Quote o’ the Week
“Ours is a vision of limited government and unlimited opportunity, of growth and progress beyond what any can see today. A saying in colonial times suggested there are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree, where the view is much better. One is to climb; the other is to find an acorn and sit on it. [Laughter] Well, I didn’t come to Washington to sit on acorns. [Laughter] It’s time to roll up our sleeves and start climbing. . . .” – Ronald Reagan
Joe’s comment – this dated quote points at the gist of many current problems, many arguments that start with the phrase “somebody should do something”. Until people realize that the somebody is us, that those things needing doing can be most capably and efficiently done by those affected, we won’t have to sit on acorns to make things happen. Thank goodness…..sitting on acorns would be uncomfortable, da?”.
True Cost Story
Joe and I live in a modest home in a suburb of a small city. We are actually not in the city technically but in the NORD (North Okanagan Regional District).
An annual ritual we perform is to analyze the monthly cost of running Droveria – the land of stasis.
The cost of heat, electricity, taxes, and all the accouterments of living in a house. Here’s how 2015 added up –
The spreadsheet does not include renovations or improvements but does (in Misc.) include the cost of repairs to existing structure (house) and of maintenance, but NOT infrastructure (septic, electrical service). I.e., in 2015 the septic system cost $3,250.00 CAD to repair. Approximately $27,000 CAD has been invested in upgrading the existing electrical service (200 ampere panel, underground feed, rewiring), renovating the basement, and replacing appliances.
In comparison, here is 2014 –
The data suggests it was less expensive to maintain the house last year. Like every data analysis, this is factual but totally over-shadowed by the renovations, improvements. and infrastructure repair. For example, in 2014 October (in Misc.) there is a charge of $319.97 (installed a new natural gas water heater to replace the nasty bastard that flooded the basement).
We moved to this house January 23rd, 2005 (hence the spreadsheet spanning February to January). This is what the first year cost –
These numbers were recorded in current year dollars. Canadian colorful plastic bald-man and one old lady dollars.
Set the inflation calculator loose to see the reality:
In 2015 Canadian dollars, the annual operating cost comparison is as follows –
2005 – $600.08
2014 – $599.04
2015 – $573.99
Joe loves the math. He went looking for the worst years and found them –
2012 – $704.55
2011 – $686.41
2009 – $674.05
Keep in mind these are MONTHLY COSTS for service and maintenance.
According to Joe’s calculations (the only calculations I trust), 2015 was the cheapest annual cost year (for service and maintenance) since we moved to Vernon.
Joe is very inquisitive. He thinks that if you had a small cabin on a woodlot in the bush your monthly expenditures would be much lower despite the pain in the ass of convenience being totally absent (i.e. access to gasoline, groceries, internet service, entertainment). Joe studied some of the bills. He started cussing a blue streak. Why? Here’s an example. Our Fortis (natural gas) bill for February, 2016
At first blush it appears that we saved $$$ over February 2014. Good boys! However….the cost of the gas was $23.72. So from where comes the other $106.19????
Taxes account for 26.408% of the total.
The rest is Fortis making sure their business stays alive – infrastructure, administration, marketing.
Joe started thinking about that little cabin in the woods again….. how would you derive the energy to heat the cabin / water just as in the house?
Looking at the bill, Joe did the following math using the January figures –
13.8 GJ (giga joules or billion joules) of natural gas converts to (approximately) 547 L of propane or 329 L of diesel fuel.
That makes the equivalent heating bill for the (same demand) cabin in the woods to be almost 3 X more.
The Fortis bill starts to look quite reasonable.
How about using wood? 1 cord of birch has plenty of BTU’s. With the January figures above, it would take 0.554 cords of birch to equal the energy. If you had to buy it, birch firewood in Kelowna is $180.00 CAD per cord. The bill would be $99.76 CAD BUT what about delivery, stacking, operating the oven, heater, furnace? A substitute for a gym pass perhaps?
How about electricity? BC Hydro has the most sane billing strategy of any service provider. They bill every second month. If TELUS (phone, TV and internet) did the same they would save over $50K CAD every other month in billing costs….
Anyway, our monthly electrical consumption averages 850KWH – running welders and block heaters adds up. What if we used a diesel 10KW generator? A 10KWH generator will consume approx. 3.8 L / hr. (one U.S. gallon) at full output. At a constant 10KW load, the generator would run 85 hours per month to provide the equivalent energy. That’s approx. 325 litres of diesel per month. About 3 X what our “in town” electricity costs.
Next step would be solar / wind / battery storage. That would total approx. $30K CAD to start up.
All of a sudden Joe ain’t cursing so loud.
It costs big $$$ to be a “rugged individualist” living the life in the bush.
For now, we’re staying in town..
The Shiny Pony and his posse will table their first budget in March.
