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Looking Forward to 2012

4 Jan

This IS a tad off topic for a blog that is focused on building homes with ISBUs, but I think it’s worth mentioning:

Randy Gage (a guy I read regularly) says;

“Happy New Year.  Be grateful for EVERYTHING that happened in 2011:  the things you wished for, and the things you had to go through and grow through. 

Because all of that helped shape you for your next step in development, your next step to becoming who you are meant to become.

2011 is in the rear view mirror.  Learn from it and stride forward into 2012 with faith, anticipation and confidence. 

You have the power to determine exactly what kind of year you will have. 

Because you choose the thoughts you give precedence to, which changes your daily actions, which changes your results.”

Instead of looking backward, examining what has already become the past, he’s looking to the future. I have to tell you, I find his views and outlook inspiring.

Here’s a bit about who Randy Gage is (beyond the fact that he’s successful, driven and a pillar of what is great about America);

“Call me a philosopher, a Jedi Knight or the millionaire messiah, just don’t call me late for dinner. I like hot cars, warm beaches and cold Dr. Pepper. Quiet confidence and loud ideas are sexy. When I’m not prowling the podium or locked in my lonely writer’s garret, you’ll find me playing 3rd base for a softball team somewhere.

I believe in my work, because I believe in you.”

I encourage you to go HERE to read more.

2012 – Let’s make it an INSPIRATIONAL Year!

2 Jan

Let’s start the New Year by being inspired, okay?

Okay, first… shameless plug:

I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of:

Introduction to Container Homes and Buildings“.

If you want the skinny on ISBUs and HOW to use them to build a home, it’s a great start! And, we’re holding the price of the book at $10.95 until January 16th.

After that date, it goes back up to $15.95 and it’s going to stay there, for the foreseeable future…

So, get it NOW and save a few bucks.

Sales of the book still supports the Corten Cavalry, and…  it always will.  Help yourself and help others at the same time!

For those of you waiting anxiously for the release of “The Nuts and Bolts of ISBU Housing” – we’re told that final legal approval and sign-off is just around the corner. While we grow more and more impatient by the day, we’re almost there… finally…

(If we’d known there were so many hoops to jump thru, we’d have done it differently, in retrospect…)

Now… on with the show;

I got a pointer to a post today that really sums up what many of us dream about. We want to change our lives for the better…


Can you change the world in 100 days?

Yes. And, you can do it with a day to spare!  🙂

A Mom and her daughter decided to trek around the world, documenting people following their dreams.

They traveled to 6 continents, filming almost a dozen different people following their passions and dreams, to make the world  a better place.

YOU Can Follow YOUR dreams… It just takes will power and a big heart!

Want more inspiration?

A buddy of mine, Dr. Owen Geiger,  has released a DVD about Earthbag Home Building that is a must have for anyone even thinking about using earthbags in ANY kind of Hybrid or Alternative Home plan.

If a picture is worth a thousand words… this DVD is worth it’s weight in GOLD!

I encourage you to go see Owen at to find out more about this exciting DVD!

My thanks to Owen Geiger, for reminding me about this inspiring media!


Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

5 Nov

Greetings, Campers!

Okay, so I took a break from that plasma cutter.

A guy has to eat, you know! 🙂

My family needs a house. My family has no cash. My family has a plan… and it involves Shipping Containers, recycled steel, and a lot of hard work. Hey, that’s why they call it “sweat equity”!

Most readers of this blog know that after a hurricane and an insurance company wiped out our dreams of  “a life lived like regular people”, we started rebuilding.

Katrina Bites

And, our faithful readers know that our build is harder than most, because we have “complications.” My wife is seriously ill with cancer, and my son (who is 2 years old) isn’t big enough to swing a hammer yet.

I’m not going to bore you with all those details, because I’ve talked about them before. Suffice to say, we have our hands really full.

As we speak, I’m cutting “containers into boxes.” I’m helping a guy build a small “demented village”, out of damaged container segments. And, that’s work that will make a fella mighty hungry…

So, as I sit here watching the sweat rain down, for the 37th day in a row (or so it seems) …

I’m gathering my thoughts, while I gather up this sandwich, and stuff it into my face.

sandwichNote: Not the REAL sandwich. You think I’m crazy? This one’ll kill you!  😉

So… you read, while I eat, ‘kay? Try to ignore the chomping and slurping… my wife does… barely… 🙂

I was out reading on the ‘net a few days ago, and something I read made me think about a guy I’ve been corresponding with for a while.

A reader recently contacted me (we’ll call him “J”), and told me about a “Corten Cabin” he has… stashed up in the woods. It’s what some of us would call a “Bug – Out Box”.

Now, “J” contacted me, because his box looks just like my old blog header, except for his box is twice as long.

cropped-rr-banner-0509cYou remember… this one.

“J” has a 40′ High Cube Shipping Container sitting on cinder blocks, out in the middle of nowhere, that he uses for weekend fishing trips.

There’s a logging road for access, unmaintained for years… that’s passable when it’s not under mud, or frozen under snow drifts.

The story he told me of them towing that container into the woods was hilarious.

His father-in-law wasn’t laughing, however… It was HIS truck they blew up moving that box.

Know how much it costs to get a tow-truck back into 4wd country, to haul out a dodge pick-up? Go on, guess!

More than the truck is worth. Oy.

It reminded me of a box we moved years ago, that kept trying to drag us back down the hill, before we got to the top of it…

You know how people say that when they’re facing their death, their life flashes before their eyes? Well, on THAT day, it kept happening to us over and over again…

After a while, all we could do was hang on, and scream “Deja VU!” at the top of our lungs…

Sure, we sounded like frightened little girls! We were scared “you-know-what!”  🙂

Wait… this post is supposed to be about “J”.

While he goes up there on weekends in the summer, he’s thinking that “with the economy trying to kill itself”, his family may be forced to head there someday, to ride out whatever “chaos and storm” the “hard times to come” might bring…

Now, we’re all nervous. You can’t watch cable TV without some “expert” saying that it’s time America either “checked up, or packed it in.”

We’ve all heard “it.” You know, the “experts” touting their “fearmongering” crap… “All nations eventually fail. Yada, yada, yada…”

I suspect that this is in part due to Cable TV shows like “The Colony” that advocate forward thinking rolled into a nice tight ball, to form a dysfunctional view of what survival in our times may end up being like, if you’re a complete idiot…


I’ve watched a few of these “disaster simulators”. You know, “here’s a look at what happens, when the “you-know-what” finally hits the fan”.

Everybody has a scenario. Everybody is sensationalizing our plummet to a grim capitalistic  death. Everybody is speculating… Everybody is plotting…

But  you know… we may not all get stranded with a rocket scientist, an electrical engineer, a mechanic, a nurse, a martial arts expert, and a doctor, yada… yada… yada…

We might get stranded by our “onesies.” So, we should understand what we’re doing, in case the cavalry doesn’t show up in time to make any repairs.

Or worse, we’ll inherit that drunk jerk up the street. You know the one…

… he’s always passed out on the lawn, none of his cars run (and he’s got eight of ’em), and he’s always getting his lights turned off. The cops are always at his house… and his wife is always at YOUR house, “borrowing” groceries. Yeah, they’re gonna be a lot of help… Oy.

