Monday, 4 September 2017

09:00 – Happy Labor Day to my US readers. For Barbara and me, Labor Day has taken on a different meaning since we started our science kit business seven years ago. On Labor Day, we labor, trying to keep up with orders.

It was 54.4F (12.5C) when I took Colin out at 0700, partly cloudy and breezy.

More work today on science kits, building them and shipping them. At this point, we’re in reasonably good shape of finished goods inventory of all our kits, but that won’t last. Or at least we hope not. MTD, we’re still running ahead of last September’s revenues. The holiday weekend itself is always slow, as people have other things to do.

We’re keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma. If it does come ashore on the Carolina coast, it’ll probably be about a week from now. As far as we are from the coast and in the mountains, it’s very unlikely to have much direct affect on us other than strong winds and heavy rains. And sitting on top of a mountain we get those pretty routinely anyway.

Our last experience with a hurricane up close and personal was Hugo in 1989. The eye passed directly over Winston-Salem and the storm was still a Category One, with strong winds and torrential rains. That’s as close as we ever want to get to a hurricane.

Oh, well. Whatever happens, we’re ready for it. But I do pity those who live down near the coast.

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82 Responses to Monday, 4 September 2017

  1. nick flandrey says:

    FEMA is moving teams from TX and elsewhere to PR and USVI in preparation for Irma. It’s gonna hit somewhere and it will be big. meanwhile it’s coming right for us. I know people are saying it might turn north. That also means it might NOT.

    n

  2. OFD says:

    Like RBT, we’re far enough inland to avoid the worst effects of hurricanes; we might get that same heavy rain and wind; Vermont did get whacked a few years ago due to flooding from the effects of a coastal tropical storm, though. Several deaths and a chit-ton of damage to structures built….wait for it…..along rivers and on river bottomland. Surprise!

    Bright overcast here; mainly on house cleanup ops and I’ll be off later to class down in Johnson. Exciting.

  3. Nightraker says:

    “This is why we shop almost exclusively at HEB for groceries and pharmacy.”

    Particularly impressive considering the razor thin margins of the grocery game!

    Re Stockman and other permabear canaries in the mine voices: The point is not that the ship canal doesn’t have tremendous positive economic and social benefit any less than the Erie Canal or the Interstate Highway System, any tax paid infrastructure. The method of finance is XXimmoralXX evil, and probably at least twice as expensive as necessary to make the payoffs and for the various committee meetings. Like the increasingly gratuitous murder of Afgani’s et al, there is the opportunity cost in economic terms and eventually a most unhappy blowback, too.

  4. SteveF says:

    from TX and elsewhere to PR

    I’m receiving a message … psychic emanations from Beyond … the message is … Fuck Puerto Rico!

  5. SteveF says:

    The point is not that the ship canal doesn’t have tremendous positive economic and social benefit any less than the Erie Canal or the Interstate Highway System.

    There’s also the fact that individuals and corporations are profiting from the location, but the costs are nationalized. Sure, individuals elsewhere may benefit from cheaper goods, but public money paid for the infrastructure, private groups benefit, and public money is used to bail out those harmed by the hurricane.

  6. nick flandrey says:

    “The method of finance is XXimmoralXX evil, and probably at least twice as expensive as necessary to make the payoffs and for the various committee meetings.”

    Maybe, but the work is pretty much what men institute governments for, doing big projects with diffuse benefits. It takes diffuse funding to do them, as no one source is capable, and we ban companies from working together on things like that.

    WRT the article, he’s making factual errors in support of his biases. See one roach- there are more hidden.

    I try to avoid falling victim to the Internet Argument Checklist, but I got stuff to do other than reasoned takedowns.

    http://monsterhunternation.com/2013/09/20/the-internet-arguing-checklist/

    n

  7. nick flandrey says:

    “public money is used to bail out those harmed by the hurricane.” so repeal the commerce clause and let TX tax everyone else who benefits in order to pay for it, you know, like a country would…..

    Or recognize that this is one big country with a mega-crapton (MCT) of money sloshing around and that the money WILL find a home. Better to find a home in projects with wide benefit, than pure pork.

    Cut off the money and starve the beast. Kill the federal reserve, kill fractional banking, repeal the 17th A, stop using the commerce clause to make everything a federal concern. Repeal the trust busters, and the RICO act. Kill the EPA, OSHA, FDA, HUD, EDU. Quit spending public money on warehousing millenials in college, supporting the 12%, and the 30%, kill Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, require pensions to be fully funded, and reinstate glass-steagall. Kill the EEOC, Affirmative Action, school feeding programs, NCLB, common core.

    I could go on most of the day….

    n

  8. Nightraker says:

    “Maybe, but the work is pretty much what men institute governments for, doing big projects with diffuse benefits.”

    That is a big rub, granted. Especially after the last comma. But that is not a proper function of government, to MY mind. It is beyond, BEYOND utopian to say TODAY that the next step in human progress is going past “No Taxation without Representation”, to just “No Taxation.”

