I've seen the boots and the rifles
With the helmets on top
And the troops salute and march out
before the tears start
for once started they don't stop
I've heard the grief
of a mother and father
who've just heard that
their sons life was too brief
I've seen the flames
of a chopper down
and the bodies of men
red yellow white and brown
all green.... no different
when you're together on the ground
I've heard people laugh
and point and jeer
and others who stand proudly
wave their flags and cheer
I've counted crosses in Flanders field
and watched the flags wave at Arlington
the honor guard marches
and the rifles fire
a flag is given
by someone unseen
veiled from sight by a widows tears
An old man blows his nose
at all the memories
he's doomed to keep
Ask them all
why they lay there
they'll likely say
so he... and she... and you
in peace there
Monday, May 26, 2008
I've seen the boots and the rifles
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Or two words?
For they are much on my mind today and will consume my memories all day tomorrow. May 26th, we will celebrate Memorial Day.
It was not always celebrated on the last Monday in May as you will learn if you follow the above link.
Somewhere along the way it devolved from a day to remember the sacrifices of those who died in the service of their country into a day to go to the lake, or the park. To eat BBQ and drink beer until we're not safe to be on the highways. Blame it on the federal employees unions. They are all about getting those long weekends off with pay for the holiday.
Today the wife and I journeyed down to Loganville to be with her sister and B-I-L, several friends from their work. One.....a Tet of '68 Marine Corp vet.....and I, intrepid boy sky commander, sat in the shade of the back porch and solved most if not all of the world's problems, while the rest frolicked in the pool or under the shade of the lawn furniture.
We sat isolated in our corner out of necessity........he because last year he lost a leg above the knee from a staph infection after a second knee replacement. I.....
.....well, I because even though his loss is not combat related, it didn't seem right to desert a fellow Vet, and while others will listen to us, Comrades in arms have a rapport that transcends time and branches of service.
Maybe it is because the shadows of fallen friends, and those we did not have the privilege of knowing their names, come calling.......wishing us well....grateful that we still have solid form, and voices to speak for the dead. Remembering their names or their passage through our lives.
Names like Carl, John Paul, 1lt Hunter, Shuhada, Pobre, Foy. A hundred others.
Places like Khe Shan, The Rockpile, Firebase Vandergrif, My Loc, Hue, DaNang, Marble Mountain........
Hundreds and thousand and tens of thousands in as many places. More recent places, as well as more distant. Fathers, Husbands, Wives, Daughters, Sons.......all, at one time, loved.....missed.....grieved for........Honored........
And our lives touched, even if we never knew them, in ways we can not fully express,
or even understand sometimes.
May you have a great Memorial Day.
Posted by kdzu at 10:01 PM
Saturday, May 24, 2008
As a counter point to my post of earlier this month, I was going through some of the junk I accumulated this week.
Let's see..........8 more nice graded silver Dollars,
2 sets of sterling sliver hair brushes and mirrors
2 old India motif sterling silver cigarette lighter cases, one with lighter inside.
What's this......an old Dunhill sterling silver lighter......maybe something on ebay about that..
And I'll be damned, a couple of silver cigarette cases........one of them with an engraving of the Indian Sub-Continent before Pakistan raised a little ruckus to become independent, and one of the largest migrations in history occurred, as about 30 million Muslim people moved from the lower, newly divided, Hindu India, to be with their religious brethren. Supposedly they are now our allies......but they bare watching in my opinion.
Still it dates the case to before 1947.
So all these things were added to my piles of junk. Some to be stored in, I guess, a collection....since the time is not yet ripe to sell........and others.....just taking up space until I figure out some way to sell them, or I forget about them....
........whichever comes first.
Some wise guy wrote a book a few years ago, and made a fortune, called "Trash or Treasure. It's funny how true that is. To some it's junk, worthy only of being sweep out of the house. To others......... why they make a living, or at least a little on the side, selling these same items to others who, for whatever reason, want possession for just a little while.
Here is a conundrum for you.........Who is more free?......the one who collects items, or, the one who discards them? Why?
Posted by kdzu at 8:47 PM
Friday, May 23, 2008
.I'm not sure I like it......
...........but Auto Zone has my transmission in today. $1600.00 that I wish I hadn't had to spend, with the installation still to come. That will be another $350.00.
Might as well call it 2K and be done with it.
The good news is that soon I and my beloved lil' Red will be back on the road again.
The bad news is that I've begun to get used to the Buick's rather more generous gas mileage of 29.5 MPG. That is about 13.5 more miles per gallon than the truck. With gas knocking on the door of $4.00 per gallon it will take a little readjusting at the gas pump.
With a 15 gallon tank on the Buick vs 27 gallon tank on the Dodge Ram........you can figure for yourself the additional hit to the wallet. On the good side......when the truck gas gage starts it's bleating for more and the light is flashing.......I've got at least 5 gallons in the tank. When the Buick starts to beeping........you'd be well advised to pull in to the nearest gas station. It had just got to that point the other day and it took 15 gallons to fill up. That means it was just about to leave me walking on the side of the road. Fickle bitch .
I may have to figure out how to borrow the Buick once in a while though.
It'll be a few days before the installation is completed. I'll still get to ride the Buick a few more days.
With that being said, I'd be surprised if many of you had not been considering what we can do about these high gas prices.
I, as has been documented at this Kudzu Grotto (KG), have been a little critical of our elected servants in the Nut House on the Potomac (NHotP) in the past. It takes a tremendous amount of heat from the little matches back at home to add up to enough to get them to listen to us (US). That being said though......there is an effort at American Solutions to show them the light. Take a few moments to go to HERE
and add your name to the thousands who have already signed the petition.
