dinner) and skip breakfast and lunch; they feel very much active and energetic for the entire day.

The trick is that I refused to quit smoking; I needed this addiction to squelch my taste buds and smell that instill total boredom on the constitution once they are refused excitation.  Smoking should not be prohibited during fasting, since it is not food or drink. If you are a smoker, it is an opportunity to try to cut down on smoking. A few cigarettes aid greatly in overcoming boredom of the mind and body and enhance imagination outside the real of drinking and food.

The worst part of fasting is that you gain weight by the end of the fasting period.

People take their revenge on eating too much sweet, ice cream, and sugary condiments most of the night. They also eat too much at one setting and get pretty sick.  Fasting is primarily overcoming the addictive requirements of the taste buds and smell; they are the culprit for hardship in fasting.

Fasting is fighting against all addictive behaviors that are generally and explicitly linked to stomach habits and requirements.

As for sex addiction, I leave this topic for another post. Keep doing sex in moderation to please your partner and relieve your anxieties.

The greatest illusionists; (September 13, 2009)

 

            The Federal Reserve, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, The Central Bank of France, and the Central Bank of Germany are spreading false data of economic improvements with the main target of cheating the public to regain “confidence” on the archaic liberal capitalist system.  For a year now no substantive regulations on liberal capitalism have been instituted.  The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernarke is at it again; he said lately “We should not attempt to impose on credit lenders heavy restrictions that might prevent the development of new financial products and services in the future. We all know that the improvement of easier access to credit has reduced costs and widened the range of choices.”  Are not the liberal new financial gimmicks for easier credit that brought on the crash of 2008 and the several crashes before it?

            What “confidence” is these great illusionists trying to resurrect from the tomb without a clear alternative financial system?  So far, bonuses are extended to the financial acrobats crossing dry rivers while employees are sinking in troubled water and not finding decent jobs. The USA is experiencing an official rate of unemployment of 10% and the European States even higher rates. For 2010, the International Organization of Labor (IOL) is expecting an additional 60 millions of unemployed and an additional 200 millions of people earning below two dollars a day.

            The States of California, Illinois, and New Jersey have declared bankruptcy; they lost over 30% of their assets during the financial crash.  These States refused to increase taxes for decades and they are no longer able to increase taxes because of their restricting legislative structures. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is allocated a budget of one billion dollars to spend on 3,500 employees. The same SEC that failed to uncover Madoff’s practices for over 30 years and even asked for his expertise many times! There is this joke in the financial circle of Shadock maxim “The more you fail the higher the odds for success in the future”.

            There are several economic time bombs strewn around; they may blast one after another or all together. Among these time bombs we can explain the following: Obligatory Crash, Effective increase of interest rates, Refinancing of public dept, Monetary over valuation, and Newer and botoxed up (lifting) exotic financial derivatives.

           

            The public debts of the USA, France, and Britain are expected to reach 90% of the GNP in a couple of years; Japan will hit the 200% mark. Obligatory Crash is more imminent than forecasted previously. The real values of the treasury bills of these nations designed to refinance the public dept will collapse abruptly.  Chinese households have been saving for two decades and accumulated three folds during the last 7 years; these savings are re-invested in purchasing treasury bills of the developed States.  Pretty soon, the citizens of the developed nations will start bypassing their State middlemen and purchase directly Chinese treasury bills for higher returns; especially that the Chinese currency is endemically undervalued and cannot but goes up. Then, what will happen?  Would the USA declare the Chinese treasury bills illegal or not marketable in the US market?  The USA did that previously but antagonizing China is a different ball game.

            Effective increase of interest rates has been eating up any economic improvement in the indebted nations. The price of obligations has been decreasing. Let us say if an obligation returned $30 on the thousand and it is re-purchased at half the price for the same return then the State is effectively paying $60 for the thousand. Thus, with the doubling of the interest rate States will not find takers for new issues of obligations but by offering the higher interest rate.

            When allowed, central banks of States may refinance public debts by purchasing titles on the open market and thus sustain the prevalent interest rate.  This process is in fact creating new money printing and devaluing the currency value.

            The developed nations have monetary over valuated because they are unable to compete in other emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil. The exterior balance of commerce is thus in deficit and the currency keeps over valuating; it is a vicious cycle unless the developed nations reduce drastically the price of their products to be able to compete.  China is able to keep its currency under valued simply because it can afford to sell at competitive prices.