    I think that is a worthy goal, but have absolutely no practical idea to get there. Not trying to troll you, either.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Let’s be clear here. Are you suggesting that taxpayers in the US as a whole should be paying the hundreds of billions of dollars in uninsured losses incurred by Texans as a result of the hurricane? If so, why should we? The port facilities you mention as benefiting all US residents don’t require anything remotely close to 6+ million people and many trillions worth of residential and commercial properties to support them.

  10. SteveF says:

    require

    I guess it all comes down to which side of the distributed cost/concentrated benefit divide one falls on.

  11. Nightraker says:

    “Cut off the money and starve the beast.”

    There we agree, and the rest of the list and more, too.

    The Feds are out of control. They *admit* to spending a quarter, 25%, of GDP on their schemes, and a quarter of the quarter of that on the arm to boot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFDe5kUUyT0

    WARNING: ~30 not wasted minutes.

    It is awful to hope for the failure of the fraud that is the current money system. Gonna be a helluva mess.

  12. OFD says:

    IIRC, peeps moved down there because that’s where the jobs were, and they came from all over FUSA and the failed state to our south. Unfortunately, most of the fossil energy jobs were located in major and extensive hurricane regions along the Gulf Coast. Many decades have passed, and the national pop has at least doubled; I reckon it’s probably more than doubled in those areas since the Good War. So we are where we are.

    Are those fossil energy industries critical to national security and the economy? Then maybe those industries should be bearing the brunt of the recovery efforts. Instead of taxpayers in Detroit or Denver.

    And no one begrudges humanitarian relief efforts; it seems that most of the useful and successful of such efforts have been accomplished by private citizens rather than the Feds, but I could be mistaken (never happened before).

    But we have this situation around the country, too; peeps built their houses in beeyooteeful scenic locations subject to hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, etc. and when the inevitable happens eventually, they rebuild right in those exact same spots, courtesy of the insurance companies and by extension, other insurance company customers and the taxpayers.

    I guess the argument might run: “Hey, we built this enormous fossil energy region and it’s benefited all you fummamuckers in the rest of the country, so cough it up.”

    Again I say, if that’s true, then those companies and industries should be coughing it up, not us up here in Franklin County, Vermont. Peeps CHOOSE to live on ocean bottomland for whatever reason or on Cape Cod and the Islands; they thus choose to sustain the consequences.

  13. Nightraker says:

    “But we have this situation around the country, too; peeps built their houses in beeyooteeful scenic locations subject to hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, etc. ”

    Without seeing it, I think I’d find Mr. Lynn’s bro’s place aesthetically hideous (on 5′ piles) right up to the minute it became a private subtropical island. Then, it would be the most beautiful place on the planet. 🙂 Might even wish had gone for 8′ piles!

  14. nick flandrey says:

    “The port facilities you mention as benefiting all US residents don’t require anything remotely close to 6+ million people and many trillions worth of residential and commercial properties to support them.”

    See my last comment on yesterday’s post for just a short list of the other benefits.

    “remotely close to 6+ million people ” then what do you think those people are doing? Sure some are working on purely local efforts (which enable the broader effort) and some are parasites, but it’s not 6 M unemployed or “excess to needs”.

    “Are you suggesting that taxpayers in the US as a whole should be paying the hundreds of billions of dollars in uninsured losses incurred by Texans as a result of the hurricane? ”

    yes, although I’ll point out that part of that will be paid by premiums paid by ordinary people like ME. And yes, because What makes TX and this storm different than all the other disaster relief money paid out by the federal government? If you are going to pay some, why wouldn’t you pay for this one?

    “If so, why should we? ” see above argument regarding wide benefits to the country as a whole, and no other mechanism to charge for said benefit (as we would have if we were an independent state rather than part of the WHOLE country.)

    Want to start paying a “Hurricane Preparedness Tariff” on every gallon of gas we ship thru that Colonial pipeline? How about on the electricity we export? Or on every car and sea container that comes thru the port?

    “If so, why should we? ” because it’s better value for money than most of the other areas you’re paying for?

    http://maps.redcross.org/website/Maps/Images/NationalLevel/flood_hires.jpg

    nick

    . Texas produces about 20% of the nation’s beef cattle and ranks #1 in the country in the value of cattle raised.

    Cotton is Texas’ most valuable crop, … and 29% of the nation’s cotton revenues. Texas is the nation’s #1 cotton-producer.

    Other important products… hay (#3 among the states), and wheat. Texas is a leading (#3) producer of greenhouse and nursery products …

    Other major field crops in Texas are sorghum grain (#2 among the states), peanuts, rice (#5 among the states), and cane for sugar.

    Texas is a leading manufacturing state. Ranking first in the manufacturing arena is the manufacture of computers and electronic equipment (computers, electronic components, military communication systems).

    The manufacture of chemicals is ranked second in the state. Texas leads the states in this sector, producing benzene, ethylene, fertilizers, propylene and sulfuric acid.

    Texas leads the states in the total value of its mined products, producing large quantities of oil and natural gas.

    The state is responsible for about 1/5 of the country’s oil production and almost 1/3 of the nation’s supply of natural gas.

    Texas is also a leader in the production of cement, crushed stone, lime, salt and sand and gravel.

