Wal-Mart says November sales were up 1.5% and inflation is running
2.3% if you're on Social Security, 5.9% if you're our local power
company, or 9% if you're covering George's food bill, are sales really
up? yeah, don't ask...
----- snip & save section -----
Plain old Honey is better than OTC meds for soothing kid's coughs?
Cheaper by a long shot. Throw in a squeeze of lemon for some C
(and a shot of rum if it's cold out).
Remember about danger to
babies - honey and botulism, though.
LW offers this:
"Have been studying this for a couple
years now Best advice so far =
The golden rule of food storage is
"store what you eat, eat what you store". Sometimes abbreviated as "SWYE,EWYS"
Or is it, "EWYS,SWYE"? Anyway, if you follow that, you can't go too
far wrong. One way that people start is called, copy canning. You
buy 2 cans of whatever at the store instead of only the one you were
going to buy. That way you are truly buying what you are eating, and
you are building up as you can afford. "
I just added a copy of the Cub Scout Manual to our book collection here
at the ranch. Some really good stuff in the book and you never
know when kids will come by. Give 'em a jack knife, and a Cub
Scout manual and aim 'em toward the woods...
A little different topic, you might want to get involved in scouting -
as there seems to be a crisis of sorts brewing there:
"Whilst it is getting virtually no
press, there is a crisis of global proportions going on in the World
Organization of the Scouting Movement, and the international Boy
Scout movement in general. As is so often the case in Scouting, it
seems mostly about money, and mis/management thereof. Interesting
links seem to provide most of the story:
An old* life-long international Scouter,
now long since gone to sit around the campfire with Baden Powell,
told me many, many times that: "Scouting would be fine if it weren't
for some of the adults."
Always. Speaking of which:
"One book that I haven't seen mentioned yet is: The Neighborhood
Forager, by Robert Henderson. Henderson describes many edible plants
used as ornamentals in suburban landscaping. It is easy to walk
around urban/suburban settings and find edible plants. Not everyone
has access to the "great outdoors" and even if they do it's not like
much of the "natural" landscape hasn't been so messed over that much
of what used to be around isn't any more. Thanks for your site and
info, I always find it interesting."
Emergency Boat Plans
Flood coming? No money for a serious getaway boat? Read on:
"Maybe someone in Washington wishes they
had a pontoon boat.
Believe it or not, I made a one/two
person pontoon boat, out of 5 gal. buckets. To make the same boat I
did, you will need the following,
12 Plastic 5 gal. buckets, with lids
6 pieces of plywood, 1/2 thick, about 6
18 screws 2&1/2X1/4 with two washers,
and 18 nuts each
3 2X4's 4 ft. long
6 nylon tie down straps, 8 ft. long
2 2X2's 6 ft. long
1 sheet of plywood 4X6, or two pieces of
plywood making up the same length.
LOTS of screws, 1 inch to 1 and 1/2 inch
work best for the most part, but you will need a few (12) 3" screws
for the 2X2's on the sides.
First, put two lids together, top to
top, by putting a piece of plywood between them, and drilling three
holes through them, and the plywood. Then put a screw with a washer
into the hole, and put a washer and nut on the other side to hold
them together. One set of screws and washers for each hole. Seal the
holes with a waterproof caulk, or something similar. Do this untill
you have six sets of lids screwed together with the part that the
bucket snaps into facing outward. Snap the buckets into the lids.
Another method is to use duct tape. Simply tape the lids together.
It works, but imho, not as well.
By now you have three 2X4's each with a
set of buckets on each end. Using duct tape, tape the bottoms of the
buckets together, until you have six buckets in a row. This is one
pontoon. Make the other side the same way.
Next, attach the nylon straps, with
screws, one each, to each end of the 4 ft. 2X4's. Wrap the strap
around one of the buckets (near to, but NOT to the lid). Do the same
for the other side. Do this for each of the six sets of buckets you
have. An 8' strap will go around both buckets.
