Friday, April 30, 2010

A hint at recovery

Sabbath eve, April 30, 2010. Today I saw signs of real economic recovery. Not due to government stimulus or bailout programs, but instead because a wealthy landlord realized the property he owned wasn’t worth the rent he had been charging and voluntarily lowered that rent to a level that will allow a business to succeed.

The landowner in question had previously rented his building to Adrian Davila and Davila’s barbecue but the cost was so high that in spite of excellent food and a good crowd, Adrian couldn’t make a go of the business. Another family opened a similar business at the same location with much poorer quality food and even poorer service and went under within a month. The building sat empty for a number of months thereafter. Finally, the landlord called Adrian and offered to reduce the rent if he'd reopen his restaurant.

So, Davila’s once again has two locations in Seguin. The old standby on Kingsbury Street with basic barbecue fare and Adrian’s newer upscale location on the 123 bypass with a larger and more diverse menu. The food is good, fairly priced. The restaurant is clean, the service superb.

From the landlord's perspective, reduced rental income is better than no rental income.

I am glad to see this.

Unfortunately, Wall Street, those running the six big banks with all our money, and their government enablers fail to understand that they too are going to have to revise expectations, revalue and reconcile real estate holdings to their true worth, forgive debts where applicable, and start paying producers fairly instead of off-shoring jobs before we can have a real recovery.

This week also provided a slap in the face of cornucopians when an off-shore oil rig blew up and collapsed. As we speak, 5,000 barrels of oil a day are being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. This flow is likely to continue for several months, and could possibly increase drastically if the well head on the ocean floor fails completely.

President Obama has called for a halt in offshore drilling until the cause of the blow-out is determined. The environmental damage this blow-out causes will be catastrophic. But this event should also further drive home the premise of peak oil and the precariousness of a system totally dependent on a constantly moving warehouse on wheels and the heretofore cheap and easy to access fossil fuels that run our economic engine.

The times they are a changing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Books to burn

I took my entire share of royalty interest for Ruminations from the Garden in books. They arrived yesterday, 2,400 copies. Reading that number doesn't do justice to the fact of the matter. Carrying 80 boxes of thirty books each into the house and stacking them up does.

We shouldn't lack for door stops, furniture levelers or fuel for the wood stove should a new ice age develop. Hopefully someone will want to read the thing. While not perfect, it's a much more professional version of the book.

If you're inclined to buy one, contact Speir Publishing.

And if you have a book that needs publishing, contact Paul Speir. He worked hard on this. He's honest, intelligent and decent. Plus he has a good wife, a newborn daughter and needs work. Proceeds from sales are his.

Paul tells me he has a limited number of copies of the book free to those willing to write a review and publish it. The review need not be positive. Honesty and perhaps the cost of postage is all that's required.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I concur (our conumdrum, peak oil and the economy)

I found an article that describes what our future looks like and offers suggestions on how to weather the storm. Let them that have ears hear:

Guy Mchperson

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sabbath Eve, April 23, 2010

I’ve run out of excuses for not writing online journal entries. So today, after a long hard week I sit at my computer and reflect.

The garden is in and growing. Today I pulled earth to the base of tomato plants with a garden hoe, forming rows so I will be able to irrigate should the rains stop coming in a timely manner. The year has been relatively wet so far and things look good but I’d waited too long to do this task. I’ve tilled the rows religiously so weeds weren’t a problem, but the tomato plants have already filled the space between rows and it was hard to get around them without damaging the plants.

