Monday, February 9, 2009

Shift Happens

freeacre

Mike Ruppert posted a great piece on Act II From the Wilderness last week (2/04) that elicited an inspired comment from someone called wagelaborer.
Wagelaborer likened what is going on with the economy to a 911 response to a medical emergency. I’m paraphrasing, but it goes like this:
Grandpa has a heart attack. Grandma, freaks and calls 911. The response team arrives and figures that Grandpa is not going to make it, but feels compelled to do their best to revive him and show Grandma that at least they tried. So, they give him some heart stimulant medication (their training advises the more expensive kind, even though it doesn’t work any better than the cheap one) and zap him with the paddles, etc. So, then he’s put into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital, where they start all over, making a play for the family that heroic measures are taken, absolving each other of any guilt that would be assigned if everyone hadn’t given it their best shot. Happily, for the hospital, this also increases the bill at every step as well. Finally, after the patient is hooked up to the ventilator and the family has had a chance to gather around and say good-by, the chaplain takes them into a room to hold their hand while the decision is made to pull the plug because it has finally been decided that grandpa has been brain dead for while - probably since he keeled ever in the livingroom. This may be more real to me because it is essentially what happened in my family last Friday when my nephew died after suffering cardiac arrest at home.

Anyway, that appears to me what is going on with the financial collapse. Capitalism as we know it has just blown up and suffered the consequences of a lifetime of unregulated excess and corruption that has predictably resulted in its demise. And, now we are going to be handed the bill. Oh, yes, there will be gnashing of teeth, but the lamestream media will be reporting that everything that could have been done was tried, and despite everyone’s best efforts, the economy just tanked. Just maybe some miracle might happen and the patient might sit up and look around and be able to get into rehab, but probably not. And the money that could have sustained the family until the kids got a little older has been diverted to the medical establishment (banks), the family is on its own, and up to their eyeballs in debt. What drama. What pathos. What a pimp job.

Pretty soon, the pretense will finally be up. Those who have heretofore been bought off and rendered mute because of their privileged positions and status within the hierarchy, will be handed their pink slips. Awful truths will be revealed. The worms will turn. Revolution will be in the air. States are already threatening to secede from the union. Governments are falling. People all over the world are demonstrating in the streets (while we hear and endless loop of feel-good stories on the lamestream). Troops may be called out. All kinds of hoopla and jaw-dropping weirdness will be diverting and amazing us from all sides. The dinosaurs can’t be maintained in the new landscape. There will be a hideous die off of the old paradigm.

There is another great piece in today’s Tomgram (Smirking Chimp.com) regarding the fall of the government in Iceland and the emerging new reality in that country. It is well worth a read. I’m including a quote from the end of it:

’ "There is an enormous sense of relief. After a claustrophobic decade, anger and resentment are possible again. It's official: capitalism is monstrous. Try talking about the benefits of free markets and you will be treated like someone promoting the benefits of rape. Honest resentment opens a space for the hope that one day language might regain some of its critical capacity, that it could even begin to describe social realities again."
The big question may be whether the rest of us, in our own potential Argentinas and Icelands, picking up the check for decades of recklessness by the captains of industry, will be resentful enough and hopeful enough to say that unfettered capitalism has been monstrous, not just when it failed, but when it succeeded. Let's hope that we're imaginative enough to concoct real alternatives. Iceland has no choice but to lead the way.
Rebecca Solnit is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine and a Tomdispatch.com regular. Her book on disaster and civil society, A Paradise Built in Hell, will be out later this year.
Copyright 2009 Rebecca Soln


And, what’s this? Who are all these little creatures scurrying around, making nests in the grass and tunnels in the earth? Who are these people holding hands and dancing around the campfires? Who is squatting in the abandoned homes, organizing clinics in deserted malls, growing food in vacant lots, sharing their homes with displaced children and covering the backs of wandering neighbors?

All the people who have been ignored for so long, that’s who.

The people who don’t come from New York or Washington D.C. are poised to take the reins. God, I am so sick of New York and D.C. If I never hear about them again, it will be too soon. In fact, when the new “Sex in the City” movie is released, I hope the theaters that show it spontaneously combust. The shallow, pampered, conspicuously consuming, yuppie scum are so over. The numbnuts in suits are dead men walking. Even the slave workforce-exploiting-complicit-Wally World-Nascar-watching dumbasserie are doomed. Debt has peaked. Those who rely on it are zombies.