  15. nick flandrey says:

    “I think I’d find Mr. Lynn’s bro’s place aesthetically hideous (on 5′ piles)”

    Probably not. In the neighborhoods that aren’t on the coast, it’s disguised pretty well. Typically, you get a big staircase leading up to your front porch.

    n

    (I was looking for some streetviews but all I can find is 3-5 ft)

  16. nick flandrey says:

    Also, in case anyone thinks (based on MSM coverage for example) that we’re just sitting on our hands down here, whistling past the graveyard, rubbing our hands together over all that sweet sweet FEMA money, this is a pretty good article talking about the plan and what’s already been done.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/How-to-fix-the-Houston-floods-10826834.php

    n

  17. Nightraker says:

    The economic engine that is Texas will have its losses recovered by private insurance. Just business.

    No one here has authoritah, or even the ear of the Administrator in Chief to suggest that tax bux not be spent on the uninsured individuals. The sclerosis that is bureaucracy will keep many of the affected from “benefitting” the state’s largesse. The pol’s have already and will continue to ride to the rescue fiscally speaking.

    Our Houston correspondents, in the main, prepped wisely enough to mitigate storm damage, so far. Pheew! Great!

    As a matter of ethical principle though, Davy Crocket and Grover Cleveland were right that it is not the business of tax allocators to steal from all to help some, even in worthwhile charity. There are other, better means and institutions for that.

  18. Nightraker says:

    I’d guess 5′ pile elevation would include 3′ buried in concrete as anchors with standard length building materials. I’d also suspect that washaway skirting would minimize my aesthetic horror. 🙂

    An Earthship has wet dream prepper features, not suitable for flood prone sites. I’m neutral on the aesthetics of a semi-buried greenhouse and the labor component of the construction budget is nauseous. The self-sufficient HVAC, water, hot water, sewage and tack on electricity generation are certainly appealing. Might have to upscale the last for the “MZB Hotel” neon sign, though.

  19. OFD says:

    So is there some sort of problem with having those oh-so-critical industries and companies cough up some dough for the rescue and recovery efforts or am I just all wet up here? Figuratively speaking….

    Yeah, insurance will cover a bunch of stuff and rates will rise accordingly for EVERYBODY. Those guys ain’t gonna take a hit. Ever.

    I recognize completely that Texas is a wonderful state and exports zillions of tons of goods and benefits to the country but are the rest of us gonna keep paying for every hurricane and wave of tornadoes that hits these critical industries? If it’s that critical, then move it somewhere else.

    Also, no matter the wonderful zillions of good jobs at good wages, I wouldn’t cotton to living behind a series of dikes and levees and dams like we were in Holland or something. Essentially below sea level on a coastal area that gets whacked regularly by major ocean storms. But YMMV, as usual.

    We choose to eat the consequences up here of four to six months of cold weather, sometimes very stormy in terms of ice and snow and wind. But if need be, yes, we could get knocked back to circa 1900 and make out OK w/o innernet, tee-vee, heating oil or gas or propane, and with the years left to us, make do with clothes, organizing food and water and wood fuel, and so on. It would be labor-intensive and make for longer days and probably a shorter life but we’d manage. Our mileage varies, too, and we’d prefer not to live in 105-degree temps in toxic wotta up to our knees, teeming with crocs, wotta mocs, and gorgeous rainbow swirls.

  20. lynn says:

    Cut off the money and starve the beast. Kill the federal reserve, kill fractional banking, repeal the 17th A, stop using the commerce clause to make everything a federal concern. Repeal the trust busters, and the RICO act. Kill the EPA, OSHA, FDA, HUD, EDU. Quit spending public money on warehousing millenials in college, supporting the 12%, and the 30%, kill Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, require pensions to be fully funded, and reinstate glass-steagall. Kill the EEOC, Affirmative Action, school feeding programs, NCLB, common core.

    There are at least 2,000 federal agencies. We probably need ten at most.

    We need a federal Balanced Budget Amendment. With teeth in it. That will solve most of these federal problems.

  21. lynn says:

    I’m receiving a message … psychic emanations from Beyond … the message is … F*** Puerto Rico!

    Too late. They did it to themselves already.

  22. OFD says:

    “Too late. They did it to themselves already.”

    As did Kalifornia and Illinois.

    So far.

    Two words: Overfunded pensions. (for our Boomer gen)

    And of course government fat and grease and corruption.

    And incompetence.

  23. nick flandrey says:

    “are the rest of us gonna keep paying for every hurricane and wave of tornadoes that hits these critical industries? If it’s that critical, then move it somewhere else. ”

    Eventually the money will run out or become worthless. until then, don’t authorize another building in Manhattan (way overdue for a major earthquake), Cali (ditto), anywhere along the Mighty Mississippi (flooding, New Madrid), ANY city in Florida, Any coastal city on the east coast (gonna get a lesson in hurricane damage if Irma turns north). Start relocating everyone out of DC (huge swamp, literally). Clear the central plains (tornadoes), and the Pacific Northwest better start moving inland too (hurricane, earthquake, AND tsunami.)

