No Blog Post Today

I’m taking some time off to get better. Keep working toward self-sufficiency, but don’t forget to laugh and wonder and enjoy life, too. I’ll be back as quickly as I can.


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Get Ready

January 24, 2015     My winter garden

Before I start what will be a rather short blog today, I just want to let those of you who have inquired know that I’m feeling better, though not back up to snuff, yet. Thanks for your prayers, healing thoughts, good vibes, friendly incantations and loving concerns. They mean a great deal to me.


Maybe it’s the “We’re really good guys” propaganda from Davos as they lap up ever more of the world’s wealth, the multi-trillion dollar relay race of QE taking place around the world, the unfolding disaster in the oil patch and its knock-on effects, the constant stream of “Russian invasions” in Ukraine (dang, those Russians are busy little beavers), the slowing global economy, the growing potential for blow-back from our machinations and meddling in the Middle East and North Africa, or the impending rigors that climate change will demand of us soon. Certainly it’s the increasing number of warnings from bloggers and news sources I’ve come to trust around the internet. Some of it is plain old gut feeling.

Everything I see and read is saying, “Get ready for round two.” Unless you’re in the top 20% of Americans who are doing pretty well, economically, you probably haven’t fully recovered from round one, back in 2008, which means it will be that much harder this time, recovery will be much slower and much less – if at all.

I’m not trying to “scare” people; (I’ll leave that to Homeland Security and the FBI sting operators.) But when you hear all the happy talk about the economy accompanied by all the “be afraid; the terrorists are coming for us” talk, you know the Gov is trying to distract us from something.

I don’t think things will fall apart tomorrow, or even in the next month – although those black swans do have a way of gliding in for a landing at the most unexpected times. I do think we might be heading into real trouble by the end of the year. That’s not the time to be trying to get ready.

So, what can you do to get ready? John Michael Greer’s Involuntary Poverty is where we all probably should have started a decade or two ago. If you’re late getting started, here’s a good post to start with.

For those of you who are already involuntarily poor or on small fixed incomes, you might read through the Doom and the Working Poor series linked at the top of this blog for ideas.

There are many other blogs with ideas and ways to lower your dependence on the infinite growth, consumer driven systems that are failing and simplify your life.

Learn to garden. Grow as much of your own food as you can, even if it’s container gardening on your apartment balcony.

Learn some useful skills that don’t depend on this oil energy dependent economy or look around your community for ways you could make a living from ones you already have.

Get out and stay out of debt.

Learn to “use it up; wear it out; make do or do without.”

Make these changes permanent.

Above all, start now.

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Sick and Tired

I’m sick; it’s not fatal, but I’m more tired than I can remember in my life. So I’m going to the doctor on Tuesday and I’ll see my regular readers here on the blog next Saturday. Have a lovely week.

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The Year the Nose Fell Off

January 10, 2015

Despite today being sunny and cold, here, with the promise of a warm-up later next week, things are looking pretty cloudy in the oil patch over the unfolding year ahead – and, sadly, what happens in the oil patch doesn’t stay in the oil patch. Here are some articles that point out the many ways that what’s happening with oil could go badly wrong. (Very doomy; not for the faint of heart)

And of course, there are other problems leaking over from last year that may have implications for our economy this year, despite all the happy  news from the government.

As will our continuing economic warfare with other countries that may yet blow up in our faces. (Think Russia/Ukraine, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and who knows how many other countries in less overt ways.)

As will the softening of the world economy – Europe, China, Japan – not to mention the effects of the strong dollar and the promise of raising interest rates by our Fed on emerging market debt.
The world economy is too intertwined to be otherwise.

So, hopefully, having given those of you who don’t pay much attention to such things enough to get you thinking, here are my basic resolutions for the new year:

(1) Expect the worst; hope for the best
(2) As much as possible, get my ducks in a row

Fortunately, the repairs and other chores on the to-do list from last year have been done. And, in that spirit, here is the beginnings of this years list:

(1) Get that plumbing issue resolved! (This after consulting with two different plumbers, each of which thinks the other is wrong on what the problem is.)
(2) Small health issue which will hopefully be resolved by the end of the month.
(3) Start the transplants for the two gardens over February and March.
(4) Get some hooks and accessories for the newly installed pegboard panels and organize my tools so I can actually find them when I need them.

As for this winter’s activities, the three heads of cabbage growing in the back room appear to be forming heads – unlike last year’s cabbage- and I have had some small salads from the lettuce and spinach, with more to come. Small victories in the ongoing battle to be more self sufficient.

