Portuguese Drivers.

November14

I’ve written before about the fun of driving in Italy… and how insanely aggressive Italian drivers are. I thought for sure I had found the worst drivers in the world yet I was stunned when I started driving in Portugal. Portuguese drivers are the most unpredictable and crazy drivers in the world. Somehow they even beat the Egyptians.

I’ve seen Portuguese drivers stopped in the middle of the highway.

I’ve seen them park on roundabouts.

They use their turn signal to signal when you should move over.

I’ve seen them stop in the middle of the road to let someone out to mail a letter, turn on their blinkers, and wait…

I’ve seen them drive in the middle of two lanes for miles.

Crazy :)

That said, they are more random than aggressive. You just don’t know what they are going to do. I do like that I can count on Italians to both be uber aggressive, but are generally good at staying in the lines.

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on Portuguese Drivers.

My son came home…

November9

… very angry. And, probably in part because he is hungry. He turns 4 in two months and he wants to do things on his own. He was fighting with his mom over holding her hand to cross the street and similar stuff. Testing boundaries and all that fun :).

Anyway, he apparently went into the bathroom and peed all over the floor because he was “angry”. Like stomping mad and being a little shit angry. Also, it is a kinda hilarious move to pee all over the floor on purpose.

posted under Dear Calico | Comments Off on My son came home…

Wow… how long?

November8

I was showing Lindsey a movie trailer for Yesterday (good movie), and she asked when I had seen it. I told her oh maybe 5 or 6 years ago on a plane… so it turns out it came out in 2019 and I must have watched it on the plane to Europe in November 2019…

But ya, it certainly feels like 5 or 6 years :).

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on Wow… how long?

Van Jones Rocks.

November7

This sums it up, it is hard to be cynical when you hear this and feel this. It made me cry. So well said Van Jones.

posted under Politics | Comments Off on Van Jones Rocks.

Biden Wins. Yay.

November6

Congrats to Biden, now you get to govern a country where ~70 million people live in a different reality created by Fox “news”, right-wing propaganda, and conspiracy theories. A group of people who would vote for Hitler if he promised to ban abortion, believe the left wants communism despite any evidence, and do not believe in science.

On the left, you have a party that doesn’t know how to play the game, fails to lead the national conversations, fails to accomplish any economic policy that would help people in the bottom 70% of the economic spectrum, and continues to try to fight an idiotic culture war.

This sums up a lot of how I feel about the failure of Democrats.

Democrats = forgot how to talk to normal people. Warren and Buttigieg are better than most.

posted under Politics | Comments Off on Biden Wins. Yay.

Election Day 1 of ?…

November4

Well, this is fun :)

About what I expected… this is going to take weeks to finish counting as it has come down to a few key states.

Biden will most likely still squeak out a win (Trumps odds are up though). The chance of a Democratic Senate is probably finished, meaning nothing is going to change. The Republicans will be Republicans and oppose everything. Meanwhile, on TV tonight an attempted coup by President Drumpf who doesn’t want to count all the votes. We shall see how that goes and if we still have a Democracy by Thanksgiving.

I was really hoping there would be a mandate/repudiation of Trump. I am not seeing that currently. We shall see how counts come in if anything changes. But in completed districts, you can see that he actually gained votes in a lot of key areas.

Just look at the above so far… those people looked at the last 4 years and said I want more of that and I support what is going on. Just think about that. We shall see how the final numbers land.

3 Conclusions (in my mind)…

1. The same conclusion as 2016. The America I thought I knew is over and dead.

2. Propaganda and your ability to spread that virally is what wins elections. Both for blue/red… but especially red. This should not be surprising given the history, but I like to believe people try to educate themselves on key issues. But from conversations with friends on both sides, it is clear ~90% is just the messaging and antidotes. Nobody wants complexity, they just want stories that back up their way of thinking. And, fear/hate work really well.

This seems especially evident when you look at how many “liberal” ballot measures pass and responses from the exit polls. Just look at how Florida passes a minimum wage increase, legalized weed, stricter gun laws, spending on green energy, immigration, etc…

3. As a species I am wary of our ability to overcome climate change. Some good trends showing up, but we are cutting this dangerously close to limits that would protect our future economy and modern survival. I still have a lot of hope, but it is fading fast. I figure in 10 years or so we will know if my son needs to learn to grow gills.

Oh, and some fun posts so far :)

posted under Dangers To World, Politics | Comments Off on Election Day 1 of ?…

Election Day 2020.

November3

So here we are… weeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

It is like a roller coaster you are not allowed to get off :)

What do I expect for election day? Nothing… most likely nothing will be decided on election day. It will probably take a few weeks, if not Thanksgiving, for all the counting, recounts, legal challenges, and so on.

