The theme of today's missive – surviving in difficult circumstances – may seem a bit dark to some. Yet it's my contention that the time to reflect on the topic is while you have the luxury to do so. To wit, before you need the specific skills required for survival.
If, at the end of the day, said skills languish unused, so much the better.
Of course, I'm not referring to the garden-variety survival we all do on a daily basis. (Well, as least most of us… statistically, I'm sorry to say, at least one of you dear readers won't see today's sunset). Under most circumstances, however, rolling out of bed in the morning and surviving until tucking back in 16 hours later doesn't require any extraordinary effort.
The survival I plan on addressing today has to do with how we humans cope when the proverbial train leaves the tracks and the norm becomes something unexpected, disturbing and even dangerous.
Under such circumstances, people are naturally divided into two groups – those who survive in reasonably good shape and those who don't.
It is my firm hope that you, dear reader, will be one of those in the former category.
The situations in which survival skills become desirable or even necessary cover a wide range of possibilities.
For example, if you are in what is euphemistically referred to as the "Golden Years," and your own government decides to manipulate interest rates to the point that the fixed income you rely on to survive falls into negative territory, survival skills will quickly come in handy, but survival skills of a different sort than, say, those required to stay afloat in a failed economy such as Zimbabwe. On that front, we'll hear from a Zimbabwean a bit further on.
Taking things to an entirely different level, there are the extreme frontiers of a complete breakdown of civil society, such as is recounted in Words from a Bosnian Survivalist reprinted later.
Simply, in the case of the oldster, surviving will likely include some or all components of the following:
By contrast, as you'll read shortly, a person caught in the middle of an apocalyptic fight against determined foes in Sarajevo will be better served with skills such as:
As with so many aspects of our human existence, however, there are nuances to this topic.
For example, anticipating when survival skills may be necessary. If, as is the case with so many people currently living in the civilized, developed countries, you have grown up in a period of almost unbroken economic prosperity, it is only natural that you will not anticipate the need to develop the skills required to survive in a collapsing economy.
And while the United States has been at the center of pretty much every shooting war of any consequence since the end of WWII, these wars have all taken place in someone else's back yard. Thus, for an American, the pressure to learn the skills necessary to cope with physical threats from an opposing force is nonexistent.
As a result, the biggest blowback from 9/11 has been the country's panicked and mind-numbingly expensive and destructive scramble to defend itself against the bogeymen who are determined to bring the forever war to US shores.
The Israelis, on the other hand, know to the level of DNA that they live in a dangerous neighborhood and have developed all the necessary skills to keep the barbarians off the gates. That these skills involve dirty deeds done right is beside the point. The first rule of surviving is to survive. Being sensitive to the damage done to those you feel are a threat ranks somewhere pretty much right at the bottom of the list.
Likewise, if you came to believe that running around a foreign country playing cowboys and native indigenous first nations' peoples with real bullets would be a good use of your talents and so signed up for duty in Afghanistan, you would certainly pay close attention during boot camp. For the simple reason that you would anticipate needing the prerequisite survival skills being taught in the near future.
In contrast, if you were to believe the politicians and their cronies on Wall Street (or is it the other way around, I can never keep that straight) and come to believe that the economy is on the mend and will only be enhanced by the current flood of funny money, then you will be steadfastly unprepared for the coming inflation that will decimate your net worth… then decimate it again, year after year.
Fortunately, there is a system that professionals in the survival business have developed and refined that can help you anticipate levels of risk and adopt the correct level of preparedness. I have written about that system in the past, but as it was some time ago and is appropriate to today's musings, I'll mention it again.
While the government, in its usual fashion, has bastardized Cooper's Color System to the point where it is now largely a laughingstock – you know, the "Alert Level Yellow" signs in airports – the idea of the original system, developed by ex-Marine and pistol fighting expert Jeff Cooper is very sound.
The color codes developed by Cooper were designed to assign an appropriate assessment to the level of risk inherent in any given situation and, more importantly, to trigger a level of mental preparedness to handle the risk.
The basic levels are:
White – no risk. For a pistolero, this would be akin to having a gun with no chamber loaded, no magazine, and the safety on. In other words, you assess that there is no risk whatsoever. In the event that you were mistaken, therefore, you would be the proverbial sitting duck.
In terms of economic threats, this is the state most people in the developed world are in.
