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Dizzying Glitter -
Sure glad I'm not writing Saturday columns any more - ;-)
But as "Gold
futures close in on $1,000 mark" and the
"Silver marks biggest monthly gain in 22-years" I can't
resist. Hooray for the metals! Yee Haw!
cartoon over at Jim Sinclair's JSMineset.com site says it
all. $1,650 is being eyed first - and rumor is there's
talk among the metals investors that this run might get to
$3,000 an ounce for gold. My own thinking is that if
that were to happen, silver might pop to somewhere north of
"Coming out!" Ah, the sound of the croupier in Lost Wages, or
more recently Lost Dreamland, as the shooter at the craps table
prepares to try his luck once again. And yep, these next
couple of weeks, that's me holding the dice. Except, it's
not really dice. It's three commodity options on Silver -
and they're $20 calls which expire June 25th, or so.
Not that I plan to make a lot of money on them - but the rally
in gold and silver this week has certainly given me hope that
they'll come home 'in the money."
Most people don't play options the way I do - which is why so
many people have more money than me. Yet, properly (and
dare I say conservatively) done, options can dramatically
increase your investment returns. Might be a good time to
read a book on options, regardless of whether you have ever
played before, since there's a chance that as the second big leg
down in Depression Two shows up over the fall, that you may wish
to consider - just tossing out an idea here and NOT pedaling
investment advice - that you consider hedging stock positions.
One way it can be done - just to give you an example - might be
to write a covered call option on shares of stock you own.
Say I had 100-shares of
GE that closed Friday at 13.45 and that I was planning to
unload between in October. At today's prices, that would
be $1,345 for a hundred shares Friday.
GE has options that expire in September - so that fits with our
time frame. Then I go to the options pricing for September
call options and find
$15.00 call options which are shown for a dime here under the
symbol GEWIH.X. If you're new to options, you have to
mentally multiply that 75¢ times
100 to get the pricing.
We'll ignore commissions here in
this example, but the idea is that you sell this 'covered call'
- meaning you own actually stock to back it up (uncovered calls
can be the quick road to the poorhouse).
Now let's explore three possible
outcomes as to how this would work out come the third Friday in
September when the September options are squared up.
Say GE goes UP to $16.00.
You will have to deliver the stock at $15.00 per your
option, so you'd miss out on the delta between the strike
price ($15) and the settlement price ($16). In other
words, you'd leave $100 on the table since stock options are
based on 100-share lots of underlying stock (and that's
where that multiply times 100 comes from when you read
options prices). Still, you'd have locked in an 11.5%
gain between now and September, you'd have the money in hand
Let's say that instead of going
up, GE goes NOWHERE. In this case, the option expires
worthless (since it's a right to buy GE stock at $15 which
no one is going to do since the stock can be purchased on
the market at $13.45). The cool thing here, though, is
that since you got the money form selling the option, you
still make that 5.57% in 3 1/2 months. Frankly, it's
one of the reasons that retail stock customers - the old buy
and hold people - are so slow to accumulate wealth.
Unless they get lucky and pick out a Microsoft in the old
days - or something like that, their entire return profile
is going to come from the caliber of their picks and
not their wisdom at squeezing every possible nickel out of
Now let's look at what happens
if GE goes down to $12.45 on option settlement day.
You could sell the stock and take your $1,245 off the table,
but remember, you'd still have the $75 from selling the call
option for $75 at the $15 strike price, so that's your
money, too. So your loss from Friday's price would only be
$25 instead of the $100 it would be if you hadn't sold the
Bottom line is that you get to
either a) walk out of the Casino at Friday's price, or b) since
you weren't going to sell the stock until October anyway (based
on your chart work, or because you're a delusional crazy person)
and bet that it will go up between when the option
expires and when you bail out of the stock.
Obviously, if GE goes down to
$11.45 ($1,145 account value of your 100 shares) you're still
going to book a loss. But, it will be a smaller loss.
And if you're really adventurous,
you could write a covered put option - which is the reverse of
the call option scenario...and potentially getting another
$X if you can find the right greater fool at the right
Like I say, this is NOT INVESTMENT
ADVICE - think of it as the urging you to further your
investment perspectives a bit.
Oh...and if Silver makes a moon
shot to $22? Each of my silver options in the commodity
market will be worth $3 per ounce since I own $20 calls and
silver commodity options control the gain/loss on 5,000 ounces
of silver. So the math would be $3.00 times 5,000 ounces
($15,000) and since there are three options in play, the
possibility of $45k is on the table. If silver were to
spike to $25 over the next couple of weeks, it's party time
since I'd scrape $75K off the table, but that's just wishin' &
dreamin' stuff. Trader juice, though.
Probably won't happen, but the same
concept of writing options that I explained with GE stock works
in commodities, too. Which is why even if gold & silver
might seems like boring metals that don't return a dividend or
grow based on innovation, yada yada, the folks that hold them
can (and many do) sell put and call options. Beats
whatever the local bank pays in the way of interest, which is a
To guys like me? It's a
chance to every once in a while take a little back from the
Maybe...just maybe. But for a
sophisticated investor, all that glitters is not gold.
Oh, may not be just silver and gold
going moon-ward. Have a look at the "Terrible
outlook for 2009 global wheat output. As soon as we
get to the top of the metals run, I'm planning to roll into
grains for the late fall period since that will drive the spike
in food prices we're expecting concurrently with the dollar
Great! I'd just get to the
point where I can serious money only to find it will take a
wheelbarrow to get through the supermarket checkout line.
Oh well...WTH. That's the times the garden is for.
Banks That Suck...
...may be about to find that the
FDIC is imposing limits on the interest that can be paid to
depositors. But Wait! Doesn't that just about
insure they will fail - given that they need to pay competitive
rates to attract depositors? Now you know why they don't
ask the People's Economist about these matters.
Maybe that's because
the FDIC didn't post any bank
closures on its web site Friday after the market close this
week. Maybe we'll get back to our two-a-week average next
week? Guys on vacation, or something?
Radio Appearance Note
KLBJ / OneRadioNetwork
@ 6 PM tonight. Just for an hour. Patrick Timpone's
second hour guest? My commodity guy - J.B. Slear will be
on talking about the action in the metals market this week along
with how his micro hydroponics project is going.
That should be pretty interesting,
since Patrick has been growing veggies hydroponically at his
place near Austin. He's using dilute seawater and
rainwater, while JB is using a more conventional approach -
should make for interesting discussion.
Oh - don't forget, it's a call-in
type format, so you can hit 'em with all kinds of questions,
While there are some reports about
the auto industry starting to emerge sporting headlines like "With
bankruptcy looming, a new GM begins to emerge"
If you believe we're anywhere near through the Second
you've got to get a water filter to take out the fluoride or
stop taking them blue pills.
Those of us who have taken the red pill know that things are not
as they seem back in the matrix and that harder times are ahead
since 1) the commercial real estate bubble hasn't even been
touched yet and since by late summer, events will fall into
place that will cause a collapse of the derivatives market
globally (again) just in time to participate with the collapse
of the dollar.
And speaking of which, you did
see where the dollar fell to a 5-month low this week?
Oh - all the hoopla about Chrysler closing dealerships? I
hear from sources in the auto industry that many of the
dealerships involved were owned by folks who had more than one
dealership. A fair number are planning to keep all their
stores open, and just bring in product through the other store's
flooring plan. Gee...you mean all the big "changes" in the
auto industry may be a little over-hyped? Who'da thought?
What's He REALLY
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama "...assails
large government role in General Motors." Oh sure,
mentions the road to socialism alright.
Oh? I'll tell you what I see:
Alabama got $1.66 of federal spending (due at least in some part
to Shelby's efforts) for each dollar of US income tax paid by
folks in his home state according to records of the Tax
Foundation data up through 2005.
Michigan - on the other hand, as of 2005, was only getting 92¢
for each dollar state residents paid in federal income tax.
You don't even want me to tell you
that people in California only got 78¢ of federal spending for
each buck of income taxes paid to the federales in 2005.
California wouldn't even have a state deficit, I betcha if'n
Golden Staters got back a full measure of what was paid.
No wonder folks don't make a big
deal about this: Texas subsidized Alabama! So does
California & Michigan. Of course Shelby's gonna squeal if
anyone gets near his pork. (And noi wonder these numbers
aren't updated annually, LOL!)
So here's the bottom line to go
ponder: If the States are all equal...shouldn't every
state get the same dollars back that they ante up? Texas,
where we live got 94¢ on the tax dollars paid.
Grassroots effort to keep federal
taxpayer spending more directly proportionate to tax payments
made, anyone? The wider the discrepancies, the more the
power-hungry folks can throw their weight around...
Russians Get It
Still Shelby may be partly right: I know that I've gotten
a big of skepticism from center-left (politically) readers who
send point pen emails for saying that in Washington, the new
game is corporate socialism - where the rich get to structure
laws and governance to protect their backsides while bending the
rest of us over in BOHICA fashion. But you know it may be the
right way to look at how events have gone in Washington
when Pravda starts noticing the speed with with corporate/US
Marxism has been rolling along... durn born again
Like This is New
offers prime posts to Top Campaign Contributors" digs a
headline. Whatever! You mean like Clinton, Bush,
Reagan and everyone else who has sat in the chair didn't do
exactly the same thing? That's just how things work
Secrets Revealed - How
You know that a whole hard drive worth of documents from the
Clintonista era in the White House has gone missing.
to make an $50K score? Find and return it.
Hmmm, says I in my best pirate kind of voice, "Thar be something
mighty fishy, 'er, matie...Argghhhh..."
Like: Truth out and that worries someone?
Discrimination on the
The story that "Wikipedia
bans Church of Scientology" members from editing entries
brings up an interesting concept: Doesn't this set a
precedent where Wikifolks could ban other religious groups from
editing? Geez - Middle East political entries would all
go, LOL. 'Nother one of them red pills, please....