The fall/winter crop is on its way out. Some cabbage remains; most of the rest is packed in jars in our pantry and in the refrigerator in the form of saeurkraut. I’m feeding re-growth to chickens and goats. The spinach is starting to bolt, jars full of it occupy space in the pantry already. Two long rows of onions approach harvest, yellow and white globes, each the size of a softball or thereabout. Garlic bulbs are not far behind, also two long rows, perhaps some 1,500 individual plants. Carrots remain in the ground, beets are long since pickled and canned. Five long rows of potatoes have another month or so before they are ready, but they’re growing fast. Squash, both yellow and zucchini are forming on the plants. Green pinto beans are also beginning to appear as are tiny peppers: Anaheim, Serrano, Jalapeno, and Habanera. Black eyed peas, okra, cucumbers, cantaloupes and watermelons are farther behind but the plants and vines look good.

I planted 170 acres of non-genetically modified, non hybrid corn in our fields. Stalks are between two and three feet tall and growing well but we’ve had to cultivate it four times already. My ass is hanging out on this venture. I don’t think most people care whether their corn is genetically modified and I may have trouble selling the crop. They should care. The variety I planted is white corn, Trucker's Favorite to be exact, and should be suitable for human consumption, as opposed to the godamned yellow Frankencorn 85% of US farmers planted this year which isn't. Corn prices are currently at or below my cost of production if I don’t receive a premium price for the crop. The good thing is, the seeds these plants produce should be suitable for planting and I'll save a bundle next time I plant corn, good Lord willing.

Wheat is heading out nicely, but prices are relatively poor at the moment. Cattle prices are up somewhat, and for the first time in a couple of years, the pastures are green and productive. We’ve already sprayed and fertilized. A new field of Tifton 185 seems to have survived the winter after a late fall sprigging and is beginning to grow.

Hay buyers are calling. We hope to begin cutting and baling next month.

We built a stock to milk cows in after a gentle cow freaked out a couple of weeks ago for no apparent reason, knocked me down and stepped on the calf of my right leg as she fled while I had my attention focused on a pail full of milk. I didn't spill the milk, but my leg turned black and blue and remained swollen from the knee to the ankle for at least three weeks. I’m just now getting over the limp. For a time, the pain was considerable. I still milk two cows each and every morning and make sure three orphaned calves get their share of milk morning and evening.

Leah has continued making cheese on a routine basis. We have around 200 pounds stored and aging in a freezer converted to a portable “cheese cave” with an external thermostat that keeps the cheese at a constant 52 degrees. Another upright freezer is packed with the meat of a heifer we slaughtered and two more chest type freezers are packed with fruits and vegetables.

Leah went to Fredericksburg last week and picked 70 pounds of strawberries. She made jars of strawberry jam that’s to die for—the rest of the strawberries are sliced, frozen, and packed away in the freezer.

We’re building another chicken house for our yard birds, and I have a pen full of roosters that need to be killed and processed.

Come to think of it, we have been rather busy.

Not a good day to wear "Z"

Gaming the system

According to this opinion piece, the American system will fail if fraud is eliminated?

In essence, fraud, embezzlement and corruption of the political process are the only profitable businesses left on Wall Street.

What are we waiting for? Time to take the medicine, I think.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


once proclaimed, "I have a library of over 900 books, 700 of which I wrote myself."

I got him beat.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recovery, you say?

I’ve written very little original material of late. Seems like an exercise in futility. Talk of peak oil and a global financial collapse in the midst of an “economic recovery” falls, for the biggest part, on deaf ears. Today the ground is wet and temperatures a bit cooler than normal, rendering talk of drought and climate change moot as well. There’s plenty of gas and diesel for anyone with a few bucks willing to buy some. Food is plentiful, and remains cheap to American citizens, free in fact, for about 35 million of us. Most that have lost jobs now enjoy perpetual unemployment checks. Farm subsidy checks continue to arrive in the mail for those that act in accordance with the wishes of their masters. With the flick of a switch the lights come on and the mind-numbing TV takes over.

Don’t be fooled. All is not well.

Matters such as peak oil are non-negotiable events. The amount of oil on the planet is fixed. We have consumed somewhere on the order of half of the recoverable supply; that which remains is harder and more costly to extract. We have no viable alternative to oil, short term, (when I say short term, I’m talking 20 years), and the alternatives currently in existence require oil and other limited natural resources to develop. I can’t convince people unwilling to see or believe this, but I believe time will convince all.

