It’s always a “hard choice” come Monday.  After a full day off – the only one I afford myself – it’s always a difficult decision whether to write a column that would do a  presidential briefer proud.  Or, whether to focus instead on the practical matters of life.

Even more tempting, as we shall pursue this morning is the “All things to all people” approach to the  information tsunami.  A bipolar column, just ahead.

Five That Matter

The “briefer” would rip through oodles of ‘news’ and might distill down the following:

Say, would this old geezer make a good briefer, or what?

Ahead Lies What Matters

Data to factor this week:  Consumer prices come Wednesday.  Then, retail sales will hit Friday morning.  Most of the other data is more tonal than impacting.  

Like tomorrow morning’s NFIB Optimism outlook.  Though Producer Prices also have some heft to ’em.

Metals “Mental”?

We’ve been watching the prices of gold and silver with some amusement.  Because the “heavy thumb of the Fed” (printing up more than 30% money made-up scrip this year) makes it look like inflation is here on the scales of economic rationality.

Importantly, when you go over to the Minneapolis Fed Inflation Calculator, and go back to the Hunt Brothers hold on silver in 1979-1980, when it peaked around $48.70, one can make an inflation adjusted target of $151 out of it.

Unfortunately for the Gold Bugs, the same approach doesn’t work out so well.  By this measure, we’re possibly into a “topping zone.”

You see, the problem with Gold is that it peaked around $1,850 in fall of 2011.  Same (Minneapolis Fed inflation calculator) methodology puts an inflation-adjusted target around $2,100.

Calling tops is always a bear (sorry for the pun!).  But we have no idea whether gold could be peaking right now, or might this fall closer to that $2,100 level.  Key thing to grasp, though, is that is a target based on 2019 prices.

Can Anyone Post Price Targets?

Well, NO.  Not authoritatively, anyway.

BUT, if you wanted to, you might up the $2,100 to $2,156 based on a 2.7% inflation rate for 2020.  Then-again, there’s also a chance the target would be a much-loftier $2,772 based on  the Fed’s rotor down-wash (of Bernanke’s helicopters of money) which are rolling M2 up at a rate of 32% (6-months, annualized) here lately.

Problem is timing is everything in life.

Yet, it’s also fair to ask whether Silver could be the “next Bitcoin?  Besides, as my commodity broker (who can’t talk real candidly due to COMEX gag rules) points out, the historical gold-silver ratio is 15-to-1.  Sometimes 20-to-1.

With Gold around $2,030 this morning, 20-to-1 prices silver at $101 and change. 

While if the Fed dough leaks into Gold in a big way and 15-to-1 comes along, there’s a case for $184 silver, but would I hold out for that?  Maybe it’s only paper, but $150 silver isn’t impossible.  Likely?  Methinks not…yet.

Not to Be Misled

There are many stories to mislead people – by the millions.  Take the video about the Beruit “bomb” of last week.  A long-time Peoplenomics subscriber asked me about the video making the rounds purporting to show a missile strike.  My answer to him?

“The Associated Press fact checked the video and reported that the missile was “obviously fake,” citing a University of California, Berkeley professor who focuses on digital forensics.”

And speaking of Berkeley and surroundings, another reader tipped us to a great story in the SF Chronicle:

Are we on the verge of virus-sensing implants and virtual hamster balls? Futurist Paul Saffo tells us which inventions are on the horizon and what will only be found in sci-fi stories...”

We’re not too sure how the future will roll out exactly, but if you don’t apply some effort to being well-informed on where we are right now, your future conjectures will fail miserably.

Around the Ranch…

ton of activity here this weekend.

Tile Work:  In my remake of the kitchen – with maybe a picture or two to come by late fall – the first of the tile-over-formica parts are landing now.  Very good process for putting tile right over a p-lam countertop.  Video on the process over here if you’re a do-it-yourself’er.

Shop Furniture:  Finally got around to getting a seal coat on the “pottery-throwing stool” for Elaine.  Now, it’s down to a day or three’s worth of spar varnish on it to finish.  That “new in box” 1978 Toolkraft shaper table is a dream.  Notice how I can take a trivial project and turn it into an event?

Sanding Tip:  With the new 1550 CFM Harbor Freight dust collection system working like a charm, I’m able to do all kinds of work on the belt sander without fine dust getting all over the shop.  We’ve been getting about 3-5 times more use out of each 4-inch sanding belt because of a?  Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner.  Essentially, it’s like an eraser  except it’s huge.  Hold it (carefully, duh!) on the running tool and cleans accumulated gunk out of the grit.  Getting  weeks instead of days out of belts now.