Making Their Marks
Germany is planning big government spending cuts and may ban
That gives me an alternative idea where to park a couple of
bucks for the coming fall melt-down if we can speak Swiss
--- snip and save section ---
With 'Tune Out'
Elaine went to town on Friday for a
supply run and happen to go through the checkout at Wal-Mart.
The girl at the counter seemed to pay no attention to her
pleasantries, which struck her as odd. So Elaine sp0oke up
a bit louder.
"Excuse me, I was asking you if
people come through check-out lines and keep talking away on
their cell phones?" Elaine inquired.
The answer says something about the
world we live in. "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were on a
cell phone. Yeah, people come through here all the time
and with a headset on, I just tune them out. I hate
Seems to me there's a very
interesting aspect of the "duality" meta layer of the predictive
linguistics going on here, one that Elaine's check-out
experience brought into clear enough focus that we were talking
about it at 4:45 AM today.
'On the one hand we have a society
which is trying to retribalize - people are trying to get hooked
up with other similarly thinking people. Yet, on the
other, there's been a huge spike up in something which I'd label
"Rudeness Factor/Tune-Out Factor at the the same time.
Cell phones are pushing a new kind
of unsustainable connectivity. When the dollar collapses
(this late fall into mid 2010) and when the cost of energy is so
high that power systems fail we'll all be reconnecting with
people in front of us since our virtualized world's gonna be in
trouble without power.
Just something to think about next
time your stick a Bluetooth device in your ear and ignore people
Who Needs Advertising?
Working on the question "Is
Advertising Outdated?" for this weekend's
report. Seems yes, advertising really is a tax on
everything we consume and yes, the world may be past the window
where advertising made sense from a resource standpoint......
Around the Ranch:
Clean Up Day
With my son coming down for a visit
Monday - where I intend to work his you-know-what off on big
projects - I decided it was time to really clean out my shop on
Friday. Put up some new wire-rack shelving and oh boy!
Place looks like a cross between a Lowes and AutoZone with a
hefty helping of Sherwin-Williams, a machine shop, and a
Might even get my central vacuum
system installed today...although that'd be pushing it.
Still, having a neat shop is its own curse. Sure I can
find the tools quicker, but dang, do I really want to mess it up
See you Monday. If I'm
staring at the shop floor then, still debating this question,
say something that will jar me back into the present.
Something like "Gold & silver are trading now...."
Yup, that'd do it, I reckon.
Send lunatic fringe rants, ufo reports,
thousand dollar bills, and huckleberry pies to
--- end snip and save section ---
Nothing To Fear But History
This week my
report will focus on a couple of historical points which folks
seem to overlook. One is the comparison of bank failures in
the 1930's to bank failures of the present day (Oh, and it's worse,
BTW than the Great Depression already even if
don't count the latest three closures last week) and the other is
the 500-year 'hemisphere cycle' of history. So get out your
calculator and let's see what's hidden in plain sight:
Depression Two is now well underway; albeit cleverly hidden in plain
view for any thinking person to see...
More For Subscribers
Pass It Around
UrbanSurvival just keeps getting more
popular - thanks to your help. But don't stop now. Tell all your
friends to wander by for an odd mixture of common sense economics, humor,
preparedness and a side order of ...well, weird.
Click here for a tool that may help.
"Live on $10,000" Updated
What? You haven't ordered the ebook "How to Live on
$10,000 a year -- or less"? Suit yourself. We're all
going to live it shortly, anyway. I just thought you might
like a heads up by reading about how to do it before you get
pink-slipped. But, suit yourself OR visit
www.liveontenthousand.com or, click one of the following
- still possible. I also took a bit of additional
material that was pertinent from recent issues of Peoplenomics
and included them. The whole thing runs about 65 pages,
but it gives you a vision of how to not only live on the
aforementioned dollar amount, but also how to migrate up the
economic foodchain if you make a little more than that and do
some active savings...
Click here for the page with more details on it.
week's report is here. For
back issues of this site, click here. (Goes back to
Friday May 14, 2009
Psst! Want a Car
I didn't mean to start of what should be happy friday as a
grouch, so if surly, sour, and real bothers you, go hit some
infotainment site. I'm in a grouchy mood. Why?
You wanna know why? I'll tell you why...
The headlines are pretty grim around the GM story. "GM
suppliers face new threat as bankruptcy looms for Automaker"
reports Bloomberg this morning. And it looks like it could
be filed as early as Monday.
Now, I'll tell you what stumps me - and it has bothered me about
the AIG deal, too. When the public puts in piles of dough
- and in GM's case, you and me put up the dough - and in
any other kind of company I've ever read about, that would buy
us (taxpayers) control of the Board of Directors who in turn
call the shots in concert with the CEO, right?.
I usually won't go name-calling. I usually try to stay
above such trivialities and leave that to the overly rabid
right. But just between you and me, if a company's board
of directors oversees a decline of stock price from over $38 a
share to just over a buck at the close yesterday, should
they...you know...be replaced?
Oh sure, I know what the excusifications will be - "Oh these
guys all know the car industry" might be proposed. Oh?
How many billions have they lost again? They don't know
"Oh, we want to preserve stability" might be another.
Yeah, like tell that to the millions impacted by their wisdom
and who are taking gunpoint vacation time this summer because
the company has been run into the ground.
I don't know why the government doesn't just come in and sweep
it clean. Down here in East Texas, $70-billion confers serious
ass-kicking rights. But not so, apparently, in
'politically correct land' inside the Beltway. Are you
For the roughly $70 billion plus this steaming lump is
going to cost us all (roughly $228.76 for every man, woman, and
child in America, by the way), can we please - pretty
please with sugar on it - find a new group of Deciders in the
board room; people with vision. Ever hear of a
concept called 'getting ahead of the curve' instead of being run
over by it?
Because the folks who build the cars aren't to blame for GM's
failure. It's an outmoded, heavy into denial
decision-making process and upper management style that has
failed and I want no part of my $228.76 that I've got as skin in
this game going in any form - options, stock, travel, or cash -
to the people who didn't see it coming and haven't 'gotten it'
since the rice burners came to America 40 years ago and kicked
Like I said: I won't name call here, but look up the Greek
word "idios" in the dictionary and read on a ways from there.
You following me?
At current prices, I figure I own 200-shares of GM - and do
everyone in America.
As I've said before, the fact that GM isn't looking at a whole
inside-out change to something like Harley-Davidson's org chart
and ethics, dims my faith in the country's future, not to
mention what democracy puts in office in terms of 'best and
brightest' may not be that.
I may be a small-time consultant, but look at the motivation and
guys like Evan Carmichael come up with as building blocks for
success at Harley:
Think more focus could have helped GM if they'd gotten massively
proactive? Until recently you know, reports are the GM
Board was meeting once a month. Now at least, they are
meeting several times a week. Better late than never?
I won't touch that bet.
May I make a modest suggestion to the Obama car trouble team and
the GM board? Find the "designated smart guy" inside of
Harley Davidson and get his butt on the next plane to Motown.
Is he there yet? Then resign.
Oh, and tell those people in Washington I want my share
certificates for both AIG and GM. Don't like holding
things in 'street' name. I know how that works.,
Sound far out? Not as far out as this "Germany
calls on Clinton to resolve GM fight. "
I see where
Nancy Pelosi has time to be in China talking to kids about the
need to go green.
WTH? Don't we have a few more pressing issues that demand
action here in the USA? I mean GM's about to go
toes up, we're a couple of months out from the commercial real
estate meltdown and she's talking global warming on what sounds
like a Gore-Lite tour in a country which is already not very
trusting of us since our dollar's tanking sooner than later
(which is why gold is up today, BTW).
Glad I don't live in her district, for damn sure. No,
instead I live in the district of a poster-boy for the credit
card industry, but that's another rant for another day.
Might I ask that Ms Pelosi come back to America and get to work
on headlines like "Leap
in U.S. debt hits taxpayers with 12% more read ink"?
USA Today figures the US federal government debt is $546,668
per household. Oh? Does $211,068 per person feel any better?
I'm ticked and I want the 'old ways' gone NOW. But I ain't
your problem Madam Speaker. Nope. Your problem is
that you ain't 'getting it' about how mad the average American
is and since the Bush administration drove the country into the
front of this Depression, 5.7 million people have lost their
jobs and there are right now - today - nearly 14 million people
unemployed. That's your problem right there. That
So let me ask again more politely: Madam Speaker: What the hell
are you talking to school kids in China for? Who bought
your plane ticket, anyway?
Another day, another missile - and
this one with enough range to get to most of South Korea from
the North. The
West has raised its alert status to Defcon 2 in the region -
just short of going into butt-kick mode.
Iranian media are reporting
people killed in an apparent suicide bombing at a Shi'ite mosque
in Iran today. No, Israel is not their only
That "New Russia"
Turns out, figures Amnesty International that its still
place where dissent is still stifled, there are racist attacks,
and substandard justice. Come on! With an old
KGB boss still pulling the strings behind the nominal president,
what were you expecting? Marin County?
Rebecca Price, cartoonist extraordinaire over at
has been eyeing increased military recruiting in public schools
lately with more than a bit of suspicion:
Yeah, forget my motto "What this country needs is a good 5-cent
high..." No way! What we really need is another war
- yeah, that'll fix everything. Puff up the market, print
up some more debt. you bet'cha.
Hey! Where's my GM & AIG shares?
--- snip and save section ---
A World Software Preview!
Before I turn you loose on the English language first release of
new software here, you need to go to 'cookie school'. So
put on your thinking cap (or pour another cuppa bean and let me
fill you in...
I went to 'cookie school' on Thursday morning - in the form of a
conference call with the CEO and CTO of
- makers of the German cookie-catching software that I've spoken
so highly of because they are one of the few groups in the whole
world that really 'get it' when it comes to cookies.