Now attach the 2X2's to each side of the
2X4's, then simply place the plywood on top of it all, and screw it
Maybe not up to Navy specs, but this
thing can be used as a boat, a raft for the kids to play with,
enough of them can be used as either a emergency dock, or a pontoon
bridge, depending on how you put them together."
A little small for matching animals two-by-two onto, but sounds like it
(Send in some more ideas on coping!! email:
---- end snip & save ----
Wednesday December 5, 2007
Good Times or Dual Cores?
The new productivity figures are out this morning and it's being touted as
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor today
reported revised productivity data--as measured by output per hour of
all persons--for the third quarter of 2007. The seasonally adjusted
annual rates of productivity growth in the third quarter were:
In both sectors, changes in productivity are
higher than the preliminary estimates published November 7, and
represent the largest productivity gains since the third quarter of
2003. The upward revisions to productivity resulted from upward
revisions to output--which grew 5.7 percent in both sectors--and small
downward revisions to hours, which fell 1.0 percent in the business
sector and 0.6 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the third
Of course, we won't ask questions like how much
of the productivity growth is real, because as my weak mind has it, the mere
appearance of dual core processors could double productivity and who knows
what quad cores will do. Despite that productivity enhancing computing
power, most of us can't type any faster, but don't let me rain on this
obvious effort to pimp the market up over the valley of death which looms in
the charts which we'll get to in a minute...up 150 or more seems a fair bead
on it based on the futures, unless there's a mass sobering event late in the
OPEC and More
The biggest financial story of the morning is that OPEC has just decided
not to raise its output and they won't meet again until nearly
February to consider the subject again. When you think about it, there
are a number of possible conclusions that an observer might ponder.
One of these is that OPEC may be pumping at peak capacity already, and if
they are, a promise of more would quickly be shown to be a myth, which in
turn would trigger the end-of-life struggle between super powers to lock up
oil in the ground.
Another possibility is that OPEC sees demand coming down (and likely price
with it) as the recession in America begins to shade from soft landing to
hard, and in which case, they are trying to get as much value from their
resource as possible, and who can blame them? Not that we weren't just
out pimping liar's paper trying to get as much as we could for the pseudo
triple-A paper, right? Pay-back's a bitch.
The tactical problem for the president's working group on markets, better
known as the Plunge Protection Team (PPT) is summed up in the following
There's also the possibility that the world will begin to react to the huge
change in the Middle East... (more on that in a sec) so this morning's
Productivity report is a marvelous coincidence, don'tcha think?
I mentioned in yesterday afternoon's special update
about how the Pacific Northwest was becoming somewhat isolated by the rains
and flooding this week which has, among other things, cut off north-south
I-5 traffic between Seattle and Portland due to incredible flooding in the
Chehalis area. Up the road a piece, but before you get to the Fort
Lewis/McCord AFB area, the state capitol, Olympia, had scenes like this
flooded road out front of the local Pier 1 Imports store (circle), causing
time monk lite Igor to wonder if this Olympia street scene is now Pier 2, or
if Olympia is just trying to imitate Venice:
(foto by Igor)
The key part of the story to focus on is the closure of I-5, which as a
Seattle Times story notes, means the disruption of travel by 11,000 trucks a
day, and the drive around (going up the Columbia River Gorge, then taking
highway 97 north (Yakima) and then coming over I-90, as not quite 500 miles
to the usually 3-hour Portland route, not to mention throwing a mountain
pass or two into the mix.
A state of emergency declared by governor Gregoire won't help much
initially, as the problem for Seattleites will be coping with the next few
weeks till a normal rhythm of life is reestablished.
The Seattle P.I. has a good photo gallery of the mess here. For
people in the impacted areas, having a good supply of food, water, cooking
options and such has just paid off big time.
Iran 1, U.S. 0
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) out this week says that best
intelligence estimates are now that Iran had stopped weapons work on nuclear
materials in about 2003 or so. On Tuesday,
Bush held a press conference to explain that his opinion about the danger of
Iran in the region hadn't changed, but it was pretty clear from the NIE
that the neocon war chant would have to be moderated.
pointing to the US intelligence work, Iran's president took time to do an "I
told you so!"
