Archive | Opinion RSS feed for this section

Help bring a murderer to justice? Not so fast…

23 Mar

Recently I asked some of you to sign a petition… …forcing officials to further investigate “the murder” of a 17 year old Florida boy who was alleged to be walking home from a convenience store after purchasing Iced Tea and a bag of Skittles.

In that post, I recounted “evidence” presented to me, that appeared to indicate that a kid in Sanford, FL had been shot in the street while minding his own business.

The facts presented by the media made it look like George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, for the crime of acting “suspiciously”.

We were appalled at this., just like anyone else would be. In that post, we reminded our readers that IF you see something suspicious, you call a cop. You don’t put yourself in danger and you don’t act as “Judge, Jury and Executioner”.

To recap, it was reported by many news agencies that:

George Zimmerman, a local “Neighborhood Watch” volunteer decided that carrying Iced Tea and Skittles posed a threat to his community. So, he shot a child to death.

Image Credit: CBS News

It should be noted that the media photo of Trayvon used by the media was taken when he was about 12 years old. The actual appearance of Trayvon Martin at the time of his death was “considerably different”, some would even say “thugish”.

They went on to claim that Trayvon Martin was killed (shot to death) in the street by a neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed that Trayvon was “acting suspicious”. Trayvon was unarmed, wearing regular clothing (as opposed to gang clothing, colors, etc…) and just “walking toward his destination”.

They built their case by stating that “the shooter claims to have felt threatened by the boy’s presence”.

They implied that Trayvon was just “one boy, carrying a bag of skittles and a paper cup filled with Iced Tea”.

Look, many of you know that I am a proponent of firearms rights and maintaining your own personal safety, but this?

This was portrayed as murder.

And, ironically, the shooter hadn’t been charged with the commission of ANY crime.

This started the parade… Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Barack Obama.

In the original article that we wrote, we stated:

“IF George felt so “threatened” , why didn’t he just hold the boy for local LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS? I  mean, isn’t that what LEOs will tell you, when you’re donning that “Neighborhood Watch” Mantle?

I called a local LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) who actively participating in training “Neighborhood Watch Groups”. I asked him, point blank, what specific instructions volunteers are given as far as “conduct while protecting their communities”;

“If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately and then wait for officers to arrive. Do not expose yourself to risk. That’s WHAT trained Professional Law Enforcement Officials are FOR.”

Apparently, Zimmerman felt different or missed that meeting. The unarmed Martin was shot in a gated subdivision outside of Orlando by Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense under the “Stand Your Ground” law, which expands the right to claim self-defense beyond the home in Florida…

Jeff Parker / Florida Today – wrote on his blog:

“Armed with Florida’s flawed “stand your ground” laws, Zimmerman remains free as police, and now the feds, sift the facts concerning the killing of a “suspicious” teen armed only with iced tea and Skittles.”

The FACTS as they come forward, corroborated by eyewitnesses, paint a different story altogether.  The media left some of the facts out, you see.. like the fact that when shot, Trayvon was on TOP of George Zimmerman, beating him to a pulp.

But, starting a race war sells more papers, I suppose.

Whatever “really happened” is for the authorities to decide. But regardless of the outcome of the investigations, we stand by our statement that this tragic event (no matter how you look at it) gives anti-gun legislators that much more ammo (pun intended) to use as they try to disarm Americans.

Addendum – April 1st, 2012

The plot thickens;

When the story first broke, George Zimmerman got painted with a pretty broad brush… and not in a flattering color.

When this story broke, the “facts” (presented by the liberal media) made it sound like George just shot a kid in cold blood. Then, we at RR (I suspect that it’s because we’re heavily family oriented) were lobbied to help “right this wrong” using those “presented facts”.

But as time goes on, “the kid” has become something more… and certainly something less than “an innocent kid with a handful of candy”.

As we watch the facts play out (facts that are being pointed out to me in “baskets” of email, no less), the shooting of Trayvon starts to look more and more like a matter of self-defense.

One of our readers, we’ll call him “Tom”… told us;

Read the 911 transcripts and the ensuing police reports and you start to learn about the two eyewitnesses that have identified Trayvon on top of Zimmerman while Zimmerman yelled for help. The more you look at it, it becomes evident that Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon for acting suspicious, he shot Trayyon because Trayvon was already on top of him, beating him senseless.

Tom is right. WE got suckered in by the liberal media and bought the lead story, hook, line and sinker.

In fact, our first post on this shooting was based on what has now proven to be the sensationalist, biased media’s accounting of what happened along with race-baiting media wh*res like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton…

… while Obama speaks out in a manner that can only help rekindle the discontent felt during the Rodney King riots.

So, dear reader, while we’re still sorry that someone died, our gut reaction is still the same. When you see something suspicious, call a cop. Don’t put yourself in harms way. USE your head and do the right thing.

Your personal safety may depend on it.

And, understand that one of our big concerns at RR is that the media uses incidents like this to further the causes of gun-control fanatics who seek to disarm this country and turn us all into sheep.

Were not going to comment further on this matter, except to extend an apology to George… While we still maintaining that he acted incorrectly, it looks like he’s getting a bad rap.  

You can read more about it, HERE.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

Sailing the Prairie and planking the palace…

15 Nov

Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed…

Lately, I’ve been writing about a village that’s being created out of separate ISBU segments, transformed into modules specific to fulfilling a defined task.

Apparently, it boggles the minds of some of my readers, that anyone would address the concept of actually having to walk from one space to another, to accomplish a task.

Where in the world would we get such a crazy idea?

Are we nuts?

Did we grow up raised by wolves?

Are we (gasp!) Democrats?

(Sorry, just threw that last one in for “sport…”) 🙂

You’d think we were hankering for a return to the Stone Age, but we’re not. Okay, maybe just a little bit… “Bubba’s hunting Brontosauruses…” Can you imagine what a funny reality TV show THAT would be?  Makes me laugh just thinkin’ about it! 🙂

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Remember…  not all that far back in our Nations great history, brave families braved the planet, by doing exactly what we’re suggesting.

They sailed the plains and prairies in Conestoga Wagons, and then got out their handy dandy “Ronco Chop-a-matics“…

By the way… they even had “bio-fuel” back then… ‘cept… they actually ATE the corn… 🙂

And they built log homes out of sweat, blood, and a lot of profanity, let me tell you!

Bales1

How do I know this? Well, I’ve actually participated in the building of a log home or two, and lemme tell you… the language around those sites can make a sailor blush!

“Puritans” my butt! I bet that they swore like “Bikers at a buttkicking contest!” They did too! YOU try living like they did… 🙂

Where I live… If you get on Highway 49 headed North, from Gulfport, Mississippi and head toward Hattiesburg and Jackson (the State Capital), you can still see some of these “homespun” structures housing families, to this very day. Keep driving up into the heart of Tennessee, and you’ll find them used as “monuments.”

And… a large majority of those cabins turned out to be “two-roomers.”

Take this plan, for instance;

2roomerSome of them still have old highway billboards being used as roofing material. I kid you not!

And hey! If you look closely… you can even see the origins of “housing terminology” that we still use today…

Words like “breezeway” for instance… It came from the term “dog trot.” It was the place where the DOG trotted between the houses two structures. In the Deep South,  the term “dog trot” is still used, to this very day.

When those “Son and Daughters of the South…  and all parts in between” needed more space, they just built another “pen.”

Hey, don’t blame me… that’s what they called them!

Separate buildings were necessary… It’s because you can’t really expand an “interlocking log” cabin, because you need the corners to hold it up.

So, we’re changing the name of our project, from “the Ewok Village on Acid” to “The Demented Dog Trots of Dixie.”

Just thought that you should know…

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance RoninOkay, you all know what’s going on with my family, so I’m not going to beat you up with that…

If this blog has helped you, educated you, amused you, or even just made you shake your head and wonder why I’m not locked up in some room clad with rubber tiles…

Please know that this site has required a great deal of money, time and effort to develop & maintain. If it’s been useful to you at all, and you can afford to… You can help my family and support this site by making a small donation by hitting that Paypal button up there on the right.

Paypal is the VERY BEST “secure” way to donate to any cause… like ours.

This will help keep us alive while we try to remedy our own situation, and empower me to carry on writing, maintaining, providing countless hours of hard work, and including any updates or topics that you might suggest.