Overall, it seems to me, 2014 was the year of the Empire sawing away at its own nose to spite its face. I fear that 2015 might be the year the nose falls off, so I’m getting as ready as I am able. You might want to do something similar.

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No Blog Post Today

Waiting on the resolution to a plumbing problem (thankfully small in the grand scheme of plumbing problems) and cleaning up the (again, small) mess left in its wake. I’ll be back next week.


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December 27, 2014    IMAG0064

There will be no more life lessons from Little Cat on the blog. Sadly, she passed away on my lap last Sunday morning, while I stroked her fur, talked to her and offered her every enticement I could think of to postpone  that last journey.  Alas, she could not.  A neighbor helped me bury her in the backyard near the garden, under a shrub where she often enjoyed refuge  from the summer heat.

She was really my son’s cat, if one can be said to own a cat.  He found her in an animal shelter – a one-week-old, six ounce ball of white fluff – almost fifteen years ago.  When we bought the house, three years later, she became our cat, even though she lived downstairs with him.  And last year, when he moved to California by motorcycle, he left her with me out of respect for her advancing age and she became my cat.

On the whole, it was a mutually beneficial relationship.  I provided her with food, shelter and a clean litter box; she helped keep my blood pressure in check by allowing me to stroke her fur and scratch her ears while we watched TV together in the evening and made this large house seem less empty by feigning rapt attention to my one-sided conversations.

Over this last week, though, I was a little surprised at how many accommodations I’d made to this friendship once I no longer had to make them, how routine they had become and how little bother most of them had really been, in the grand scheme of things.

For example, I could leave the library door open, knowing she wouldn’t climb into my favorite, nubby-textured chair to scratch her back by rolling around in it, leaving it covered in a tangled film of long white hairs.

I could walk down the hallway without fear of stepping on her, as she dashed between my feet to see where I was going and whether there might be food involved.

And, I could finally move the big container with my spinach and lettuce to those spots where it would get the most sunlight in my back room garden, rather than a place where she couldn’t jump into it  because she was certain I’d given her a box full of dirt – complete with a carpet of grass-like stuff – for her to sleep in.

I also realized, she probably had her own list of accommodations that she’d made over this year. (She did finally eat most of those dreadful cans of  cat food I bought, when I couldn’t remember her favorite brand.   She did catch several mice that wandered into the back room, last winter, even when I kept snatching them up in a paper towel and rudely tossing them out the back door while she was still playing with them.  She did help me cement several good friendships over this last year with her charming ways.  And she did accept that, though I was only a poor human and not  a superior species such as a cat, I was a worthy friend.)

So I suppose, dear readers, that is Little Cat’s final life lesson for us all – that the larger part of any good friendship is  mutual accommodation to our differences, whether you’re a cat or a human.

Happy new year, everyone.



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The Right to Be Stupid

December 20, 2014     Kim Jong-Un Sketch-cropped.jpg


So, am I the only person in America that thinks Sony and Seth Rogan kinda, sorta deserved the bitch-slapping they got from North Korea last week? That our much vaunted (and much whined about) Freedom of Speech(TM) is not the same thing as freedom from responsibility for that speech? Or, that a movie about a CIA plot to assassinate the (justifiably) paranoid leader of North Korea just might not have the comedic value Mr. Rogan seems to see in it – especially to that leader?

And frankly, I’m not very impressed with a multibillion-dollar international conglomerate that is apparently too dumb to spend a few million bucks on encryption technology. Welcome to the 21st century, guys.

Or with the threat that North Korea supposedly issued; you know, the one that shut down all the showings of Seth’s movie and took away our right to put out any stupid thing we want and call it free speech?

But, really now, folks, are you telling me, a country that could pull off such a sophisticated hack doesn’t have a single soul that knows English well enough to write a threat that doesn’t sound like the Hollywood version of an Oriental super-villain from a grade-B spy movie? (Or, if I were a little more conspiratorially minded, like some CIA agent’s version of what a North Korean super-villain might sound like?)

It’s not that I approve of hacking other people’s stuff – whether ours or theirs – nor do I imagine that Kim Jong-un is a particularly nice guy.  It’s just that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine that the little guy has hundreds of North Korean terrorists lurking outside our movie theaters, armed with explosives, ready to commit hundreds of  9/11 type atrocities on unsuspecting movie goers.  (Do you ever think about what an effective trigger that phrase is for rousing slumbering Americans to empty-minded rage?)

Well, I suppose we’re due for a whopping good international “incident” to distract us from the effects of plummeting oil prices that are whipping around the world and that will soon be coming home to roost in our own little oil patch and the banks that finance it. And it might as well be defending our God-given right to be stupid from those vicious North Korean hordes.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone.

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