It’s why I also advocate knowing how to safely use and maintain personal firearms. And tasers… lets not forget tasers…

Like  I was saying…  before I so rudely interrupted myself… “J” thinks that if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, he and his family (he’s married with 4 children aged from 3-9) might have to be up there in his “bass box” the winter time, and he reminds me that it’s REMOTE.

There are no neighbors. There is no store. Walmart ain’t got there yet…

There’s just your wife yelling at you because you forgot the big Sam’s Club carton of toilet paper!  “Ya Dumb Moron!!” 🙂

He’ll have whatever he hauls in with his small SUV, and that’s it. He doesn’t want to rely on propane, or any other type of “store-bought” fuel, simply because it might not be available.

There’s a neat little bass lake about 200 feet from his front porch.


He says you can spit into the pond, and catch a big, fat bass. (So, they won’t lack for protein.) Hence the name “Bass Box.” Paying attention? Huh?

The box isn’t anything to write home about, it’s just a big shipping container. Except for insulation and siding on the outside, it’s a regular box.

The box sits with the front face (40′) facing a few degrees of due south. It wasn’t “a solar plan”, it’s just the way the site worked out.

Actually, the “real” story goes like this:

They argued for three hours about where “the perfect spot” for the box was. Finally, his big brother said:

“@%$^#&#*!!! IT GOES RIGHT DAMN HERE!”

And then he punched “J” right in the eye. Voila! Problem solved. 🙂

He (and his brother – who is no longer available for “cabin help,” by the way…) applied a waterproof membrane on the exterior of the box. They used a rubberized roofing membrane that you spray on. ‘Cept, they used paint rollers, so it’s REALLY thick…

Why?  Well, because they found 2 barrels of it… “just laying around, that nobody wanted”.

I know, I know… Don’t ask, don’t tell…

After they’d added more “water seal” to the box, they firred it out with 2×6’s.  This created cavities, and those cavities received about 4″ of PolyIso foam into the cavities.

When I asked him where he got the PolyIso foam boards, he told me that they’d;

“… found/commandeered/discovered the material from a vacant industrial real estate listing they had. It was just laying there collecting dust”.

“Real Estate Plunder”. Okay, works for me…

Don’t worry “J”… we won’t hold “logistical left-turns” against you. We might, however, hold it against you that you’re a (gasp!) realtor!

Say… do you know a guy named “Clark?” Hmmm? 🙂

He put some siding scraps over the insulation that they found on “a dead building project”…

Hmmmm… I’m not sure if “J” is a recycler, or a felon. Note to self: “If getting stuff from “J”… always get a signed receipt.” 🙂

Anyway, as near as I can figure, he’s got about an r20-r30 wall system (depending on which PolyIso rigid foam product it is, it ranges from about r5 to r8 per inch). So, he can “almost” hold heat in, once he gets it there.

I say “almost” because he ran out of insulation at the top of the box, so the roof is uninsulated.

But, he’d been thinking about some kind of clerestory roof anyway to bring in more summer sun. Right now, “J” has a flat roof with a pair of vents on top, that are identical to the one depicted in my old blog header image.

Steel ShedObviously, we’re going to pay some attention to this.

First, I’ll sue him for patent infringement… 🙂

You know what? I miss that old blog header. I think I’ll do my “Lazarus act” and resurrect it.

Seriously, a cool SHED roof would add headroom, a cool space for a few sleeping lofts, some additional storage, and a good opportunity for vents and windows to help with air movement and heat gain.

Plus we can use that roof pitch to catch water, and get rid of snow.

“J’s” back is gonna hurt for a week or two, by the time we’re done. Boy, I bet “J” wished he’d never heard of me, NOW…

Picture “J” sad. Poor “J.”

That just leaves the floor.

Shipping container floors are treated with serious insecticides and fungicides to keep alien bugs out of foreign ports.

Wood preservatives containing a number of organochlorine insecticides, including aldrin (no, not BUZZ Aldrin!), dieldrin, chlordane and lindane, are just the beginnings of the treatment that floors receive.

Although I know people who’d like to stuff Buzz Aldrin into a container… Oy!

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, rip these floors out.

You can’t EVER trust the shipper you got the container from. The labels denoting the presence of that toxin are often worn off, or even just missing. Because the containers are moved so often and with so many variables…  you can’t tell which ones got the toxic sprays just by looking.

Some containers escape without being sprayed or treated, but the only way to know for sure, is to take a sample of the floor out, and get it tested at a lab.

There’s are products that you can put on the floor to encapsulate them. That’ll seal the toxins in there, but they’ll still BE there. And, those products are expensive. We’ll go a different route.

Okay, all that accomplished, you’d have a “shelter”.

Inside, it’s spartan. It’s so bad that his wife won’t even go up there! Once you get through those big steel doors, you’re greeted by a few wooden shelves, a tiny wood stove, hammocks, and a blow-up mattress for a bed.

Did I forget to mention that they have a “shanty with a hole in the butt seat” kind of outhouse.

Oh yeah, they have an outhouse.

I bet he found THAT at a construction site, too… 🙂

He has a composting toilet, but it’s still in the box, in the garage. That’s kinda dumb… Lotta good it’s doing him, there! 🙂

Okay, he needs a bathroom, too.

And, he reminded me about 11 times that the box gets cold. So, we turn up the heat a bit.

He doesn’t want to try any “geothermal nonsense” (his words) because the container is already in place, and he couldn’t move it if he wanted to.

Actually, his exact words were;

“Ronin, don’t be giving me none of your Geothermal nonsense, I don’t like shovels, my friend…” 🙂

He doesn’t want to rely on solar panels, because he’s not a guy with a lot of money to set up a complete “off-grid” situation. The closest he’s come to that is a Harbor Freight photovoltaic set-up with a pair of small panels.

So, he has enough power for a laptop computer, a TV, and maybe a radio.

(I’m going to try and talk him into replacing that crap inverter, and adding a panel or two so that he can establish some kind of “real” electricity, for refrigeration and other necessities.)

With the world going digital, I wonder what TV signal he’d get? I’m thinking he uses a VCR or a DVD player… Remind me to check, okay?

He has a good water supply.

It’s a hand-pumped well that draws water from about 175 feet. If he wants a shower, he pumps water up into a black painted 55 gallon barrel on the roof of his container, and then gravity-feeds it to a showerhead.

This is great for one guy on a weekend, but it’s not gonna work for a “family in residence”. Nuh uh!

We need a solar powered pump, too.

BTW: The gray water from the shower, and doing the dishes goes out into the garden, that for now, only feeds the wild animals that live around his box.

That’s good, but we’ll do better.

They have a small swedish fireplace/stove combination installed, but they only use it for heat at night. It’s sitting on patio tiles as a hearth. So, it’s not exactly ideal. We’re gonna move the stove, and build it “into a better box”.

Again, it’s about managing resources. “J” says that he doesn’t want to use it during the day, if he doesn’t have to. Why? He hates chopping wood. HATES it! 🙂

The stove vents out the side of the box. Sort of… It’s a rather shaky connection.

