Viscount St. Albans

   Posted by at  No Responses »

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 40 posts - 121 through 160 (of 163 total)
  • Author
  • in reply to: Coins and Metal Composition #5534
    Viscount St. Albans

    5th Example: Russia

    The Russian 10 Kopecs coin (0.1 of Ruble) = roughly equal to US 3 cents
    1961-1990 = Copper-nickel-zinc alloy
    1991-1997 = Steel
    1998-2006 = Brass (Copper-zinc alloy)
    2007-present = Steel

    It’s interesting that Russia temporarily increased the metal value content of the 10 Kopecs coins after sovereign default in 1998.
    Perhaps the Gov. was trying to encourage faith following the cleansing of the debt slate. Regardless, it didn’t last long, by 2007, the trend toward devaluation of metal content returned.

    in reply to: Coins and Metal Composition #5533
    Viscount St. Albans

    4th Example: New Zealand

    The New Zealand Penny = roughly equal to US 1 cent (US Penny)
    1967-1990 ~ Bronze (97% copper, 2.5% zinc, 0.5% tin)
    1991-present = coin discontinued

    The New Zealand 5 cent coin = roughly equal to US 5 cent (US nickel)
    1967-2004 = Cupro-Nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel)
    2005-present = coin discontinued

    in reply to: Coins and Metal Composition #5532
    Viscount St. Albans

    3rd Example: Australia

    The Australian Penny = roughly equal to US 1 cent (US Penny)
    1966-1990 ~ Bronze (97% copper, 2.5% zinc, 0.5% tin)
    1991-present = coin discontinued

    The Australian 5 cent coin = roughly equal to US 5 cent (US nickel)
    1966-present = Cupro-Nickel (75% Copper, 25% Nickel) — identical to current US 5 cent (Nickel) coin

    in reply to: Coins and Metal Composition #5531
    Viscount St. Albans

    2nd Example: Britain

    The British Penny = roughly equal to US 1 cent (US Penny)
    1971-1991 ~ Bronze (Mostly Copper and small % tin)
    1992-present = Steel

    The British 5 Pence Coin = roughly equal to US 5 cent (US nickel)
    1990-2011 = Cupro-Nickel (75% Copper and 25% Nickel) — identical to current US 5 cent (Nickel) coin
    2012-future ~ Steel

    in reply to: What Makes Mario Draghi So Dangerous For Europe #5467
    Viscount St. Albans

    In our western democratic societies, all decisions should in principle be taken along democratic, i.e. elected, lines

    I often think that way. And then I drive down the highway and soak-in the asphalt strip malls, the fast-food joints, the Wal-Mart Warehouse depots, the sports stadiums, and the ubiquitous highway signage.

    And I say to myself: Here lies the fruits of Democracy.

    And then I wonder……
    Most of the human landscape worth noticing and remembering (the City Beautiful Movement, for example) occurred during a period of far less Democracy.

    Indeed, the depravity of our current urban/suburban/ex-urban landscape makes an ironic mockery of the Democratic ideals espoused by the elite movers-and-shakers who underpinned that Progressive Architectural fury.

    in reply to: My Rising Living Expenses….How about you? #5310
    Viscount St. Albans

    @ skipbreakfast

    I raised this topic in large part because I agree with the general thrust of the TAE deflation argument.

    I too bristle at the hyperinflation argument that encourages the hoarding of precious metals as a defense against ‘death of the dollar’ and other such hyperbolic silliness.

    I’m a TAE, Mish, Hugh Hendry reader. My capital is invested in US Treasuries.

    All that said, I was surprised to discover the actual rate of increase in my living expenses when I actually did the numbers. I expected that the growth in annual expenditure (cost of living) would turn out to be less than CPI — given that I agree with the TAE deflation theme, that was what I expected.

    It turns out I was wrong, and the numbers revealed a 6% rate of increase in annual expenses since 2010. I didn’t notice the rise because I’m generally able to save about 50% of my after tax income. As long as my treasury direct account was growing at a rate that intuitively felt right, I didn’t bother to delve deeper into my yearly expenses and the surprisingly steep annual growth rate.