The speculation is that the previously announced theme of “spend baby, spend” is the mot de jeur, despite the collapse of international oil prices and the consequent collapse of Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s energy sector. Read all about it here. The Financial Post has offered the following speculative projection (minus infrastructure spending) –
This way or that, if the above is remotely accurate, Joe reflects that the Conservative government did a very respectable job of recovering from deficit spending inspired by the political winds of ’08 (banks too big to fail). Keep in mind these were days of $100.00 USD / barrel oil. Energy is a key metric in Canadian fiscal health – a wealthy Alberta is a wealthy Canada. We freeze our tits off every winter only to be rewarded with a short growing, short fair weather season. The standing joke is there are only two seasons in Canada – Winter and July 1st.
No comment re: election promises. Election promises are worse than closing time laments of eternal love and passion to total strangers between drunken bouts of expectoration.
The fact that mini Trudeau is going back on election (fiscal) promises is de rigueur. As the pundit says, in for a penny, in for a pound. (Quote: “It looks like the Liberals want to front load as much bad news as possible in the hope when the election occurs in four years things will be better,” said Nik Nanos, an Ottawa-based pollster with Nanos Research Group.)
Deficit spending is not necessarily a no-no but must be approached very cautiously. Very conservatively if you will allow.
Joe would like to remind the progressive minds, the Liberal minds, of the wisdom of Ayn Rand: “You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”.
The best way to prime the economic pump is for government to adopt a “hands off” policy. combined with favorable tax legislation (because the government simply cannot keep from fondling the controls).
If you suspect a nervous hesitance from Joe and I, a reluctance to buy in to the Liberal government, here’s another bit of news. According to Michael Den Tandt, incoherence in Liberal-speak is directly proportional to the complexity of the issue at hand.
A quote from Mr. Tandt’s opinion piece –
“It is easy, far too easy, to dismiss the Liberal government’s early woes as the growing pains of a team of young, idealistic, inexperienced naïfs. Because, let’s face it, the Prime Minister and his cabinet are young, they are idealistic and they are inexperienced, relatively speaking. The veterans among them – John McCallum, Marc Garneau, Ralph Goodale and Carolyn Bennett, to name four – seem less in the weeds than some.
In the current case, the emerging problem can be summarized in a word: complexity. Very early in the game, this government is having difficulty articulating what it wants. “Incoherent” was the word most attached to the three-month-long incubation of a complex plan to end the Royal Canadian Air Force’s bombing of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and replace it with something else. The complex, it seems, can become incoherent in a heartbeat.”
Preston Manning weighs in – he believes Canadian unity is being threatened by Federal energy policy.
Joe and I will watch, wait, analyze, and comment.
Until then, eyes open, ears to the rail, nose in the wind….
History is such a bitch. Who writes it? How can you possibly get the facts? Western historians (and others if they meet the criteria) will document the facts sooner or later. Meanwhile, Joe and I have a Canadian hero to worship.
Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, has told the Feds to eat the “carbon tax“.
He is Prime Minister material.
How does a government meet it’s fiscal obligation? Us tax payers hope and pray against reason that politicians will actually act responsibly. The fact is ALL governments take the easy route – raise taxes until the economy fails, then back off one notch.
The Liberal fantasy of taxing carbon is anti-life. Carbon? All life on Earth is carbon based. CO2 is a trace greenhouse gas that happens to be the engine of all life.
The f**king Federal politicians have finally approached terminal velocity – they are planning to tax the air you breathe.
Note above re: the natural gas bill – the carbon tax is a large portion of B.C. customer’s monthly bill.
Joe and I can think of better uses for our $$$ than making the Victoria treasury jingle.
The picture below is of my oldest surviving hand-held calculator. It is a Sharp Scientific Calculator, model EL-5103S.
On Saturday I was calculatingly calculating some calculations when the display screen started fading in and out as we entered and processed.
I reflected…… have I ever ever ever changed the batteries in this machine?
Joe searched his memory too.
Nada. Not once.
Big deal you say?
We say very big deal.
This calculator was purchased in 1985. It is 30 years old.
It is worth more now than when it was new. Who knew?
Joe and I won’t make it another 30 years. Three new batteries and this little calculator is running super fine – just like the day I got it. An ode to this Sharp gem here.
If the new batteries are as good as the originals (estimated run time on a set of batteries is 1,400 hours continuous use), the next set will be required in 2045.
Can’t predict the month….
Dairy Queen Light Bulbs
Joe and I have railed and ranted about CFL before.
Expensive, containing mercury, poor light in warm weather, no light in cold Canada winters. A “hazardous waste” procedure for discarding!!!
The estimated burn time to failure is a joke. None of the CFL’s we installed lasted a year, let alone 5+ years.
As Canadians, we loved incandescent bulbs for the quality of light, the low cost, and the duration – we have had them last well over 5 years – some in this house haven’t been changed in the 11 years we’ve lived here.
The incandescent lightbulb is over 100 years young. But, technology marches on….