Yellow – relaxed alert. While you sense no specific threat, you might be out of your house in an urban mall or a strange part of town. Generally, this state of mind reflects the basic truth that the world can be dangerous, so you keep your eyes open and remain prepared to act if necessary. In other words, unlike White, you are mentally alert to the potential of needing to take action if a threat suddenly arises.
In terms of economic threats, an equivalent might be deciding to have 10% of your portfolio in gold – "just in case."
Orange – specific alert. In this condition, you recognize that something is wrong and that you are facing a specific threat. Using the pistol analogy, in this condition you would chamber a bullet, though still keep the safety on. As mentioned above, though, the most important aspect of Cooper's system is that the alert status is meant to trigger in the individual a mindset that is appropriate to the threat. In the Orange alert status, the mindset you might adopt is, "If that person does 'X', I will need to stop them," and be fully prepared to do just that.
From an economic-survival perspective, you might adopt the Orange alert level based on observing the actions of the Fed and the government over the past few years. For example, by saying, "If the Fed adopts open-ended quantitative easing and the politicians make no serious attempt to reduce the deficit, then I'm going to buy gold and gold shares on dips until they make up 30% of my portfolio. Furthermore, I'm going to begin trading my fiat currencies for other tangible assets, including property, spread throughout a number of jurisdictions."
Likewise, viewing things from the perspective of a person who values personal liberties, you might shift to Orange status when the government approves using drones for domestic police actions and mentally prepare yourself by saying something like, "The first time an American is killed on domestic soil by a drone, I'm getting the hell out of here."
Of course, you'll have to define what constitutes your own line in the sand – my point here is that if you don't take the time to think this stuff through, you are far more likely to be caught by surprise.
Red – fight. In this case, you have a bullet in the chamber, the hammer is cocked and your safety is off. Your mindset at this point is that the condition for taking the next action in the Orange level has been met, and your next move is to take out the threat.
From an economic perspective, your equivalent action would be to take the steps you mentally prepared to take above, or others that are more appropriate to your circumstances.
From a personal-liberty perspective, the options are fairly narrow. In my view, moving to less threatening environs is pretty much the only rational choice, if you can manage it.
As I have tried to demonstrate, Cooper's Color System can be adapted for a wide range of circumstances where threats may arise... including those involving personal safety, economic security and threats to your individual liberty.
In terms of the biggest threats I see at this point, there are two.
Summing up, it behooves us all to do our own personal threat assessment. For example, do you live in or near a big city that might experience problems should the government's ability to continue redistributionist policies be hindered?
As one hard-ass ex-military type recently reminded me, one of the key tenets of personal security involves physical distance from the threat. Even if you don't decide to move away from the city, you should at least go through the mental exercise of determining, in advance, what would trigger a move and then be fully prepared to act should that trigger be tripped.
Likewise, you need to develop financial strategies, held in reserve, should the moral and fiscal debasement in Washington DC (and other world capitals) continue unchecked. Personally, I am already at the Orange alert level, which is no small part of the reason why I am writing you looking out the window on the street of a happy little town in Northwest Argentina, not just far from the maddened crowd but incredibly successful thanks to the steady influx of tourists and the booming wine business.
(Speaking of which, the annual Harvest Celebration is close to selling out. If you're interested in escaping the Northern Hemisphere winter and joining in on the festivities, March 14-19, drop Dave Norden a note at dnorden@LaEst.com and he'll rush you out all the info.)
While we all hope that things will turn out for the best, and they very well might, I suspect that, like me, most of you sense that something is fundamentally wrong in the world today.
Trying to ignore the risks, effectively keeping your alert level at "White," leaves you woefully unprepared. Now is the time to think this stuff through, while you still can do so calmly.
Now, moving on, I want to share with you stories from two individuals faced with severe disruptions in the norm – one from old friend Roger S. from Zimbabwe, who reports on the current state of things there and the other from an individual who survived the war in Sarajevo.
By Roger S.
It's been just about four years since Zimbabwe's coalition "inclusive" government was formed and hyperinflation was stopped in its tracks with the abandonment of the Zimbabwe dollar and the adoption of a "multi-currency regime," effectively the US dollar.