What do I not want to see? Violence. I am particularly worried about violence by the right to scare off voters. And, I am very concerned about what Trump supporters will do when he loses (especially with his false claims of voter fraud). I also don’t want to see the Courts pick the win for Trump and further subvert the election process. I would also like the USA to remain a democracy.

If I get a magical unicorn wish what do I want to see? An overwhelming win by Biden by 20+ points nationally. That would partially restore my faith in America as a country and ethos. Is that going to happen? No. And, even if it did I think America has broken me. These last 4 years have been long, but I think they are just a more blunt version of the last 20 years. America is just a country, like any other. There is nothing special about it anymore. It is good at a few things, it is really bad at a lot of other things. When you are raised to think a place is special you feel very betrayed when it fails to live up to 90% of those values. And, I am disgusted by the selfish and materialistic culture it has created. Even if Biden wins that is nothing, I don’t expect much out of the Democrats even if they control all 3 houses (including white house). They fail to see how the game has changed and fail to adjust how they play the game.

Some gifs for election day.

There is a good chance Trump will be reelected. A small part of me wants to see that world. I do not think people change without real and persistent pain, and there are a lot of Americans who need 4 more years of Republican pain in order to change their beliefs. Part of me wants them to get their wish.

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on Election Day 2020.

RIP Sean Connery…

October31

I grew up watching him in Bond movies with my dad. He was always my favorite Bond, classic style for a different time. I also loved him in First Knight, The Rock, Hunt For Red October, Indiana Jones, Highlander, Bridge too far, and so many others. He is probably the only actor I can do a half-decent impression of.

There can only be one.

posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on RIP Sean Connery…

My vote is in for 2020!!!

October14

My vote is in for 2020! Lindsey and I are doing a news fast until November 1st. I do not expect us to know who the next President is until Thanksgiving due to the time it takes to count mail-in votes… although I am hoping for a blow out so Trump can’t launch a coup. I am worried about the violence we are going to see over the next 10 years from the Trump cult. Interesting time to be alive.

I am very glad to not be in the USA during this period.

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on My vote is in for 2020!!!

Biking In Northern Portugal

October11

Just some quick photos from some rides near Viana Do Castelo. Beautiful area!

posted under Travel | Comments Off on Biking In Northern Portugal

Portugal!

September28
posted under Travel | Comments Off on Portugal!

News Fasting.

September28

Lindsey and I have been on a news fast since early September. It has been really good. I think I am going to stick with it and only do news every 2 to 4 weeks on a Sunday. We are just tired of it and powerless to do anything about the direction of the USA. We bribe politicians, we vote, we call, etc.

I wish I could click my heels and it was Nov 10th and the election was over just to get through this period.

posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on News Fasting.

Love For Valencia + Moving To Portugal

September1

I LOVE Valencia Spain!

It is by far my favorite city. And, it is one of the first places that both Lindsey and I feel is “home”. It has amazing weather, amazing people, and a perfect blend of city, nature, and beach. Plus great biking!

It has been really hard to think about leaving the city and we’ve dealt with waves of grief/anger over the last couple of months :(. We do not want to leave… we would like to stay here long term.

We always knew we couldn’t stay in Valencia for more than 1 to 2 years because of Spain’s tax system. They have some taxes that are poorly designed and we would be paying 60% to 70% of our income in taxes. Which makes it impossible to live here. Spain has a very badly designed Patrimonio tax and because we are American we are stuck between the two systems. If you are not an American citizen it is pretty easy to avoid these taxes and pay much less, but as Americans, a lot of those options are not available to us given American regulations (waiting on the USA to switch to a territorial tax system like every other country in the World). The other option we had was to move to Madrid as it is the only region to void the tax, but we did not like Madrid.

Part of our trip last month was to scout locations around Europe and see what clicked. We were debating between Austria and Portugal… and Portugal won out based on weather/cost.

So… we are moving to Portugal :). We’ve been to Portugal several times and we are looking forward to finding our neighborhood and settling in. We hope is we can find a place we like as much as Valencia in the next couple of months.

We have hope that Spain will fix their system given the huge economic crisis. The current system makes startup/business investment near impossible and they need labor reforms to make it easier to hire people as employees. The current system punishes risk and pushes money into real estate where it won’t lose value but your returns are very low (how a lot of people avoid Patrimonio taxes if they don’t leave in Madrid).

posted under Family & Marriage | Comments Off on Love For Valencia + Moving To Portugal

Why I do not want my son to grow up in America.

August31

This is a hard thing to write. 

I love the USA. We have such an amazing story that attracts and inspires people from around the world. We have a can-do culture that I adore. But, we have failed to turn our potential and American bravado into positive results for our citizens. 

I do not expect miracles and I do not expect us to be perfect. But over the last 20 years, it feels like half the country has been convinced to join a death cult. And, that death cult stands for nothing except telling Americans how exceptional they are with their freedom and big penises. As a nation we are drunk, covered in our own tears and vomit, and singing tiny dancer on the floor of a gas station bathroom. We are sitting in a puddle of our own exceptionalism. It is cold.

