A Sunday Sundry Assortment of Tidbits

And I’ll attempt to keep it short but politics & religion – it is Sunday, after all, billionaire breakdown, and literature & poetry. Let’s go!


Politics & Religion

Israel envy. The Evangelicals are so behind the Trumpster building his wall because in spite of Jesus, they like the Old Testament Bible, they like Old Testament law, and they are Chosen People and the United States of America is their Promised Land by gumminey.

Meanwhile, the rest of us Philistines just want a solid wall between church and state.


Quick: Who’d Have Trouble Living on $450,000 a Month? June 26, 1990 by Kurt Eichenwald. This article details the economic hardships imposed on the current resident of the White House by his bankers in 1990!

Twenty-nine years later, the estimated daily cost of the government shutdown is about $857,000,000/day and suddenly, $450,000/month seems like a real bargain.

Please, get us out of this art of the deal.


Farming & Rural Rehabilitation. The 2020 Democratic field running to be President will be big and interesting and exciting! Julian Castro, former Secretary of HUD threw his hat in the ring this past week in San Antonio. And we are all of “Bravo!” and he will add nuance and complexity to the conversation.

But what really piqued our interest was the mention of HUD — Housing & Urban Development. With the plunge in the number of small farm operations and the horrific rise in the number of farmers who take their own lives, maybe isn’t it time to devote a department to Farming & Rural Rehabilitation?

Asking for some states.


Billionaire Breakdown

Billionaire I relate to on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Whilst researching the Bezos on the list of Forbes’ billionaires, I was surprised to see names that I instantly recognize because of the product they produce! Giovanni Ferrero of Nutella and chocolate fame, that’s a lot of happiness spread around — was #36 on the list.

Although I can’t relate to the wealth of anyone on any of Forbes lists and poor Mr. Ferrero is only 1/6 of a Jeff Bezos pre-divorce, I can relate to Nutella and chocolate.

Nutella spreads itself across Maslow’s entire hierarchy of needs, and chocolate? It improves my mood.


Mini-billionaire breakdown. I’m recording this for posterity and because I like statistics and numbers and information baby! Some people study astronomy and the movement of planets, stars, galaxies, otherworldly objects. Well, the this-worldly humans on Forbes‘ list also work with astronomical numbers.

Subject to visual inspection and any errors are all my own, out of the top 100 billionaires in the world on Sunday, January 20, 2019:

  • Jeff Bezos’ worth is down $37B (from $149B) to $112B.
  • If MacKenzie Bezos gets half in the divorce, and I hope she does, she will be the wealthiest woman in the world. Half of today’s Jeff Bezos worth: $56B.
  • Being worth a half-Bezos or $56B will put Jeff and MacKenzie between #10 – Larry Ellison ($58.5B) and #11 – Michael Bloomberg ($50B). Still respectable.
  • 10% of the top 100 are currently women. No photos but first names of Dieter and Michael were counted as men. I counted the no-photo Iris as a woman.
  • Combined worth of the current 10 wealthiest women: $242.9B or ($242.9B/$112B/Jeff Bezos) = 2.16 Bezos. Or 4.33 half-Bezos.
  • 4% of the top 100 are Walton’s of Walmart money — Jim, S. Robson, Alice, and Lukas.
  • Combined worth of the Waltons: $154B or ($152B/$112B/Bezos) = 1.37 Bezos. Or 2.75 half-Bezos.
  • 31% have US citizenship, 7% are Russian.

That is all on this line of numbering. Make of it what you will. As mentioned previously, I’m an information junkie and I like to mash it up all ways from Sunday for no good reason other than, why not?


Literature & Poetry

What was Margaret Atwood thinking? Politics trigger warning. I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, published 1986 by Anchor Books. This week I read these horrific sentences which are as clean as a bone:

“It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.

Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.”


Wait, there’s more:

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.

So much for fiction being a respite from reality. I was relieved when Nancy Pelosi cancelled the SOTU (Shout Out To the Union) this week due to the government shutdown.


RIP: Mary Oliver, September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019.

Mary Oliver was an American poet who died this past week. I end with a short piece of her poetry which captures the chiaroscuro, the light and the dark of life. From a Twitter share (@kaysarahsera):


Peace. Bless. Be kind.

Carry on.