If you do this it may not mean a reduction in gas prices in the immediate future..
.....but, I'll just bet you it will make a few of them take notice and begin to think outside the box of blaming someone else for their problems, and making asses of themselves on national television by showing their ignorance of economic reality to the world. I'll bet the oil cartel is rolling on the floor laughing and gasping for air. Would that we had a stranglehold on that necessary commodity.
Let me know how many of you actually sign up.
Posted by kdzu at 7:24 PM
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
,...........TheSky is falling.
The only thing on the boob tube is talk of the terrible weather, and the wife and ol' grump are glued to it like out of date forever stamps on an empty envelope.
It just started to rain lightly here.......although the clouds and rumbling have been moving in for a while.
The pooch is so screwed up about it he doesn't know whether to fart or go blind.
I want to strip naked and run out into the back yard and yell at the sky. Sorta like that guy with no legs in "Forest Gump" during the hurricane. I probably won't though. There is a leash law here in Clarke county.
Let the cleansing waters stream over my body washing all my sins and stains away. And if the "Guy in the Sky" decides that the next bolt of lightning should rid the neighbor hood of that crazy white guy............bring it on.......I have no idea about tomorrow other than going to Augusta to have the back of my mouth checked to see if the wisdom teeth have grown back...............and less regrets about yesterday.
There is a freedom about the rain.............It falls on the just and the unjust. The ultimate non-discrimination factor.
We just got a brief brisk downpour and the dog is running hither and yon. I think I'll lay back on the couch with a good book and lose myself for a while.
Posted by kdzu at 6:38 PM
Friday, May 16, 2008
An old radio talk show host Ludlow Porch used to say that there were two kinds of sandwiches which beat all other for soothing a soul.
I'm eating one now.........A banana sandwich! Ludlow would not approve I'm sure since I'm eating it on wheat bread instead of white. I did have some "Blue Plate" mayo to slather thickly over the bread. Both sides........I don't see how people think a sandwich is complete with mayo on only one side of the sandwich.
Ludlow also liked a good tomato sandwich. Same white bread and Blue Plate Mayonnaise
........and a fresh, home grown, vine ripened in the sun tomato.
Again I go with the wheat bread.....because that is what I like. If it's done right the juice from the tomato and the mayonnaise will run down your arm plumb to the elbow.
It's your choice as to whether you lick it off yourself or let the hound dog do it for you.
These are some of what I consider "Comfort" foods. Those things that transport you to a different frame of reference.......perhaps back to your childhood.......or a less stressful time.
We need these little touches in our lives. They help to re-center us....if only for a few minutes. They are like gentle fingers on our soul. Touching us like a person who cares.
There is a primal reassurance in being touched, in knowing that someone else, someone close to you, wants to be touching you. There is a bone-deep security that goes with the brush of a human hand, a silent, reflex-level affirmation that someone is near, that someone.......cares.
How sad it is to have the feeling that, lately, you've barely been touched at all.
If that's the case..........a banana sandwich and a glass of milk will help.
Trust me. And "Whatever else you do today, you find somebody to be nice to."
Posted by kdzu at 9:48 PM
Thursday, May 15, 2008
You know that when the mechanic lowers his eyes and shakes his head that the news is going to be NOT what you were hoping to hear.
Actually he had told me he'd look at it yesterday and call me today. So I waited...
as one does when afoot. No word.
After lunch I borrowed the wife's car and went to the bank, the stopped by the garage.
Truck was still in the parking lot. He claimed he'd cranked it up and it did just exactly like I'd told him it would.
Then the bad news, of which I'd already had a pretty good guess.
Newly rebuilt will cost about $1500 with a $650 core charge......payable in advance to include the core charge even though we'll carry the old one with us when we go pick it up.
More bad news.......it'll take over a week to get here.
There was a time in this country when you could call the supplier and they'd have just about anything you wanted in stock. Couple of days and it was sitting at your door.
Now in the "Just in time Era" Just in time means they won't start to put it together until you order and pay for it. People talk about the "Good old days".......and they were.
So I'm reduced to bumming the wife's car for a while.
Maybe I'll find her a bicycle at a flea market somewhere.
Posted by kdzu at 8:29 PM
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
That's where the transmission in the big Red Dodge Ram went this morning on the north bypass around Athens.
Just quit........no warnings........one minute pulling me along at a comfortable 60 MPH and the next.....nothing. No forward.....no reverse.....Nothing. Of course with my remarkable reflexes I was able to steer the 3 ton beast off at Chase St. exit.
Called a friend who recommended a good garage here in town......arranged for a tow...
....called home to prep the wife to come get me.....and sat there for about an hour and a half until the rollback got there.
I want to scream and shout and pull my hair.....but to tell the truth... on a Dodge I probably got 150,000 more miles than is normal on it. Just came at a very poor time to leave me walking.
Of course right in the middle of trying to get off at the exit Don called on the cell phone, jabbering about how we needed to maybe carry some product down to hotlanta and how soon could I get there.....and on and on and on while I'm trying to get him to shut up so I can tell him MY troubles. Finally I just started shouting Hello! hello! as loud as I could and he hung up cause he thought I was in a bad cell. I swear I'm gonna wring his old turkey neck one of these days.
Don is one of those guys who is always telling you about the great executive jobs he's had and how he took over failing country clubs and turned them around and sold out for big money.....on.....and on....and on. The question I have is "If he's so damn smart and all, why is he bumming money off of me"? It's similar to the question that the wife always thinks, but is too soft hearted to ask me, "If you're so damn smart, why ain't you rich?"