The China Connection
While George Bush is planning what I'd call a
'consolation visit' to Israel in January, the real sea state change may
be events in China. As I mentioned yesterday, the
Chinese are ticked about the operations of the USS Kitty Hawk near Taiwan,
but that's not the whole story. There's a much large, perhaps
years-long pressure building between the US and China which takes a little
To get a bead on where the relationship between two of the three Super
Powers will go, we need to look at the present dollar situation and economic
conditions in China. We have paid China billions upon billions for
goods to stock America store shelves and China has been piling up dollars to
spend, which they have used to start buying up natural resources. This poses
an extremely interesting question for American economic policy: If a
potential adversary has piles of your money, at what point does it become in
your national interest to devalue your money in order to prevent your
potential adversary from buying the last possible drop of oil?
China's internal economy is already red hot - with a lot more growth to come
- especially if you listen to folks like
commodities legend Jim Rogers, who's got a new book out on the topic.
While Rogers correctly notes that China is the only country in the world to
have several periods of greatness, with another shaping up now, the
country is also managing down its internal economy to prevent excessive
growth which has been causing a few problems of late. Tighter economic
policy for China in 2008 is the bottom line.
The policy conundrum which the Bush administration will leave for 'whoever
follows' is a critical long-term issue.
Meanwhile, China seems bound and determined to go to the moon, and it's
turned out that they may be retouching photos a bit here and there to give
the appearance of more progress than has really been made.
Seems a little creative photo work has been done on what was claimed by
China to be a real image of the moon's surface...
I won't claim to be a genius when it comes to military hardware systems, or
much of anything else, come to think of it. But I am puzzled by the
development of the Net-Centric Airborne Defense Element, which has,
as it's main claim to fame, that it has allowed a US fighter jet to knock
out a ballistic missile during its launch phase.
Here's the simple 'common sense' problem that pops up: Jet fighters
are not exactly high-mileage economy vehicles. Their time over target
on anything other than a flight from next door is often measured in only a
few minutes. And, if they are any distance away, you've got scramble
and travel time before they'd be in position to knock out a ballistic
missile being launched. Right there in the story it's admitted that:
"The aircraft would have to get to within a 100 miles of the launch site
to catch the ascending missile in the first two to three minutes after
So, if we are worried about China or Russia lobbing things at us, how are we
going to get close enough? And, if some other aggressor was going to
launch, on Europe say, would they be sending us invitations to get jets into
position? Not hardly.
So this leaves me scratching the widening bare spot on my head thinking "I
don't get it..." Flied pork?
The headline that "More
than 10,000 jet into Bali for global warming conference" just ticks me
off something fierce. More of the "Do as we say, not as we do" from
the global elitists. Crap.
Take a Hike
Most walkable city in the US?
then Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Portland....
Next Web Bot Run
The new predictive linguistics run is getting set up: While the first
subscription to the data series is $240 for a seven-part report, subsequent
runs get cheaper ($70). The next run will be the 1008 run,
which means it will look at events all the way out to October of 2008, which
if you have been following my notes here, is when something like global war
shows up linguistically....
Sign-up information here. Next thing temporal marker we're looking
for will be problems for the Atlantis shuttle mission over the Atlantic...
--- snip & save section ---
What is a buying club and how does it work?
"Please share with your readers this bit of
info on buying clubs.
I belong to a buying club sourced by United
Natural Foods Eastern Division. They have warehouses in Atlanta, GA,
Chesterfield, NH, Dayville, CT, Greenwood, IN, Iowa City, IA, New
Oxford, PA, and Sarasota, FL. I can order items in bulk for storage or
grocery products by the case, along with personal care items, cleaning
supplies, and vitamins. Discounts depends on the size of the club and
amount ordered. We currently receive an 11% discount from listed prices
but are close to having enough members for 15%
Note: this used to be a co-op and we were
charged only a small amount over wholesale - but the warehouses were
bought out and 'privatized. The club also offers sales each month -
about 5 pages worth - of 20% to 40% discounts on a wide range of items.