Cookies, if you are not a whiz at computing, are little snips of
computer code that allow a web site to 'remember' who you are.
Normally, when you come to UrbanSurvival.com you won't have a
cookie 'set'. However, on occasion, as when I put a link
to an Amazon book that I recommend, the code that points you to
a particular book Amazon sells will include a code that says
"Aha! This book purchase was referred to us by George
Ure's web site, so we will pay him a commission of 8¢
(or whatever, depending on book price) as an advertising
This is standard practice on the
'net - and probably 99% of the ads that you see around the
margins of this website, or that, contains a cookie. OK?
Simple enough so far.
But there are many different kinds
of cookies. For example, if you hit the Maxa-Tools page
yesterday, you may have noticed that what kind of browser you
were using was noted - along with your IP address and an
approximate physical location.
A lot of people just hit the
'delete cookies" when browsing, say in Explorer 8.0 and think
that when they fire off Foxfire - or some other browser - that
they are then able to have a little more anonymous surfing
experience. Well, hate to tell you this, but....
There are two broad classes of
cookies: Those that are browser dependent, and those which are
not. And the latest in the 'cookie wars' is the
increasingly widespread use of browser-independent cookies
are the ones to be ultra-aware of because if you think
you have a clean machine - you're probably very wrong..
Maxa-Tools has provided us with a
free demo which you're welcome to try - and even though the free
demo version won't remove all the browser-independent cookies
(they need to be compensated for their development work, after
all) even the free version of their Cookie Manager is usually an
eye-opener for people who (wrongly in most cases) think that a
combination of pop-up blockers and fire walls software plus
regular updates from an antivirus program will result in 'safe'
computing. Nope, sorry, world don't work that way.
So here's the download link for the
When the program pops up, save the
executable file on your computer, then run it, and that installs
the free/demo version of their Cookie Manager. If you want
to buy the full-up Pro version (which I use), you'll see a link
in the upper right corner where you can upgrade - it's only $30
and in the interest of disclosure, yes I get some compensation
if you buy it. Web sites don't operate free, as you should
already have figured out.
In the interest of really knowing
about cookies - even if you don't want to take Cookie Manager
for a spin (why you'd pass up being the first on the block to
have the program since the demo version is free is beyond me,
but let's just suppose you're an idiot) at least
to read the 21-page white paper on cookies and how they're
used (and abused) on the web.
Why am I a fanatic about cookie
control? Lots of reasons, including hard drive space. From
the Maxa-Tools white paper:
Macromedia/Adobe Flash-player present on most PCs controls
these "Local Shared Objects". The files produced per
website can take up to 100kb of disk space. In
addition they can store the pre-requisites required to run
"Silverlight is Microsoft's
counterpart to Flash. Here too, each Silverlight
application can save and read up to 1 MB of data on the hard
OK, that's one part of it: Overhead in terms of disk space
and potential for speed loss of my machines which I keep in
Formula one racing condition as best I can.
The second part has to do with the kind of tracking information
about me. There is so much value to 'consumer research'
outfits that they will sometimes go so far as to provide free
hosting to a high traffic site - or at least pay pretty good -
so they can harvest consumer information like where you've been
on the net, and maybe infer (based on your cookies) something
One tip: Before you go to a new site, clear all your unwanted
cookies. Then go to a new site - then hit the refresh
button in Cookie Manager - that will show you what was set on
the way in - then put in the IP of some known clean site and hit
refresh again to see if cookies were set as you left.
So there you have it. Cookie School and a tool to fight
back with, unless you like wandering around the net with your
cookies showing. -- Enjoy!
Update: Oh, someone asked about compatibility:
Yes, of course, Cookie Manager works with MS Internet exploder,
Firefox, Opera, and Safari. Just for good measure, Windows
Come on - if you hadn't figured it out from my hanging with a
guy who turned the internet into a rickety time machine, this
oughta be a major clue that I don't hang with folks who don't
know their stuff, 'K?
Remember yesterday I was talking about that F-35 video which
some in the conspiracy crowd were touting as 'evidence' that the
US already has anti-gravity technology?
Laughs on them because one reader got it as "...it is a scenery
from a game named Battlefield 2. on the screen are parts of the
But wait! Is the laugh really on them?
Remember the predictive linguistics are talking about UFO's and
secrets revealed along this Spring and over summer into fall.
And what's this? "Roswell
Debris Confirmed as Extraterrestrial: Lab located, Scientists
named" says UFO Digest. Maybe wanna hold that laugh
for a while.
Now that swine fluage has disbanded the Tea Parties (fear of
public assembly - and it turned out to have short-term taken
some of the air out of the Tea Party sails, I'm waiting for the
next republicorp move. How about an ebook like "Hillary
and the Greys"? That oughta harmonize with someone...
Thursday May 28, 2009
Collapse of Globalism
Since we're now past the current delivery month for the precious
metals, they seem ready to continue their advance this morning.
Reason? Collapse of paper assets, which will pick up again
in terms of public visibility in August - see the announcement
about the web bot project returns retooled in the "Coping"
section following this report.
You'll remember last week (or was it the week before?) I posted
the declines noted in container cargo traffic - mostly from Asia
- that was being reported by West Coast ports like Long Beach,
L.A. and the Port of Tacoma. A couple of readers have sent
along a link to the recent story at the
"Foreign Policy" web site which goes to the same 15-20% declines
in trade which the container numbers have been telling us.
The latest problem to come waltzing in is the
spiking interest rates". The problem the Fed and
Treasury face - very broadly - is how to push enough money into
the economy such that consumers will go back to their old habits
of [excessive] consumption which is needed to pull the economy
out of a second Depression spiral. What seems to be missed
is that as long as the Fed's Consumer Debt (called 'credit if
you're on the taking end of the stick) is in decline, the
economic condition of the country will continue falling.
The OPEC'ers met today and reportedly, at least
per the Saudis, they are not dropping - nor are they increasing
oil output. Seems likely to me that they recognize just how
damn fragile the global economy is right now (duh) and that
anyone who changes anything in the way of policy will be blamed
for the next major move down, which,; if you've been following
the libretto around here, will be the derivatives beginning
their blow-up in August, triggering the collapse in the
commercial real estate paper, which will push the government
into more interventionism in early fall, which in turn will
cause business to stop trusting contractual arrangements between
one another (fear of interventionism for the public 'good') and
so business just sort of grinds to a halt with a quizzical looks
of "WTF?" on their brow.
Oh, and while all this is going on, the banks are sitting on
loan money because they can see that interest rates are going to
break higher, too. So why make a low interest rate loan
now, when you'll be able to loan the money out at a much higher
rate of return in a little while as 'street' rates start going
There's a well-hidden - or at least not very widely appreciated
underlying dynamic that has changed the way how Depression Two
is rolling out. Something my friend The Bond Dude figures
it is due to a major change in the way "relief" worked in the
first Depression and how it's working here in the Second
I'll sort of paraphrase his view because it's important:
"In the last depression, government had something called
'relief' and do you know what the modern analog to 'relief' is?
I stumbled around a bit because there are several candidates...
Eventually he got tired of waiting and said "Credit cards! And
since the credit card companies are going around slashing credit
limits and jacking up rates, they have effectively be turning
off relief to people who had been using credit cards to buy
food, try to keep up on house payments and so on. You know
what happens when youi shut off 'relief' in a depression,
I may not be the brightest guy in econ, but I've got the
The other key thing that is so confusing to people who don't yet
see this as the "Second Depression" is something I explained to
Peoplenomics subscribers last weekend as the "Pocket Effect."
You see, when the Depression caused bank failures in the 1930's,
the losses were both immediate and personal. There was
about $3.6 billion in personal savings that just went "Poof!"
from 1929 till the early months of 1933. Got that?
On a per capita basis I penciled it out for subscribers as about
$481 per capita for the whole country on a constant dollar
Now here's the key thing about the current crisis which you need
to know, whether you subscribe or not:
"We now have enough data to do one very meaningful
calculation here, namely figuring out the per capita cost of
banking failures of today. The answer? If you're in the USA
the bank bailouts alone have cost you $649.92 per person so
far. And, it's costing your kids that much each, such that
the banksters have held up the average 2.59 person household
for $1,683.29 in aid till now.
Unfortunately, when a country goes off spending $649.92 per
capita on banks and perhaps another trillion in other
anti-depression spending, for a per capita total of perhaps
$3,899 (for $1.2 trillion in all). or $10,098 so far on
bailing and papering, things continue to decline. We're in a
vicious cycle that has no name yet. You're welcome to make
up your own.
Getting it? Instant personal losses in the early 1930's
and this time around it's coming as a 'slowly boiling frogs"
event, such that most frogs - like that guy in the other cubicle
at work, won't get it and will be in denial about things until
they're served up for dinner at the bankster's table.
Metaphorically, of course.
The actual 'serving' will be the surrender of ownership in real
estate and savings to the banker class.
There. Don't you feel better now that you understand the
dynamics of this?
Reports that the
IRS is seeing a 34% drop in tax collections ought to drive
the budget projections for the country further into the ditch as
the year goes along - compounding in interesting ways (he said
punfully) the host of other cards that are collapsing on this
house we built on flipping and pimping paper.
Outcome? I would
expect to see the idea of a national sales tax to come around
again. I like sales taxes in some ways because they tax
consumption and leave savings alone. Just me...Or,
a flat rate 10% income tax, that'd be fine, too.
But here's another
perfect example of what the economic system is in utterly,
complete blow-up mode: Suppose we had a simple 10% income
tax, or a simple 5% national sales tax.
Let me ask you what would
we do with all the unemployed accountants that would produce?
Do you know how much dough gets spent for both humans and
companies to figure out how to interpret and weasel on the
existing confusing and sometimes contradictory collage of rules?
about TurboTax would become a three line program?
Not all the news is bad,
Census says durable goods improved a tad.
