Saturday, February 27, 2010

Going to the dogs....

I have a dog. Or , perhaps it would be better stated as, my dog has me.
We have a good relationship. We trained each other.
Because of her lack of opposable thumbs, I am necessary to open doors for her, get into the cabinet to get her dog food, drive her around and other various tasks
I find her good to have around because of her excellent hearing and nose, not to mention her aggression and fangs.
Also, she is a pretty good friend.
She has some eccentricities, of course.
She watches t.v. and has some favorite programs. If I change the channel when she is watching one of *her* shows, I get growled at.
She sleeps on my bed. Has her own pillow and blanket.
We tried sharing the same blanket, but we ended up snarling at each other on cold nights when we would end up pulling said blanket off each other.
She snores, I ignore it.
We both have *moody* days.
When I am in a bad mood, she will insist that if I give her a tummy rub, it will make me feel better.
When she is in a bad mood, I put episodes of "It's Me or the Dog" on my computer and bring her a snack.
The dog loves Victoria Stillwell...I dunno why.
She tolerates me watching Project Runway, so I guess that is even.
Siona (that is her name, after a character in Frank Herbert's Dune series) has proven herself to be a loyal protector of me and this house.
She has attacked someone that was attempting to break in, she has knocked down and held down someone who was coming up behind me to do me harm, and, on one memorable occasion, she tore the living hell out of someone that was throwing swings at me while attempting to force their way into the house.
Siona also alerts me when a stranger is on the premises. We have a dozen tenants here, and she can tell which one has come in the front door just by the sound of their footsteps.
If it is a stranger, she issues a slow, low growl. A quick sniff and the growl sometimes goes into a full fledged snarl of fury.
The snarl of fury lets me know that whoever came in the door has drugs on them, specifically, some form of cocaine or meth. She despises the smell of either. Weed---she ignores.
The dog makes moral judgments on drug use, I guess
I never trained her to detect drugs...the drugs users that lived here did.
We had 3 or 4 tenants that smoked crack or used meth  when I first moved here. All of them were very fearful of, or simply did not like, dogs. A couple would kick at her, yell at her or otherwise abuse her when they thought I was not looking. She learned rapidly that the scent of crack or meth on someone made them BAD. And BAD she will NOT tolerate in her house!
Siona is a GOOD dog, and she knows it. I tell her so every single day.
Her favorite snack  is pizza. Pizza crusts make her happy as well, if that's all you got.
She never begs for food. That would be beneath her dignity! She will however,  give you what I call "pretty face" when she desperately wants a taste of whatever tasty morsel you have possession of. She folds her ears down, raises her chin and bats her lashes while giving you a beseeching look with her big brown eyes.
She knows you can't resist.
When she knows a snack is coming her way, she does a joyful enthusiastic dance, pirouetting with abandon.
Siona has changed the opinion some people have of dogs.
When a new tenant moves in, Siona is the first resident here they meet, after me.
She *frisks* them as her first greeting...a bit startling to some. She sniffs up and down each leg, front and back.
If she growls and her hackles go up, I usually do not rent to the prospective tenant. The one or two times I ignored her warning, I ended up with a tenant that used drugs, or had other behaviors that soon got them evicted.
People that are fearful or phobic of dogs end up adoring my girl.
After a few days, or at most, 3 or 4 weeks, they all say the same thing; "That's not a dog, that's a little furry person!"
I guess I treat her that way. I have conversations with her, ask her opinion and include her in most of my day to day activities.
She eats when I eat, sleeps when I sleep and we go on walks together.
I have never been able to convince her that baths are good thing, however.
When it comes to rain, she doesn't like it. At all.
She is like a *diva* leaving a hair salon when she has to go out in rain. I get a "you don't seriously expect me to go out in THAT" look, then gingerly minces her way across the yard, does her potty, and rapidly comes back in. The whole time, her expression is so funny! It is like she is saying "Ew...ew...ew...Nasty rain....NASTY...my fur is WET! WET! Ew...ew....EWWWW!"
She dashes back to our room and I dry her off with a towel and she snuggles down under her blanket, with her pillow.
Yeah, my world has gone to the dogs.
I don't mind it.
So, I suggest everyone out there get a good dog...and remember ALL dogs are good.
It's people that are the problem.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Living like a refugee.....

Great song. Heard it on the radio earlier today.
Got me to thinking about the refugee problem here in the good ol' USA.

"Refugee problem?" you say..."REFUGEE problem? What the hell are you talking about? "

Yep, we have refugees...lots of them.
ECONOMIC refugees.
People out of work and no way to pay the bills...they borrow enough money to get their car down the road a bit--to whatever area they *think* or have *heard* has jobs or cheaper housing or better handouts or anything to help them survive.
Refugee tent camps have sprung up outside of and in a lot of cities and areas. Florida, Texas, California and the American southwest are inundated with refugees.
Local social services in these areas are taxed beyond their capacity to help.
This issue will only get worse.
It is also happening more often in small towns. It used to be that small towns would get one, maybe two people a year *passing through* that needed help with gas and groceries to get them further down the road.
Not anymore. Most small towns are seeing a couple of dozen a month--depending on weather and how close the town is situated to the main routes of egress (interstates) that they travel towards their goal.
I have heard from friends that live in rural areas that they have had people stop and ask for work, ANY work..."It is like the Great Depression" some have exclaimed.
People are getting desperate.
Read that sentence again...out loud so you can imprint it into your brain.
PEOPLE ARE GETTING DESPERATE.
 Remember that.

People that are asking for work this week, may come back a week or month hence to carry off a chicken, grab a few melons out of your garden...or do some really bad things.
Be cautious. Very cautious.
I am not saying to not help people...just be real damn selective.
If you *prep* (and I hope everyone that reads this does!), be quiet about it. Now is not the time to brag down at the diner about the great deal you got on 100 #10 cans of wheat. Now is not the time to tell Bill down at the hardware store that you bought gold coins. Now is not the time to show off that new firearm to your buddies down at the Feed store.
Now is the time to *button it up*, guys.
Keep prepping...maybe now more than ever...but keep it quiet.

As for refugees...sigh...I don't know what is to be done. I wish I had all the answers.
If you are looking to buy property right now...check out the location carefully.
Think of the "refugee line of drift"...the routes people will take as they leave large cities or depressed areas.
For example, if loads of folks poured out of New York, the majority would head south in winter, but in late spring-early summer, they may head for Ct., Mass. or upstate New York and Vt and N.H.
City dwellers are NOT idiots. They know food comes from farms...and they will head towards farmland...for work (that probably isn't there) and for food.
If you live in a rural area, check maps carefully. Can your house be seen from the nearest interstate? If so, consider planting fast growing trees to block that view! Consider your fencing and other security around your property.

If you decide to help a refugee/refugee family by offering work, check them out carefully.
More about that next time...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And the juggernaut rolls on....

1. juggernaut
noun: a massive inexorable force that seems to crush everything in its way

Yeah, the juggernaut is rolling and, I fear, there will be no stopping it.
A little story in the news this morning:
Rising tide of Homeless in suburban and rural areas, more women and children seek shelter.

Jobs are disappearing and are not coming back---don't believe what the current powers-that-be are saying about *green shoots* and *the stimulus headed off a Depression*.
Lies, all lies.
There's an army of unemployed people out there and their ranks are growing bigger every day. The construction industry is in the toilet. No new construction means unemployed builders, electricians, plumbers, brick-layers, etc Those people don't work, they can't make their house payments, go to restaurants, buy new appliances, get their dogs groomed, buy groceries and so on and so forth. So now you have unemployed real estate agents, chefs & waiters, cashiers, dog groomers, etc. In turn, now THESE unemployed folk can't pay their bills or buy new things!
Hope and Change has FAILED and failed horribly.
Our national debt is at a point where we can never, that is N-E-V-E-R repay it. Not us, not our children, not our grandchildren, not seven friggin' generations hence!
I see blogs and stories every day and people on the tv telling the citizens to *vote the bastards out*.
It is, sadly, too late for that, as I have come to realize.
I used to have faith in the *system*.
I used to think that our government OF and BY and FOR the people could *right* itself  and get back on track.
I can see now that it can not and will not, barring   a TOTAL revamping of our government.
I think the only way that could come about is if all the states decided to invoke sovereignty and refuse to cooperate with the federal government until drastic changes are soon made.
Federal offices and departments  need to be cut by a minimum of HALF (hopefully more than half) of what they are today.
Federal employees need to be cut by HALF (at least) in the offices and departments that would remain.
We need to stop paying out foreign aid and supplying country after country with weapons.
We need to bring our troops home to protect our borders.
Congress needs to take a huge pay cut AND have their benefits cut. NO PENSIONS! Make those bastards actually WORK for a living!
I saw a great suggestion the other day...cut Congresses pay to what a E-6 makes in the Army. That's right, cut them down to a Staff Sergeants pay. Same benefits. To the dime. Hosuing allowance, clothing allowance, etc. Wouldn't that be great?
While we are at it, cut the Presidents pay to what a 4 star General makes. (5 stars are very rare and they only get there for meritorious service...really can't say that about any President since...well...it has been a LONG while)
Cut out immigration UNLESS the individual can show:
1: They have at least 100k in the bank
or
2: They have a FIRM job offer here in the states AND the employer signs an agreement to employ them for at least 3 years
3:  They speak English fluently or can learn to within 3 years
4: They have a talent or a skill that is needed or desired here (such as scientist, machinist, doctor, etc)

What I am proposing is generally called isolationism.
So what?
We need to do this, we HAVE to do this.
Other countries do. The immigration policies I listed are followed, more or less, by New Zealand.
Some countries have even stiffer policies.

Other fiscally responsible actions we could take would include instituting a *welfare* program as it is done in South Korea.
If you don't have a job there and sign up for money and food, they make you work for it.
Every morning, bright and early, buses and trucks pick up welfare recipients (at around 5:30am). They are given jumpsuits to work--I believe blue ones--and taken to various public work projects. Picking trash up along the roads, digging ditches to put in a new sewer system, etc. You don't work, you don't get a check.
Bonus points for Korea by putting welfare recipients in those jumpsuits....everyone can see who is collecting taxpayers monies. People there do not brag of *putting on over* or *playing* the system. THEY WORK. And they work hard to get off welfare, too!

We need to stop rewarding bad behavior. Whether it is a Congressman or a welfare recipient, EVERYONE needs to realize we live in a *civil* society.
It is not civil to take taxpayers money and waste it on frivolities (hello...Nancy Pelosi and her private taxpayer funded jet?) We need to stop handing out money hand over fist to countries that do nothing to improve their own situations and become money pits (Haiti...that message is for you)

The juggernaut is rolling and change is coming...prepare yourselves and your loved ones...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Archdruid Report: Becoming a Third World Country

The Archdruid Report: Becoming a Third World Country

If you don't read the Archdruid, you should!
This essay is a damn good example of his writing.
I also suggest you buy his book!
The Long Descent: A Users Guide to the End of the Industrial Age

Friday, February 5, 2010

Life in the Margins

As I have posted before, I run a rooming house in Texas. It is not in the best neighborhood, but not in the worst.
I try to help, but the people here are *in the margins* of our society and some don't know how to accept help and build on it to better themselves..

Settle yourselves in, children and let me tell you the story of *Amy* (names changed to protect the guilty and innocent in this tale)...

Amy was 24 and had just been released from a drug rehab halfway house run by the Dept. of Corrections. She also had served time in prison for drug convictions.
She did her time, did her rehab and found her way to the door of this rooming house.
Amy had a job, working at a fast food sandwich shop. She had lived here only a month when she became manager of the shop! She attended her NA meetings, fixed up her room, went to work and was a very ambitious and optimistic young lady.
I could see great things in her future--if she continued on this course.
Two months after Amy moved in, she got a call from *Don*, a young black man who had been in the same rehab halfway house. (Amy was white, btw.)
Don's history was similar to Amy's. He had the additional burden of returning to a home where drugs were used daily by siblings and other relatives. He called Amy to ask if he could visit for the weekend "just to get away from this shit".
Amy allowed him to come and visit, and nature took it's course and they began a relationship. Don went to work at the same place Amy managed.
And Don took those 2 steps forward and then slipped about 5 steps back.
Within 6 months he got fired from his job, got Amy fired from her job, stole her money, stole her car and got it impounded--twice.
She moved out one of the better ones I have here into one of the worst for the cheaper rent. She now worked at a cheaper fast food place at minimum wage. Don...worked when he was not high.
I told Amy; "Look, Don has to go, he cannot be on the property. If you don't kick him out, I will evict you."
She agreed.
Don disappeared ........for about a week.
Amy begged and pleaded for Don to be allowed to stay. I finally agreed under the condition that Don get a job and did not use drugs.
That lasted...exactly 18 days.
Don left, followed in a few days by Amy.

Don was arrested 3 days after he left for theft.
Amy violated her probation and last I heard was still a scant half step ahead of the warrant out for her arrest.
I cleaned out her room and rented it out.
Her bagged up few possession, now sitting in the tool shed are a visual reminder of how a life in the margins can play out.
She was a reasonably intelligent young lady, came out of rehab with her act together and was determined to succeed.
All of her hard work, ambition and determination sapped away when she engaged in a relationship with someone who did not have their act together.
Life in the margins is tough...sad how some people make it tougher for themselves and others...