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Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Smell Test


If you’re unsure about a carton of milk that’s been in the fridge for longer than you can remember, you don’t take a swig to see whether it’s still good or not; you give it the smell test. One sniff will tell you whether or not it’s still comestible, or if you should throw it out.

Most of us are so used to doing this when it comes to certain things, that we’ve even coined the term passing the smell test. If it doesn’t pass the smell test, then there’s no point in further analysis, is there? If the milk is bad, it’s bad, and no amount of discussion regarding how the milk turned or when exactly it might have turned is pointless.

For the most part, life comes at us, and we must take it as it comes. Rarely is anything ideal, rarely is anything precisely the way we would have wanted, and there’s also something we would have liked to change even if it’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things.

During this pandemic, we’ve seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. We’ve seen young people volunteering to buy groceries for their aged neighbors, individuals offering rolls of toilet tissue to those without in their community. We’ve also seen people coughing on produce, spitting in people’s faces, and leveraging panic to make a couple quick billion dollars.

With the small exception of genuinely scared individuals, most of the panic being fanned and fomented doesn’t pass the smell test. Less than a week ago, a well-known hedge fund manager got on television, and with the grim visage of a man who’d just seen his own death, declared that this country was done. Put a fork in it; it’s finished. We are doomed, it’s over, the fat lady done sung her song, and all the mourners have gone home.

He was so credible in his passionate declaration of the time of death that the markets took a nosedive. As everyone was panic selling, he was buying at such a deep discount, that by the time the dust settled, he walked away with two billion dollars, making a 10,000% return. Yes, you read that right, no I didn’t throw an extra zero in there just for giggles.

It’s like these blowhards who keep saying we’ll need a snorkel to see the top floor of the Empire State Building any day now, still snatching up real estate on both coasts at every turn. If they really believed the load of cow pies they were selling, then Nebraska would be the priciest real estate in the country.

If someone’s actions are in diametrical opposition to the words coming out of their mouth, you’ve been had.

There have always been unscrupulous people, and the most unscrupulous know that the easiest thing to exploit in another human being is their fear. If you can make someone afraid, truly afraid, for their life, or their family’s life, then offer them a means of alleviating that fear, they’ll hand you all their cash for a bottle of dirty bathwater, and thank you profusely for being so magnanimous.

If you are afraid, they will find a way to leverage your fear! Knowing this, the fastest way to defang these vampires of human misery is to not be afraid. Do not fear what can kill the body; I read that somewhere, and someone really important said it. Excellent, timely, poignant council worth heeding. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Worse Than the Disease


Never let a good crisis go to waste! Not only is that a motto for some politicians today, but it is also a way of life. If anyone still held to the hope that their elected representatives gave two snot bubbles and a chicken turd about them, their families, their business, or even their wellbeing, that illusion has been permanently shattered.

With the help of a compliant media which seeks to frame the narrative at every turn, there is a push in the halls of Congress to ram through new legislation that would make its implementation far worse of a situation for the average citizen than this virus ever could.

Tactically speaking, it’s good timing. Everyone’s either distracted, fearful, or told that they should be afraid; otherwise, they do not really understand what’s going on. People are legitimately hurting already, and it hasn’t even been a full week of shuttered businesses, working from home, no school, and shutdowns. Imagine if this thing drags on for two, three, even four months?

By then, toilet tissue won’t be a problem anymore, because most people won’t have any money to buy it. When babies, toddlers, children, and even adults start suffering from malnutrition, thereby becoming susceptible to all sorts of bugs their immune system would have fought off had they been adequately fed, the average death won’t be 80.5 years young; it’ll drop like a rock. At some point, we’ll stop counting how many dead, just wondering if there will be anyone left to bury us.

It’s one thing when politicians play politics in a time of national crisis. We sort of come to expect it. They are, after all, the bottom feeders of society, the one group of people that makes lawyers and prostitutes seem noble and forthright. When, however, almost every major news outlet is doing everything it can to frame the narrative in their favor, it’s called propaganda. Since the eloquence of Bernard Sanders couldn’t convince the average citizen to embrace Communism, maybe convincing them that it’s the only way to solve their existential crisis will.