New Orders New
orders for manufactured durable goods in April increased
$3.0 billion or 1.9 percent to $161.5 billion, the U.S.
Census Bureau announced today. This was the second increase
in the last three months and followed a 2.1 percent March
decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8
percent. Excluding defense, new orders also increased 1.0
percent. Transportation equipment, up three consecutive
months, had the largest increase, $2.1 billion or 5.4
percent to $40.5 billion.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in April, down nine
consecutive months, decreased $0.3 billion or 0.2 percent to
$174.2 billion. This was the longest streak of consecutive
monthly decreases since the series was first published on a
NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 1.9 percent March
decrease. Machinery, down four consecutive months, had the
largest decrease, $0.7 billion or 3.1 percent to $23.0
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in April,
down seven consecutive months, decreased $8.9 billion or 1.2
percent to $748.9 billion. This followed a 1.7 percent March
decrease. Transportation equipment, down seven consecutive
months, had the largest decrease, $4.9 billion or 1.1
percent to $438.8 billion.
Here, Hold This Bag
'main street' bondholders would be losers, lawyer says" as
GM wanders toward a bankruptcy where you and I would own up to
69% of GM.
Here I flip into my economic fundamentalist/People's Economist
mode: Interest is paid for two things: changing
purchasing power of the underlying money involved and RISK!
Damn, people don't want to ever make bad bets, but that's what
RISK is all about. Chance of LOSING. Get it?
Sorry if you get stuck holding the bag - it hurts - but that
what RISK is: Possibility of LOSS!
@#$%^&*&^%$# Didn't anyone go to school but you and me?
Big one on the dance floor today:
7.1 in Honduras this morning.
A course, seeing the future coming is a lot easier, especially
when one has a 'rickety time machine' at their disposal.
And speaking of Dancing Mountains and what have you:
Boy, ya nailed this one!
"We ought to see increased
global awareness of the little 'sea level problem' popping
up in media reports in the next 30-days or so."
"Greenland ice could fuel severe U.S. sea level rise"
Look what Reuters is reporting.
(doesn't say anytime soon, but, its in a "media report".)
Keep it up.
Uh huh. Not surprised.
Not Enough Criminals
Oh, not here in the US mind you, but in the Netherlands. A
reader note sets it up:
"I haven't found a theory or reason for this;
"Netherland to close prisons for lack of criminals."
Are they just too stoned to get
in trouble or is living not a crime there. I've been looking
for someplace to move, too bad about the rising sea level.
Can't you throw the rickety time machine in reverse or
something to give me some time for vacation?"
Ah, to have such problems in
California, huh? Well, here's my take on it, since I've
got two competing theories. First is that the Dutch don't
make private drug use a crime and since it's not, people aren't
going to hard drugs as much and gee, youi think that may reduce
crimes like burglary and hold-ups? See much crime comes
from drugs. So if you have lots of hard and illegal drugs,
you can make a business out of it - as we have done in the US
for years. On the other hand, if folks can just be left
alone, some might go toke up at a coffeehouse, or in private,
but who cares - long as it's private.
My competing theory is
that criminals are hydrophobic and since the sea levels are
gonna rise this century, the criminals have already headed for
higher ground - rat's jumping a sinking ship, so to speak.
Pick the theory that suits you.
Monkey See Department
The headline that
"Creation of 'GM' monkey heralds health revolution" modest
suggests the UK's Independent. And you got programmed
thinking 'monkey business' was a bad thing.
Nope: coming soon
you should be able to buy a small monkey that will glow greenish
when exposed to ultraviolet light! Hell, I've been sitting
out here waiting for decades for this breakthrough. At
last, a glow in the dark pocket monkey. I can die a happy
--- snip and save section ---
With Knowing the Future
OK, we're out gathering data again. The web bot project is
back with a retooled approach in the software, a refined lexicon
thanks to some contract language work down in Poland, and a host
of internal reorganization changes that should allow the project
to continue as long as the Internet is functioning, which is at
least into early 2010 as things seem now.
Since the end of 1309, Cliff's been getting kicked in butt so
much to continue the project that it seems Universe will not
leave him alone until this new way of looking at the future is
back in business - and much more accessible and at a lower price
point than previously. The way this will get done without
driving the chief time monk over the edge of insanity is a lot
more process automation, bringing another person on staff and
moving Igor to an unspecified location somewhere in Washington
state next to fiber which will cut down on data collection
costs. They're still not giving away full T-1's out in
data land and, just for example, a T-1 off the ranch here would
be up around 2-large a month because my understanding is that
I'd have to pay mileage charts to Dallas.
So with Igor getting situated (which sounds better than Igor's
off getting wired, which he does anyway) the target for the
release of the first updated weekly report will be out hopefully
right around the solstice - which for the astronomically
challenged looks like June 21, 2009 at 1:45 A.M. EDT this year.
The delivery method will change, too. Managing subscribers
has been a challenge for Cliff - setting up passwords and
putting linguistic watermarks into reports, so as to tell where
they are going and who has screwed with no reporting rules.
So ahead, instead of a web site to sign into - which seems to
lend itself to having content posted around the internet,, the
new reports which will be out on a weekly basis, will be
downloaded from a content distribution system. The
download will be of a copy-protected (and maybe no printing) PDF
file which although it may not be perfect, should cut down on
some of the reposting.
The reposting of data and discussion about the project will also
be revised such that Cliff will set up a forum for discussion
within one of his domains. The reason is that should
provide simple domain-level filtering.
As you know, if you're out trying to infer something about the
future by looking for language shift on the internet, the
posting of snippets from previous reports sets up a kind of
slow-motion feedback loop...and that's back because it can (ok,
does) tend to make the model go into a regenerative feedback
But the best part of this whole thing is the price point.
It's been realized that an initial 'buy-in' of $270 for the
first run - and then $70 per run after that. Well, that
was fair, since there was so much time spent on filter
development, lexicon tuning, and line costs. But, despite
bringing a full-time person on board to help, it looks like the
line charge savings will allow the next report series to be
bought on a per week basis at $10 per segment.
To get acquainted with what's out there - and to give you some
hints as to what day in August the rest of the financial
derivatives meltdown begins, you may which to purchase the
Current Report: The most current report (as a
series) is the 1309 sequencing that can now be purchased online
for $36 by clicking here.
Last, but not least, we're thinking about pulling ALL past
reports together along with some narrative - maybe a couple of
chapters - in book form. I've suggested we pin a title on
it like "Once Upon a Time Machine" and sell it for $150.00.
It would be everything a researcher could want in order to test
to see how much above 'pure chance' the technology is in its
current and past iterations.
Like the new reports, it
would be in .PDF form (still discussing things like should it
print, and so on) but it would be a monster of likely well over
a thousand pages of reports going back to since this project
ramped up in the spring/summer of 2001 - which is when we got
the first public HIT where a major "tipping point/ world changes
here" came out of the linguistic soup about 60-days before 9/11.
And sure as hell, it did.
You may also want to
visit the HalfPastHuman web site. There, among other
things, you can see where Cliff will be showing up in radio
interviews, the next one being
on the Jeff Rense Show tonight.
All this seems to be evolving because for whatever reason, the
Universe seems to want a lot more people to get the occasional
'heads up' about coming events. Not that all predictions
will be as
spectacularly correct as the May 2008 "wedding quake" forecast.
Or the '300-dead/land driven back to a previous age' stuff ahead
of the 2004 Banda Ache quake. Or any of the other 'hits' -
like the year-in-advance warnings about the October 2008
financial meltdown, which seems set to be eclipsed in magnitude
this fall and will build off events in August. Gee, can
hardly wait for that.
The work will still likely be presented as a work of fiction and
heavily disclaimed as always because we would never be so silly
as to claim and [knowledge] of the future. Just that from
time to time we get whiffs and a sense of how it's going to
arrive, and much of that could benefit regular humans.
We also know that there are other projects that are working on
linguistically deriving the future - and have been for a long
while, ever since we stumbled into the Chinese "Caldron: [ting]
project which was doing much larger samples and emailing them
off to a server in China.
All of which means there's some level of personal risk for Cliff
in this, since getting word out about the future is something
which heretofore has been done only at fairly high price points
by academics and governmental types - and with some success, we
Knowing the future presents an interesting problem, when you
think about it, for governments and the PowersThatBe.
Suppose, for example, that at a very high-level some shadowy
association of rich-folks - which means those with a bent toward
accumulation of personal power - had developed (or been handed)
a way to look at the future. Maybe through a conjuring or
ritual sacrifice method - who knows?
Would it be fair for the mass of humans, who are generally
well-intended 'go along to get along' types, to have some fair
warning of what darker forces might be up to?
So come the solstice, the predictive linguistics are coming back
(if everything pulls together on schedule).
The project will move along, after substantial retooling, not
motivated by power/greed/money/ego gratification. But more
as an early warning system such that we can perhaps get a just
slightly better than pure chance would suggest, heads up on
what's in the future.
Against those who would just as soon this project doesn't move
along - and there are some, believe me - we do understand the
ultimate self-defense weapons should interference in this little
humanitarian project come along:
HyperChroniacs Come Next
What's a hyperchroniac? Er...that'd be a person who is
undergoing a major change of time perceptions. All part of
the surreal aspects of life that we're getting ready to launch
into the nonlinear portion of as we come along toward 2012.
And email to time monk central:
"You are not going to believe
this but I almost just fell out of my chair just now while
reading the ALTA 909 Part 5 report for the first time where
you talk about time perception changing for some people.
I JUST commented on Monday and
yesterday to my wife and adult daughter that songs that I'm
listening to from the 70's and 80's sound SO slow that I
thought they were re-mixes. This has been going on for weeks
now and is getting more pronounced. I asked my wife, "Is
this the original recording?" She answers, "Yes, you can't
tell? Why do you ask?" "It sounds so slow." "Nope, sounds
normal to me."
