Monday, May 3, 2010

The boys had a half-day of school on Friday, and Monica was finishing up leading a class at the Nature Center at about the same time, so we all gathered ourselves together for a 6-hour drive to Pennsylvania.

About 60 people were descending on Sunday to celebrate Dad's 70th birthday, so we and Chris and Cathleen came to rescue Mom from her failure to keep the guest-list down.

Saturday was busy without being too hectic as we made the place ready.  Porter took on any task that gave him an excuse to drive the little tractor - and drove it around plenty with no excuse at all.  I cleaned the pool and fixed a broken seal on the pump.  The day was hot and I was the third one into the pool after Nico and Porter.  (Dad waited until Sunday, his birthday, when the water temperature had risen all the way to 58 degrees.)

Monica traveled to Lititz for chocolate and shops.  Chris came north with loot from the Baltimore farmer's market and Cathie and Bridget arrived with rising breads and cheeses.

Sunday came hot and sunny, and sure enough 60 people showed up -- the whole clan from Big Valley and Tom, Alice and Celine from Annapolis -- a couple of neighbors, old science-teacher work colleagues and quite a slew of friends he's made in his conservation work on native plants and in the local EAC.

Despite the dreaded afternoon shower that chased everyone onto the porch, it was a wonderful, good-spirited gathering.  The food was good, Dad's enthusiasm for native wildflowers was in full blossom around the house, and the kids played and there was neither tears nor bloodshed.

(And Mom was very happy with how things went, so hopefully we get credited with some Mother's Day points for helping out.)
photos by Kim Brown

pre-post-capitalism . . . .

I was reading a fascinating article by Chris Martenson on how to turn an investment profit as the fossil-fuel age collapses.  He makes the case that there are boatloads of money to be made in the energy sector, but you'd better have cashed out by the time the shit really hits the fan.

My advice to investors dreaming of windfall profits from $500/barrel crude oil futures would be this: Pretend it’s 1940 and you have a magic crystal ball that tells you in advance that the United States will be drawn into World War II. You might start to speculate that by investing in rubber, airplane parts, materials needed to make bombs, and so forth you’ll make a killing. Those products will become so important and so valuable that you might presume you’ll be able to name your price and demand any amount you like for them. But of course you’d have been mistaken. World War II wasn’t a routine macroeconomic event. It was a game changer. Laws were re-written, often retroactively. A state of national emergency was declared and people in possession of materials essential to the war effort were ordered to hand them over as price controls were implemented to thwart profiteering from speculation on the supply needs of the war effort . . . I contend that any Peak Cheap Oil investment strategy that fails to consider government intervention scenarios is flawed and likely to underperform. That’s not to say that there’s no money to be made from an early awareness of peak cheap oil. 

The whole article is a thought-provoking glimpse into an alternate universe where the heroes of Late Capitalism (or Pre-Post Capitalism) face Ragnarok like fleas who are timing their leap from off the hairy back of Fenrir and calling that a savvy investment strategy.