Sunday, August 14, 2016

You think it is going to get worse before it gets better?

John Mauldin thinks it is going to get worse as well.  Much worse.

Mauldin's normally optimistic outlook has become somewhat tempered in the last year or so.  He's still an optimist over the long term (say, the lifespan of our children and grandchildren), but for many of us who are middle age and older, unless you are somewhere between very comfortable and outright rich, retirement is not going to be "the golden years" we heard so much about when we were younger.

I can tell you that Mrs. Freeholder and I have looked and continue to look very carefully at our retirement and our options.  We are fortunate in that we will both benefit from defined-benefit retirement plans, at least as long as they last.  We have some money set aside in various sorts of investments.  We have been very careful and have paid off, with the exception of one, every long term bill we have.  The exception is our RV, and that, quite honestly, the bank can have if it hits the fan.  If things get that bad, I don't think I'll be too concerned about my credit, thanks all the same.

And then there is Social Security, maybe.  I've never counted on it being there, but if it is, that will be what I think of as "gravy money".  Gravy money is what buys the extras, the nice-to-haves and the splurges.

It's easy for us to look at the 2016 election, throw up our hands and say "We are so-o-o screwed!" as we go to the fridge for another beer.  While that's likely, the problems that will result from whichever garage sale reject that winds up in the White House are going to pale in comparison to what awaits us when the global economy decides to crap the bed.  There are very few left alive that remember the last time that happened, but there are a lot of books that chronicle those times.  It might not be a bad idea to pick up a couple and read them, just to get an idea of how bad things were.  This is need-to-know information, because this is the sort of thing you will likely be retiring into.

I think we will have to be prepared for things to be worse this time.  There are more people who are further removed from our rural, agricultural past this time around.  I will hazard a guess that well over half the people in the US have never planted a seed and nurtured it to fruition, more or less actually gardened.  Even if they have, living in a major metro area, the amount of open space available to garden for most people is zero.  Even if you're among the fortunate and own a house rather than own/rent an apartment or condo, your yard is the size of a postage stamp.  Even the most intensive gardening methods can only get so much out of a few hundred square feet.

Even the success of that depends on the residents maintaining some semblance of the rule of law, and in those areas, I don't see that happening.  Several generations of welfare have created a class of people who have no respect for themselves, for others or for property rights of any sort.  And the police will likely phone it in when it truly hits the fan.  They have families of their own, and no one wants to be the guy who shot the next Freddie Grey.

So yeah, there's all of that to think about in planning for your retirement.

While many have urged those who prep to "Get out of the cities now!" to quote just one who shall  remain unnamed, that isn't always an available option.  Family ties, jobs, the need for health care and a host of other reasons, good bad and indifferent, keep many of us in suburban if not urban addresses.  And I'll be honest about it--while I like the country, I like the suburbs too.  I like fast Internet service.  I like (a few) of the channels on cable TV.  I like being able to go out to various restaurants.  I enjoy a movie now and then.  As much as I like Amazon, don't believe it when UPS says UPS delivers everywhere.  I like to go to a ball game every so often.  As I get older, it's pretty comforting to know that the hospital is a few minutes rather than a few hours away.  Given a choice, I'm going to take the suburbs.  Maybe that makes me a bad prepper, but so be it.  It's my decision.

We all have to make our bets and play the hands that we are dealt.  Mrs. Freeholder and I are making ours and doing so consciously.  Are you making yours, and are you consciously doing so, or sleepwalking into the future?  It's going to make a difference in the next few years.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

There are days

There are days, as my sainted mother would have said, that "just make your ass tired."  Hey, my momma could swear like a sailor.  I've seen her cuss a lawnmower that wouldn't run until it started out of fear.  True story.

Saturday, August 13, was one of those days.  I had to go into work today on what is normally a day off, which just kind of starts the day off with suck.  Nominally, I went in to help out with processing returning students at Podunk University.  But seeing as how we were having some problems with a fairly critical part of our computing infrastructure, I wound up pretty much begging off, heading to my office and calling tech support with a Severity 1 case.  Not a big deal, anything needed for the returning students they could text me for--it was just password resets, and not many of those.  I'm usually there to be a highly paid security blanket, except I don't get paid for this, being a salaried employee.  And I hate giving out freebies.

So after an 8 1/2 hour marathon call, we got the critical part of infrastructure squared away.  We also found out that another critical piece of infrastructure is pretty well screwed to hell and gone, and it's going to have to be taken care of soon.  Maybe we can baby it until fall break.  At which point we'll have to break our network to fix it.  Yay us.  I'd like to kill one of my old server admins who came up with the fool idea that caused all this.

So I get home and take Mrs. Freeholder out for supper.  She had spent the day doing laundry and cleaning house.  She's going to the beach with a girlfriend next week, and I think she's afraid I'll get hit by a bus and not have clean underwear on.  At any rate, having done such things myself, I appreciate her doing all that without help, so out for supper we went.