New word - sorry to lay it on you like this, but start watching
for time distortions of a very personal nature... if you
come down with it, you can call yourself a hyperchroniac.
I am working on my novel 'Dimension barrier" as fast as I can.
You starting to see why?
Speaking of things 'computery', I'm getting a briefing from my
friends in Germany where
www.maxa-tools,com's "Maxa Cookie Manager comes from.
If you want to click here, you can see how much information
about you 'leaks' on a
of tracking back your IP address.
Next week, Maxa-Cookie Manager Pro will be released - and I am
really looking forward to it.
Computer Niche Marketing
You see the headline that "GTA
goes gay"? Handbags for handguns?
So I assume here that you know a little something about the F-35
Lighting II? It's "...a
fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine, stealth-capable
military strike fighter, a multirole aircraft that can perform
close air support, tactical bombing, and air defense missions."
If you get an email with a an attachment called
"Airplane_F-35_Vertical_Flip.wmv you might want to watch it.
Looks to be some video shot on an aircraft carrier...
"George, Check this out. If this isn't anti-gravity, I'd
like to know what is."
I don't know if this is 'real" video or photoshopped, but darn
cool. Fifth generation? Hmmm...
And I assume youi already know about watching the skies at night
with an infrared nightvision scope because that's apparently how
you can see some of the new cloaking technology?
Time to check your Powerball tickets -- if you live in South
Dakota, because that's where one really frigging lucky person
pulled out a $232-million dollar jackpot. I'll not go back
to suggesting you confine your gambling to auto and financial
sector options if you really have money to burn.
Wednesday May 27, 2009
Sorry About Coffee
Not to begin at the end here, but have you been watching the
December coffee prices over on the commodity side of things?
to a chart here). Back in March at the life of
contract lows, coffee was under $113. Now, as the close
yesterday, it was up over $140. I may not be completely
awake yet, since caffeinated miracle juice is just now going to
work, but that works out to pretty close to 24% inflation.
Oh, did I mention that's for six months?
Let's see how that would annualize, shall we? OK, forget
it if you're not up to it. We'll say something over 50% if
the rate of increase were to continue. And there are lots
of other commodities which are showing pretty hefty implied
So much so, in fact, that Dr. Marc Faber of the "Gloom Boom, &
Doom Report" is telling Bloomberg that
US inflation will approach Zimbabwe levels.
Unfortunately, I can't fault his logic.
When a country gets into the position that the US is now in -
namely buying its debt from itself to keep that dollar from
tanking - it's a sure sign that big changes in the value of the
dollar are ahead.
While its true that gold took a bit of a beat down on Tuesday, a
simple look at the calendar will explain what was going on:
It was end of contract time and it's normal lately to see
prices drop around delivery time. Does that mean inflation
risk is gone? You are kidding, right?
Then there's the little matter of
Consumer Confidence which came out Tuesday higher than expected.
Want a simple explanation of what's going on right now?
The strong hands may be selling to the weak.
If you look at a
three-month chart over at Yahoo Finance, you'll see that
8,574 is the overhead resistance level. About the least
surprising outcome for the market here over the next week or two
- at least to my way of looking at it - would be to see a
rally at the open this morning - momentum follow-through - and
then a mid-session reversal as the market runs out of
Existing Home Sales are due out this morning - and these,
coupled with data tomorrow on the new unemployment claims -
which may be higher than anticipated - and then Friday's GDP
numbers all set us up for the real biggies to come next week
when we get Personal Incomes on Monday and then next Friday we
see the new monthly unemployment numbers which I'm throwing a
dart at 9.3% on right now.
If the home sales are good, we might get a double top off that
8,574 level. If they're bad, nervousness in general could
re-enter the market; so many people have turned bullish lately
(mostly without solid thinking, I'd add) that it wouldn't
surprise me in the least.
There is one thing to keep an eye on, though. That's how
inflation will work on the sales of American retailers. We
know that retail has been having a very tough go of things, but
when the figures come out be sure when you're looking at
same-store sales, that you add in something for an inflation
correction. I get a kick out of seeing reports like
'same-store sales are up 2%" and then when exploring the data
finding that it's not been inflation corrected. So that
with 2 1/2% inflation, a 2% increase in dollars handled really
means on a constant-dollar basis, sales are down half a percent
- that kind of thing - using imaginary numbers to make the
But it illustrates how most folks are led around blindly on
matters about money. Scary stuff, to be sure. But,
with a little deliberate and clear thinking, one can see that
the only way out of this mess will be inflation - eventually -
as long as the government can get its hands on paper and ink.
Which is why Marc Faber's comments about Zimbabwe here may be
What'll be interesting to watch is to see how many people will
be ready for it. With all the ways folks can hedge by
simple means: Drive a high mileage car to keep energy
costs low, plant a garden to hedge food costs, and work
extra-hard to increase your chances of keeping your job if you
have one - all that stuff seems to sneak up on people.
I'm always amazed by the number of folks who prepare resumes
only after being fired, too. Seems we live in a
reactive rather than proactive mental construct.
Which, when you think about it, is why most people are where
they are now.
So we have
China warning us about printing money now. The Chinese
may be inscrutable, but they are not unscrewable - and
since they hold oodles and piles of US paper with zeroes on it,
they have every right to be concerned. Ink-think I call
Up in Columbus Ohio, you can see how budgets are
hemming in big cities. Columbus is looking at all
kinds of cuts in their police department, just for example.
No, California is not alone going to the wall in this mess.
Oh - and the
OPEC'ers want their oil to fetch $70 to $80 a barrel.
Someone's got to pay for that fancy ice-skating rink in the
desert and that would be...you!
Is Social Networking an
I have to admit I am stumped why people have Facebook accounts.
Oh sure, I have one, too, but I've only added a few folks I know
here in East Texas - and sorry, but I don't have time to be
reading up on the latest thoughts of hundreds of people. A
sort of cacophony.
I think I've looked at it maybe once or twice. Didn't see
any particular reason to spend time there.
Russians may be smarter than me,. however, since I see where
they've dumped $200-million into Facebook. But is
social networking a business? I mean
bigger than Starbucks, Molson/Coors, Hormel, or AMD as the
NY Post graphic says?
Remember last week I was telling you how I'd given up pinching
myself and had just put a pair of ViceGrips on either arm -
things were getting that crazy in the world? Today
I've ordered a case of ViceGrips. Please don't send
me an 'add friend' list. If I need to get hold of you I'll
call or send an email. You do the same, OK?
If I want to hear snips of people's lives at random, I'll just
go walk around Wal-Mart and listen to the crap people spew into
their cell phones without regard to innocents abroad like me.
Yeah, grouchy George. You bet.
And the Winner Is...
no worse than spin-the-bottle: study." And you thought
the 78th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences would be
irrelevant? Ho boy...
Text Change Operations
And, you saw where
"Twitter posts risks for newspapers"?
Korea's December Nukes
As long as we're sitting here waiting for a possible attack by
North Korea on the South in December, we might as well
read about how they have apparently restarted their N-plant to
make more weapons grade material.
Oh look -
there goes another NK missile test.
You notice that I'm not the only one who's thinking the North
will lob something south? "Russia
fears Korea conflict could go nuclear..."
document: Venezuela sends uranium to Iran."
Yeah...and? Remember Nigerian uranium?
"The Blob" Found
Sounds like something off a supermarket checkout line tabloid,
huh? But, no, it's for real.
Tennessee Gun Laws
Forgot to mention that folks in Tennessee have a new law that
if a person legally possesses a gun they will NOT have it
seized in any period of martial law. RFO (right
frigging on...) Someone learned something from KatRita,
Fiddling on the Roof
You see where "Obama's
green guru calls for white roofs" to fight global warming?
Let me reflect on that for a minute.
--- snip and save section ---
Coping: With Keyboards & Computing Posture
Well, I finally broke down and ordered three keyboards
yesterday...since last week I was moaning about how tough it was
to operate four different keyboards and have anything near
repeatability in terms of typing. But, along the way, it
has been a real interesting study in what's going on in the
For one thing, a number of readers weren't listening too closely
when I explained that I needed a keyboard for each of four
computers because the computers were associated with different
physical amenities. The audio production computer has to
be plugged up with a 16-channel firewire audio console and I
need to be able to plug in various production CD's and such.
The ham radio computer is really a dedicated box because it has
different connections: Radio control data, digital signal
demodulator boxes, logging programs, and while the computer can
run most of the operations, there's still a need to be
physically in a specific place because the linear
amplifier needs to be retuned - depending on band and frequency
- and ditto for the antennas which need to be switched.
Then there's the Urban/Peoplenomics computer which is
ultra-safed and backed-up with a terabyte of storage and set up
just so for catching online video services and adjacent to a
small HDTV to peek in on news events, plus a satellite receiver
and steerable dish for overseas/foreign TV. The fourth
computer - the one where the novel was being written has now
been moved over to the Urban computer - since while it was nice
to contemplate the idea of toting the laptop out onto the deck
in the evening to continue writing there, a combination of
glare, insects, and just the hassle of it all convinced me that
novel-writing would be best done on this box.
Yes, I've got a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch, and
no, it was pretty much useless because of the need to be at
a particular place with a different set of peripherals depending
on task. And, it's for that reason that the 'control your
PC from any internet terminal doesn't work:
So I bought three brand new - but older style - Logitech
Internet Navigators keyboards. For one thing, they are
cheap ($20 each, new) and for another they are white.
I don't know about you, but have you noticed that PC peripherals
seem to all be black now? I don't look at the keys
very often, but when I do, I like to be able to see them easily.
Maybe it's a function of age, but some designer color that fades
into the black keys just don't cut it in my book...so my
keyboarding issue is solved.