But although hyperinflation can be stopped abruptly in this way, it takes much longer to fix the economy. In the 2011 Human Development Report, Zimbabwe was ranked 173 out of 187 countries; Foreign Policy magazine placed Zimbabwe sixth in the 2011 Failed State Index; the country was #132 out of 142 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index 2011/12, and in the World Bank/IFC Doing Business Report 2012, Zimbabwe was ranked 171 out of 183 countries.
Most manufacturing industries ground to a halt during the years of hyperinflation and irrational price controls, and now that there is no exchange control, it is much easier for retailers to import finished goods from neighboring South Africa than to wait for industry to start up again.
In fact, few industries are in a position to do so, as their machinery and equipment are in need of upgrading or replacement, they have lost skilled and experienced staff to the diaspora, and they have lost their markets. Trade figures for 2011 suggest that the manufacturing sector imported more than five times as much as it exported.
But the absence of exchange controls since dollarization has enabled those with money to move it around. And 90-day term deposits on the money market can earn at least 7%, with up to 11% apparently available for longer-term investments.
The political situation is such that, although the environment is not as unstable as it was a few years ago, there is not a great deal of confidence in the future at the moment. Parliamentary and presidential elections are due to be held later in the year, but it still seems unclear whether they will produce a conclusive result.
But Zimbabweans have gotten used to living in a kind of limbo and "making a plan" for whatever might come next. We always expect that "next year will be better"!
David again. Roger and his wife Cheryll remained in Zimbabwe throughout the entire Mugabe regime, a despised minority in an economy where inflation was measured in the millions of percentage points. His demeanor is quiet and unassuming, go along to get along, and despite all the travails, he always remained an optimist even after being tossed in jail twice for pushing back against a corrupt government official.
However he managed, he did indeed manage. But I suspect his survival skills in a collapsing economy would have been sorely tested in the next scenario, that of the collapse of civil society.
Translator's note: This tale had originally been recorded in French and then translated by two Russian survivalists who met the man. The Bosnian is anonymous for reasons which will soon be made clear from reading the articles. –MicroBalrog
I am from Bosnia. You know, between 1992 and 1995, it was hell. For one year I lived, and survived, in a city with 6,000 people, without water, electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Our city was blockaded by the army, and for one year life in the city turned into total crap. We had no army, no police, we only had armed groups – those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared, but most of the neighbors' families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols, a few had AK-47s or shotguns.
After a month or two, gangs started operating, destroying everything. Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more police. About 80% of the hospital staff were gone. I got lucky – my family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large house, 6 pistols, 3 AKs), and we survived (most of us, at least).
The Americans dropped MREs every 10 days, to help blockaded cities. This was never enough. Some – very few – had gardens. It took 3 months for the first rumors to spread of men dying from hunger and cold. We removed all the doors, the window frames from abandoned houses, ripped up the floors and burned the furniture for heat. Many died from diseases, especially from the water (two from my own family). We drank mostly rainwater, ate pigeons and even rats.
Money soon became worthless. We returned to an exchange. For a tin can of tushonka, you could have a woman (it is hard to speak of it, but it is true). Most of the women who sold themselves were desperate mothers.
Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries and food. We fought for these things like animals. In these situations, it all changes. Men become monsters. It was disgusting.
Strength was in numbers. A man living alone getting killed and robbed would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.
Today me and my family are well prepared, I am well armed. I have experience.
It does not matter what will happen – an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
Here's my experience: you can't make it on your own. Don't stay apart from your family, prepare together, choose reliable friends.
The city was divided into communities along streets. Our street (15-20 homes) had patrols (5 armed men every week) to watch for gangs and for our enemies.
All the exchanges occurred in the street. About five kilometers away was an entire street for trading, all well organized, but going there was too dangerous because of the snipers. You could also get robbed by bandits. I only went there twice, when I needed something really rare (list of medicine, mainly antibiotics, of French origin).
Nobody used automobiles in the city: the streets were blocked by wreckage and by abandoned cars. Gasoline was very expensive. If one needed to go somewhere, that was done at night. Never travel alone or in groups that were too big – always 2-3 men. All armed, travel swift, in the shadows, cross streets through ruins, not along open streets.
There were many gangs 10-15 men strong, some as large as 50 men. But there were also many normal men, like you and me, fathers and grandfathers, who killed and robbed. There were no "good" and "bad" men. Most were in the middle and ready for the worst.
There were not that many woods around the city. It was very beautiful – restaurants, cinemas, schools, even an airport. Every tree in the city and in the city park was cut down for fuel in the first two months.