He don't have any better answer than me. Of course me and the bank own the house we're living in and until the Xmission went out I didn't owe anything on the truck and I do have a little put back that I try to turn once or twice a month.
Oh yeah.......I'm better looking, even if I don't dye my hair. He bums money to pay the rent and electric on the ol' mo-bile home he lives in......and he's always needing a ride somewhere.
Ah well......at least ranting about all this keeps me from putting up things about politics or economics, which nobody wants to talk about anyway.
Posted by kdzu at 6:28 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Some where along the way, at some other blog, I forget which, there was one of those online quiz's to check what kind of actor or something you'd most resemble.
I did the quiz and saved the results, but, never got around to posting them. Typical of me I forgot all about it until yesterday when I watched "The African Queen" on TMC.
You scored 30% Tough, 28% Roguish, 38% Friendly, and 4% Charming!
You're the original man of honor, rough and tough but willing to stick your neck out when you need to, despite what you might say to the contrary. You're a complex character full of spit and vinegar, but with a soft heart and a tender streak that you try to hide behind witty remarks and rakish behavior. There's usually a complicated dame in the picture, someone who sees the real you behind all the tough talk and bravado, and who can dish it out as well as you can. You're not easy to get next to, but when you find the right partner, you click but good, and you're caring and loyal to a fault. A big fault. But you take it on the chin and move on, nursing your pain inside and maintaining your armor...until the next dame walks in. Or possibly the same dame, and of all the gin joints in all the world, it had to be yours. Co-stars include Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall, hot chicks with issues.
Bogie and Hepburn.......now that was a pair. Actors in the best tradition of the word. Not like some of the tasteless bits of pap they feed us now-a-days.
I always admired her legs.
Posted by kdzu at 10:06 PM
Monday, May 12, 2008
.....Not necessarily in stature.
I've always like Chuck Norris. He's always the good guy and he whip the bad guys ass.......every time........although he's not above waiting till the closing minutes of the movie or TV show. Can't have us clicking away, now can we.
Another reason is his love of his country and the constitution which is supposed to guide it.
I found This article worthy of reading........feel free to disagree. Most of us educated more than 30 years ago know this stuff. Now-a-days I don't think educators care to teach young people this. It might make them think for themselves.......
.....something the powers that be take a dim view of.
Posted by kdzu at 8:53 PM
Although sometimes I have to wonder if God doesn't have a wicked sense of humor. Probably looking at us and muttering........"Oh, what fools these mortals be".
Well, I've heard it said that the American sheeple get the government they deserve. Sure looks like that's the case this time.
Posted by kdzu at 8:34 PM
Saturday, May 10, 2008
There seems to be a fine and, at times, almost invisible line between being a packrat and being a collector.
The difference, I suppose, is in the quality of the things being accumulated.
I for instance have an assortment of 1920's home building magazines. They are ragged and brittle, with bits and pieces of yellowed paper falling off anytime someone walks by them. You could call them a collection.......because they each have within them a blueprint drawing for homes of the times, complete with material lists and costs. Believe me.......things have gone up in price quite a lot in the last 80 years.
My wife thinks of them as junk....and to tell.....they are, for I'll never build a house using any of the plans.
I have a collection of guns......mostly long guns, but with a few hand guns. The 1865 English field gun from Birmingham England and the Springfield 20 gauge....the first came from my paternal great grandfather and the second from my maternal grand father......those are collectible items because one day they will be passed on to one of my grandsons.
The rest are just tools........nice tools....tools that mean a lot to me......but tools that are meant to be and are used.
I seem to have acquired, through simply buying and selling over the past few years,
a bunch of coins of various types....mostly silver....some just worth the silver content, even though over a hundred years old......and some which are, while not great dates, very nice graded mint coins. I guess they could be classified as a collection. I bought yesterday a set of 10 sterling silver proof ingots with Norman Rockwell scenes on them. Made by Franklin Mint in 1973 their luster is as nice as when purchased all those years ago. Even has the page out of the magazine from which they were ordered, along with the certificate of authenticity and an old set of gloves with which one was supposed to handle them. All in a nice wooden case inside a nice binder.
I have a porcelain statue of a German hunter and his dog my wife gave me back in the 70's while we were stationed there. Books my mother had before she died. World War II items, items from my army days, my pilots helmet from Vietnam with my call sign and Snoopy cursing the Red Barron painted on it. Milk buckets from when I owned a dairy farm. Some of my fathers tools and uncles and grandfathers tools.
More junk and stuff than I need or use.
But, the older I get, the more I hang onto these things.. And the things that I find that are most important to me are memories. Memories of running wild and free through the woods on our family farm. Memories of my parents and grandparents....the church I went to as a child....and the graveyard where we would make scary noises and frighten the girls.
And Friends......those gone and those near and new.
Who would have ever thought that the internet would revive the old habit of writing to Pen Pals........with just a new technological twist on it.
I'm just pecking at the keyboard......being glad that I've had the opportunity to know a little about a bunch of great people who put a bit of themselves and their lives out there........where collectors like my self can pick from among the best and Brightest.
Posted by kdzu at 8:52 PM
Friday, May 09, 2008
There is obviously something in the water in Berkeley, Cali-fornicated-up.
Now the barking Moonbats are using spells, chants, and rituals to try to end war.
I don't keep up with these newest trends in anti-warfare.........it seems all rather useless to me. The world has been at war over something every since one person found out that they could profit from another's labor by taking it by force..........and of course the victim is always likely to resist by the same methods if able.
