January 31, 2010

Doomsday Approaches

Category: Economy — Cranky @

Well, here we are. It’s the beginning of 2010, and we’re coming to the next economic downturn. How bad will it be? I don’t really know, but I suspect it’s gonna be worse than the last one. A lot worse.

Obama has announced a $3.8 trillion budget that will inexplicably cut the debt by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. To put it in perspective, the entire output of the U.S. economy is somewhere around $14 trillion, so they’re going to spend around 25% of everything on government. That’s not even all of government – that’s just the federal tier.

There are no real signs of recovery, although if you listen to all of the economists in the media – you know, that collection of ignorant, incompetent nutjobs that were surprised by the first recession – the economic recovery began a while back. I don’t know where they’re keeping all the horses, but they must have a stable if they have that much horseshit to hand out.

U.S. unemployment is still growing, wall street is doing business as usual in the same way that caused the collapse, mortgages are still going into foreclosure, and the government lies are reaching unimagineable heights. The relaxation of mark-to-market is creating the next bubble, and the collapse of assets that are composed of complete crap will hasten the crash.

When I wrote the first economic article a couple of years ago I was astonished that a few billion dollars were being thrown at a problem. Now a few billion has become a rounding error, and the debt figures are so vast I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around them.

The problem for me is that I’m coming to the conclusion that vast inflation is unavoidable. The world is going to turn away from the U.S. dollar, and the economic map is going to be completely altered. This is going to be very bad for everybody in the short term, but worse for the U.S., well, forever. What happens when the baddest military superpower in the world starts to starve? We’re going to find out.

I had no idea things would get so bad.


January 26, 2010

A Peeping Tom's Perfect Location

Category: Miscellany — Cranky @

When I look out my office window I can see two tall apartment buildings, the “Icon Towers”. The first was completed last year, and the plan was for these two towers to be the tallest residential buildings in the city.

I looked at buying a suite in that building when it was in the planning stages, but the price for units 600 square feet in size was exorbitant. The penthouse units were over $1,500,000. For that price you got 1846 square feet and massive windows through which one can take in an unparalleled view of the city. Unparalleled, but boring. Why they put the huge windows on the north face, I have no idea. The river valley, golf courses, and parkland is south. To the north is a derelict airport and a flat, featureless landscape.

Then up went tower two, and it’ll be completed this year. It’s immediately north of the first one, and taller by five or six floors. It completely blocks the great view from the penthouse of tower one. Now you stare into the back of another building, and all for the low, low price of a million and a half dollars. If I owned a penthouse in tower one I’d be furious.

The thing is, they planned from the start to build the tower with a crappy view. All they had to do was reverse the plan for tower one and things would have been fine.

Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder how people that short-sighted can be trusted with such enormous sums of money.


January 8, 2010

How Cranky Prepares For His Day

Category: Humour — Cranky @

If I’ve learned anything from watching crime and medical dramas on television, it’s that someday I might leave my home and never return. I could walk into a bank and die in hail of bullets, or a gas station explosion might leave me in a coma for the rest of my life. Or I might simply die of a congenital medical condition that I never knew I had. So I take precautions each morning. After all, once you’re gone, what you leave behind speaks volumes.

The first thing I do is to take a copy of Playboy and leave it out in the open. My mom might be mildly annoyed, but at least then she’ll know for sure that her unmarried 39 year old son does, in fact, like girls. Also, she’d certainly approve more of Playboy than of the collection of “Transsexual Midget Amputees on Geriatrics Monthly” magazines that I hide inside large technical manuals so dry and boring that nobody would ever open them.

Then I stop at the computer, and make sure I’ve encrypted all of the email and cleaned off all of the files on the desktop (the magazine has an accompanying web site). Also, nobody needs to know that I’m targeting seniors with fake car insurance scams and non-existent “life alert” monitoring.

Then I take a cloth and some cleaner over to the coffee table, and wipe it clear of any traces of cocaine, speed, or cayenne pepper that were left from the night before. The cayenne pepper is a safety check. If you snort a little of that and you can’t feel it, it’s probably time to go to the doctor. Whatever powders are left, well… who are we kidding? There’s never any left. While I’m at it I take the two bottles of whatever hard liquor I drank the night before and put them by the door. There’s a recycle bin right by the trash, but I’ll throw them in the regular bin, just because.

I then turn my attention to the stereo, and I remove all traces of my secret love – country music. Nobody needs to know that when I’m partying my heart is all achy-brakey. Digital music makes that easier these days. Now when I buy a new country album I rename all the tracks with titles like “Deathbringer – Slaying Kittens With Razors.mp3”.

So off I go. I stop at my storage unit on the way to work to reset the timer on the door. If I don’t come back within 48 hours it will open the door, letting out 16 Thai children who are working off the price of their freedom by making counterfeit Nike shoes for me. I pay them 25 cents per hour, which they give back to me towards the $4000 that they owe, and I give them fresh water and all the ramen noodles they can eat, or two bowls a day, whichever is smaller.

I take a short detour to 97th street and visit my girls. They’ve been working hard all night, and I appreciate that. So I put on my outfit, eye patch, and fake moustache, and go say hello. The disguise is another part of the precautions. I don’t need one of my ladies showing up at my funeral because she saw a picture of me on television (assuming my passing was television-worthy).

Then I begin my day, the fine, upstanding citizen that people know and respect.