A few pics of recent fires in Oregon (by my dad)

Thanks for tuning in!

Hugh

Distractions … Perty Pics … Again

Some of these pics were taken by my dad, who’s a tremendous photographer.

Thanks much!

Hugh Naylor

More coronavirus distraction … yet again

Some more Instagram pics by my dad, because everything else is awful:

Thanks much, Hugh Naylor

Coronavirus distraction — perty pics

Perty pics taken by my dad, an expert nature photographer

Here are more pretty pictures take by my father. He’s a legit nature photographer.

Thanks much, Hugh Naylor

Coronavirus, preparations, uncertainty, etc

I’m writing this to remind myself that at some point in the future, hopefully when we’re all clear of this coronavirus stuff, I’ll once again be able to laugh off my fears of a global takeover by chupacabra zombies.

I’ve come to Oregon to keep an eye on my parents. We’ve stocked up on food, water and medicine in case things go bad with this virus.

Some of my friends think this is extreme, that I’ve suddenly built a bunker in the woods stocked with shelves of refried beans and thousands of those metallic packets containing astronaut ice cream. In all seriousness, my parents are old, and this virus has taken a particularly heavy toll on old people, so I wanna be around in case … god forbid.

Moreover, based on initial numbers from what we know about its spread, the new virus is possibly more lethal than the Spanish flu of 1918/19. The latter killed tens of millions of people, more than all those who died during the First World War. I’m also troubled by the vulnerability of our supply chains coming out of China, where manufacturing has slowed dramatically because of the country’s clampdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. It seems possible that basic goods we take for granted — goods that magically appear on the shelves of Walmart and Home Depot — might soon not be there.

Lord knows America would be nothing without its hyper-consumerist Walmarts.

So, anyway, given that so many of us can work from home, it just makes sense to do so from Oregon at the moment, I think. Talk about the luxuries of the White Collar Man. And I might very well look back at this post one day and laugh, thinking how much I overreacted. I hope that’s the case, but I don’t wanna take any chances. I’m also readying for the chupacabra zombies …

Yikes!

Best, Hugh

Oh, I’m leaving a lovely picture of an Oregon sunset. It’s perty:

Follow my dad on Instagram, @hughnaylor3

I’m doing some marketing for my dad here. Yeah, it’s shameless, but it’s just that he’s such a wonderful nature photographer. Really, he is. He’s been at it for over 50 years now, and his feed never ceases to surprise me. (I’m Hugh Edward Naylor IV, and he’s the III, by the way. It sounds regal, yes, but it’s actually not. Just a bunch of hillbillies who’ve kept the naming going for far too long …)

Thanks, Hugh

OMG Bitcoin is dropping rapidly! (Well, guess what? This is totes normal. Get a drink)

If you’re like me, and you’re probably not, then you’re watching the price of bitcoin fluctuate … wildly. Lots of people have gotten into the crypto game in recent years, and when they see the huge price swings that bitcoin regularly goes through, they FREAK OUT. And so they make impulsive decisions at, like, a $400 drop in a cupla days, pulling out all their cash.

Well, I’m here to say, big deal. Happens all the time. Don’t freak out.

This isn’t the stock market, people. So don’t project your S&P angst on the crypto-asset market. They’re apples and oranges, cats and dogs, humans and chimpanzees, Oscars and AVNs … NOT EQUIVALENTS.

Huge price swings are normal in the crypto market, a result of fixed(ish)-supply assets and shifting demand. I won’t get into the details, but many cryptocurrencies — and especially bitcoin —have built-in mechanisms that absolutely limit supply … like, there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin ever mined into the supply. No less. No more. That’s it. There will only ever be 21 million — period. Get it? (It’s the opposite of the Fed, by the way, which prints money whenever the heck it wants and, in turn, gradually impoverishes you with inflation.)

Again, it’s technical, but just remember that bitcoin’s supply is so fixed that almost any change in demand for it will result in what comes across as exaggerated price swings. CATCH YOUR BREATH. MEDITATE. GET A FACIAL.

This is normal.

So, what does this mean? Well, don’t throw all your money in bitcoin. Not anywhere close to your life savings, please. But maybe a small percentage of your portfolio, like three percent or something (or more, if you’re willing to incur more risk/uncertainty). Talk to a crypto-savvy investment advisor. I’m not one, by the way … just a dude who reads like a Rain Man who’s incapable of memorizing a phone book.