But here's one that I picked up from a reader which I'm now
looking for - a ball-bearing scrolling wheel mouse. The
reader tells me that the Logitech MX Revolution Cordless Laser Mouse (Black)
at Amazon for about $75-bucks (PC - $85'ish for Mac's) is a
great improvement. For one thing, the scrolling wheel
supposedly lets you zip up and down long documents a lot easier
than holding your left finger down and slamming your mouse silly
on the desktop, while the left thumb clicker is great for
application switching - for those who haven't discovered (and I
am amazed at how many people haven't) the joys of dual (or more)
monitors and using the extended desktop feature that's been in
Windows for years now. Yeah, takes up a bit of real estate
on the desktop to have multiple monitors, but a desk is for work
Not to spend too much time on this topic, but since many of us
are 'plugged' in for 10-14 hours a day, it seems like getting
just the right keyboard and just the right mouse
is worthwhile. And if you are one of those single monitor
(flat-lander) kind of folks who is still trying to get used to
the keyboard on your laptop - rotsa ruck.
If the keyboard isn't in your lap, I figure you're not too
serious about doing a lot of work although I'm sure someone with
carpal tunnel expertise somewhere is throwing rocks at their
screen right now for my mentioning it: Far as I'm
concerned, the desk is for holding coffee and monitors.
Sometime, sit in a good, comfortable office chair for 15 minutes
and sort of nod off. When you open your eyes, the first
place you naturally look seems to me to be where the monitor(s)
Holding your hands at chest level? Nope, it's a lot more
comfortable while snoozing to have your hand in your lap - which
is why my keyboard is there. And what's even better?
Keyboard cords are long enough that you can push back your
chair, put your feet up on the desk and even write in the
semi-reclined position once you've got the keyboard in your lap.
Think I'm productive? Maybe. But you sure won't find
me in any 'ergonomically correct" chair with no back, knees
tucked under me like a bird and holding my hands at chest level.
No sir, I want to be able to drift into a whatever the
keyboarding equivalent would be of a somnambulistic state and
let the ideas rip. With interruptions now and then for a
slurp of coffee to keep me from going completely to sleep.
Speaking of computing, here's an interesting article that might
show up in computer monitors someday - the
how's and wherefore's of projecting images into air.
Project Blue Beam and other rumored advanced military
concepts? Maybe, but still would make a peachy monitor.
Changes on eBay
Next time you order something on eBay from overseas, you might
keep a close eye on what currency is being used. A reader
"Hi George, I enjoy reading your column daily. Just thought
I would let you know about an EBay supplier in HK. Normally
prices are listed in US dollars but several of the merchants
are using EUR currency now."
Gosh - one more thing to look at - how often does PayPal update
its exchange rates? You wanna check on that and get back
Yes, I've seen the story in the LA times about how "Farms
downsize to miniature cows." Won't call it a trend,
though, till I see Mickey-D's with an "eighth-pounder" on the
All That Glitters....
"Wanted to share this story, it's not surprising. My husband
is a gemologist working in a jewelry store. Today a
suspicious man from out of state came in with gold jewelry
for sale, stamped 14K. I guess some places don't test the
stuff but they did and it was not gold. The police were
called just to check this guy out, his driver's license was
acquired prior to the fake transaction. Five cops showed up,
must have been a slow day, and searched his car and he had a
bunch of this fake stuff all stamped 14K. Bummer."
Yup. Buy from reputable outfits only.
Life After EMP
A reader advises that he's been doing a little research and
wonders about whether mercury-based fluorescent lights might pop
if there was ever an EMP attack on America. Good question.
He also found some interesting gray lit stuff about how much
medical equipment could fail in that kind of scenario: "Minimizing
the effects of Electromagnetic Plus (EMP) on field medical
equipment". Interesting read if you're in health care.
If you're not, here's the bottom line: If there was ever
an EMP attack on the country, don't be going getting sick...
Bumped into a reader with an interesting idea: She takes
inhaled meds for a lung condition but didn't want to spend the
big bucks for a commercial nebulizer. Cobbled one up using
a battery-powered tire pump. Still good for tires, too,
she claims. That's ingenuity for you and no, that's
NOT medical advice.
Meanwhile Back in the Lab
Reader asks what's really going on in the lab...
I am one of your subscribers and
have followed your Urban Survival site for some time. I have
enjoyed your service along with listening to you and Cliff
on Google videos ( I will try to be short as you must have
so many emails to read).
Recently Cliff has made
reference to you and him working on a new project to do with
free energy generation (maybe scalar wave or electromagnetic
power generation). I sure would enjoy a heads up notice with
any web sites to preview in preparation to your observation
and review of power generation."
I'll check with the chief time monk later on today - but he's
been writing a long-term outlook of what's ahead based on the
data - doing an ebook instead of the weekly ALTA reports - which
should be a kick-butt thing to have on hand for long-term
decision-making. And,; he's trying to get his boat done.
We ought to see increased global awareness of the little 'sea
level problem' popping up in media reports in the next 30-days
Here at the ranch, I've got all kinds of experiments
planned...but that gets to me to...
The Latest Weird Dream
OK...so I get these incredibly vivid dreams. And
the one yesterday morning was especially weird because in it, I
see this person going through books of mine that I'm supposed to
have read. One book in particular is pointed out to me as
something I must read to make forward progress.
"Oh, what's that book?" I ask of this person.
Crap. Something else to do. But, I figure it I'm
having a vivid dream, and this person completely out of the
blue says I need to read "Turnbull's Calculus" I
figure things are about to take (another) turn for the weird in
my life. I mean, it's not enough that I'm cranking out a
book with the working title "Dimension Barrier".
So I pop into Amazon and find only two books with an
author mentioned by the name Turnbull. This first book which set me back
forty-odd bucks was Digital Tectonics
which seems to be about calculus and architecture and the ratios
of design and such. OK, I'm down with that, so I order it.
And then I get to the second book with an author named
"Turnbull" mentioned. My jaw dropped:
Infinite-Dimensional Optimization and Convexity (Chicago Lectures in Mathematics Series)
Oh-oh. This is starting to get seriously weird.
I don't know what the odds are of a) having someone/entity in a
dream be sorting out books on the steps, or the odds of the book
"Turnbull's Calculus" being pointed out as something that must
be read, and then c) discovering a book that fits with a novel
you're writing about what happens when dimensional world's
collide, but around here lately, the odds became 100-percent.
This was supposed to be a simple Clive Cussler genre novel about
worlds colliding. Simple, no? Now what happens?
Universe wants me to bone up on calculus! Here in George
Land that's just plain weird...except that I'm guessing it has
something to do with the 'free energy' experiments I have been
pondering or the book.
Well, like Cliff is fond of saying "Universe presents us the
work to do - and then we either harmonize with that and do the
work, or enter into opposition to the flow."
Yeah, yeah, fine. But calculus? Universe
either has a wry sense of humor or is being just plain old
mean. I sure hope its the former.
Gotta call my commodity broker J.B. this morning and ask him
what's up with my account. Instead of a usual .PDF of
account balances all I got this morning was an .MP3 of a laugh
Tuesday May 26, 2009
Questions for Kim Jong-il
Word that president Obama is eyeing
the North Korea nuke blast over the weekend with 'grave concern'
is hardly any surprise. The test, which is reported as
about as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb in WW II, means that
if coupled up with North Korea's new short-range missiles, could
put South Korea - which is still technically at war with the
North - under direct threat.
Oh, and just to further complicate things,
North Korea is reportedly set to fire ground to ship missiles.
No word on whether these will be the NK equivalent of the
Sunburn missiles that Iran has reportedly installed and has
aimed seaward from along its shoreline, but it would
strategically make sense.
This gets me to wondering about whether the North Koreans are
playing the market around their nuclear tests. I mean
think about it: The South Korean KOPSI Composite index
could have been shorted at about
1,420 on Friday and the 5% drop to a session low around 1,356.23
on Monday after word of the nuke test would have been a dandy
trade. Just wonder if the North is making money on their
tests...and if so...how much? Seems to me that a 5% market
move would have been tradable and one way to raise a little
dough for missile and nuclear development.
My consigliore noted something anomalous some number of
months back - he had been surfing various discussion boards and
there was a poster who sounded - by his references and writing -
like he might be North Korean president Kim Jong-il. He notices
these things as he's sharp as a tack.
While at first I dismissed this as unlikely, but a little
further reflection on the subject has me wondering: He's
certainly got the smarts to surf the net - and according to his
been fluent in English since learning it in the early 1970's at
the University of Malta, where he reportedly vacations now
All of which is not to say that Kim Jong-il actually does
surf the 'net, only to mention the possibility that a leader of
any country could if so inclined go 'to the people
direct' without going through the dual filters of media.
In other words, what a leader like Kim Jong-il would be able to
say publicly - where statements would have to be crafted this
way or that, since they would be closely scrutinized for meaning
by foreign governments, constituting one layer of filtering.
Then the second layer of filtering would be the Western corpgov
media which filters pretty much everything to fit the Western
business model's interest.
On the other hand, going 'people-direct' on the internet would
certainly open an interesting tack for a foreign leader to take
- a sort of new benchmark in information warfare. I think
of it as paradigm penetration.
A foreign leader 'going direct' would allow an exchange of
views that might otherwise be filtered out.
And it would certainly help people understand why a country - in
this case North Korea - is behaving in the particular way they
are, building nukes and new missiles and such.
I for one would sure like to get some questions answered that
seem filtered. The three most pressing might be "Why all
the anger? After 50-odd years of fighting can't both
sides just say "Enough is enough?"
The second question would be "So you're this 68-year old guy and
you have a nuke. Knowing (as we do that at least
linguistically) that you might be inclined to use it
around December of this year, could you fill us in on what you
expect to gain? Irradiated cities don't seem to have much
commercial value at least to my way of thinking, so what would
be the point? What's your long-term strategic objective or
The third question would be this: "To what extent - if any - has
North Korea aligned itself with - or aided in any way - Islamic
fundamentalists of the bin Laden stripe and do you (or have you)
supply them arms and materiel?" I think a lot of folks
wonder about this one.