What is alive is just beginning to emerge. I saw it this weekend at our Grange Farmers Market. Real people producing real products from home-based enterprises are going to re-make and re-take the world. You could sense it in the air. People were talking to each other, networking, planning on bartering and sharing resources, coming up with new ideas of what could work to get us through this disaster. A guy was singing folksongs and John Prine tunes in the background. Chili was being sold for a dollar a bowl. Home grown eggs and meat are being traded for firewood and computer expertise. Kids are helping out and feeling good about it.

Check out this populist song, circulating now on the web: http://www.bornagainamerican.org


I am going to be away for a few days. I have to attend to my step-son who is in hospice care now. But, I just wanted to leave you with this post to encourage you while I am gone. Good things are happening. The paradigm is shifting and, like a polar shift, in the long run, there’s not a thing that the gov/corp can do to stop it. You can stick a fork into the Wall Street cabal – they’re done.

UPDATE: A series of snowstorms has hit the Sierras, so it looks like I'm going to stick around for awhile.

47 comments:

Publius said...

Great post. I am sorry to hear about the recent loss and the illness in your family.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Dito, we are with you in spirit FA

murph said...

Hey Plublius,

Roman/Latin name?

Thanks for coming by and the comment, and welcome to the campfire. Pull up a log and share your thoughts. Hope to hear from you more.

freeacre said...

Greetings, Publius, and thank you for the good wishes. You are most welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

From Truthseeker

This is mostly a response to the last post. However, this one is great too.

Firsly, Murph & Freeacre, I love this site, so don't let it go. It is my first port of call when I go onto the Internet, which is almost every day. I love the honesty and the good old down to earth nature of your blog. It helps keep me grounded.

Montana and Freeacre, sorry to hear of your recent losses. Though, Montana, the new babe has to be a good omen.

If you want a bit of hope about the world, take a look at the latest interview with Dr. Brian O'Leary at Project Camelot. He is both refreshing and pragmatic and comes from a strong scientific background. He also has developed a strong spiritual perspective that is grounded in his own personal experiences of, and research into, the paranormal.

You free energy sceptics (O'Leary calls it Solution energy) out there (Murph, Ras, etc.) might find him a little more convincing than some other sources. He recognizes that free energy in the wrong hands would be disastrous, which is why we have to make sure the right people are in control (i.e. the likes of you and I). He is also clearly sceptical about Obama making any real changes at present. Internal structural changes within the system are simply not good enough. Systemic change is what is required.

Anyway, take a look. I felt quite inspired after hearing this guy.

Best Wishes,

Truthseeker

RAS said...

Freeacre, I am so sorry about your loss. My heart and prayers are with you and your stepson at this difficult time.

Things are shifting and changing so fast its amazing. The collapse seems to be in full swing right now.
Here's a story on a housing protest against bankers:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100441670
Pitchforks and torches may not be far behind.

JW said...

We still have a few years to slog, but the wind is at our backs. We must continue to offer solutions so they will be ready to listen when the time comes.
be strong.

freeacre said...

Well, Dear Ones, there has been a change of plans. My son called as I was just practically walking out the door, and told me he didn't think I should go right now because of a series of snow storms that is hitting Tahoe and is predicted to be be even worse on the day of my return. I don't normally allow myself to be swayed by snow, but in this case, I guess prudence will prevail. I decided to trust his feeling about this, as he is usually very confident and this is the only time that I ever remember him telling me that he fears for my safety. SO..... guess I'll stick around for a couple of weeks. Rats. I was all packed and had filled up two big containers of homemade savory bagels to bring to the family. I think the Murphinator is pleased that he gets to eat a bunch of bagels..
Thanks for all your good wishes, and it is very nice to hear from those who check out the site but don't comment a lot. It is good to know you are there.

Anonymous said...

freeacre and murph, sorry to hear of your loss and health troubles for your son. Hang in there. Our bodies are a nest of troubles but our spirits transition to a higher state. Amazing that you two continue to keep the fire burning with all you got going on. And your posts are always insightful and informative. You reinforce that which is a balanced review of reality! (IMO) Thank you for that! mrsp

Anonymous said...

FA

Sorry to hear about your loss, you have my heartfelt sympathy.

I have not been in the mood to write anything lately, been a bit down, so in reading your last posting concerning to blog or not to blog, I can only repeat what other here have said, I hope you do continue.

This site has come to mean a great deal to me. It is one of the very few sites I almost religiously visit each day, for me it is a beacon of good. There are so many sites out there that put forward information and allow personal comment but they all seem to be about posturing, mud slinging, name calling and berating character I get weary of reading through the crap commentary to find those few nuggets posted by those who are somewhat enlightened, most though I think just like to see their writing on the computer.