Without electricity for cooking and heat – we burned anything that burned. Furniture, doors, flooring – that wood burns swiftly. We had no suburbs or suburban farms. The enemy was in the suburbs. We were surrounded. Even in the city, you never knew who was the enemy at any given point.
To imagine the situation a bit better, you should know it was practically a return to the Stone Age.
For example, I had a container of cooking gas. But I did not use it for heat – that would be too expensive! I attached a nozzle to it I made myself and used to fill lighters. Lighters were precious.
If a man brought an empty lighter, I would fill it and he would give me a tin of food or a candle.
I was a paramedic. In these conditions, my knowledge was my wealth. Be curious and skilled. In these conditions, the ability to fix things is more valuable than gold.
Items and supplies will inevitably run out, but your skills will keep you fed.
I wish to say this: learn to fix things, shoes, or people.
My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He never went hungry.
Three months? Run away from the country? (joking)
Today I know everything can collapse really fast. I have a stockpile of food, hygiene items, batteries… enough to last me for 6 months.
I live in a very secure flat and own a home with a shelter in a village 5 kilometers away. Another six-month supply there too. That's a small village, most people there are well prepared. The war had taught them.
I have four weapons, and 2,000 rounds for each.
I have a garden and have learned gardening. Also I have a good instinct – you know, when everyone around you keeps telling you it'll all be fine, but I know – it will all collapse.
I have strength to do what I need to protect my family. Because when it all collapses, you must be ready to do "bad" things to keep your children alive and protect your family.
Surviving on your own is practically impossible. Even if you're armed and ready – if you're alone, you'll die. I have seen that happen many times.
Families and groups, well prepared, with skills and knowledge in various fields – that's much better.
That depends. If you plan to live by theft – all you need is weapons and ammo. Lots of ammo.
If not – more food, hygiene items, batteries, accumulators, little trading items (knives, lighters, flints, soap). Also alcohol of a type that keeps well. The cheapest whiskey is a good trading item.
Many people died from insufficient hygiene. You'll need simple items in great amounts. For example, garbage bags. Lots of them. And toilet paper. Non-reusable dishes and cups – you'll need lots of them. I know that because we didn't have any at all.
As for me, a supply of hygiene items is perhaps more important than food. You can shoot a pigeon, you can find a plant to eat. You can't find or shoot any disinfectant.
Disinfectant, detergents, bleach, soap, gloves, masks…
First-aid skills, washing wounds and burns. Perhaps you will find a doctor – and will not be able to pay him.
Learn to use antibiotics. It's good to have a stockpile of them.
You should choose the simplest weapons. I carry a Glock .45, I like it, but it's a rare gun here – so I have two TT pistols too (everyone has them and ammo is common).
I don't like Kalashnikovs, but again, same story – everyone has them, so do I.
You must own small, unnoticeable items. For example: a generator is good, but 1,000 Bic lighters are better. A generator will attract attention if there's any trouble, but 1,000 lighters are compact, cheap, and can always be traded.
We usually collected rainwater into 4 large barrels and then boiled it. There was a small river, but the water in it became very dirty very fast.
It's also important to have containers for water – barrels and buckets.
Yes. I personally traded all the gold in the house for ammunition.
Sometimes we got our hands on money – dollars and deutschmarks. We bought some things for them, but this was rare and prices were astronomical – for example a can of beans cost $30-40. The local money quickly became worthless. Everything we needed, we traded for through barter.
Yes, but coffee and cigarettes were even more expensive. I had lots of alcohol and traded it without problems. Alcohol consumption grew over 10 times as compared to peacetime. Perhaps today it's more useful to keep a stock of cigarettes, lighters, and batteries. They take up less space.
At this time I was not a survivalist. We had no time to prepare – several days before the shit hit the fan, the politicians kept repeating over the TV that everything was going according to plan, there's no reason to be concerned. When the sky fell on our heads, we took what we could.
After the war, we had guns in every house. The police confiscated lots of guns at the beginning of the war. But most of them, we hid. Now I have one legal gun that I have a license for. Under the law, that's called a temporary collection. If there is unrest, the government will seize all the registered guns. Never forget that.