I can’t convince others that human activity has affected the earth’s climate either. But I have seen evidence of the effects of deforestation and air-borne emissions in my few short years on this planet, enough to accept the notion they have had effect without relying on some scientific study advocating (or denying) the various hypotheses.

I’m also convinced that genetically modified grains and the foods made from them are time bombs, ready to go off at any time; that they are already causing disease in humans and livestock and maladies in the larger biosphere which gives us life as well. Once again, I need not look further than the boundaries of my own experience to find evidence of this.

I believe we are moving toward larger and more powerful, more intrusive forms of government, a police state, if you will, that will spy on and dictate our every move, the antithesis of the liberty and justice for all Americans espouse.

The American model isn’t the dreaded Socialism right wing ideologues decry; instead it is Corporatism, or if you will, Fascism, that afflicts us; corporate and financial entities that kill off or suppress all competitors, supported and enabled by the state. Both Democrats and Republicans facilitate this model and the model isn’t just American, it’s global in nature. Should the model somehow morph into Socialism, or a state-owned and operated system members of the left advocate, the realities for the people will remain the same. The working class will be little more than grease to fuel the wheels of the machine; proceeds from their activities will remain inequitably distributed; the guy actually doing the work will not be the guy that enjoys the profits that work generates; a tiny parasitical class will continue to prosper under either model.

The health care debate is total bullshit. Neither Democrat nor Republican will take on the real enemies of the people: pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, or the sacred turf of doctors, lawyers and learning institutions that educate members of an elite class and license activities that rape and devastate the average consumer.

Weapons of war continue to be America’s greatest real export (excluding fraudulent financial instruments), followed closely by proceeds derived from all sides of the war on drugs, which includes the largest prison/legal complex in the world.

Most championing real issues are not interested in cures for the disease; instead they’re trying to figure out how to make money off of the condition.

Recovery of an evil system, for me, isn’t something to be desired; it represents the perpetuation of a bad thing, of a malignancy, if you will.

Collapse is the first step toward something new, but I am not naive. If and when collapse comes, those thinking they want it will be no happier than Moses’ Israelites, wandering through the desert, pissed off that they left behind the chains of slavery, because slavery provided a roof over the head and a crumb of stale bread on the plate. It’s hard as hell to derive a living from the soil.

Americans suffer from Stockholm syndrome; we’ve become like inmates thankful to see the guard’s face when he opens the hole in the door of an isolation cell and shoves in a plate of shitty food.

Bottom line: I have nothing new to say. I have been reduced to digging in the dirt, watching plants grow, harvesting crops, milking cows and waiting for change. And change has been a long time coming.

Lord have mercy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food for thought

Here's a link to a page containing the new movie Invisible Empire in 12 segments, free to all, written and directed by Jason Bermas and produced by Alex Jones.

Hold all rocks until you've watched the film, please.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yeah, the stock market is up....

And who exactly profits from stock market gains? Check out the graph after reading this article.

Of two minds.

Not me, and probably not you either.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Democracy now interviews Charles Bowden

Democracy now has a must see interview of my friend and mentor Chuck Bowden today.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Genetically modifed trees

Another extraordinarily bad idea from our friends at Monsanto:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ray Wylie Hubbard A. Enlightenment B. Endarkment Hint, there is no C.

I wrote this with hopes of seeing it make the latest issue of Lonestar music magazine but it failed to make the page. I'm told politics got in the way. For Ray's sake and also for you music fans out there, I'm posting it here. dhfjr.