In earlier rants we have extolled the virtues of LED lighting. Bright, all spectrum, cheap, and no hazardous materials.
Meanwhile, the governments of Canada and the U.S. banned the use of incandescent bulbs over 85 watts for domestic use.
Nice going, shitheads.
Joe froths at the mouth and mind when a bunch of school teachers and lawyers who call themselves “government” make law about technology that makes no sense whatsoever.
Seems like turnabout is turning about:
How long ’til Canada follows suite? May or may not happen. Meanwhile, there is no factory in North America that makes incandescent bulbs.
What Joe wants to know is who to send the bill to in our government to get some of the hundreds of $$$ returned to us that we spent on those Dairy Queen turds.
And a big, fat Canadian apology.
POLITICS, POLITICIANS, WACKJOBBERY, HUMOROUS, STUPID
Joe and I have been watching the GOP debates. Tried to watch the Democrat “debates” but just couldn’t stomach the banality. If you can imagine, even worse than the GOP circus. My candidate, Carly Fiorona, has dropped out. We might too.
Mostly political / cultural entries this rant. The following cartoon pretty well sums up the excitement –
Thanks to Ron D. for this one!
THE CULTURE (THERE IS ONLY ONE)
In a recent rant (0516) there was an embedded video whose topic was “African Language and the African Mind”, a presentation by Professor Eugene Valberg. Here it is again (in the odd situation you might want to watch it):
Why do Joe and I return to the scene of language?
For the simple reason that the language a person speaks tells the story of culture, mind structure, thought formation, consciousness constructs.
Professor Valberg states in this presentation that the imaginary conceptualization that the Western cultural languages promotes is missing in African dialects and languages. It sounds crazy, da? How could you not imagine? How could you not conceive the first and third party state of possible future probables? Joe and I don’t get it….
Now to the topic of this “The Culture” expose. Ben Shapiro is a self-professed Libertarian and prolific writer / polemicist regarding conservatism and conservative politics. In the following video Ben and Monique Trudnowski debate / discuss with Dr. Sheley Secrest and Charles Mudede the state of “Race in America”. The differences between the two teams of presenters is stark. Although Dr. Secrest and Charles Mudede are American citizens (born in America) and their “native tongue” is English, they have great difficulty expressing an idea, and give the impression that they have not mastered the tongue they speak. They are both “black”. Ben is Jewish (and white), Monique is a Mexican-American. If you watch the entire video, you will hear Dr. Secrest and especially Charles Mudede struggle to answer questions succinctly, decisively, or at all. Ben Shapiro is like listening to a machine-gun encyclopedia. Monique is also machine-gun quick, with a hint of anger. They both comprehend the question then proceed to answer with references to real life and supportive data, not feelings. The entire exchange left Joe and I wondering how “Dr.” Secrest ever managed to attain a PhD, and how Charles Mudede could order a cheeseburger in less than 3,000 words.
In relation to the above presentation by Professor Valberg, there is a telling segment starting at 1:14:10. The question is, if you had been born a different race how do you reflect it may have altered your life? Ben and Monique give humorous, honest, insightful replies. “Dr.” Secrest and Charles Mudede fumble the question. She is a bitter racist. He is a bumbling fool. In his words, “I’m sorry, but….”
Watch and marvel.
How in the world will we ever get past the “color is only skin deep” meme?:
Joe and I have struggled with the term “race” in the past as we do now. What is race?
We have pontificated about “species and sub-species” in past rants and continue to research for truthful data.
Most recently we have boycotted the term, preferring to use the words “sub species”. We were pleased with this even though we still wonder what race might mean in a scientific discussion.
It seems Joe and I were not too far off.
The following video is a presentation by professor Douglas Whitman, Illinois State University, given at the 2014 American Renaissance Conference, titled “The Evolutionary and Biological Reality of Race”. Dr. Whitman states that anyone who denies the evidential, biological reality of race is “a slimy Marxist or a complete idiot”.
Joe absolutely loves anyone who speaks with such candor.
His presentation style is hampered (we think) by the incredible volume of thoughts and ideas he is trying to convey in such a short presentation to the hoi polloi – that would be the untrained / uninitiated (and in Joe’s case, the unwashed). Get around his presentation “tics” and pure gold is revealed. Take the 43 minutes and 59 seconds required to get educated:
WEATHER (OR NOT)
This week has been fabulous. Warm days, cloudy nights, all the snow is gone.
Tee shirt weather when the sun is shining.
The trees are budding and the septic tank is flooding from runoff.
Spring just might be here.
The final arbiter of the matter is the group of daffodildos that grow beside the attached garage. Joe and I are proud of the fact we have not fertilized, watered, or otherwise coddled them ever.
Yet here they come again –
Joe (Tee Shirt) Mekanic
p.s. Ramirez for all seasons – from Investor’s Business Daily –