Diplomats and politicians refer to war as 'Diplomacy by other means'........which simply means if the other person or country will not give you what you want willingly.......you simply knock them upside their head repeatedly until they do.
That presupposes that you are not so stupid as to knock their head if they either
1. Have a harder head than you, or
2. Have a bigger and longer pointed stick with which to poke you in your eye.
Of course if you have a plentiful supply of pointed sticks and rocks to throw, most aggressors will likely think twice before attempting to apply '5 upside your head'.
But I wish here and now to announce to the world that I have developed a sure fire way to end warfare on earth once and for all. It's really very simple...........
You simply develop the biggest, baddest, fastest, most well equipped force known to man, and most importantly develop the mindset that no one.......REPEAT NO ONE.....will be allowed to molest you in even the slightest way without an overwhelming response from you.
Had we, at 9/11 launched a small tactical nuclear warhead into every suspected terrorist training camp in the world.........without regard as to whether they were hiding in a mosque or school........and then raised a huge monument of a rattlesnake with the words over it reading "DON'T TREAD ON ME" at ground zero and over the White house in Washington, D.C.............we would not 7 years later be involved in a ground war in Afghanistan or Iraq. And, further Iran would not be testing us.
That's the problem with the moonbats in Berkeley.......they are all women or pussified men who think that for some reason "we should all just get along".
This is not to include those warriors of the feminine persuasion who may be reading this. Don't get your panties in a wad. I'd rather face a company of murderous men in combat anytime, over a group of women or even a single woman who, for whatever reason has taken it upon them selves to wipe your genes from the pool. They'll by damn do it.
Until this countries leadership grows a set of brass balls we will be tried by every tin pot would-be-Ayatollah who thinks we must change to suit them.
Bring back the "Duke" I say. Dig him up and clone a grand army of the Republic from his rotting corpse.
I'll bet he's spinning around on his eyebrows about now.
Posted by kdzu at 7:44 PM
Thursday, May 08, 2008
The old gospel song reminds us to "Count your Blessings"
A helpful reminder when we get to feeling a little down or think that maybe our luck is not so good.
I confess that more times than not I tend to forget to remember.
And then something or somethings come that make me think about all that I have and am blessed by every day.
Like a lot of old Vets.......when I came marching home there were no bands.....no banners........just a wife and child, a mother and sisters...that were glad to see me with all my fingers and toes. We tried very hard to ignore the grubby, tye-dyed, long haired hippy types in the concourse who spat words designed to curse us.
But we heard.........and could never forget. Not even nearly 40 years later.
But times change......we change......there are new conflicts which require that some go and serve so that others may have the privilege of disagreeing with them......out loud and in public. And this time, those of us who remember and the generations to follow are a little more vocal in their support.
I've received two gifts in the last week......both of which are huge blessings in my life.
The first from a wonderful lady in Loganville, GA whose commitment to support our troops in harms way goes way past writing letters to the troops currently in the field. She also goes out of her way to try to ease some of the pain still remaining from long ago wars. You can go to her website HERE to get an idea of all she does. And perhaps you may be moved to support her and others like her.
Hero's come in all kinds of packages.......Even beautiful young women who also care for a family and work a full time job.
This is what she sent me........
Thank You Mama Kat
The second Blessing that I received, came from my Brother-in-law and Sister up in Maine.
I've written before of how they have three fine sons..........Young men of exceptional character....who have all made the commitment to serve their country by joining the army. Two have already served a tour in Iraq.........the youngest just landed in Kuwait to ship out to his unit somewhere in Iraq.
Before he left he posed with, what he calls "a cobra like Uncle Larry flew in Vietnam". I hate to tell him that even that one is newer than the ones I flew. But I am proud that he thought of me.
This is him at Ft. Drum.
And just before shipping overseas, with his arm around his mother...
.....my sister, who is from the looks of her.....about 30 yrs younger than me.
If you will..........say a prayer now and again for the blessings of the fine young men and women in our armed services...........and for the parents who raised them.
I know I will.
Posted by kdzu at 8:49 PM
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
We hear it a million times a day from the talking heads on CNN (communist news network) and read about Sam's Clubs and CostCo rationing the sale of rice in their stores. Every time we go to the pump our eyes roll back in our heads as we wonder if the bank will give us a loan on our first born.
The human reaction is to moan and complain........trying to get someone to have pity on us and DO SOMETHING.
I've written before of my friend Renato Longato who is a most interesting fellow. A deep thinker...........and an unusual thinker due to some of his experiences and associates.
He sent me an article he has written which may answer a few question...........give food for thought.....and perhaps some ideas on how to cope with coming changes.
It rather a long article, but, one I think you will be glad you read.....if you do.
There is no link to it, so I'll have to copy and past it here. I'd very much like your reaction to it..........so comment or email me if you will, please.
A HARSH REALITY: OIL, FOOD COST RISE AND SOCIAL IMPACT
Since 2006, those who followed closely world events felt the price of oil was bound to go through the $100 a barrel mark on the international market in the near future. Their diagnosis turned out to be true, but what was further seen by these watchful experts was that the price is not expected to come down from these levels in the next 4 or 5 years. This is due to several factors, plus having to add in the “speculation” factor in the volatile financial market A recent report by the International Energy Agency pointed out that Russia, during the trimester of 2008, lowered its oil production one percent. The reason given was the extraction rate in wells located in western Siberia had reached its peak production capacity. This news caused the price of crude to rise even more.