    Point is, there are very few places where there aren’t natural hazards. We are committed as a country to ameliorating the damage afterward. If that’s gonna change, lots of other things need to change too. The biggest is having the fed gov act as big daddy. Stop taking money from the states, skimming it, and then handing it back. let the states keep all that, then there might be resources to deal locally.

    That’s about as likely as me flying to the moon on the power of my flatulence.

    n

  24. lynn says:

    Are you suggesting that taxpayers in the US as a whole should be paying the hundreds of billions of dollars in uninsured losses incurred by Texans as a result of the hurricane?

    Nope. I was mentally prepared to take on the $200,000 expense of rebuilding my home after a six ft flood. I have gotten flooded before. Twice. The first time, was a inch of water. We threw a boatload of stuff away and lived on bare concrete floors for six months until we could afford new carpet.

    But, I will have flood insurance as of Oct 1 in our present home. Now that I understand the risk, I cannot take the risk. And, there is only one allowed supplier in the USA for flood insurance. Cars are covered against flood under standard comprehensive, why not houses ? This makes no sense to me.

    Somewhere around 50% of the 100,000+ homes that got flooded in the Houston metroplex have never been flooded in memory. BTW, those are both serious SWAG numbers. Reputedly, only 15% of the homes flooded have flood insurance.

    My solution is that any home that has been flooded twice should be raised by the homeowner to above the flood line, have a levee built around it, or be destroyed and turned into a park.

  25. DadCooks says:

    In reality, who pays is us, always.

    Business passes all expenses/costs, and that includes insurance and taxes, on to its customers. Business exists to make a profit, while maybe filling a need. One problem is we have forgotten what real needs and priorities are and therefore we expend an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort on the frivolous and glitzy. Too many believe that quality of life is measured in the acquisition of bigger and fancier things.

    I do not want an end to capitalism and the free market, but take a careful look at what really exists today. It is neither capitalism or a free market.

  26. Nightraker says:

    “We need a federal Balanced Budget Amendment. With teeth in it. That will solve most of these federal problems.”

    Not a bad idea, but I don’t think there are teeth sharp enough anywhere. I think the Hydra’s trunk needs amputation with deep burial and that they have sown their own XXscalpelXX axe with debt based fiat. We’ll see.

  27. lynn says:

    Without seeing it, I think I’d find Mr. Lynn’s bro’s place aesthetically hideous (on 5′ piles) right up to the minute it became a private subtropical island. Then, it would be the most beautiful place on the planet. Might even wish had gone for 8′ piles!

    His house is beautiful. It is two stories and looks like an old Spanish mission house. He spent $1.2 million on it (the knock down house and land cost $550K of that). His fight to build it 5 ft off the ground took a year and severe legal threats to the city of Houston. He built it ten years ago. You cannot see the piers since the bottom is bricked up.

    AND IT IS THE ONLY HOUSE BUILT FIVE FT OFF THE GROUND IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD !

    His neighborhood has been about 50% replaced in the last 20 years. Rebuilds are selling for $1.2 million and up. All of them got flooded since the max built up was three ft. People are idiots, you think that they would get a clue especially since most of them drive past my brothers house every day ! Some of his neighbors between him and Brays Bayou have been flooded over a dozen times. Mostly homes from the 1940s and 1950s though.

  28. lynn says:

    Our Houston correspondents, in the main, prepped wisely enough to mitigate storm damage, so far. Pheew! Great!

    Nope, I did not. My primary bugout place did not have sleeping places (cots), cooking facilities (microwave does not count), sheets, blankets, bar soap, towels, or spare batteries for the two LED lanterns. It will soon though. And more lanterns.

    My secondary bugout place (my parents house in Port Lavaca), had a freaking hurricane on top of it. And they just got electricity back yesterday.

  29. OFD says:

    Seems like we’re all on the same page WRT to getting the Feds out of this realm of endeavor. Should be the states and the industries involved.

    Meanwhile, don’t build your house or live in one that’s sitting in a regular major hurricane, flood, earthquake or coastal zone. Unless, of course, you have the bucks to be able to do that and not suffer the consequences.

  30. OFD says:

    “My primary bugout place did not have sleeping places (cots), cooking facilities (microwave does not count), sheets, blankets, bar soap, towels, or spare batteries for the two LED lanterns.”

    Prepper FAIL!!

    And great info for the rest of us, who will undoubtedly FAIL at something else. Thanks, Mr. Lynn!

  31. Nightraker says:

    “AND IT IS THE ONLY HOUSE BUILT FIVE FT OFF THE GROUND IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD !”

    There was a post Katrina build-it show about a double wide on 9′ stilts near the Mississippi coast that had me retching, without denying it’s ultimate storm resistance.

    So glad to have another mental image. 🙂

  32. Nightraker says:

    “I do not want an end to capitalism and the free market, but take a careful look at what really exists today. It is neither capitalism or a free market.”

    Yep. Pity that those labels ARE applied to the current system, instead of the reality.

  33. nick flandrey says:

    “My primary bugout place did not have sleeping places (cots), cooking facilities (microwave does not count), sheets, blankets, bar soap, towels, or spare batteries for the two LED lanterns.”