I don't find that here. I actually enjoy the commentary section as much as the posted article. It amazes me at times how most who attend here seem to follow along the same web sites and other blog sites. How people find their way here well that is a mystery, but I am sure that those who do will soon appreciate the honest chat that goes on around the fire.

For me this site is a friend I come to visit everyday and well I can understand that it does take a pretty substantial effort to keep it going and I wish I could do more in that regard, for now my time is taxed to the limit, but I earnestly hope that all who gather here will continue to gather here for a very long time.

That is it for now dear friend/s, I wish you the best from deep south


Ely

MoonRaven said...

I, too, want to add my sympathy and condolences for the loss of your nephew and the sad situation with your son. I'm hoping both of you get the TLC you need.

I also want to add a thought to your line about "All the people who have been ignored for so long"... Personally, I'm hoping they ignore us a while longer. I think we will get more accomplished when they don't notice us--it gives us more time to organize clinics, grow food, create farmers markets, build sustainable communities, etc. It's when they *do* notice us that I begin to worry...

freeacre said...

MoonRaven,
LOL... you got a point, there! If they start focusing on us, they'll look for ways to get "their" cut. Suddenly there will be inspections, fees, licenses, taxes, etc. Yeah, better to remain invisible until the government is so broke they won't even be able to answer the phone.
And, thanks.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

RAS:

Don't you know
They're talkin' about a revolution
It sounds like whisper
Don't you know
They're talkin' about a revolution
It sounds like whisper

While they're standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what's theirs

Don't you know
You better run...
Oh I said you better
Run
run
run...

Tracy Chapman

stoney13 said...

Freeacre,

Sorry to hear about your loss. I can relate to your problems with the hospital.


Here in North Carolina you can write the hospital a check for a dollar, and if they cash it, then they accept your payment of a dollar a month. As long as you pay that dollar a month, they can't come after you for any more than a dollar a month!

Right now I'm having LOTS of fun trying to keep the words "Crazed hippy" and "Dead insurance adjusters" out of the local paper!

Sorry I haven't been keeping up as well as I should, but the moldering mound of mindfucks that keeps shambling along in my wake has kept me hopping!

Now Hazel is feeling better, and somehow got shifted into spring cleaning mode, and I'm getting ready to rip the floor out from under the bath room, and our bedroom so I can replace the floor that the plumbing leak rotted out. *sigh* We're one green poplar pole from riding the toilet into the basement! This is something I hope to avoid! It sounds like it would be really, REALLY painful, and if anybody hears about it it will be an event at the next X Games!

I'll be back on here more often as soon as I get all these grand endeavors finished.

Ah shit! Here she comes with paint!

freeacre said...

lol...so that's what you've been doing, Stoney! We've been wondering. Maybe you should put an old mattress on the floor of the basement to break the fall, just in case... Oh, God, this Redneck stuff seems to be catching. Even Dave's got it - seen his site lately?

Anonymous said...

Froim Belgium,

Freeacre Lol, that old mattress could spring him back up into the broken end of the green poplar pole, wild coyote style and then we could have a bit of spit roasted Stoney. Meanwhile over here I am about to go full tilt over the edge of a cliff; anybody got a handy anvil to hand out.

RAS said...

Welcome to Acme, your source for anvils, rockets, and more. Step right this way...

Lol. What are the famous last words of any redneck? "Hey y'all, watch this..."

Anonymous said...

Geez, Belgium;

What can we do to help?

-rp

Anonymous said...

From Belgium

Ras, thanks for that I might just take you up on your offer.

Nothing rockpicker, I am quite enjoying it. My former landlord thinks that she is above the law and wants me to pay for the maintenance of the building. Problem was that she refused to accept liability for fixing the central heating system. She summonsed me and because files were mislaid in the house move I turned up at the wrong court to defend myself. When I got to the right court the case had been heard and found against me because I was not there to defend myself. I talked to the judge afterwards who was quite sympathetic but there was little he could do since it had been knocked down and the prosecuting lawyer had left the court and so the case could not be reopened. At worst it will cost me €750 with costs for a €340 bill. But even if I loose; she will not win, Easy going should not be confused with easy. Oh how I yearn for the simple life where this shit is not necessary.

murph said...

Belgium,

Once more an example of coming up against the bureaucracy and taking it in the ass. Sounds like your landlady is another screw you artist.

Yes, the simpler life for all. It will come, it's whether we will be around to enjoy it. sigh. We had a somewhat similar situation when we sold the house before moving here. Ended up costing us $500 because the guy was too stupid to take an insurance settlement. Oh well. Fight on McBeth and wake the dogs of war.

