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Blackburne Family Christmas Letter - The U.S . Has Just Three Christmases Left

Posted by George Blackburne on Thu, Dec 24, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-12-24 at 9.25.28 AMThose of you who live in California may want to leave the state.  The following few paragraphs come from a blog article that I wrote this year entitled, The Coming War With China:  Time to Start Building a Bomb Shelter?   I have written 100+ blog articles.  This one was the most liked by far.  I received comments from as far away as China.

World War I started in 1914, but as early as 1910, it had become clear that Germany and Britain would soon be going to war.  Each had embarked on a crash program to build dreadnoughts.  Dreadnoughts were massive battleships that could throw huge shells accurately for miles.  The entire class of ships was named after the H.M.S. Dreadnought, Britain’s first battleship (see image above).

 

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China and the United States are on a similar path.  The Chinese are constructing warships at a much faster pace.  Already China has 350 modern warships, compared to just 293 for the United States.  China is hard at work building its third aircraft carrier.  Their cruisers are already tougher than our ancient ones.  They are building new warships at a pace three times faster than the United States.

People still think of China as a communist country, but since President Xi had himself appointed President-For-Life, China is really now a dictatorship.  Just one guy is the total, uncontested ruler of 1.4 billion people.  A ton of these guys are scientists and engineers.

If the Chinese economy ever started to slow down, and the Chinese people started to get restless for a new government, President Xi might order the invasion of Taiwan.  This would rally the people behind the Chinese flag, distracting the populace from any political challenge.

 

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The outcome of the war would likely be determined by the accuracy of their missiles. Folks, modern missiles are so accurate that they can hit targets dead-on from over 1,000+ miles away.  India, arguably not the world's leading technological military power, in November fired a test from a missile ship that hit an aging, steaming Indian frigate dead center from 130 miles away.

Now imagine the accuracy of Chinese missiles.  The crews of our aircraft carriers are toast.  True story: In 1996, Ted Turner sold Turner Broadcasting to Time-Warner for $7.5 billion.  He announced the secret sale of the company to his family across the supper table.  One of his sons, a highly-paid executive with Turner Broadcasting, asked, "What happens to me?"  Turner reportedly replied, "You're toast."  Ouch.  Haha!

Would the U.S. then back off and let the Chinese take Taiwan, Guam, and Okinawa? nI don’t think we could.  The war against China needs to be fought in the “second island chain” in the South China Sea, rather than off the coasts of Hawaii and California.

 

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We are mustering allies, as President Xi keeps angering and alarming the entire world.  Heaven only knows why Xi picked a fight with the Indians over some frozen rocks on their mutual border; but the result has been the addition of Australia to the Quad “Alliance" of India, Japan, and the U.S.  Recently, even the pacifist governments of France and Germany have started to push back against the Chinese.  The French and the Germans have now sent subs and destroyers to the Indian Ocean.

Who will win the coming war?  China.  The Chinese will strike first and without warning.  They will knock out much of our fleet and all of our airfields on Guam, before the centipede can even finish tying his shoes (old joke about the football game between the big animals and the little ones).

Then China would likely start island-hopping on its way to California.  When their missile bases and missile ships got close enough, imagine powerful conventional missiles flying through the windows of Google, Microsoft, Intel, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Boeing.  A missile ship 1,000 miles from California would be close enough.  Yikes!

 

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What can we do?  We need new shipyards on the East Coast, new oil processing plants scattered all across our coasts, and dozens of underground missile manufacturing plants scattered throughout the Heartland.  We need to buy up forty old container ships and convert them to missile ships, at about 1/50th of the cost of building new aircraft carriers.

What can you do?  A nice home in the Boonies would be smart.  What if you simply must live in California?  How about a combination wine cellar / bomb shelter in your partial-basement?

Remember, these incoming missiles will be both highly-accurate and conventionally-tipped.  The whole city is not going to be flattened - just the seaports, the airports, the power plants, the dams, the reservoirs, the California Aqueduct, the water treatment plants, the freeway overpasses, the railway stations, and the major food distribution warehouses.  As the Church Lady used to say on Saturday Night Live, “Isn’t that special?”

 

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The moment Elon Musk takes The Boring Company public, I intend to buy some shares.  It’s not hard to imagine a missile war that could drag on for a decade, forcing a lot of American companies to move their manufacturing facilities underground.

How soon before the war starts?  Well, when is China's next recession?  No economy ever goes straight up, not even that of the Chinese.  I wouldn’t fall off my chair in surprise if the coming war with China started in the next three years.  Watch the news from the South China Sea very closely.  "Only the dead have seen the end of war." -- George Santayana, 1886 - 1952

End of the Scary Stuff:

I retired at the end of last year, so Angela and George IV now run my old company.  By the time I found out that we were moving our office, after 25 years in the same location, they had already signed the new lease and had the new landlord start on the tenant improvements.  I was just shocked that they didn’t even consult me.  I guess now I’m just a pretty face.

 

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But the Company simply had to move.  Homeless people were sleeping right outside our doors and windows, and they were leaving used needles and syringes laying right on our sidewalks.  Yuck.

George IV and Jonny finally got engaged!  Hooray!  We love Jonny.  They have an April wedding planned, a simple barbeque in their backyard.  Jonny’s mother takes care of her own aging mother every day, so in order to limit exposure, only Jonny’s and George’s immediate families will attend.

Alex - Tom’s fit, slender, and lovely bride who looks just like Gisselle - gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Salem Rose Blackburne, in December of last year.  Salem is named after a road trip that Tom and Alex took to Salem, Massachusetts while they were dating.  It was a long, three-day drive from Indy to Salem, and normally drives that long will kill a relationship.  Instead, those six days in the car ended up being the most romantic road trip of their lives.  The two grinning and joyous lovers got engaged shortly thereafter… and hence Salem’s name – a reminder of the love that they discovered on that trip.

 

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But Salem, at the age of just 11-months, is a drinker.  Really.  Whenever Alex and Tom bring Salem and Reagan to Grammy’s house to watch a football game, Salem staggers around like she’s had a few too many.  Yes, she can walk, but she’ll never pass a sobriety test.

Poor Jordan.  She is one of the hardest-working college athletes you will ever see.  She is slender and extremely fit - rock solid too from lifting weights.  She is a superstar, All-Conference college goalie at Earlham; but she may never play another game of lacrosse.  Unless this COVID vaccine gets distributed super-quickly, her season may be cancelled.  It would break her heart.  She loves the sport so much that she intends to find a college coaching job when she graduates in May.

My cute-as-a-button granddaughter, Reagan Paige, has finally found the sport she loves – horseback riding.  Every Saturday morning, Grammy (Cisca) and I go to the barn to watch her ride.  She hasn’t been thrown yet, so as they always say, “If you ain’t been thrown, you ain’t ridden very much.”

 

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My darling wife, Cisca, is in excellent health; but she is bored out of her mind.  Three times a week we used to go together to the Senior Center.  Cisca would take a Zumba dancing class (my love is a wonderful dancer), and I would lift weights.  No more.  The Senior Center is now closed.  [Sob]

My health isn’t the greatest – afib and congestive heart failure.  There are days when I can’t climb stairs without getting horribly out of beath.  Two ablations.  Both failed.  But I walk our two large dogs every day for 3.25 miles.  They never let me forget.  One wears a watch and points to it.

What did I learn this year?  Life marches on, and a lot of it is good.  You meet a girl, you pull your head out of your tailpipe and realize that you love her madly, you get married, you overcome infertility, you make some babies, you go to their games and make a complete fool of yourself in the stands, they go to college, they fall in love, and the wonderful Circle of Life continues.  Not so bad.  Not so bad at all.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

 

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Topics: Christmas Letter

Blackburne Family Christmas Letter (Kinda Funny)

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Dec 25, 2017

Zombies-1.jpgThe following annual Christmas letter went out to all of our 1,300 wealthy private investors this week.  I hope you get a kick out of it too...  

Fortunately, the walkers were held back by a police barricade, but this did not stop them from snarling, gnashing their Zombie-like teeth, and reaching out for our delicate flesh with their angry, outstretched arms.  Was this the Zombie Apocalypse?  No.  These were the Inauguration Day J20 protesters, who so terrified my wife and my 64-year-old cousin, Patti. 

