Monday, January 31, 2011

Clueless in Davos.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet one of the most powerful people on the planet:

From the reports that I have read out of Davos and from watching interviews like these, it is becoming ever clearer to me that the world of the rich and powerful is becoming increasingly detached from the world the rest of us live in.  The almost-boundless optimism of this man leaves me stunned.

Either Jamie is a great actor, or he is an incredibly two-dimensional thinker and completely isolated from anything resembling a larger view of reality outside of the world of international banking and high finance.

I think it's the latter, and I think people like this are in for a big surprise.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What the hell did I just make? Volume 1, Number 1.

When I am not cowering in my bunker waiting for the entire planet to explode (or recording songs about waiting for the entire world to explode) , I actually have a few hobbies, one of the being cooking.

I am not one for following recipes, for the most part.  There are times when I may crack open a cookbook for something specific, but by and large my cooking is almost pure improvisation.  Usually what it amounts to is looking in the fridge and in the pantry and saying "hmmm...6 totally unrelated items that are past their expiration date...what would they all taste like together?"

Now this may SOUND kind of appalling, but for the most part what comes out of this process tends to taste OK, and has not killed any of the brave souls who have ever sampled my creations.

I have decided to add some of my more successful creations to this here blog...just for the hell of it.  There may be other vegetarian cooks who could play around with some of these ideas and not die in an ER somewhere.

Also, it may be fun for people who read these recipes (especially the more exotic ones) to have a go at telling me that what I came up with purely at random actually closely resembles a real dish made by real chefs.

Stranger things HAVE happened.

So this is my first documentation of something I have been doing since I was 8 years old (when my drunk single parent decided I was old enough to feed myself).

This is vaguely like an Indian dish (as I love Indian food with a passion)...but WHAT Indian dish is beyond me:

Here's what it looks like:

And here are the ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 Teaspoon fenugreek powder
1 Teaspoon cumin powder
1 Teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup (homemade) paneer
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups chopped okra
1/2 cup lamb's quarters (it's like spinach)

I blended all the spices with the water and oil, boiled it for a couple minutes, turned it to medium and added the okra and lamb's quarters (I had boiled and frozen them prior, so I just need to thaw them in the liquid).

Once the veggies were thawed, I decided to add the milk and the paneer...and just for the hell of it I scrambled an egg and spread it throughout the mixture, like one would with egg drop soup.

This I let simmer covered for a few minutes and then let it sit until it was eating temperature.

The results?  Holy crap, it was tasty!  I wish I had made a lot more of it.  It's very nice served on top of a slice of naan (also homemade).

So what the hell did I just make?

Financial Meltdown Was 'Avoidable

File under: "oh, really?"

It may be somewhere in the report, but the article does not mention that, in addition to complacency and ineptitude, this was also driven by brazen, insane, foam-at-the-mouth, drool-on-your-pants well as by corruption, cronyism, and a system that offers an open revolving door between TBTF banks, the Fed, the government, and the agencies that are supposed to regulate such behaviors.

No...kinda doubt that will make the report...they probably just want to say that the players made a widdle boo-boo and bwoke your widdle economy and they feel reeeeealy bad about it and they promise not to do it again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Keep an eye on the Middle East.

The combined activities in Tunisia and Lebanon are both things that should concern anyone who drives a car and eats food.

Those of you who don't do either should just ignore this:

This could escalate rapidly.  You really don't want it to.

(It's never too late to buy preps...until it is.)

Edited to add:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Detroit you don't see.

A friend of mine turned me on to this little photo essay (thanks Kathi).  Lots of people (myself included) denigrate Detroit for being an example of how NOT to run a city, and for having allowed a once thriving and vital place to become a cold, dead ghetto...all of which IS true and I'd never live there again, but there are OTHER aspects to the city that you don't see.  These aspects are like the the little rodents scurrying amongst the feet of the dinosaurs: flowers amongst the ruins.

One of the things I miss about Detroit is the intense creativity and individualistic inventiveness of that 1% of the population there that is still capable of that thing we used to call "independent thinking".  We don't seem to have a whole lot of that here in Chicago: it's a very conformist city...a conformity born of a dichotomy of unthinking comfort and convenience on the one hand, and mind-crushing anonymous poverty on the other.

My prediction about the two cities is this:  unless there ARE massive earth changes that alter the planet in ways that cannot be predicted, 50 years from now Detroit will be a paradise for independent gardeners and farmers, whereas Chicago will largely be a ruin...and probably an irradiated one if things get as out of hand as I fear they will.

The people in Detroit who are trying to make a difference are the weeds growing through the cracks, and they face opposition from above in the shape of a dying auto industry that still wants to maintain an economic stranglehold despite their largely moribund nature (working hand in glove with corrupt politicians who would have made Nero and Caligula turn green with envy), and from below in the form of a criminalized underclass who have long abandoned any hope for the future...

but those weeds do keep growing, don't they?  Can't stop the weeds.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Promise is a Promise...unless a government or a corporation makes it!

Well...didn't see THIS one coming from a mile away:

On the weird and crooked little path that has been my life's journey, one thing early on that stuck out on that path like a 3000lb day-glo purple tumbleweed was the idea that kept knocking about in my thick little skull that if I even lived long enough TO retire, I probably would not have much of a safety net waiting for me if I did.  Part of that comes from not having one when I was a kid, but the bigger part of it was seeing the overall untenability of  "the system".  Therefore, the draw for me when considering employment was always a "here and now" question, as opposed to a "can I work there for 40 years" question.

As it turns out that seems to have been a reasonably wise way of looking at it, though even I questioned my wisdom in taking that approach at times...but I really feel sorry for all the people who took the opposite approach: the safe way may have turned out to be the wrong way.

Who knew?

Looking at some of the pensions that public employees were promised I can certainly see at least a  few problematic areas, but as people took these positions partially BECAUSE of these long term promises, it really is a huge moral hazard that is going to play out here:  Yet another bait and switch for Joe and Josephine Lunchbucket, while the upper 1% gets to continue to roll around in piles of filthy lucre.

Pretty sad.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 I'm REALLY scared: "No Insiders Bought Any Stock In Prior Week"

When you see things like this, you have to wonder if this fake recovery is even going to last 2-3 months:

I've been casually watching this for several months now, but this is the most extreme I've seen so far.  The SMART MONEY is NOT buying into the system...they are LEAVING it!

Wakey wakey!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The latest GEAB is out.

I have not subscribed, but I always look forward to their summaries.

2011 is what I'm calling "The Year of The Canaries".  I think this year is where the erosion of the fundamental underpinnings of our global economy...and further, the very integrity of our biosphere, picks up a speed that will astonish even the most pessimistic.  On the surface, I think QE2 is working its questionable "magic", which will make the 95% of people who don't pay attention and haven't a clue think that we are in a "recovery".  In 2012 (or the latter part of 2011...which ever comes sooner...hahaha) the wheels will fall off in earnest.

This is assuming that we don't have any huge curves that come our way this year.  The system is so achingly brittle as it is, it would not take much for something to spread like a contagion, knocking everything over in it's path.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just testing.

I will be redirecting the front page of the John Ludi site here at some point in the near future, but for now this is just a test.