Check them out at
and search for more buying clubs/co-ops online.
Also, for bulk storage, I get $1 food grade
buckets from the bakery department of my local supermarket. They are
used frosting buckets with resealable lids and come in sizes from 2.5
gallon to 5 gallon. A local franchise (Maidrite) also sells their used 5
gallon buckets for $3. For long term storage, it's best to seal the
grain/etc. in liners - available on the internet - but not necessary."
I thought this was interesting::
This looks like a good way to up production
and lower work. also Google upside down tomatoes several good sites on
growing tomatoes in a hanging bucket with the plant upside down, no
staking or weeding and fewer pest problems. "
Insurance or Extortion?
From a reader:
"I followed “Kick 'em When They're Down” and
actually thought it was somewhat humorous that Sen. Carl Levin says
"Working people are being squeezed." Not that I enjoy people suffering
from their own bad financial decisions but in the context of the
statement being made regarding “Congress Scrutinizing Credit Card
Industry Practice of Raising Rates When Credit Scores Fall”. Wonder how
that compares to the government squeeze and does Sen. Levin really think
the people feel like he’s doing them a great big favor? Maybe they do.
Then I opened a letter from our insurance
company and read about a change to our auto insurance due to a change in
the state law. They say “It’s important for us to call prior to our
policy renewal so they can review 1) how our premium will be affected
depending on our coverage choices, and 2) how we may be eligible to save
some money while still ensuring that we have appropriate coverage.” Call
me skeptical but to me that just means 1) they want to scare the hell
out of me so that 2) I make the appropriate choices to maximize their
profits while minimizing their liability.
And thing get even worse when I opened a
letter from our health insurance company to find out our premium for my
wife and I is being increased more than $100 a month. We’re all getting
squeezed and you ain’t seen nothing yet."
Not much to add here, except that insurance is
always a balancing act: Price you can pay versus coverage you need.
Key thing I have found in car insurance is you pay through the nose if you
drive a new car, and if you are willing to pay a $500 deductible, then the
savings will put you ahead in only a couple of years. And on health
insurance, who can afford that?
Send your snip & saving contributions to
email@example.com. Anything you've
found that helps cut costs, improve quality of life - thanks!
---- end of snip & save ----
December 4, 2007
Restrictions On Travel/ PNW
All the linguistics about the Pacific Northwest being isolated (around the
time of a big earthquake) seem to be coming true. But, while we
thought the earthquake would cause the restrictions, it turned
out to be the massive storms through the area over the past day and a half.
In Olympia, Washington's state capitol, scenes like this were common:
(foto by Igor)
To the south of this scene, Interstate 5 which runs down toward Portland has
been blocked by as much of 8-feet of water over the roadway.
Homes are being gobbled up by floodwaters around Chehalis, reports local
media. And, sorry we didn't see the linguistics the right way, but
with all the weight of all the water in the PNW, there's some quiet
discussion here and there that an earthquake might now be more likely.
Hopefully not, but with the storm passing eastward, we're already hearing
reports that certain kinds of shortages are starting to appear
Oil, Dollars, Declines
Some mornings I just shake my head: "Price
of crude falls on hopes of cuts by OPEC" declares one headline.
That certainly flies in the face of supply/demand theory, doesn't it?
fate of the dollar is not clear following a summit in the Middle East where
the question of the dollar's valuation was discussed. As a result,
the dollar is down and the metals up this morning. However,
there are some suggestions that the dollar could rally in 2008, but it's
not the kind of bet I'd make.
Nope, the kind of place to make money (at least for me) has been in
commodities, betting that food prices will go up if for no other reason than
central banksters are printing money like a house afire and it will just
take more paper to buy food. Oh look! A report headlined "World
faces food shortages, price rises". How long ago did I mention
food shortages/encounters with scarcity were due along about spring 2008 by
the linguistic fellows?