And… No anatomical impossibilities, huh? I’m not as young as I used to be…

“I’m sorry – We’re Broke.”

1 Nov

I have been accused of being a “treehugger”around here, recently. Again…

I’m not sure why…  Sure, I write posts about saving energy. Because I have to pay for the energy I use! Well, duh!

I like CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent light bulbs). Why? Well,  because I don’t have to change them as often, and they save me money.

treehugger1

Sure, I write posts about being kind to the trees that give us WOOD, and oxygen, and shade… Why? Wood gives me an excuse to use POWER TOOLS!  Plus, if you water those trees, they give you SHADE! Shade saves energy, and gives me a place to hang the hammock!

I’m not a militant “tree-spiker”, and I don’t agree with a lot of the “treehugger agenda”. Or maybe it’s just the methods I don’t’ agree with. Saving a tree is never worth killing a human being over. And that’s what “tree-spikers” do. I know from first-hand experience.  If you kill a person over a tree, you’re NOT an “environmentalist…” You’re a MURDERER.

Terrorism is terrorism, no matter what “flag” you wrap it up in.

Nothing good can come of it.

But… people see shipping containers being cut up and reassembled into houses, and they immediately think “Eco-Whackjob.”

Look, I love trees. Truly! But my primary goal isn’t to clean up the earth, or save the environment, or even make sure that my kids breathe clean air right now.

WHAT? RONIN SAID WHAT?

As my wife slowly dies, as my two year old son starts venturing out into that great big world… my family is living in a hovel. It’s a horrid little box, that hasn’t had anything resembling “real maintenance” done to it, since about the Kennedy Administration.

It wasn’t always like this. We had a nice home, and it was almost paid for. We had a decent car, and we had money to pay the bills. Until…

A hurricane wiped it all out. Sure, we had insurance. But, you know what? The insurance company is pleading “bankruptcy” if they are forced to pay off all their claims. So, we’re part of 2,000 families in a class action lawsuit against them now, trying to get the “protection that we paid for.”

The facts are that they HAD the money.

But, the stockholders would’ve taken a huge hit (okay, an even bigger hit), and the fat-cats in charge would have seen their bonuses (and possibly even their jobs) diminish. So guess who gets screwed? Guess.

I’ve written extensive posts about all this before, you I’m not going to rehash it now. It just raises my blood pressure.

While all those environmental goals are noteworthy, and even applaudable, I just don’t have the means to change any of  circumstances that contribute to them. I have to leave that to you guys and gals.

What I am out to accomplish is getting my family back into a safe, secure, weather-resistant house, that we can afford to live in. One where we have the same basic needs covered that most of you have. And, we’d like to do it without a huge mortgage, huh? Is that too much to ask?

And if I manage to slay any environmental dragons along the way, well, that’s just a wonderful bonus.

From the feedback I’m getting, you’d certainly think that I might be asking too much…

I’ve groveled,  I’ve crawled, I’ve lobbied politicians, I’ve made speeches before “Capital cronies,” I’ve written “blood-covered” posts, and I’ve even begged, because my family is FAILING, but help is just not happening…

Some of you already know that we just got a shipment of damaged shipping containers, that we’re cannibalizing for fun and “experimentation.” Okay, three. We got three. It’s not like we got a container ship fulla boxes. Don’t I wish. I’d build houses  for families that needed them… until I dropped dead from exhaustion.

While I was out behind a warehouse recently, using a plasma cutter to dissect a Corten Cubicle, I had a guy walk over and get on my case about my “ambition.”

It seems that if you cut up a steel box and then live in it, you’re “putting carpenters out of work” in an already failing economy. Why, what you’re doing is downright “un-American!”

Exact words.

I had to laugh. Right in his face.

That just made him madder. For a minute I thought that he was looking for something to hit me with, but everything laying around was steel, and way too heavy for him to lift. So, he just rattled off a string of obscenities, shook his fists at me repeatedly, and then waddled off.

I guess he forgot that you have to put interiors into these boxes in order to make them livable, and then… you’ll probably put insulation and siding on the outside of them, to confuse the neighbors even further… I think carpenters do that, unless I’m mistaken. I’ve never seen any “Container Gnomes”, or anything like that… 🙂

If wanting a safe, affordable, sustainable house to live in is considered “Un-American”… then sign me up and send me a lifetime membership card.

Having had just about enough of his nonsense (and his threats), I calmly put down the plasma cutter (Remember, campers… always treat your tools with respect. Your neighbors? Well… um… er… it depends on what day it is…), and took off my goggles, and my wristwatch.

This was going to be just the “attitude adjustment “I needed. I hate taking “anti-stress and blood pressure medication.” But, I’m all pent up with frustration. What better outlet, than an idiot cursing my family ancestry? Hmmm?

But he didn’t possess enough “conviction” to actually put his butt behind his mouth. He literally ran away.

Now, I realize that I seem a little bit “up-patriotic” at times. I’m disenchanted with government. I’m tired of give-away programs that only benefit the elite, or fund projects that seem unlikely to succeed, while the rest of us suffer.

Bailing out Wall Street?

I’ve heard all the arguments. And now, I’ve seen everything go right back to the way it was… except the bonuses are even bigger. Why?

Bailing out the Car Companies?

Again, why? Not ALL companies started withering like grapes in a heatwave! Only the ones that refused to change with the times.

Cash for Clunkers?

Okay, some of us got new cars. (I didn’t.)

But, I’ll remind those of you who did that the REST of us are paying for them. Billions of dollars. So, when you go out into the driveway, to start up that new car you bought with your $4500 free bucks, remember that the rest of the taxpaying citizens of America helped put it in your driveway, and now we’re helping you pay for it.

Like it or not. I don’t remember voting for that one. Oy.

The Stimulus Package?

Sure, now hundreds of large US-based corporations can afford to outsource jobs to Malaysia, to build solar panels and other cool environmental stuff. And, it’s exactly what’s happening. I just read a report that several large companies here in the US are on a hiring binge in other countries, to build these products, now that they have government money to do it with. In fact, they may offer to move you to that country, if you want to keep your job. I hear India is nice this time of year. And, the  curry is good…

We just picked our own pockets until there was nothing left but lint. Am I really the only one who sees this?

Recently, I ran a post that talked about grants, and loans, and “money lost.”

I got a list of grants and banks, and “other” organizations helping American families to build homes. And, it wasn’t worth the paper that they printed it on. Should I be surprised? After all, I got it from a Government official.

And, I got pissed off, and wrote a post about it.

People emailed me like mad, telling me that I was crazy. After all, the Government is just giving money away, to anyone who wants it!

Yeah? Bull.

Apparently, they’re only giving it away to people OUTSIDE this country, who supported Presidential Campaigns.

Want yet another an example?

The Wall Street Journal (Yes… Ronin reads… I don’t just look at the pictures…) The Department of Energy just awarded $529 million to Finland…

FINLAND!

… for an $89,000 all-electric sports car, while US projects die, jobs languish, and American companies go bust.

The U.S. Government has offered a $529 million loan to FISKER,  an Al Gore-backed company making $89,000 all-electric sports cars in Finland, while US projects, and the resulting US jobs go unfunded.

Why are US projects unfunded? The Government says they don’t have the money to fund them… Whaaaa?

It might interest you to know that Fisker‘s top investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a veteran Silicon Valley venture-capital firm of which Gore is a “significant” partner.

Employees of KPCB have donated more than $2.2 million recently to political campaigns, mostly for Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions.

A representative from the CRP added; “And that’s just the money that we can actually track.”

You wonder why I hate (okay… I don’t “hate” him, I just dislike him…a lot…) Al Gore?

Here’s yet ANOTHER reason. This backstabbing b@st@rd continues to rake in the cash, by using his “global warming platform” as an ATM.

There is a distinct difference between “Global Warming” and Climate Change. I totally, totally, totally…  believe in Climate Change… but “Global Warming?” Bah-Hooey! 😉

But, back to Al Gore… First, it was “Bad Science“. Hey, if nothing else, Al Gore IS the Paris Hilton of the Scientific Community… He’s stinking rich for no apparent good reason, he’s a “charismatic idiot,” he turns up every time he sees a press camera light go on… and he looks good on camera… sometimes.

