The times, bridges and the way of inanimate objects….

Let us start with the inanimate objects – like engines.  Damn them!

I mean; I LIKE engines, I really do.  Power.  Work made easy and all that but…the damn things ‘act up’.  In and of itself an engine that acts up is to be expected but lately every engine in our lives is getting out of sorts.

My trusty little Honda 2000eu has crapped out after almost ten years of very dependable and hardy work.  And that little sucker ran perfectly even after being run over by a road grader!

My ‘pretty new’ Yamaha 50 is beeping when the key turns on…diagnosis to follow.  Sal’s little Suzuki had carburetor problems until I stripped it down, cleaned it in a sonic cleaner and reduced the problem down to the idle jet that I THEN over-reamed and made too big.  Gotta replace that mistake.  Someday.

I gave a small truck (1992  Chevy S10) to a couple of young guys on the island who wanted to ‘do’ firewood for people but they have dropped the ball on it and so I may have a tire to fix.  Not easy out here.  I was gonna get an old Pathfinder (to replace the S10) for tooling about the island but I was just informed the power steering pump on it is on the fritz.  I am afraid to go try and start anymore of the petro-power units I have.  And I have at least four others!

But, honestly…?  Engines that act up are ‘part of the deal’ out here. Fix ’em or buy a new one.  Moving on…..

My supplemental battery charger is also acting up.  Damn!  Seems it needs a temperature sensor but the manufacturer does not make/provide the parts!  WTH!?  Still, a little sleuthing on forums reveals a different mfg’er’s temp sensor will fit so that will require some delicate soldering sometime in the near future.  When the part comes.  Someday.

Technically, a bridge is inanimate but, well, one has to GET animate to build the bridge and the bridge does nothing if one doesn’t walk on it so the bridge is not-quite-so-inanimate I think.  You know?  Organic, anyway.  Alive once upon a time….?

Anyway, we needed to rebuild the second bridge and 3/4 of that is now done.  Three quarters is enough to walk on (no railing) and I have engines now calling to me so 3/4 will have to do for awhile.  We’ll get back to it.  Someday.

And I need those engines!

We also have a big chore we would like to (…..NOT like to) get behind us as well.  We have accumulated garbage over our 15+ years here on the Rock and we wanna get rid of it.  Hauling garbage is a pain at the best of times but this garbage is the garbage that was heavy and ‘junky’ rather than ‘burnable, recyclable or compostable.  This is REAL garbage –  landfill-type garbage, like non-functioning appliances, batteries, rusty cables and the like.  They present as heavy and awkward and a real schlep.  And uphill both ways.  We are gonna get to it.  Truly.  Someday.

And now….for the times…..the times!

Politics.  Climate change.  E-vehicles.  Protests.  All topics worthy of attention but, but but…’s the economy, stupid!  We are (oddly and suspiciously) NOT hearing much about the economy as a whole these days.  (But I cannot go a day without reading about a Kardashian or Trump!).  We get industry specific news but the big picture is obscured or absent in the public discourse.  And, from what I can see, the economy is teetering.

How can it not be?  The US is running a trillion dollar deficit on top of a multi-trillion dollar debt.  The US is not healthy.  Canada?  Hah!  Canada is a dwarf joined at the US hip and led by a little boy with a nice smile.

Do NOT use the stock market or GDP as any kind of real economic indicator.  They are indicators but they are indicators for the uber-wealthy 1% and the corporations.  Main Street Joe is not directly affected by the stock market but he feels the larger, societal economy hard and personally everyday driving down Main St.  And those kind of folks are hurting.

All the pundits have been crying ‘the recession is coming’ for some time but it has NOT arrived.  Close…but NOT yet.  So….why not?  Growth is stagnant.  Debt is immense.  Wages are in retreat.  The population is aging.  The bulk of the ‘wealth’ is in real estate and thus ‘land-locked’ and NOT liquid.  We have more oil but the world is rapidly shifting to e-vehicles.  (And they are SSSssooooooo cool.)  That trend is only going to increase.

So, what am I seeing?  I think I am seeing the calm before the crash.  I am seeing a flaccid market, most BIG item buyers too old to ‘want’ for much these days.  No ‘hunger’.  Diminished consumer lust.  The boomers are just NOT driving the demand side as they used to.  And I see debt beyond manageable levels for the next generations that follow.  Way too many people owe way too much money.

