Empty Streets and Shops Bode Ill

The coming carnage of the base economy of the United States is not imaginable.  Today’s common estimate of about forty percent never reopening after the early 2020 shut down will be the opening gambit. Huge swaths of big business retail have already declared bankruptcy and shut down.  Retail names are owned by hedge funds which own shopping malls.  Shopping mall owners bidding for other retail names as they become available scrambles the future for brick and mortar destinations.

There are so many small businesses which are either closed or on the death bed.  Small business is a rough game to play in a good economy, it is not worth putting money into when the word depression is tossed about as often as recession.

Think of the local food store or truck or convenience store next to an office building. Security guards may have showed up for coffee or something at the start of the shutdown.  But no more as the office building is still closed and plans are to sell it.  All the souvenir stores around the baseball stadium have no business.  No more are there services that support office workers.  How many taxis have sold their tags, if they could have sold them.  I see cars with every gig driver company there are in the windows.

What will we see in the future?  Even if a vaccine becomes available and the world vaccinated by 2022, what will remain?  Consider that the U.S. and Western Europe economies were already moving towards and even away from being service economies. 

Finland has been experimenting with a population which is paid a wage and were not expected to work, they were being paid to be consumers by the government.  It is better paying than welfare, and they were not putting pressure on other jobs.  What will be next? Perhaps twenty hour weeks with pay for forty, there by sharing one full time job with two people?

Republicans go into screaming fits when anyone mentions helping people eat by using SNAP (food stamps).  They lose it all into their diapers when you bring up Finland.  But, at some point we have to consider what to do when we have machines that are hyper-productive that do not need humans to oil the joints. 

 

All It Takes Is A Tool

Recently I did some thinking about my life.  I made a decision to do things that I liked to do and knew how to do.  But I did not have the tools necessary to do that.  So I went on a shopping spree just before Christmas.  I bought a tool cabinet and tool chest.

The cabinet and chest were new, about three hundred fifty dollars (on sale).  I added in about four hundred dollars of tools (on sale).  My life long learning experiment in mechanics, engineering, computer systems, systems and electronics is priceless.  All told I spent an hour this afternoon doing a “simple” repair on my truck.  Book rate has it priced at about five hundred dollars, I will say that is four hours work plus extra.  I bought the part for fifty dollars.  It took me an hour to take out the old and put in the new.

I am getting ready to retire (again).   I have been away from running a wrench, and many other tools, for about fifteen years.  I had simple things to do with simple tools during that time.  But now, I have real serious mechanical work to do and it is time to get back in the mode.  I have to save a lot by doing it myself (DIY).  I am good enough to have been offered a job as a mechanic on older vehicles.

Another Generation Comes Alive

     A very nice thing about enjoying illness (my neighbor was home sick for ten days with this thing) is only surfacing every now and then to check the obituaries and being disappointed then crawling back under the covers.  During one moment of delirium or was it hunger, I stopped in at MicroCenter and selected the parts to make a new computer.  It took a while to put it together, laying down frequently slowed progress.  Today it is up and running.

 

Every time I build a new one I am wonderfully happy (and surprised) at the progress of the computer industry.  Speed is always the big one, size of components is another and how much more is crammed into to those little packages.  Thinking back to the late nineteen eighties and the 286/386/486 machines, one hundred dollars per meg of memory and chunky black and white or green images on monitors makes me happy to see how we have progressed.

 

The sales person helping me with motherboards was in his twenties.  The earlier era was before he was born.  He was happy to talk to me, and others, about how we got to today in electronics.  He did refer to us as hobbyists, rather cheeky he is.  We were doing our jobs in life and were too cheap to buy the HP, IBM, Apple and other machines which were pre-made.  We also do things to our computers that the manufacturers do not allow done to those.  But things like overclocking we have been doing from the first chip on.

 

 

 

Talk’st thou to me of ‘ifs’? Thou art a traitor

Off with his head!

Richard III, Act 3, Scene 4, Shakespeare

Monday, living the furlough life and finally seeing a hammer hitting the cookie jar hard enough to break it.  SFB must be wondering why his self-created universe is bouncing so hard the brown sky is falling on him.

We are seeing the third act start as the curtain rises.  No longer are we needing to hear from minor actors in the wings yelling “this will bring him down”.  We are now watching as the lights come up on the tableau built on lies and Putin’s agents works.  We can see shiny objects, but those no longer are blinding us, usually for a few seconds, somethings a few minutes, but no more.

The characters on stage now are the comedic and tragic figures, many unwitting agents, a few deliberate in their actions, all involved in treasonous arcs pointing to Russia as their love.  America is melting into a puddle on the stage.  Rubles are raining from above and mysteriously falling as dollars into the agents pockets.

The third act brings us great anticipation.  We do not know if there will be a rousing chorus of wonder as America rises in the end and the Russian agents are rounded up and placed in prison, or if there will be the ugly death knell of a former great country torn apart.