Thousands of notable, credentialed scientists (including many who specialize in Climate Change Science) are now going on record to state that Gore pulled a fast one on EVERYBODY…

Then, it was “carbon credits.” Again, Gore‘s “Carbon Credit Trading Company” made millions of dollars.

Now FISKER is using Gore‘s contacts and political prowess as a “Hollywood backed media darling“, to bilk American taxpayers again, and again, and again.

Other car companies have gotten money recently. Hello? You know, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, for example. Even one of my favorites, TESLA,  got some cash, in the form of a loan.

Now, I’m okay with Tesla getting some cash. Tesla builds electric cars. Cool electric cars, I might add. Those idiots in Congress gave Tesla $465 million bucks, in the form of a loan. Okay, so Tesla has to pay it back… I’m okay with that. They actually build their cars here. So Americans get jobs and Americans want, and will get the cars they build.

But Fisker? Wait a minute!

The Silicon Valley-based Fisker said that the bulk of loan proceeds will go towards the development of a $40,000 family sedan.

That they haven’t even designed yet!

And if that’s true, why are they diverting a large portion of the funds to fuel yet another car, an “alleged” $90,000 electric car that nobody can afford except status seeking… um… er… Hollyweirdo’s and fatcats…. Oh… I get it… never mind! 😉

Wait a minute! you say… It’s a Silicon Valley corporation! That’s not  “alien.”

Um… where do Finnish cars get built?

So far… FINLAND.

So, how many American jobs will that money fund?

I’m Betting ZERO!

Fisker‘s Silicon Valley operation is just a glorified design center. It’s a place for the top 1% of their employees to hang their hats. So either Fisker plans on giving them HUGE pay raises, or that money is going overseas.

I read the data. The plant in America (Wilmington) that they’re talking about is hopelessly locked in turmoil. Moses couldn’t bring that plant on-line any time soon. The Union isn’t budging, and there are big troubles ahead…

But… employees of Fisker’s top investor, KPC&B, donated more than $2 million to the Obama presidential campaign, and customers who have pre-ordered the Fisker include… who else… Al Gore.

Wanna bet that his doesn’t come with an invoice?

The DOE denied that politics played a role in the decision.

abductions

Yeah, right. And yesterday I was abducted by aliens…

I’m thinking that if you spend about $4 million dollars on the right politician, you can get a hell of a loan… no matter where you live. But, I bet that the DOE will deny that, too…

But zero is still zero. Unless you count the millions of bucks that Finland (and Al Gore) just raked in.

For 1/10th of 1 percent of that money, I could have built homes for 15 small families. Okay, sure… it’s only 15 families, but it’s a START! It’s 15 families safe, dry, and warm in their 600+ square foot houses made of steel. And one of those kids could grow up to be President. But probably not… because growing up to be energy efficient, self-reliant, and socially  responsible… would probably disqualify them.

Somebody pass the Tylenol…

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin Look, if you like this blog, if it helps you plan your ISBU project, or even if you just enjoy watching me make an @$$ out of myself … hit the Paypal button up there (if you can afford to), and donate a few bucks to help us out. Look, if I didn’t REALLY need it, I wouldn’t ask. It’s humiliating, and it’s embarrassing. I just ran out of options. If we don’t help “ourselves,” no one will. Government isn’t going to do it. If something doesn’t happen REAL soon, my family will fail, and we don’t have a safety net. I write this blog, to help as many families as we possibly can, while we try to heal, ourselves. Thanks for reading!

Oops, they did it again… Or DID they?

22 Oct

“If America is healing… and everything is getting fixed…”

Then how come everything is still broken?

I mean, if I was a Nobel Prize Winning President (and in only 14 days, no less!), you’d think I’d have actually delivered on at least ONE promise.

Pick one. Your choice. ANY one…

Well? I’m still waiting…

After spending trillions of dollars that we didn’t even have…

Taxpaying Americans are still losing their jobs in record numbers.

So, we propped up the banks… Guess what? The money is G-O-N-E!

Those same taxpayers are still losing their homes in record number, too…

Before long, there will be a shortage of packing materials…

boy-in-box

Because we’ll all be living in cardboard boxes, or maybe even…

living-in-a-box… a “Versace-esque box” made outta Italian pressboard and veneer!

Talk about “high density!” Oy Freakin Vey!

And the majority of the banks aren’t releasing those foreclosed homes to “the sales stream…” either. They’re holding them “in inventory,” so that when the market rebounds, they’ll make billions in profit.

Thanks for saving our bacon… now bend over…

And winter is coming.

So, we’ll just help everyone  get more debt, by “helping” them into new car loans…Everybody loves a new car!

Nobody in America would say “NO!” to a new car, unless they were just plain stupid, or absolutely crazy. Right?

And, if you’re “crazy,” you probably shouldn’t be driving!

And buying new cars means building new cars.  It provides jobs. A lot of jobs… It does! 🙂

But as cool as that was… we just picked our own pockets again! “Cash for Clunkers” is a program underwritten by our  TAXES! Oy!

Like I said… we made sure that the banks had tons of cash. Literally TONS of cash.

pallet_1billion-dollars

Pallets of Benjamins stretching as far as the eye could see… But, are the banks writing loans? No. Why? Well, it seems that everyone in America is a bad risk. But, those bank officers get paid pretty well, I guarantee…

To make matters even worse, confidence among U.S. home builders slipped again in October, largely on the looming expiration of a big tax credit.

The National Association of Home Builders’ gauge of confidence in new-home sales fell for the first time in four months, slipping to 18 from 19 in September.

Wall Street expected the confidence gauge to rise to 20.

What’s that translate into? Even MORE construction job losses, that’s what it means!

Oh great… That’s just what we needed.

Hey, the upside is that jolly fat man with the big bag of presents is gonna have a lighter load this year. Hell, he might even be able to stuff it in the overhead bin, as a carry-on…  Oy.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Talk about a lot of coal in stockings! But, wait! Another bright side! Coal burns, and that means that… it’ll provide heat! 🙂

Okay, okay, I’ll stop… Maybe.

We all know that the sale of new homes has been driven by the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers! They said that it was supposed to “stimulate” the economy.

Yeah, right. More like, to coax young “new” home-owners into joining the ranks for the “in-debted public” before the walls come crashing down…

Well, you better hurry up. Come and get your debt before you lose your chance to get that tax credit!

Come and get it… while it’s hot-t-t…

Hey, it worked for a while, home sales rose by 30% through August. But… all good things must come to an end. November, to be precise. That’s when the credit expires.

If you listen closely, the next time you go outside, you’ll hear it… That’s not the wind howling around your ears… It’s the home-builder groups wailing for an extension of the credit.

“It comes as no surprise that after trending upward from an historic low in January, the HMI’s [the group’s main index] positive momentum now appears to have stalled,” said Joe Robson, the NAHB’s chairman.

You see, the bottom is falling out. All three components in the Housing index slipped — and that’s the first time that’s happened since November 2008 when the recession was nearing its worst. The component that measures current sales conditions fell in October to 17 from 18 during September. The gauge of traffic of prospective buyers slipped to 14 from 17. The component measuring sales expectations over the next six months tumbled to 27 from 29.

“Congressional action to expand the tax credit and extend it for one year would provide a critically needed boost to the employment market and economy, generating nearly 350,000 jobs, $28.2 billion in wages, salaries and business income and $11.6 billion in additional tax revenues,” Mr. Robson said. “That’s an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up at this difficult time.”

Alas, it’s gonna probably fall on deaf ears, as Congress will be too busy… one again trying to quietly pass their annual pay raises. They figure that they’ve all earned it, after all the camera time they’ve been getting about Health Care Reform.

And, after all, it’s hard to make due, on their pitiful six-figure salaries…

In the meantime, the ending of the tax credit will scare away any buyers foolish enough to enter the market…

… and the trickle down will be felt all the way to Home Depot! After all, it’s the home builders who drive the lumber yard production, right?

The best part of this is that the Fed is talking about inflating the dollar, due to so many other countries treating it like toilet paper.

Simple economics: 101:

When you lower the interest rate, you have to inflate the value of the dollar, to bring it back up.

So lumber prices will go up! That’s gonna help get houses built, and sold! Yep! Good thinking! Now we can’t afford the materials, and the house price will skyrocket!