 

            Before WWI the economic principle was “Demands carry the economy”.  Then this principle was upturned; it now states “Offers carry the economy” which means “We produce and then we find ways to encourage consumers to purchase.  We entice the consumers by promotional gimmicks, by much lower prices, by creating new trends of standards of living, and by lavishing plenty of credits.” It worked for a while until what is being produced is getting too expensive, of lower quality, and basically not that essential in tight financial downturns.  How about educating the consumers of what is essential for resuming a decent life without the faked propaganda of what constitutes a “high standard of living”?

Beirut is for sale, stock and lock; (September 14, 2009)

 

            Beirut is no longer the Capital of Lebanon.  If you are visualizing touristy brochures on Lebanon that date a decade ago or if you are planning to open a business branch in Beirut based on promotional “official intelligence” then you are being misled big time.  The only promotional materials are disseminated by the Hariri clan focused on Real Estates and nothing much.  For over two decades, this governing clan, called “The Future Party” or Al Mustakbal regarded Beirut as prime real estates venture and demolished historical souks and residences for newer sky rises.

            Beirut by day is a string of eateries; mostly fast food restaurants.  By night, all the roofs or tops of the sky rises are transformed into night clubs; a youth who managed to find a job barely topping $700, spend his nights on these tops.  Everyday, there is a new “night club top”.  The average Lebanese citizen, not associated to the Hariri clan, is financially banned from purchasing anything in Beirut, except a sandwich of falafel.

            In 1993, architects were assigned to select historical sires and residences; those architects listed 1,016 residences.  By 1999, that list shrank to 200 “historical residences” but they are serious about rehabilitating anything “old”; the Hariri clan is just waiting for offers.  The very few green spaces are gone to real estates developers. The gardens of the villa Sursock are gone. The last gardens of the Sioufi and the Sanayeh are tendered for and waiting for the appropriate political climate to vanish.  Infrastructures in Beirut are frequently “redone” and you cannot circulate even by foot.

            Actually, you cannot locate any embassy in the Capital; embassies are out of Beirut because you cannot do business in Beirut.  If you need to rent an apartment in an old residence with no air conditioning, no generator (public power supply is not reliable), and no hot water on the ground that rent might be cheaper then you are hugely mistaken: the owner will dissuade you by asking $50, 000 per year; the owner is actually waiting for real estates developers or promoters to buy his house since the municipality and the ministry of “culture” (in charge of rehabilitating historical heritage) are simply figure heads for the Hariri clan.  The motto for this “Saudi clan” is “We are in Real Estates business; that is what we do best. We buy and demolish and resell for the rich Arab Gulf prince and princesses. Lebanon economy and its budget are harnessed to develop our business; we intend to go forward full speed; the hell with Lebanon heritage and all that crap. South Lebanon is for Hezbollah or Israel, we don’t care. We own Beirut stock and lock; we are doing our best to own the rest of Lebanon.”

            The remodeled unique airport is called “Rafic Hariri International Airport”; the unique public hospital in Beirut is called “Rafic Hariri Hospital”; the remodeled sport stadium has been renamed “Rafic Hariri Stadium”; the remodeled public university is renamed “Rafic Hariri University”; any major highways leading to any of these “institutions” are called Rafic Hariri and you get confused.  Rafic Hariri built his monster Palace by a university owned by the USA Administration and called “The Lebanese American University”; guess what, the entire square area of ten blocks around, are cordoned off by cement barricades and watched by public and private security guards and called “The Hariri Residence”. 

            There is this one that the Hariri clan selected to replace late assassinated Rafic Hariri PM; the successor of assassinated “martyred” Rafic Hariri is called Saad Rafic Hariri.  Saad turned out to be an idiot: he failed to even form a government offered to him on a gold plate; otherwise the government Palace would have been renamed “Saad Hariri Palace of Lebanon”.