Long term, bitcoin has been one of the best, if not the best, performing asset in history. That’s not exaggeration. It’ll dip, swing, swoon and freak you the fu#* out, but you should respond to this like one of those Buckingham Palace guards with the tubular hats who can’t move even when he gets kicked in the naughty bits by ornery boys or flashed by creepy men.

Just get a drink. Kick back. And see the fluctuation for what it is — bitcoin, an asset that is owned by no one, controlled by no one one, truly free money, is working. How amazing.

As for boning up on your bitcoin knowledge, well …

don’t read this crypto advice. It’s stupid, and it’s from me, from a long time ago, when I understood little of how bitcoin works. For shame. I’m a monster.

No, instead, read these for more background info on how bitcoin works, why it was created, etc:

The Cryptocurrency

Age Of Cryptocurrency

Thanks much, Hugh

Fallujah

I’ve got more substantive posts in the pipeline. For the time being, here’s a pic I took on the outskirts of Fallujah, when Iraqi security forces drove Islamic State militants out of the city.

Thanks, Hugh

Beirut is beautiful

View this post on Instagram

Downtown #Beirut

A post shared by Hugh Naylor (@hughnayloriv) on

Just posting this picture of Beirut. Despite the recent turbulence, it’s worth reminding just how wonderful a city it is. I hope for a return of peace and prosperity so that you can visit.

Thanks, Hugh

Australia, the Middle East and Climate Change

By Hugh Naylor

This isn’t much of a post. It’s more quick-hit musings on a topic that scares me, that scares lots of people, that should scare everyone.

Those apocalyptic fires in Australia make me think of … the Middle East. This part of world isn’t known for lush forests, so fires, apart from little Lebanon, haven’t been much of a thing. Which alarms me even more, because the effects of global warming have nevertheless started taking a particularly pronounced toll on the region.

I can’t help think that the recent surge of protests in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon has something to do with climate change. Yes, on the face of it, we see protesters angered by the gangsters and kleptocrats who’ve not done such a great job at governance. Underneath this, though, has been a steady accumulation of stories over the years about drying reservoirs, worsening power blackouts and scorching heat waves, along with simmering frustrations over an inability of local officials to address these issues. (Oh, and don’t forget the mounting demands from rapidly growing populations.)  

I don’t think these protests, sadly, will deliver the hoped-for – and deserved – governance that these noble demonstrators demand. I think we’ll see more of these protests, yes, but they’ll eventually hatch … ugh … I don’t even want say it because it’s so depressing.

The story that alarmed me most during my ten years in the Middle East wasn’t about the civil wars and failed revolutions. It was an article I wrote from Iraq in 2016 about record temperatures and how the country effectively shut down as a result. Iraq is hot, yes. But this was next-level hot. Even ISIS fighters found it too hot to do their thing and continue mass murdering. We’re talking the hottest recorded temperatures – ever – in the Eastern Hemisphere.

I remember interviewing a UNDP official about the heat wave, and he ever so casually threw out the term “civilizational collapse.” It was so shocking when I heard it that I didn’t include it in my article. I feared coming across as sensational, but looking back, I should have put it in there.

We’re all gonna be royally screwed by our warming climate, some regions more than others. I came away from that visit to Iraq feeling sick to my stomach, with images in my mind’s eye of collapsing Middle Eastern cities and abandoned villages, Europe-bound refugee boats numbering in the thousands, famine and, yes, more war.

Damn, I sound pessimistic. But it was just so hot. And it wasn’t just the heat. Down south, in the city of Basra, humidity was so intense that you essentially couldn’t sweat away the sizzling temperatures. So, if you didn’t have air conditioning, you boiled on the inside.

Anyway, here are a few articles from that trip to Iraq. They might be of interest as you read about Australia and what will certainly be more horrific evidence of the depressing future that awaits us:

  1. An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser
  2. In the broiling heat, boys in Baghdad rush to the Tigris for relief
  3. Iraq is boiling in unprecedented heat. Here’s how locals are trying to cope.
  4. Snapchat Story: Scenes from Baghdad’s sweltering heat wave

Bummer.

Thanks, Hugh