Fourth question? Sure... "What was the real story on
that 2004 "train accident" that killed or injured more than
3,000 people? What was the ultimate body count and was
the explosion in any way related to military development work,
as some around the net have wondered?"
Fifth question: "How
much counterfeiting of US currency have you done - and how
does that compare with, say, our own cost of bailing out banks
by just printing up money?"
I don't suppose that Kim Jong-il will answer - even if he does
surf the net and might post now and again. But it's
possible that a foreign leader could at some point
decide to go 'people-direct'. Anyway, my email is
In the (Highly Unlikely) event that a response were received,
I'm supposing that since this is in the news interview
genre, it would not be covered by the Logan Act which...
United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens
from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed
in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act
is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment
of up to three years.
The text of the Act is broad and
is addressed at any attempt of a US citizen to conduct
foreign relations without authority. However, there is no
record of any convictions or even prosecutions under the
Nope, no exposure there since there'd be no negotiating.
What I'd really be interested in - and the core of future events
always revolves around this - if how people with different
referential frameworks deal with events. Clearly, when
you're father was the president of North Korea, you've got a
different referential framework than us middle class folks in
the American public. What reports in the Western press
seem to miss is constructing an accurate description of foreign
leader's referential frameworks (worldviews) differences.
News reports always seem to be so damn crisis-centered.
To the extent that global leaders evolve 'go direct'
communication with the public, I think the chances of conflict
avoidance could be improved.
I'd note that the White House sports a Blog. But I
doubt much - if any - of its content is actually created/written
by the president himself.
Since there's new technology that hasn't completely made its way
into politics (being slow adopters as they are...leading from
behind, as it were) wouldn't it be interesting if world leaders
each had a blog and only other world leaders could post to it?
Boy, that would be an interesting one to follow, especially if
the 'world leaders' were legit and no public posting was
allowed...just the 'real deal' guys.
Sound far-fetched? Don't be so sure. Wikipedia notes
also refers to himself as an Internet expert." Like I
say, an email would be appreciated and maybe an English-language
blog so we can figure out what's motivating this nuke building
thing besides anger?
PS: Are you still using the same proxy server in N.E. China?
Iran Ramps Up
In a development which is sure to make folks in Israel rethink
their 'wait till October' course, there are reports that
Iran for the first time has sent a fleet of six warships
Gulf of Aden.
Obama administration is setting about creation of an "Internet
Czar" . Fine, so long as it's not something that sets
up restrictions on the 'net, but I reckon it will eventually be
seen as a prelude to actual 'net controls' coming along.
Can't have people being too free...just free enough, huh?
Supreme Court Nod
Sonia Sotomayor is said to be president Obama's pick.
I see that WSAW.com has been tracking the "Ammunition
shortage across the Badger state." Let me see, we've
been covering it for three years now....
Hawaiian Hospitality in Trouble
There's this "Oh-oh" story that has caused me to shelve plans to
go to Hawaii this month. Course that was just one of those
Orbitz pricing fantasies, anyway. But check it out: "Lei
in need because of flower shortage."
Here comes the bad/terrible/appalling pun of the day:
Who'd want to go to Hawaii if you can't get lei'ed?
(A rim shot and a chorus of groans follows from our studio
--- snip and save section ---
Elaine came back from a quick (4-hour) trip into Palestine
Monday with a perplexed look. "George, look at this:
See this package of 50 Velcro stay-wraps at Lowes?
It was $4.47....here's the receipt. But before I picked it up, I
noticed that the package of 30was actually more expensive
- $4.67. I asked one of the managers about it - and he
sort of scratched his head and looked a bit confused by it,
Elaine's one of the most careful shoppers you'll ever see.
She notices details which shopping that escape most people.
But, just as another for-instance, she'll notice that when an
item is available at two locations in the store they may have a
different price. I doubted this, once upon a time, but
sure enough she's pointed out numerous examples on several
This get me to reflecting on how people have different 'shopping
styles.' I have the typical engineer/left-brain ruled
"Make a list and power shop it" since time is money and I'm not
here to mess around. Just 'git 'er done.
Elaine's more thoughtful. For her, shopping is
experiential. A symphony of choices which are to be made
wisely. Faced with clothing choice, she might pick up a
new top and continue shopping, only to return the top to its
hanger when it occurs to her that the color of this particular
top won't go with that pair of pants.
Her style of shopping allows her to spot disruptions in the flow
of commerce that would normally pass me by unawares. If an
item is a few cents one way, or the other, my style blows it off
and gets on to the next item on my list. Hers is a much
more complex decision; if an item is a few cents more do we
really need it? Is there a substitute, and alternative, a
different solution to the problem presented by the item's
appearance on the list?
It's a small disruption in the symphony of shopping that I would
likely never notice. But to her it was cacophonous,
and now that she pointed it out, quite amusing. Next trip
to Lowes I'll ask if they have the item in a 500 pack, which if
I'm guessing the price curve implied, should be less than a
Container Yourself, Redux
In Monday's report I was talking about containers based on a
reader question about a pile ofs them which had shown up at the
Sepulveda Recreation Area (SoCal). Turns out there's a
"Well it's no mystery. It's part of a big movie set for IRON
Here's the link:"
Wonder if they'll have a scratch & dent sale afterwards?
Meantime, a fair number of readers have 'trailers are storage'
stories to share...like this one:
"Geo. 4 years ago I bought a 8' X 28' trailer for $1500
delivered and backed it into a 2 ft.deep hole I made down in
the orchard so that the floor is level with the tail gate of
my pickup... it will store several 100 bales of alfalfa for
the goats or probably a hundred year supply of chicken feed
for my 30 some chickens, (of course it probably would'nt
have much nutrition after a couple years tho). They also
come in longer versions with tandem duals instead of just
duals which if you wanted, could be cut off,, with a torch
so you could set it on the ground, creating a good place for
skunks to live underneath.. I've been waiting for the price
on cargo containers to come down as they're having
difficulty finding places to store them out in the desert
near LA with the decline in container traffic. I gave a
neighbor the idea of burying one for a root cellar which he
did at the cost of about $3K and has a really beautiful root
cellar with circular steel stair case which is camouflaged
with little tool shed and is completely invisible from the
air or to neighbors/passers by. I've been anticipating when
they are running out of reasons to store them in the desert
the price will come down and I can pick on up for a thousand
bucks, maybe. "
I notice in Dallas the
9.5 foot high 'high cube' containers can be found for $2.250.
Around the Ranch:
Loose Screw Department
Ah,. thanks for asking, but nope, haven't gotten started on
screwing down the deck yet. But a reader in Sparks Nevada
(dangerous things this time up year up in the pines) asks this:
"Have you thought of using a chair with rollers on it and
being able to sit down while you put the screws in? As I
mentioned the other day when you called, I have bad legs so
I do as much as I can from a seated position. I have a chair
with saddle bags on it that holds all the tools I could
possibly use in one job. Jobs just seem to go quicker when
you have everything needed within arms reach.
Hoping you had a good weekend."
That's a pretty good idea...and it reminds me that in the latest
issue of Farm Show Magazine
- which is a wonderful source of ideas for home/garden/ and
farmerly ideas - they had a picture of a lay down gardening rig.
Picture something like a massage table (with see-through head
rest) and wheels on either side and a tray so you can put plants
on it. Really pretty darned neat.
I see where
Show has this particular article on their web site...but my
favorite part of the magazine is the
"Best and Worst
Buys" department where people share git-down truth about
various home shop and farm tools and vehicles. That's
worth the price of a subscription alone.
If you're a home handyman type, you might want to also order
of Made it Myself" Ideas" - about $20 bucks by the time you
get shipping in.
Oh, and as to my weekend? Me & the Kubota put up a 16-foot
by 18" high retaining wall and back-filled it in just 45
I wonder if there's a hobby called 'speed landscaping'?
There certainly oughta be - since it's we live in a country
which has it's own US Lawn
Mower Racing Association (USLMRA). I wonder what I
could get my Husqvarna 48" rider to do the standing quarter-acre
Monday May 25, 2009
NK's Nuke Test
Was that really a 4.7 earthquake in North Korea? Nope.
Remember the part in last week's report where I told you
"Except, of course, someone who reads the data closely might
infer "Gee, don't be in South Korea in December of this
year...or in Isfahan in late October..."?
Well, the reason is pretty simple. In the predictive
linguistics work from HalfPastHuman.com there's language around
October 26th that goes to the idea of Israel attacking Iran and
that, in turn, sets a clock of about 4-weeks, or so, to an
attack by North Korea on South Korea using a nuke or two.
Until this morning, that sounded like a pretty far-out
expectation - but there it is - and has been for a couple of
months for ALTA report subscribers.
Now, it all fades into the ugly increasing likelihood of turning
out pretty much that way
since North Korea says today that it has conducted a second
nuclear test; their first one being a little 1-kiloton test
North Korea has also had another short-range missile test
and that, in turn, means they have something that could be
deployed on North Korean territory and still be in striking
range of Seoul.
In case you're putting predictions up on the refrigerator, mark
down this fall winter Big 3 as market collapse, Iran strike (and
response) and NK lobbing stuff and you'll never have long
Not only did Asian markets decline, but if I were just guessing,
I'd say that this might push some folks to put a little more
money into gold.
Oil to Move Up?
That's a reasonable thing to expect in most 'normal times"
(remember them?) but it may - or may not - actually work out
that way. Yes, "Nigerian
militant group attacks major oil pipelines" but there's so
much crude sloshing about the world right now that it's going to
take some time to work through the inventory...so whether this
does - or does not - move prices will be at least interesting to
Speaking of commodities, keep a watch on soybeans - possible
precursor to our hyperinflation due when the Dollar is devalued
overseas and our price of all things imported goes through the
Gold? Silver? I'm guessing $3,000 within a year for
the one, while the other ought to break $100. Just a
guess. Not that their value ever changes, but boy,
can the amount of paper to trade for them ever go up.