So, we do some chimney repair, and then we use what I call “idiot solar” to help bump up the heat. But, we’ll use solar in a different way than “normal people” are used to.

Okay, I can see that there is a lot to do, but he needs to do it one weekend at a time.

And, he needs to do it in a way that maintains the security of the structure, so that he doesn’t end up with visitors he doesn’t want, or need, while he’s away…

So, over the next few posts in this series, we’re going to take that empty 40′ High Cube Shipping Container, and we’re going to turn it into a full blown cabin, complete with sleeping lofts, and enough interior to let it be used comfortably, for a long vacation in the woods.

It’s all about his family’s survival, if times get hard. And, it’s all about HIS survival, if his wife gets mad.

After all, out in the woods… nobody can hear you scream… Muuuuwahhahah!

We’re not just going to insulate that container top. We’re going to “weatherize” the box.

Weatherizing isn’t “turning off the heat and freezing in the dark”.

Try that with your wife sleeping next to you. I guarantee you that you’ll wake up, dead!

It’s all about using ‘stored’ energy (and less of it than you might think) combined with small resources to achieve the same level of comfort that you used to get from that McMansion of yours.

How do you accomplish this?

Well, first, you find all the “energy nasties” and you give them the boot. In this case, we’ll start with that leaky stove chimney, and work outward from there. Careful planning and attention to detail will have this family in a sustainable vacation home, in no time.

We’re also going to deal with indoor air quality.

Remember that the air quality is 2-5 times worse in your house, than the air outside it.   This is a small space, that may be inhabited by a family of six (or maybe even more, if that damned brother promises not to punch him in the eye again) , under rather severe conditions, and maybe for extended periods of time.

Beyond air quality, we need to pay close attention to energy use, moisture (and it’s movement… unless you LIKE mold and mildew), combustion zones, and ventilation.

Remember, condensation is a killer.

Areas in walls and roof cavities that stay moist, start to grow funky things that attack your lungs. YUCK!

Ice dams on roofs can contribute to this problem, too. So we’re going to pay close attention to that roof, it’s construction, and it’s pitch.

We’ll talk about fixing that stove vent/chimney, before you huff and puff… and burn your house down…

We’ll talk about designing, building, and attaching a roof to catch the sun and even a couple of kids.

We’ll talk about photovoltaic panels on the cheap, and an “in-wall solar heating” solution.

We’ll talk about building loft spaces into it, to get the kids up and out of your hair.

We’ll talk about a “hidden” Master bedroom.

We’ll talk about the floor of that shipping container, and what to do about it.

We’ll talk about a kitchen (with a refrigerator, and running water, and everything!) and even a real bathroom.

We’ll talk about catching water and setting up a graywater system.

And, we’ll talk about building storage.

We need to add some serious storage  into that shipping box, so that it can house all their crap, so that “J” doesn’t step on everything they own, in the middle of the night, when that damned bear is trying to beat down the door!

And we’re going to accomplish this, a goal at a time, a weekend at a time…


Because you “Show me a man who failed… and I’ll show you a man who didn’t have a good plan”.

We’re not just  going to meet his needs, we’re going to exceed his expectations.

Why? Well, because… I know his wife… and she’ll kill him! (gulp!)

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

I Gotta Get Me One Of These “Bug-Out Boxes!!”

27 Apr

Say hello to;

The All Terrain Cabin (ATC)

A bunch of Canadians, tired of being shown up by us “innovative Container types” decided that they’d “one-up” us by slapping together a cabin, and putting it on the road, for everybody to see…

atc1Little did they know  that they were playing right into our hands! You see, it’s exposure that we’re after! We want people to see us (but not “exposed,” because that’s against the law)!! 🙂


So, probably fueled by that horrid Canadian Beer, they bent over their drafting boards, and came up with this beauty of a cabin! Now, I’m guessing that they came up with it “lickety-split,” because everybody knows that Canadian beer isn’t all that good, and it goes right through you like “a bullet through butter!” 😉


Seriously, a few “bright bulbs” in Canada decided to show us how it’s done, and I must say that they did a fine job!  They’ve brought together good design, some great technology, and even some imagination and wrapped it in a “Corten Cocoon.” And now, it’s on the road, for everybody to see and experience!


In spite of being taxed by that terrible Molson stuff (how in the world do you drink that swill? Blaaaaech!) they designed a small cabin, using a standard ISBU shipping container as the basis, and then they brought the “Canadian Flair” to it. Now Canadian Flair isn’t a WWE wrestler, it’s a combination of all great things Canadian, squeezed into a very small package. Hmmm… That reminds me of a tiny little lass from Toronto I used to date, back when I still had hair on my head. I wonder what she’s up to? I’d call her, except for that pesky restraining order… 🙂


The result is a a really efficient cabin, full of style and smarts! The cabin, although quite small, is perfect for a for a family of four (and even your dog) to live or vacation in, “off the grid” in what can only be described as ” Corten comfort and contemporary style.”  Remember, it’s a shipping container. Delivery is as easy as you could imagine it might be! Just roll that lil beauty onto a train, truck, ship, airplane or helicopter (if it’s on steroids), and off it’ll go, to the destination of your choice. And, in travel mode, it’s all folded up and indistinguishable from any ordinary shipping container. So, you could move it every year! Talk about a “time-share” that keeps on giving!  This year; “The Rockies!” Next Year; “Tahiti!”  Yeah, Baby!


Once it arrives “home,”  it unfolds rapidly to 480 glorious square feet  of completely self-contained, sophisticated living space with all the comforts of your home in the city!


If you want to live softly, smartly, and stylishly on this rock of ours, this may just be the way! But, it’s just an evil April Fools Joke, I’m afraid. You can’t have one. Why? Because there’s only one ATC in the whole world and there are only so many places it will visit. They have no intention of building them for us to live in! Oh the horror! Why? Oh Why? 😦


See? I told you you had to watch out for those darned Canadians, they’re SNEAKY and they’ll break your heart!! I expected something like this out of Paul Stankey, but to have it perpetrated  by our neighbors to the north? That’s just wrong! 🙂

Stay Tuned!

The Renaissance RoninRenaissance Ronin is a blog dedicated to helping you help yourself. We’re going to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about building a home out of recycled materials. A home that will save you money, provide you with comfort and security, and provide for your needs, for decades to come. If you appreciate what we’re doing here, hit the Paypal button up there on the right, and lend us a hand!  We really need your help!

“Bubba Boxes” for the masses!

4 Apr

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…

Our country imports more than it exports! “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!”

It’s called a “trade deficit.” But one byproduct of this development is the metal mountains of empty shipping containers piling up at  shipping ports and transport centers. And it’s not just here, either! These containers are becoming a blight on the landscape, blocking out the sun, and ruining the “environment” of the locals!

What to do with them all?

Fear not! There are groups of innovative architects, engineers, and alternative housing visionaries who have THE answer!

How about an inexpensive home? Or maybe an Art studio in your backyard? Or how about a self-contained weekend get-away? Do you need a medical clinic in a remote area? And I bet somebody could use some FEMA type relief-housing after a natural disaster that actually makes sense!