If you want to take a peek behind the curtain, you do so at your own risk, but if you do, consider what isn’t being reported rather than what is in any given news cycle, then you will get an idea of just how evil the string-pullers are.

Why is every news story about how many people have tested positive for this virus, and none about how many have recovered?

Why is no one pointing out that most people won’t even be symptomatic?

Why did they suddenly stop flashing how many dead in Italy every morning, as though it was the outcome of some soccer match? Could it be the numbers have peaked and are beginning to drop?

Why is it that you have to read the body text of an article that declares a man dead from Chloroquine, only to discover that what he ingested was Chloroquine Phosphate, an aquarium cleaning product, and not the medicine itself?

Why is it that before declaring it’s the end of the world, no one takes a pen and paper and does some rudimentary math regarding this virus? Why is no one point out that only among those showing severe enough symptoms to seek medical help is the death rate somewhere at 1% among septuagenarians and octogenarians with preexisting comorbidity? Yes, I know, one 30-year-old died, but what they failed to mention is that he had a compromised immune system having just survived testicular cancer.

If they can keep you fearful and panicking, if they can keep you from thinking things through, if they can keep you from using logic and reason, they just might get everything they’ve ever wanted that the average citizen would have never voted for.

Do you want to know why I don’t believe this is the last trump? You want to know why I don’t believe it’s time to pack our bags and find someone to take my pet fish when we get raptured? Because it’s not nearly bad enough to warrant it. Because what the Bible says will happen during the last days doesn’t come close to what is happening currently.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Newton's Third Law


There comes a point after every storm, no matter how violent, concentrated, or intense, that the waves recede, the wind stops howling, the dust settles. With a look that can only be replicated in war, the survivors begin to assess the damage that was wrought.

Most of the time, people are just happy they made it through, glad they survived, and they begin to rebuild if they are able or find a new place to inhabit, to call home, and eventually make it home if they are not. When it’s a natural disaster like an earthquake, a hurricane, a tornado, a volcano, or a tsunami, there really isn’t anyone to blame. It was naturally occurring, something that has been happening since before recorded history, and mankind takes it as it comes, mourns if it is called for, then regroups, and goes on living because it’s the only option afforded to them.

There are situations, however, when the cause of the heartache and chaos, the cause of the tears and fear is either manmade or artificially inflated to the point of causing mass hysteria and panic. It is when the culprits can be readily identified, when the source of the hysterical prognostications and proclamations is evident to all, that Newton’s third law must be applied. The punishment for such individuals must be commensurate with the heartache they caused.

They must be punished not only because justice demands it, but to serve as an object lesson to all future generations, a cautionary tale so vivid and garish as to make anyone fifty years hence think twice about producing fear porn and passing it off as legitimate news.

When the dust settles, and it will, every rectally prolapsed sexual deviant pretending to be a journalist who somberly declared that that death was inevitable and imminent, every alarmist with quaffed hair that insisted if you were to ensure one more meal for your loved ones you’d have to stab another human being in Sam’s Club to get it, must be called to task, exposed, shamed, and made an example of.

For every parent that stayed up pacing half the night wondering if they would find diapers or wipes at the store the next morning, these ghouls must be punished. For every small business that will have to shutter its doors, these ghouls must be punished. For every person that can’t go to work to put food on the table for their family, these ghouls must be punished. For every missed opportunity to smile, for every dream that was dashed, for every untoward thought you were engineered into having about another human being just because they happened to cough within hearing distance, these ghouls must be punished.

There is a time for mercy, but the unrepentant are undeserving of it. Loving one’s enemies does not invalidate, nullify, or abrogate justice itself; the two are not mutually exclusive!

Mark these words: if those responsible for making the panic more harmful than the actual virus are not called to answer for their actions, they will simply do it again, and again, until our nerves are so frayed we either shut down altogether or jump out of our skin every time someone within a square mile sneezes.

What if this thing disappears as quickly as it came, and we don’t have the million-plus fresh graves every grotesque figure on television relishes repeating over and over? What if, after all the panic and hysteria, the number is not even a fraction of what they were projecting?