Boy, my local Realtor is gonna be one a sad lady… 😦

And the way things are going, taxes will rise and inflation will jump way, way  up. If you have a mortgage rate in the 5’s, you’ll be doing the happy dance in the street.

But don’t do it around here, or I’ll turn the hose on you, just out of spite… 🙂

This is starting to remind me of the “Jimmy Carter Era…”

But wait! It’s another chance to start a new program! And, Obama can appoint another Czar! Hop Dingitty Dawgie!

We’ve propped up Wall Street. We’ve bailed out the banks.  We’ve even gone into the “national car business…” Now…

We can have a “Cash for Stinkers! Home Rebirth and Subsidy Sale!”

All we have to do is bail out every home builder!

Yep, if you can swing a hammer, you can get a check!

But wait… there’s more!

We offer Ma and Pa Public and every other owner of an existing “older” home a bundle of Benjamins ($10,000) in cash to demolish that energy guzzling monster and replace it with a more energy miserly new home. And wait, if you act now…

We could give them a mortgage with zero percent down and zero percent interest…

… until they reach 65 years of age.

Why only 65, you ask? Well, because after they turn 65… we don’t care about them any longer! After all, if we DID, wouldn’t we have taken better case of Social Security and Medicare?  And, wouldn’t we have provided adequate cost of living raises?

Mr. Obama… What cost of living raise? …

What’s the end result? Um… Trillions more dollars of debt for our children to pay, a bunch of jobs, and a fuel efficient America…

… except for the emissions from those “gas-bags” in Washington…

But, it won’t happen. Why not? Well, Virginia…

The US Government does NOT want a larger supply of homes. The banks (that we propped up in the first place) already have a huge inventory to sell. What the government actually wants… is  higher housing prices to justify much larger mortgages!

Why? Um… well it’s because the government wants people to borrow huge amounts of money, so that banks create more money through lending! That is how they inflate the money supply.

I already explained that… right? Weren’t you paying attention? ARGH! I’m NOT writing these for my own health, you know! 🙂

Look here, if you don’t believe me…

camperbikeride2Well, there’s always my bike…

And they wonder why I’m trying to build a house out of recycled stuff and anything else I can find, without taking out a loan (that I probably couldn’t get anyway!!)…

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance RoninWait a minute… lots of unemployed construction workers. Lots of empty and  discarded ISBUs. Lot’s of vacant manufacturing buildings due to plant closures. Lots of material because nobody is building… Hmmm.. Maybe there is a way… Hey… a fella could build “Corten Cargo Container Condomimiums!”

Cheap, strong, durable, energy efficient and almost recession proof housing!

Now then, if someone was just smart enough to possess enough vision to actually  see the “merit” in it… 🙂

9.5% and climbing…

9 Jul

Most of you know that I’m stuck in Mississippi…

…trying to build a house out of reclaimed and recycled materials, to shelter my family. And, I’d like to do it, before “hurricane season” crashes down on us, once again. But… the politicians are standing between me, and my dream. It’s not like it’s impossible to do… It’s just impossible to “legislate.” OY.

And, while I’m doing this “running around in circles so I don’t just stop, take a deep breath, and go absolutely freakin postal in Jackson” thing… I’m helping some pals build THEIR Shipping Container homes.

Recently, while we were “toiling and planning and conspiring and consulting….” one of my pals got hammered by the evil fist of fate… lay-offs.

Now, this guy… We’ll call him “Pat…” now he’s the stuff America got built of. I’m talking about the REAL America, not that phony “Hollywood America” you see on TV. As a manager, when the lay-offs were announced, he actually went into his bosses office, and offered up his own job, if they’d just use his salary and benefits to keep the other workers employed. After all, they were “youngster’s with families.”

Needless to say, his bosses declined his offer. But, when is the last time you heard of somebody doing that, especially when they were going through the same tough times as everyone else? Hmmm?

So, more good workers hit the streets, looking for something that resembles hope, something that will feed their families, instead of the ridiculous crap that keeps filtering down on us like smog from Washington DC…

And “Pat?” He’s on the phone, on his own time, trying to find his crew new jobs with other companies, so they don’t end up on skid-row.

Meanwhile… all eyes look east, towards DC…

What’s it going to take for Americans to realize that they’ve been duped?

President Obama got himself elected on a pedestal of promises, and frankly, folks… it’s just not happening…

America has more debt now than ever before. Our great grandchildren will be paying the interest on the trillions of dollars that have been haphazardly thrown onto the bonfire.

I still suspect that all that cash got tossed on to make enough smoke to hide the real issues. After all, it’s hard to see clearly, when your eyes are burning.

Whatever happened to all those thousands of jobs that Obama was going to create? Well… they got created in Malaysia and the Far East. The billions and billions of dollars that got spent for “jobs” went to companies who manufacture “offshore,” because hiring Americans costs too much. Whaaaa?

For example;

The ‘stimulus’ promised a jobless peak of 8%; it’s now 9.5%.

And yesterday, we got the bad news… again…

In fact, the best thing that we can say about June jobs report is that “employment is usually a lagging economic indicator.” Yeah? Okay, if that’s true then shouldn’t that accentuate just how bad things are getting? The loss of 467,000 jobs for the month is one more sign that the economy still hasn’t hit the bottom despite months of lies, political aggrandizing, camera-whoring, and epic fiscal and monetary reflation.

Can you say “whirlpool of despair?”

The report was a pig, to be sure. And there’s no way to sweeten it up by adding a prom dress, either. Average hours worked per week dropped to 33, the lowest level in at least 40 years, maybe more.

I’m not exactly sure how much further back than that… Hey, I had pimples and Pink Floyd records, and I was playing with Hot Wheels at the time. Shut up! 🙂

Hey… shortened work weeks! Yippee! More time to play with the kids right? Nope. More time to listen to your significant other moan in despair, as the budget gets turned upside down, just like the mortgage. It’s not like it’s just YOU, right?

This means that millions of full-time workers are being “downgraded” to part-time, as businesses slash labor costs to maintain profit margins.

And, because people are working less, wages have fallen again this year. Factories are operating at only 65% capacity, while the overall jobless rate hit 9.5%, and it’s still climbing…

Throw in disgruntled workers who want their full-time jobs back, and the labor underutilization rate climbs faster than an F-18 hunting bogies! We’re talking double-digits, folks!

So, instead of just firing people, companies downgraded them to part-time, and stripped them of their benefits. It was either that, or; “Hit the bricks, bucko…  and go look for another job.”

Man, what a tough choice… Can you imagine what those numbers would have looked like, if those people had just hit the street? It’d be a tidal wave of unemployment, that would make our grandparents remember the breadlines.

The tragic thing is that existing hourly wages have dropped too. So, the companies are still making profit, but they’re spending less to get it, in some places. Greed has become pretty evident, as CEOs take huge salaries and compensation, as their employees start to hemorrage blood, trying to pay bills as their wages get “adjusted.”

The news is even worse for young people, with nearly one in four teenagers finding themselves unemployed. That’s just what we need, huh? More teenagers standing around idle, trying to figure out how to entertain themselves without any cash… Oy.

And, it get’s better! Remember that minimum wage hike that Congress scheduled? It bumps minimum wage up, from $6.55 to $7.25 on July 24th. You’d think this is GOOD news, right? Nope. It means that labor is going to cost small business more, so they’ll have to CUT BACK the number of employees they keep, to make it through the tough times that the economy is dealing out. Oy again!

Manufacturers aren’t exempt, either! Americans who make things and actually produce those goods we consume lost 223,000 more jobs last month. Almost a quarter of a million jobs LAST MONTH.

Asked about these job losses by the Associated Press, President Obama said Congress should pass his cap-and-tax on carbon energy because “If we’re weatherizing every building and home in America, if we are creating windmills and solar panels and biofuel facilities, that is a huge promising area not only for jobs here in the United States, but also for export growth.”

Bullsh@t! What a bunch of crap.

First, the President has no way on earth to monitor how many jobs “he created.” Only by audit have we discovered that most of the jobs now funded are in offshore factories. How’d they do that? Well, by noting that factories here laid off workers, or even shut down completely, but product still kept hitting the shelves. It had to come from SOMEWHERE, right?