But not by much in the latest mass layoff report from the Labor
Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics:
As I mentioned to Peoplenomics.com subscribers in this week's
report, how the summer months appear in this chart will likely
depend on how all those GM workers who are getting a nine-week
mandatory time out are counted...if at all...
Global Riot Watch
Rioting has broken out in the Indian state of Punjab
following the killing of a religious leader in Vienna.
India is also dealing with a cyclone - their version of a
hurricane - so no lack of things to report on for India's media.
Thanks to last week's site issues, I didn't get the Rebecca
Price cartoon of the week from
posted. Better late than never, though...
Not getting it? Look at their hands, LOL...Just 'cuz it's
a holiday, no snoozing off on us....
--- snip and save section ---
Tax Avoidance or Tax
Despite the claim by the filthy rich that they are somehow
entitled to have tax-free offshore bank accounts, I'm not
convinced. Having lived in the Cayman Islands for a couple
of years - and having had a hand in brining jet service to
Providenciales over in the Turks and Caicos islands in the early
1980's I've heard just about all the arguments.
What gets me to going down this path is the headline that "British
banks revolt against Obama tax plan: British banks and
stockbrokers may refuse to take on American clients if new
international tax proposals outlined by President Obama are
We hear all kinds of whining about how the uber rich feel that
they should be able to skate on paying their fair share, but
when I saw some of the US citizens that were involved in the S&L
flim flam I got pretty much disgusted with the whole lot of 'em.
I tend to be an absolutist on some matters - and taxes is one of
them. I believe in a simple flat rate income tax and a
tax-free retirement account. If we had those two items in
place, a lot of the offshore banking business would simply
Those who are the real scammers - the ultra rich - take gobs of
stock options for American corporations (think banks and
financial services just for example) and park the money
offshore. There are something like 50,000 US citizens with
tax-free numbered accounts in Switzerland for example.
At my core I'm an equal opportunity guy. Not beyond
equality - but everyone should play by one set of rules; not one
set for us working types and a different set for the rich.
This two-sets of rules stuff really irks me and when I read how
banksters are bitching about the Obama tax play (which essential
would go after tax evaders) I am reminded how slimy the rich
Tax havens? I figure banning them them all would be
a fine thing; Caymans, Turks, ABC Islands, Belize, Channel
Islands, Switzerland and so on.
Of course, I hold to some pretty outlandish common-sense beliefs
on income taxes which, along with my idea that no one in
government should hold dual passports (that to me defines
someone of divided loyalties), won't go anywhere because it's
just too simple, too black and white, and it doesn't leave
enough wiggle room for 'special' cases. Everyone wants to
If you live at an American address I figure you oughta pay your
taxes like the rest of us. And if that's not to your
liking, save up your money, buy a place on Seven Mile Beach and
try for Caymanian citizenship.
But in the meantime, to this day I am thoroughly disgusted with
the immorality of the people iI met who were taking briefcases
full of cash out of America during the S&L crisis and put it in
offshore accounts under nominee names in order to not pay
taxes. And it's all been perfectly 'legal'. Moral?
No. Fair? No.
Bet me I couldn't find similar briefcases these days?
Might be "options" instead of cash, or a buyout of some kind,
but to me this stuff isn't ax avoidance. Let's call it
what it is: It's tax evasion and the rich don't want to be
The choice for the rich is pretty simple: Pay taxes and
shut up, or face the mob with pitchforks.
The rich being predictable, we know how this is going to work
out - think of it as a global version of the French Revolution.
Old games are over. Welcome to Transformation. Hand
Reader in SoCal sends this:
"FYI, what I saw this weekend was approximately 250 shipping
containers right next to Sepulveda Recreation in Sherman
Oaks, Ca. This is about 45 miles from San Pedro. Gonna have
to melt a lot of icebergs to ship from there. Look's like
somebody is drinking the fluoride water here in LA County.
That explains where all the missing cargo containers were
when I was down there two weeks ago...."
No big deal - they may be in the process of being sold off.
But that gets me to something I've been meaning to mention to
you for some time: You know what? Most folks are
just plain dumb-asses when it comes to storage.
Humans seem to collect so much crap anymore than they need to
rent storage units to hold all their crap. Amazingly, most
folks will rent a storage unit for $75-100 a month or so, stick
an old TV, couch, or old lawnmower in it, pay rent on it for
five years, and then throw out whatever it was that was in
storage. Seen it happen more times than I can count.
Are there exceptions where storage makes sense? Sure!
When Elaine and I were living on our sailboat, there were trips
to storage for winter clothes, or a rarely used piece of power
equipment that didn't fit on the boat. OK, that
makes a little sense.
But check it out: The couch which you might be able to get
$100 for at a garage sale (if it's in shape worth saving in the
first place) would be a fine start on a new couch savings plan.
Sell it now and then put in $100 a month you would have paid for
storage unit rent for however long you want, and within a year
or two, you will have your pick of absolute top-of-the-line
couches in real leather or anything else your little heart
OR if you have to store something (and we're thinking
about this here at the ranch for storing up feed for lean times)
why not just buy one of those cargo containers? You can
em all day long in our area for $2,700 delivered and painted
your choice of colors (cammo is my choice). You can dicker
down to about $2,000 in some areas for a 40-foot by 8-foot
Waterproof, vermin proof, big wide and solid. Hell, you
could even bury it if you wanted to. I figure a half
hour with my cutting torch and I would add any number of window
or door openings. Slowest part of that operation would be
marking out where to cut.
In Australia, people are actually taking
two (or more) containers and turning them into homes
like these. Lots of innovative people have done the same
math I have: A container is about 300 square feet inside.
That makes it something like $8 or $9/square foot.
A container that's well maintained ought to last what, 20-30
years? How does that compare with a monthly storage
Hey! Just asking. I know you can't have one in your
NY loft, so just get rid of the crap you're not using, for
crying out loud. (Any old ham radio gear? Send it
Storage is a problem - it's a social disease.
Around The Ranch:
This has turned into an
all-time busy week - been getting up at 4 AM lately just to get
everything done. Still screws to put into the new deck
(although it 'walks-on' just fine without them and 20-foot 2 by
6's don't go wandering around very much. This morning will
be spent working on the new ebook on micro hydroponics that my
commodity broker has cooked up. Really cool, too, since
he's growing 12-18 heads of lettuce in a 1.5 square foot area
and it's great for condos and other coop-dwellers.
Then this afternoon a
couple of local musicians are coming by for a studio session -
always a fun thing to do.
Somewhere this week
there's a tooth-cleaning, a couple of day-long client projects,
and things to order from various suppliers for this project and
that (16-foot cattle panels to rebuild fencing at the goat barn,
just as an example).
The ham radio net Saturday
morning got check-in's from 8 or 9 counties here in East Texas
which was really cool.
Then, as he does every
year, my friend Jeff WB4WXD decided that for this year's entry
in ham radio's "K0S, Strange
Antenna Challenge" (slow loading but cool pictures) would be
a couple of 30-foot construction scissor lifts. Not that this is
strange since in past years, Jeff has used (among other things)
an M1A1 tank at the local National Guard Armory and even loaded
up the railroad sculpture down at the famous railroad in these
parts - the Texas State
Jeff made a number of
contacts with them cranked up and fed with 40-feet of coax with
a "T" in the middle - so think of it as phased verticals, LOL.
Anyway, he worked Alabama and
W9ISM - the special events
ham station at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Well, not to be outdone by
a couple of scissor lifts, I fired up my radio and picked off a
contact with them, too on 14.258. By the way, work W9ISM
for all three big events at the Brickyard and score a nice
certificate if you're into that kind of thing.
Certificate-hunting is just one of the 10-gazillion subsets of
the ham radio hobby/disease.
Of course, since I was on
20-meters and had the radio gear fired up, I decided to do a
little digital work on BPSK down the band a ways.
BPSK is sort of like Yahoo Instant Messaging except there's no
internet involved. Just a radio and a computer with a
Snagged a nice contact
with TG9AHM down in Guatemala, which was fun...but you know how
that goes: Start off with a simple little antenna testing with a
friend and next thing you know, someone has snuck in and set the
clocks ahead several hours. Want to catch 'em one of these
days and I'll fix 'em. So went Saturday.
And sort of rounding out
Sunday was a Memorial Day Eve toast to "Those present and those
not" with my retired SF neighbor, who holds 5 Purple Hearts,
BTW. His best friend held 9.
Take a minute today at 3 PM to remember those who have paid
and those now paying the cost of freedom. And next time it
comes up, don't forget to vote.
Also on Memorial Day
weekend: The annual
Rolling Thunder bike gathering in Washington.
Buy a Lotto Ticket
Powerball Lotto jackpot is up to $222 million since nobody won
Saturday. If you do - and win, I'll tell you where to send
my half for reminding you ;-)
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for
'truth' in economics, that the PowersThatBe, the talking heads on
the teeve, and the other information sources that actively engage in
the programming of humans not to think, had conveniently swept
several trillions of dollars that disappeared in the Internet
Bubble's bursting (since spring 2000) under the rug. Surely,
it wasn't unnoticed by the thousands of people who called brokers
and said "Where is my money?" "Gone, but hang in there as
you're a long term investor!" was about all they heard back.
So one of our
charts for Peoplenomics subscribers oughta be widely circulated - it
shows that if you line up the peak of the Dow in January 2000 with
the peak in early September of 1929, we're on a very very close
replay track. Much closer than even the chart shows if you
were to back out inflation, and put in the effects of 1929
deflation, but that'd be real work, and I'm sort of lazy if the
truth be told.