Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 24,2008- Mark it down in History!

May 24th ,2008 is a Historic Day

What is so historic that happened on May two-four 2008? That is the day that the gas guzzlers died. Well that is not actually true they died a long time ago , they just did not know it since gas prices where too low. What is historic is the news came out with a piece about some “poor” guy who was trying to sell his almost new truck that cost him as much as my small house (about $60,000)and he is still making payments on it ,only to find out the blue book value on it now has dropped to the high $30,000 range. Some people are stuck in this situation where the vehicle is worth less than what is still owed on it. Some of them are going to take a huge loss, others will just use them much more infrequently. Part of me feels sorry for these poor slobs, but another part of me is glad the evidence is so overwhelming that people are getting the message.

Speaking of Gas Guzzlers, we have something called Retro-fest going on around my city. There are thousands of old cars people have been restoring and hundreds are put on display. Some have been sold to the likes of collectors like Jay Leno. I predict that from this day forth there will be less and less old cars coming to this festival since the gas prices will be too huge. Right now we have people still coming from all over but like all tourist activities that will slow down to a trickle or be cut of completely. There will be more short day trips taken that can be packed on a train or a bunch of people in a large van or bus. The long vacations may end up being longer in one place for some people. Other people will have no vacations or working vacations. I will be going to the Spirits of the Earth Festival to do workshops and sell my candles and silver jewelry. That is a 6 day event. I will have some downtime to play and drum and get to know friends better. That may be the only vacation I will have this year.

There are a few more trends I see coming in the short term. Since more people will be forced to choose between paying rent or eating or heating or electricity, more people will be looking to food banks and handouts to get by. Soon there will be little to get by on and people will be tossed in the streets and houses will end up unoccupied which will lead to vandalism, squatting, grow-ops and a general down turn in the value of houses. Land will always be valuable but houses fluctuate.

As a longer term vision I see more people camping out in friend's backyards for the summer and working at any odd job they can find. The cost of stoves will go up since there will be a larger demand for alternative heat sources(at least in the northern States and Canada and other 4 season areas of the world). Hobo's will be making a comeback. Locally we will do ok since we have a salt mine a day or two walk from here (about 70 miles or 115 Km) If you are on a bike with a trailer You could get there in one day I you are in good shape. You would start early in the morning and get there, camp out or find a place to sleep, get your load and head back as soon as you can. It would be better to travel in groups for protection. A better way to get a load of salt is to run a boat down to Windsor and use the Thames as a Trade Route once again. Another reason why we will do ok here is we have an ethanol plant and we have hundreds of potential sites for wind farms. We have some wind generators going up as we speak. Another reason why we will do ok here is we have the Thames and rail as transport routes and we are surrounded by lakes. We are net exporters of food, that makes us very rich.

You may think I have gone off topic of Gas guzzlers, but I have not since all these things are inter-related. The news that people are going to stop buying the big trucks will force many local people out of work. In the short term that is bad-very bad. The potential is for some of these factories that are making gas guzzlers could be re-tooled to make wind generators and solar panels if anyone around here had half a brain. Some people tried to grow Hemp and stopped after one try since the shipment was stopped at the border and they lost money. I am sorry for their loss, but I think that was very short-sighted of them. We missed our first good chance. I hope I can turn that around when I get my own farm up and running. I will not rely on foreign markets to dictate what I will or will not grow.

To sum up – as much as I have seen this coming, the day has arrived( and non too soon)for the beginning of the end of the big gas guzzlers.

Michael J. Kaer – copyright 2008,, , and

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Article about C.K.O.A.P.

My friend Lance sent me a test on Facebook, or it may have been just an email, but here is my reply.

Hi Lance.
I have taken this test before. It is interesting.I just finished reading the article,in Chatham This Week that Peter Epp had in his comment page. Back to the future with fuel prices? is the heading. He did mention you and our group.Yah!It sounded like he was pooh-poohing the whole notion of peak oil and living a simpler life. He mentions the fact of 11% as what the normal family pays out for groceries and restaurant food. I think he did not get the point that there may not be any restaurants or grocery stores or even money to send when all of this is done. He is in the world of the vast majority that has been able to go to the store or restaurant at anytime they had the money to go, all their life. He kept on saying that you believe what you where talking about like you are some religious nut. He asks the question(which he already knows the answer to)of do they still build fruit cellars in new houses - of course they don't. He also said he did not know of anyone who canned anymore. It sounded to me like he was trying to warn the public and still cover his ass by reporting what we are saying should anyone accuse him of fear mongering. Yes we all know powdered milk does not taste the same as real milk. He had a hook with everyone who has tasted powdered milk. He did do us a favour by showing if people stocked up now , for the winter, we would see a savings of 10-15% or more in a short time period, assuming things would be about the same as the mid 70's. If we get some good oil price spikes, I think it will be even worse.
As a side note I went to the local station to fill up my 5 gallon tank with gas to use in the rototiller and lawnmower. I took my neighbour's small tank to since she need gas for her lawn mower. Her's came to $12.08 and mine came to $29.00-ouch! Last year I filled both of them and it was closer to $25.00, maybe a bit more. That proves to me that it has doubled in price in one year, or close to it. Has my wages gone up at all in that time period? Yes about 3%. I also have a new source of money coming in since I took on a new part time job, reading Tarot Cards online at Psychic Access. So far the I have made some money, but not much since it costs money to go online and stay online. Now I have to work harder than I did before, putting in a garden and herbs and keep online and work at the bookstore on the weekends. Keep up the good work Lance. Mentioning the C.K.O.A.P. group in the paper may help the group grow bigger,faster. Now if only I can get him to mention !Michael

What does this have to do with Hemp you may ask?
The Ckoap group is part of the Post Carbon Institute ( from out west) and (which is an offshoot of the institute) and we are all looking at ways to deal with the problems associated with high oil prices, which means higher food costs and higher heating costs and higher costs for travel,amongst other things. Hemp, if it was freely cultivated on all the poor soil land and land no longer used for tobbaco, would give us food, fibre and oil that can be a feedstock for plastics, gasoline, cooking oil and just about anything that can be made from fossil oil. There is no need for any food crisis, oil shortage, unemployment and lack of trees for paper. This is one big part to an over all solution, but we can't even get anyone to talk about hemp since it is still illegal to be grown in the United States and many other places the States control. Any chance I have to trot out Hemp, I will take.
If you want to see the article and the comment page, it is in the May 7th, 2008 issue of Chatham This Week. The article is at the comment page has a different heading at . Enjoy.
Michael J. Kaer, copyright 2008