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Don’t Vote.

2 Nov

I repeat:


Look, no one is paying you to participate.

There aren’t any “Voting Cops” that will come drag you out of your house if you don’t go stand in line at a polling place.

This isn’t China, or Russia, or even (gasp!) Canada! 😉

We don’t need your opinion! We’ll figure it all out, without you and your two cents.

I mean, hey…

We’re doing pretty good so far, right?

Everybody’s working.

Everyone has an affordable home and great, affordable utilities.

We all have great Health Care.

And the economy has never been stronger!

So… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what Ronin always says…

Wait… um…

Okay, some stuff could be better, I suppose. But, if we just let things keep going, eventually, they’ll fix themselves, right? Or some really smart guy or even (gasp!) a girl… will come along and fix it for us.

Gawd knows, if you vote, you’re just gonna screw things up.

And then how would you feel? Huh?

So just sit there on your butt, like a bump on a stump, watching reruns on TV, and let someone else (who is obviously smarter and more enthusiastic than you about “things Democratic”) decide how you and your family are gonna live.

It’s okay. We don’t mind… It’s not like this is a republic, or anything…

Your one single, lonely, solitary vote couldn’t possibly make any difference anyway.

And it’s not like you’re all that smart, anyway. Heck, your kinfolk probably won’t even let you choose the brand of toilet paper they use…

Still sitting there?


This has been brought to you by the letter “D” and “The Ronin Initiative”.

My apologies to Will Durst, whom I basically stole this post from. Okay, I didn’t steal it, I just did the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version thing to it…

Okay, I didn’t just hack his post, I said stuff. Important stuff. Sarcasm is important.

Don’t like it? Tough Noogies.  It’s my birthday tomorrow. I get to be sarcastic If I want to. Says Me.

If you want to read a good post… read his, in it’s entirety, here.

Remember: Vote or Die. Do it or I’m gonna send the Voting Cops to your house to kick your butt.

I know where you live. I trap IP addresses.


Image Credit to Daryll Cagle – Love his work!

Sometimes the Cavalry never comes…

27 Oct

Welcome back!

Now, before you start thinking; “Oh Man… that Ronin is on a tear again…” I’m going to ask you for a few minutes of your time, to read this post. I know how valuable your time is. I’m asking, because this is important.

Look, I know it sounds like I’m trying to become a “Political Activist…”

But that’s really not the case at all. Truly.

We’re living in a time… in an economy… that has changed the way “We the People” must do things, in order to insure that our families survive.

Congress isn’t going to save us. They talk… and they spend… but somehow, they manage to miss the mark on almost every target they supposedly focus their attention on. In fact, some would say that they are only making things worse.

That’s why I’ve brought forward some of my views on what’s happening in America, as I discuss the creation of alternatives to traditional housing…

Good, bad, or indifferent, I don’t have time to wait for the outcome… to determine who was “right or wrong.” My family needs help NOW.

Congress is completely insulated from the conditions that most of us are suffering from on a daily basis.

From their “Hallowed Sanctuary on the Hill” they make decisions with impunity, that affect each and every one of us, without EVER being subject to the circumstances they create. Remember, they’re wealthy, protected, and isolated for the most part, from the constituents who elected them.

It can’t be “just me.” I’ve already proven, for almost 200 articles/posts on this blog alone… that I’m not “all by myself” in this thought process.

If you’re reading this blog, I have to think that you are looking for answers, too. I don’t WANT you to feel like you’re alone in this.

In part, it’s why I have that Counter up there. It’s not “vanity.”

If it was vanity, I would have admitted defeat and quit, long ago. I know of many, many blogs that get that many views in a single day.

I want you to see that there are thousands of us, thinking in the same mind. This blog gets hundreds of views daily, from people just like you and I, from all over America and beyond… who are looking for a way to provide both ourselves and our families with safe, affordable homes, at a time in America’s history where they just don’t exist for most of us…

In the meantime, winter is coming, and we MUST house our families safely. My family cannot survive without a roof over it’s head. And neither can yours.

I’m bringing forward some of my “politics” so that you can see that it’s going to require a different way of thinking, a different course of action, to achieve our goals.

Because, Virginia… Sometime the Cavalry never comes.

I’m recycling, reclaiming, and even BEGGING for material (sometimes “on my knees”) because my family’s SURVIVAL is at stake.

I’m asking you to get involved.

If I’ve helped you, informed you, educated you, or just entertained you… consider donating a few bucks to the blog, to help us survive and build. Our family needs a home. Our situation is dire. And yes, I’m begging…

I’m not going to waste bandwidth plastering pictures up of my wife in her sickbed… or my little 2 year old son. I’ve written about the circumstances here, already. And… if  you’ve been reading the blog, you already know how cute he is. He’s our source of JOY.

