Archive for September, 2017

THE SHOPKEEPER

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

It was a dark and stormy night. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Okay, so I’m not writing a famous novel. This is a true story, anyway.

I’m opening a hobby and crafts store in our little town and I went to the bank to start a business account in the new shop’s name. There I was told that I needed to first get a business license and publish a DBA, a Doing Business As notice in the paper, which is required for businesses with a fictitious name, such as Acme Glass Company or such like.

So I asked, “which do I do first, the publishing or the license?” and they didn’t know. I called the newspaper and they didn’t know, so I called the county office that deals with such things and they said to call the clerk who only deals with licenses, and gave me her number. So I did. And here’s what happened.

She asked me if I was selling anything that had a serial number on it, things that you register the number of in case it gets stolen, and I’m not so I said No. Then she asked me if I was selling anything outside of my store, in the parking lot or wherever, and again I said No.

So she then told me I was not required to get a business license.

I never heard of such a thing, but when I went back to the bank to try again for a business account, I got it, because I also added my name ahead of the fictitious name, as the legal name of the business, making it a NON-fictitious name. So no need to publish in the paper, AND, run back and forth to the County Seat TWICE, a 50 mile excursion down a fast moving, narrow and winding mountain road, to deal with lots of bureaucracy and pay big fees for the privilege.

Freedom from government, you just don’t know how great it is until you suddenly have it.

THE QUESTION NO ONE ASKS

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

No one except me, apparently.
North Korea is China’s vassal. China owns and directs Kim Jong Un, aids and abets their outrageous behavior and provides the physical means in the form of food and oil and other materials for that little puppet regime to continue antagonizing the United States.

That they’ve been shooting their rockets right over Japan is no mistake, the Chinese hate the Japanese. Nothing will ever make them forgive what the Japs did to China in World War 2. If this were just Kim acting alone, his provocative missile shots would be over South Korea. But the Chinese tell him where to aim them and that’s what he obediently does. China owns North Korea, North Korea for all practical purposes IS China.

So now the question. Why is China deliberately pushing us to attack North Korea? If they didn’t want us to, they wouldn’t be threatening us with nuclear war. What’s in it for them? How do the Chinese benefit if we attack North Korea?

I don’t know what the Chinese leaders have in mind but there are a few obvious things. One is that the Chinese don’t want the North Koreans sneaking into China. They’re equivalent to illegal aliens Mexicans, they cause problems. An attack on N. Korea would kill off a lot of them. But, they can do that themselves, they don’t need us to control the population.

North Korea is the result of Communist China’s attempt in the 1950’s to take over the entire Korean peninsula, but we fought them to a standstill and both sides agreed to split the country in half. China got the North half. Maybe they just are still mad at us 60 years later??? If we attacked N.K., I bet the Chinese army would swarm in and do their damndest to bog us down in another endless war. That may be the real purpose of this, simply to weaken us, to drain us of resources.

The White House knows the truth, whatever it is, and Pres. Trump knows that the only real way to deal with N. Korea is to go after China, and that’s both what he’s going to do and has been doing.

I can’t help wondering what the real reason is that China’s pulling this crap. Maybe I got it right here but it doesn’t feel to me that I did. I bet there’s more, a lot more.

SELF-ABUSE

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

I’m finally pretty much past the heebie jeebies and general trauma of deciding to open a retail shop in town, from scratch. At 78 it does seem rather stupid of me, and even after a year of cogitating on the idea, I’m still not real sure about it.

BUT, full speed ahead, Captain, the building is rented, the showcases are inside waiting to be unpacked as soon as I finish painting and repairing — or is that the other way around? The boxes of inventory goods are arriving daily and being daily carted over to the store-to-be and packed in the back room.

So what kind of shop is it, you ask? I know you asked, I heard you ask. I hear lots of things now, it must be the stress of starting a new business in a poor community in CALIFORNIA, of all places, Land Of Incessant And Ever More Burdensome Taxation. Which fact has definitely been part of my stress load.

Hobbies and Crafts with the emphasis on Crafts. Crafting craftily I crept quietly closer. Say that 10 times really fast. Polymer clay crafting, macrame (yes, it’s coming back) model boat and airplane building, beading, leather working, painting, with lots of different kinds and colors of paint that cost a bloody fortune, canvases, easels, drawing stuff, soap making, basket making, candle making… all sorts of crafts, lots of different crafting kits…

Anyway, I’ve gotten most of the ordering done and haven’t really spent as much as I thought I’d have to, but there’s always tomorrow and …. the unknown… but no stress, no, I’m fine, no really…

Anyway, today is COFFEE DAY. Today is the day I knew was coming when I’d run out of coffee and have to roast more. I buy it in bulk, green, and roast the beans in my oven about every 6 months. A lot of beans. They crackle and snap and pour out clouds of smoke, because they have to be roasted at 500 degrees F. and that’s pretty damned hot. Gotta watch em like a hawk because they can go from a nice brown to that foul tasting French Roast condition pretty quickly. But all was good and 3 more fat bags of roasted beans now reside in my freezer. You have to freeze them once they’re roasted or the oils in them go rancid. But frozen, they keep fine and taste fresh for a very long time.