A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)

Tarnished and disgraced, I lay down
A black sparrow come to me in a dream
He whispered: A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
And heaven pours down rain and lightning bolts
And heaven pours down rain and lightning bolts

Swollen and embarrassed I rose up
A black sparrows perched on highline pole
He whispered: A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
And heaven pours down rain and lightning bolts
And heaven pours down rain and lightning bolts

Trembling and a shaken I looked down
A black sparrow was tattooed on my hand
It whispered: A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)
And heaven pours down rain and lightning bolts
And heaven pours down rain and lightning bolts

Music ain’t one size fits all. I just got Ray Wylie Hubbard’s latest and being my obsessive/compulsive self, drove my wife out of the house with it. I’ll admit, this ain’t pretty. It ain’t nice. It’s Enlightenment and Endarkenment; one can’t be fully understood or appreciated without considering the other. Mr. Hubbard has seen dark places in his life. And it seems like he’s taken a glimpse of something better and brighter waiting on the other side. Hope is nice. Ray provides a dose of hope.

Whoop and a Hollar

When I rise up out the river knowing my sins been washed away
I'm gonna whoop, I'm gonna hollar
When I rise up out the river knowing my sins been washed away
I'm gonna whoop, I'm gonna hollar

I'm gonna whoop, I'm gonna hollar
I'm gonna rise up a'whoopin' and a'hollarin'
Rise up a'whoopin' and a'hollarin
Rise up a whoopn' and a hollarin'
Rise up, Rise up

When I rise up out of my grave and see my savior's face
I 'm gonna whoop, I'm gonna hollar
When I rise up out of my grave and see my savior's face
I 'm gonna whoop, I'm gonna hollar
I'm gonna rise up a'whoopin' and a'hollarin'
Rise up a'whoopin' and a'hollarin
Rise up a whoopn' and a hollarin'
Rise up, Rise up

W hen I rise up in God's empyrean heaven
Flapping my angel wings
I 'm gonna whoop,I'm gonna hollar

I'm gonna rise up a'whoopin' and a'hollarin'
Rise up a'whoopin' and a'hollarin
Rise up a whoopn' and a hollarin'
Rise up, rise up

In the meantime we have dark, treacherous and rough ground to cover. Acknowledge this and prepare, or choose not to see and hear, but your ass is going through it, either way.

Ray Wylie Hubbard writes at night, after the wife and kid are down, alone in an attic. He consorts with spirits for the words and the sounds; he finds those that have toiled in black skins and cotton fields of the deep south, those of his own race that have spilled blood and ruined lives on fields of battle, others that sold their bodies for sex or gambled or stole for their daily bread, still others that hacked a living from rocky mountainsides where the soil is poor and hard work a fact of life, music the medicine that heals sore bodies and troubled minds, until the day comes when age drains the last drop of strength from an earthly body. Opium smoke appears. Those that died for righteousness’ sake. Every day is the day of the dead in this place. Spirits some consider crazy find their way, spirits like John the Revelator, the common thread they all share—hindsight—offers foresight to those that will see, hear, understand and learn.

Ray brings kernels of truth he finds in the obsidian dark of night and shares it with the rest of us in the light of day or under the artificial glare of a spot light. Poor Judy is left with the unenviable task of selling these songs and living off of the proceeds. Ray the artist, the prophet, Judy the businessman. Ray the older, easy come, easy go, traveling gypsy king, singer of songs, player of melodies, Judy the younger mother of a precious child and the keeper of a home, a child bearing a troubling set of inherited genes and spirits, trapped in a world gone bad. A child with a future….

Selling truth can be difficult, especially when truth means people are going to suffer and die. That the country they live in and love will fall to evil forces. We’re not talking a book you can set down or a movie you can walk out of when it gets rough. Going to church and singing songs to Jesus doesn’t make it go away. This is non-fiction. Inescapable.

Can you hear the hoof beats raining down? Or are you riding those dark wings coming to take you out of this place? Cause that’s the only two choices you got. Stay and endure or die.