The reason I try to keep this blog “humorous and light” is because if I can’t find something to laugh about, I’ll start crying. It’s my requirement for the ability to actually stop crying, that scares me…

If you’re building something, and you have scrap lumber or materials left over, find someone who needs them, and help THEM.

I talk about how we are helping other families build their homes. It’s not because I’m rich, or even because I can afford to… because frankly, I just can’t. It’s because I HAVE to, because I know what it feels like to live in fear. I cannot, will not let another family fail, because I stood idly by.

We don’t live in a housing tract, or even in a house. We live in a two room hovel, in a place where Landlord/Tenant law is devised to protect the property owners (because THEY pay taxes). We don’t drive an SUV or a big sedan… in fact, we don’t drive at all. The cars were sold long ago, to insure that my wife got the medical care she needed to survive. We don’t have a satellite dish, a widescreen TV, or even an iPod. We live – day to day.

My dreams aren’t about far off destinations or the next holiday. They are about whether or not we’ll be safe, the next day. I don’t have control over anything else. All I can do is try as hard as I can to influence the next 24 hours.

In fact, they aren’t even dreams, they’re nightmares.

“We’re” everywhere.

You probably know someone in your neighborhood, in your inner circle… who is going through what we’re going through.

If you’re talking to someone who needs help, even if it’s just understanding something, help THEM.

Even if it’s just to offer some kindness, do it. Strife and crisis isolates people, and they start feeling alone. That leads to feeling “lost…” a feeling I’m intimately acquainted with. FEAR is a wicked mistress…

Every single small step you take will lead toward helping a family.

And that will make all of us stronger.

And if you pray at night, please pray for us. We’re in “trouble deep,” and the water isn’t getting any shallower…


The Renaissance Ronin

Jackson and “Jacked Up.”

28 May

Okay, so I took a few days off…

It’s been “pretty difficult” around here lately (in fact, on a one to ten, it’s been an “eight”). The “Mommy” is slowly recovering (“Mommy” recently had a stroke), and Joshua, astutely sensing a momentary change in the balance of power, has taken the opportunity to wage a full frontal assault, and try to make the “Daddy” crazy…um… er… crazier. This is a pretty simple task lately, as Daddy has had his hands full… Oy Vey, have I had my hands full…

Beyond that, due to difficulties beyond my control my appearance at a “meeting of the mind” (singular) in Jackson, was accomplished “by notarized document/statement, read aloud by some unfortunate lackey who will have to bear the scars of having my words rattle around in their brain until the cows come home.”

I say “mind,” because after participating in several of these “Jacksonian jousts,” I’m convinced that there is only one sane person in “Jackson Authority,” and they just pass the brain around, at random.

I’m told that my statement was either well received, or thrown in a well (I’m not sure which), as the phone line that connected us was garbled.

It was just basically the same old “Ronin Rant.”

Get off your dead asses, and do your jobs! Families need homes. YOU need constituents.  The STATE needs to generate tax dollars HONESTLY! Families without homes don’t pay property taxes, and they sure don’t vote in your favor, come election day! We’ll remember that you didn’t give a damn, and then… we won’t either. I promise. Capish?”

For those of you keeping track, this was just another gyration, as the politicians in Jackson strive to drag this whole set of events out as long as possible, so that the people they are answering to either (a) drop dead from exhaustion, or (b) become so senile that they forget why they’re so pissed off.

The issue is whether or not to actually “release” the grant parcels to the families that qualified for them, MONTHS ago. I suspect that the truth of the matter is that they’re still trying to figure out how to make more money off the “re-urbanization” program. This program isn’t costing Mississippi a dime, folks. Not one penny! You see, the Fed has compensated Mississippi for the “land” that is being parceled out, but like most politicians, when the miscreants in Jackson smell money, they do just about everything they can to figure out how they can get their grubby little paws on more of it.

I’d remind them that “there isn’t anything honorable or even remotely responsible in standing between families that need homes, and the property that will make it possible.”

It’s ridiculous really. They complain that their tax bases are dying slowly on the vine and that people are leaving Mississippi for “greener pastures.” Then, they actually demonstrate WHY people are leaving, yet they fail to recognize it. Talk about “being detached and living in a fantasy.”