Millions of Americans are unemployed. But, not all of those unemployed workers are capable of building windmill blades and solar panels (especially since most solar panels are built in the Far East, anyway). There aren’t enough plants producing windmill blades or solar panels in the US to bail out America’s unemployed. There would have to be one in every city in America to do that.

And, if there was, the price of goods would have to drop. Competition, remember?

And, that’d mean more cuts, to supply cheaper products. Talk about a “Catch-22!”

With manufacturing on its back, enacting a new energy tax to drive more jobs offshore… is just insanity. And, I’ll point out that I mean no offense to REAL insane people.

If you watch Cable, they keep saying that; “Of course, the economy can’t keep falling forever, and most forecasters still see a recovery starting this year.”

Yeah, what’re they basing that on? More false hope and promises that are starting to smell like lies?  The decline in manufacturing slowed last month and housing sales have picked up — and supposedly these are both positive indicators.

Whaaa? Not around here. In most of middle America, the opposite is true. And, almost all of those tax credits for buying a new home are aimed at the buyers buying “newly constructed” homes, which will only create a glut in the “pre-owned housing market.”

How do you buy a new home when you’re unemployed? Huh? Boy, renting is starting to look better and better all the time!

They keep saying that consumers are spending more. But the cost of living is going up daily.

Sure we’re spending more! You keep jacking up the prices, you @ssh@les!  We still have to eat! Our children’s tummies still grumble. They don’t understand “tightening the belts.” Oy, oy, oy…

The real question should be about “strong and sustained” employment expansion. If the “stimulus” were working as advertised, that would be stronger than “Mr. Clean,” or even the “Incredible Hulk,” huh?? After all, those idiots in DC have thrown trillions of dollars at the recession.

Let’s not forget about that famous $787 billion dollars that was supposed to yield $1.50 in growth for every $1 that was spent.

This almost trillion dollars (don’t forget about interest, as we had to borrow the money from “somewhere.”) followed the $168 billion dollars that George Jr. and “Queen of the Most High Wacko’s” Nancy Pelosi promised in February 2008 would prevent a recession. The jobless rate that month was 4.8%.

Did THAT work? No. So what did Obama do? Exactly the same thing. Throw good money after bad. Hey, it’s not like it was HIS money. After he leaves the White House, he gets a pension for life. It’s not like he’ll be out looking for a job at TGI Friday’s, or Walmart… He’ll just write a book, and make speeches, and get… even more money!

So where has the stimulus money actually gone? Most of this government spending has gone to transfer payments — Medicaid, jobless benefits and the like — that do nothing for jobs or growth.

Let me repeat that for the “reading impaired;”

…THAT DO NOTHING FOR JOBS OR GROWTH.

The spending that might create jobs — on roads, say — is dribbling out with typical government efficiency.

  • Hey, they’re building schools in places where schools are already standing empty.
  • They’re building libraries in places where people don’t live.
  • They’re building airport expansions in places where planes don’t land…
  • They’re building copshop’s multi-million dollar “indoor training facilities ‘ so they can hone their skills… in places where they only have three cops.
  • They’re buying local law enforcement agencies helicopters and airplanes, where they (a) don’t have pilots, and (b) don’t have airports to land them in.
  • And let’s not forget million dollar highspeed powerboats to interdict drug sales, for cops who live in landlocked counties.

They even bought a law enforcement agency with four cops (I’m serious) $287,000 worth of ammunition. Whaaaa? Those idiots never heard of reloading? Maybe they should make friends with those guys who have the “indoor training mecca” and start learning to save some of that ammo…

You think I’m kidding? Nope.

$287,000 worth of ammo… That’s a lot of 9mm… Like, about 2,500 cases (remember, they get a discount for volume)… Lemme see… 1,000 rounds to a case times 2500 cases, divided by 4 cops. That’s like 70 rounds an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, just to use it all up. Yeah, that’s doable… I hope they’ve got donuts and coffee stockpiled too!

Can you imagine a mountain of empty brass that big? Man.. I wish! 🙂

Meanwhile, the money for all of this has to come from somewhere, and Democrats are already saying it will require big (unstimulating) tax increases in 2011, and perhaps sooner. Whhaaa? I’m shocked.

So, while they’re giving away money they don’t even have, they’re going to ask us for money we can barely keep, to keep them in lobbyists and frosty cold beverages, while WE sweat the hard stuff all by our onesies! Oy Freakin Vey!

The Administration argues that the recession would be worse without the stimulus. Yeah, prove it! Oh yeah… you can’t. It’s impossible to prove or even disprove.

However, if you harken back to a time not long ago… Obama’s economist lackeys predicted late last year that the stimulus would keep the jobless rate from exceeding 8%. And now, it’s just climbed past 9.5% and it’s still climbing…

Uh-oh… Time to find a scapegoat to sacrifice on “The Alter of American Ineptness!”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s far more likely that America would have been better off without all that insane spending, and the higher taxes and debt financing that they bring right along with them, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a picnic basket!

I hate to say I told you so, but;

“You bastards in DC are all a bunch of freakin morons! You’ve sold us lock stock and barrel to the Chinese, and anybody else stupid enough to loan us money. We’ll be lucky if our grandchildren still speak English as a first language, before all this madness is through!”

Whew… Glad I got that off my chest.

I can’t wait to see what Congress brainstorms next… Perhaps they’ll just sell our children into slavery, or legislate sweatshops in America, so that the citizens they betrayed can still find a few pennies at the end of the day to eat with.

The best thing Mr. Obama could do to create jobs would be to come clean, admit his cabinet is filled with idiots, and start over. That is, if they’re anything left to rebuild, by the time he’s “done” rebuilding.

Gawd Save us… because Obama won’t. Not if his “progress report” so far is any indication.

Now, where’d I put those MRE’s? I think a storm is coming… and I’m not talking about a “hurricane.”

And “Pat…” I’m proud to know you. You’ve got a backbone of steel, and a heart of gold… You just made “Ronin’s Hero of the Day” list…

Now, if the President would just show that much courage, integrity, and backbone… maybe I’d get some sleep.

Stay tuned…

Relax, Ma! It’s Just Poop!

30 Jun

From the “Now I’ve seen EVERYTHING” files:

I was out looking for cool stuff to dazzle you with.

I mean, here at “RR,” we’re all about living off-grid and being self-sufficient. After all, we’re building homes out of Shipping Containers (ISBUs), recycling garbage to use as building materials, and re-using anything we can find, to keep the costs down. It’s about living comfortably, but responsibly. We heat our water using the sun. We power our homes with photovoltaic panels, and even hot air! 🙂

And, there’s no shortage of hot air around here! Why? Well, because I’m the resident “guru” of… um…er… never mind!

Okay… I know that my “sparkling wit” and my endless parading of my vast intellect keeps you entertained for about um… er… three seconds… but…

And speaking of, um… “Butts;”

Design gets very literal in this toilet made from poop!

pootoilet-lead01

Man, you’d think that they would have thought about using a different color. Yuck.

There’s a rule in inventing  stuff that “form should follow function.” And, it seems that Virginia Gardiner is a follower of that rule. She’s devised an energy generating toilet that is actually made from poop.

Now, I know what you’re thinking! Ewwwwww! (I know, I know… I’m thinkin it too!) 🙂

Virgina has developed a pooper that transforms human waste into a highly valued commodity… energy.

(Hey, I coulda called it something else. In fact… Nah, never mind.)

That’s right, this toilet creates energy.

No, I’m not talking about “methane…”  Keep it to yourself, smarty-pants! This is a “family show…” 🙂

DO NOT LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING DIAGRAM!

pootoilet-diag3

Like you don’t poop, too? Ah, stop complaining! I told you not to look! What a bunch of whiners! 🙂

Anyway… Virginia calls it a “LooWatt.” And she says that it’s a low cost, mechanical commode that has a green streak running thru it.

(Note from Editors wife: “Okay, enough talking about “streaks,” this is getting gross…”)

Where was I? Oh yeah… Users of the LooWatt are urged to trade in their um… er… “recyclables” for biofuel. She says that this trade will enhance and sponsor community (urban) infrastructures that will encourage proper waste disposal, minimize water-borne illnesses, and provide a regular source of energy.