    Perhaps, if I have more time, it would be interesting to break down what exactly is responsible for my 6% increase. It’s definitely not rent. Removing rent would cause an even bigger increase in annual expense growth rate.

    Perhaps it’s expectation drift toward gluttony. Possible. I’ll need to break down the numbers further to see what’s going on.

    Anybody else tracking expense trends?

    in reply to: My Rising Living Expenses….How about you? #5306
    Viscount St. Albans

    @ skipbreakfast

    Definitions: Inflation/Deflation are 1 concept. Cost of living (that includes the sum of all living costs — not simply gas or bread etc.) is a 2nd concept. I suspect we’ve been in deflation with a rising cost of living since 2009. It’s a curious situation, which is why I raised it.

    Inflation/Deflation — (Change in Money Supply + Credit and velocity of money) See everything TAE has said previously. I have no arguments with their definitions. It all sounds good to me.

    Living Expenses (i.e. cost-of-living) — Entirely different concept. How much are you spending for a fixed annual lifestyle? Compare your annual expenses from 2009, 2010, 2011, and the first 3/4 of 2012.

    My lifestyle hasn’t perceptibly changed. My yearly expenses (which includes everything: rent, clothing, food, utilities, transportation, taxes etc) have been rising at a 6% annual rate.

    It’s simple math. We may be in deflation, as defined by TAE, but my cost of living is rising. I expect that’s true for most people (but I could be wrong). And the topic is a source of curiosity to me.
    That’s all I was really probing with this post — searching for an anecdotal survey of other readers here. I wasn’t looking to disagree about TAE’s definitions of inflation/deflation which are known.

    For this thought experiment to work, don’t focus on comparing the price of milk or the price of gas or the of price toilet paper from one year to the next. There’s too much volatility in the individual components of living expense to gain any useful insight. Instead, add all that stuff together as well as taxes and fees and light bulbs and kitchen cleanser and toothpaste etc. into one big annual expenditure. Calculate growth rate.

    in reply to: The Global Demise of Pension Plans #5298
    Viscount St. Albans

    Which one is not like the others?

    A. Splish-splashing in your fancy new kayak with neon racing paddles at the top of Niagra Falls.

    B. Pissing into the wind from the end of the harbor pier as a Category 5 spirals relentlessly closer.

    C. Reclining in your Lazy-Boy as the mailman drops off the monthly pension check for the next 5 years, most-likely, and perhaps the next 10 to 15 years as well. You never know for sure.
    Perhaps I’m alone in my interpretation of TAE’s underlying tone. But Yo-Yo barely begins to describe it.

    Does Stoneleigh agree with this post about pensions?
    What about Ash?
    I’d imagine the answer is no. They don’t agree. But it’s easy enough to clarify. Can’t somebody ask them?

    in reply to: The Global Demise of Pension Plans #5295
    Viscount St. Albans

    Jim is 60 years old. Jim goes to the doctor for a checkup.

    Doctor: Jim, I’m sorry, but I’ve got some bad news.

    Jim: What is it Doc?

    Doctor: Jim, you’re going to die.

    Jim: What ? When ???

    Doctor: 5, 10, maybe 15 years. Stop obsessing about the timing.

    Jim: Thanks Doc.

    in reply to: The Global Demise of Pension Plans #5290
    Viscount St. Albans

    Ilargi said…..
    We have been saying for a long time that anyone in the western world who’s 10-15 years away from collecting their first pension payments, shouldn’t expect to get much, if anything, when the time comes.

    @Ilargi and others….

    A question about pension vaporization: 10-15 years ???

    A decade strikes me as a particularly mellow time frame for the impacts of what you’ve been describing previously. I would have thought, from previous writing, that pensions would be effectively gone in a much shorter time than 10-15 years?

    I would have imagined you’d say with 2-3 years….Or 5 years max. Is this 10-15 years a typo?

    in reply to: My Rising Living Expenses….How about you? #5276
    Viscount St. Albans

    The 6% annual growth rate includes all of my expenses.

    I haven’t broken down the expenses into individual components.

    My rent has not changed for the past 2.5 years, so if I removed my rent expenditure from the calculation, then the annual growth rate would be even higher than 6%.

    TAE doesn’t include living expenses in its definition of inflation/deflation.