    My “secondary location” has those things and a MCT more stuff too. It would take my wife and I an hour of pushing stuff into the parking lot to make room for us. It’s in a bad neighborhood, and was not easily accessible to us until some stuff cleared up. It was a better secondary for my old house. Still it is offsite. No cots, but thermarest pads and yoga mats. Coleman stoves and fuel. Food, sanitation, no clothes though.

    n

  34. OFD says:

    WRT to mental images:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_buildings_in_Massachusetts#/media/File:Fairbanks_house_dedham.jpg

    Oldest wood-frame house in FUSA, circa 1637, Dedham, MA. Right offa 128, Murka’s Technology Highway back in the day.

    They built stuff to LAST back then.

  35. OFD says:

    And our family’s house in Plymouth, MA:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Jabez_Howland_House_in_Plymouth_MA.jpg

    Yeah, OFD is slipping down yet another rabbit hole on the innernet….gotta get off to class in about 90 minutes….

  36. Nightraker says:

    “They built stuff to LAST back then.”

    Well, nails were a luxury good at the time, so heavy timber and mortice / tenon joinery, I’d guess. Obviously, apparently, no termites.

    There is no place anywhere that isn’t subject to some sort of natural disaster, pestilence, man made destruction. Entropy increases. That’s why we’re trying to be good Boy Scouts.

    You could have the aforementioned Earthship on a lake surrounded by well walled fields and a private Delta Force and still be scared of the degree of frightfulness necessary to reduce your fortress.

    “Nuke ’em from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

  37. lynn says:

    BTW, the wife wants me to buy a jon boat for the house so we can get out if the neighborhood gets a 6 to 8 ft flood over our levee. I may just do it. Just paddles, no motor.
    https://www.loweboats.com/jon-boats/

  38. OFD says:

    Agreed; I wanna be a good Boy Scout. Or Boy Scout Emeritus. I didn’t make it past Tenderfoot as a kid, mainly because we kept moving and I kept having to make new friends.

    I figure man-made threats are more likely here than natural disasters. We know how to deal with winter storms and no juice. Thus the emphasis on my gub classes when I can take them within a reasonable distance. Someone might say, well gee, Dave, you were in the military and the cops, why do you gotta take gub classes? Because in the military I was a friggin’ machine gunner and though I’d love to have my Pig back again there’s not much use for it yet. Oh wait–could I even LIFT that bugger now? And in the cops during my time it was REVOLVERS and billy clubs. So I’m learning the semi-auto pistols more or less from scratch. Ditto the rifles. Been at it for a while, though, and realizing that I have a chit-load more to learn.

    In between the counseling classes and learning, nowadays. Did I say “Fuck IT?” If not, Fuck IT.

    Except as it involves our household or neighborhood here.

  39. OFD says:

    Them jonboats look pretty useful for relatively stable water conditions, like ponds, lakes and still water from a flood. Not so much in fast-moving water. Prices seem reasonable. Go for it, Mr. Lynn, and take it out to make sure all will be copacetic if you have to bail in a hurry.

    We have two canoes and three kayaks, in case the lake goes up about eight feet or so. It’s up two feet currently, thanks to all the rain earlier in the so-called summer. This house has never been flooded; during one of the tropical storm events several years ago, I did see the water come up over the road to our north and south, each location maybe two-hundred yards from us. The shore road north and south was closed to us but we could still get back up and away on Lake Road. No need, though.

  40. CowboySlim says:

    I don’t worry about a hurricane or flood. My house is built on this thing:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport%E2%80%93Inglewood_Fault

    CowboySlim who keeps his Jeep idling 24/7.

  41. lynn says:

    Them jonboats look pretty useful for relatively stable water conditions, like ponds, lakes and still water from a flood. Not so much in fast-moving water.

    I just went down the Missouri river in Montana about 50 miles back in May in a 13 ft rowboat with two other guys. Very similar to this boat.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNhVmWVY7sQ

  42. lynn says:

    BTW, I topped off my Expedition tank yesterday with all of the other 9 pumps open and ready for business. 8 gallons for $20. $2.46/gal for regular, down from $2.59/gal.

  43. nick flandrey says:

    yep, i’ve been posting articles about the coming de-dollarization since russian and chine announced their own SWIFT network…

    We’ll be in a world of hurt.

    n

  44. lynn says:

    yep, i’ve been posting articles about the coming de-dollarization since russian and chine announced their own SWIFT network…

    We’ll be in a world of hurt.

    Why ?

  45. Greg Norton says:

    BTW, I topped off my Expedition tank yesterday with all of the other 9 pumps open and ready for business. 8 gallons for $20. $2.46/gal for regular, down from $2.59/gal.

    San Antonio’s gasoline situation was still ugly as of this morning at 10:30. We waited 30 minutes in line at a Valero near USAA HQ, and, driving out past the Costco, we noticed people had parked their cars at the gas station entrance waiting for the store to open tomorrow morning.