We will still have a cratered economy, a new precedent for governmental overreach, thousands upon thousands without jobs, a newfound and unhealthy dependence on all things government, and the ever-present realization that we’ve been had by a cabal of individuals who are good at framing a narrative and repeating alarmist propaganda tirelessly. It may take only a handful of days to bring this behemoth of an economy to a grinding standstill, but getting it back up and running will be a far longer and more difficult task to be sure. Call me callous, heartless, or whatever adjective you choose, but at some point, the law of diminishing returns must also come into play. 

With love in Christ, 
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Ripple Effects


When panic grabs hold reason is the first casualty. It is why hindsight oftentimes makes us wonder what we were thinking, and how we could have bungled up a situation to such an extent. There is a naturally occurring ripple effect to panic that makes people do things they would have adamantly denounced only a few days prior.

Even if we contain this, even if we flatten the curve, even if social distancing, or whatever new buzzword they come up with has the desired effect, the fallout, repercussions, and collateral damage of the panic we’ve allowed ourselves to descend into will be felt for years to come.

As should be the case with most thinking adults, the first question that must be asked and answered is whether the global panic we are seeing is warranted.  In the United States, there have been under 100 deaths to date, most of which occurred at a senior care facility in Seattle. Granted, that number is likely to rise, but it’s a long road from under 100 to over a million as some of the more vocal doomsayers have been prognosticating.

Since everyone is fond of pointing to Italy which tops out at circa 2200 dead since this ordeal began, let us also take into account that over 90% of those deaths occurred among individuals who are 70 or older, at least half of which would have likely been felled by a bout of the run of the mill flu. It is undeniable at this juncture that this virus affects the elderly and those with compromised immune systems most profoundly.

As of the last count, this virus has contributed to 7,332 deaths globally. Obesity kills 2.8 million annually!

Currently, you are more likely to win the Powerball Lottery than you are to die of the Coronavirus. Let that sink in for a spell before making another run to the supermarket for more toilet tissue even though you can’t fit any more of it in your garage.

No, this isn’t fun facts with Mike time. Still, in order to understand what we’ve given up as far as liberties are concerned over the course of just a handful of days, without a coup, without a shot being fired, and without any protesters in the streets, we must contextualize the situation for what it is.

We are seeing governors, mayors, and all manner of paper-pushing bureaucrats use this pandemic to waylay people’s constitutional rights using the virus outbreak as a cover. From declaring prohibitions on everything from church services to public gatherings to sales of ammunition, to sales of firearms, these people feel emboldened because they saw this as an opportunity to exploit people’s fears.

How much freedom are you willing to give up in order to mitigate catching something that to most folks is no worse than the common flu? That is the question before us, and it’s a thorny one because drowning people usually don’t look to see who is attached to the arm offering to pull them out of the drink.

My concern isn’t so much this virus, but the precedent it sets vis-à-vis the actions government feels within its rights to carry out. There are cities in these United States where the local government has ordered its citizens to stay home, and are prohibited from gathering outside even if they happen to live in the same complex or home.

It’s scary how readily we’ve allowed ourselves to be culled without a whimper or a protest of any kind. We assume, for some unexplained reason, that the bureaucrats coming up with these restrictions are smarter than us somehow, forgetting that government work, for the most part, has the lowest barrier to entry of any field.

We are become sheeple, and it’s a tragic thing to behold. If, as some have said, this was a dry run to test individual compliance, well, we either failed miserably or passed with flying colors depending on what side of the power structure you find yourself. One thing is sure; the next time panic is induced, stoked, and fanned, it may be for something far less, and the freedoms they strip from the average citizen far more.  

Be wary of anyone trying to sell you on taking away your freedoms for your own good. It never is!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

In Case of Emergency!


It used to be most folks had appropriate reactions given a particular set of circumstances. If it were chilly outside, they’d put on a coat. If there was a bug going around, they were more diligent about washing their hands. And, if it looked that their daily routine would be inconvenienced by what was happening nationally or globally, they’d take it in stride and made the best of it.

In a bygone era, when John Wayne walked around with sixty-odd pounds of undigested meat in his lower intestine and still managed to crank out some timeless westerns, people used to be level headed.