Attention, self-serving politicians; We will not forget, or go away. (In fact, some of us CAN’T, or we would have… as we’re really sick and tired of your greediness and irresponsibility.) Do your jobs, serve your constituents “honorably and responsibly,” or come next election, I promise you that you’ll be looking for work. (Good luck with that, by the way… as you idiots also killed off most of the jobs!) People like me are going to hold you accountable for your lack of action, and we’ll be more than happy to remind voters what miserable bastards you were, when we actually needed you to do your jobs, for once. I’m taking careful notes, and keeping a list of names. And, I have no problem being one of those who help fan the winds of change.

For example: The Internet is a powerful stick, and I’ll make sure that I beat you on the head with it, for all to see. Think about it for a minute, huh? I’m an “ex-military father/husband, with a dying wife and a baby child, who lost our (completely paid for) home to a greedy insurance company (who bought and paid for) a bunch of greedy politicians who just didn’t give a crap about anything but THEIR own power-mongering, “foreign-soil” junkets (and I’m not talking about ALABAMA), and excessive lifestyles.”

You really don’t want that, do you? Let me assure you… You REALLY don’t want that. I can spell “RECALL.” And, I know what it means, too.

That said, let’s talk about something more pleasant, huh?

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a home built, using containers as the primary structure. Unless you’re living under a rock, you already know that.

And as my own build is hopelessly mired in “red tape,” I’m currently involved in helping other families build their ISBU homes Some surprising developments have given me hope that soon, despite the procrastination of Jackson’s “finest,” we’ll be building our own “Corten Castle” soon. It may NOT be in Mississippi, but it’s going to get built.

We’ll talk more about that later.

Anyway, I’ve been asked a series of questions lately, that I found so intriguing, I’m going to post them here, and see if I can get a few of you to comment. And, to be accurate, lately the most interesting inquiries aren’t so much “questions,” as “ponderings,” about the combination of structures, essentially combining different types of alternative construction together, to form “habitats.” I’m frankly enjoying this, because it means that some of you guys and gals are truly thinking out of the box, while trying to use one.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

Lately, I’ve been quietly working on a new ISBU project in New Mexico. The family involved isn’t building “in crisis,” or anything like that. They’re actually dedicating their own funds to this build, “simply to prove it can be done.” The home will be a vacation retreat, but it’s large enough that they could live there full time, if they choose to, later on. If I had to categorize it, I’d call it a “bug-out” build. It’s a place to run to, if things get stupid, or you just need to get out of town. I can completely relate to this mindset.

They’re using (3) 40′ HQ ISBUs to build a 24’x40′ box. It’s multi-level, with one ISBU level on what is essentially an elevated and insulated slab, that will hold all the mechanical and service elements of the home. The kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and mechanical room for the A/C and Hot water Heater is in the boxes. Also included in this level are the garage (2 car) and a small workshop. This entire level will be “earth-bermed,” in a manner that will make it similar to the “earthships” popular in the area. A greenhouse will occupy most of the south facing exterior.

Try as I might, the people building just aren’t interested in solar anything, including hot water, geothermal A/C or photovoltaics. Whaaa?

Okay, so there’s ONE solar panel, and it’s mounted on a pump system on a water tank.

Wait, it gets better! You know WHY they aren’t interested in using a bucket full of those “green” elements? It’s because they have their own “fast running” creek/stream/river, that never dries up or freezes over, and the guy building the home is an electrical engineer who has developed a hydroelectric turbine that will fit into a pipe. Big deal, right? Wrong. HUGE damned deal!!!

It’s only a 12” pipe!

And, this little beauty of a turbine will produce enough power to run just about anything he wants to plug in, forever. And to prove it, he’s gonna make it the SOLE source of power, for his home.

(The singular solar panel is used to power a pump that will help him move water to another parcel for irrigation of a “survival” garden. It was pre-existing.)

His “power-pipe system” runs out of the river, and then back into it.

A singular power source from water pressure. Talk about “guts!” If I tried to do that, I’d wake up dead in the morning, with my wife laughing over my carcass! 🙂

So, As I learn more about this little gem of a powerplant, I’ll fill you in, too! Suffice to say, I want one! I can picture this placed between cisterns filled by a well (which is operated by solar power). I have a few really big pieces of culvert pipe that are just begging to be used in a “power by water” experiment. If you filled a rather large primary tank, and then used an outlet pipe to fill a secondary one (and placed one of these little powerplants in that outlet pipe between them…) you’d get hydroelectric power from the water pressure that flowed thru it…

I’m not sure it’d work, because you’d have to keep that first tank filled to get enough pressure (in a constant flow), but I can see it in my head. However, my wife reminds me that “I see a lot of things in my head, most of them unrepeatable, unprintable, or felonious.” 🙂

Okay, I admit it. I get all caught up in this “grant property polka” currently going on in Jackson, and I want to go “postal.” Deal with it. 🙂

Here’s where his build is REALLY different. He’s gonna build his bedrooms and common areas into a dome built ON TOP of the containers. The dome will be 24′ feet in diameter and about 20′ high. It will be built entirely of SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels) and glass. A winding “freeform” staircase will allow access from level to level, with an ”open overlap loft” plan that will allow you to stand on the main level and look up, to see the top of the dome.