Did you notice that
inflation seems to be sneaking back into the EU? The
ECB meets on Thursday
and our Fed meets with
board member Janet Yellen highlighting the downside risks from 'market
As the market drops when it opens this morning,
financials seem like they will be weighing heavily.
China is upset with the transit of the USS Kitty Hawk through the strait of
Taiwan. International waters, aren't they?
Kick 'em When They're Down
is looking at doing something about the credit card practice of raising
interest rates on people as their credit scores fall, which is the same
as kicking folks when they are down. Of course, you and I both know
little meaningful change will happen because of all the cash the banksters
behind the curtain will throw into the re-election campaigns, but it sure
looks like Congress is doing something. Wink, wink, nod, nod...
Analysts are seeing that what Treasury Secretary Paulson is talking about in
the way of a home foreclosure bail out for consumers will only help a very
small number of folks. Gee, what a surprise.
good news from Ford but GM sales dropped more than expect in the car sales
figures out Monday. Say, you don't think oil prices, unemployment,
food inflation, home foreclosures, and falling confidence had anything to do
with it, do you?
Million Dollar Minutes
How fast is the national debt growing?
Try a million a minute. Pay me that and I'd work part-time...
Two Bit Minutes:
AT&T getting out of pay phones.
----- snip & save section ----
& Pirate Gardens
Now that the Half Past Human team is officially between runs, they can turn
their attention to finding really useful things that are just good
brain food, which looks suspiciously like bananas for monkey mind.
Speaking of which, monkey mind may be brighter than college students when
measured just so.
Between data runs now (Details of ALTA 1008 forthcoming tomorrow) I'm able
to talk with the time monks about more than "Well, what does that
mean in modelspace?" Instead, we're able to look at what seem
at times to be coincidences in life and ponder "What are the odds?"
Like "What are
the odds of hurricane force winds hitting the Northwest?" 100
Which gets to a very interesting area, because there's a region of thought
where atheism, religion, philosophy, and science seem to intersect; that
place where the Universe springs from.
To an atheist, I suppose the Universe is a cold place and has nothing to
offer but raw chance. If something quite unexpected happens, it's
concluded that it must happen, because it simply didn't happen
before by chance. Thus, it's an outlier or Black Swan event
statistically. A sort of if you look often enough, you're bound to see
something anomalous. Fair enough.
In religion, at least most of the big ones, there's the concept that certain
outliers/Black Swans are the result of "as above, so below" - popular across
a wide spectrum including alchemists, curiously. Coincidence in this
group is often seen as outliers, but also labeled as prayers answered, or
punishment handed out for this transgression or that.
Move to the philosophy, and we find Carl Jung's concept of
Where just as someone is talking about something, it manifests in in real
life present moment. To Jung, this was similar to the concept which
Plato gets to in the Allegory of the Cave, where a man, held in chains
inside a cave, is shown only shadows cast on the cave wall in front of him,
by a fire behind him which he cannot see. The wall of the cave is
outward reality and those tiny things behind the man which cast outward
shadows are the archetypes.
Next there's the science part where the conservation of energy principal
comes to play If each of us somewhere in our brains has a tiny bit of
'personal energy" a scientific question is "Where does this stuff go at the
end of the line?" The jury is out on that one, but study of
I spread all this out before you this morning to chew over, because the most
important work of life may be the learning to dance with Universe, each of
us in our particular way; there being at least these four ways of dancing as
I see it, and likely many more. If you look for 'dance steps often
enough, you may start to see them.
Elaine had just such an experience this week. One of the items on her
to-do list is to call Lightfoot Carpet and have them come out and re-stretch
the carpet and mend a barely visible cut we had to make in the carpet so we
could peel the carper back and make repairs after our water heater disaster.
Here's where it gets interesting: Last month, she had a wrong number
phone call from someone asking for "Mrs. Lightfoot". Of course, she
connect the dots right away. And, the call to get the carpet fixed got
pushed down the list and other items took precedence.