Reader Search:  Trying to find the “perfect instant finish” for do-dads around the shop.  One thing I’ve found that is great  is just get a tube, or three, of self-mixing 5-minute epoxy.   Spread thin on well-sanded wood…  Maybe not something to show off to company, but for projects where time is of the essense.

Family Handyman Mag had a good write up on Zenser’s B-I-N sanding sealer.  While we’ve used Kilz  for years, the upside of this is it’s super-fast drying:  Like 20-minutes or so.  Two downsides?  (Nothing’s ever perfect, right?  Price (north of $40 a gallon) and it’s got VOC’s in it.  Not a rule-out to use since the all-purpose outside bench is where we do most finishing.  Parts come in at night to cure out in the shop before the dew falls.

Swamp Cooler is paying for itself.  With the afternoon temps in East Texas into the mid 90’s and humidity down around 45%, the effective working temps in the shop are around a bearable 80-82F.  Still, when working heavier material, an a/c break of 10-15 minutes in the 73F office makes sense.

Looking for a Welding Table.  Best deal so far looks like the Klutch table that Northern Tool carries at its outlets.  Didn’t see a way to get it shipped for less than $44-bucks.  At that, a 90-minute round trip to their Tyler store might make sense, given my “hourly” rate in “retirement.”

Ham Radio Notes

I have gotten tired of asking people to climb trees for my “hang ’em high” ham radio antenna ambitions.

So my latest (marginally sane) move is to order an air-powered “antenna launcher.  There are lots of them around but I settled on an “Air Boss” ($60, plus special weights) which will arrive shortly.

The basic rig doesn’t include the fishing reel ($24, Amazon) or the Spider Weave line to load the reel ($13).  The one add-on that will take a little more doing?  A reticular (red-dot) sight ($35) which will mount on some 20 mm X 8mm stock that will be laminated and machined.  Air Boss didn’t offer a Weaver or Picatinny rail option.  No worries, though:  Remember my love of 5-min. Expoxy ?  Hell yeah.

I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “perfect” antenna launcher.  Bob Heil (K9EID) has a great review of using a DT Systems .22 powder load driven launcher.  Video for that’s over here.   Not too keen on .22 powder loads and certainly could be an issue in a big city.  Air’s a lot easier to control.  Especially when an  overshoot with a weight could break a solar panel, or land the antenna live draped over a power line.  Thanks, no.  “One shot, one antenna.”  at least in theory.

Antenna modeling keeps telling be the obvious:  The higher an antenna is, the better it works.  Although, we’re still not sure how to grow crank-down trees for when lightning’s about…Didn’t seem to be an issue with the steel tower…

New Halliucrafters HA-5 VFO landed.  Had for about half of the recent $400 going price on eBay.  The unit weighs about 8-1/2 pound. So, boat anchor ham gear for $47 a pound?

Still cheaper than a 1-ounce $67 DDS board out of China. That would pencil out to over $1,000 a pound.

Now down to debating whether to use the Johnson 122 VFO on the Viking II transmitter or the HA-5…  Tough decisions, huh?

What About Elaine?

Working on her projects, as well.  Noticed a pasta rolling add-on for the KitchenAid mixer came through along with 20-pounds of high-protein organic bread flower.

Which is good because the price of my favorite  Rose Brand Chinese egg noodles has taken a cue from SpaceX or something.  $19-bucks for a four pack now and sorry…that’s a little heavy.

You make make a pretty good noodle with some flour and an egg…and put the fetuccini cutter down to super thin.  Air dryer rack for the noodles was like $12 bucks and it’s a fold-up.

With winter coming, we like heartier foods.  A good meat and noodle sir-fry is easy, low mess, and can be used to pare down excess fresh veggies.

Mushroom growing time:  She’ll be starting one of those mushroom grow boxes today.  When it begins to “work” it will move onto a pile of gum tree wood chips behind the magnolia tree.  Lots of shade and with luck, we can get some spores to drop onto the wet, waiting chip bed.

Water Outage Saturday reminded us of the value of changing out the back-up watyer in the unbiquitous blue barrels.

Yeah…that covers  the “What’d you do this weekend…” part.  Now to ponder markets for a bit..

Write when you get rich,