    So, according to the TAE definition, we’re in deflation, and the living expenses of my fixed lifestyle are definitely rising in nominal terms. So in real terms, my non-rent living expenses are going through the roof (i.e. >> 6%). Rent is about 20% of total yearly expenditure.

    in reply to: What Happened To The Debt? #5246
    Viscount St. Albans

    More Questions for TAE writers Re: Global Wealth and Wealth Redistribution.

    Is global wealth (however you define it, and please do define it) increasing or decreasing in an absolute sense? How about per capita?

    How should those observations affect wealth redistribution policy?

    Where do you stand on the role of government in wealth re-distribution?

    Forget about income: Income is a red-herring the distracts more often than it informs. I’m interested in your thoughts on wealth (marketable assets minus debt).

    in reply to: What Happened To The Debt? #5245
    Viscount St. Albans

    Question for TAE writers: Inheritance Tax and Your Opinion?

    What is the position of TAE writers (Ilargi, Stoneleigh, Ash)
    on the inheritance tax?

    What % taxation is correct?

    The current level?
    How about 100% taxation of inherited wealth?

    Where do you stand and why?

    in reply to: India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come? #5210
    Viscount St. Albans

    The problem with EROEI analysis is one of boundary definition.

    Where do you set the boundary for input costs?
    Where do you set the boundary for output gains?

    The costs aren’t uniformly borne and the gains aren’t uniformly shared, so even if you could agree to the boundary definitions, it’s even less likely you’ll agree on methods for measuring individual variables. 500 calories of shoeshining and toilet plunging do not equal 500 calories worth of corner office deal making (never have and never will).

    So now what?

    This problem plagued the field in the early 1970s when it first came to widespread discussion within the federal government, and the problem persists today.

    If nobody agrees to the boundaries of the input costs and output gains, then the #s are largely meaningless.

    Your EROEI shows 0.1, mine shows 6. Who is right? Who is wrong? Does your great-grand-baby want fries with that? The spiritual component in unquantifiable. My paradise is your parking lot.

    See: US Government Accountability Office from 1977:

    in reply to: India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come? #5209
    Viscount St. Albans

    I suspect there must be some problems with these EROEI #s.

    The center of the field/specialty is basically a single academic and his former students at a very obscure state university with very little research infrastructure. I don’t see how it’s possible that he could reliably generate these #s under those circumstances.

    Why is this such an obscure field?

    If there were real smoke here, then one should see this topic being pursued at some of the other big name institutions.

    I don’t doubt the existence of EROEI, of course, it just seems pretty clear that the precise calculations being used here are probably quite slippery and highly subjective.

    in reply to: India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come? #5200
    Viscount St. Albans

    Question Regarding your EROEI #s

    What are the sources for these #s for various sources of power generation? (hydro, coal, nuclear, wind, solar etc.)

    How do you know what EROEI is required for modern civilization? What are your references for these ratios?

    in reply to: The Lingering Locust Clouds Of Zombie Money #5046
    Viscount St. Albans

    50% of us households hold stocks directly or indirectly (through IRA and 401ks)
    (an even higher % holds them very-indirectly through pension funds).

    67% of households are homeowners…

    These are voters who will vote their own interests to support corporate bailouts and principle reductions on housing debt.

    The principal reduction on mortgage debt is coming after the election. You are going to pay down your neighbor’s mortgage debt and he’s going to pay down yours as well (via loss absorption through Fannie&Freddie). And you both come out ahead. F&F can absorb that and spread the losses over 50 years, paying around 2% on the debt needed to cover the dent.

    in reply to: The Lingering Locust Clouds Of Zombie Money #5045
    Viscount St. Albans

    Stoneleigh is convinced markets topped (while rolling?) back in 2011. Meanwhile the S&P actually reached new nominal highs in 2012, and those markets are approaching news highs once again.

    You, Ilargi, should really elaborate on that EU rescue fund bank license sentence above. It sounds like you’re about to throw in the towel (because, as you say, this could go on forever). But I know how you hate words in your mouth, so I’d leave it to you to clarify.

