Friday, 18 January 2013

The Mountain-of-a-Mess

Years ago...in the early 90s....I knew someone that had around $70k in credit card debt.  They were unconnected to the military, and probably paying around $900 a month on average....just keeping the debt at some normal stage, but never advancing on the debt.

The way that this typically works, you get hooked up for four or five credit cards....mostly to $12k each.  So you start to spend a thousand here, and a thousand there.  After about six years of this....you wake up one day and owe $40k easily.

You had great trips to Vegas, San Diego, the Rocky Mountains, and various resorts.  You bought a fancy refrigerator, a $1,500 dining room table made out of glass, a $2k laptop, and paid for $5k transmission job on a twelve-year old car.

At $40k....you kinda lay off wild spending, but only pay $400 a month, and the interest starts to pile up.  Two years later....you wake up and owe around $50k, and have to pay $700 just to stay even.  Emergencies still pop up and you continue to max out on the cards.

The truth is....unless some relative feels sorry for you....you will never get out of this mess.  If you get the owed amount down to $20k, and keep throwing those $1k a month checks at them.....you might actually fix your problem.

So you turn to the nation with $16 trillion in debt.  And you kinda wonder what rich relative will save your butt, but you can't find anyone fitting that bill.

You'd like to cut back on expenses and just pay extra on what you owe, but then you keep grinning at folks and saying you like that free stuff.

You'd like to say that life goes on but the truth is....there is point where your life won't go on in the same manner.  And you might be shocked at how lousy your government is with money.

Simply Observations

This Colon Powell comment over a segment of the Republicans being 'dark in nature'?  Sometimes, you can tell when some guy was told to appear on some TV political chat show and has a scripted response talking people handed to them that doesn't match up to comments they've made in the past.  If you had been the commentator....you might have turned and asked if there are Democrats who are 'dark in nature', and he would have grinned and said yes.  And the whole effort would have been comical in nature.  Luckily for us....CBS doesn't hire bright guys for their staff, and Colon gets off the hook without any further comments.

This new fancy law in New York state over gun magazines (7 bullet limit)?  Well...cops now admit that it affects them too, and all these pistols that the state bought for them (the expensive fancy type).....they use a magazine for 15 bullets.  The governor's staff is kinda quiet right now.  They want the hype on their big piece through the weekend, and maybe go to fix the law that they passed so quickly.  Typically....when you rush to pass laws like this....it's a one-hundred percent chance that they will be screwed up somewhere in the text.

Not that it really matters, but the cable show...Amish Mafia....has made it to number two in the ratings stuff.  It's second only to O'Reilly's show.  Is Amish Mafia fake?  Yes, but it's entertaining and basically, if you ever got into trouble....I'd call the Amish Mafia with their shotguns to my rescue.  And I'd like to suggest the next fake show for Discovery....a 20-part series on Alabama versus Auburn fans in Bama....mostly all fake, where they fight and rough each other up over the season, with the final game between the two of them.

With the business in New York state with the new gun laws and various regulations over salt and sodas....someone in Texas got smart and started advertising to ask New Yorkers to consider moving to Texas.  The chief bait?  No state tax.  My humble guess is that 500 New Yorkers will eventually review the evidence and possibly move down to Texas....with half returning to New York within a year.  The number of Texans who move to New York? Well....unless the Rangers trade you to the Yankees....it's about zero.  A Texan would never consider such a move.  

Finally, and maybe it's just me seeing this.  But basically, with three hundred millions weapons spread around America....the executive orders didn't detract or take away a single weapon from anyone.  Unless you went out of your way to demonstrate yourself as a nut....looks like your gun collection is safe, and you can go down to Larry's Pawn Shop to buy another twelve pistols this weekend.  Other than the standard background check....nothing much happened.

Trees of a Lesser Nature

Over the past year in Greece, the forestry guys have noted an odd thing.  Fewer trees.

Greece isn't exactly a country with magnificent forests....like you'd see in Finland, Siberia, or Idaho.  There's a limited count of trees in Greece.  And everyday, there's a couple hundred less.

Most of the trees that would grow there....are fir, pines, olive, and cyprus trees.

The current action?  Well...ever since that silly economic mess started....folks have come to realize that natural gas or anything to heat your home....costs money.  So Uncle Karl goes out after dark....cuts down a tree or two, and quietly drags it back to the family.  No one says much.  They know it came from state or public lands....sometimes even private property.  But the fact is....it's the only way to stay warm without cost involved.

What happens down the road?  Well...if this was a simple two-year episode, we'd eventually come to a close and folks would stop cutting down trees.  But in this case....that won't happen.

This economic mess will likely be around for twenty years.  And the quantity of trees that exists?  I'd expect ninety percent of the forest growth to be cut over that period....illegally.  Cops will eventually get involved and attempt to arrest people.  But no judge is going to send someone off to prison....for cutting a tree....not in this current environment.

In the years to come....some dimwit will make a two-hour documentary about the bare lands of Greece, and the loss of the trees.  It'll be a woeful tale and you will shake your head.  There's not much you say or do.  Life just goes on.