Monday, June 23, 2008


Who turns the wheel
And who throws the dice

On the day after tomorrow?
--Day After Tomorrow,
Tom Waits

Oil escalates in price $10.75 a barrel in a single day earlier this month and nobody blinks. The head of Russia's Gazprom says look for $250 barrel soon. Corn tops $7.00 a bushel for the first time and this becomes a significant news item. So, we have come to expect petroleum prices to increase daily, but the price of corn surprises us?

All of our commodities are on an escalator ride, and we are getting a real world lesson on the web of life. The price of corn (feed) rises, then meat and dairy rises. Ditto petroleum. The price paid is not only direct but indirect. Bill McKibbon writes in today's WaPo about "
the [clear] trend toward scarcity" and the rolling back of our frontier mentality (End of the Open Road.)

We spoke with a waitress this weekend in a Georgia restaurant from Cocoa Beach, Florida, where she and her husband owned a home and their family lived well on his income as a trucker. He recently lost the trucking job due to escalating costs and is now unemployed. They sold the house and she is currently the sole breadwinner. "You'll see me here from 10 til 8 most days."

Analysts are predicting $4.50 at the gas pumps before Summer's end, but it will be there before corn rises again. What Americans won't verbalize is their fears for tomorrow. We are not afraid of terrorism, we are afraid for our wallets, and the McCain/Obama roadshow is not playing that song.

It is a nice game of transference to focus on the wars abroad versus the battles at home. Terrorism is so antiseptic, in a way. Oh, unless you're over there in uniform trying to ferret THEM out.

One can natter on endlessly about matters which do not actually lacerate the skin or the soul. That is an intellectual exercise, twice removed. One can shake one's head ruefully and not feel a pinch. But what is not being said is that the other shoe has not dropped, and that we all know that oil prices are not going to stabilize.

Ranger predicts $8.00 gas within the next two years, if not sooner. These are the fears too dark to speak. It is easier to ignore and just hope it is a bad dream that will go away before it bites our nuts.

Through habituation
and accommodation, the average consumer adjusts to these daily assaults. The WaPo ran an article yesterday on the concept of transaction utility. Many are going without basics, let alone iPods. When sheer existence is threatened, will anyone advocate for those so pressed?

The only bad dream that will go away is George W. Bush, but we will not get out of our nightmare anytime soon.

The reality is not a bad dream that can be left behind upon awakening from our collective Ambien-induced slumber.

--Jim and Lisa

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything is on schedule, please move along.

$10 per if the king and the dark prince do the dirty deed. If there were any soldiers left at the PG I'm for a coup. It's just say No to the madness.

Monday, June 23, 2008 at 9:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

jo, we're all up to our ears in the madness.I live 4miles from the nearesst store , or should i say Walmart, and 30 miles from a city. I like most Amies need my car, my life revolves around it.What can we do as individuals?Government must take the lead BUT nobody since Jimmy Carter has seriously addressed energy issues.And Carter only did so reactively .Our leaders react rather than act and militarily this is a recipe for disaster.Military rules apply to daily life also.
What is one to do? jim

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 9:26:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one of the biggest clues to the coming crunch is that the announcement of the saudi's to increase production had zero impact on the market.

first, there's a good deal of doubt that the saudi's are capable of increasing production.

second, with the sabre rattling toward iran instability of supply in the near, very near future is more than a realiable expectation.

things, will change, probably suddenly and maybe, even catastrophically. even if the "happy motoring" lifestyle we've all come to depend on, if not enjoy, were to find a technological out through some sort of sustainable engine, our infrastructures have been deteriorating for a long time. levees are breaking, roads are falling apart, bridges are falling, the rail system is a joke.

i suggest perusing things like james howard kunstler's clusterfuck nation and/or john robb's global guerillas for thoughts on both open source warfare and resilient communities.

knowing how to make your own black powder is a good skill to have.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 10:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Mr. Oblivious said...

Looks like it's going to be a swift, painful transition from affluent suburbia to subsistence for many Americans. Most of us are unwilling to admit that we might be getting the short end of the stick.

Kunstler depresses me (and that's saying something!). Even he wont speak about the root cause of most of our problems.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 2:59:00 PM GMT-5  

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