    We rolled the dice wrt gas with the trip to San Antonio. Fortunately, it worked out, but the media in the I-35 corridor created quite a mess with the “shortage” meme.

  46. MrAtoz says:

    Now I lay me down to sleep…
    I pray The Dreamers we don’t keep…
    If I die before I’m “woke”…
    I pray I get some Dreamers to choke…

  47. nick flandrey says:

    We’ll be in a world of hurt.

    Why ?

    Much of our dollar’s value comes from the petrodollar, and that everyone agreed to do oil deals in USD. If they start doing more deals in Y or E or Rubles, there is less demand for USD. And less reason to buy it.

    We need people to continue buying dollars as we keep making more.

    It looks like the rest of the world is tired of that and is setting up to end run the USD.

    n

  48. lynn says:

    San Antonio’s gasoline situation was still ugly as of this morning at 10:30. We waited 30 minutes in line at a Valero near USAA HQ, and, driving out past the Costco, we noticed people had parked their cars at the gas station entrance waiting for the store to open tomorrow morning.

    Uh, we are out in the sticks. My favorite Shell station is 2 miles away from I-69 / US 59.

    Reputedly five of the ten refineries that crashed are back up making gasoline and diesel. But, they are running in a limited fashion with various problems and nowhere near full output.

  49. Greg Norton says:

    Uh, we are out in the sticks. My favorite Shell station is 2 miles away from I-69 / US 59.

    Yeah, nothing between San Antonio and Austin on I-10 qualifies as “the sticks” anymore.

    The big Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels had bags on the 120 pumps’ nozzles both Saturday and this morning. That’s gotta hurt on a holiday weekend.

  50. Ray Thompson says:

    Yeah, nothing between San Antonio and Austin on I-10 qualifies as “the sticks” anymore.

    That was my impression when I made the trip to San Antonio from TN last October. Decided on the northern route, just east of Dallas and catch I-35 south. Been a long time since I traveled that route. I was somewhat stunned at the development. When I lived in Live Oak I would make many trip to New Braunfels on the way to Canyon Lake. Lots of open space. On this trip there was no open space after New Braunfels all the way to Schertz.

    Austin was absolute crap for traffic. Both upper and lower deck stop and go for 10 miles. And this was during the middle of the day. Rush Hour must be a major cluster-fuck.

    Thus on my next trip in March of this year I opted for the southern route, catch I-10 and head through Houston. Was somewhat concerned about the traffic in Houston but it was not too bad. Still a lot of empty space between San Antonio and Houston.

  51. Greg Norton says:

    On this trip there was no open space after New Braunfels all the way to Schertz.

    For the two years leading up to their stadium deal with Las Vegas, the persistent rumor in the corridor was that the Raiders would relocate to San Marcos. This sparked a lot of development running from New Braunfels to Buda, especially around the Texas State stadium exits.

    The Raiders went elsewhere, but San Marcos could still get used as a stick by any NFL team wanting one of the new $1 billion (!) stadium deals.

  52. Nightraker says:

    For a fast explanation of the Petro Dollar’s advantage for the US, part of a graphics rich video history of money in America:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDr1VYvUbKw
    Skip to 16:30 for Petro Dollars, less than 10 minutes for the ADD 🙂

    Essentially, for example, Japan sells us Hondas and uses some of the dollars to buy the oil they use. Can’t use yen for their oil. We get goods, they get colored paper. Oil exporters deposit their profits in US treasury bonds, completing the circle.

    Even better for us, all other oil importing nations compete hard to sell us their best goods at great prices for our depreciating voodoo money.

  53. lynn says:

    “Windows is doomed”
    https://theweek.com/articles/721988/windows-doomed

    Partially but not totally.

  54. Dave Hardy says:

    Windows still has a big server market, usually nearly tying with UNIX or Linux in that area or doing even better. I don’t have much bad to say about their servers from 2008 forward. Desktops have sucked, mostly. No experience with their phones.

    WRT the dollar tanking and other currencies taking over; yeah, that’s gonna be a huge hit for us. Along with the Texas floods. And Lord knows what else between now and Xmas. While we fence with the NORKs, Chicoms, Russians and Iranians.

    All the more reason to stock up, tool up, and train. SEMPER PARATUS

    Back from class around 21:30; a good one; we have an energetic, lively and knowledgeable instructor who’s been in the counseling trenches for twenty years. Sense of humor, too. Class is working Cock-A-Soids, mostly female. They seem OK so far, and I hope it continues to go well, because I’ll be running into them for the next three years, I’m pretty sure. I was chatted up for the entire 20-minute break by a cute 40-something MILF who’s the assistant principal of a large high skool; her grandpa was a motorcycle cop down in Lynn, MA and his cop career overlapped mine, the days of revolvers and billy clubs. Her other grandpa was a firefighter down there; both WWII vets. I noticed she kept eyeballing me last class and this one. She’s married, w/kids, I believe; I gotta watch my P’s and Q’s. Damn.

    Anyway, we’re learning a lot of excellent tips for these gigs from the instructor, along with all the theoretical chit. Upshot: our rapport and authentic working WITH the client is FAR more important than any of the therapeutic methodologies. I feel like I can grok that pretty well, coming from years now of dealing with embittered and surly nutjob vets like myself. And the previous street cop gigs.