That was not the only factor. Proponents of “Peak Oil” theory are seeing their predictions come true, as well, due to geological factors. Wells located in Mexico, along with those in Nigeria are also reducing their crude oil extraction rates. Here are some figures. The production of Mexican crude peaked out in 2004 at 3.4 million barrels a day. Today, it is 3.08 million barrels. According to information provided by the Mexican Energy Ministry, the reduction trend in oil production is irreversible. In 2006, production fell 12% and in 2007, 18%.
The case of Nigeria is particularly unsettling because of attempts by terrorists to blow up the pipelines. This situation, combined with the pirate attack on a Japanese oil tanker off the Somalia coast, the fall in Russian production, and the speculative action in international financial markets pushing the price of oil even higher, is creating economic pressure that is being felt by the consumer worldwide in terms of higher prices.
If we add to all this to the opening of new consumer markets caused by a rapidly growing middle class in India and China, where improved purchasing power is enabling this class of workers to afford automobiles, an additional demand for gasoline, we have a complicated situation, and getting more so with the passing of each day.
The High Cost of Oil.
The vice president of Lukoil, the largest private Russian oil company, Leonid Fedun, says it would require an investment of one trillion dollars over the next 20 years to maintain existing Russian production levels of 8.5 to 9 million barrels a day. The difference with Russia compared to other countries is the tax structuring. The Russia government takes 80% of all revenue over $27 a barrel, meaning it is the government that profits from higher prices, not the Russian oil companies, leaving them with little for investment in exploration and production. The wells in Siberia and Artic Circle are especially expensive due to their depth and the frigid weather. The question is if the Russian government is willing to assist in making this large investment or will continue to allocate oil revenue to political purposes.
In the case of Mexico, the enormous infrastructure cost required to drill the 13,500 to 20,000 new wells during the next 15 years in the new oil field of Chicontepec is in the neighborhood of 30 to 38 billion dollars. This huge cost is due basically to two factors: profound depths and off-shore drilling. These wells require the most advanced technology and take 4 to 5 years before becoming operative. A major problem for Mexico is that the national oil company, PEMEX, has an internal policy of not permitting foreign companies, particularly those of the U.S. to trade oil for technology. Such a policy limits the budget necessary for such a large undertaking, especially when taking into account that PEMEX supplies 40% of all the revenue of the Mexican government. The Mexican government has been unable to enact legislation enabling new terms and conditions for oil extraction because disagreement in the Mexican congress. Such is a situation similar in Russia. How will the increased revenue from rising oil prices be used is the important question. Will Mexico consider a commercial deal between China and Russia to exploit the Chicontepec field?
Regarding Nigeria, that country is facing a situation that could endanger up to one third of its total oil production between now and 2015. The government of Umaru Ya’Adua has been warned by the oil companies, Shell, Exxon/Mobil and Chevron, that if Nigeria does not contribute its part in the investment required that oil production will fall a significant 30% by 2015.
Furthermore, there are serious doubts among some political observers of Nigeria that all the revenue generated by oil production is being collected by the government. It is strongly suspected that much revenue is being diverted by corrupt officials into private hands. This could be fatal for the Nigerian economy when adding in the factor of terrorists in the Delta disrupting the normal flow and distribution of crude oil.
These last three examples are only the tip of the iceberg relative to the precarious medium term situation of oil prices. Geo-politics is playing a more important role than ever before. Each oil exporting country is looking for new fields to satisfy the increasing international demands. Furthermore, it has now been made public by the Brazilian oil company, PetroBras, the huge find of oil in the Carioca and Tupi fields, which lie deep in the ocean. While these fields are very promising, rivaling those of Venezuela and Mexico, but the cost of exploitation is around 50 billion dollars. Time, too, is a factor, for it is estimated that it will take 10 years in order for wells to start producing.
Also, we are seeing that American geologist Hubbert’s theory of limited production capacity of oil fields is turning out to be true. Large oil companies are searching the planet for sources in order that we consumers are not faced with a scenario from the movie Mad Max. We must come to grip with the likelihood that we are the last generation of oil users.
The Market of Fear
Reports from the World Bank indicate that the prices of basic food stuff will remain relatively high until 2015. A recently published list of 33 countries that are seriously affected by rising food prices indicates that the impact on the people in the poorest class of these countries can produce a grave social crisis, if measures are not taken soon.
To mitigate this troublesome situation, the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, warned the 7 richest countries of the world of the need to create a “New Policy Treaty on Global Food”, which calls for donations of no less than $500 million dollars. Donations would go to countries in the Sub-Sahara area of Africa, whose extremely impoverished inhabitants number in the several millions. But this is the best the World Bank and the United Nations can do: ease as much as possible the starvation in countries with fragile governments. Although the recent protests in Haiti and Egypt are not the only ones, they were the 2
loudest heard around the world. In order to better understand this situation, let us examine some of the factors that have contributed to the rising food prices. They are:
Adverse climate conditions
Increase in demand for bio-fuel
Speculation on strategic products
A weakening dollar
Increased prices on oil dependent products and services, such as fertilizers, plastics and transport.
These are the “upsetting elements” or “secondary effects” appearing throughout the economies of the world. The World Bank is saying the high food prices will continue to rise through 2009, but will drop somewhat, nevertheless remaining above those of 2004, and will continue high for as long as the year 2015.
The five factors mentioned above are the major contributors to high food prices, but there is a sixth one: fear. This factor is obviously a psychological one, but it had penetrated the minds of the people, exacerbated by the constant rise in fuel and food prices, and disheartening reports of a not bright future. Although in a matter of a few months, oil has risen from $8O a barrel to $120, there have not been the corresponding protests by the world consumer. For the moment, there has not been that massive public cry of “That’s enough!” It was believed by many economists that $3.00 a gallon for gasoline in the U.S. would be the resistance point, the drop-in-use level, but that has not happened. The prices can rise further before there is a reduction in demand. The market of fear will then cause an economy of shortages.