    You’re on record saying Spain is too big to bail. And yet, here the bailing is about to begin. Why did you get that one wrong?

    in reply to: Schadenfreude #5031
    Viscount St. Albans

    Like cockroaches, there’s never just one.

    Thank you to Michael Moynihan who has now discovered examples of systemic fraudulence spreading across multiple books and articles.

    Burn baby burn.

    in reply to: James Howard Kunstler is a big fan of The Automatic Earth #4999
    Viscount St. Albans

    Jim’s ideas and opinions are indispensable, even when you disagree with them.

    He’s a grand idea man with a command of the language that has few parallels. His discussions with Duncan Crary have been illuminating in so many ways, it’s hard to enumerate them all. It’s like listening to Bill Evans playing the piano: You know roughly where he’s going, but he manages to surprise and fascinate you along the way.

    in reply to: Mario Draghi's Diabolic Spiral #4997
    Viscount St. Albans

    @ John Day

    I enjoyed reading your post — An interesting incorporation of historical movements like Arab Pan-nationalism and later the divide and conquer reaction.

    My reaction:
    The oligarchs have always run our institutions. The only thing that changes is our receptiveness to the advertising — and that’s merely a function of the credit cycle.

    Without question, massing in the streets in sufficient numbers can promote change. I don’t see much evidence it has ever provided lasting change that benefited the protestors. The crowd is too easy to control, and no more logical than your neighbor Barney — the guy who gets his thrills wandering the local mall and running his outboard motor on an otherwise pristine mountain lake.

    And a united global Elite is very much in the interest of the man on the street. I’m all for a deflationary global squeeze.

    How else does one hope to align global wants with Earth-bound realities?

    It’s when the interests of the elites diverge, that’s when the common man really feels the pain.

    in reply to: Mario Draghi's Diabolic Spiral #4987
    Viscount St. Albans


    How would public street protest address any of the situations you’re describing?

    It’s not 1989. There is no good guy to help John Doe and Mary Jane tear down The Iron Curtain.

    One wall is smashed, and the flying debris is rapidly collected and reused to build new fortifications — often quardoning off previous freedoms.

    There’s a reason that Bloodletting is one of the oldest medical practices.

    in reply to: Lengthen Your T-Bill Maturity Schedule #4963
    Viscount St. Albans

    It’s all about the Money Market Mutual funds

    They are the Bank.

    Consider the enormous multi-trillion $ pressure as money market mutual funds start clamoring, elbowing, and eye-gouging their way up the Treasury market yield curve to avoid negative nominal rates on 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month paper.

    They’ll do so in a death struggle to avoid negative nominal rates. Negative nominal rates will mean they need to break the $Buck and that will trigger the recently SEC-instituted systemic withdrawal restrictions as institutions try to move their “safe” money to higher ground.

    Folks holding 1-year, 2-year, 5-year Bills/Notes could make out quite well under these conditions.

    in reply to: The IMF plans to dump Greece #4806
    Viscount St. Albans

    And, if you could:

    Is 2 years short-term, medium-term, or long term?

    It would help if one defined one’s terms. Wiggle room is useful, but not terribly honest.

    in reply to: The IMF plans to dump Greece #4805
    Viscount St. Albans


    How about an update on the 91-day trailing Growth Index of the Consumer Metrics Institute…..

    Back in the fall of 2010, you seemed quite certain that spelled imminent doom.

    You even posted some interesting graphs with GDP numbers falling off steep cliffs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters of 2010.
    How did that turn out? It seemed right as rain to make such claims back then. All the data supported those notions….did it not?
    And yet, history proves otherwise
    2nd Quarter 2010 = 3.8%
    3rd Quarter 2010 = 2.5%
    4th Quarter 2010 = 2.3%

    How did the S&P fare over that time period ?

    June 30th 2010 ~ 1040
    December 31 2010 ~ 1257

    If my math serves me correctly, that’s a roughly 20% gain…..And what did that chart you highlighted in September 2010 show?

    What was the # again? Implying something like 800 or so on the old SPX……

    And yet, we’ve never heard a mea culpa. 2 years later and no explanation for what went wrong. Heck, at least update us on that old Growth Index of the Consumer Metrics Institute….you seemed quite certain about it back then. Short memories…..Can’t you align its performance relative to reality….just so we can all make our judgements? It’s what an honest broker would do, after all.

    in reply to: Jeff Rubin and Oil Prices Revisited #4721
    Viscount St. Albans

    Just to be clear. My misremembering is at the margins, and your opening sentence seems intended to obscure your admission.