This isn’t such a bad idea. He gets a stable base to build on, lots of room for his “hard stuff” (plumbing, electromechanical requirements, etc…) and really bright and airy creative spaces for his comfort zones.

What other ways can you think of to combine different type of alternative homes together, to form a “super” alternative home?

The Renaissance RoninDo You Enjoy Our Articles and Features? Are you interested in helping a family that is helping others get back on THEIR feet? We could sure use the help, honest! Please Consider Making a Small, Secure Donation! Use our Paypal button!

“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!

When Money Falls From the Sky…

1 Apr

Why is is, when we’re always claiming to be “first” at everything…

We  have to be “last” in alternative housing?

America is in the grips of what could be the worst economic times since the Great Depression. And families are going to bear the brunt of it, I assure you. The politicians in DC are so insulated that they won’t even hear our teeth chatter.

I’ve been going on and on about “container houses” for months now. At least, that’s my story on the Internet. It’s actually been a lifelong passion, spawned from the simple, yet abstract, realization that those steel boxes provide the “core” of some really unique and durable homes.


When we were younger, we did it because we didn’t have any money.

Now, with this infusion of “Stimulus dollars,” it may be possible to build that Corten Castle, and let Uncle Sam help you pay for it.  Everybody I talk to expects “money to be falling from Heaven, like Manna to the Israelites!” I’m not so sure that it’s gonna work that way… but I’ve been wrong before.

You can bet that Ronin is going over the Stimulus Bill, line by stinking line, looking for ways to get money out of “Big Government,” to help the families that actually make up the America they misrepresent, seemingly at every turn.

I know, I know… color me “jaded.”

Look, it’s like this… it costs £20,000 to build and buy a container studio in London. That’s about $28,620.15 in USD, according to the Currency Exchange, today. That’s the cost of a new GM car or a Toyota, folks.

It’s affordable. Living in modified shipping containers (ISBUs) has become an increasingly attractive option, to many Americans.

They’ve been doing it overseas for years, kids. I’VE  been doing it for years, overseas. It’s not that hard! England, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, you name it… there are “container homes” there.

Containers aren’t just for residences, either. Travel Lodge opened a hotel in Uxbridge (in the UK)  made out of 86 containers.  We talked about this very hotel, earlier  in the blog history of “RR.” And the Travel Lodge powers that be say that most of the rest of their new projects will use Shipping Containers as their core.  Clearly, there must be advantages to using them. Right?


Aren’t those the “same” advantages that we’ve been talking about all along?


  • Durable
  • Structurally Strong
  • Low Cost
  • Versatile, and…
  • Readily Available

There are places like Container City, in London where you can rent a “Container Condo.” They work in the housing marketplace, and the rents are reasonable.  Studios go from about $350 USD, up to about $2000 USD per month, depending on how big they are. The studio’s have everything that “a conventional building does. The only thing that really sets them apart is the exteriors, which have been left rather industrial, and the fact that many of the units sport “portholes” instead of traditional windows.


Both of those “peculiarities” could nave been easily changed, and you wouldn’t know WHAT was under that siding, and behind those double-hung windows.

Sounds great, right?

Here’s the rub:

If ISBUs are so cheap and are gaining such popularity, (especially now, during the current state of “housing failure” that we’re living with),  why aren’t we all rushing out, finding some land and setting up home in our very own boxes? And why aren’t more of the developers doing this? Talk about an opportunity to provide a low-cost quality product, complete with GREEN recycling benefits?

Even though container houses have been here for decades, it’s a relatively “new” concept to the housing marketplace, and not many “production” people are doing it well. We didn’t exactly scream from the rooftops that we were living in shipping containers, back in the day.

In fact, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… Shhhhh! sometimes we didn’t even have building permits. We just dropped them onto foundation blocks, hooked up water and power, and lived as quietly as we could. After all, it was the middle of the forest? Who knew?

Now, when people do that, they call them “wilderness cabins.”


The cool thing about them then, and even now… is they were cheap, they were “Tonka Tough,” and they went up fast. Isn’t that what America needs right now, especially in places like the Hurricane belt, and Tornado Alley?