Back home, and I have the foolish idea that I'm going to catch up on my aimless Intertubz surfing.

My Lord, why hath thou forsaken me?

I've been busy lately, and I haven't been on the computer for recreation much.  I'm going to have to make that a habit until the election is over.  Here's a list of the things I have learned reading what passes for the news in 2016 America.

  • Trump is the Antichrist.  
  • Hillary is the Antichrist.  
  • Trump wants to kill Hillary.  
  • Hillary wants to start a war with Russia.  
  • The GOP hates Trump and is out to sabotage him by any means necessary.  
  • The DNC hates Bernie and sabotaged him using every means at their disposal.  
  • Bernie is a hypocrite because he bought a $600k house, is third. 
  • Hillary has a brain tumor/seizure disorder/there's not a thing wrong with her, it's Bush's fault and you're a racist.  
  • Trump's campaign is being sued because one campaign guy in North Carolina allegedly pulled a gun on another campaign guy.  
  • Trump and Hillary are too old for run for President (but Bernie was older).
  • The polls say Hillary will win in a landslide.
  • The polls are rigged, they're ran by the same media that has shown a slavish devotion to the Democrats for 8 years, and Trump is going to pull a Brexit.
I could keep going, but why?  I think even a blind pig could find this acorn.  

And whatever you do, don't go on Facebook.  Really, just don't.  I'm going on once every few days, and I've unfriended and unfollowed until I'm tired of doing it, and it's still wall-to-wall half-informed (on a good day) people spewing bile about the other side's candidate that THEY HATE AND WHO IS GOING TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY IF THEY GET ELECTED.

They sad part is both sides just may be correct.

I could desperately use some trigger time, but tomorrow's weather forecast is for 93 degrees and 93 percent humidity, and I'm not joking.  When I was younger I'd have blown that off, but these days I have to take a look at that and say "You know, I have pistols from the last range trip that need cleaning in the nice cool, air conditioned basement," and go with that instead.

At least it will keep me away from the Intertubz.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I would like to note the passing of a patriot

Mike Vanderboegh, husband, father of three, and founder of the III% movement passed peacefully in his beloved Alabama home yesterday.

Mike was not everyone's cup of tea.  His uncompromising belief in the raw words of the Constitution and his oath taken so many years ago, which lead him to found the III percent movement, made many lessor men uncomfortable.

That, dammit, is why they are lessor men.  That is why we are watching an election where our choices are between a traitorous old harridan and a bombastic, untrustworthy serial bankruptcy specialist.  We are in this position because there are far too few Mike Vanderboeghs in this world and far too many Hillary Clintons and Donald Trumps.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Mike.  My loss.  But I've read a lot of the things he wrote.  I don't agree with them all, but the power of his belief shines through every word he wrote. and I have to respect that.

There was a commercial a few years back with a tagline I'm going to steal.  It would be a better country if more of us would "Be Like Mike".

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The things ones finds on the Intertubz

Son is something of a gamer, as in computer and console gamer.  Enough so that he has purchased a specialized computer set up specifically for gaming.

I've had servers that were in smaller cases than this behemoth.  One of the guys at work who also has this affliction helped him configure it, and I threw in my $0.02 worth from my days building specialized high performance servers.  For what he has invested in it, the sucker is quick.  (Shout out to the folks at CyberpowerPC.  They do nice work.)

Unfortunately, the 802.11ac wireless in The Freehold just isn't good enough, or so I'm told.  The connection must be wired.  So after 10 years of living wirelessly, I have to pull data cable in the place.  And since I have to do it, I'm going to wire the entire place.  So each TV gets a drop, my work space gets 2 drops (rank hath its privileges) and a drop in the workshop for working on computers and one to the ham radios for their needs.

However, we are doing this on a semi-frugal basis.  I have a number of items salvaged from various tear outs of Cat 5e vintage.  One of these items is an Amp pre-wired 12 port punch down block.  Usually such things are well labeled as to which wire gets punched down where.  Not this one.  But Google to the rescue, and eventually I was able to determine how to properly punch down my connections.

However, while on the search, I came across a bunch of other stuff, some of which I sent off to Mountain Man, which engendered a return of other stuff.  Being pressed for time, I'm just going to give you the links and let you sort through it for yourselves.  Me, I'm bookmarking it for viewing in my Copious Spare Time or retirement, whichever comes first.

Enjoy the links.  But beware Alice, that's a rabbit hole you're going down.

Where has this been all my life?

(Via Recomendo)

A method in which "cords and charging cables will stay wrapped, won't get tangled, and are very easy to unwrap."  I suspect it can be applied to things like rope, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet.