The International Energy Agency also adds to the disheartening news by reporting that there exists an increase of consumption of 1.3 million barrels daily despite higher costs and the economic crisis of the United States. This phenomenon of increased demand is further worsened to due to economic growth in other countries, greater demand for grains and metals, resulting in the increase of the automobile production, all of which has contributed to new financial reality. Again, the automobile plays an important factor because of a jump in sales in China and India, where an invigorated middle class also want to enjoy the “American dream”.
Looking at Latin America, Peru is benefiting from the highest economic growth in the region in the last 30 years, and where automobile sales are up an amazing 77% from the first trimester of 2007. However, this does not mean that the Peruvian lower class are the beneficiaries; to the contrary, rising food prices have forced the Peruvian government to implement a give away of basic food staples pilot project to offset the adverse effects of higher prices.
Buyers of crude oil have come to realize that the demand has gone up, production is going down, meaning prices will continue to rise, and if they want oil, they will have to pay more for it. Various market experts are predicting that oil prices will reach $180 within two years. The assumption is that oil prices will continue increasing, and so will food prices, making the world population enter into a new era of “less” and with it, a change in life style. Such changes will oblige governments to take steps to assure that its “common” people have enough to eat. The question is, How to do that without inserting too many 3
distorting factors into the economy? Furthermore, there are countries with large reserves of U.S. dollars that are worth less each day. What are they going to do? Probably start buying basic food commodities. China has already begun. That will only drive up more food prices.
Protectionism and Fall of the Dollar
A report from the Brookings Institute shows that the prices of rice in the Philippines went up 70% in one year, and that rice prices in Thailand tripled since the beginning of this year. At the same time, a report coming out of the Hyundai Economic Research Institute of South Korea revealed that there are signs of an increased flow of refugees from neighboring North Korea due to higher food prices, and where rice is a staple. Aside from Africa, Asia is the continent most vulnerable in this present food crisis. With rice being the principal source of food, and wheat not being a viable substitute, for the price of wheat has risen significantly as well, plus wheat is not a regular part of the diet. The specter of starvation hovers ever closer and is a real threat to the collapsed nations of Africa and to certain ones in Asia. To not take timely measures could mean chronic hunger for these people in the coming years. This, of course, has grave consequences for the infant population, signifying a great hindrance for normal development.
This series of negative factors could spawn effects of massive migration. A population that can not feed itself is capable of anything. Acts of defiance against established governments are only the beginning, and could easily spread to attacks against the better-off segments of the society, ending up in serious internal civil strife.
Part of the cause of rice prices rising 100% in the last few months is also due to the major rice exporting countries, Vietnam and China, putting limits on exportation. China is not only limiting export, but buying and warehousing vast quantities for future internal needs. This buy-up policy is further pushed by the enormous dollar reserves China holds, which are only lessening in value; spend the dollars now while they are worth more makes sense to the Chinese. There exists a close relationship between the devaluation of the U.S. dollar again the Euro and the cost of fuel. Following are comparative charts which clearly illustrate the imbalance.
Rice price vs Euro/US$ rate, April 15, 2007 to April 15, 2008 4
As the chart makes clear, the ascent of the cost of rice to $24 from $10 per hundredweight over the past year tracks the declining value of the American dollar. The link between the declining parity of the US unit and the rising price of commodities, including oil as well as rice and other wares, is indisputable. China has bid aggressively for rice all year, and last week banned rice exports, along with Vietnam and several other producers
Euro/US$ rate vs rice and oil, April 16, 2007 to April 16, 2008
For those emerging countries, and dependent on the U.S. dollar, the risks are potentially even greater. Their purchasing power falls as the dollar falls. Historically, this has not happened before, in spite of different organizations assuring that grain crops are not endangered when they cite that world rice production is at the highest level ever reached, 423 million tons for the 2007-2008 period. While this amount suffices to meet world needs, its export distribution is only 7%.
This panorama is affecting all countries on the planet in one degree or another, clearly some more than others, even the U.S. is not exempt. According to James Weil, president of Food Research and Action Center, the request for Food Stamps in the U.S. has risen. These requests reached record level, 27.7 million, in January of 2008, an increase of 1.3 million from January 2007. Laurie True, Executive Director of California Women & Infants group of the Children Program Association states that more members are enrolling than ever before. At the same time, reports are coming out about the severe impact charity organizations are feeling with rising food prices. This coupled with fewer donations, and surging transportation costs are forcing these organizations to cut back on aid to poor countries.
To all of this I ask, In the case of an emergency, would ethnic minorities and illegal immigrants receive U.S. government help?
The Future of Wheat.
In February of this year, a news story shook up the grain exporter worldwide: Saudi Arabia announced a reduction in production to a minimum by 2016 - not of oil, but wheat! It will become a net importer of wheat in less than 10 years. Presently, Saudi Arabia harvests 2.5 million tons of wheat annually and is 5
planning a -12.5% yearly reduction. Such a startling announcement was followed by others from large wheat producing countries like, Khazakstan, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine and Argentina, alleging that internal demand had grown by 52%, and they would be forced to limit wheat exports.
Before such alarming scenarios, what can be done? Personally, I have been monitoring the situation without underestimating neither the accuracy of the news nor the capacity of the human being to face adversities. For most cases, I recommend common sense, reflection, and action. For those who have begun to feel the economic pinch, this is the time to refresh memories and take certain precautions. (For video information, click the link below.)