And yet, the world is awash in cash.  Money, money, money everywhere and still no real investment being made.  Which means the money ain’t circulating.  Which means no-growth.  Stagnation.  Which usually means soon-to-arrive recession.

Today, you can get a 30 year loan at 2% interest (if you are a big corporation) and that tells any student of economics a lot.  It means the ‘lender’ is not likely to even get back the cost of living from their capital.  Why would they do that?  LOCK UP for 30 years!!??  That suggests that the big-guys see no real upside for investing even with cheap money and that means things like infrastructure and capital investments are not being planned let alone built.  It feels like the ‘first world’ is coasting economically speaking.

Maybe that’s fine.  Maybe a recession does not happen.  Maybe growth simply grinds to a halt.  Who knows?  But, with the aging first world, the social and political unrest virtually everywhere, the unbelievable shift in technologies and the still-increasing gap between the haves and have-nots, I sense tremors in the status quo, a visceral feeling that bodes ill.

Mind you, anyone who reads me, knows I am quick to sound the alarm and slow to jump on a bandwagon.  So, take it all with a grain of salt and a few glasses of wine.  I have been wrong before.


6 thoughts on “The times, bridges and the way of inanimate objects….

  1. Can I re-blog your post, Dave? I’m lazy and don’t want to have write my own stuff, and your post basically covers what I was going to write anyway.

    Engines are so important. My dishwasher is giving me trouble!

    In other news, we go from one natural disaster to another. Take our current bushfire catastrophe. Still if there is a sliver lining (for the government), once we move into that short window of recovery, those who still can afford and access insurance, will start to re-build and these ‘growth’ in expenditure will flow through to those GDP numbers. In the meantime, it is all thoughts and prayers here. I bet you’ve heard that line before.

    Cheers, mate.
    PS. You should take a look at David Rowe’s cartoons. He’s on Twitter. He account was disabled recently, probably due to some ‘technical’ reason, but it is back up again.


    • Of course. Copy and paste. No problem. I’ll check out DRowe. And you are right – GDP is a sham. Have a nice house all fixed up…worth a million bucks? Well, burn it down, collect the insurance and rebuild it at a COST of a million bucks and the GDP is thus officially increased by a million bucks. They DO NOT subtract the loss of the original house! Too stupid for words. Worse, lawyers! They are ‘rolled in’ as contributing services worth say (in this case) a million bucks. Lawyers do NOT add to the economy in any REAL way. They are parasites, really. Cops, too. ESPECIALLY traffic cops! Oooohhhhh….and politcians!!!! Don’t get me started.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Not an economist so that must be disqualifying. It is time to dispelled some ideological myths about about how civilization functions and the role played by the individual within civilization. One myth is that civilization constrains the individual. That the individual is dragged down by taxes, regulation, restrictions on initiative, red tape, social conventions, in short civilization restricts the freedom of the individual to thrive. I beg to differ.


  3. Reblogged this on Reflections of An Untidy Mind and commented:
    David Cox from Our Off The Grid Home, is all cynicism and wit. He often sums up the Western zeitgeist in offbeat and entertaining ways. And because I am too lazy to write my own post, David has succumbed to my charms and has agreed to let me share his thoughts on engines, the times (political and economics), and other fun stuff.
    Thanks Dave. Check him out.


  4. Ahhhh yessss.
    The eternal engine repairs.
    I decided to replace my spark plugs last weekend.
    And, rather than being lazy, I looked at the engine and did the “toughest” one 1st…..
    An hour.
    Had to move hoses, brackets, bolts.
    Then the spark plug fell out of the socket….
    I McGyvered it out with some duct tape and …. a…… chopstick…..
    Worked like a fricken charm.
    Next plug, Brackets, hoses, wires, 30 minutes
    3rd one , 20 minutes.
    The other 3 plugs? On the “easy” side of the engine…..
    30 minutes for all three ( and I must say my now patented duct tape /chopstick spark plug retriever…..worked like a hot damn!).
    Truck runs great!
    now if only I could find that chopstick………….


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