(But only if you eat your fiber regularly, huh?) 🙂

pootoilet-diagSee? Made you look TWICE! Ha! Just wanted to prove that I didn’t make it up!

Where did an idea like this come from?

Well, some would claim that Virginia has um… er…(say it with me…)  poop on the brain. But… she’s just looking for a solution to that 40% of the  population that lives without toilets. That’s right, she’s trying to help people in Mississippi.  And Alabama. Oh, and quite possibly the Ozarks! Wait… that’s not it… 🙂

According to Dwell Magazine (a mag I heartily endorse); “Virginia sought to provide a solution for the 40% of the world’s population that lives without toilets.”

It’s a toilet targeted at the third world, folks. In many developing countries the installation of sewage systems is just about impossible, and we all know that improper waste disposal spreads devastating waterborne illnesses that afflict millions. Hell, around were, we can’t go into the Gulf after it rains because all the sewers back up and then outflow into the water.

But, some of the three-eyed fish are really cool lookin! And tasty! 🙂

What in the world was she thinking? Well… It seems that this toilet is designed to solve the global sanitation crisis by creating a new infrastructure.

Finally, I’ll have proof that I’m the “King of Crap!”

The “LooWatt” composting toilet is molded from 90% horse dung.

Yep, horse poop. I’m thinking probably those Budweiser Clydesdales, or their Belgian cousins. Why? Because if this toilet is gonna solve 40% of the world’s poop problem, by making toilets outta horsecrap… you’re gonna need some BIGGGG horses to start with. I’m starting to think that this is one a those “corn ethanol” schemes. 🙂

“Look, I don’t care if you’re starving… If we don’t feed the horses, you can’t crap. Period. Just deal with it!”

“But… if I don’t eat, I can’t crap anyway! Whaaa?”

The toilet has a built-in biodegradable lining that stores excrement in a sealed, odor-free container. Once the toilet is full, the user takes the poo package to an outdoor biodigestor, which in exchange provides a free source of biofuel for cooking.

Whaaaaat? Okay, now that’s just gross. I gotta starve so a horse can eat enough to mold a pooper outta it’s poop. Then… I have to collect MY poop, and then carry it off to the marketplace, so I can barter it off for “predigested” biofuel, to cook with? Nuh-uh! I’d rather poop in a hole! 🙂

According to experts, the LooWatt has been exhibited around the world, was awarded an honorable mention from the AIGA Aspen Design Challenge, and was a finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

loowattMe thinks they were pushing this “exhibit” stuff a bit too far. There are just some things I DON’T want to see! 🙂

Okay… so that’s why my “Bubba Box Corten Castle” design didn’t win. It wasn’t worth um… er… “poop.”

If you think this “haul your poop outta the toilet and take it downtown…”  is a good idea, well… you’re probably nuts. But, in a way (okay, you REALLY have to look for it) it makes some sense. Not MY kinda sense, but I’m not exactly the smartest person on the planet. After all, I do live in Mississippi, and I did have another kid, at 50. See? Not too bright! 🙂

The people at LooWatt would like you to know that if you’d like to help push the project along, a small donation will net you your very own “poo gem” – a dodecahedron molded from horse manure (makes a swell paperweight, gift or toy!). Yeah that’s just what I need sitting on the mantle…

“What’s this, Ronin?”

“Well, it’s a… um…er… you really don’t wanna know. But I put it up here because Joshua kept trying to put it in his mouth!”

Hey, pony up a bit more cash, and it’ll net you a lovely deer-head candle holder – just the thing to brighten dungy dingy interior spaces.

Ah man… I’m holding out for one of those  “singing fish,” made outta poo-poo. At least they sound like they’re made outta crap!

But, I’ve gotta draw this post to a close. You go off and think about what we’ve learned here… whatever that was!

Me? I’m gonna go eat some more broccoli. I’ve got some tradin to do…

“What? MY poop is worth way more than YOUR poop. Aren’t you paying attention? I’m the KING OF CRAP! I’m gonna need three bags of biofuel if you wanna trade!” 🙂

And I thought that “Carbon Trading” was crazy…

The Renaissance RoninPS. I was just kidding… about “Alabama.” Kinda. As for the rest of the stuff… You were thinking it too! Admit it! I’m not the only one who thinks like this!
Or am I? Uh-oh…
And remember, we accept donations. But NOT poop! I mean, I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with the Post Office… 🙂

Bye Bye Mikey…

28 Jun

Okay…tjones

After watching an almost endless loop of “Thriller” video clips, I’m wondering what everyone else is thinking.

I for one, am sad to anyone die before their time. But, I suspect that Michael Jackson had been courting his death for a long time, prior to this.

His family tried to get him into rehab for drug abuse. Morphine always catches up to you, no matter how many times you look over your shoulder at it, as you “run away…”

The prosecutors in California tried to put him into prison, for being “not normal,” to put it politely.

And from watching the spectacle that was Michael’s life… Michael didn’t exactly live on this planet, huh?

fitzsimmons

His music… well, that tried to put him a step above everyone else, and many would say that he succeeded.

Like many people my age, I grew up listening to Jackson amaze us with his talent, as he slowly slipped away from us…  as his eccentricities and ailments made him more and more reclusive. In a way, he was my generation’s Howard Hughes.

broelman

Regardless of how you feel about him as a person, he was a musical genius. And, that’s the way I want to try and remember him. To remember him as  “Wacko Jacko,” or a deviant, or someone I couldn’t trust around my kids… well… that’d just make me sick. And, there’s already enough sickness in the world. So, I’m just gonna get caught up in the “where was I when?” memories that all those video marathons are helping me relive. It’s just easier.

chappatte

Hey, if nothing else, watching your relatives and creditors try to destroy each other as they try to loot your estate should prove interesting…

I just hope that somebody steps up, to look after your kids. They’re the “innocents” that I wanna see protected from the media hurricane that is about to engulf them.

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

“What if I was to drop dead tomorrow? Who’d take care of the kids?”

Man… what a tragedy…

The Renaissance RoninAddendum: June 29th, 2009 – Michael Jackson is STILL dead. And he took that loud-mouthed Billy Mays with him!

A while back, Billy Mays ran his mouth about how “he was more famous than the King of Pop.”
Just goes to show you… You should never mess with “The Gloved One.”Or, he might give you the finger…
Well, Mikey, at least you did SOMETHING right…

About Lightweights and Hot Air…

22 Jun

I knew Ace Hardware was cool but maaaaaan…

I mean… first they grabbed John Madden as a spokesperson. That’s cool. Anybody who can mix it up with behemoth linebackers, eat an entire turkey drumstick in one bite, bitchslap Brett Favre,  and do a television commercial … all at the same time…  is “A-Okay” in my book!

But now, they’ve moved up in the world! It used to be that you went to Ace to get nuts and bolts, a can of spray paint, or even a string of miniature LED Christmas bulbs.

Now I’m Jewish, so I used them to “illuminate” my backyard oasis. Hey, I recognize a bargain when I see one! It’ s genetic! …As if!

(Oh stop it! It’s not either. That’s just a stereotype, perpetrated by jealous people who “didn’t save any nuts for the winter…”)

Time’s have changed though! Now, you can soothe your “power bill blues” by asking the “helpful hardware man/girl… lackey/wench…  um… whatever.

(Man, this being P.C. all the time is for the birds…!) 🙂

Slow Speed Wind Turbines

Everybody is talking about “carbon footprints.”  Now, this may come as a shock to you, but I couldn’t give a damn about my carbon footprint.

Know why?

Because I already KNOW that I’m being careful, trying to squeeze every single dime outta my wallet, to support my family, and provide for their comfort and well-being. It’s not about become an “Al Goon… um…er… Gore Disciple.”  Nuh-uh!

I don’t have a mansion, a fleet of SUV’s, or a MegaYacht, or a big ozone killing Gulfstream. Hell, we don’t even had a car anymore. Medical bills ate it. And, they didn’t leave a single nut or a bolt lying on the ground, either. 😦

It’s not about following those nuts in “Hollyweird,” like sheep led to slaughter, or getting on an “I’m the President, and I’m here to save you… from yourselves!” bandwagon either.

It’s about using the earth to sustain the earth and all the creatures on it. And that includes me and mine. It’s just common sense.

