99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, 99 Bottles of Beer…

Happy Friday!

We’re here.  Only a wee bit to go, before we crack open a few cold ones and drink to our victories this week.

I’m off to Manila on Monday for an appointment at the Italian Embassy.  I found out a few years ago that I was eligible for an Italian passport, so I’ve taken advantage.

Before I write on the pros and cons of owning multiple passports, let’s talk about traveling – and how the world is hopefully opening up again – for good.

Last Year in Boracay

In February 2020, Mrs Ring, our boy, Micah, my friend, Andy, and I decided to head to Boracay.

Although the Philippines are filled with beautiful islands to visit, Boracay is considered the posh garden spot of the country.

My wife is prudent, frugal, and no-nonsense when it comes to cash, so she was never really that keen on going there.

But I had enough.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

So we booked our tickets and jumped on a plane.

It’s gorgeous, and at the time, was filled with Chinese tourists.  I thought nothing of it.

Pam and I would play with Micah on the white, sandy beaches during the day.  Andy and I would have a few beers at the beach bar on the cool, breezy nights. 

It was perfect.

Micah started to cough a bit, but Pam and I were fine.  We thought it would pass.  But as Pam is a pharmacist by trade, she brought Micah to the hotel doctor.  He had a bit of a fever.

The doctor then asked to take Pam’s and my blood pressure.

I must preface this next bit by telling you that I’m overweight by a tad.  But I’ve always prided myself on having normal blood pressure and never taking any pills to control it.  I had never seen my BP over 122/80 in my entire life.


“No.  Take it again, Doc.”


“What?  I’ve never had high blood pressure before.”

When we returned to Cebu, I was never more ill in my life.  I simply couldn’t stay awake.  And when I was awake, I was about as active as a koala bear.

Then, one day soon after my BP hit 190/120.

We went to the hospital.

I know many publications tout the benefits of third world healthcare.  I’m pretty sure none of them have been to the Philippines.

I felt like I was visiting the doctor who put the Joker’s face back together in Batman (1989).

They had no idea what was wrong with me.  They took all sorts of EKGs and other tests.  My innards were fine.

The doctors couldn’t explain my elevated BP.  

I’m pretty damn sure I had a terrible case of Covid.  But they didn’t seem to have even heard of it at that time.  Let me remind you: it was already February 2020.

Against Lockdowns

Despite my experience, I was against the lockdowns from Day 1.  You can poke around my Facebook feed, but be warned: I hold back even less there than I do here.

Here goes…

If you’re old – and I mean above 80, fat, and have pre-existing conditions, I was all for you staying home.

The rest of us?  Get back to work.

Without going overboard, here’s a neat, succinct list of what I think:

    • Sweden was, and is, demonstrably correct.
    • Blue-tied socialistic lunatics formerly known as Tories run the UK.  To my everlasting shame, I supported Boris and thought he’d be a great Prime Minister.  Jesus…
    • Governors Cuomo, Murphy, Newsom, and Widmer should be tried for negligence.
    • Masks are only for those who already have Covid and spit on other people.  No one else should wear them.
    • Children do not need a vaccine.  My son has his MMR shots.  I’m not anti-vax.  But those diseases kill kids; Covid does not.
    • The SAGE modelers in the UK, led by Niall Ferguson (not the history professor), should be hauled before the International Criminal Court.  If not, I’ll settle for their heads on spikes on London Bridge.  Read about their idiotic errors here.
    • The vaccines have far too short a testing period.  I will not get a jab.

But my main argument was always economic: Any person who puts food on his table for his family is essential.  Declaring any worker “non-essential” is the most staggering idiocy I’ve ever witnessed.

My father is a retired truck driver.  My mother is a retired receptionist.  We simply wouldn’t have survived this lockdown had it happened 40 years ago.

Sure, I’m fine.  I need an internet connection and a laptop.  I’m already 8,763 miles from Baltimore, where my good friend and publisher Chris is.

But not everyone has that option.

So I’m thrilled to see us come out of this unmitigated mess.  But it should’ve happened well over a year ago.

Flying Again

I flew to Manila about three months ago on my own to put in the papers for my Italian citizenship and passport.

Before I went I had to fill in an asinine amount of forms and take that silly PCR test to make sure I didn’t have the virus.

And then I had to laugh.

Once I got to Cebu International, I was basically waved through.  When I landed in Manila, I was waved right out.

When I went back to Manila airport after my meeting, already having my return ticket in my hand, I was waved through.  And when I got back to Cebu, I walked right out of the airport.

Except when I first checked into Cebu airport, no one checked my paperwork.  Pinky swear!

There’s absolutely no doubt Covid exists; I experienced it.

But it’s very difficult to think that the government countermeasures to Covid are anything but an exercise in citizenry control.

Once More, With Family

Though we had to print and fill out a stupid amount of paperwork, no PCR test is required of us this time.  This may have to do with the fact they’re quite expensive (about USD 100 here) and they seem to have a lot of false negatives.

But we’re really looking forward to getting off this island for a bit.  As a family, we travel often because of my teaching.  I love taking the family with me on trips.

Micah is young enough that he’s not missing school and Mrs Ring is a homemaker now anyway.

Last year was a big letdown because of that.  (I know: first world problems!)

I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

In the meantime, the mailbag is fully answered and the inbox is empty.  So to prepare me for next week’s chat on second passports, why don’t you write to asksean@paradigm.press with any questions you may have?

You can give me the bones of the article.  And then I’ll give it the meat.

You deserve to have a fabulous, restful, and relaxing weekend.

I’ll crack open a beer and drink to your health!

All the best,


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