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Welcome To Vilcabamba
"The Sacred Valley of Longevity"

This Is A Privately Circulated Blog, scribbled exclusively for Friends & Familiars, that peers into and pontificates about Expat life in the hinterlands of South America. If your eyesight is less than optimal (like mine), then just click the type size up a notch on your browser..

Here you will find a series of curmudgeonly commentaries that I've posted from atop my rickety old soapbox for the past few years. And yes, there are indeed political rantings, so place your seats in the upright position and fasten your seat belts .... it may be a bumpy ride.


Gone 'Fishin .....


Earthquake Here In Ecuador

About the earthquake. We are fortunately far from the coast, which suffered most of the damage and loss of life …. now reported in the hundreds. Our little village of Vilcabamba felt a brief but stomach-churning trembling and both Loja and Cuenca received little or no structural damage. Strangely enough, although Japan had a similar 7 point quake a couple of days before ours, there was less damage and loss of life there than here.


A Thousand Cuts ....

This brief YouTube video clip says everything to be said.

The person speaking will perhaps surprise you. Listen and learn who it is.


Who Is Walter O'Brien?

While listening to a Podcast that often offers interesting interviews (Tim Ferris of “The 4 Hour Workweek fame”) I came across a conversation with Walter O’Brien during which O’Brien mentions that to his mind Bill Gates was one of the most successful people he knew ..... and why.

Now, dear reader, let me state my own personal bias about this matter of the PC versus Apple. My first introduction to any computer was a Kaypro II back in 1984. It was also the machine upon which I learned to code. A year later I purchased my first Mac, the Apple IIe. Since then I have never owned any other computer than a Mac.

In fact for many years, and even now to some degree, I have always bought into the whole marketing rivalry of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the founder of Microsoft Bill Gates. Of the two machines I always found Apple to be more elegant and intuitive to use than Microsoft’s. Bill Gates was simply, to my mind, the ‘nerd computer freak’ versus Steve Jobs as a master salesman/inventor/artist.

But damned if Walter O’Brien wasn’t right about Gates being the most successful of the two men .... and the richest.

In the last 12 years of his life, Jobs did reinvent himself and his business not once but several times, and finished far ahead of his rival. He built the most valuable business in the world--creating more than half again as much wealth for his shareholders as Microsoft.

As Walter Isaacson writes in his highly readable biography, Jobs "revolutionized six industries"--personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing--and he "reimagined a seventh"--in creating the stores that became shrines to his memory in the days and weeks following his death from pancreatic cancer.

But in the end, much like the old fable of the “Tortoise and the Hare”, it was Bill Gates who crept into first place on the totem pole of success, with not only the financial benefits but with his wife Melinda Gates philanthropy as well.

Oh, and just who is Walter O’Brien? He is the Irish born, 197 IQ president and founder of Scorpion Computer Services ..... which you really ought to Google and get acquainted with him.


Beauty and the Beasts

Shown above is a photo of Nomi Prins, a VERY bright woman who has been a managing director at Goldman Sachs, ran the international analytics group as a senior managing director at Bear Stearns in London, and worked as a strategist at Lehman Brothers and analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank. Nomi Prins is also a renowned journalist, author and speaker. She is currently at work on a new book, "Artisans of Money", that will explore the recent rise of the role of central banks in the global financial and economic hierarchy. Her last book, "All the Presidents' Bankers", is a groundbreaking narrative about the relationships of presidents to key bankers over the past century and how they impacted domestic and foreign policy.

In short, the lady knows whereof she speaks. The effected 'Powers That Think They Be' don't even attempt to contradict her assertions of their "dirty deeds", she blows them out of the water every time. Remember this woman .... she brings important information to the table.


The REAL Reason Psychedelics Are illegal

“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

– Terence McKenna (American philosopher, psychonaut, ethnobotanist, lecturer, writer and author of several books. He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, culture, technology and the theoretical origins of human consciousness.