Black Wings

Fly away on them old wings black as they may be
Believing what you leave behind is burnt up and junk debris
And ever last undying soul resides at a hotel in Saint Marie
So fly away on them old wings black as they may be

Fly away on them old wings black as they may be
Shimmerin' like a Leslie and a Hammond B3
Or a shaking tamborine at a gospel jubilee
So fly away on them old wings black as they may be

Fly away on them old wings black as they may be
Jangling and ingling all the way to Tennessee
Trusting in a Duo Jet and a 9 volt battery
So fly away on them old wings black as thet may be
Fly away on them old wings black as they may be
Struming on a Stella guitar and singing Deportee
Now that ain't much of a repetoire, oh no siree
So fly away on them old wings black as they may be
Fly away on them old wings black as they may be
You'll never gonna reach the sun or the Sunset Marquis
You'll die like a saint on high alongside gamblers and thieves
Fly away on them old wings black as they may be

Lock yourself in a room, hit play and listen. Again. Again. Again and once again. Close your eyes, listen, see, hear. Feel.
The hoof beats.
They are coming.
There’s nowhere to hide.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The time is near for the great tribulation
All lost souls should be aware of this
For it is written in the Christian bible
Of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

The word of John in the Book of Revelations
Tells of a Christ who could be a counterfeit
Speaks of a whore upon a scarlet beast
Of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

Black and red, white and pale
Death and war, famine and pestilence
The end will begin with the sound of approaching hoof beats
Of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

It is foretold the moon will turn to blood
And the sun to ashen darkness
The dead will awaken, a second coming will follow
Of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse

Buy it at Lonestarmusic.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The face of killers

Here's a link to an article and an accompanying video (in Spanish) at the scene of the slaughter of 9 members of the family of a businessman from Creel, Chihuahua on March 15th of this year. Note that the faces of some of the killers are clearly visible, as is the cocaine they pass around before committing their crimes. Passersby are stopped and terrorized at gunpoint at the scene, for being at the wrong place at the right time. None of the assailants has been brought to justice.

hat tip to Molly Molloy

Friday, April 9, 2010

Meet the new boss

Here in an AP "exclusive", apparent confirmation to what I heard and reported from the the streets in Northern Mexico several weeks ago, concerning the "plaza".

Meet the new boss.

(Same as the old boss.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa

Oh shit!

Not to worry. GM corn only represents 85% of the US crop.

South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income when 82,000 hectares of genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any seeds.The plants look lush and healthy from the outside. Monsanto has offered compensation.

Monsanto blames the failure of the three varieties of corn planted on these farms, in three South African provinces,on alleged 'underfertilisation processes in the laboratory". Some 280 of the 1,000 farmers who planted the three varieties of Monsanto corn this year, have reported extensive seedless corn problems.

Urgent investigation demanded

However environmental activitist Marian Mayet, director of the Africa-centre for biosecurity in Johannesburg, demands an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods, blaming the crop failure on Monsanto's genetically-manipulated technology.

read it at the link

Monday, April 5, 2010

Collateral damage or murder?

More propaganda on Mexico

First, from the San Antonio Express News, an article describing how drug cartels attacked two army garrisons in Northern Mexico. The following day, headlines announced:

Drug cartels attacking Mexican army bases

While I wasn't there, neither were these courageous reporters. The results of these attacks don't jive with reality. 18 dead attackers, one injured soldier. Not good for seven ambushes with the latest in modern weapons of war.

Here's what I think happened:

Zetas (or those using the name, anyway) have for some time now been conducting illegal roadblocks throughout Northern Mexico, stopping people and charging passage, and or confiscating goods, unchallenged by the military or any other police agencies.

This in all likliehood was not an attack on a military operation, but instead the military attacking illegitimate road blocks.

Any wagers, you who purveyors of such bull shit?

I'm not trying to justify anything a bunch of sorry assed henchmen are doing. It's about time the Mexican government did something about those roadblocks. But I am sick and goddamned tired of lies being spouted to justify sending more money to those operating the war on drugs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010