So there you have it. Well, almost. The reason I’m opening a store, and a craft store specifically, is because I still plan on living forever and my income will all run out in less than 4 years now, and it seems like a good idea to have something to make a living with that’s easy. Crafts and hobbies, because there isn’t one in our entire, spread out area of about 10,000 – 12,000 people.

So burn a candle, spin a prayer wheel, set little pieces of paper on fire or whatever silly superstitious thing you do, dear Reader, on my behalf. What the hell, I’ll take anything. Send me money, tho, really, that would be good.

SANCTIONS

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Pres. Trump is using sanctions as a very effective tool in bringing other nations we’re involved with into line and getting a lot of complaints from them in the process. The latest griper is Vlad Putin, who said that it’s ridiculous for us to be asking for their help with North Korea when we put them on the same sanctions list as North Korea.

That’s actually pretty inaccurate and he knows it, our sanctions against N. Korea are for a totally different reason than our sanctions against some specific Russian businesses and banks. But that’s beside the point, as the real story here is that we have something that Russia and China don’t have in our sanction power.

Russia has nothing that we have to have. But if we cut off all trade with Russia, that would do a lot of harm to their economy. We’re already doing them harm as it is with the sanctions that exist now.

Sanctions threats against China are scaring the Chinese as well. We can target many specific entities, primarily banks and oil companies, and really clobber the Chinese economy. Of course they can and will retaliate against us by turning back a lot of our exports, but we can absorb that. The Chinese can probably absorb our sanctions too, but at the cost of stopping their outward expansionism, which is actually our primary goal. They’re using N. Korea the same way they’re using those artificial island they’ve militarized, for the same purpose.

Any nation that the United States stops trading with, is going to suffer very badly for it, far more so than we will, and it makes much more sense to conduct an Economic World War than a military one. With a savvy business leader like President Trump conducting it, we stand an excellent chance of winning.

CATASTROPHES-R-US

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

“Oh, the ice caps are melting, the tide is rushing in,
All the world is drowning, to wash away our sins.”
A cute little song sung by Tiny Tim.

The story is that the South Pole ice cap is melting, actually. I’m don’t know if that’s true and really don’t care either way, but the story is also that the North Pole ice cap is growing thicker and larger, too.
So ON AVERAGE, the temperature of Earth is probably staying pretty constant.
HOWEVER, it’s not staying constant everywhere. It’s very possible that some areas are getting warmer and maybe a lot warmer. The hotter it gets out on the ocean, the bigger the storms get because more heat generates more wind, and we now have Hurricane Irma being called the most massive and deadly hurricane ever recorded. Ever. Right behind a hurricane that brought record flooding to Texas.

Hurricane Irma is expected to pretty much wipe out the state of Florida, which actually might not be a bad deal if it gets rid of all the fire ants and alligators. But it won’t. What it will do is remove a few hundred thousand boats that will end up littering the ocean bottom, uproot tens of thousands of trees and give roofers and carpenters all the work they can handle for the next 3 years. Oh, and kill at least 500 people, most of them black, because the blacks won’t want to leave for fear their homes will be looted. The reality is that a lot of them will be trying to do the looting and getting killed by the storm instead. Or should I say, the hope is that they will.

But anyway…. This storm is just a symptom of change. Yes, climates do change. Sometimes the changes are cyclical and sometimes they’re permanent. Not all deserts were always deserts, a lot of them used to be swamps, and the only time dramatic changes in climate are disasters is when humans are the critters getting disastered. Otherwise, Mother Nature takes it all in stride.

“Disasters” are part of living on a planet, just par for the course.

There’s over 7 billion of us now, so if some weather event were to kill off a couple billion, I wouldn’t personally consider that to be a disaster. If it killed off all but a few thousand, now THAT would be a human disaster. It’s all relative. Like if it killed me, for instance. That would be a truly epic disaster.

DANCING AT THE DEVIL’S WEDDING

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Today I started making arrangements to rent a store front, for a crafts shop. The idea is to both have a business that will carry me through when my income gives out, in a little less than four years now, as well as have something more entertaining to do than sit around the house. Also, it will tie in with the rock hound club and help promote it as well as be a source of income from it. That’s the optimistic thinking behind this, anyway.

The fly in the ointment, and “fly” may be an appropriate pun, actually, is that the world is coming to an end. So if the world is ending, why bother doing this? Because, I suppose, it’s better to carry on as if it wasn’t ending, and then just meet the end when it happens.

Anyone who can’t see that the world is ending, isn’t paying attention. China very obviously wants war with us or they’d put an immediate stop to the antics of their slave state North Korea. The N.K. has just announced that an underground atomic bomb test they just conducted was a Hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen bombs are the most powerful type ever developed, and N.K. now has ICBMs that can carry such bombs to the United States, and they say they’re going to do exactly that.