Hey, howabouts a cozy “Corten cabin” in the backyard for when the “In-Laws” come to visit? I mean, that way… they’d have their own space and they wouldn’t feel like they were intruding on you… Yeah, right!

And you could slip out in the middle of the night, all “ninja-like…” slap a padlock on those wonderfully sturdy doors, and ship that puppy off to China! I’d tell ya the rest of the “plan,” but my wife is watching me type… 🙂

Lots of people all around the planet are building prefab, ecologically intelligent structures from empty cargo containers. And this may come as a shock to some of you… but they’ve been doing it for decades.


A 40 foot container can cost you anywhere from $800 to $2000, plus a shipping fee to your building sight. That’s kind of crazy sounding, huh? You have to pay a shipping fee, to get a shipping container. Well, just like you learned in high school Science class; “There ain’t no free lunch!” 🙂

There are several companies and organizations  in America now, like [ISBU2YOU] that will actually outfit the container with doors, windows, insulation, HVAC, and all the amenities your little heart desires, from utilitarian (like building in composting toilets), to upscale (like installing solar and PV arrays).

Let’s face it, you either like ISBUs, or you hate them. I personally think that they get a bad rap, but that’s just me. Using the containers as housing is a  fascinating concept to some, and an  “industrial waste – eye sore” to others…


But whatever your view, you have to admit that our concept of the world is changing fast. “McMansions” are out, and “Microhouses” are “IN!” And, GREEN is all the rage! It’s time to re-utilize the junk we’ve spent decades creating, and reconfigure the way we think, so we can reevaluate “our right to the disposable lifestyles” that we’ve been living, before it’s too late!

Now may be the perfect time. For the first time in “real” history, the Government is actually looking for alternatives to housing. It’s quite possible that there are “Stimulus Bill” dollars available to build a home out of recycled shipping containers. We’re going through the bill line by line, looking for places where we might find some assistance.  The way I see it, if we can bail out AIG, it’s time we bailed out families. American Families. You know, the people who actually built America in the first place!

Look, houses aren’t the only things you can build out of these wonderful boxes. Containers make perfect low cost structures for clinics in remote or impoverished areas. A building such as this might mean the difference in a non-profit having the money to start medical services or letting people suffer and die. Facility expenses can be a huge burden when calculating the money needed to get a project off the ground.


A pal of mine, Paul Stankey has built a terrific “Holyoke Cabin” in Minnesota. It’s a “small scale beauty,” a masterpiece full of natural light and industrial-urban attitude out in the woods. It just takes creativity to create a sense of intrigue by capitalizing on the aspects of building with metal containers! Plus, it’s cheap, and the materials are readily available!


Although Paul used “little boxes,” all the structural load in an 8-by-40-by-9 1/2-foot container is carried by the corner castings, steel columns at each of the four corners. This means that doors and windows can occur anywhere else in  the structure. Whole walls can be cut out and replaced with glass, and interior walls can be anywhere or nowhere.

You can build in walls that slide out (just like in an RV) to make your ISBU cabin even bigger! And when it’s time to go home, you just push the sliders in, lock the container doors, and off you trot! And, Your cabin is secure!

Plus, as an added bonus… The boxes can be stacked like giant Lego blocks, cantilevered into space to create intriguing overhangs and practical decks, or cut apart and reassembled into new configurations. Talk about versatile!


So why aren’t you building one? Hmmm?

container-cabinEven a “modest” box makes a splendid cabin!

Help is available. There’s a new group setting up shop in late April, called “ISBU2YOU” that’s going to start turning out cabins you can truck anywhere, set down, and then, pick up and move to greener pastures, if you decide to! Think of it as an “Armor Plated RV.”

I call ’em “Bubba Boxes.”

They’ve promised me that they’re going to get a detail package ready, so that you can learn how to live in the woods (or anywhere else for that matter) in style, while your friends and neighbors go broke spending a lifetime paying for mortgages, second homes, and hotel bills! ! They’ll give you all the details on how they’ll fab a container cabin for you, and ship it out to your site!

Now I actually know these guys, and I’ve seen the stuff that they’ve built, “far afield” in disaster relief efforts. It’s amazing what you can do, with a little bit of creative energy, and a plasma cutter!

For the price of a new full-sized car, you could be in a nice warm container-cabin, without a huge mortgage! Think of the possibilities! Add a water line, and an electrical cord, and voila!

You’re in heaven!

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance RoninAnd please remember that we’re trying desperately to save this blog. As my wife’s illness worsens, the budget gets tighter and tighter. If you like what you read, and it helps you find your path, please consider hitting the Paypal button, and donatining a few bucks to the cause, okay? We really want to keep this blog going!

Is living GREEN really possible? Start with Solar!

2 Feb

The stomach churning  news about our rapidly failing economy seems to get more painful every time I turn on CNN or FOX News….

As I watch cable, “people paid to know the answers” make predictions on how and when things will turn around.  Analysts seeking their 15 minutes of fame play the blame game as to how we got into this mess in the first place. It doesn’t matter how we arrived here, folks…

The fact is: “We’re here.” No matter which side you’re on, be it Republican, Democrat, or Independent…

America has experienced a mind-boggling crisis of leadership on almost every front. You don’t have to be a “paid commentator” to see that leadership so poor  can’t be  easily explained away, without using terms like “utter incompetency” or “criminal negligence.”

Still, in spite of the horror of all the negative headlines… for most of us, life goes on pretty much as usual.. if the distinct possibility of losing your credit, your job, and your home is “usual…”

We all know that when it gets bad, we need a good leader to get us through the desert and into the “promised land,” even if we have to drag us  there, kicking and screaming!


And good leadership is is never more important than in times of economic disaster… but it is really put to the test in times such as these. America needs to heal, and we need to do it, one step at a time.

What does Ronin think about all of this? I know that you’re just dying to find out, hmmm? Well? Are ya? Okay, since you twisted my arm… I think that “Green Living ” is a good place to start the healing.

The incoming Obama administration talks a lot about supporting alternative energy and green technologies. With great fanfare, President Obama has released a plan that includes the following goals:

* Help create 5 million new jobs by investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.

Solar can do this.

* Put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars — cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon — on the road by 2015, cars to be built in America.

Solar can do this.

* Ensure 10% of the electricity in the United States comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025

Solar can do this.

* Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80% by 2050.

Solar can do this.

Ahem… President Obama, if you’re listening: “SOLAR can do this!”

The planet is hardly “standing still.” With global energy consumption expected to double between 2005 and 2030, new legislation and regulations, and growing consumer demand and awareness are driving growth in energy-efficient end products, particularly in the appliances, lighting, home entertainment systems, computing and communications, and automotive markets.

This is a boon for those of us looking to streamline our existence, by co-existing. And saving energy puts cash back in our pockets.

Demand for hybrid and electric vehicles, for example, is increasing as a result of the pressure to cut carbon emissions and concerns regarding the stability of supply and the cost of oil.

tesla-electric-carDon’t hate me cuz’ I’m beautiful! LOL!

If you don’t like that one, how about this one? Hmmm? I give you “The Ultimate Aero EV!”


