Happy New Year

December 31, 2008

The kids are in bed, guests are gone, and I’m sitting here sipping some bourbon and surfing.   I’ve reached the age where new slippers and booze make for a good Christmas haul, and I’m enjoying both right now.  My progress towards being a grumpy old man continues…

Odds are good I won’t make it to midnight, so happy 2009 everyone.   There will be plenty to write about, think about, prepare for, and live through this year… and not all of it will be bad.   In crisis there is always opportunity, and I hope many of you find those opportunities where you can.

CNN: Stocks will rise in 2009

December 31, 2008

This message brought to you by the good people at Goldman Sachs & JP Morgan, who thank you for your business and are busy shorting the phone book right now.

This strikes me more as wishful thinking than clear analysis.   The assumption is that the Obama stimuli will work and we’ll be back to business as usual.   I for one don’t see that happening over the long term.

Looking at 2009

December 30, 2008

Time again for another predictions post looking at what I see ahead for the new year that’s approaching rapidly.   I do these posts more for my own amusement rather than to engage in any serious attempt at prognostication.    For a more in-depth listing of doomer-ific predictions, please check out Kunstler’s latest post.  Lots of good stuff in there.

I’m picking up on a number of the same vibes that Kunstler and others are and think that 2009 will indeed bring in change, although it will not necessarily be the type that people voted in favor of when they elected Barack Obama to the presidency.   I’m thinking more along the lines of the old intro tagline for the fourth season of Babylon 5… the year “everything changed.”

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Holding Back the Dam

December 30, 2008

I’ve added Jesse’s Cafe Americain to the blogroll… another excellent site for in-depth financial commentary that you’d have a hard time finding in the mainstream media.

The latest post is quite good, in which the author describes his increasing belief that there will be a hyperinflation event in the USA at some point.

A choice quote:

That has now changed. The dollar is a Ponzi scheme, the waters of debt are overflowing the dam of artificial support, and only a few countries, two of them somewhat unstable, are holding back the deluge.

If this comes to pass, we may all pay off our credit card bills and mortgages in record time yet still have trouble paying for food.

For a picture of what a hyperinflation might look like, check out these pictures from Zimbabwe covering the last year or so.

If something like this comes to pass, having basic sustainable living skills like gardening, mending clothing, etc. will become more valuable than ever.  As Steve Solomon states in his book, being able to grow one’s own vegetables can be the difference between barely surviving and maintaining good health.   I for one plan to make it a goal to get a few square foot gardens in this spring, and to start learning how to save seeds.

SUV Sales Rise Due to Cheap Gas

December 26, 2008

What’s that old quote about those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them?

Trucks and SUVs will outsell cars in December, according to researchers at the automotive Website Edmunds.com, something that hasn’t happened since February.

Meanwhile the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down.


Anyone who had any doubts about the short memories of the American public can use this news as Exhibt A.   I guess the time to get that Prius you’ve had your eyes on is now.

As I mentioned in a comment recently, the global economy swirling the drain will cause lower demand for many commodities, including oil.   Most of the countries that export oil rely on the income from those sales so heavily that they will continue to pump out plenty of the stuff for the time being.  When the choice is pump oil or have the poor, unfed masses rioting in the streets, the calculus regarding how much oil to pump in a falling market gets a hell of a lot easier.   This will cause a glut for a while most likely.  It will also kill off or delay some of the proposed or planned production that was relying on $60-$80 oil to be profitable.

Some pundits are expecting low oil prices to be around for a while.  We may enjoy lower gas prices for some time to come, but keep in the back of your mind that those low prices are caused by the global economic crisis.   If the economy comes roaring back in a few years’ time and in the meantime we have consumed more cheap oil while simultaneously delaying exploration and production of ‘non-conventional’ plays, where do you think we’ll end up?

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2008

Just a quick note to wish everyone good cheer during this holiday season.  Thank you very much for continuing to read and respond to my posts, and I sincerely hope that you all get as much out of it as I do.

I wish all of you peace & clarity during these tumultuous times.

2008 In Review

December 23, 2008

2008 sure has been an eventful year, no?

We’ve got about a week left in the year, but I think it’s time to start looking back at the year that was and compare it to my predictions from last January.   I’ll readily admit that I didn’t exactly go out on a limb with a lot of these predictions, but let’s see how things stack up.

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