RAS said...

Belgium, my apologies. I thought you were being humorous. For some reason the whole exchange after the part with Stoney reminded me of Old Wiley Coyote cartoons.

I have been applying to jobs like crazy and believe me, I am SO sick of groveling to the corporate masters to try and get a paycheck. None of them want to hire me, at any rate. They want someone with a better work history (i.e., someone who has never been fired) and better credit (it would be better if I hadn't been fired from my last full-time job for doing the right thing; or rather, refusing to do the wrong thing). I have submitted, oh, several hundred job apps in the past year and have gotten maybe three interviews and no offers. What I hate even more about the process is these stupid "personality tests" they make you take to determine if you're suitable to work for them. They ask all these stupid questions like "Do you think it's okay to steal from your employer?" and "What percent of politicans do you think are honest?"
I just applied for five jobs at one company (different stores) and while I only had to fill out one basic app, I had to take that damn test FIVE times!
Hello, um, corporate overlords, I'm on to your game. Which is why, of course, I can't get a job. Grrr!

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Yes Ras, Apologies are not necessary, I was being humorous so you did read it right but it was wry black humour which you had no way of picking up.

For eight years in the 80’s and early 90’s I ran my own small manufacturing business and was a working hands on director, not an office suit so I knew how to work but when it went bust in the recession I too failed the supermarket test. I just shrugged my shoulders and said “Their loss”. I don’t want you to read this as inflated ego but people I middle hierarchy feel threatened by someone who they think might be a bit smarter than they are so you are left with the choice of being honest or lying to get the job. Playing them at their own game is probably not a bad option. And these psycho tests are a bill of goods sold to HR departments by charlatans who design psycho tests. And there is another thing, employees used to be personnel or staff but now they are resources to be used until they are depleted and then discarded. I don’t know whether to be pleased with their unintended honesty or not. I had better stop with this stuff before I come over all unnecessary.

Jacques de Beaufort said...

Gerald Celente: Great Depression 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyS1VCVbJGA

Anonymous said...

RAS,

I have been going through the same ordeal of looking for work, and it is really discouraging out there.

During a normal recession a lot of inhuman management behaviors come to the surface, and it seems this time these behaviors are back with a vengeance. You know hard times have come when you hear the boss saying ‘you are lucky to have a job’ as an excuse for all sorts of unfair treatment.

If in an interview you come off as the least bit independent minded, the interviewer will see it as an attitude problem. If you aren’t good at kissing ass they can sense it, and this is the kiss of death. They know you are at their mercy and that they can forgo treating you with dignity and respect. With so many applicants they can use any arbitrary reason to eliminate you from consideration, perhaps they’ll just dismiss you because they don’t like your hairstyle.

It is also really true that to get a job now you will have to lie about those little things that they will use to eliminate you. I saw a news story recently in which the job hunting expert actually recommended that you dumb down your resume and lie about your previous job title. I am not a very good liar myself, but I have been trying to think of a way to imply that I was laid off rather than quit my last job. If you tell them you quit, it is definitely a strike against you. I would imagine if you were fired you could say that you were laid off, as that is so common these days. Maybe there is a chance they won't check?

On another note, I want to warn you all about whooping cough. I managed to get it and have been out of commission since around Xmas. There is an outbreak sweeping the country, I think it is because so many people don’t trust the FDA and are afraid to immunize their kids. Adults whose childhood immunizations have lost effect are vulnerable. If your defenses are down you might want to get a shot because believe me, you do not want to get this disease.

anazuzo

RAS said...

Anazuzo, it is just getting ridiculous out there. If I could support myself by my odd jobs and my crafts, I would. I just am not capable of bowing down and kissing the feet of the corporate masters anymore. It is just not in me. I'm a rebellious bitch, and I know it.

As for the vaccines, something like 98 or 99% of kids are still vaccinated. But I understand why people don't want to. Every shot I've ever had has made me sick to a lesser or a greater extent. I will NEVER get another flu shot after what the first and only one I had did to me. And I have seen kids react to vaccines and it ain't pretty, despite the official line that 'it doesn't happen'. I do believe in vaccines though -selective vaccination, and not done on babies.

On another note, has anyone seen the passenger role for that flight that went down the other day? On board was a genocide expert and the 9/11 widow who's refused to shut up and was taking the government to court. What are the odds? My weird shit-o-meter is going off the wall.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Fortunately we do not get many trolls on this site but Brasscheck TV, who use You Tube frequently, is complaining that You Tube comments are being invaded to kill open debate. I was not even aware that You Tube had a comment section but if you do follow the comments it is as well to be aware that this is happening.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/561.html

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Ras, Anazuzo,

I was reading an article on the recent air crash in Buffalo and decided to look at a linked slide show of some of the victims since it had been mentioned and then I found that it was a site that gave slide shows of other newsy items. Here is one which puts human faces on the bare statistics of the unemployed that I thought might interest you. It looks at the people laid off as the result of a single factory closure. I particularly liked the comment of the lady who said that she was training to become a health care worker since there was no shortage of sick people and it was one job that could not be sent overseas. I am not suggesting you do the same but it might be an idea to think along the lines of non exportable jobs. It’s just a thought.

http://forum.treasurenet.com/index.php/topic,213971.0/topicseen.html

RAS said...

Belgium, healthcare isn't as grand as it sounds. If I wanted to go into healthcare, the only thing I'm qualified for at this moment is a CNA (certified nurses assistant) and I'm not certified. I would spend 6 months wiping people's butts (for that is what they do) at minimum wage and when I got certified I would make maybe $10.00 an hour. It's some of the hardest work in the area.

The next step up are the tecnicians. You have to go to school for 2-3 years to qualify for that. Tuition is around $20,000. Then you make around $15 an hour, if you're lucky. A lot of healthcare technicians are on welfare.

Go up another notch and you have nurses and doctors. Nursing school (which is difficult to get into; the ones here only take a set number per year and some people have been trying to get in for years. That's about 4 years, with unpaid internships, and tens of thousands in student loans. You do make $25 an hour to start with but then you have huge student loan payments.

That plane crash is looking more and more odd. The de-icing systems were working. The plane came straight down. It apparently lost all momentum. And it was pointed AWAY from the airport.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Ras, One thing I will agree with is that health care is not easy work. I also know that different countries have different educational requirements for exactly the same work.

Since I have known Chris, we have lived in England twice and Belgium twice. In England she started work as an assistant in an old folks home then we moved and she got a job as an orderly / nurses assistant in a hospital. She was allowed to do the obs as they were known. All forms of non invasive tests, eg temperature; blood pressure; blood sugar which is a small pin prick in the finger and approximate blood oxygen, the quick clothes peg on the finger test. She also made beds and the butt wiping job. She was not allowed to hold a syringe or change sugar drip bags. She was allowed to do what I have described without any qualifications except that she was supervised by a qualified nurse. Over here in Belgium you need to be qualified just to be a visitor in a hospital (nearly). The thing that screws most health workers is back problems caused through lifting people over the years. Although they send people on courses and make sure they know how to do that job properly they unfortunately don’t send the patients on the same courses and some old and infirm or just plain overweight people move awkwardly when they go from a sitting to a standing position. Over the years many nurses quit because of back problems.

If it really is so poorly paid in the US it is a wonder why people do it at all. Maybe it is market forces at work. The point of my last comment was not really about health care as such but more identifying work that was not exportable. Maybe you could get a job with prospects like serving foreclosure writs (very black humour unfunny joke). Anyway, you have the idea of what I meant that was prompted by the woman in the slide show.

That plane thing is very strange.

Anonymous said...

On the employment front, I agree it is smart look into fields that will be in demand such as medical. I was shocked when I found out how little my paramedic friend was paid for the privilege to work, apparently because aspiring medical students need experience and must compete for medic jobs. The healthcare jobs RAS mentioned are truly thankless, and poorly paid here in the States. The medical field in which I have worked, which has high paying jobs if you can get them, is quality and regulatory compliance in medical device manufacture. Unfortunately I have seen firsthand how our quality code of ethics have been tossed out the window by the corporate captains, and the most successful practitioners these days don't give a rat's ass about 'quality' and have instead become expert in bullshitting their way through compliance audits. I can't in good conscience participate in that scam, to the demise of what was one a dignified career. It makes me sick to see the most evil ones prosper.

We are at a crossroad economically. I for one really don’t want to go back into the belly of the corporate beast, and I need to find a new way to exist. I found RAS’ craft projects to be inspirational, and I have started daydreaming about similar ideas. It would be so much more satisfying to actually produce something useful as opposed to shuffling paper around a desk. I knew a man who studied ceramics and sold simple raku bowls for hundreds of dollars apiece. It occurred to me that people might buy large ceramic vessels designed for long term grain storage, rather than plastic pails. I’m not sure about the lids… I once met an old lady who made beautiful braided rugs from old wool coats and sold them for hundreds of dollars apiece… I have come across other recycled craft ideas that I think people would actually buy if they were done well. I am thinking seriously now about studying ceramics and also sustainable agriculture up the road here in Santa Rosa. If I can’t find work soon, that seems like the thing to do.

And yes, I think the plane crash is suspect. We can’t have 911 widows poking around…

anazuzo

murph said...

Continuing on this theme concerning the medical "profession". I lived with a woman that worked in nursing homes. It was horrific environment and work. People lining the hallways begging someone to let them die. The care of the bed ridden was maybe a step above hog farming.

I've had my share of disagreements with the medico's also and have fired multiple practitioners over the years that disgusted me immensely when it came to my health and viability. Had a guy insist to me that the U.S. had the greatest health system in the world. Got to admit my jaw dropped open on that one. Course, the guy is retired and had a 6 figure income. When we proceeded to the high cost of medical services, he insisted that anyone could get whatever they needed at almost any time. I disagreed and said that medical treatment was beyond the means of a very large segment of the population and he replied, "well someone has to pay for it" and he wasn't too willing to pay for it through increased taxes and such. Sigh. This guy thought Michael Moor was a slime ball, liar, and evil personage and should be wiped off the earth.

Not that I haven't had some good experiences with the medical profession, but overall, in my opinion, it sucks.

Almost all of the essential "professions" to keep a complex society operating and are the "boots on the ground" level make small amounts of money. Most of the lower level people in education, health care, farmers, etc, while the people that produce nothing make the highest amount of money. The do 'less and make more' idea. I realize there are exceptions to this, but I feel comfortable making that general observation.

So Ras, I sympathize with your position. I know I couldn't do it.

By the way, the first article on Today's (Sunday) Cryptogon is interesting. Stoney take note.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Anazuzo,

It is so infuriating to see an honourable profession demeaned for personal gain. Where have I heard that one before?

I think getting into the craft game would be worthwhile and satisfying if you found the right niche. I didn’t quite get the drift of whether you fancied getting into making ceramic pots or making raku kilns. Raku kilns are easy to make if you start with 10; 20 or 40 gallon oil drums with removable lids which snap on with an expandable hoop. The dear bits are the temperature controller which needs to do 1200°C – 1250°C for Normal biscuit firing and 1400°C for porcelain although this is generally a bit specialised for raku. A simple ‘Ether’ type controller would get the job done although I have been out of it for so long I have no idea how digital ones have come down in price. You also need to be able to dry the clay at between 100°C – 150°C so it needs to control at the low end too. The other expensive bit which there is no getting around is a platinum / rhodium thermocouple. A central heating thermocouple won’t get the job done. If your intention is to get into pot making, that is another thing entirely.

At one time I used to make little furnaces that could be carried around in the back of a small van by people who fitted shoes on horses. They were fired by the type of propane torch builders use to melt tar on flat roves. That way the blacksmith visited the horse rather than the other way around. I don’t know if this idea appeals to you but I know there is a lot of money in it. If you fancy this one, I will let you have my anvil just as soon as I am finished with it - lol.

Anonymous said...

Belgium,

I confess I don't know much yet about the forms of pottery, but I think it is a very practical trade in which one could also be creative. I would like to do something sort of rustic and primitive, that might just be pots. The colleges around here teach ceramics and have facilities/kilns where you can rent space. I take it you worked in the business back in the UK... were you a wedgie? Were you also a blacksmith? Mobile blacksmithy is a great business idea (except the getting kicked by a horse part).

anazuzo

murph said...

Anazuzo,

In my youth, I apprenticed with a local blacksmith for a short while. I used to board and train horses back then. I can talk a bit about horseshoeing. I have yet to meet a horseshoer that doesn't have a bunch of scars. It's not the getting kicked you risk, it's the horse getting tired of standing on 3 legs or getting spooked by something or just plain orneriness and they jerk their feet when you have half the shoe nails in. Believe me, you don't want to get raked by those babies. Deep bloody cuts.

The old man I worked with made a very good income back in the 50's, about 40 grand a year. His biggest money maker was as a specialist for race horses. About triple back then to working on hobby or work horses. Been a long time since I was into that so things may have changed some as far as income goes. I do know that you better be one tough sob to do that job.

When I worked on a ranch in the 60's I saw a Scotchman horseshoer who dripping wet must have weighed 140 lbs hold on to a back mule leg while shoeing him who was determined to throw him off. Finally the mule got tired and let him finish. That dude was one tough old timer.

freeacre said...

Another idea might be to approach real estate offices and banks regarding how many properties they have on the books that are foreclosed. They might need someone to go in and clean them up and provide security or keep up the lawns and such.That way you could work for yourself.
oh, great, the word verification thing is "famin".

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

No anazuzo, I was never a Wedgie although I knew a lot of people there at the time. Talking to Wedgewood about raku is like showing a catalogue of crosses to a vampire, he, he. I started out working for big chema at the time; it was a respectable thing to do back then. ICI was the British equivalent of Du Pont and I did R&D on a high temperature insulating product eventually moving to tech service under the marketing umbrella. That is where I started doing field trials throughout the ceramics and steel industries mostly and where I met a lot of people in the business. In the early 80’s the ones who were higher up could see the storm clouds gathering that were still over the horizon and started the usual pattern of early retirements with full pension rights. Eventually they asked if anybody wanted to put their hand up and I negotiated a very good deal including a free licence on the product I had been working on and lots of redundant equipment. Contacts I had met in the previous years said they would give me business and so I started out. All worked well for several years but I was unlucky to do an expansion just ahead of the economic hurricane hitting. Then I went from treading water to working day and night just to pay the bank. The EU agreed that it had an overproduction in steel but Margaret Thatcher was the only one in Europe to make plant closures. British Steel eventually became Dutch Steel (Hoogovens) Potteries started to fall like dominoes and Wedgewood did to the ceramics industry what Andrew Carnegie did to the American steel industry. Things went from worse to terrible and I eventually built an insulation making plant in Belgium which was not doing so badly as we were but was too late to save what was going on in the UK. One steel man told me his company’s policy was to run their furnaces until the roof fell in, rather than do preventative maintenance. I also tried to sell a patent I had for an improved design for part of a steel furnace but the steel industry was on its knees and eventually I went in 1991. The liquidator who put us down said he could come into work every Monday morning and rip a page out of the yellow pages telephone book and just throw it away. Some time later I met an Official Receiver (someone who puts companies down when there are not enough assets to pay a liquidator) and he said that anyone who was over 35 years old was either working for themselves or they were not working. This is a sad story but a not unusual one these days. It doesn’t matter how good you are, no customers are no customers but the financiers could still go out at lunchtime and roll the dice on the table to decide which of their clients houses were going to pay for their banquet. I guess that is more of an answer than you were expecting:-)

RAS said...

Belgium, yes, I get the idea. Thanks.

I got an auto-rejection email from a job I applied for a few weeks ago this morning. They said "we are unable to offer you a position at this time". I didn't even get an interview. The translation, of course, is "you have a bad work history and bad credit and would not make a good corporate drone at any rate so go crawl into a corner and starve".

At least, I am easily amused. ;-)

FA, how is your son?

Anonymous said...

Murph,

My lilywhite hands are not tough enough for deep bloody cuts, but shoeing horses will likely be a viable career for some tough dudes on our postindustrial horizon.

FA,

Yes, the cleaning out of foreclosed houses is a big moneymaker right now in CA, and will be for a few years to come. I saw an article about some guys doing this who couldn’t keep up with the workload, and they lamented about the necessity of filling dumpsters with perfectly good household items the owners left behind. Maybe there is an opportunity there for scavengers with a truck. Also in demand are the guys who spraypaint dead lawns green and drain swimming pools.

Belgium,

Your stories are very interesting and informative too. Thatcher and her ilk destroyed what was once a productive economy, and a vast population of skilled workers was made obsolete. The free market has taken a slightly different trajectory in the American economy, but we are following close behind. The story of your own business is a harbinger of what is now rippling through the USA, and it is an important observation you make about people ‘working for themselves, or not working’. While it scares the shit out of me, I think this is exactly what we have to look forward to.

anazuzo

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

The First three items on the Belgian news tonight (VTM) were that DAF trucks are going to lay off 900 workers; the Antwerp GM plant (Opel badge) is expected to be one of the three European plants that the heavy foot is likely to fall on and violent crime on the Brussels Metro is up by 70% over last year.

Bakaert Steel just up the road from me has been moved to the third world and the workers are still picketing to no avail. Ford Belgium (Genk) fell on its butt about 18 months ago and the troubled Fortis Bank manages to make the news nearly every night.