I know that most of us are concerned about “carbon.” But, most of the green energy products are simply to expense or even unreachable for all those urban dwellers that help make this a great country to go broke in. Either that cool new “green tech” is too expensive, or the local Homeowner’s Association has but the boots to it, or… the local Planning and Zoning Nazis don’t “understand it yet (probably because the manuals and tech sheets aren’t written in crayon).

But as “Green is keen” starts changing the way marketers look at the world (hey, just what we needed… right?)! Another thing that might possibly SAVE us, to exploit!) products are starting to resemble the average Joe’s perspective, and even needs.

Recently, a company out of Muskegon, Michigan called EarthTronics unveiled it’s newest product. Big deal, right? Well… maybe. They’ve developed a wind turbine that can actually be used by individual homes.

Wasn’t “Earthtronic” a disco/electric funk band in the eighties? Hmmm… I think I remember them opening for Devo.

Yeah, I went to see Devo. Hey the girl was cute, and she had all the right assets… No! Not that! Sheesh you guys are perv’s… She got to drive her Daddy’s GT350 Mustang…

1966-Shelby-GT350

We hot-rodded that poor beast all over Southern California. Until… we got a ticket for driving 125 miles per hour in a 55 mile an hour zone. Oy Vey, did WE get an earful… And I got the boot, for being a “bad influence! Me, of all people! It’s not like I deflowered her or anything… Okay… I admit it… I did TRY… in an awkward, geeky “I’m not fairing too good in this nerdy, ‘puberty conflict’ kinda way…” Sheesh, is there no justice? 🙂

Speaking of miles per hour…

What  did you think I was gonna talk about? Deflowering virgins? Hey, that flower had been plucked YEARS before I met her… I bet her Dad blamed THAT on me, too! I wish…  🙂

Okay, where was I? I just got blinded by “High School Hormones…”

Oh yeah… MPH! Now… EarthTronics –  Windtronics Division claims that it’s new turbine can operate at speeds as low as 2 miles an hour. This means that homeowners will be able to buy a wind turbine at a hardware store that kicks the small wind industry’s worst enemy… “slow wind…” right in the teeth, um.. er.. blades.

Now we all know that creative technology needs a really snappy name, so the genius’s at the plant came up with this beauty…

They call it “the Honeywell Wind Turbine.”

Isn’t that just sheer genius? Doesn’t that paint a picture of mad dashes to your wallet, as you race for the Hummer in your driveway, to go get YOURS? Man, I could have thought of a better name for it in my sleep!

It will be distributed through Ace Hardware stores in the U.S. And… It will be sold for $4,500 smackerroo’s, so start breaking your kid’s piggy banks!

Tell ’em that Santa told you to do it! Tell ’em you’re donating the money to the “Save the Eggs” Easter Bunny fund! Hey, tell them that the money is for the “You kids destroyed Mommie’s figure and now she want new boobs, or she’s leaving” fund…

Um… er… scratch that last one. I tried it on MY kids, and all they did was trash the house. Never mind! Ever tried to scrub crayon off your best suit? Simple Green don’t cut it…

WindTronics developed the turbine and licensed the technology to buildings systems giant Honeywell.

Okay, so it’s a pig. What did you expect? A “Barbie Doll Nuclear Reactor that looks like Ken’s Corvette?” Nope. Barbie got that in the divorce, when she caught Ken fooling around with Skipper…

Ah, stop it! Shheeeesh… Tough room!

It wold appear that the real challenge is going to be designing an attractive case for the beast (because to most Homeowner’s Associations, it’s not “how it works,” it’s “how it looks”). And while they are doing that, the damn thing has to be “affordable.”

Look, new tech is great, but if I have to lease my kid’s out to a movie production company to film the sequel to “slumdog millionaires,” I don’t want it. The world isn’t ready for “Slumdawgies… Bubba’s eat Bacon!”

I’m concerned about the weight of the beast, and what you’re gonna have to go through, to get it up there in the wind, so it will actually work in “light wind.”

Why are the Windtronics guys trying to combine these properties?

Because most of the target consumers are living in urban and suburban settings where trees, buildings, and litigation from nosy neighbors with nothing better to do than stick their big fat noses into YOUR business (those miserable, life-sucking bastards!) could easily block “wind.”

Where did THAT come from? Man, I gotta start taking my meds regularly, again… 🙂

So, if those manufacturers can solve THOSE problems (and maybe tackle world peace, hunger, and homelessness too) the market could quite lucrative for the guys who shove these beasts into shipping crates… And, if they haul them around in shipping containers… well… you all know how I feel about shipping containers! Yippee!

Here’s what they say about the way the thing works:

The low-speed milestone is achieved by removing the gearbox from the center. The wind power turns the magnets located around the frame to generate power. This design is termed as “direct-drive” generator.  EarthTronics has got rid of the heavy and costly gearbox in the middle. The design reduces the number of components and allows the turbine to start generating power with low wind.

Blah, blah, blah… HOW MUCH POWER WILL IT MAKE?

This turbine resembles a fan and will produce 2,000 kilowatt-hours in a year for a home.

“We say if a turbine only works between 8 and 25 miles per hour, you have a very limited range of operation,” said Brian Levine, the vice president of business development at WindTronics, a division of EarthTronics. “Our device is rated to address a wider range at the low and high end.”

Why? “Because a sucker is born every minute, that’s why!”

Wait, that’s not it… It’s because if it works, they’ll sell them to “Ma and Pa Bubba” like hotcakes.

Back to the marketing blurb:

The wind turbine weighs 95-pound and it’s 6 feet in diameter. It can easily be installed on rooftops or attached to chimneys, or even put on a pole, up there next to the one that has your Mother-In_Law’s head on it.

Okay, only at MY house. It’s not like she was the most likable person on earth… Bill collectors actually came to her funeral… and nobody else. We know it’s true because they signed the guest book, with lot’s of  “Call us or elses…” Now, we know that, because we retrieved the book from the funeral home, after we got back from taking our “Ding dong the witch is dead” holiday!

The company hopes to sell the turbines through Ace Hardware stores.

They are not ruling out selling the turbine through contractors,  who will also be needed for the installation and support anyway. It’s not like contractors make enough money NOW… Oy!

(Seriously, this is the scenario that makes the MOST sense to me. I can’t see grandpa up on the roof, yelling at Nana to throw him a wrench, while wrestling with a bladed pod that looks like a mutant Ron Popiel Project…

“Introducing… It shreds, it chops, it makes your fingers disappear… It’s the Ronco ZapYoMama!”

Honeywell’s  target consumers will be both homeowners and small business, probably…

Will it be successful? Probably. I’m still wondering about things like “government regulation,” ease of install by DIY’ers, and finding $4500 in this economy to actually buy the damned thing in the first place. At almost 5 grand, it’ll take a few years to reach the “buy-back payout” for the box.

However, people are becoming aware of alternative forms of energy. Turn on your TV set, for crying out loud! Cable beats us to death with “the green stick” daily! It’s become the 21st century “shileighly.”  So, the market is there.  And, power costs are on the rise.

But remember that this is just a part of a power system for your home… What do you do when the wind stops blowing? Better score a few Photovoltaic panels, too! Hmmm?

Is there a big enough market to make the numbers work? We’ll see…  It’s gonna take more than a few green-minded buyers, to make this little project see black ink.

When you’re thinking about using wind from the sky, and not your husband’s big mouth…

(according to my wife, that harpy from the depths of Hades…)

… the most common observation is that people often chose locations that had insufficient wind or had obstructions that blocked the wind. In most cases, turbine makers rated products assuming a very good wind resource–anywhere from 12 to 25 miles per hour.

But what if you’re not in a wind zone, or your husband isn’t a blowhard? (See honey, I heard you… put the knife down… that’s it… now back away slowly…)  🙂

WindTronics generates turbines that can produce electricity at 2 miles per hour! Whaaaaaa?

Not many people buy “roof-mounted wind turbines.” In fact, it’s less than 0.002 percent of the small wind market in the United States.  And a lot of those people have been disappointed by “light winds” and “way short power production.”

But Windtronics isn’t discouraged. They see the other side of the coin – a vast market that still remains untapped.

“It’ll start to operate much earlier and get to prime production at the level when other technologies are just starting,” Levine said.