Conversing with Mr. Garrison.
Oddly enough, I met Jason Garrison and his wife at a supermarket. What started off as a casual conversation, ended up with a dinner invitation at their home. Mr. Garrison had mentioned that he was a high officer in the Mormon Church in the area. After a delicious dinner, my host invited me to have a look in his basement to confirm the reputation of the Mormon family to store food. Food storage is a century old custom of the Mormons. While Mr. Garrison was showing the neatly organized storage area, he brought up the fact that wheat silos belonging to the Mormon Church in four states were empty, including the one in Georgia. Religious beliefs aside, I found it extremely interesting the organization and importance given by the Mormons to food storage. They, in effect, are one of the very few religious groups prepared to face a food crisis. When times are good and social unrest is at a minimum, one doesn’t concern himself too much about problems that might lie ahead and even less plan for them. As Mr. Garrison expressed, “What you see here with all this food is the result of organization and discipline. If I should lose my job, I could go for a several months without buying food, thus stretching out my savings while looking for a job.” (For more information, click here)
Coincidently, a few days after my conversation with Mr. Garrison, two large U.S. food chains, Sam’s Club and Costco announced rice rationing nationwide, something that had not happened in the U.S. since World War II. Later, I came across articles published in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times recommended stocking up on non-perishable food, not so much as a reserve food supply, but rather as an investment which would return considerably more than buying CDs at your local bank. You reach your own conclusion about rising food prices.
This report has the sole intent of providing information. However, I feel that I need to give a few tips to the reader.
Become informed, and become aware of the realities regarding food and fuel.
Set up a budget, and stick to it, constantly tightening wherever you can.
Be sure you know the difference between what you need and what you want. The difference can be huge.
Begin to stock up on non-perishable food and personal hygiene products.
Join groups that focus on inner growth and well being. 6
Understand that we have entered an era of significant changes, and we are being forced to change our living styles. The longer you wait to initiate change the greater the effort will be, but you will change; you will be forced to. We are, as well, leaving a period of ethnic consciousness towards an even greater consciousness, that of the planet. It will not be easy for some, but as we become more aware, we will acquire the capacity to choose a life that is more respectful of the fragility of mother nature, and be given the opportunity to develop a new community of individual relationships and evolve as an integrated humankind.
NOTE: The acknowledge Robert Narhgang for his contribution.
May 2008 - Georgia USA
UPDATE. Ignore the first long comment as the author is a cowardly idiot, and I don't know yet how to delete his or her verbal shit.
Posted by kdzu at 8:18 PM
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I've always been as they say "a breast man".
No........I don't look like a breast..........I just like to look at the feminine version.
Makes no difference the size..........although I lean to the slightly larger size...
......(probably influenced by living on a dairy farm, although it could have something to do with the comfort factor when listening to another's heart beat).
That being said, I have to confess that also that other feminine attributes such as a nice rounded (not too, too large) rear can also attract my gaze.
But, THIS article just seems to fly in the face of logic. Hopefully it will not lead to more of the kind of butts that they first showed in the article. (The first picture , featured someone sitting in a single chair in Heathrow airport, when 3 chairs would have been safer.........although still not completely supporting the wide load placed there. I'm talking about needing a "WIDE LOAD" sign like you see on trucks moving heavy equipment down the expressway.
Some one from Big Butts of the World (BBW) must have complained about the first picture. More PC from the LWM.
Hey! I'm not knocking a few extra lbs..........after all there is a reason other than the dental work that I'm on Slimfast...........but come on..........you've seen them in their spandex in WalMart.
Posted by kdzu at 5:47 PM
I was just reminded of the children's poem "This little piggy". Especially the line about the little piggy that squealed all the way home.
Don't really know why since the trip home from Augusta was very comfortable. For the most part I was alert and in no pain. Certainly no squealing.
The tooth extraction( I use the term cutting out) went hopefully as planned.
Don had asked me yesterday if I was nervous and I replied, "not in the least".
And oddly that was true. When I sat down in the Dentist's chair and they put the blood pressure cuff on me, it was a nice 117 over 70 with a pulse of 62 where it stayed through out. Result of (I think) the fact that I've never had bad Doctoring at the VA.
Still in no pain, although, I have taken a good long nap.
The worst part was that Bonnie had left a Beef Roast in the crock pot cooking and she and the old grump had that with rice and gravy and the other items for supper.
I'll you'll be proud to know have stuck to the plan and just finished a can of Slimfast. Chocolate and cool.........what's not to like.
Aside from the looking like a chipmunk from the gauze packing in my mouth, and my lower lip looking like "Bubba" from "Forest Gump", (no there will not be pictures) things seem to be fine. Later in the evening I will take a good dose of prescribed pain medication and see how the night goes.
Now, if I do have to have the rotor cuff repaired down the road, we'll see how that goes. Hopefully physical therapy will head off that possibility.
Posted by kdzu at 5:25 PM
Monday, May 05, 2008
Did you ever sit down at the keyboard and reflect on the day past.
I do tonight. Maybe I'll work some of the kinks out of my neck and back by typing about it and letting go of the frustrations.
Actually the morning started off really well.........well, if you ignore the fact that I had cold cereal for breakfast. Crunchy bunches of oats clusters with honey does not a meal make. At least not one that will stick to your ribs like a couple of hen apples, some country ham, fresh hot cats head biscuits with butter, or even better, with redeye gravy poured over them till saturated, then topped with good strong Sorghum syrup.......all washed down with a tall glass of milk.....or a pot of strong coffee if you're less a man than I and need a jumpstart to the day.
