They call it inflation.


Any thoughts ?


Below, find a little summary of the economic environment at this time, Dec. 12, 2022.


Parts mentioned below seem to belong to the US. Other parts (mostly here selected for place of residence) belong to Belgium. 


One could find the data to support the idea that present trends are global, but we'll set those aside until further along on this page.


Here are a few clips ...


Belgian CPI




To permit comparisons between countries of the EU, these data get "harmonized":


Harmonized ICP in the EU



Harmonised Belgium CPI



"Harmonized" or not, that last peak could be a bit concerning.




Macro-trends for Belgium look like this ...


from year 2000 to 2021:






The monthly report from Bloomberg's sounds like this ... (click to view) "Just the detail of things..."





A presentation of the gritty details for Belgium can be found at this link. StatBel is the government's data center.





Vladimir Putin




Maybe this is all just Vladimir Putin's fault ?


His country in 2021 had an inflation rate estimated at 6.7% up from 3.4% in 2020. Of course, Russia has had as high as 874% inflation in the last 28 years !

An overview of Russia can be found here, if you feel so inclined.


Here's how Putin spends his week (says the Washington Post). No, not very exciting.



Or maybe there's another explanation that carries one back to basic economic laws of supply and demand.


Here's one opinion about current inflation trends:


Ever-increasing DEMAND is driving inflation




How does a "pandemic effect" fit into this reality of "Personal Expenditure in Goods" ?


Were people so cooped up for so long that now, they regain their freedom by spending on anything and everything? And no one's going to make them stop ...


Maybe unrelated.



What is the current inflation rate in countries around the world?


"In 2021, the global inflation rate was 3.4 percent. In the European Union, it was 2.6 percent. For the United States, a year-over-year price increase of 4.7 percent was determined. Significantly higher values are expected worldwide for 2022."


That's in quotes since it comes from Clicking the link lets one see inflation rates country by country...

Even has an interactive map component to play with.


They feel that an inflation rate of "3.4%" for the world is in the "moderate" range.


And as some might expect, countries that are "inflation leaders" are also countries that seem to have other problems going on as well.


         Country                                                                            2020                  2021 


Inflation leaders


Zimbabwe seems to have calmed down a bit since the previous year ...


"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe blamed the hyperinflation on economic sanctions imposed by the United States of America, the IMF, and the European Union. These sanctions affected the government of Zimbabwe, asset freezes and visa denials targeted at 200 specific Zimbabweans closely tied to the Mugabe regime."


Always nice to have someone else to blame. Sort of like recent events with cryptocurrency.


Belgium on their list came in at 0.7% in 2020, and 2.4% in 2021.



So, ...


What's a smart consumer going to do? Stop consuming ?


Bob Dylan: "When you ain't got nothin', you' got nothin' to lose."


(Or to spend).


Thanks Bob.


Other artists have of course been attracted to inflation as a subject for a song.


Have a listen and sing along with Sugar Daddy & the Gumbo Roux.

Ernest Jackson wrote the song in 1975 when that other period of inflation was putting on the big squeeze.


"...inflation is in the nation and it's about to put us all away."


Personally, I prefer B.B. King's "Inflation Blues" for its musical qualities.





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Nick has COVID-19

Hello all,


Last Thursday Oct., 13 Nick called me using FaceTime to say that he was feeling a bit under the weather and had tested positive for COVID-19.


This call came from Las Vegas. Nick was staying at the WYNN, where he had participated in a presentation of his NFT-related work. The timing of when his symptoms began suggested that he either caught it during the trip from NY to LV, or shortly before leaving New York.


He stayed at the WYNN another day or two then decided to move to a less expensive venue in Las Vegas (Four Seasons) and also since his room reservation was now up. 


Ultimately, he decided to fly back to New York, which he did, and arriving there yesterday, back in his apartment. He did another test for the virus, which was positive again, and that was

probably day 7 of his illness. Test positive = still capable of transmitting virus, so he's staying in his apartment as he should.


Overall, he is not too ill, and primarily has head cold symptoms and lost his sense of smell about 2 days ago. spO2 levels (pulse ox) acceptable.


So far so good or at least, not too bad, seems to be the case. I check in with him using FaceTime once or twice a day. Made some recommendations for a few things that he obtained from Amazon, and that he should receive tomorrow (Thursday).


If we were at the start of the pandemic, this would have evoked a bit more anxiety both here and in NY, but now everyone seems to be a pro at this.


We've had our 4th vaccine here, and happy to report that we have still succeeded in avoiding this up to this time.  



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"Sherman, fire up the Wayback Machine!"


A return to New Orleans in May 1972!


Almost at the end of my stay at Tulane ...


In the months before two friends (George Schmidt and Rick Mackie) and I started up

a little musical group: The New Leviathon Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra.