Things like this give me hope that the world may yet pull its head out of its arse.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

My pick for President of the United States

The noise of the nominating conventions is finally over.  On one side, the gears are grinding as the monkey wrench known as Donald Trump continues to confound the Republican Party, the media, pundits, Democrats and pretty much everyone else.  He has and continues to alienate the traditional big money Republican base, all of whom are taking their balls and going home to pout, while bringing together a populist gathering (minus the overt racism) that hasn't been seen since the days of George Wallace.

On the other side, The Democrats have again made history.  Fresh from nominating and electing our first mixed-race president, they have nominated the first female candidate for the office.  Whoopee for that.  I find it far more interesting that they have nominated our first communist candidate for president.  E. Jeffrey Ludwig's American Thinker article, "Hillary Is a Menshevik" makes a very reasoned case for Hillary Clinton as communist, just not the sort of communist that we are familiar with from the Cold War.

We're into the home stretch of the presidential campaign now.  Trump appears to be far better on things like the Second Amendment and defense of our borders, and possible better on less international adventuring.  He may be better for the business climate as well, but that's a hard call to make.  He does seem to scare most of our nominal allies.  We can bet that his most far out tendencies will be tempered by Congress.

Hillary, on the other hand, is an absolute enemy of the Constitution, Second Amendment and all the rest.  She will rewrite it via a friendly Supreme Court every time it gets in her way.  Our borders will be wide open.  She doesn't seem to make our nominal allies afraid, although as a woman, most Muslim nations will play nice to her face and stab her in the back.  She may or may not be better for the business climate, at least in the short run.  Depending on how long her coattails are if she wins, her worst tendencies may not be tempered by Congress.

We have a hell of a choice before us.  Never in my memory have we had such shit choices for president.  Hell, at least we could all hope McCain would stroke out early on, and Romney was a typical County Club Republican, and we've done fairly well under several of those.  Bush 41 wasn't a complete bumbler.  As much as I hate saying it, even Bill Clinton wasn't a disaster.  OK, he wasn't a *total* disaster.

So, what do we do?

I think staying home isn't going to help, and while a number of folks are yelling "Third Party" and "Libertarian!", neither of those stand any chance of getting elected this time around.  I understand the logic of "But if you don't vote for them..." but I also understand that we have the Wicked Witch of Wellesley running for President of the United States and she has a damn good chance of winning.  If she does, the last 7+ years of Obama are going to look like the Good Ol' Days.  For me and the sort of people who generally visit this blog, her belief system is utterly opposed to what we believe in.

I don't see Trump as a great choice either.  He's a bombastic loudmouth, and I can figure out if it's an act or really him.  I hope it's an act, a cunning ploy to psyche out his opponents.  I fear that it isn't, and that he'll wind up writing checks this county can't cash.

Both of them are promising government spending out the wazoo.  Great.  More debt, just what we need.  We can't repay what we owe already.

So, all things considered, I'm going to go, probably during early voting, and tap a touch screen button (we don't get the physical satisfaction of "pulling the lever" any longer) for Trump.

Shortly thereafter, I will be going to the range to practice.  One way or the other, I'm afraid that skillset may come in handy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bu-bu-but guns never solve anything!

(Via the Drudge Report)

One of the many whines of the leftist gun grabbers is that violence/guns/whatever it is they don't like this week never solves anything.  The Sheriff of Butler County, Ohio begs to differ.

"There's a massive amount of employees that are not certified law enforcement officers that could be construed as a part of law enforcement," Craft said.

Those Butler County Sheriff's Office employees, such as administrative assistants, clerks and dispatchers, along with volunteers like citizens on patrol, have all been given the green light to carry their weapons to work as long as they have a valid concealed carry weapons license.

"They do a great service for this community and some of them are scared, and they've asked can they carry a concealed weapon," Craft said.

Their concern was taken seriously. In a memo sent to staff, Sheriff Richard Jones granted their request effective immediately.

Great Bleeding Ghu, an elected official with some common sense!  Quick, I don't care what party the man is, let's see if he'll run for President!

Monday, July 18, 2016

A triumph of socialism

(Via the Drudge Report)

Grocery shopping in Venezuela, er, Columbia.

I remember a class I took, probably 15 years ago now, with an instructor who was married to a Venezuelan lady.  He loved the country.  They spent 6 months of the year there and 6 months in the us.  We ate lunch together 4 out of the 5 days (we were the same age, that is to say 20 years older than the rest of the class) and he told me all the great points about living in Venezuela.

I hope he and his wife were able to get back to the US to wait out the decline and eventual fall in Venezuela.  It's simply instructive for a cold-hearted bastard like me, but for someone who has skin in the game, it's got to be agonizing.

And we should all remember, this doesn't just happen in small countries.  It can happen anywhere.  Even here.

Checked your pantry lately?