Shelby SuperCars recently announced plans to produce an all-electric version of one of their current cars, the Ultimate Aero, also known as the world’s fastest production car. The new model will be powered by their revolutionary All-Electric Scalable Powertrain (AESP) will provide 100% torque at 0 RPM and better performance compared to traditional internal combustion engines. With a 1,000 horsepower twin motor and 800 ft-lb of torque the car will be able to achieve 60mph in 2.5 seconds and have a top speed of 208mph. According to the company, using a patented new technology (“Charge on the Run”) the battery will charge in 10 minutes and have a 150-200 mile range.

Now, I just hope that these technologies will prove themselves and then quickly “trickle down” to us “little people.” That would mean more affordable electric cars for the rest of us. And, you know I live for an affordable electric car that goes 200+ miles per hour. But where do the groceries and the baby stroller go?

(Fear not, for “Screamin’ Green 200+ mph,” I’ll strap my wife to the hood, like a deer!) LOL!

FYI: The car in this video has a 387 cubic inch, all aluminum, twin turbo intercooled V8 gas engine. Can’t wait to see how they figure out how they also plan to draw enough juice from a 220v plug to power up the batteries, in 10 minutes! It sounds like a cool goal!

Now, if my blog makes me a cool “Eleventy Million Bucks!” I’ll be able to afford one. Okay, maybe just the gearshift knob…


Oops! I know… I know… Never wave a sexy car at Ronin… I’ll forget about everything else! Oy Vey!

Now where was I? Oh yeah…

These same concerns are also fueling demands to make conventional gasoline, diesel-powered, and “alternative fuel” automobiles even more efficient. As we move forward, scientists, engineers and even software geeks (remember that “job-creation” part?) will play a key role in the development of  more efficient vehicles and other products that we depend on in our daily lives.

Can President Obama really have an impact on America?

After all, the Republicans saber-rattle at the “Stimulus Bill,” the Democrats are trying to figure out how much of their “pie” they will lose to Obama’s new “watchdog actions on Congress,” and Independents are still “tearing their hair and gnashing their teeth…”

According to my “Magic 8-Ball,” the Obama presidency can bring about new tax incentives and “green initiatives” for power conservation in a huge range  of  products, from consumer goods such as TVs and white goods to enterprise-storage equipment. BTW: Magic 8-ball says; “Outlook Good.”

The Obama presidency will need to make and show an economic change quickly in order to make good on his “lofty” campaign promises. The President will need to call in his troops to help him achieve his goals. He has expressed strong support of “Clean and Green” technologies and if he acts effectively, he CAN achieve those goals.

It isn’t going to be easy, but an increased emphasis on scientific development, renewable energy, high-tech and infrastructure renewal ( the Internet II project, for example) should actually accelerate America’s growth.

Just how much progress can we make? Well…  we’ll just have to wait and see.

Everyone hopes that  President Obama will make wise decisions that will have both long- and short-term benefits for the economy. I think he has the ability to inspire the country. He’s already proven that. What America needs is a healthy economy that produces a need for its products.

If Obama can help America embrace “Living Green,” we can all start to heal and see almost immediate results.

It’s a given that it isn’t just “us” suffering this horrid economic downturn.  The world’s economic balance will be affected in ways we can’t clearly imagine or predict, despite what all the “contradicting analysts” on Cable TV say.  America must be hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. What we do know is that although we don’t know what the future holds, we must be well-positioned to face and overcome the challenges that America may be faced with.

Everything we use should be designed to go full-circle. You can never throw anything away that could be reused or recycled, and we must teach our children to do the same.

I was recently reminded of a National Geographic article reprint entitled “What On Earth Are We Doing?” National Geographic really needs to reprint this, and get it into classrooms! You don’t have to hug a tree to realize that the environment is that important.

So where do we start?

Obama wants 10% of energy resources in the United States to come from renewable sources, by 2012. That’s actually doable.

Solar can do this.

The “Energy naysayers” say that solar and wind are just idealistic nonsense. They claim that both of these potential areas of energy growth aren’t reliable or efficient. To them, I say this…


Solar panels and wind turbines create electrical energy, by using semi-conductors to play a vital role. And, I admit that solar panels have a significant problem, But, it’s a problem that existing technology (analog semi-conductors) can remedy!

Just like the battery in your car, a bad cell in an array of solar panels can seriously compromise the amount of power generated by the array. And, if just one panel in an array of solar panels is impaired by shade, be it a tree, a chimney, or another building, the electrical output for the entire array is compromised.

Here’s how to fix it: Adding semi-conductor based modules that monitor and regulate energy to the panels (and how it’s used) can lessen this problem dramatically, and improve the panel’s efficiency.

Now, some of these “miracle modules” are already available. The problem is that demand isn’t large enough yet to make them affordable to you and me. Let’s hope that Obama uses his clout to push these new “Smart Power” technological break-thrus into the mainstream, so that we can help him use them to achieve his goals, and ours.

And so ends another broadcast day… this ends our daily broadcast…


Next time, we’ll talk about more “Ronin’s Rules of Homebuilding,” I promise!

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

Success means making good decisions! Here’s How:

1 Feb

I’m hard at work, writing posts about “Ronin’s 10 Rules of Homebuilding.”

And, it’s heady stuff, stuff that makes you think, and hopefully, stuff that will help people build homes that “live with them and not against them.”

Building an “Alternative Home,” can be complicated. After all, you’re using materials, processes and techniques (be it Rammed Earth, Concrete Dome, Shipping Container, or whatever else you can imagine) that aren’t considered “normal,” you’re incorporating Green Design (like daylighting, mass walls, and recycled materials), Alternative Power Sources (i.e. Solar, Wind,  Geothermal, and sometimes even Hydro!) and dealing with people who have been doing it “the same old way, for the last 50 years.”

A guy I read, Ned Pelger (not often enough), recently reminded me of something so profound, that I thought it bears repeating.

Some of us are hard at work, trying to rebuild our lives and our families, by rebuilding our homes, out of anything that we can find. Let’s face it, the economy sucks, it isn’t getting any better, and the “restoration” of the national health we’re all eagerly waiting for, is a long ways off.

Obama definitely has his hands full. He’s inherited a landslide that makes Sisyphus (the father of Odysseus) task (the Greeks said that in the underworld Sisyphus was compelled to roll a big stone up a steep hill; but before it reached the top of the hill the stone always rolled down, and Sisyphus had to begin all over again)…  look like a cakewalk.

Whether you’re facing a rebuild, or a remodel, it can get daunting. During the course of any given day, you can be faced with many very important decisions. How do you do it? Well…

Ned reminded me that;

“As we try to make good decisions on complex job site problems, we should consider the Colin Powell method. He asked subordinates three things:

1. Tell me what you know.
2. Tell me what you don’t know.
3. Now…tell me what you think.

When problem solving, keep in mind that most of us do a poor job of keeping those three items clear in our head. They all swirl together and often lead us to make stupid decisions. Learn to break thoughts, advice and opinions into those three categories and you will see more truth.

More truth improves every area of your life.”

Sun Tzu (you remember… “Ancient Art of War,” right?), centuries before, thought similarly.

Using these three simple rules will lead you to firm ground, logical decisions, and a successful project.