Ritalin and the Day-Dreamers Amongst Us

My paternal grandfather was a doctor, a physician specializing in psychiatry. However, he always thought of himself as a neurologist, that subsection of medicine dealing with the nervous system. HUGE difference between the two practices.

At its core all psychiatry is a collection of theories expressed by humans who still cannot define the ‘psyche’, ‘mind’ or what it to be ‘human’. Even the cult founder of psychiatry, Schlomo Freud (you probably know him by name of Dr. Sigmund Freud who died as a cocaine addict), acknowledged that since ‘mind’ cannot be examined by collecting and codifying all human behavior - - except by means of classifying the subject in question as being either ‘sane’ or 'mentally ill’.

Granddad never believed in that controverial psychiatric distinction. My father’s older brother, also a M.D. physician, but who called himself a psychiatrist, did. Different generation and different belief system.

This so-called ‘science’ known as psychiatry is based on criteria listed in the widely used “Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders”. In other words, criteria made up by the psychiatrists themselves that has generated much criticism, including the National Institute of Medical Health, which argued that the DSM is both unscientific and subjective. A good example of this is to be found in term “Attention Deficit Syndrome”, otherwise known as plain old inattention by those of us who habitually looked out of the school windows day-dreaming during boring classroom lectures. Today you get the prescription medication called Ritalin for that.

Both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who invented Apple Computers, along with a bright guy named Einstein, were dreamers ... and none of them were forced to take Ritalin back then. Oh wait a minute, “Attention Deficit Syndrome” had not been invented by the psychiatrists yet. Hmm-mmm, ‘Nuff said?


"A Wicked Storm This Way Comes"

In the midst of the elder-age season of my discontent, I see that there is already a wicked storm beginning to sweep across the land of North America. However, most folks are too distracted by their iGadgets and the imbecilic political campaigns to notice. Just so long as we can Twitter, text, post selfies and amuse ourselves with other electronic opiates, the longer we will remain unconscious to the dangers around us.

What we are now experiencing is but the lull before the actual storm. Despite those lightning flashes over on the horizon, few are heading for the safety of their storm cellars. The potential for catastrophe is exceedingly high and burying our heads in the sand is not a viable strategy.

“The people have been permitting a small cadre of elitists, billionaire financiers, corporate chiefs, propagandist media moguls, and crooked politicians to make the choices dictating the path of our country since the 2008 dawn of this Fourth Turning. The choices they have made and continue to make have imperiled the world and guaranteed a far more calamitous outcome as we attempt to navigate through the trials and tribulations ahead. Their strategy to “save the country” by saving bankers, while selling the plan to the public as beneficial to all and essential to saving our economic system, has proven to be nothing more than the greatest wealth transfer scheme in human history.” - theburningplatform.com


Don Alverto Taxo, Ecuadorian Shaman

Several years ago I posted a talk by an Ecuadorian Shaman/Teacher named don Alverto Taxo. It is in beautifully spoken Spanish, but with English subtitles. For those of you who would like an insight into the culture and belief system of the native people of the Andes of South America, this is well worth a listen.


Rattling of Sabers .... again!

I have moved this previously posted item up to the beginning once again, due to the continued bombardment of invective by our politicians crying for WAR against Iran and and Syria ... and everywhere else in this battered world of ours. It is well worth reading (and hearing) again. It is, in fact, my small tribute to those who have served us so well in battle, but who have been so ill-served upon their return by the very politicians and media pundits who sent them into harm's way.

As I see and hear those in congress, and those in this current administration, rattle their sabers and cry out for war with .....(insert your choice of countries here) ..... the majority of whom have never even served militarily, not to speak of never having seen combat, I'm reminded of a very old ballad sung by the late great Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers. It is a cautionary tale about the horrors of war presented in the lyrics of a mournful song, one which every armchair warrior and political hack urging us to war ought to take to heart.