    Your 2009 comment was: You’d be surprised if the DOW was above 1000 (that’s one-thousand) by the end of 2010.

    Do you agree that the comment was rather spectacularly off the mark?

    Off by 3 years (since your original comment) and counting and a multiple of 13x.

    13x is not a small mistake. It’s not a small surprise. Most scientists, when confronted by a measurement that is 13x off the mark, would re-examine their model. Or admit that their understanding has some very serious limitations.

    I agree with your overall thinking. Yet I’ve always been bothered your tendency to dismiss and downplay your mistakes. The tendency to retrench into the mode of Stoneleigh the lawyer rather than Stoneleigh the analyst. Why not just say I got “X, Y, and Z” wrong in a big way. It’s rather like corporate, big brother, big mainstream media behavior to be so dismissive of past errors. The “balance of probabilities” phrase that you use when something didn’t come-out quite right always strikes me as newspeak. Referring to timing as Short-term, medium-term, and long-term can mean anything. They are very malleable terms. Is a 3 year duration short term or medium term? Is it medium term or long term? As you know, a 3 year duration can be whatever term you want it to be. Whatever you need to frame your argument. There is an element of lawyer here rather than analyst. I think that’s what irks me most.

    The markets that are most meaningful to Americans and most financial analysts are the DOW and the S&P, and they reached new post-financial crisis nominal highs in March 2012 (not 2011, as you mentioned). Not a rolling top (again, that’s lawyer-speak working to frame your argument) — March 2012 marked a new nominal high (that’s objective reality).

    in reply to: Jeff Rubin and Oil Prices Revisited #4717
    Viscount St. Albans

    There have been more than a few errors over the years.

    Perhaps none more spectacular than her 2009 call predicting DOW @ 1000 (yes, that’s one-thousand) and S&P at 100 (yes, that’s one-hundred) by the end of 2010.

    3 years later, those markets are merely 14X higher than her prediction. And yes, it was a prediction.

    So to pick on Rubin that his oil number is about 2X off the mark, it all just seems a bit much. I’m all for claiming that you’re into macro trends and what not, but I don’t like the white-washing history bit that comes off as holier-than-thou.

    Selective memory: Remembering, with crystal clarity, those correct calls, and then trumpeting them. And then, at the same time, getting rather forgetful about other items. In the long run, we’re all dead. And after 3 years, according to actuarial tables, some fraction of the readership has gone to the grave without any of the predicted fireworks.

    in reply to: Jeff Rubin and Oil Prices Revisited #4710
    Viscount St. Albans


    If you’re going to parse someone’s historical record of pontifications about financial markets and their movements and their timing:

    Don’t you think it might be wise to recall that old aphorism about casting stones and glass houses?

    Viscount St. Albans

    Should the Spanish coal miners continue to chip away at their much-depleted deposits? What would Al Gore and Greenpeace recommend?

    Is it wise for the Spanish government to continue subsidizing this sacred cow? Is there any other context, apart from the current crisis, in which this discussion could occur?

    There is a silver lining here: The disappearance of this one particular coal-dust-laden pie slice, along with 1000s of other fabricated pie slices, has done much to curb the global appetite.

    Our sovereign debt crises have done more to realign global wants with Earth-bound realities than anything the climate change campaigners could ever hope to achieve.

    There’s an ironic altruism at work here. Lloyd Blankfein wasn’t entirely joking when he mentioned doing the Lord’s work.

    in reply to: Europe Is Sliding Back Into Its Own Past #4618
    Viscount St. Albans

    Welcome to the Austerity Woodshop.

    The sharp file of austerity grinds down the rough nubby stubs of consumer expectation. I look at the wood-work and smile. Gasoline consumption stumbles to multi-year lows and then continues falling. Good or bad? Oil refineries are shutting down production and closing-up shop. Good or bad?

