The foliage is well past peak, though there are a few trees still making the transition from their normal green to yellow, orange and red. Traffic on the highways and byways has returned to its normal non-tourist levels and seating is now available in our local restaurants without lengthy waiting times. The summer and fall venues are closed and boarded up until late spring (including some of our favorite ice cream stands).
It's going to be quiet around here, at least until the ski season starts in earnest.
*************I've been working away at getting our first load of firewood moved and stacked in the garage, finally getting it completed earlier today. As anyone who has performed this chore can tell you, it's not the bigger pieces of split cord wood that takes time to move, it's all of the smaller pieces. Between pieces fit only as kindling or the odd-sized pieces that won't fit very well inside the woodstove, it takes quite a bit of time to pick it up, sort it, and find some place to put so it will be readily available when needed that will also be out of the way.
I have never quite mastered that last part and on more than one occasion have either given away or sold off the odd-sized pieces and overabundant kindling. (It's rare that we need to light a cold woodstove because once the heating season is in full swing the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove runs 24/7. The only times we'll let it go out and cool off is if we're going away for a day or two or there are adjustments or repairs we need to make to the stove. Therefore we don't need a lot of kindling, but we end up with it anyways.)
*************The de-urbanization of Detroit is moving forward with a new 140-acre forest coming into being in a blighted area. Of course some critics are saying it's a “play to increase land values by buying a huge swath of acreage and taking it off the market.” And the problem with that is what, exactly?
Right now no one is living there, there's no one paying any property taxes on it, and removal of the derelict and abandoned buildings still remaining will be paid for by the new owners rather than the taxpayers of Detroit (what there is of them).
On top of that real estate values are in the tank and won't recover any time soon with over 30,000 acres of abandoned property on the city's tax rolls. Anyone wanting to buy up some small parcel of it is a plus, even if that someone is rich.
*************As if we needed yet another reminder, ObamaCare is a disaster of Titanic proportions, and it's only going to get worse.
As Glenn Reynolds writes, “We used to launch men to the Moon. Now the U.S. government can’t launch a website.”
*************Dr. Robert Owens gives us a view of what happens when the Have-Nots become the Haves by taking everything from the Haves and then demanding even more in a quest for power.
He also states that we should ignore the reported U3 unemployment numbers – about 7.2% - as they are meaningless. It is the U6 number, meaning total unemployment including those who no longer receive unemployment benefits, which is closer to 13% and has a more profound effect on the economy.
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
*************I started watching the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins, but after the Pats were down 17-3 at the end of the half I turned off the TV, grabbed the old portable radio, headed out to the garage, and listened to the game as I finish stacking the aforementioned firewood.
The Patriots were a different team during the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points and shutting down the Miami offense, winning it 27-17. That brings them a 6-2 record.
Next week they play the 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.
*************Have you wondered why your taxes are high and getting higher?
It comes down to the numbers, folks. In this case there are over 108 million people receiving means-tested government benefits (local, state, and/or federal) in some form or fashion. However there are just under 102 million working full-time year round. That's the bad news.
The worse news is that none of the 108 million are receiving Social Security, Medicare, or VA benefits, which adds millions more to that total. Never have we seen such an imbalance between those paying for the benefits and those receiving them. If something isn't done soon, those 102 million (and shrinking) will be unable to support those receiving benefits. As we've been seeing and hearing, that which cannot go on, won't.
It's straightforward math, something the Democrats in Congress (and the White House) seem to be incapable of understanding.
*************Now we're hearing claims that climate change wiped out biblical civilizations. To quote Cap'n Teach, “They really shouldn’t have driven fossil fueled vehicles back in the old days.”
*************This isn't good, though I have to say it doesn't surprise me.
According to a Wells Fargo study, 37 percent of middle class Americans say they will never retire. Quite a few of those saying they won't be able to retire blame the economy as most of their income presently goes to paying bills, leaving little or nothing to put towards retirement.
Too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck, much of that caused by the ongoing recession. (I don't buy the government's claim that the 'Great Recession' ended in 2009 because true unemployment is still 13% and the government is stimulating the stock market by printing money. Neither is a sign that the recession has ended.) With new taxes, exploding health insurance costs and other negative effects of ObamaCare, I doubt those now incapable of saving for retirement are going to do so in the near future either.