I do not want my son to grow up in the USA.
I do not want my son to be an adult in the USA.
I do not want him to be a parent in the USA

I view the USA a lot like I do a war zone. I am the type of person who wants to do a few tours in a war zone. I will flourish in that environment. And, I know plenty of people who are like me. But, I also know that if I spend 15+ years in that environment the war zone will change me and I will start to think it is normal to wear a necklace of ears and drink from a human skull (if THIS is your answer to what is “best in life” it might be time to take a vacation :)).  

Would I want to raise a family or children in that war zone with a war zone mentality? 

No. It creates people who only think about “I” and not enough about “we”. We overdosed on individualism a long time ago and instead of rehab and moderation, we thought it would be smarter to just add it to the water supply and up the dosage by 100x. I do not want the USA to be Europe/UK/Australia with their tall poppy syndrome but we have got to find a balance before we destroy our citizens. 

Do I want people who do not want to be in a war zone to be stuck in a war zone? 

Fuck no. I think maybe 20% of Americans want to be in the war zone and 80% are stuck there. The 80% that are stuck are hard-working and super-smart people that are just not as broken as that 20%. The 80% do not want to work 3 jobs with no paid sick days or time off just to survive in the USA. The 80% do not want to work 60+ hour weeks for so-called “career success”. The 80% do not want to sacrifice being a parent and being part of their children’s lives for their career. The 80% do not want to spend every day at work apart from a two-week vacation until they die. And, so on. 

Do I want people who are like me in that war zone? 

Yes! We need the 20% to do what they do. With the caveat that I want them to have a Geneva Convention so they don’t turn the entire world into a war zone and break everything. The USA is in a weird place where it has created rules that overly-regulate the wrong things. We’ve allowed private interest to create licensing and regulations to create monopolies while removing regulations around EVERYTHING else. Capitalism doesn’t work if you don’t have equal power for the common good and labor. It is like we looked at homebuilding and said we don’t care if you build the houses out of asbestos and napalm as long as the person who installs the doors pays $45,000 to go to these four-door installer schools and pays $3,000 a year to be part of a door installer guild. 

So… why do I not want my son to grow up, be an adult, and be a parent in the USA?

#1 – Health Care

I want my son to be able to focus on just getting better if he gets sick. I do not want him or any other American skipping medical visits because of money. And, I do not want him to declare bankruptcy because of the huge bills. And, I want my son to be able to get affordable health insurance no matter the job he is doing. If he is a cashier at Walmart and gets cancer he should only have to think about treatment and getting better. There are so MANY countries doing healthcare better than us. Go steal their system and implement it. And, stop paying for expensive treatments that extend life by only 6 months – we have to have some honest conversations about the inevitability of death. 

#2 – Paternity/Maternity Leave

I want my son to be able to spend time with his kids when they are born. And, I want his partner to be able to do the same thing. For all the bullshit right-wing politicians say about family values they don’t do a damn thing when it comes to actually help families be families. 

#3 – Daycare

If my son and his partner want to go back to work I don’t want the cost of daycare to crush them financially. For a family of two, this can cost as much as $1,500 to $2,000 USD a month and that is insane. If the government wants future taxpayers it needs to incentivize families to have kids and provide subsidized child care nationally. Make it easier to be a family in the USA. 

#4 – Paid Vacation

I want my son to have a life outside of work. I have family members with high paying jobs who get ZERO vacation days for their first year. WTF! Even if you are lucky to get two weeks off a year, that is just enough time to de-stress from work but not enough to remember who you are outside of your job. And, I want him to get time off even if he doesn’t work for a high paying tech company. If he ends up working as a cashier for Walmart I want him to get at least 4 to 5 weeks of paid vacation. It is like our society forgot that there is more to life than work and that people are more than cogs in a machine. In Europe, the minimum amount of paid vacation is four-weeks plus 10 holidays. In Mexico and Brazil, you get six weeks of paid vacation. Why are we so far behind the rest of the world? 

#5 – Paid Sick Days

If my son gets sick I want him focused on getting better, not having to choose between getting well and food/rent. Plus it is good for society as the current pandemic is showing. 

#6 – College + Debt

If my son has the desire, drive, and ability to go to university I do not want him to go into life-ending debt to afford that education. Education shouldn’t only be for the rich. I want any American who has the drive to be able to go to a university or technical school (and, at any age). It doesn’t have to be free, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be tied to the cost of a part-time minimum wage job (like when Boomers were in college). 

#7 – Guns

I do not want my son to be killed in a school shooting and I don’t want him to grow up doing active shooter drills. The USA has a problem with guns and it continues to take no action. When 20 children between six and seven years old are gunned down and your country does nothing you know you are broken. We need better gun control policies and they have to affect current gun owners and models. 