    Back and forth, back and forth, the austerity file works its magic. Little flakes of desire drift downward with gravity, toward the shop floor. Less meat more potatoes. Fewer light bulbs means we see the nighttime stars more clearly.

    I say: Let the sharp file continue to grind. How else would you make man and his stuff part ways?

    in reply to: The Limits to Mankind #2838
    Viscount St. Albans

    Dear Ilargi,
    I’ve missed you.
    Write again soon.

    Can’t we sell happiness? My happiness grows when I read your black and white pixels. It’s worth as much as a savory steak dinner. The secret is the management of expectations.

    in reply to: The Death of the Entertainment Industry #2156
    Viscount St. Albans

    Ash: I disagree.
    A glance around the globe suggests the entertainment industry persists no matter what. It’s as fundamental as birth and death.

    10 poorest countries on the planet include: Somalia, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger….

    Some news headlines from the past week….

    “Congo meet Burkina Faso and Niger on successive weekends at the start of June in World Cup qualifiers and then play Uganda away in the second leg of their African Nations Cup first round qualifier.”

    “Officials from Somali youth & sports ministry, Somali National Olympic committee and Somali Football Federation on Wednesday paid an hour-long inspection to the country’s old football facility Stadium Banadir which is being under reconstruction”

    in reply to: When the Deflation Tsunami Hits, Losing the Least is a Winner #1115
    Viscount St. Albans

    Re: on-the-ground perspectives of financial meltdown

    Does TAE have any readers in Eastern Europe/Peripheral Western Europe who could supply us with personal stories of how the intense deflationary crunch is being experienced day-to-day?
    Every so often the western flag-ship press (NYtimes, WSJ, Telegraph, Guardian etc) runs an anecdotal human interest story that intends to make the pain of deflation real for its readership. But a boots-on-the-ground perspective of day-to-day life of someone experiencing the evolving hardships in peripheral Europe would be enlightening.
    I would greatly value real time reporting of the seemingly mundane, yet often revealing, observations of life on the ground in these nations most affected by the deflationary crunch — not from a schadenfreude perspective, but rather from the perspective of living and learning from the experiences and observations of others.

    in reply to: When the Deflation Tsunami Hits, Losing the Least is a Winner #1114
    Viscount St. Albans

    @ vortex….
    interesting thoughts. As many others have pointed out before, there are hedging strategies that don’t necessarily involve the investment portfolio. Skill development in the form of job training and or new business skills can be a mechanism to keep a foot in both worlds. I think it’s possible to invest with a mind towards deflation while preparing oneself for productive work in a world where very few things hold stable value for sustained lengths of time outside the black markets.
    Examples of productive work: Micro-scale (i.e. broad generalist skills vs. hyper-specialized skills) in health care, repair, agrculture, food and beverage preparation, transportation, and construction. Pretty much everything that’s done today but with an eye towards the micro-local scale vs. the macro vertically integrated multi-national corporate scale. Friend of a friend of a friend is a bike mechanic, and that’s merely one example of a useful skill set to have in the future. Invest in T-bills while learning to build/repair bikes and bike paraphaneilia (tow-behind carts etc). By hook or by crook, whether you believe in HI or deflation, a growing fraction of the global population will be riding bikes vs. driving in the years ahead. It would be good to have the skill set to build/repair bike based transportation before it becomes a necessity for the upper 30% clerical/managerial class of the income scale.

    in reply to: When the Deflation Tsunami Hits, Losing the Least is a Winner #1113
    Viscount St. Albans

    @ Reverse Engineer.
    Thanks for that comment above. I enjoyed it and your rationale. It’s a nice supplement to the themes introduced in El G’s article. I would love to hear more about the details of your experience in Brazil in the 60’s. I’m very interested in on-the-ground perspectives of folks who’ve lived through wholesale financial meltdown. How did it look and how did it feel? How did the daily acitivities and patterns of life devolve as instability grew around you? What did the neighbors say and when did they start to panic….that sort of thing. It would be a great feature article (IMO).

    in reply to: When the Deflation Tsunami Hits, Losing the Least is a Winner #1097
    Viscount St. Albans

    Great article El G! Entertaining as always and very clearly written.
    I hope you become a regular official writer for TAE.
    I always look for your stuff and it would enrich TAE if your thoughts were regularly featured on the front page rather than tucked into comments here and there.

    in reply to: Automatic Earthships #866
    Viscount St. Albans

    Scrapper Heaven by the Sea

    Scrapper heaven — Cambria, California — from Xanadu to Nitt-Witt Ridge to gem collecting by the waves.