Well, I got a little distracted thinking of that breakfast.......which I didn't have.
.......but wish I had.
A nice nap for 15 minutes or so after posting all last weeks entries onto quickbooks and paying a few lst of the month bills, helped to ease the stress of spending money I'd rather have kept for a little longer. Oh well, it's not worth much anyway. That's a good reason to trade as much of it for gold as you can if you intend to save any. Of course one must buy that metal right or you might have to hold it for a long time before it increases in value.
I called the VA dental clinic to cancel my teeth cleaning which was set up for Friday. After having 3 wisdom teeth (they never seemed to help me any) cut out tomorrow........I'll probably not feel up to getting them cleaned then.
Why do they call them wisdom teeth anyway. They come in at about the time a person is at their absolute least wise. Maybe because it would be wise to have them removed while young and their roots haven't wrapped around your jawbone like a vine. If I come home tomorrow without a broken jaw I'll consider myself in good shape.
Hopefully they will provide lots of nice pain relieving medication both during and after the torture.....er....I mean....procedure. I'll have to have an adult accompany me to drive me the 2 hours home.
Anybody in the area of the Medical school of Georgia School of Dentistry around 10 in the morning drop by and say hi........I'm sure the staff won't mind. Bring some chips and drinks and we'll make a party of it. Just make sure the Doctors don't have any of the hard stuff. If you see any of the Dental hygiene female students or female Doctor contestants invite them in also. I saw a couple I'd like to see more of last week when I went to my pre-cutting exam.
Why is it that some people just seem to go out of the way to do things in a different way than you tell them........and will run their mouth all the while you are trying to give them instructions or advice.
I had to drive 40 minutes to Hartwell this evening and then back just because Don wouldn't listen to what I was telling him over the phone. I had to threaten to kick his ass or close down our little venture completely if he didn't shut up and pay attention. By the time I left........after writing down each step I wanted him to take tomorrow my back was knotted up like an old post oak tree. Thank God for all the medication the VA has me on. At least I didn't try to cut his throat......this
Like I say......ya'll drop by if you are in the area tomorrow. Failing that Pray for the Doctors and my wife who will have to drive me home and live with me for the next few days.
I'm gonna stock up on slim fast and straws until I can eat solid food once again. Might even lose a few lbs to go along with the lost teeth and blood.
Posted by kdzu at 7:27 PM
Friday, May 02, 2008
It seems to me a male thing to love big, loud, high-wheeled 4X4's. And they are not popular in just America either.
Although their cost of gas is much higher than ours, they seem to have just as hard a time giving up their high priced toys and are just as quick to fall into debt to finance their lifestyle.
A great part of the world ruled by central banks may be in for a rude shock.
Posted by kdzu at 9:37 PM
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Once again I sit before the blank page of Blogger and wonder if I really want to (or have to) say any thing.
At first I could use the excuse that I was working in Atlanta for a couple of days and nights......well I didn't really work at night......except for keeping rein on my temper and not kill Don......who talks constantly and even in his sleep.
Then my excuse was that the 'puter was down (due to my not knowing how to do much more than check my email and light blogging.......if you don't count checking the spam porn before deleting........
But now........I think the summer doldrums must have taken hold of my brain a little early this year.
There are much better commentators on politics such as GOC and Guyk ......besides
the choices this year are so abysmal that I'll go to my fall back position and vote Libertarian (hopefully Bob Barr will get the nomination for their party). This thing about voting for the lessor of evils only encourages more evil...and it seems like each time the evil gets a little bit more evil........do we see a pattern there?
Food and gas prices are up.....but I can't rant about those without going into a pages long rant about the underlying fact that those who control the fiat money we use in our day to day life are killing the $ in this country so as to make Trillions in the foreign markets. (F*** the American sheeple who mindlessly react just as they want us to react to the mouthing of their hired talking heads in the LWM (left wing media).
I did have an opportunity to chat with the UGA senior who came out and fixed my computer problems. A senior this year in computer science, he fixed in an hour what took me days to mess up. Geeks are looking more geek like than ever if one is to judge by him. A Smart geek he was. We spoke at length about some of the things young people are taught these days. No Constitutional history ......so as to have an understanding of how and why we have the type of government we do. I told him to read "The Law" for an understanding of where we get our rights. Fits in perfectly with telling him to read the Declaration of Independence. Also suggested "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Richest Man in Babylon" for him to read. I'm sure that you could all list others that would enhance a young persons education. Suggestions are always welcome. Please don't suggest "Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars". Real men don't understand that claptrap.......and if we did....women would change the rules on us anyway.
Don and I made a trip up to Helen, Ga today.......looking for work to help him pay his bills without sponging off of me.......and marking areas to go gold prospecting at with my GPS unit and the Gold Dowsing rods I made up. Several good hits.......just need time to get back up there and do a little panning. He thought he would be able to just pick up rocks and put them in a bucket to bring home and refine.....Ha.
Well, I'm back for at least tonight......we'll continue to take it one day at a time to see how it goes.
Oh Yes! I'm going to have the privilege of having my three remaining wisdom teeth cut out at the tender age of.......well you know. Doc assured me that they'd only be tender for two or three days.........I'm gonna try not to overdo it with the pain medication like I did with the first one (35 years ago in Germany). That one almost cost me a marriage.......did ruin a Big Ben Alarm clock and paint the entire bathroom with the contents of my stomach. (Thankfully) Ya'll pray for me, hear. That experience should get some of the juices flowing anyway.
Posted by kdzu at 7:35 PM