Coping: The Next American Frontier

Now that we have a short break between the political gatherings, before the democrats nominate a woman better suited to receiving a felony indictment than Oval Office occupancy, how about we focus on something a little more positive?

Like this: What is the Next American Frontier?

We have been through several: When I was young, an aunt was the first female contracting office for the US military at Ft. Rich. She was part of the handy bunch of “can do” Americans who went to the wildest place they could find (Alaska) and did things like become the first woman CPA and contracting officer and so forth.

There was no political correctness required. She was the special sort of woman who just picked a goal and went for it. Long-ass way from working as an usher and ticket window attendant at a theater in the wake of the Depression, huh?

That’s one of the key things that is different now: Americans used to be self-actualizing dreamers who would pick a goal and go climb the damn mountain.

We have – in large measure – lost that.

Which is the kind of perspective I get from going on these periodic Economic Pilgrimages that Elaine and I go off on.

True, her take is a little different than mine: Know how you’re in the Pacific Northwest? You skin gets dry…

But seriously?

We agree that we both like pioneering and adventure. It’s why we lived on our sailboat up and down the West Coast. Three cities – three way different mindsets. Just as the sailing was different as night and day between Puget Sound and Hurricane Alley (*the Sausalito beat to weather west of Alcatraz), so too the people were different.

The Bay area mindset was much more wild-west of venture money while the PNW was much more operating-system oriented and self-financing, in the main.

Of all the places that we spotted, if I had to pick a place to “bet on the future” it would be somewhere like Baker City, Oregon.

People there are still family-oriented. Our sever at dinner one night this week was also working the morning shift the next day with her mom and they had a great relationship. It shows when people are having fun… Not too much of that in big cities.

There are several such towns between, oh Twin Falls, Idaho and Pendleton, Oregon. Places where you can find niches in healthcare, farming, mechanics, HVAC – any of dozens of jobs including teaching and so forth – when an investment now could be one of the smartest moves a young person could make.

One of the most beautiful sights of the trip so far (other than the Devil’s Slide on I-84 on the backside of the Wasatch from Salt Lake) was watching a crop duster artfully apply just the right minimal amount of chemicals to a field in the morning light.

Having tried tear-drop stalls a few times, it’s an art…and to do so around power lines and keeping the chemicals away from roads and such…let’s just say it’s an art form that isn’t for the masses.

Even the dry farmers south of Boise seemed to be doing well. There are many new homes visible from the freeway compared with things we saw four years ago. So there is growth and people are nibbling at the fringes of what would once have been called “waste lands.”

We have even seen it from the airplane. Then circles of green heading north from Texas, up over Colorado and then into the real outback of Wyoming and Montana (north Sheridan, up around Ft. Smith, for example) is also slowly being tamed.

It’s something to think about when you talk to young people: Do you really want to invest your life in the highest population density you can find? Or, do you want something a little off the beaten path. Maybe somewhere out toward the margins of civilization really fits some people better than the chicken coop life of the Big City.

Not that technology isn’t out there.

The fastest internet on the trip so far has been Baker City.

What’s more, the local language is being “technofied.” We were horrified to hear one ad ending with “…talk it over with your local crop production service agronomist.”

Our…say what?

Getting out and doing real work is something I admire greatly. Whether it is algo design for software, or going out in the middle of winter and climbing 450 feet up an icy cell tower to fix an antenna heater (as Elaine’s boy in Denver has done), there’s something rewarding about doing real work…not made-up government busy-work to fatten a budget in the land of “Use it or Lose It.”

Regardless of what you think of politics, I loved the comment of Rudy Giuliani this week when he reflected on the two great lines of Donald Trump, Junior at the GOP convention:

One was the “My dad has always been the guy to sign the front of the paychecks…not the back.”

The other one was when he referred to being raised by people who taught him how to run a big Cat and a chain saw.

I say put the Trump kids and the Clinton offspring on two lots with equal amounts of building materials.  Give the presidency to the parents that raised the children  who can create real – not notional – value.

We have had too much from the BS’ers.

Put the politics aside: We don’t need another Saul Alinsky. Arguably, we didn’t need the first one.  He did some good things at first but then got into agitating full time.  Yet in Lost America, no one knows the name of the person who invented the circular saw or the horizontal milling machine.  Or the first #C Sharp library.  That’s how screwed up we are…admiring agitating instead of doing. 

But we do need new dreamers and people willing to pick up the mess we have made of things so far..  Even Dreaming has been besmirched – it’s now tagged on illegal immigrants.  It’s another slick trick to talk us out of being great…and it’s working far too well. 

For our money, the best place to do that will be the frontiers of America.

One other point: There were about 8 Tesla charging stations at the Best Western in Baker City.

The future’s coming to the rural areas…not just the big city.

It comes down to a matter of choice, I suppose, where you want to be when the future shows up.

But if you wait for it in the city, the odds of having a lot of equity in a home and so forth, seems a lot lower than picking up a home and some land and putting in some rentals in the frontier areas.

Investing in the future isn’t for everyone. But I suppose that’s why we spend so much money on welfare.