Black Horse Troop.jpgThe three of us were walking towards the stands along Pennsylvania Avenue in order to watch my daughter, Jordan, ride her horse, along with the famous Culver Black Horse Troop (100 all black horses) and the Culver Equestriennes (20 lovely young ladies), in review past President Trump and Indiana’s own Vice President Mike Pence in the 2017 Inaugural Parade.  (I rode in President Nixon's Parade in 1971.  George IV rode in W's first parade, and Tom rode in in W's second parade.  A lot of legacy, huh?) 

Equestriennes.jpgThere was a reason why the stands were so empty.  Police barricades were required to keep back the Zombies.  No, that’s unfair to the Zombies.  Even Zombies don’t behave this badly.  One of the protesters, a skinhead, targeted his rage at poor Cisca and Patti, shouting obscenities in their faces for absolutely no reason.  For all he knew, these two grandmothers might have voted for Hillary.  

zombies-2.jpgWith a daughter scheduled to ride in the parade, we were not to be dissuaded.  We eventually had to walk several miles to circle around the Zombie barriers, but finally we got to the stands.  We learned afterwards that most of the other Culver parents gave up trying to reach the stands.  Later, the press made great hay over the fact that the stands were so empty.  Helloooo? Would you want to be eaten by Zombies?  Plucking off your little toes.  Eating them like French fries.  Ketchup? 

Ivanka-4.jpgIn the stands, we were within 30 feet of the President as he walked down the parade route.  Melania Trump was stunning, of course, but I was most impressed by the lovely Ivanka Trump, wearing a tasteful, but close-fitting, cream dress and very high heels.  When one of her little boys, around four years in age, started acting like a little boy-onster (half boy, half monster), she scooped him up, threw him on her hip, and continued walking and waving without missing a step.  Talk about the modern woman.  Wow. There is a special place in the corner for any little boy-onster who acts up during his grandfather’s big parade.

As the Culver horses rode past the reviewing box, Jordi was on the left side, closest to the President.  One television news network (CNN?) zoomed right in on Jordi, who rocked 20 million Americans with her radiant smile.  I paid a lot of orthodontist bills for that smile, but it was worth it!  If you are ever suffering from insomnia, be sure to ask Cisca to show you pictures, including her 4-second video clip of Jordi dazzling the world.  Very nice, Cisca… zzzz... head bounce...   

J20.jpgThe J20 Zombies are on trial right now for smashing windows, trashing cars, and eating human flesh on Inauguration Day.  According to the legal arguments being advanced by the Federal prosecutor, if you are part of a Zombie horde, and even one Zombie rips off a human arm and begins munching, you are guilty of mayhem, even if you are a vegan Zombie.  Hmmm.  That’s a pretty dangerous argument for the future of free speech and non-violent protests.  I mean, c’mon, how are you going to keep every single Zombie from grabbing a quick snack.  Even I have to admit that my Cisca’s lovely ear lobes are irresistibly delicious.  Oh, my gosh, am I a Zombie?

 

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This is Christmas time, and I should be spouting sweet nothings and warm wishes of love… but I simply must say that 2017 was a pretty lousy year for America.  The Zombies and the Nazis can no longer talk to each other.  A Republican friend of mine admitted that he has no more liberal friends.  I was part of an email string that contained a pretty funny, but politically insensitive, joke.  A liberal mortgage broker in the string of 20 brokers objected to the insensitivity of the joke, and my buddy wrote to him, “You are no longer my friend.”  Huh?  That broker had brought business to my lender-friend for 10 years!  What?  That’s it?  In the words of the great Rodney King, that world-renown humanitarian, “Can’t we all just get along?” 

Burn Bra.jpgAnd before any Zombies jump all over my Nazi friend, I must say, in all candor, that many Zombies no longer allow Nazis to even speak.  Apparently believing in free markets and self-help makes all Republicans to be fascists, nationalists, white supremacists, misogynists, or some other form of “ist”.  In the 1960’s, bras were first burned and the Vietnam War was famously protested at the University of California at Berkeley.  Berkeley was the epicenter of free speech… but apparently Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator, is not allowed to speak there.  Apparently she’s a misogynist.  No, that’s not it.  Must be some other form of –ist.  Security concerns?  Hmmm. 

Rum.jpgAnd if you think I am over-blowing this whole speech thingee, just watch any “news” show today.  Apparently both the Zombies and the Nazis have forgotten all about common courtesy.  They constantly interrupt each other while the other is speaking.  Let’s play a game.  Turn on Fox News or CNN and set your timer for one minute.  I’ll bet that the speaker will be interrupted at least three times in a minute.  My dear mother would have smacked me upside the head.  [Smack!] 