I know… I know… more rules! Well, the house ain’t gonna build itself, right?

Now go get ’em!

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

Is there a defense of Defense?

29 Jan

No, I’m not writing a blog post about the upcoming Superbowl.

WARNING! I’m gonna warn you in advance that I’m really pissed off. Cover your eyes, if you have to! This isn’t gonna be a “kid-friendly” post…

I know that you’re shocked, and that this is out of the blue, but…

I’m on a mission. I’m so pissed off that I wish I still had a truck with a tank  full of gas, so I could drive to certain “author’s” house and kick his sorry ass all the way to Canada. I haven’t been this pissed off in a while… I’m talking “breaking bones with each blow” pissed off…

Some of you don’t know me, but I’m just a guy trying to help my family get back into a home, after Katrina. There’s no news in that, there are thousands of us facing the same dilemma. I don’t wave any flags in anybody’s face, and I don’t wear anything on my sleeve that resembles my heart. I’m no different than anyone else, I’m just trying to get my family to a better place.

My blog finds it’s roots in my travels around the rock, bouncing from “Banana Republic to Banana Republic.”

And I’m not talking about the ones you find in Strip Malls…

I’ve admittedly seen way more of the “human experience” than I wanted to… For instance, I know that a “sit rep” isn’t a machine you find a Bally’s Fitness gym.

My blog gets a lot of reads by people who have decided to “drop off-grid” and become “self-supportive” to the point of Isolation.  I can really get behind that. My lifelong goal was to find a hundred or so acres somewhere, and build a “Net Zero” abode, complete with “hot and cold running kids” and filled with laughter and happiness. Hell, I might even grade the dirt road, so you could come visit, in the summer. But, life being what it is, I’m just trying to deal with the realities of the day.

On another list I read (because some of my readers frequent and refer to it) they’ve started a discussion on how we deal with youth today, kids looking to the Military to help them on their way to adulthood.

I’ll remind you that a “list owner” isn’t responsible for the commentary of his readers. Let me say for the record that the owner of the list I’m talking about is kinda cranky sometimes, but I don’t hold him accountable for the ravings of some of his “readership.” However, after my last visit to his list, it makes me sick to even be vaguely associated with some of the assholes that post there.

To that end, for reasons I’ve already explained to the list owner, I’ve written a response to something I read there. However I’m going to post it here on RR, to avoid it harming his list, and to prevent the matter from being being “round-filed” or buried for being “inflammatory.”

Here’s the meat of the post today:

I’m the author of a fairly popular blog about “alternative construction.” I usually don’t get involved in conversations about politics, religion, or (gasp!) government. RennaissanceRonin is a blog that documents the attempt of one family to build a home out of recycled materials, because frankly, we can’t afford to just go out and purchase whatever we need, to complete the task at hand.

Many people have been following along (we’ve gotten about 15,000 “reads” in the last several months), while my family attempts to recover from the loss of our home, due to a natural disaster. The reason that this has dragged out so long has more to do with appeasing Insurance Company stockholders and politics, and less to do with effort on our parts, but the result is the same. Each day, my family strives to take one step closer to the goal we have set for ourselves… reclaiming home-ownership.

Because of both where we’re from and where we live, our family’s solution to this dilemma isn’t the same as the one others might make, but we truly feel that our path provides opportunity, and even reward, if we work hard enough to finally find it within our grasp.

Many of you know that my family is having a terrible time. My wife is gravely ill, my son is just a baby, and I’m not going to lie to you… we live “day to day,” trying to find a way out in circumstances that are slowly crushing us…

But, we have a roof over our heads, enough blankets to stay warm, and we have enough to make sure that anyone around us who gets cold or hungry gets fed and clothed. My blog is an attempt at helping people find roads out, so that their families can heal from disaster and find new opportunities, as we try to find them, ourselves. We’re thinking “out of the box,” but in our circumstances, the box burst a long time ago…

Although we live in a minefield (something I have intimate personal experience with) we see any step forward that helps us achieve our goals as a good, well-placed step.

Teamwork helps you achieve goals. Working together to solve problems helps insure success. My life experience,  much of it purchased on foreign soil, taught me that.

Recovery is always complicated. And, recovery is often measured by the tools you bring to the wreckage. We accumulate those tools, during the course of our lives, via our life-experience and training. And then… we use whatever gray matter Mommy and Daddy gave us as we toil away, until we succeed (usually in spite of those who would take pleasure in watching us fail).

Recently, I started getting email from readers about  a thread on a list that I lurk, one where the question came up about whether a youth should trust the “speech” (or the contract) given him by Military Recruiters about “guaranteed training,” and a job in his choice of fields, when he “graduated.”

Many of the responses urged the solicitor of this advise to be extremely wary, and spoke harshly about the integrity of the recruiters, and the Armed Forces in general.

Okay, I understand this. In this day and age, there are a lot of things “wrong” with the system. Like everywhere else, it’s “Buyer Beware.” But then, the tone on the list seemed to have shifted, and it was implied that most of the people who enter Military Service are incapable, slave-minded zombies, murdering miscreants incapable of succeeding at  anything resembling a normal “day to day life,” in society. I’m summarizing here…

Few of them spoke of the opportunities presented to kids who might not have opportunities for education and job skills otherwise, especially in this horror of a failing economy.

Few of them spoke of the desperate circumstances one might leave, or the ability to leave impoverished conditions, to obtain this opportunity for growth, in the most honorable of ways.

Few of them spoke of the skills one can acquire while serving honorably in Military Service.

Few of them spoke to the foundation that Military Service can provide, as one grows into adulthood.

Anyone talking to military recruiters today knows that signing the contract may mean finding yourself in conflict. (We fight wars on television, for crying out loud.) The United State’s position in the World Arena isn’t a mystery.  Joining the Military means taking a stand, and becoming part of something greater, in spite of the rants from “idealistically challenged” liberals who think that the world is just “Roses and Honey” without American Intervention into tyranny.

But here’s my “favorite” response;

Beginning of quoted post:

“This is my message to any young person with ears to hear it:

There are few jobs in the world where losing your life is a daily — and highly likely — possibility. There are even fewer jobs where you are paid — and fully expected — to kill men, women, and children withOUT questioning your superiors (or their motives) at any time. Unless you’re a psychopath and murder, mutilation, and mayhem is your idea of a gay ol’ time, find something else to do — find ANYTHING else to do.

Yes, you read right. The author is claiming that those serving in our Military are nothing more than brainless, morally deprived, psychopathic “woman and baby-killing murderers,” who actually take pleasure in participating in the death of others…

If you want to fight for “freedom”, try fighting for your own personal freedom from our oppressive corporate culture FIRST and then find your own unique path from there. Don’t pretend to defend *my* personal freedom and liberty when you don’t have it yourself and most likely have NEVER had it and then spend the rest of your life acting like *I* or anyone else OWES you some vague debt of gratitude.

Need I remind the author that the lives (and deaths) of all those “brainless, morally deprived, psychopathic “woman and baby-killing murderers” paid for his right to not only attack and libel their character, but to voice his views in public?