    Tomorrow’s another day, hope to mow the back yard. That will knock me out for the remainder of the day, except maybe for cleaning out and organizing a couple of my “corners,” the one in the living room where I sit and read and listen to the radio, kind of a mess now. And the one upstairs with my toolbox and household first aid kit. Not as a bad a mess.

    Plus more reading to do and review reading for the lab class starting Saturday, all day.

    And gotta get Mrs. OFD to the Moh-ree-all airport on Thursday so she can fly to Bathurst and then drive her mom back down here over the weekend. I gotta rush back for the vets group and then Thursday night the Patriots play the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. Tragic news is that their extraordinary receiver/runner Edelman tore his ACL and is out for the season. Gronk is back, however, along with the other gigantic tight end even bigger than him, plus they just traded their second- or third-string QB for a new wide receiver, so we’ll see how that goes.

    I’ll keep watching their games until Brady and Belichick retire and then I’ll quit watching the NFL altogether. The new slack time on Sundays, for example, is going to study of Latin, Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Etruscan, along with Roman Catholic theology. Gotta have SOME fun around here; can’t all be mowing the yard, hanging laundry, doing homework and cleaning the gubs!

  55. Greg Norton says:

    “Windows is doomed”

    Sooner or later, people will have to start doing real work again and stop surfing Facebook at the office to kill the boredom.

  56. Dave Hardy says:

    And not only FaceBerg; Fed gummint workers routinely surf porn sites, as do state gooberment drones. Or online Poker. While streaming their fave tunes.

    Speaking of “sooner or later,” from the Dreary Upcoming Autumn Department:

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/perturbations-anon/

    I may skip some of my esoteric Sunday reading in favor of a trip back through the halls of yesteryear to the literary and historical stuff going on during what has been known as “Late Antiquity,” especially as manifested by writers of the disintegrating Roman empire. I find it possibly all too relevant these days. When the city of Rome fell, the outlying rural districts from Hispania to Britannia to northern Germania remained mostly Romanized for centuries. And there was no such thing as a Dark Ages; that’s just goofy old-timey bullchit. Hell, the Byzantine Empire was rolling right along and standing tall.

    So Mordor and Babylon and Sodom may all collapse at some point, but western North Carolina, northern Vermont, and large areas of the Rocky Mountain West should be mostly OK for….centuries.

  57. lynn says:

    I’ll keep watching their games until Brady and Belichick retire and then I’ll quit watching the NFL altogether.

    I’m gonna quit watching my Aggies after last night’s debacle.

  58. lynn says:

    My wife’s cousins in North Carolina and South Carolina are all chattering about Harvey’s sister Irma on Facebook and wondering if she is going to pay them a visit.

  59. nick flandrey says:

    Turns out our sewer issue is that the two plants that serve us and the surrounding neighborhood are UNDER WATER. Which probably means, the bayou is simply draining our sewers with siphon. The folks on FB confirm anecdotally that it SMELLS like it’s pure sewage in their homes. The treatment plant is some 40ft lower than our neighborhood and several miles linear distance away. This is a result of the increased outflows from the two dams.

    Even if you wanted to stay in your flooded home, if your first floor has 6ft of sewage in it, you aren’t staying.

    I think I’ll be hammering away at the cleanout cover after all. If there is a backup, wife will get plenty of notice from the FB for me to plug it, assuming I can get the cover off, and get something down to the sewer line level.

    And we have Irma to prep for. I’m gonna be a busy little beaver this week.

    n

    The Navy track has Irma’s eye hitting Fla some time on Sunday.

  60. Greg Norton says:

    The Navy track has Irma’s eye hitting Fla some time on Sunday.

    Five days is a long time.

    If the storm does hit the FL peninsula, it will move through fast. The problem will be wind and tidal surge, not a Harvey-type rain event.

    Unfortunately, most people in FL have homeowners insurance through companies or special carrier subsidiaries with questionable financial capability to handle a storm. The scandal will be the story of any major storm hitting the state.

  61. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Let’s just hope it hangs a right and heads back out to sea without making landfall anywhere.

  62. SteveF says:

    Turns out our sewer issue is that the two plants that serve us and the surrounding neighborhood are UNDER WATER. Which probably means, the bayou is simply draining our sewers with siphon.

    This is where BLM, pAntiFa, and college “studies” majors could really help Houston. They’re all a bunch of shit-slurping retards, so sewage disposal is the perfect task for them. Too bad they’re lazy and useless even for this.

  63. brad says:

    We’re finally taking first steps towards building our “retirement” house. Went down today to look at four houses recently built and/or under construction by the company we want to go with. Collecting ideas, discussing plans – it was a productive trip.