OF COURSE if they did, we would obliterate N.K. with nukes of our own, but what damage would we suffer first? Would it be enough that the Chinese would feel confident to continue the attack on us? Or could we stave off enough of the attack that the Chinese would hold off and maintain their false claim that N.K. acted alone?

This question is exactly why they’re so angry that we’ve been installing anti-missile systems in S. Korea because successfully stopping the N.K. missile attack would ruin their decades of planning.

President Trump has thrown down the gauntlet at the Chinese, by threatening to cut off all trade with them if they don’t stop feeding their rabid attack dog, but I don’t think that’s going to stop them. I think they’re going to do it.

Nuclear war may not end the world for someone living on some remote island somewhere, but it pretty much will for all the rest of us and we are now teetering on the very thin edge. Most people have no awareness at all of the point of extreme crisis we’ve reached, but I do because the signs are much too obvious to overlook.

We and Russia are rapidly downsizing our embassies in each other’s countries, supposedly because we’ve become more hostile with each other. I highly doubt that. I’m not convinced, I think it’s all posturing. We are rapidly withdrawing from trade with China and we’ve left or are leaving all the other unfavorable trade pacts. Our military is undergoing a very rapid buildup, our anti-missile development is on the top burner. We’re getting prepared and in a hurry. China is seeing their chance to conquer us starting to slip away.

What will they do?

BITCOINS AND TULIPS

Friday, September 1st, 2017

I’ve been debating with myself over whether or not I should invest in Bitcoins. The problem I have is that they remind me too much of tulip bulbs.

Bitcoins don’t exist, they’re entirely virtual. There’s a cap on how many there can be, which is 21 million, and people buy them for investment as well as to actually used them online, to purchase goods online. Because of their relative rarity, by that I mean the cap on them, a lot of people have decided to invest in them. The result is that the current value of a Bitcoin has gone from an original $100 to over $4000. In Feb. 2017 the price crashed to less than $1000, and the average price can easily fluctuate over $200 a day. If you look at the Bitcoin exchanges, prices range from $4500 to over $10,000, so YES, Bitcoins are very volatile.
When I see volatility like this, I see people in a greedy panic trying to get a ride on the cash cow while it lasts, and I can’t blame them considering the great increase in Bitcoin value. The fact that there’s thousands of merchants who now accept Bitcoins as payment only adds to the interest in them as an investment.

Back in the 16th Century, tulip bulbs were introduced to the Dutch from Turkey and became very popular. They were also very scarce, and to add interest to them was a plant disease that caused them to develop into a wide variety of colors and shapes, most of which were attractive.
A Tulip Bulb Stock Market arose, and investors, in their eagerness to get in on big profits, began paying huge prices for new, colorful flower bulbs, until it finally dawned on them that they were paying far more for the bulbs than the bulbs were actually worth, the entire market collapsed and many in Europe lost their fortunes.

Since Bitcoins are only virtual, an Internet collapse could wipe them out. Or a hacker could create millions more out of thin air or steal a massive number of them, or a sales scam could frighten investors away and crash the value to nearly nothing, or…. Plus the fact that because Bitcoin sales are anonymous, terrorists are using them, which may soon push governments to either regulate or outlaw them.

Yeah, I think the debate with myself is concluded. If I were rich and had lots of money to play with, I’d take a chance on it, but I’m not. The time to have invested in this was when they were $100 each.

BLACK LIVES SPLATTER

Friday, September 1st, 2017

One of the biggest problems we face in the USA today is Gangs. Black gangs and Brown – Hispanic – gangs. We do have Chinese and Vietnamese gangs as well but at least they stay small and confine their Mafia-style tactics pretty much to their own people, and do it fairly quietly.

The black and the Hispanic, primarily Mexican, gangs aren’t so quiet. They leave dead bodies all over the place and attack anyone and anything. The blatant activities of these gangs is what gives black teenager groups the temerity to go around attacking vulnerable white people and flash-mob rob businesses. Without the sense that black people have more power, these cowardly acts would cease.

Now we have the Black Lives Matter (BLM) thugs creating more violence. The BLM started off just wanting to create social awareness of what they consider to be unfair treatment of black people, but it quickly turned into demands for special treatment and attacks on anything white. They started as a racist organization and have remained so.

These gangs and their attacks on white people and white institutions have been allowed to flourish by the Obama administration, which was out to tear America apart. While a lot of Obama appointees remain in place, they’re being pushed out one by one, and increasing pressure is being brought to bear on the gangs as a result. The arrest and prosecution of members of the large and very violent Mexican drug gang MS-13, is an example.

A lot’s been written about the psychology of, and attraction to gangs by teenagers, but that’s all wasted breath when it comes to reality, which is that gangs ruin lives. They ruin all the lives connected to them and most of the lives anywhere near them, they make everything worse for everyone and they have to be stomped out. Gangs are a civil liability of huge and worsening proportions. America has had gangs almost as long as we’ve had cities, and we probably always will, but that’s not the problem. The problem is their behavior. The time for gangs to rule cities and neighborhoods has to end and it will end.