And, trust me, the second you sign on with the military, you just LOST whatever tidbit of personal freedom you thought you once had. Don’t let the military machine destroy your spirit while you’re figuring out who you are and what you’re meant to do in this life.

Yeah, you get shanghai’d, and smuggled onto a ship, where you do forced labor until you die, or get a debilitating disease. And then… you die. You can’t possibly grow stronger, find your place in this world, and then return home to make the world and your local neighborhood a better place. After all, that would be uncivilized…

There are a THOUSAND better options: wander in the wilderness, become a monk, work in a soup kitchen, work in a homeless shelter, build a mountain retreat on FREE government land, fix bicycles for kids and give ’em away, serve the poor . . . you’re much more likely to remain ALIVE and actually do some good in this sorry-ass world — instead of promulgating death and destruction as a hired killer for the rich white guys. And the bonus? You’ll sleep better every night for the rest of your life . . . I guarantee it.”

Sure, there are other options, but for many of us, the unemployment rates are climbing faster than a Space Shuttle lift-off, and a life lived as a monk wandering the wilderness isn’t going to feed our families.  Oh… and that FREE government land you’re going on about was paid for with blood, too… Soldier’s blood.

End of quoted post.

Look, I know that “Big Government” and even the Armed Forces are things to be leary of. I know that, as “the little guys,” we sometimes get lost in the shuffle, and in fact, it seems like it happens pretty often. Those in “Authority” aren’t always  “fair.” But, I can assure you that after traveling  all over the world, life here in the United States is indeed better than a life lived in other places on the rock.

Me? I’m old enough to remember guys and girls who left America as kids, and returned as grown men and women, whose lives were forever changed not only by what they endured and witnessed, but by the way they were treated when they returned to us.

I remember watching them spat upon in airports, and I remember watching their terror at the mobs that threatened them, as they simply tried to return to their families. I remember their tears, as they tried to readjust to “life” after living with death.

I remember those we left behind, those we couldn’t find, those we couldn’t rescue, those we couldn’t save.

I remember watching as my friends were slowly lowered into the ground, and covered with sod.

I’m old enough now to remember that I became one of those guys…

And although I’m scarred too… I’m the better for it.

I remember, and I cannot, I will not ever forget.

I’m not going to name the author of the above quoted post, although I’ll add that he says that he’s a Vietnam Vet.  Suffice it to say, the author makes me genuinely sick to my stomach. However the fact that brave American Men and Women put their lives on the line every day gives the author the right to say it.

Contrary to the “quoted author” of that post, I don’t think of people looking to serve our country as “murderers, baby-killers, or psychopathic criminals.” I think of them as brave and heroic souls who are willing to put their bodies where their mouths (and hearts are), and stand the line so that we (and evidently this author I quoted) can say whatever we want, while they risk flying bullets, bombs, and death…

And I owe them a debt that I can never repay, for their sacrifice, their heroism and their patriotism.

What would YOU tell someone thinking of joining the Armed Services?

I know what I’d tell them…

It starts with telling the author of that “advise” I quoted above, this:

Okay, gentle readers, if you’ve gotten this far… have you got any suggestions?
I’m listening, if you have any advice. Right now, I’m going to go take an antacid…

Stay tuned…

The Renaissance Ronin

Do Lower Mortgages Equal a Bigger Noose?

9 Dec

From the beginnings of this blog, I’ve been whining about high mortgage rates, expensive building costs, and the inability of “the common man” to be able to afford decent digs.


And since the beginnings of this blog, I’ve also been telling you that you can build a house for less than the neighbors paid for their McMansion, and live as well, or better than they do, if you really plan carefully.

But, lately, I’ve been getting a lot of email about people jumping out of the “I’m gonna build it myself” boat, because they think that the failing economy will actually help them get into the house of their dreams, without picking up so much as a nail file.


The commentary runs pretty much like this; “Ronin, with rates falling, I can just buy a house. My mortgage will be lower than the rent I’m paying, and we’ll still be happy.”

To those people, I say only: “If you’re sure about where you’re putting your feet, and your future, go for it. But be careful!”

But there is another side to this. A side that is just as dark as the “dark side of the force” that Darth vader made such an embedded part of our existence. We’re having to cope with our fear.


As housing prices get more battering than the Deep South during Hurricane season, many people are just plain scared to enter the housing market.  Recent national surveys showed that 1 in 10 U.S. households with mortgages are either falling behind or already in foreclosure, a fact which is pressuring politicians in Washington to figure out ways to help distressed borrowers, and displaced families.

After all, all those families vote. You DO vote, right?

So, if all this talk about the Treasury playing with lending rates succeeds in getting mortgage rates down to 4.5%, should you take the bait and actually buy a new home?

According to CNN, The Treasury Department is actually considering a plan that will lower 30-year fixed-rate rates for home purchases to as little as 4.5%. The plan here is to stimulate sales, stop the veritable freefall of housing prices, and allow homeowners to go out and get bigger loans.moneyhouse
“Bigger loans?” Whaaaa? I’m not sure that’s such a good idea!

I took a look at the plan that the lackeys… um…er… politicians want to muscle through, and frankly, it appears that the proposed plan only helps those who buy homes, not those who want to refinance. If you couldn’t qualify for a home before, you probably won’t be able to qualify this time, either. All the usual rules will still apply, you must have a steady job and (pretty) good credit to qualify for these rates. Banks are still gonna be as tight-fisted as a greedy kid eating a Happy Meal. And, you aren’t going to be able to borrow more than the house is worth.

Low rates are a good thing, right? Should you bite the bullet, and buy that house you’ve been longing for? Hmmm?

Let’s take a hard look at how this could play out:

In the “Pros” column: You’ve probably never ever had the chance to buy a home with a 4.5% fixed-rate mortgage before, unless a seller or builder bought down your rate.

That’s a big carrot they’re dangling over your head. It’s so tempting that it just might entice fearful fence-sitters (who have been waiting for home prices to hit bottom) to rise to the bait, since it (and other stimulus measures like it) are most likely going to evaporate once the economy starts to improve.

If the government pulls this off, they’ll succeed in cutting rates to almost all-time low levels, and it will boost your buying power considerably. If you bought a resale home at the current median price of $183,300 and took out a loan for 80% of the purchase price, you’d pay $879 a month at a 6% rate. Do that very same thing at 4.5%, and you’re looking at a payment of $743 a month.

If you use your head, and forget about impressing your neighbors or In-Laws, and resist the temptation to buy more house than you can afford, you’ll be blessed with extra coins jingling in your pockets, each month. This is a good thing, because it’ll allow you to have more money to buy other consumer goods, like a new car or that new washing machine you’ve just been dying for. Plus, you’ll be “saving America,” by boosting the bottom line of retailers. That will help save jobs, and this has to happen, so that the economy can get back on track.

On the “Con” side: If you fall into the trap, and tempted by low rates, take on a bigger loan than you can afford, you’ll prove your In-Laws were right all along, and that you are indeed, an idiot. Think about it for moment, huh?

Unemployment rates are rising faster than an old geezer on Viagra. At a time when jobs are more scarce than good manners in the Mall, is this really wise? Aftrer all, you’re not just putting your financial future at risk — you’re just demonstrating that you haven’t learned a thing, and you’ll repeat the free-spending, McMansion-loving culture that created this horrible mess in the first place.