It used to be the appropriate reaction to an imminent nuclear attack was to get under your desk at school, and cover your head with your hands. Just think about that. I used to see those videos, and sort of smirk. In case of emergency, get under your desk and cover your head—no bunkers, hazmat suits, rebreathers, gas masks, or barrels full of hand sanitizer.

What were you supposed to do if you cut off a finger or worse yet a limb? Stop the bleeding, then find your local blacksmith so he can cauterize the wound. If you had the time, maybe bite down on something like a piece of leather to keep from squealing like a little girl.

Those days are long gone. They are far in the rearview, and nowadays, people are more likely to die from heart attacks induced by the panic they’re basting in ceaselessly than they are from a virus that for most folks is akin to the common flu.

People throughout the country are taking a run at toilet tissue in such a panicky fashion that one would think all the world’s villains got together in the dead of night and decided that the best way to undo modern society was to bomb all the toilet paper factories. They are acting as though it will nevermore be produced or trucked to their local grocer, and until the end of days, what you get is what you’ve got, and that’ll be the end of it.

I see pictures of individuals with man buns in flip flops loading up cart fulls of toilet paper, yet not bothering to snag a can of tuna or a bag of beans on their way out of the store. Kind of counterintuitive if you ask me, because if there’s nothing to put in, nothing will come out, and that sort of makes the need for toilet paper nonexistent, doesn’t it?  

The truth of it all is that we’ve become a generation of coddled, panicky, sissified man-babies, overreacting to everything around us. Because individualism has been eroding for the last three decades, we are prone to giving in to herd mentality and groupthink, to the point that if we saw one person buying something in the store, we feel the need to do likewise.

If we hear some talking head spit out the worst case, apocalyptic scenarios on television, we immediately believe it to be the God’s honest truth. Because a certain age demographic has never had to deal with a crisis, they allow their minds to run wild and begin to believe that millions of dead littering the streets is the best we can hope for.

This is why you have suburban moms putting plastic bags over their kids’ heads and duct taping them really good so the virus can’t get in, then wondering why little Bobby is turning blue. The panic is being stoked for a purpose, and once that train starts rolling downhill, it’s impossible to stop of its own inertia. Cooler heads must prevail; otherwise, the next fad will be people digging their own graves.

For those of you who have been writing to me and saying I’m not taking this seriously enough, perk up, the following paragraph is for you: We are all going to die! You are going to die; I am going to die, your neighbor, your pastor, your teacher, and the guy who mows your lawn in the summer, death is a guarantee for everyone! The certainty of death is the one absolute rule for every living thing that has taken ever drawn breath. Life has a 100% mortality rate, and the giver of life is in complete control over when to call that spark of life back to Himself. The spirit returns to God, the dust returns to the ground, and no amount of toilet paper or hand sanitizer will change that. If it’s my time, it’s my time, and if I gots to go, I gots to go; zero loss, all gain.

Since your local church, being brave and fearless in the face of death itself likely canceled services today, go outside instead. Breathe some fresh air, talk to God, take a walk, watch the birds, wonder at the complexity of everything around you, then remind yourself that He is in control of it all. What have you to fear?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Imbroglio


Trying to play at being an end-times prophecy expert, especially when people are on edge and ready to jump out of their skin at the mere rustling of a bush, is about as smart as playing chicken with a lit dynamite stick.

Granted, there are some less than reputable hucksters out there trying to exploit men’s fears. Some are going so far as selling bottled bathwater as a cure-all for what is likely an astronomical profit margin, but for the most part, everyone feels like they have to say something, chime in, and give their two cents, even if no one asked for it.

I have no problem with people voicing an opinion. That’s the beauty of a free country, and it’s your job as an individual to weed out the nonsensical, improbable, impossible, and deceptive from the truth. What I do have a problem with is people playing an end times version of Jenga. Removing one phrase from here, another from there, Old Testament, New Testament, end times prophecy, prophecy explicitly for Israel, and stacking them upon each other trying to build their own miniature version of a prophetic tower of Babel.

What they end up with is something rickety, confusing, and given enough time, demonstrably false. The fact that at some later time we can look back and prove that their assertions were wrong is cold comfort in the present. Presently, some people are fearful, on the precipice of panic, because they are being bombarded nonstop by individuals who have suddenly developed prophetic gifting, insisting that this is it! The pale horse is here, neighing, and braying, and there’s nothing you can do but curl up in a ball in the corner and wait for the end.