And then the phone ran again. "Is Mrs. Lightfoot there?" And
then Elaine 'got it.' She was momentarily speechless...and immediately
came over to the office and said "Aha!" as we've talked about this dancing
with Universe/Universe-winks-at-you stuff many times in the past.
We're pretty sure that once she gets this project off her to-do list, the
calls for Mrs. Lightfoot will stop.
My deepening appreciation for this 'outer expression' of the 'inner work'
grows almost daily. And I decided to share it with you in a
non-denominational, take it as religion - or not - way because there's a
really important key to living in here which can help immensely when
'coping':. It might be summed up as no matter what your circumstance,
you have managed to get there with your Big Dance Partner and to change any
circumstance, all you need do is a different step.
Or, as one of the web bot spiders reported back:
"There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident,
springs from the deepest source of destiny - Friedrich Schiller (1759 -
The next time you find yourself asking "What are the odds of that?"
The answer is either zero or 100%, depending on what dance you're doing.
The two phone calls; outliers or meaningful coincidence? A dance, or
See a vacant lot around? Don't see it as a vacant lot! Look at
it as a 'garden waiting to happen' at the hands of guerilla farmers!
An introduction here.
What's that Plant?
A reader sends this:
"Regarding Monday's story from one of your readers regarding plant
identification, There is a great little book that I used to sell in my
survival store in Coeur d' Alene Idaho, that was called Ron Dawson's
It had 3 small booklet on plant ID and 2 on basic survival and primitive
first aid. They were waterproof and had color pictures in them of edible
plants from the Rockies west. Didn't give you all of the edible plants
just the easily identifiable ones. A great booklet that I highly
recommend for anyone going into the mountains or for just basic
The "preparedness nuggets" section is excellent. Very good site for
living on the cheap.
The "buddy burners" section is good, and I've made several. Not sure
about CO emissions from these, but they throw off a good flame.
http://www.survival.org.au/skills.php Moved from the old
If you've got survival, cooking, disaster prep links and sugghestions, send
'em along to firstname.lastname@example.org and
we'llk put them in our 'snip and save section' - the more the better...
----end snip and save ---
Monday December 3, 2007
The Lines in the Sand
No point waking up too fast, being as it's Monday and all. So let's
just start with a peek at what I call the 'line in the sand' problem for the
Federal Reserve. It's based on the idea that there's a danger zone
following new all time highs that runs from about 30-60 days after the
all-time high is set. Get through that period, and everything can work
out peachy. Blow it here, and you get a shot at a 1929 or 1987 type
The early going is undecided. On the positive side,
the price of oil
has come down a buck or so, some are saying it's because of a pending OPEC
meeting, but I look at the weekend election loss by Venezuelan president
for life wannabe Hugo Chavez being told by voters, "No,
you're not Simon Bolivar and this is not a lifetime gig" as a more
There may be a sidebar to the Venezuela story, if anyone Washington is
conscious enough to 'get it': Humans who enjoy freedom don't care for
folks that go messing about with their Constitution!
In case you hadn't noticed, not everyone in Russia is happy with
Putin's party sweeping elections Sunday. The
US is expected to press for investigation of election irregularities,
but it's little more than a gesture. Vlad is setting himself to be the
man behind the curtain once his term is up - a little different ploy than
Chavez had in mind, but it makes me wonder if there isn't something in the
water these guys drink that leads them to think in terms of perpetual
leadership roles. Hopefully, none of that in DC, but I wouldn't bet on
So the outlook for
the market open today is along the line of 'flat' with a lot of economic
data to come later in ther week. Oh sure, the auto sales will come out
after the close today, but just judging by how the 'zero cash due at
signing' and 'zero interest on select models' are showing up, you don't
really need to be an expert on economics to figure the auto sales have been
light. Not that there are any experts on the economy, anyway.
Tuesday promises to be an imminently forgettable day with few headline
numbers about, but then along about Wednesday we get factory orders and
revised productivity. But the day to watch, at least for me,
will be Friday when the hourly earnings, the unemployment rate, and then
late in the day just before the market closes, the Consumer Debt number
comes from the Fed. The Fed tidies it up by calling it "consumer
credit" and I suppose in a banker-centric world where it's all about
bankers, yes, they are extending 'credit' but the larger reality is it's
really about taking on debt, and are we taking on enough to keep the economy
I explained to Peoplenomics subscribers this weekend how the market may be
approaching overbought by some of my indicators and then there's the
nearness of the 50-day moving average to be concerned with. We'll just
sit back and watch, thanks.
While banks here in the US are quickly moving to limit how much money
depositors can withdraw from a bank via (inter-institutional) wire transfers in a particular day
or month (check you bank's terms!), I've been keeping a half-eye on the fate
Northern Rock in the UK, which had a run recently, and is down today among
rumors that Virgin may not come bail them out of their woes. The
British government, reports the BBC is trying to make sure there are plenty
of backup deals if the Virgin Group walks. "Treasury
'wants Rock bidding war' says the BBC. Yeah, well, lotsa luck; I
can't be the only one who's read a little economic history.
Not that it can't happen here, either. The Wall Street Journal
the story of the Florida state-run investment pool that is facing 'an
old-fashioned bank-run' last week.
I'm sure there are a bunch of monetarists who are screaming "This is von
Mises 'crack-up boom' don't you see it? Stocks near new highs while
banks and fund runs are going on!"
You don't need to hear that
a similar fund problem is brewing in Big Sky country, do you?
And just to push things along, the Fed is about to drop rates another
quarter (or more) so while the dollar might be showing a bit of strength
now, I wouldn't bet on it longer term, but that's just me. Nope, a
copy of the Constitution, a little farm land, and figuring out how to make a
living/scrape by if a layoff suddenly comes along, seems like a reasonable
set of back-up plans to have about now.
Faced with SIV's and CDO's dropping in price,
Moody's is reported ready to drop credit ratings on $105 billion in SIV's.
I can almost hear the jubilation on Wall Street: "Oh, see, it's not
all that bad" the Bulls will hold. The bears will likely say
"OMG, this is bad and getting worse."
Vivendi picks up a majority interest in Acitivision. Big bux: $18.9 B.
I'm expecting a whole gob of additional M&A headlines as the Fed is keeping
rate low making all kinds of acquisitions affordable. The Fed is, in
effect, says "Here, take this free money and go buy something."
"Free money? Has George put a shot of Jack in his coffee?" Not
hardly, but think about it: With interest rates dropping, and
inflation warming (due to the falling buck) I can see how assets could
increase 5% based on inflation while the price of money drops below that,
and if that doesn't describe 'free money', I don't know what does.
HalfPastHuman subscribers know that the meme "attacks on the press" is
supposed to surface somewhere along in here, but it's still quite surprising
to see the meme show up in MainStream itself as the LA Times headlines "CNN:
Corrupt News Network" Ouch.
Nanny State Report:
Vending Machine Police, Vegetative States
The New York Times says the Feds are looking to limit what can go into
vending machines available to kids at school, although the headline says "Effort
to Limit Junk Food in Schools Faces Hurdles."
And if that's not enough government for you, the
Cornucopia Institute is warning that thanks to some e. coli scares, the
press is on to sterilize fields where crops are grown.
----snip and save section ---
Eating Off the Land
Want to head for the woods and eat what you find? It can be done as
any Bear Grylls fan
knows, but before you do, a lot of research is needed and toward this end,
there's this from a reader:
"Hi George, I have been following the
suggestions for getting along in hard times.