Are you sure that your job is safe?

Employers have cut 1.2 million jobs this year, sending the unemployment rate to a 14-year high of 6.5%, and economists expect that the rate will be higher when the Labor Department announces the next set of numbers, later this week. This is just the beginning, folks. Analysts say that the lay-off numbers we’ll be seeing in the first half of next year will make you cringe.

Under these circumstances, many of you should wisely decide to stay where you are rather than move, even when mortgage rates have declined. Though the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 5.47% from 5.99% in the week ending Nov. 28, applications for refinanced loans rocketed 203%, while loans to purchase homes rose only 38%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. So, new home money isn’t exactly flowing out the bank front doors yet.

Here’s the bottom line: If you can get a lower fixed-rate loan than you have now, either for a new purchase or a refinance, you’d be foolish not to take it. But there’s no reason that you have to use the money for a bigger house, or a bigger loan.

Do the smart thing.

Live within your means, and don’t take on any new big-ticket liabilities.

Downsize your expectations, and pay down your home and credit debt!

And you’ll be better prepared if you yourself get downsized, as our economy gets worse, before it gets better..

Those “Little House” nuts don’t look so crazy now… do they? Hmmm?

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

Al Gore Contributes to Global Warming!!

23 Nov

Even More About “An Inconvenient Truth”

Okay, for the last time…

Enough already! It seems like every week, I get email spouting propaganda that “I got right from ‘An Inconvenient Truth,'” like Al Gore had suddenly become Moses!

C’mon, people… gimme a break, okay?

I’ve made reference to this “movie” before. I don’t consider it a “documentary.” Documentaries are, by definition, based on “facts.” Al Gore’s spin on Global Warming isn’t the TRUTH. He uses twisted facts and bad science to stir the pot, because lemmings throw money at him, to appease them. We all know that the excesses of mankind have repercussions, but only an examination of the real facts will help us find the answers we need, to save our kids, and their kids.

And Gore isn’t doing it for “free,” he’s making millions of dollars to be the “carny barker” at the circus that he’s created. And don’t get me started on his “investments” into carbon trading companies. If the reports are true, Al Gore can actually buy carbon set-offs, and line his own pockets, at the same time! He actually  has a monetary interest in engaging in his B.S. laden alarmism.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is simply a very emotional series of “Convenient Lies,” that I truly believe was crafted by a guy who was tired of being out of the limelight, and was seeing his cash reserves dwindle down to near nothing. After all, Al Gore’s life of excess must be pretty pricey, what with his energy-glut of a mansion, his fleet of SUVs, and his private Gulfstream Jet!


Folks, Gore ain’t in this out of the goodness of his little calcified heart. Al Gore charges thousands (that’s right… thousands) of dollars a minute (I repeat, a MINUTE), for his tired old speech, that goes on and on like a well-rehearsed dog and pony show.

Goggle it! I’m not kidding!

Most of his “facts” have been proven to be based on scientific errors, bad science, conjectures, and generalizations, aimed at making him some kind of “lie-spouting energy messiah.” Al Gore KNOWS that most of his propaganda is not “factually based.” He’d be a fool not to. After all, if you really pay attention to Al Gore, he’ll go out of his way to use his “I’m so smart” speech. After all, “he” created the Internet. Remember? So, surely he must have researched his stageplay, before putting his neck in the noose by spouting his own “hot gases” about the globe’s predicament, right?


Nope. Al knows that the media defines “fact” in this generation. All you have to do is trot yourself out, and say what people want to hear, and do the “puppet dance,” and they’ll embrace you like “turkey on Thanksgiving…”

(Don’t even get me started on that one. I’m part American Indian, and so is my wife. I got yer “Thanksgiving” right here…)

So, I have a few suggestions for Al, in his next “I spent all the “A-I-T” money, and I need more…” sequel.

Only a jackass talks about saving energy, while globetrotting around in a private jet, sipping on imported champagne.

(One of his staffers recounted a “huge hissy-fit” Gore threw when “his favorite drink” wasn’t available. They actually landed the plane to get Gore his beverage of choice.)

And, implying that you’re richer than G_d by talking about your family’s big-assed cattle ranch is bone-headed.

Wow, Gore, you’re just one of us! Yeah, we all feel bad for you. Boo-hoo, you moron! Wait, I bet that Al Gore learned to belch his own special brand of methane from those cows… Hmmmm…


And I’ve got news for you, Georgie boy… A true “Energy Messiah” would NEVER deplane from his private jet, and then plant his butt in a fuel-guzzling SUV, or a huge battle-taxi of a limousine.

Not even if the world was on fire, and the flames were headed right for him. What, they don’t have Prius’s where you do your little dance number?


I think his arrival at his events in a “compact hybrid” would make pretty good press, don’t you?

And, last but not least, take some acting lessons. Hell, you’re surrounded by talent. DeCaprio seems to be connected to you at the hip, these days. Get Leonardo to give you a few pointers, so that you aren’t so damned boring. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re about as interesting as watching paint dry.

Don’t get me wrong…

There is some merit to the “Global Warming” controversy. It made us all take a long hard look at what we were doing, and now, we’re finally motivated to make peace with Mother Earth, so she’ll play nice with our children and grandchildren.

But, nothing we can do in America, is going to even offset all the coal-fired power stations the Chinese are bringing on line, this decade. So, stop telling us lies about “Global Recovery,” okay?

More importantly, I have a real problem with Al Gore lining his pockets while he “single-handedly” saves the planet. To listen to him, he’s a modern-day Mahatma Gandhi! He’s a lying hypocrite.

This jerk spouts his “Green rhetoric” and asks us to sacrifice trillions of dollars, while he munches on cheeseburger after cheeseburger, high in the sky, ala his private luxury jet. Gore, the only thing that sucks more gas than you, is the jet engines on your Gulfstream.

When Al Gore sells his mansion, gives up that private jet, sends his SUVs (Escalades that he reportedly got for free from Cadillac for being such a “Green Guy” according to one of his own staffers) into retirement, and ponies up some of his own money (he can start with that purse he got from the Nobel Prize committee he bamboozled) to actually do something besides gas belching… um… er… talking about saving the Earth, I’ll start listening.

Until then: “When Al Gore speaks… Ronin changes the channel.”

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog at all, you already know that I am all for “recycling.” I love reclaiming stuff to use in another manner, to save it from becoming waste or landfill material. I applaud the guys and gals who toil tirelessly to make energy savings a reality, and help provide a more affordable, environmentally friendly, and comfortable life for my family.

But that’s gonna take hard work and a considerable amount of sweat on my part. It’s not gonna happen because I wasted time and money listening to “pipe dreams and blown smoke” from a guy who dresses like a tele-evangelist, and gets richer by the minute, spouting fiction painted as “truth.”

Maybe THIS get-up would work better…


And stop sending me “Al Gore says so-and-so” email, okay? I’m tired of it. It’s not funny anymore. Wake up! Hello… You’re being lied to. Don’t believe me?

For crying out loud, pick up a newspaper…

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin