Monday, March 21, 2016

About this long dry spell

No, I haven't decided to call it quits.  Actually, I sort of decided to have a life for a while.  This coincided with an early bout of Spring here in North Carolina, with a couple of weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures with days in the 70s (and a couple of 80s) and nights in the 40s-50s.  Coupled with the blessed coming of Daylight Savings Time (save your breath, I like my extra daylight after work, thanks) and I have been out and about, doing "stuff".

Of course, some stuff has been for those who pay for a goodly chunk of my time each week.  I was hired over 4 years ago to be part of a turnaround team and we are finally getting serious about that.  About freaking time, given that we are just about out of freaking time.  If you've never done this sort of thing, it's a lot of hard work, but it's rewarding when it works.  We're still waiting to see if it's going to be rewarding.

I did spend time in the yard, cleaning up from the winter and enjoying the sun and the breeze.  While this has been a milder than normal winter, we have had some storms, both of the snow variety and of the wind variety.  Either makes a mess.  A lot of it is cleaned up, some of it isn't and all of it is in piles to be burned.  that has to wait for the right combination of moisture and free weekend time.  I haven't gotten that yet.

A bit of time has been spent with the ham radio hobby.  I'm still tweaking programs for the mobile radios.  You'd be surprised just how much time you can spend playing with the programing software.  I'm also looking forward to RARSfest on April 2.  I haven't been in a couple of years, so it's time to go and see what there is to be seen.  And I am working toward my Extra class license.  I hope to be ready to test well before the current pool expires in June.

Son is approaching his 21st birthday, which means he gets his concealed carry class and the fee for his concealed carry license for his birthday present, plus enough money to buy his first pistol.  Well, it would be if he wasn't jonesing for a Berretta.  Fortunately, he has a part-time job while he is in school.

I have been paying attention to things political.  From my perspective they have rapidly went from amusing to serious, with candidates on the (D) side trying to out-statist each other, while candidates on the (R) side are competing to see how much of the Constitution the can trample while trying to tackle Trump, who continues to stay maddeningly out of their reach while picking them off one at a time.  In the meantime, the GOP party functionaries are busy saying that the voters don't really matter while taking money from anyone who will fund an anti-Trump ad.  Local leftist loons backed by Soros money are blocking roads in useless but photogenic attempts to keep people from Trump rallies while actually defeating their purpose by driving undecided voters into his camp.  You could not script a better lead up to a major social dislocation.

So how are your food and ammo supplies?

Financial markets around the globe continue to defy all logic, reason and history.  Returns are impossible to obtain without taking extraordinary risks, so many investors stay in cash or equivalents, and governments and central banks try to force them out with negative interest rates.  Investors take out actual cash, and those same governments and central banks threaten to make large denomination bills or cash itself illegal.

At least you can still spend it on food and ammo.  For now.

All things considered on the cash front, Mrs. Freeholder and I decided to take an unexpected inheritance and make the Freehold itself as truly a freehold as one can make it in the modern world--we have paid off our house loan.  It's an odd feeling, not having to make a house payment or pay rent (other than our yearly rent to the government in the way of property taxes), but I think we can get used to it.  And as an investment, it pays better than leaving the money in a bank account or other cash equivalent.

This also grants us a certain latitude of movement now, in terms of our actions down the road.  It would be much easier to take on a strategic debt to buy a bugout vacation property in the mountains, for instance, if that seems necessary.  Or one of us could leave our employment if the need arose--or was forced on us.  Always remember, when you owe someone, they own you.  (Unless of course, you owe them a *lot*--then that dynamic gets far more interesting, but that's a topic for another time.)

We still have a more than Dave Ramsey adequate emergency fund, so we're not being foolish and leaving ourselves "house poor".  I wouldn't recommend anyone do anything that foolish.  But for now, we are seeing a financial system that is under a lot of stress, perhaps levels of stress that are unprecedented in our history.  Consider your situation carefully and act according.  While cash is king in a poor economy, a bank bail-in could render your king much less powerful than he was on very short notice indeed.  And while Bernie Sanders is a twit, he is correct when he points out that the "too big to fail" banks are now even bigger than they were when they were bailed out.

I also note that the Socialist in Chief has gone visiting the neighbors in Cuba.  Oddly enough, I more or less support this.  We have a 50 year policy that has failed to reach the desired results, but has given us such stirring successes as the Mariel Boatlift and Elain Gonzales.  I've contended for a number of years that it was time to try something else.  I hate for this ass to get credit for it, but fuck him, he can have it.  Maybe if Trump wins the election he will pull a gotcha and appoint Obama as ambassador to Cuba.  Wouldn't that be a hoot?

An uncomfortable item to keep track of is an increasingly bellicose North Korea.  Dear Nut Job is off the rails, and while his nuclear arsenal may be primitive, primitive nukes can still kill you just as dead as the latest and greatest.  Even a conventional attack against South Korea would be nightmare to deal with.  A war on the Korean peninsula is not something the world needs.  What we could use is China reining in their client state, but that unsurprisingly doesn't seem to be happening.

Got a radiation detector?  Might not be a bad idea.

Everything is not a bad and horrible with the world, however.  I read a story today where a baby emu chick has had surgery to mend a deformed leg so that it can survive and grow up to be just like all the other flightless birds.  Sure, only rich societies can afford things like this--that's the point.

Then there is the story of the grandfather who fixed burgers for his grandchildren who were too busy to join him for dinner.  That set off an Internet storm, including a rather touching Facebook post from my son who said he would give anything to be able to eat supper with his grandparents again.  They've been dead several years now.  I miss them too.

Well, it's late, and we took the RV out this weekend.  Probably because of that, the weather forecast is for freezing temps, and since I don't want to have to blow out the water lines, I need to go turn on a heater so the pipes don't freeze.  It's always something, isn't it?  :-)

My friends, take care.  Just because I don't write doesn't mean I've forgotten you.  Like a proverbial bad penny, I will turn up again.  Keep you eyes open.  We live in an increasing interesting and dangerous world.  Make what preparations you feel moved to make and that you are able to make.  I believe they will come in handy sooner rather than later.

No comments: