Tuesday, October 8, 2013

two articles

Sorry, the Internet was down all day yesterday.  Here is the two days of articles, one after another.  I'll get on the comments now as it's my lunch hour.  A note to JZman: I got your book in the mail.  Thanks!  It looks interesting. 

Is anyone really poor in this country? I understand that some folks are losing jobs, others homes. Some crazy dudes are homeless and hungry. But, for all intents and purposes, no one goes hungry for long, if at all. And I’m talking eating nothing but Top Ramen or dumpster diving for a short period only. Only feeling hungry, not actually starving. All the statistics showing one out of three children suffer from hunger ( whatever the ratio is, I’m guessing here ) and so must be fed school lunches is mainly just BS propaganda enriching special interests. Any malnutrition is caused by eating empty calories, not from eating nothing. I can’t think of too many instances were anybody is actually poor to the point of unhealthiness. We all eat, and we can all get some kind of shelter, even if it is just a car roof over our heads. There are too many charities ( many may call themselves non-profit, but the management isn’t working for free ) that hunt out, track down and refuse to not help those in need. There is actually a private market profit motive to help people ( even if a lot of it is public funded ).


So, how can we tell who is poor? I think the thing has gotten ridiculous. Being poor is nothing more than a sliding scale, invented problem, only cared about by either the aforementioned charities or by social climbers. It is almost a game anymore. I liken it to our society becoming little more than a High School with everyone desperately fighting for status. It is all a dream world, as dysfunctional as public education itself. Think about it. Historically, you reach puberty, you are working the fields, apprenticing for a trade ( already years into it by that time ) or looking to mate up so as to procreate. Forcing this natural process to stop for an artificial time of four years, the same problem as any other unnatural constraint happens. Dysfunctional behavior. Teenager angst ( because there used to be no teenagers but merely young adults learning to be independent by being thrown in the deep end of life ). Its all make-believe. Yet it seems we spend our whole lives living like this now. We try to keep forming cliques. Oh, look, those people don’t have cars. They don’t belong. Soon, everyone has a car. Look, those poor people don’t have cell phones. Soon, nobody goes without a cell phone. A college education becomes a tribal marker, independent of its utility. A thirty year mortgage is only a way of sending our offspring to better schools, to belong to a more preferred clique.


Nobody is poor, measured by nourishment and shelter, but everyone keeps moving the marker to make it seem as if they are superior and others are now the New Poor, inferior to themselves. It is all drama and rather comical. Tragicomedy. Those classified as poor today, at least working poor, those that consciously refuse the trappings of luxury, who avoid debt, are looked down by one and all. Even by those in Section Eight housing, I would imagine. The fact that the roles will soon reverse doesn’t help a whole lot of course. Being socially ostracized is a brutal business. Hang in there.


For a short period of time, call it an even ten years give or take, you could shop at Wal-Mart for nearly 100% of everything you ever needed ( other than niche hobby items. Such as books. Regardless of the industries attempts to lower the bar to idiocy, the vast majority of people still do not read as a hobby ) and as a bonus they were, as the saying went, the low price leader. You didn’t have to shop around. You knew the prices were the lowest. Nowadays, Wal-Mart is just another sad sack corporation quite willing to bend over their customers, hump them without lubrication, insist the customer thank them for their violation, then throw them under the bus. Like Sears used to be before. Now, I would wager Wal-Mart is the leader of customer humping. I’d rather go to a used car salesman than to Wal-mart for anything non-food anymore, their quality was dived to such awe inspiring depths. I’ll even pay a slight premium to NOT shop at Wal-Mart anymore. Not that this is necessarily the case, even compared to just two or three years ago. Now, you can easily get cheaper prices at the competitors. Rarely will you pay more. Oh, sure, you compare expensive brand names, Wal-Mart is cheaper. But I don’t buy expensive brand names. Almost never have. The idiots are targeting a shrinking middle class. Nice strategy, Einstein. Anyway, it is back to your parents shopping strategy. Comparison shopping, otherwise known as cherry picking.


Cherry picking is only buying the best prices at each store. You are only picking the best deals, ignoring the more expensive items that are the balancing scale the owner used for his sale items. I used to feel bad for doing that myself, feeling it a bit disloyal. If you treat me fairly, you deserve my business. But I simply don’t care anymore, mainly because I see so many stores raping customers. If your regular peanut butter is on sale for a buck fifty, and your non-sale item is twice what anyone else is charging, I don’t mind cherry picking your store. Other stores I give my business to, and only withhold buying a few items that are cheaper elsewhere. You get most of my business, just not all. Family Dollar consistently has high quality and low prices. I give them a lot of my business. Same with Smiths, although some items I never buy as they are outrageous. But, only some, not the majority. They are on balance fair. K-Mart gets all my former non-food Wal-Mart business, even if I’m paying 25% more. It is in the long run cheaper, since the crap doesn’t fall apart quickly.


The trick is to avoid transportation costs that are a hidden subsidy. If you live in the boonies, and every store is spaced wide apart, you can only cherry pick on a general basis, not a weekly bargain hunt. Of course, most areas east of the Mississippi are compact and people friendly ( you can usually make do without a car ). The West is almost car required. And if you live there, you had better have Plan B for the coming oil shortages. Start cherry picking now, needing it financially or not. Pennies add up. It’s just a good habit to get into. Let the corporations work for you, not the other way around ( they already screw you at work, anyway ).


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  1. http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showthread.php?436864-Bracken-Offers-MUST-READ-quot-Enemies-quot-Books-FREE-...


    Matt Bracken wrote,
    Okay, if you followed what I posted two hours ago, here's my new plan. I'm going to put each of my Enemies Trilogy novels into the Amazon
    Kindle free download deal, starting with Enemies Foreign And Domestic next Monday, October 14.
    Then Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista on Monday the 21st, and Foreign Enemies And Traitors on October 28th.

    Bear with me, this is my thinking. I quit writing my next novel shortly after Castigo Cay. "What's the point?" I figured. The country is going down the crapper
    full-speed-ahead, so what difference will another novel make, coming out in 2014 or 2015? (I'm a slow writer.) Instead, I switched my attention to tuning
    up my escape pod, and writing short stuff like
    "What I Saw at the Coup" and "Alas, Brave New Babylon."
    I figured these might make some small difference in the time left to us while we are still free. They are available free on the internet, or collected
    end excerpt

    see also

    Bracken: What I Saw At The Coup
    Posted on September 11, 2012 | 106 Comments

    Bracken: Alas, Brave New Babylon
    Posted on August 26, 2013 | 105 Comments
    on the Bracken Anthology on Kindle.

  2. Dang! That was so good I had to read it twice.

    1. Which one? Both? I didn't really like Cherry Picking too much. But then, I'm a poor judge of reader dislike for my writing.

    2. Both. In a zen(Uh-Ho)kind of way the two became one. Keep on and you might, whether you like or not, join the ranks of Diogenes and Epictetus.
      If you have enough -- you have everything.

    3. And no matter where you go, there you are.

    4. Quote Buckaroo Banzai at me one more time and I will turn into Dr. Lizardo on you.

    5. I loved that movie when it came out on VHS. Watched it a good six or ten times. Decades later, I tried it again and couldn't get past the first fifteen minutes. Don't know what happened. So, that's the only quote I got.