And Uncle Sam is getting in the way… um…er… trying to help too! The federal stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year (which I’ve talked about frequently here on RR), has lifted a $4,000 cap for consumers and businesses investing in and owning small wind turbines.

Now they can get an uncapped 30 percent investment tax credit, allowing people to recoup 30 percent of the installation costs.

(Okay, so the country actually has to have enough money to pay the “rebates.” If what’s happening in California right now is any indication, I’m kinda worried. Arnold has issued IOU’s to thousands of people expecting big tax credits for green stuff. It seems “the cupboards are bare…” And my local Walmart won’t take IOU’s. Nuh-uh!)

So, we’ll see. If they’re looking for test sites, I’m available. We don’t get much steady wind here, but it would give me an excuse to go up on the roof and talk to something that would actually “listen…” 🙂

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

I Wanna Be Responsible!

15 Jun

Okay, okay…

Since the beginning of civilization mankind has been using fossil fuels to “move mountains.” Hey, for centuries we thought that those fossil fuels were cheap. I mean hell, they were laying right there on the ground in some cases!

It’s true! Uh-huh! It is too! I know it’s true because I saw it on TV! That Jed Clampett was a genius! Who’da thought of using a scattergun to drill for “Texas Tea?” 🙂

But that was then, and this is now. Now that we’re more “civilized” and supposedly even smarter (I wonder whose yardstick they are using to measure THAT by, because I’m sure not seeing it…), we’re starting to see the real cost of using these fuels.

There’s no doubt that we’re destroying the environment. There’s no doubt that with all the newfangled technology that become so commonplace, we’re spoiled rotten, and even lazy.

Recently, I was in a store (okay, it was [gasp!] Walmart) during a thunderstorm, and the power went out. So what, right? Well, we couldn’t buy anything. The cashiers didn’t know how to tally up the sales any way but by punching register keys.

Where before, we walked to the store, or sent a letter, now we use our computers or a cell phone.  In most homes, we don’t wash dishes in a sink, we use a dishwasher. (Okay so in MY house, I’M the dishwasher.)  The point is, now we rely on technology instead of our backs. And, that’s a bad thing, I’m thinking. Our health has deteriorated as fast as our muscletone.

This is just the beginning of the bad news for the next generation. There’s more. Not only will they be rather unfit, and ignorant about how things work, the way things are going, there won’t be any power to run all of their gadgets. Mankind will come to a screeching halt. Why? Because everything runs on electricity, nowadays.

According to the newest forecast from the World Energy Council (WEC) global electricity requirements will double in the next 40 years. And at the same time, “the same guys” (OPEC) are gonna be in charge of the oil, so you can bet that prices for the dwindling resources of petroleum and natural gas are gonna go sky high.

I know that we’re trying to shift to other alternative sources of energy but frankly, the cost is still way too high for us “little people” to embrace. For example; we know that solar energy is a really great energy source. It’s clean, it’s green, and the sun isn’t going to go out any time soon. But the price of solar panels still resides heavily on a common man’s pocket. Our government has to stop talking about how much they’re doing to “help us,” and actually start doing it.

In my income bracket, giving me a tax credit isn’t enough. They need to step in and subsidize the cost of solar energy, especially in areas of residential usage.

They haven’t re-invented “the grid.” It’s still archaic, full of holes, and fraught with peril.  A windblown tree can knock the power out regionally, for days. One tree. And the resulting power outage from that single tree falling across power lines can kill people. I’ve seen it happen. And that’s not going to change any time soon.  I watched a commentary by two politicians the other night on CSpan, where they were debating where the funds would come from to rebuild the national power grid. They were throwing around numbers like $1 TRILLION dollars. A trillion dollars.

Subsidizing Solar Energy costs would cost far less, and give back some of the responsibility to the families that actually use electricity.  Making our own power would actually TEACH us to use it more responsibly. Imagine that… responsible consumers. If they really want to help fortify the infrastructure of America, they can start by taking off some of the load, by letting us carry it ourselves.

And, I can use one of them newfangled solar panel contraptions to help warm up my “cement pond!”

I bet you could even use one to power a still. I mean, I’ve heard about “solar stills” before. I wonder how many proof they get outta those rays for my ‘shine? Hmmm? 🙂

That’s what I think. I wanna be more responsible. Gimme the power! What do YOU think?

Stay tuned.

Yeah, I know… I’m more like Jethro Bodine, than Jed Clampett, but I can dream, huh? 🙂

Home Design and Responsibility

10 Jun

Here at RenaissanceRonin, we’ve talked a lot about how you design your home, using alternative materials. After all, it’s what we’re doing, as we build our home out of shipping containers (ISBU‘s), and recycled aircraft hangar components. We’re not doing this to be fashionable, or “particularly GREEN,” or even to make a name for ourselves. We just need a durable, sustainable home, that will provide for our needs, within our budget.

(Hey, if you’d been paying attention to the words in the posts, instead of all those pretty pictures, you’d know that! Right?) 😉

Speaking of “pretty pictures.” No progress on the “My use of images makes WordPress puke” situation. I’m still working on a fix. The pictures will return, I promise. Hey, if for no other reason than they fill up the page, and I don’t have to write as much! 🙂

After all, it’s not just about saving money, it’s about creating a space to live in, that will provide for your needs.

And, that implies a lot of responsibility. Moral Responsibility.

No, I’m not talking about trying to make sure that you please the Baptists down the street! I’m talking about looking at every side of home design, while you busily fill those wishbook pages that will lead you to your design.

Again… I have nothing against Baptists. I’m just surrounded by them, and we like to “brother-lovingly” poke each other in the eye… Call it “theological differences…”  I don’t know WHY they keep telling me that “I’m going to HELL.” 🙂

Your responsibility for protecting and sheltering your family has to be weighed against more than fire, or a building horror like a collapse, or a catastrophic natural event. There is a huge body of research that defines the intimate relationship between homes and human behavior.  After all, you’re creating an environment that your tribe will live within, right?

But how do you do this? It’s hard enough trying to figure out which stick goes into what slot, without having somebody suggest that you have to go find a “house psychiatrist” to help you plan out your space. I mean, I’ve heard of “horse whisperers,” and “dog whisperers,” and even “gossip-mongers…” But, I’ve never heard of a “house whisperer.” Hey! That might make a cool reality show on cable, huh?

“Well sir, your home says that traipsing around the house in your tighty-whiteys with your “crack” hangin out like some overweight plumber, makes it’s windows shiver… So, just stop it, huh?” 🙂

Think about things like “sanitary surfaces, and safety.” Where you actually live has a lot to do with which materials you use. If you live in a place where there is a lot of humidity and mold, you probably don’t want porous surfaces all over the place that you’ll have to maintain. If you live in a hot environment, you probably don’t want cinder-block construction, or low ceiling heights that will trap the heat down into your “living zones.” Think about railings on staircases, and stair tread height/depth, and access to important rooms like the bathroom!

I was watching a cable show today about “beautiful houses.” And, although some of them were just fabulous, I was reminded that some of us tend to think of our homes as “beautiful objects” and not really places for human interaction and participation. It’s really not surprising that we see so many photographs in the media of beautiful spaces that don’t have people in them. The spaces that are created just don’t compliment humans.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to live in a museum, or an aquarium. I want to live in a calm, soothing environment that takes care of me, with as little input as possible. After all, I have TV to watch and frosty cold beverages to consume!

(Preferably in a soundproof room that my wife doesn’t know about, okay? She can conjure up a “honey-do list” that would make Bob Vila or those “This Old House” guys commit suicide in about three seconds flat!) 🙂

Here’s the deal. Good home design begins with great discussions. Talk to your family about their wants and their goals for your new house. Think about ways to streamline the maintenance, using good design as a fulcrum. Think about ways to eliminate obstacles and hazards. You can still have a great looking home, that looks like people actually live in it! You just have to think it through!

You’ve got to figure out what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t. And that will add a whole page of questions to your design list. If you don’t heed them, there isn’t any way you’re going to improve your design.

And, those unanswered questions will be a failure to your family (and their comfort and safety), later.

Enough for now, I just heard my wife, and I haven’t finished cleaning up the huge mess that “the kid” made! How does he DO that? Oy Vey!  🙂

If I only had a soundproof room… :p

Stay tuned!