Summer Cold

I went in this morning and TCOB, as usual.  The rest of the day is mine, and I’m trying to get over a cold I picked up last week while power washing the house.  The heat and humidity got to me then, as it did the week before, when I tackled the holly bush monster.

Everybody gets a cold, sooner or later, and I’m pretty good at convalescing, having had lots of practice.  Even so, I managed to swap out the raggedy geraniums at the store with lantana, yesterday.  I also sprayed the yard with Cutter.

Used to be, everyone had nice flowers and kept up their yard.  Now, it’s either hired out or ignored.  That’s why I’m seeing a lot of pale, fat bodies festooned with bad tattoos.  I don’t even care to go to the beach, anymore.  Things are so bad, I’m starting to look attractive.

Bad as I feel, I still manage to shop for groceries and prepare dinner.  Apparently, it’s also becoming a lost art.  A recent article indicated eating out costs about five times as much.  For us, it’s a matter of meeting the Wife’s dietary requirements, whatever they happen to be at the time.  We’ve been doing Paleo for awhile now, with lots of protein, no sugar or carbs and all the veggies I can sneak in.  We’ve been eating Atkins bars for dessert.

It must be working.  I’ve dropped ten pounds in the last year and my doctor has stopped checking my a1c.  I can still have beer and keep everybody happy.  Speaking of which, things are going well at He-Man Woman Hater’s University in Liberty, and I’m a lot happier since I established some boundaries with my Mom and Mother-in-Law.  I’ve adopted the Russian strategy of containment and avoidance, used to perfection in Syria.

We own a business and therefore work all the time, but I understand it’s fashionable hereabouts to own a business and do no work at all, beyond paying the bills.   It’s also hip to load up the business with new cars and other expenses.  When the business inevitably fails, it’s easy to blame the economy or the location.  Unfortunately, Trump hopium will accelerate a lot more of this lunacy, muddying the picture where innovation and specialization continue to generate successes, as always.  In other words, we’re doing fine.

I’ve noticed here and at our website, we’re generating more new traffic, or what I refer to as background noise, probably a result of Google’s tinkering with the search algorithm.  It doesn’t hurt that the Wife throws a good chunk of her ad buy at Google Adwords.  We’re anxiously hopeful, given the predations of Amazon and demise of brick and mortar retail.  As to the latter, stores ruined by private equity paint a picture of things being much worse than they actually are.  But it sure helps having a successful website.

I’ve always believed in The Long Tail theory of commerce and in a struggling economy, I also believe it’s important to order heavy to keep the vendors healthy.  With competitors dying like flies all around us, the need has increased.  Again, people go out of business for a lot of reasons, with the economy being a convenient excuse.  Recently, we’ve begun to see struggling vendors establishing their own retail websites, generally as a last gasp before going out of business.  It takes years to establish yourself online, something we’ve achieved.  The smart wholesalers still look to people like us to help them move their goods, understanding that retail is a totally different animal.

For many reasons, I look for the economy to continue getting better,  but so will the effects of sloth and stupidity.  I used to worry about Black Swans, but so long as the central bankers continue propping up the Ponzi with QE, there’s no reason to believe we can’t continue to live on borrowed time.

I probably need to read The Art of the Deal, but I’m growing accustomed to Trump’s bluster and retreat style of negotiating.  The Russians and Chinese seem to have a handle on it.  Peace beckons and the trade war is looking more like a negotiation.  If we can keep from being wiped out by climate change, the future looks promising.

On the other hand, a lack of national and industry infrastructure means that wide scale low skill job opportunities are likely to remain unavailable for years.  We tried to stand up a furniture company in the eighties and had trouble finding skilled workers.  Until marijuana use is legalized and normalized, qualified employees will remain scarce, unless brought in from elsewhere, as is the model in places like SC and AL.

Speaking of which, I had lunch with someone a lot smarter than me a few months back and brought up hopes of attracting a manufacturer for the new local megasite, touted as one of the best in the country.  He quickly burst my balloon by pointing to the obvious fact that while it may have excellent access to roads, rail, power and water, it is essentially worthless until infrastructure investment has been made to accommodate these resources.  And given that the Libertarians in Raleigh aren’t fond of offering tax incentives, the megasite is pretty much a dead duck.

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