Never mind the fact that the sequence in which the seals are broken is of great import, never mind the fact that war and scarcity must come before death does, never mind the fact that a fourth of the world killed by Death and Hades would be with sword, hunger, and by the beasts of the field and not a virus. Never mind all that! This is it, it doesn’t get any paler than this, lights out, the end!

We are tinkering with the revelation of Jesus Christ here kids. We are slicing and dicing and putting back together prophetic utterance given to Christ by God to show His servants things which must shortly take place. This is not something you have the liberty to put your own spin on! This is not something you have the liberty to masticate and regurgitate, having added your personal flavor profile to the mix because you’ve still got a thousand buckets of potatoes au gratin sitting in storage waiting to be snatched up.

As far as scaring people into the arms of Jesus goes, as soon as this passes, they’ll just wiggle back out because they were never interested in a relationship with Him to begin with. Then, when the pale horse really does come riding, no matter how persistent, they’ll just brush you off because you’ve been saying the same thing for twenty years. You cannot force, coerce, or trick someone into salvation, even if your intentions are noble and admirable.

There are a lot of self-titled end-times prophets, seers, visionaries, and such that will have egg on their faces when this passes, we’ll still be here, and not yet living through a post-apocalyptic hellscape, challenging people to duels for a roll of toilet tissue.  

Whether they did it for a quick buck, their five minutes, or because they genuinely believed what they were saying is contextually irrelevant. They still used the Word of God, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ to give weight and validation to their proclamation, and that’s wrong no matter how you cut it. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Fear Not!


Whether it’s in the Bible once for every day of the year is up for debate. Technically, if you choose to remove context, yes, the term ‘fear not’ is in the Bible some 366 times. Still, if you add contextualization, it is uttered as a command, admonition, or encouragement far less than that. All told, it falls a hair short of one hundred.

Whether it’s eighty or 366 makes no difference to me. If I had to tell any of my children to do something, or not do something eighty times, it’d have to be because I was bound to a chair and couldn’t go, take them by the hand, and direct them to what they were supposed to do or stop them from what they had been doing.

Granted, more often than not, it’s trying to stop them from doing something like throwing rocks into the goldfish bowl pretending to play submarine, but it doesn’t take eighty times or even eight times. They know I mean what I say, and it only takes one time with the right tonality to make them stop in their tracks and keep them from accidentally killing the fish.

When God tells us not to be afraid, it’s not just a blanket statement without the explanation as to why we shouldn’t be. It’s one of the things I’ve been trying to work on with my children, because, apparently experts say you’re supposed to explain why something is good or bad, why something should be done or shouldn’t so they would better understand, and keep from repeating the mistake in the future.

God didn’t just tell us not to be afraid; He told us why we shouldn’t be. In a nutshell, we shouldn’t be afraid because He is God! He is in control, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He is a good Father, He will nourish you, He will fight for you, He will provide, He will protect, He will heal, He is your salvation, the strength of your life, and the list goes on. These are just a handful I came up with while the first shot of caffeine for the day is still making its way through my system.

So what’s the point? Well, the point is quite simple: no one is saying not to take precautions. No one is insisting you should start licking subway turnstiles or truck stop door handles to prove you’re not afraid or show your faith. No one is telling you not to use wisdom!

However, God is telling you not to be afraid, no matter what. Whatever the circumstance, situation, grim outlook, or sense of dread being hoisted upon us by the talking heads on television, we ought not to be afraid. Prudent, yes! Afraid, no!

It’s fear that makes people act contrary to their nature. It’s fear that makes one fully grown adult punch another fully grown adult over a few rolls of toilet paper. It’s toilet paper! It may not be as soft, but in a pinch, you can even use a corn cob if you run out of Charmin.

It is because we have both God’s promises and His command not to fear that our reaction to crisis must be different than that of the world’s. It is amid hopelessness that hope shines that much brighter, becoming as a beacon for those in despair.

If God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and we have declared with our mouths that He is sufficient, if we are then hyperventilating with panic at every turn, then we either lied, or we don’t have God. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.