Can Do America isn’t being sold overtly by either party. But one is presenting a doer and the other not so much.

We didn’t become a great country based on multiculturalism; we became great because with did the one thing that defines a great country:

We used to work together.

Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net

Comments

Coping: The Next American Frontier — 13 Comments

  1. I read the circular saw was invented by a lady who was watching her menfolk saw boards using a pit and a two-man saw. She suggested the circular saw. I don’t remember whether they had her name in the piece, nice story though.

  2. “The problem with that is you need water –”

    Something I’ve been meaning to try is an “atmospheric condenser” or “air well”.

    The “air well” has been used for thousands of years and ancient air wells could produce an estimated hundreds to thousands of gallons of drinking water daily. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser)

    The air conditioning system of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, for example, produces an estimated 15 million US gallons (57,000 m3) of water each year that is used for irrigating the tower’s landscape plantings.(but takes a lot of energy)

    The point being, there are options other than drawing water from wells or rivers, BUT they take some actual thought and effort to properly design, and are thus avoided by most people.

    • Look up “Dew Ponds” on your search engine, used by shepherds in the UK for many years. Used to be teams of men going around constructing these on grazing land.

  3. What America had that made it great was sound money. Money that could not be created with a printing press or the push of a button in some banking system, or front running trading algorithms. And ill gotten wealth that was not in the hands of 2% or less of the population.

    Until sound money is restored, moving into the future while longingly looking in the rear view mirror is just a pipe dream. And right now USA economic policy is identical to that of Zimbabwe before its currency disappeared.

    Just keep in mind that all those nice Oregon folks having a good time are electing governments and paying taxes that support torture, genocide and the overturn of democratically elected governments. Their consumption levels are such that for every one of them, at least 90 other humans will live a subsistence existence in spite of the fact that half the real good they consume are imported. There are five billion people on the earth that will breathe a sigh of relief when the American empire which exploits many of them into poverty (including 50 million Americans) finally crumbles under its own rampant corruption.

    There is no recovery for a system this debilitated. It requires a reset, and this will be over when USA wages are equal to Chinese wages. Do you even know what Chinese workers make? Didn’t think so. I’ll give you a clue. Ecuadorian workers make less than $400 per month, and that will support a family. More than 2 billion people exist on less than $2 per day.

    America is like the guy who went off a ten story building and remarked as he passed the third floor, “looks pretty good so far!” As long as you don’t look down, everything seems pretty ok.

  4. I thought Trump’s acceptance speech was was great. Maybe a bit loud. He sounded more sincere when he was quieter. But, in championing the working class, the traditional Republicans (THE ONES WHO WERE NOT THERE) are sort of in the position that the PGA was in when Tiger Woods won the PGA the first time. All of a sudden these country clubs had to admit players who they used to discriminate against. THE WORKING CLASS?? In the Republican Party? WTF?? Caring about the hopes and dreams of everybody?? Yikes! Now, there’s a change.

  5. I thought Trump’s acceptance speech was great. Maybe a bit loud. He sounded more sincere when he was quieter. But, in championing the working class, the traditional Republicans (THE ONES WHO WERE NOT THERE) are sort of in the position that the PGA was in when Tiger Woods won the PGA the first time. All of a sudden these country clubs had to admit players who they used to discriminate against. THE WORKING CLASS?? In the Republican Party? WTF?? Caring about the hopes and dreams of everybody?? Yikes! Now, there’s a change. Remember when the elite golfers were wondering if they should start serving fried chicken and watermelon?
    It’s going to be amusing to watch how they react to all these construction workers and such.

  6. Mind if I quote you on your ‘We didn’t become a great country based on multiculturalism; we became great because with did the one thing that defines a great country:

    We used to work together.’?

    You nailed it, it speaks volumes about the shape of “us” today (our politics, work environment, social life, etc.)

  7. George

    Please keep relaying, “The Best Places to Live”, portion of the show. I am keeping a list !!

  8. Tech is getting to be ‘big business’ out in Eastern Oregon, with data centers and all – great as long as the ‘boom’ holds . . . but I hope this doesn’t end up like up being a huge cyclic industry, like Boeing was in Seattle. My late husband was a machinist and he could have told you all about it being wonderful when some company needed you, and a freaking desert when they didn’t.

    What Baker City and the rest of the area east of the Cascades needs are steady jobs – not ‘flash in the pan’ stuff!

    • Whbat I was seeing was mostly ag-based…and those (provided humans keep eating) ought to be stable…

      • The problem with that is you need water – and while the Columbia River system is second biggest in the country, it’s highly dependent on mountain snows – climate change effects (look at the ‘almost gone’ glacier in Glacier National Park in Montana for example).

        California has their greedy eye on the Columbia – ‘Why just look at all that water just going out to the ocean, being wasted!’

        Nestle just got ‘discouraged’ from their plan to bottle water from the Columbia Gorge. Water is not an unlimited resource – even in the ‘wet parts’ of Oregon.

    • We need a new Paradigm about employment and/or work, imho, but no one talks about that!! :-(