    I just spent a relaxing President’s weekend getaway in Cambria on the central coast of California.
    Cambria is a scrapper haven, covering all ends of the spectrum. At one pole you’ve got the high end scrapping of Italian Palazzos and Spanish Villas to cobble together William Randolph Hearst’s playland Xanadu — Hearst Castle.
    (it’s an annoying video, but the pics of the castle are pretty good)

    On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got my favourite– Nitt Witt Ridge:

    A stunning cliff house built entirely from garbage and Abalone shells from 1930’s – 60’s by counter-culture guru Arthur Beal — a man truly ahead of his time. It’s a state landmark for Folk Art — but with no funds appropriated for it’s upkeep, it’s been slowly collapsing since Arthur died in the late 1980s. Arthur was part of a small city of craftsmen who helped to build Hearst Castle during the 1920s, and it’s hard to imagine he wasn’t influenced by that experience to build his own little Xanadu by the Ocean — one that incorporated his reverence for nature and mother earth. As the garbage man for this resort town by the sea, surrounded by multi-million dollar estates and made from glass, steel, and mahogoney, Arthur was the town eccentric and soothsayer visited by emerging counter culture explorers who plied coastal highway 1 during the late 60s.

    And since scrapping is essentially a form of Treasure hunting, one can’t visit Cambria without a stroll on moonstone beach. Covered with surf-tumbled and super smooth semi-precious stones, you can find everything from moonstone agates to polished bits of jasper and jade. And the views of the waves sooth the soul too.…hy/2785516708/

    in reply to: Die Wahrheit Macht Frei #710
    Viscount St. Albans

    Thinking along the lines of mrawlings above….
    Devil’s advocate:
    It’s a finite world and everybody’s hungry.

    Somebody eventually had to turn off the spigot.
    How else would it be done?
    We’re only human.
    It’s belt tightening by hook or by crook. Would the Molotov cocktail throwers voluntarily reduce their gasoline consumption? voluntarily substitute eggplant for lamb?
    Ashes to ashes
    and there’s only one path home.
    What’s the point of fire and brimestone in a deterministic system?

    Isn’t that the central question: Is it a deterministic system?

    If it is, and I suspect it’s so, then doesn’t this all sometimes feel like empty navel gazing?

    We’re all permitted to pick our roles and our costumes for this drama, but Mr. Goldwyn paid good money for the screenwriters, so don’t deviate from the script.

    Viscount St. Albans

    Re: That Aussie interviewer.

    I like the mildly adversarial interview. Stoneleigh sharpens her sticks when she’s challenged. The interviewer seems to be mining the same terrain as the prominent Aussie environmentalist/Cambridge Prof. Paul Gilding — vintage New York Times doomerism — filtered through the perspective of climate change rather than financial collapse and resource constraints. Gilding is very influential in Australia and he’s Tom Friedman’s go-to-man for scary yet uplifting quotes. He’s a proponent of: It’s going to end terribly but we’ll be OK, now go have an ice cream cone.

    Here’s an interesting recent NPR debate/interview with Paul Gilding and Richard Heinberg (a frequent TAE reader). I was disappointed that Heinberg didn’t articulate TAE’s vision more clearly.

    in reply to: Cognitive dissonance #643
    Viscount St. Albans

    Hi Ash,

    Good points. I mostly enjoy your writing and it’s filled with quality ideas and concepts. That said, a point of critque: Your adjectives are somewhat clunky and unnecessary. They’re too earnest. We got it the first time. Sometimes you can dispense with the megaphone.

    “criminal banksters”
    “Global looting”
    “ridiculous political theater”

    You’ve got a vicious verbal rapier; there’s no need to wield a bludgeon with your free hand. Leave the club to the dimwitted who need a large target. We’ve plenty of those on the intertubes.

Viewing 40 posts - 121 through 160 (of 163 total)