Another cool thing about these Container developments is that they have the ability to be “self-contained.” You can put them in places where other houses wouldn’t go. Places like brown-field sites without fear of contamination.

What’s a brownfield site? Well, according to Wiki;

“brownfield land (or simply a brownfield) is land previously used for industrial purposes or certain commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.”


And America is covered with places exactly like this.

Building “production” homes out of a container is an “off-site” operation, easy. Use warehouses to prefab the containers to suit your floorplan, and truck them to your site. Then you just set them in place with a crane. You could turn that “shoddy, dirty, dangerous” old industrial relic into a thriving community, in months. Months. Talk about turning America around!


And, up to 80% of the construction materials could come from “recycled” sources.

Of course, you’re still going to heat and insulate, like a “normal” house. So, you’re not increasing the “expected ” carbon footprint. But I suspect the same minds that craft these boxes into place will embrace concepts like passive heating and air handling, and solar and wind power production to assist the local grid.

Those naysayers that argue about the “blight of boxes…” (you know, the “not in my backyard type…” right?) can be soothed by the simple use of siding, and modified roofs, just like any other house in the neighborhood.

Personally, I like the “Mad Max meets Armagedon” kinda look of Shipping Containers. They have character,  they look “modern and manly,” and most of all, they’re both cheap, and GREEN.


If Travel Lodge can embrace them, it’s only a matter of time before your local Planning and Zoning Nazis are forced to!

I’m looking forward to the day when we can go into a county commission hearing, and spread our plans out on the table, without the local cop reaching for his holster. Aren’t  you?

Hey, I can dream, can’t I? Huh?

I bet my conservative stick-up-the um… er… well… neighbors wish this was an April Fools Joke, huh?

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

And, please remember that we’re trying to figure out how to keep this blog going. If you enjoy the blog, please hit the PayPal button up there and donate a few bucks to keep it up and running! We really, really, need the help! Thanks!

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

Who’s Cleaning up America?

20 Sep

My family is currently building ourselves back into a home, using rather unconventional means to fulfill our requirements for shelter.

You see, we’re using ISBU’s (shipping containers) and recycled steel aircraft hangars to build the box we’ll live in, and find shelter from the storms…

(This isn’t our house, but ain’t it cool?)

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Our “Shipping Container Casa” build is an idea that found it’s roots in desperation, and need. We lost our home in Hurricane Katrina, and the insurance company we trusted to protect us, didn’t even come close to fulfilling the task we paid them for. In fact, they claim that they don’t have the assets to pay us (and almost 3,000 other families here) and have dragged us around in courtrooms for years. And, it’s not over yet, by a long shot. I’ve talked about this before, so I’m not going to repeat myself. Suffice to say, if someone had paid me to perform a service, and then I refused to fulfill my part, after cashing thousands of dollars in payment checks, you can bet your butt I’d go to jail. It’s called “fraud.” It’s a pity that insurance companies have so many friends in Congress…

While we’re working through creating our own “state of the union” by planning, designing, and building, we’re starting to wonder what’s in store for everyone in America, as we move towards a new administration.

I really try not to get “political.” Honest, I do. But I have an investment here, too. I have a family to take care of, and it’s hard enough keeping your head up above water, without all the ridiculous behavior I’ve seen lately. The news is actually starting to terrify me.

You see, our new house is actually located in another “house” we all call America. And, if THAT house fails, we’re all screwed no matter how well we’ve built our personal families homes. All the building in the world won’t fix it if the country goes to hell in a handbasket.

So, as the elections draw closer, and the fur starts to fly (so to speak) I wonder what changes are in store for us as Americans, in the next decade?

I watched George Jr giving a speech today, about the bailouts of the big lending institutions. He’s telling us “to be calm,” and remember that we all have a responsibility to insure that the credit of the free world survives intact. (I’m paraphrasing, here.) He thinks that burdening the taxpayers with billions of dollars of additional debt, is good for us, our children, and the nation. Of course, he gets a “free pass.” His Administration is almost over, he’s rich, and he’ll find protection from the taxes he levies on us all. Oy Vay!

This is a guy who can’t even ride a Segway… Hmmm… That should mean something, to anybody paying attention.

(Sorry about the blurred photo! Those “Secret Service” guys can run faster than I thought! You’d have thought all those donuts would have slowed them down!) LOL!

The taxpayers are being burdened with bailout after bailout, as the Government transfers the responsibility for literally tons of bad loans to be subsidized, to save the greedy few who actually “took the risks.” Freddy, Fanny, and AIG are going to cost the taxpayers of this nation billions of dollars, and we, the people, will have nothing to show for it… except decades of debt that we have to repay.