It is easy to suggest getting books on
native plants for food. Actually identifying the plants is another ball
First let me qualify my comments: I have a
B.S. degree in Natural Resource Management [mainly botany] and a M.S.
degree in plant ecology. Working as a graduate student in botanical
research on the plains of central America at one time I was able to
identify by sight over 1000 plants. I had to be able to ID plants from
only vegetative growth and from the reproductive structure
[flowers/seeds]. Identification of plants is not as easy as it is
presented. Many are similar. Colors of flowers is a poor means of ID. So
is leaf shape, shape of stems and type of flower structure Genetic
variability will present to you many variations...many plants are
In western Kansas there is a plant called
'fire weed' yet just a short 150 miles west in Colorado is another plant
called 'fire weed' that only grows above the 8000 foot level. They are
not the same plant. The confusion here is that of using "common names".
Especially local or regional common names. Throughout the plains states
there is a tree called the "Chinese Elm". In reality it is not the
Chinese Elm but the Siberian Elm from the steppes of Russia. But
everybody calls it by the incorrect name...it has become part of the
local knowledge base that is incorrect.
The correct common name of plant is
established by the biological/botanical science community of the USA in
a publication called SPN [scientific plant names].
A library of books on edible plants that
does not identify plants using scientific names and correct common names
and their derivatives by region is much less useful than one based on
the SPN source.
I do have an extensive library on the
subject of edible plants. Even with my training as a botanist and my
field experience I often have trouble identifying for sure a plant. The
problem is that many genera have similar species and the difference
between species is narrow and can be even for a professional botanist an
arguable point...is it species A or B.
The naming confusion comes from those who
are splitters and those who are lumpers as to what constitutes a
There is lots of native plants that can be
used for food. I would not tell people to shy away from this source
because of the identification problems. But you must practice using the
It is critical to identification that you
get a book that explains the botanical definitions of the terms used in
botanical keys. Botanical keys do not use pictures...they use scientific
terminology to describe characteristics. Botanical keys are great
devices for ID but their esoterism practically eliminates them from use
by non trained people in botany. Is it adaxial or abaxial?
In addition you need a good 10X hand lens, a
small set of tweezers and a small steel pick to take apart flowers. A
good shovel to dig up the roots and a pocket knife with at least two
"sharp" blades for dissecting plant parts. The old style razor blades
work well for this.
Caution: because of the extreme difficulty
in identifying mushrooms ...just stay away from them. Identification of
mushrooms requires you to collect a specimen, shake out some of the
reproductive cells from under the hood on a piece of white paper...and
then examine these under high power with a really good microscope....
And even then you need practice and university training from a good
instructor to know what you are doing.
Collecting and use of plants is a good
source of material for hard times... But it is not to be expected to
provide much of a source in quantity unless you have prepared in advance
with books, equipment and practice, practice, practice
says I should put up a link to the Foxfire Fund, which I am pleased to do,
check of their links page is
worthwhile. And don't forget to check out their gift shop, where
you can find books on things like making traditional rustic furniture.
----- end snip
and save section -----
Around the Ranch
first: Although I've had nearly 400 emails saying I should go ahead
and do the radio show I've been invited to do, I have had to admit, quite
reluctantly, that I just don't have time for it. One of the toughest
things I've had to learn in life is not to over commit and spread myself too
isn't finding the one additional hour that hosting a talk show would entail
for the on-air portion. It's the off-air work that eats up the time.
Setting up guests to be on the show, increased interaction with readers, and
pondering it, but the demands of consulting clients comes first, and with
life already mostly running in egg timer mode now, the additional burden of
a radio show just won't fit. Thanks for the many emails and comments!
Maybe if the consulting load lightens down the road...
for you to ponder, that fell out of a conversation with Cliff at HPH.
It goes to the idea that people might be well-served by developing a
three-state system of logic rather than the black/white, true/untrue kinds
of mental constructs now widely in use.
UFO's and even some of the corpgov/'powers that be' relationships don't fit
into the "absolutely known to be true" or "absolutely known to be false"
category. Some things 'shade toward true' or 'shade toward false' so
it follows that constructing a whole worldview around absolutes may be
That sounded serious. Where's my coffee? I've got work to do.
Goats are yelling for breakfast and where's the egg timer?