You know, there are many people who have one legal gun – but also illegal guns if that one gets seized. If you have good trade goods, you might be able to get a gun in a tough situation, but remember, the most difficult time is the first days, and perhaps you won't have enough time to find a weapon to protect your family. To be disarmed in a time of chaos and panic is a bad idea.
In my case – there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio, he had shotguns – I traded the accumulator for both of them. Sometimes I traded ammunition for food, and a few weeks later traded food for ammunition. Never did the trade at home, never in great amounts.
Few people knew how much, and what, I keep at home.
The most important thing is to keep as many things as possible in terms of space and money. Eventually you'll understand what is more valuable.
Correction: I'll always value weapons and ammunition the most. Second? Maybe gas masks and filters.
Our defenses were very primitive. Again, we weren't ready, and we used what we could. The windows were shattered, and the roofs in a horrible state after the bombings. The windows were blocked – some with sandbags, others with rocks.
I blocked the fence gate with wreckage and garbage, and used a ladder to get across the wall. When I came home, I asked someone inside to pass over the ladder. We had a fellow on our street that completely barricaded himself in his house. He broke a hole in the wall, creating a passage for himself into the ruins of the neighbor's house. A sort of secret entrance.
Maybe this would seem strange, but the most protected houses were looted and destroyed first. In my area of the city there were beautiful houses, with walls, dogs, alarms and barred windows. People attacked them first. Some held out, others didn't – it all depended how many hands and guns they had inside…
I think defense is very important – but it must be carried out unobtrusively. If you are in a city and SHTF comes, you need a simple, non-flashy place, with lots of guns and ammo.
How much ammo? As much as possible.
Make your house as unattractive as you can.
Right now I own a steel door, but that's just against the first wave of chaos. After that passes, I will leave the city to rejoin a larger group of people, my friends and family.
There were some situations during the war… there's no need for details, but we always had superior firepower, and a brick wall, on our side.
We also constantly kept someone watching the streets. Quality organization is paramount in case of gang attacks.
Shooting was constantly heard in the city.
Our perimeter was defended primitively – all the exits were barricaded and had little firing slits. Inside we had at least five family members ready for battle at any time, and one man in the street, hidden in a shelter.
We stayed home through the day to avoid sniper fire.
At first, the weak perish. Then the rest fight.
During the day, the streets were practically empty due to sniper fire. Defenses were oriented towards short-range combat alone. Many died if they went out to gather information, for example. It's important to remember we had no information, no radio, no TV – only rumors and nothing else.
There was no organized army, every man fought. We had no choice. Everybody was armed, ready to defend themselves.
You should not wear quality items in the city – someone will murder you and take them. Don't even carry a "pretty" long arm, it will attract attention.
Let me tell you something: if SHTF starts tomorrow, I'll be humble. I'll look like everyone else. Desperate, fearful. Maybe I'll even shout and cry a little bit.
Pretty clothing is excluded altogether. I will not go out in my new tactical outfit to shout: "I have come! You're doomed, bad guys!" No, I'll stay aside, well armed, well prepared, waiting and evaluating my possibilities, with my best friend or brother.
Super-defenses, super-guns are meaningless. If people think they should steal your things, that you're profitable – they will. It's only a question of time and the amount of guns and hands.
We used shovels and a patch of earth near the house. Does it seem dirty? It was. We washed with rainwater or in the river – but most of the time the latter was too dangerous. We had no toilet paper, and if we had any, I would have traded it away.
It was a "dirty" business.
Let me give you a piece of advice: you need guns and ammo first – and second, everything else. Literally EVERYTHING! All depends on the space and money you have.
If you forget something, there'll always be someone to trade with for it – but if you forget weapons and ammo, there will be no access to trading for you.
I don't think big families are extra mouths. Big families means both more guns and strength – and from there, everyone prepares on his own.
Most injuries were from gunfire. Without a specialist and without equipment, if an injured man found a doctor somewhere, he had about a 30% chance of survival.
It ain't the movies. People died. Many died from infections of superficial wounds. I had antibiotics for 3-4 uses – for the family, of course.
People died foolishly quite often. Simple diarrhea will kill you in a few days without medicine, with limited amounts of water.
There were many skin diseases and food poisonings… nothing to it.
Many used local plants and pure alcohol – enough for the short term, but useless in the long term.
Hygiene is very important… as well as having as much medicine as possible. Especially antibiotics.
David again. For the record, I included that article not because I think things are going to get anywhere near as dire in the West, but rather because I thought you'd find it interesting, too.
