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Monday, Nov 24th

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Pursuit of Daily Bread - Part 1

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Some thoughts arrive slowly, bogged down in the sticky dough of our daily distractions, and some arrive without any preparation or warning, not needing them, especially, not teasing or kneading them along, but appear, allied to the search for daily bread, a task in which we can all surely relate.

While shopping at the, uh, The StaveWay, we shall call it, this store -- a place within 20 miles of us, out here in the country -- an overheard snippet of conversation caused a long and lasting spark in the oven of the mind.  The unavoidable eavesdropping has given rise to even more thoughts, just as quickly as the first one popped up, too.  Here's how it started:

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Pursuit of Daily Bread - Part 2

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Having observed bakers in a grocery store complaining at length about their jobs, and in plain view of shoppers, it did not seem a safe way to inspire employee-customer relations -- but there you are, the deed was done, and it set me to thinking about much in this world.

Surprisingly, my mind handed me a matter-of-fact complaint to hurl back to the bakers, just in case I might be asked:  Nice you two guys have a job, so you have something to complain about here at your work, while the rest of us are shopping here for groceries, just trying to find our daily bread.

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Pursuit of Daily Bread - Part 3

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Ever since I happened onto that chance, overheard encounter of bakers griping about their jobs inside a grocery store, a drama held out on the sales floor as they lobbed their complaints back and forth, I have been mulling over some things, including the realization that unemployment is a death sentence in this country.  Let's just say I've had a lot of food for thought, from that one trip to the store, going after that daily bread.

There's no easy way around it:  It's a scheme of money on Earth, one we all are stuck using, to satisfy our daily needs and desires.  And, unless we are born into or win great wealth, or somehow escape the inevitability of working all our lives in order to live, we are dependent on jobs to keep us alive.  It's so simple and brutal a concept, I think we can forget how it actually and really is, lost inside all our attempts at living, it's gone in all our distractions.

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Sun Storms & Drive-Ins

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It's morning on this side of the planet and solar storms are raging to high heaven, largest in five years, triggered by massive solar flares earlier this week.  Earth is to be blasted with charged particles heading in at four million miles an hour, our thin atmospheric onionskin playing catch with all these incredibly quick-moving hot potatoes.

The universe is capable of staggering speeds and inconceivably mammoth distances.  On Earth, right here, the coffee pot is all the way across the kitchen, an infinity wrapped in a finite fold of space.  Even once filled and tripped, the coffee will take two-thirds an eternity to drip and to drip, slowly evolving its primordial bouillon in there, finally creating the life-giving brew as we know it -- warm, old-style CPR breath compresses, delivered unto our lips, taken in sips.

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Lurking in the Shadows

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I don’t care that the retail Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year. I’m almost continually freaked out that Halloween hasn’t stopped since December 12th 2000. It’s like we’re all living in a demented version of the film, Groundhog day. The alarm goes off, we get up, and something horrible happens. All day long we wish we could change something but the next morning … the alarm goes off, we get up, and something horrible happens.

It’s Kafka’s world … we just live in it. With a little bit of H.P. Lovecraft thrown in to ramp up the creep factor.
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And the Winners Are...

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Meanwhile, at a radio show's live remote location: So, hi, everyone, thanks for coming out and joining us today!  Raise your hand if you paid no attention whatever to yesterday's GOP voting.  Boy, people were calling it all sorts of things -- we heard Super Tuesday, Souper Bluesday, Stooper Duesday, Stupid Foolsday, Stupor Ghoulsday, even Blooper Toolsday. OK, good, thank you.

We have some lovely runner-up, parting gifts for you, for all of you who raised your hands, if you'll please follow our staff -- yes, there they are -- back out to our vans in the mall parking lot. Give them a nice round of applause, everyone -- what great sports, thanks for coming by The Really Big Maul Shopping Arena today!

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Coloring between the lines, and only using the red crayon

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The stock markets in the US dropped 1.5% today from the renewed sturm und drang over the potential Greek bond default. The Euro zone is trying to force a 50% haircut on the holders of Greek bonds in order to avoid their default, but the catch is that it has to be “voluntary”. If it’s not, it becomes an “actual” default and those CDOs (credit default swaps) start kicking in.

The problem with these insane contract arrangements is that they can be triggered by any significant down turn, not just by a major default. A down grade in a credit agency’s rating of a bank or a nation state will do it. They’re all done in secret, so we have no real idea what the risk really is It was a cascade of derivative failures tied to consumer debt, mostly home mortgages, that brought us within a hair’s breadth of ending civilization in 2008.

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