You see, we’re seeing the result of unregulated “free enterprise.”  That result is privatized profits, and socialized risks and costs.  And we all know that when you allow people to do anything they want, the result is always the same… greedy, careless, extremely risky… bad behavior.

Now, while this was happening, the powers that be sold us the “government hands-off” strategy, purportedly to keep government out of private business and our private lives. However, the real end result is just the exact opposite.

And now, the “government” will own Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and every other bank that they decide to bail out. Of course, the government involvement isn’t the “real” OMG (Oh my gawd!) problem. Once again, “we the people” have to foot the bills for buying these ridiculously overrated companies using our “credit,” with no date (or even a plan) to ever pay them off.

It is just an endless stream of interest payments, that will continue long after all of us, and even our children, are dead. And the money has to come from somewhere, so taxes will have to go up, so that each and every one of us can “pay our share.”

There has been a terrible lack of regulations in the operation of these companies. These hallowed lending institutions are built on the principle that you cook your books, to build your assets. And since most of these assets are actually bad debt, when the pyramid stars to collapse, it’s all downhill…

(And remember that a house in foreclosure, is still listed as an asset. But I bet they don’t change the change in property value to reflect that…)

Economic gurus are now claiming that these companies are actually worth about 10% of what they boast, on “real” paper.

So, maybe the sky really is falling. But, it’s not necessarily the “Global Warming” catastrophe that we need to be immediately concerned with, after all. Our system is actually failing us.

I’ve always been of the opinion that it isn’t immoral at all, to ask for our share of the profits, as Oil Tyrants rake in billions of our dollars in profits, government hand-outs, and subsidies. After all, if we the people are subsidizing these conglomerates, why do we only get called in when it’s time to assess risks when things go south? Aren’t we entitled to a return on our investment when they’re raking in all those profits, and taking business trips to the Whitsundays, on all those fancy yachts? ?

And lets not forget that these same goons are receiving free security (because WE pay for it) by the US military, and they are immune to restitution caused by all the environmental and financial damages they cause.

Let’s face it. The crowd has been worked into a frenzy by self-aggrandizing goons peddling “the sky is falling” speeches. The problem is that while THEY get rich at our expense, we all continue to suffer. Energy costs are going through the roof. Gas prices are soaring, even though the powers that be claim it’s going to get back under control, soon. It looks like we’d better get used to paying $4 a gallon, because it looks like that’s gonna be the new “benchmark,” in spite of what the candidates are telling us.

Oil prices are hitting all time highs, and soon $100 a barrel will be the “norm.”

The air is filled with cries of “Drill, baby, Drill!” while the environmentalists in America scream in agony as the prospect of oil companies piercing the planet causes them to have “conniption fits.”

Al Gore is dancing like a trained bear, hawking his tired old speech about “Global Warming” at $3000 a minute to anyone with enough cash to pander to it. Of course, his own mansion is NOT a good example of his “preaching…” It’s just “Do as I say, and not as I do…” I guess. Bastard!

T. Boone Pickens is plying the airwaves with his wind and natural gas schemes, in a guise that reminds me, strangely enough, of Ross Perot.

(Pickens’s name makes me immediately think of a geriatric rapper, complete with about 35 gold chains and baubles hanging around his neck…)

But, how are the candidates going to clean America?

Over the next couple of days, I’m gonna take a look at what the candidates are claiming they’ll do, “When they get elected.”

I’m not gonna get all “Republican and Democrat.” I’m not gonna pander to Palin’s “boob shirts,” “Mini-skirt MILF” photos, or even her “bikini photos,” and throw rocks.

This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her dorm room at the University of Idaho.
This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in her dorm room at the University of Idaho.

Okay, yes I am… Let’s face it, in a time where things aren’t that funny, these are entertaining, to say the least… Even the “fakes” are funny…

(But ya gotta love her! You know you’ve made it when they start photoshopping your face onto somebody else’s photos! Boy, is she taking shots for those… Even the feminist lesbians are pissed at her!) LOL!

I’m just gonna look at what Obama and McCain are saying/promising, and then measure the messages against “reality.”

Who do you choose? Who can you trust? Are they both lying? What to do?

It should prove interesting. After all, if the land our house is built on is suddenly in crisis, how good can our life be, while we live in it? What do we leave for our children? And what lessons does this behavior TEACH our kids?

Hell, I was worried that Hillary wasn’t gonna be able to find a new job, until I saw this;

At least the Clinton’s won’t starve, now that they’ve pissed off everybody in the Free World… LOL!