What a trip that was!

George was working on his Masters in Art History, and in the University's Jazz Archives (his hobby), had discovered some sheet music piles that were stamped: "Oriental Fox-trots."


Well, ...

We were about to return to a period of "exotisme," New Orleans style.


Soon the three of us were hand copying parts for various instruments in a little orchestra which included xylophone, wood blocks and a large gong.


And about a week later, we had gathered some musician friends together one Saturday morning in McAlister Auditorium. 


We played one piece after another, and could barely get to the end of each without bursting out laughing with glee! (Listening to these pieces below, may get you the same reaction).


So soon, we put it all together, and gave our first concert.

This is music composed from after the War of 1812, to just before WW-1.

During the music, some people moved into the aisles in front of the stage and started dancing, you guessed it: fox-trots.


This first concert was well received, and we were invited to play at the New Orleans Jazz Festival that Spring.


Well, I was going to stay in New Orleans for a while after graduation, do some music, relax, ... but that was not going to fit with parental plans for the graduate.


Anyway, George Schmidt kept it going, replacing musicians as they came and went, and

the New Leviathon continues to this very day. Here is their site. 


A year after our concert, the movie business picked up "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin (George had rediscovered it in the Jazz Archives) and used it as the theme in "The Sting" in 1973.


The New Leviathon has played every New Orleans Jazz Festival since, toured in Europe once or twice, and also worked with Woody Allen for one of his movies (which one, I don't know).


Today, I got back into this, because I came across our first album, a recording of our first concert. I have a turntable that permits conversion to MP3 files, so you can have a listen.

Perhaps I enjoyed it more than someone else might, but that's just a personal thing.



Side 1 

Side 1 program






Side 2

Side 2 program
















The first song on Side 2 is "Dardanella (An Echo from the East)" and since that number was a little slow, I decided to walk back stage in the middle, feigning a broken string, put on a pink kimono, and walked back on stage to play a solo cadenza, much to everyone's surprise in the orchestra, and delight in the audience. (That starts at 2min, 40sec in the MP3 file below).


And of course, leaving the best for last: the Hyena Stomp.



I'm listed on the record jacket as "Mr. Kay Moneaux, the Famous Belgian virtuoso."


George did a nice job on the vocal of "In China."

(I like the lyrics: 'In China, ... be bride and groom, no more gloom, when the flow-ers bloom.') 


We played "Oriental Moon" in the dark, with a light shining on the mirror ball as it spun above us.


It seemed to have gone over pretty well.


Here are some pictures from that era:



Founders in 1972


The founding members in 1972







Our first concert, a fuzzy picture from the record jacket: pagoda backdrop, mirror ball, Jesuit priests from across the street at Loyola (stripped to the waist, with turbans, balloon pants and fanning us while we played). White suits and fezzes.



Below, some parts of the record jacket, giving the titles of the 12 musical numbers that we played. Pretty amusing at the time ...



And after my departure, the beat went on: 6 more albums, Amazon, Wikipedia.



Ah, college ...


I even got two pages in the Jambalaya, the Tulane yearbook for 1972.


Yearbook p 314 - Jambalaya 1972



Someone got a shot of me practicing in my favorite location:



Yearbook p 315 - Jambalaya 1972


Standing atop one of the bookshelves in the Music Department's Library. Nice acoustics.


And an excellent Amati violin that they had loaned me without blinking an eye.


"Show me your Student ID, and sign the card." I did.


The day we left New Orleans (in a hurry) I dropped it off at a friend's apartment and asked that he bring it back to the Library.


I suppose he did.



Certainly, not everything in life is fun.

Some things were.



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Neurologic problems and COVID-19

Today, Mike shared an article from Financial Times on this subject.


Yesterday, in my presentation which was a Q & A session on "long-term" COVID-19,

part of that of course addressed neurologic findings.


I selected those parts or slides, and commented on them, which you can view here below.





The Financial Times article includes the two "camps" that I mentioned above, but

with a final word which is that no one has a solution yet, and we need to await more



Here is a link to the entire presentation on this subject of "long-term" COVID-19.

It's a lot cleaner than the above, but lasts 53 minutes, so have a cup of coffee or tea handy!



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Just 220 km towards the west

240 km by road travel ...







In the remake:

Pete plays Victor Lazlo,

Ilsa is of course Trish,

Someone at Pfizer would like to play Capitaine Reynaud, 

And Rick is played by Mike, who stays to work things out with the Moroccan virus Gestapo, before his departure.


The plane’s destination has been changed from Paris to the UK.


Clearly, it’s a story about migrants.


The ending scene of this scenario is still being written.




Play it Sam! I can take it!





DECCA - As Time Goes By




Dooley Wilson




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