#8 – The American Dream Is Dead + No Safty Net

America has been rebuilt for the upper-middle class and rich and Americans have an increasingly small chance of upward mobility. You have a better chance of upward mobility in Canada and these 31 countries (mostly in Europe). I want my son and his friends and other Americans to have the chance of a better life. There is no reason we can’t deliver that. Instead, we’ve built a country that is built on the backs of the poor and lower-middle-class. 

The American safety-net is almost non-existent. I do not want to eliminate risk, but I think we can help more people get on their feet, create jobs, and do better. Right now our safety net is like playing Russia roulette with 6 bullets in a 6 bullet gun. You are going to lose. I’d like to get it down to 1 bullet. And, I don’t necessarily want us to be Scandinavia. But, I feel at some point the USA looked at the huge pit we force people to climb out of and said you know what? We should add lasers and guns and bears because it should be harder so only 1 in 100,000 people can “make it” in this country. Plus that is good business because the ones that do will be so de-humanized and broken it will create great jobs for therapists.

#9 – America’s Kids = My Kids

I want to live in an America where we strive to give every child the chance to succeed no matter the amount of money their parents have, the color of their skin, or equally silly divisions. Right now it feels like we are building a country where we think the only way for our kid to win is at the cost of all the other kids. That mentality utterly disgusts me.

For many reasons, my son is going to have incredible opportunities and experiences. Some of which his classmates could only dream of and that is ok, that is part of the inequality life. But, everyone should have access to things like a great education, free/cheap university or technical schools, great healthcare, paternity/maternity leave, paid vacation and sick days, safe housing and neighborhoods, equal justice and treatment before the law, equal legal access, equal treatment by businesses, and so on and so forth. I do not think the USA is headed this way. The last 20 years have been horrendous.

posted under Family & Marriage | Comments Off on Why I do not want my son to grow up in America.

How should rage be expressed?

August27

I would love for change to be achieved without violence or property damage… but how can you not understand the desire to burn this system to the ground that has failed a group of people so badly?

Put yourself in a black person’s shoes. Count the number of people who look like you who have been shot and police let off without any repercussions or change to the system. Then count the daily interactions you have with a society that treats your children, your siblings, and your family as 2nd class citizens.

The vast majority of people protesting are peaceful. That is remarkable. We should listen to them and work to fix a broken system. The property damage you see on TV is amplified 100x because it gets ratings and with right-wing media, it fits a narrative that scares white people (also do not forget cases like this that rarely make the news when the dust settles, it was white nationalist pretending to be protestors that are trying to cause violence).

But, who are you to condemn protestors who are burning property and causing economic damage? People are angry, they are tired, they have been trying to get change and nothing is happening. Maybe burning down a business or a building will get your attention, what do they have to lose at this point?

It reminds me of the Boston Tea riot. When Americans “violently” rioted and destroyed businesses that were part of the system oppressing them. They “violently” destroyed millions of dollars worth of tea, ran ships aground, burned warehouses, broke into shops and stole their goods, and other violent actions. As an American do you think that was justified?

Samuel Adams argued that the Boston Tea Party was not the act of a lawless mob, but was instead a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their constitutional rights.

Are you ready to support this principled protest as the only remaining option the people have to defend their constitutional rights?

P.S. Also to the people on Twitter posting “all lives matter” please STOP saying that BS. “All lives” are not the ones getting shot by police and they are not the ones who have to teach their children entirely different rules for any interaction with the police. Saying Black lives matter is saying please value us as much as white lives, please help us stop a system that is killing us without repercussion, and please help us fix this system so that our country is stronger together.

P.S. 2. If you want to see the difference between how police treat white people and black people just imagine this… a white man shoots 3 people with an AR-15 rifle at a protest, he walks with his hands up down the road toward 3 police cars, police just let him go past despite people screaming that he just shot people. The man walks to his car and drives home. The next day they arrest him for murder. Do you see how that could be a problem when 3 days previous an unarmed black man surrounded by 3 cops is shot in the back 7 times while walking to a car with his 3 sons in it? Do you see the difference there?

P.S. 3. Defund the police is a bad slogan… what it means is let’s rethink what the police do. Do we need armed police to do traffic stops or respond to accidents? Do we need police responding to mentally unwell people who need help? Do we need police interacting with the homeless? Do police need to be the first responders to domestic incidents? In no way does defund the police means no police, it means let’s chop down what isn’t working and start anew. That might mean police need to reapply for their jobs and they need training that teaches them to de-escalate. Plus police should focus on solving crime because they are currently doing a shit job (Approximately 38% of murders, 66% of rapes, 70% of robberies, and 47% of aggravated assaults go uncleared every year – source FBI)

posted under Politics | Comments Off on How should rage be expressed?
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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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