Anyway, taking another swing down memory lane, I used to be a member of the plate turners society, which was in fact no society at all. Everybody in the Potteries area of England who went for a meal out used to keep a quiet eye on other people in the restaurant to see if they turned their plate over after they had finished eating their meal to see which pottery had made it. I must admit to doing the same thing but in my case it was to see if I had ever done any of that companies kilns.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

freeacre said...

anazuzo & ras,
Yes, I think scavenging and cleaning up and security and things like that are the new frontiers of self-employment. Also, ras, since you own your property, you could also probably offer to rent space next to your driveway or something to someone who is living now in their RV (self-contained) for a small amount of rent. James Howard Kunstler has an eloquent "Clusterfuck Nation" piece today that sums up the "change" that is really needed in terms of our lifestyle and economics. I have met a couple of people now who have told me that they made a pretty comfortable living by scrounging up stuff and selling it on the flea market circuit. With all the assorted shit hitting the fan this year, it might be good to learn to do palm reading or taro card prognostication, light some candles, and set up shop.... There is also supposed to be an increasing Althimers epidemic. Probably need people to go around and visit elderly patients who still live in their homes and do some caretaking - make sure they took their medication, make meals, and keep their payments up and so forth.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Freeacre, seen this,

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/02/12/us/20090213-SENIORS_index.html

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Here are some pictures of the recent plane crash

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/02/13/nyregion/20090213-PLANECRASH_index.html

And some pictures of the victims

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/02/14/us/20090214-VICTIMS_index.html

Here is the one which mentions the lady who is retraining to be a health care worker. I put the wrong link up before.

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/02/09/us/20090209-FACTORY_index.html

mrs p said...

Ras, your questions re the Buffalo crash caught my attention. The other day I was passing by the TV and overheard the news anchor saying that the woman killed in the crash, who's husband was killed on 911, and who was on her way to Buffalo to celebrate what would be his birthday had recently met with President Obama. I immediately felt weird and wondered why she would have been meeting with the president? I just got this strange feeling shooting through me. Maybe because of reading Rubicon and the story about the Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. pg. 279, where MCR says, many including two members of the House of Rep. believe that the crash was "murder". I dunno, if it's because of that but I just felt strange when hearing of her activities re 911.
Good luck with your job search. Would something local and food related hold you over til you get something better? mrsp

mrs p said...

Ras, P.S. Have you ever thought of turning your house and yard into a place for children / daycare? Here in CA a few tests are required from the Health Department, which I believe are Free, to insure that you have no TB or AIDs but it's fairly quick...2 or 3 wks and after you get that clearance, and maybe fill out a few forms...you can be an official "daycare" listed with the country your in and they will "refer" clients to you. You can make a lot of money with just 2 or 3 kids. I knew someone who did this. She had an outdoor covered area with a clean sandbox...(she made it and bought the sand at H. depot), She had strick rules of course and a regimented schedule of nap times, snack times, (sliced oranges and apples, crackers etc.) with different play areas...like an arts corner with chalk boards, play dough, crayons, etc. books and drawing paper and so on. She also had a little music corner and an old piano. Some of her Etcha-sketches and kiddy books were donated from a local toy shop. Small chairs and places for kids to hang out. Her whole house was pretty much kid-fied with bright colors but it was done nicely and she was making good money per kid some of whom were only there part-time, only a few days. She had weekends to herself. Not bad. Or you could just be a nanny? I know a young girl in our neighborhood who does this and makes about 25 per hour plus gas expenses etc. She has no licenses or any kind of official registration. Babysitters do okay here. Alot more than minimum wage. Just a thought. mrsp

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Mrs P.

Many prominent figures who have made themselves unpopular in one way or another have met their fate in this unfortunate way, from Dag Hammarskjold to Zia ul-haq.

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Since some of you like my ramblings, here is a little known fact linking two of my above apparently unrelated comments. In the late 80’s the economic situation had brought the British ceramics industry to its knees; it was down but not completely out. The thing that finally toppled it over was the Lockerbie bomb. It is not generally realised that normal UK trade pays the fixed costs of the business but profit is taken by foreigners (90% from USA) who do the factory tour and then buy quality china at slightly discount prices through the factory shop. After Lockerbie tourists just stopped coming and that was the industries eventual downfall.

RAS said...

Hey everyone. Thanks for the suggestions. The city wouldn't let me park an RV here full-time (doncha know that's what RV parks are for? they'd say) and the other things take lots of licenses and certifications. Except for babysitting, which I do, but its not more than a supplement. I'm not trying to shoot job ideas down, but I've thought through a lot of this all ready. We're not yet at the point where we can ignore stupid beauracratic laws with impunity. There's no reason you need to spend a year setting up a buisness to take meals to seniors, but you have to get licenses and background checks and the food would have to produced in a commercial kitchen under health deparment guidelines and so on and so forth. To not do it is to risk jail time.
And we kid ourselves that we are free in this country. Ha.