And now, I need a laugh…
Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, "Surely I can't look that old"?
My name is Alice, and I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS diploma on the wall, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30-odd years ago.
Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then?
Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate.
After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.
"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a Mustang," he gleamed with pride.
"When did you graduate?" I asked.
He answered, "In 1975. Why do you ask?"
"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.
He looked at me closely.
Then that ugly, old, bald, wrinkle-faced, fat-assed, gray-haired, decrepit son of a bitch asked me:
"What did you teach?"
The following questions were set in past GED examinations.
These are actual answers (from 16-year-olds)... and they WILL breed.
Q. Name the four seasons.
A. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.
Q. Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A. Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.
Q. How is dew formed?
A. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.
Q. What causes the tides in the oceans?
A. The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the Moon, because there is no water on the Moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the Sun joins the fight.
Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A. If you are buying a house, they will insist that you are well endowed.
Q. In a democratic society, how important are elections?
A. Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.
Q. What are steroids?
A. Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs. (Shoot yourself now, there is little hope.)
Q. What happens to your body as you age?
A. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.
Q. What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A. He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.
Q. Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A. Premature death.
Q. What is artificial insemination?
A. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.
Q. How can you delay milk turning sour?
A. Keep it in the cow. (Simple but brilliant)
Q. How are the main 20 parts of the body categorized (e.g., the abdomen)?
A. The body is consisted into 3 parts – the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels: A, E, I,O,U. (Up all night smoking weed.)
Q. What is the fibula?
A. A small lie.
Q. What does "varicose" mean?
Q. What is the most common form of birth control?
A. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium. (That would work.)
Q. Give the meaning of the term "Caesarean section."
A. The Caesarean section is a district in Rome.
Q. What is a seizure?
A. A Roman Emperor. (Julius Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a fit.)
Q. What is a terminal illness?
A. When you are sick at the airport. (Irrefutable.)
Q. Give an example of a fungus. What is a characteristic feature?
A. Mushrooms. They always grow in damp places and they look like umbrellas.
Q. Use the word "judicious" in a sentence to show you understand its meaning.
A. Hands that judicious can be soft as your face. (OMG)
Q. What does the word "benign" mean?
A. Benign is what you will be after you be eight. (Brilliant)
Q. What is a turbine?
A. Something an Arab or Shreik wears on his head.
A couple of Phyle-related announcements.
The first is that a subscriber is looking to start up a Casey Phyle in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The second is that there is a Phyle that meets about once a month in Long Island and would be happy to accept new members.
If you are in those areas and are interested in joining up with other like-minded folks to talk about the economy, investments, whatever, drop us a note at phyles@CaseyResearch.com and we'll connect you with the organizers.
And with that, I must rush off to other tasks.
As a final aside, it's interesting that when we moved here, I thought life in this quaint little pueblo would be rather sedentary. So far it has been anything but. It's actually quite remarkable – there is always something going on – this week Carnival, next week the Serenata (think Woodstock with folk music).
Meanwhile, there is a steady flow of people from around the world coming through – tourists on their own or people spending time at La Estancia de Cafayate. Last week we spent time with a couple from Ontario and a family from Venice… this week with a family of owners (and good friends) whose children are attending the educational program at La Estancia.
Yesterday I played nine holes of golf, then a group of us got together to (unsuccessfully) to catch some of the huge carps in the pond near the clubhouse in order to relocate them to the pond next to the Spa.
This afternoon there is a cooking class, followed by a hike through nearby unexcavated Indian ruins and then dinner out with friends. Tomorrow I've been invited to play in a golf tournament hosted by the Japanese owner of a local hotel… Sunday is a potluck lunch at John and Margaret's…
And, of course, there's the preparation for the upcoming Harvest Celebrations.
As I may have mentioned in a previous missive, years ago a deep-thinking friend of mine asked me to define happiness. After I had fumbled around a bit, he interrupted and shared his well-considered view that happiness is energy. Which is why happy people are typically described as being "bubbly" and enthusiastic, and depressed people complain about a lack of energy.
Well, I'm here to tell you that I have never been in a more energized town anywhere in the world, and I am absolutely loving it! All of which reinforces my view that if you gravitate to things – and people – that energize you, you can't go wrong.
And with that, I will sign off thanking you for reading and for being a subscriber to a Casey Research service.