            Saad turned out to be an idiot; he is not Lebanese and never lived in Lebanon; he barely speaks Arabic. Saad is a Saudi by birth and by residence; he emulates the looks of the Saudi Monarchs and visits Saudi Arabia for frequent blessings of their monarchs. After 6 years of trying to convince the Lebanese that he is of leadership material by hammering out the motto “My name is Saad Rafic Hariri, the son of martyr Rafic Hariri, my dear father and father of all Lebanon, especially of the Sunni Moslem sect”.  In the name of my martyred father I demand of the Lebanese citizens to elect me, elect my clan, elect for the Al Mustakbal, elect for Lebanon, elect for Beirut the prime real estates location in the Middle East.

            Saad turned out to be an idiot. In every one of the recent “Eftar” dinners during Ramadan Saad would say “Let me refresh your memory. I am Saad Rafic Hariri”.  When Saad was appointed to form a government 3 months ago he kept learning the Lebanese Constitution by his political counselors.  Thus, Saad stunned us by fresh information “I am Saad Rafic Hariri and the Constitution permits me to name ministers”

            Fuck Beirut if the constituents of Beirut want the Hariri clan to stay in power. I don’t need Beirut; I cannot afford Beirut; I hate the look of Beirut. Beirut is for sale, stock and lock for the idiots.

Free and Zero are unbeatable lures; (September 14, 2009)

You have this experiment. A group is offered a choice (they won’t be paying): an expensive Lindt truffle chocolate for 15 cents and a Hershey for one cent.  A significant majority of the group was willing to pay 15 cents.  In the next experiment, the prices were altered: the piece of Lindt is priced 14 cents and the Hershey is free; the price difference is the same in both trials. Almost all the group could not skip the attraction of the free Hershey.

My hypothesis is that the reverse must be true for the “haut de game” or the most expensive items.  A group of wealthy individuals who knows quality is offered the choice between two expensive items of exactly the same quality and appearance; one item is priced $900,000 and the other $800,000.  My contention is a significant majority would select the less expensive item in this trial. Now the prices are changed from $900,000 to $1,000,000; exactly the same price difference.  I am pretty confident that a significant majority would opt for the one million dollar item, simply for the additional zero; an all rounded number that may stun acquaintances.

Now and then you read challenging or controversial best-seller works such as “The tipping point” by Malcolm Gladwell (see my series of reviews), “Earth is flat” by Thomas Friedman, or “The long tail” by Chris Anderson that sort out “leaders of opinion”.  Chris Anderson (longtail.com) published another challenging book “Free! Enter the free of charge economy”.

So far, there are many aspects in the economy that digital technology made free of charge from free programs, free loading of digital books and music, free access to many internet networks, to publishing webs, to information webs such as Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Flickr, Trillian, Tripod, Twitter, and so on.

The musician Derek Webb permitted free loading of his album in return of the loader’s electronic address.  Webb gathered 80,000 mailing addresses which packed his concert tour. The one who can afford to pay is willing to pay if he wants the product. This one was willing to pay far expensive concert ticket than listening to a lasting album, simply because this free loading enabled him to appreciate the album and return the gesture.

Yes, someone has to pay. The basic model is the “freemium”. A standard version is disseminated for free so that those professionals who can afford to pay for the “premium” version cover the expenses and generate the profit. This model is adopted by the photos site Flickr, the instantaneous messages plate-form Trillian, and the loading of iPhone applications AppStore.  The McKinsey Journal is applying the same economic model for business investment; only the professionals would purchase expensive targeted advice. This economic model is working because digital technology has reduced the basic cost for standard versions.

Before WWI, the economic principle was “Demands carry the economy”.  This is exactly what “free of charge” trend is emulating: you buy what you urgently need after testing and loving the product. Basically, it means “We make profit from those who can afford the product”. The previous principle was upturned in the next century; it stated: “Offers drive the economy” which means “We produce and then we find ways to encourage consumers to purchase.  We entice the consumers by promotional gimmicks, by much lower prices, by creating new trends of standards of living, and by lavishing plenty of credits.”

Fundamentally, “Offers drive the economy” means: “We make profit of the pennies from the million of customers.” It worked for a while, until what is being produced is getting too expensive, of lower quality, and basically not that essential in tight financial downturns.

How about educating the consumers of what is essential for resuming a decent life without the faked propaganda of what constitute a “high standard of living”?

They say “Free and zeroes are sources of irrational excitation”.  I beg to differ. The excitation is not irrational at all.  Only the most boring individuals are not attracted by zero and free of charge.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2009
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