And remember the lesson learned here today;

“It’s okay to fail spectacularly! Make as much as you can, until the bottom falls out! Uncle will bail you out!”

It’s not the lesson I want my kids to learn. They have enough trouble, knowing that Ronin is their daddy… LOL!

Stay tuned!

Dancing with snakes is for Baptists!

3 Jul

Last time, we took a hard look at the road John McCain will have to trod, on his trek to the White House.

(This time, let’s look further into the “magic 8-ball,” and shed some light on a running mate for Barack Obama.)

The first name that comes to mind, and probably the first name on a lot of people’s “A” Lists, is Hillary Clinton;

(Man, oh man, I hate even “typing” that name… My computer is probably gonna get a virus!)

Okay, I talked about Hillary a few weeks back, before it became clear that there was no way in hell that she’d be able to pull off the Democratic nomination for President.

I voiced some concerns then, and I’ll add a few now, since Barack now has to figure out who to add to his dance card, so that he can go out and campaign for “Universal King of the Prom.”

Hillary is a snake. There, I’ve said it.

She’s not a “powerful woman seeking to aid the country by leading ,” she’s a power-hungry person who would sell her own soul, or even her daughter (apparently) to become President of the United States. And all snakes get hungry, and demonstrate their “true” nature, sooner or later.

Let’s face it, all the Clinton’s care about is their own fame and fortune. They’ve been riding that bus since Arkansas, and I don’t see them getting off, any time soon.  I’m not going to go on a rant about Bill, because he’s not the topic here, no matter how many times he sticks his big nose into the cameras, to speak on behalf of his wife.

But, Hillary is a real piece of work. This is a woman so drunk for power that she would literally shotgun her own party, to push herself into the Oval Office. In fact, if you consider how many enemies she made on the campaign trail, it’s obvious that she did exactly that.

If you watch CNN, or any other news program on the planet, there is one thing I’m here to guarantee you of;

You’re gonna get a nightly dose of Hillary’s forced smiles, her crocodile tears, her “holier than thou” attitude, and a belly full of her fake promises that she never intends to keep. Have you really looked at her voting record?

Why should the White House be any different than her NY Senate seat? (A seat that I’ll remind you she had to “carpetbag” to get, by schlepping from Little Rock to NYC.)

If you look at her objectively, you have to admit that she’s “driven.”

Somebody I really admire said recently that she reminded him of an “even further deranged Leona Helmsley.” After all, Hillary isn’t exactly trying to disguise her “infamous” nature, as a back-stabbing, mean-spirited, vindictive  brat (I was gonna use another word, but my son is watching me type).

Beyond that, you can’t ignore the fact that the Clinton’s have a dark cloud following them around. Do you remember the Arkansas real estate deals, turning a grand into $100 grand in cattle futures in less than a year, appointing her cronies (the Thomasons) to replace the entire White House travel staff, the discovery of hundreds of FBI files on prominent Republics in the White House, and a lot more…

And, she holds a few “first lady” records, to boot;

She’s the first “First Lady” to ever be subpoenaed (the Whitewater Scandal);

And she’s the first “First Lady” ever actually caught stealing furniture, art, and other historic treasures from the White House, on the way out the door…

(Only when the evidence surfaced, and the story broke, did she return anything she took.)

But the thing that scares me most is when she stated in public that;

“She will be ready on day one to assume the presidency…”

If you were Obama, what would you think that meant? Hmmm? This is, after all, a woman surrounded by conspiracy.

My warning bells would be going off like the “core-breach klaxons on the Starship Enterprise.”

She’s no more experienced than Obama to lead, anyway. Oh sure, she’s actually lived at the White House (and she evidently knew where all the “good” stuff was stashed), but her leadership has only come from a seat she won twice, in a state she had to crawl to, to gain entry into the senate. And, she’s demonstrated that she’s neither trustworthy (Look out! There’s a sniper!), or believable. Her moral backbone is as twisted as a Bonsai tree.

She hasn’t done anything that proves to me that she has what it takes to be the “Leader of the Free World” (or even “a” leader).

Not now, not today, probably not ever.

And if you dance with snakes, sooner or later, you’re gonna need anti-toxin. And a band-aid.


My Son is Going To INHERIT “WHAT?”

2 Jul

Okay, I’ve been thinking lately…

And that can’t be good. But sometimes, you have to just sit down, and listen to the voices…

I have a new son. He’s not even walking yet, but someday he’ll be able to run. And when that time comes, I want him to have the freedom to run toward his goals and his dreams, and not be forced to run away from the chaos his parents, and his grandparents created for him to inherit.