Okay, so my daughter, Jordi, had graduated from Culver Girls Academy. Culver was incredibly expensive - far more expensive than most colleges. I’m not bragging… okay, I’m bragging… but Jordi won First Team, All State, starting goalie for high school lacrosse in Indiana.  Fortunately for my wallet, she had been recruited to play lacrosse for Earlham College, an hour east of Indy, and she had received an “academic” scholarship.  Phew!  My personal future was now clear.  I had done my duty.  Now it was finally golf time with my 300 buddies at Pretty Lake Golf Club.

But then I got the call.  “Dad, your only granddaughter, Reagan, hardly knows you.  You have to move to Indy.”  So we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly… er, Indianapolis.  We found a pretty little brick house in a gorgeous subdivision, just two houses away from the prestigious Geist Reservoir.  All I want for Christmas, Santa, is to squeeze my little house between two of those 8,000 square foot “cottages” ($$$) on the lake.  

Cisca and I love it here.  Indianapolis has two pro sports teams, Uber, and even food delivery.  Have you tried Uber Eats?  Works great.  We get to babysit Reagan three or four nights per month, and she even has her own bedroom.  I used to chase her up the stairs, pretending to pinch her little bottom.  “Make your run, Reagan.”  And she would squeal in delight.  But then she turned on me.  “Make your run, Gramp,” and she pinched my fat fanny all of the way up the stairs.  Smarty pants.  Actually she is.  She scored in the 99th percentile in math and 98 percentile in reading. 

Cisca is thriving here in Indy.  She found a Zumba Gold dancing class, and she is making lots of friends.  Then she got adopted by our homeowner’s association
representative, a warm, charming, and effervescent lady who lives just six houses down the street.  There are close to 1,800 homes in our homeowner’s association!  This wonderful lady actually came to greet us when we moved in, and she has convinced Cisca to volunteer on the home quality committee.  Cisca came home laughing one day.  One of the homeowners had painted, without permission, their gorgeous brick home “Pepto Bismal pink”.  The Gestapo whisked them away in the night, never to be seen again. 


George IV is absolutely killing it at work.  He will close $1.4 million in hard money loans this month.  Because I am George III and he is George IV, I get numerous calls for him by accident.  These brokers keep telling me what a great guy he is.  Makes a papa proud.  Sadly George IV recently broke up with his long-time love, but fortunately he has already met someone new.  Both of them are joining us for Christmas too, which makes me do dog-flips.  One big dog pile of love. 

Every workday, our second son, Tom (aka “M”, the neglected Middle child), comes over to my house, just nine minutes away, and we work together out of my walk-out basement.  (I have owned Blackburne & Sons now for 37 years.  Our big office with all of the bodies and machines is in Sacramento, California; but Cisca and I were financially blessed and able to move to Indiana to send our children to the fabulous Culver Academies 18 years ago.)  I now get to see my son every day.  Is this a great country or what?  Tom is working very hard these days.  He sounds great selling, and he is finally starting to produce some loans.  The renovation of his starter home is almost done.  Tom and his lovely girlfriend, Alex, take care of Reagan, our granddaughter, exactly half the time - one week on and one week off.  And then there is Bernie, their 70-pound, lovable, goofy, energetic, bouncing, flopping, playful, and absolutely adorable golden retriever puppy. 

 

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Jordi is enjoying Earlham College, and because I am so close, I get to go to every game.  In soccer she started at center forward, as a freshman, until she severely twisted her ankle.  She still scored a lot of goals, including a last-minute game-winner (4-3) in the final game of the season.  I stood there quietly on the sidelines and barely cracked a smile.  Not!  I went crazy… crazy for loving you

As for me, I have a heart rhythm problem, where my heart doesn’t beat fast enough to pump out all of the fluids; but I am scheduled for another jump start right after Christmas.  I’ll still probably die at age 95, when Cisca catches me again not putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  [Smack!]

What did I learn this year?  Frighteningly, I got a brief glance of just how easy it would be for this country to turn into a fascist state.  The Zombies played an important role in exposing the danger, but can’t we all just learn to fight a little nicer?  Just sayin’.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

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Topics: Christmas Letter