    Nick’s comments about sewers highlight the one problem we have: we’re looking at building in a metropolis of 19 people, with mostly older houses. No one seems to know where the main sewer, water and power lines really are, because all the houses have been there so long. And in such a thriving metropolis, no one was really responsible for keeping any sort of up-to-date maps. The builders are still calling around – thankfully, they’re pretty local, so they can do that – hoping to find someone who knows something…

    So that’s a huge unknown on the costs. If the utilities are under the road, they’re only 20 meters from the building site. But that actually looks unlikely, judging from where the other houses are. So we may well be digging a trench for 300-400 meters, which would be a whole lot more expensive.

  64. lynn says:

    Essentially, for example, Japan sells us Hondas and uses some of the dollars to buy the oil they use. Can’t use yen for their oil. We get goods, they get colored paper. Oil exporters deposit their profits in US treasury bonds, completing the circle.

    This is one of those up front good things. It will really suck on the back end if the rest of the world decides to come after the USA.

  65. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As I’ve said before, it’s not optional to use dollars, and won’t be for the foreseeable future. If you want to sell to the gigantic US market, you need dollars to pay with. And those dollars are the world’s reserve currency and will remain so, not because everyone (anyone) loves us, but because there is NO realistic alternative. The euro? Give me a break. A Chinese currency, even one that’s supposedly gold-backed? Give me an even bigger break.

  66. SteveF says:

    a metropolis of 19 people

    Is “metropolis” really the word you want? Wouldn’t “megalopolis” be better? Or even “swarm of humanity packed in so densely that no one could possibly resist the pressure, with the inevitable result being sporadic outbreaks of violence as society fragments along class and race lines”.

  67. lynn says:

    Turns out our sewer issue is that the two plants that serve us and the surrounding neighborhood are UNDER WATER. Which probably means, the bayou is simply draining our sewers with siphon.

    So when they built levees around all of the sewage treatment plants in the Houston are during the 1980s, these plants got passed ? I remember the sewage treatment plant inside 610 on North Braeswood having ten ft of water over it in 1980 or so. Yup, that was raw sewage heading to the Gulf.

  68. SteveF says:

    Yup, that was raw sewage heading to the Gulf.

    What’s wrong with that? If it’s good enough for Mexico, it’s good enough for Americans.

  69. nick flandrey says:

    “these plants got passed ” no idea but they are nestled along Buffalo Bayou, downstream of both Barker and Addicks (Turkey Creek and West Division.) Looking at the overhead imagery I don’t see any dikes. I have to think their location next to the bayou isn’t accidental, and discharge into the bayou is a feature not a bug.

    I’m happy the bayou is taking my shit away and my sewers are still working.

    But then I’m a selfish bastage…

    n

  70. lynn says:

    No dike around braeswood either.

    The levee is that big concrete wall between Braes Bayou and the sewage plant. And most of the plant was raised.

  71. nick flandrey says:

    Wonder if it helped.

  72. Dave Hardy says:

    We have our own wotta issues in the bay up here; they’ve now put sensors connected to buoys out there to monitor chemical and biological stuff. Plus we gotta nail the industrial dairy cow operations that keep dumping their crap into the water table and thence into the lake. The small operators are mainly being in compliance and trying to do the right thing. The big bastards don’t even let their cows out of their fucking stalls.

    I will be bringing this up at a future Planning Commission or Selectboard meeting, even though it’s a regular topic in the local press. Currently the “beach” off the town park behind is closed to swimming, and we got off pretty easy this summer with that, too, because of all the rain and the lake being up two feet. But there have been a few more algae blooms spotted out there and at other sites on this side of the lake.

    RBT is correct about there being no viable alternative to the dollar, no matter what the other big players attempt to do. So we’ll just keep printing them up, I guess. And meanwhile it’s really just all ones and zeroes in cyberspace anyway.

  73. lynn says:

    RBT is correct about there being no viable alternative to the dollar, no matter what the other big players attempt to do. So we’ll just keep printing them up, I guess. And meanwhile it’s really just all ones and zeroes in cyberspace anyway.

    I have read that it is a large Excel spreadsheet at the Federal Reserve. I’ve wondered several times if that is true.

  74. lynn says:

    Wonder if it helped.

    Me too. My brother’s house is 10 blocks northeast of that sewage plant and he had four ft of water in the street.

  75. Nightraker says:

    “RBT is correct about there being no viable alternative to the dollar”

    I think that’s true too. It will be interesting to see if that proposed futures instrument ever sees the light of day, as it apparently has been delayed a few times now.

    Still, I’ve never known a pig to be welcome at a party and international trade is far more serious than that. The balance of trade deficit is a measurement of just how piggish we are.

    And I also consider the “foreign cash buyers” for the various go-go real estate hot spots to be Chinese desperate to get their wealth out of China. The suggested rationale is that they fear a devaluation of their yuan, so I look for news on Chinese capital controls. Probably hiding payola too. Interesting.

    Then, too, they’ve been sucking up gold like they invented Hoover.

    Things that make you go, hmmmm.

  76. Dave Hardy says:

    In Matt Bracken’s latest book, China is kaput. And both coasts of FUSA are extremely dangerous but Texas is OK. The Spanish are basically holding Fortress Europa all alone. Parts of South Murka are OK, too. So judging from the book, we all oughta consider learning Spanish.

    I’ll pass on that, though; it’s English and dead languages for me.

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