You see, I believe that I owe my son a better chance than I had. And I think that most parents think similarly.

These are difficult times. Headlines, and CNN scream at us daily about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel is getting ready to deal with Iran, and I assure you that we’ll get drawn into that conflict in a major way.

With the election right around the corner, Americans have to start weighing the options, and determine who will lead us through what looks to be very troubling times.

In previous posts, I’ve already talked about my feelings where Hillary and Barack are heading…

So, now that things are coming to a head, I’m going to take a hard look at both sides of this “gamblers coin,” and try to start a dialog about what we do next, after the “new guy” moves into the White House.

Since (according to virtually everyone around me) I’m a Rethuglican, we’ll take some shots at John McCain, first…

Everyone knows that our “Republican in Residence” President Bush can barely speak in public, without putting his foot in his mouth. He’s not doing anybody any favors. In fact, his attempts at “help,“ are like putting a loaded handgun in your mouth, and counting to five. John McCain has distanced himself from the president, primarily (I think) to shield himself from Bush’s “open mouth, insert foot” mentality and press relationship. It’s hard enough out there, without having to make excuses for the President of the United States.

And John, oh John… Well, let’s just say that he’s inheriting a mess, if he gets the privilege of taking up residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I’m worried about ole’ John. You see, he hasn’t figured out yet that it’s not smart to piss off your friends, when your enemies are lining up against you, in droves.

Now, some of those “enemies” are easily identified, because they’re (gasp!) Democrats.

And the “friends” I’m speaking of here are the conservatives that John has failed to impress with his abilities.

McCain hasn’t done much to dispel the dark cloud he’s created over his head. It’s a cloud of distrust, and frustration, to say the least, that is easy for everyone to see. The conservatives among us (God Bless ‘Em!) are starting to get restless. You see, John hasn’t exactly traveled the same path they walk, and in areas like “tax reform,” “abortion,” “immigration,” and even the rights granted us by the First and Second Amendments, he’s failed miserably. John McCain is definitely not Ronald Reagan.

And, I think it’s going to take somebody like Ronnie (may he rest in peace) to get us firmly back on track.

If you turn on your radio during the day, or sit in front of your cable tv at night, you can see what’s happening. Talk shows run by guys like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh (just to name a few) have whipped conservatives into an anti-McCain frenzy. And McCain still doesn’t understand that he better start talking, or pretty soon, it’s going to be too late, and the tide will have turned irrevocably against him.

Time is running out. A smart guy would have circled the wagons, and prepared for the battle. And you’d think, that John, being a “military guy,” would think that through. But so far, I suspect he’s gotten complacent  and believes his own press. He thinks that as easily as he seemingly shored up the Republican Nomination, he’s gonna take America by storm.

Well, I think he’s got a lesson or two coming, as well as a firm crack on the head, right between the eyes, with the “ugly stick.” Because, it’s about to get ugly.

One thing I’m sure of is that McCain can’t take on Obama all by his onesies. He’s gonna need all the conservatives he can carry on his back. And, I think he’s gonna need a “Noah’s Ark full of Evangelicals,” too. The hard part is that McCain obviously isn’t very fond of the conservatives he’s going to be forced to court, to finish this dance.

And, Obama knows this. You can be sure of that. If I was Barack Obama, I’d probably have dreams of John McCain, caught in the middle of the road, like a deer in the headlights. Because he’s a smart guy, smart enough to realize that John has gotten himself into a war on two flanks, and that can’t be good. John’s gonna have his hands full trying to convince conservatives that he’s their guy, and take on Barack Obama at the same time.

Both of those battles are going to be incredibly difficult to fight, both in terms of energy, and good old cash. Having to fight them at the same time, well… the rules of warfare clearly point out the benefits of “divide and conquer.” And Barack got the conditions handed to him, on a silver platter.

If I was John, I’d be puckering up, and getting ready to kiss serious conservative butt. Because if he doesn’t, well, remember what happened to that poor deer caught in the headlights?

And if that wasn’t enough, this is just the beginnings of John McCain’s problems.

John McCain’s voting record is disgraceful. Conservatives are disappointed with America’s domestic performance. Sure, Bush cut a few token taxes, but he also spent us into what looks like recession, if you believe guys like Warren Buffett. And John, by simply being a Republican, is going to inherit all that animosity, unless he convinces them that he can fix the problems.

And that’s a major piece of work that John McCain has cut out for him.  He better get his boat in the water and start navigating quick, or he’s gonna sink faster than an old  “Swiftboat.”