During recent spam-cleaning, I found a link in Episode 9 to a German translation. The page was rife with ads, so it could have been a blog spammer playing cute games. And now the link appears to be gone, but the page is still there — perhaps the spammer gets the payout for the ads then takes down the link? Very strange.
Life in the great online, I guess…
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Holidaze, Shortage Style
At least for us rural folks, 3-day delivery is about to join overnight in the proverbial dustbin of history. After the Postal Service went first, announcing that they’re going to Mon/Wed/Fri mail delivery starting in January, FedEx and UPS are going to a “once a week, or sooner if we fill a truck” schedule. I really don’t blame them — so much of what people used to do by mail is done online nowadays. “Overnight delivery” usually refers to downloading a movie or a large software package. Getting bills three days a week instead of every day will be nice, even if the number of bills over the course of a week is the same. :-P
This holiday season is shaping up to be a big loser for retail — after people got their fuel oil or gas bill (if they didn’t run into spot shortages), they cut back on the presents to pay for heat. One of the few happy notes for the holidays comes from the NHTSA, which is predicting the “safest holiday driving season in years.” Duh, hardly anybody’s going anywhere!
One of the few happy retailers this year is Sears — their traditional catalog business has come roaring back, and they’ve even started to open “catalog centers” in small towns again, like we had when I was a kid. They cut you a big break on shipping if you have your order delivered to a catalog center and pick it up there, and that’s been a bigger hit than I would have expected.
We’re still going to have lots of relatives at FAR Manor this year, mainly because they’re close by. That’s not all bad — I paid a nephew to cut up deadfall and stack it near the house, and he did a pretty good job. We splurged on a tank of propane too, but we plan to mostly use the fireplace insert unless it gets really cold. With the kids gone, we’ve closed down the upstairs for the winter, so we only have to heat the downstairs.
Speaking of nephews, he and his family have moved in with one of the other in-laws; their basement is big and finished out, so they're living downstairs. He said it isn’t bad; he just puts his headphones on and turns up the volume when they start squabbling, or walks up here to see if he can earn a few bucks doing something around the house. “Consolidating” seems to be the thing now; take two or three families and move them all into the biggest house for the winter. Everyone helps with the heating bills, and the smart ones have had plumbers come to the houses being shut down and put RV antifreeze in the water lines so they won’t freeze up. Mrs. Fetched was trying to get her parents to move into the guest bedroom, but they don’t want to leave their place. Whew! I don’t know if I could get much work done at home with them arguing, running the TV, arguing, cooking, arguing some more, all day long.
Meanwhile, back in the World At Large, the Secession Question has taken a breather for the holidays. Planet Georgia’s ASSembly passed a resolution to support withdrawal “if the rights and values of our citizens are not respected” — basically a threat, maybe half-full. The only surprise was that the vote was closer than expected. One “solution” talking shape is to allow states (or regions of like-minded states) to set policies for taxation and other things if they agree to respect the 14th amendment and the equal rights of all citizens (there’s been some noise about that). I’m not keen on the idea, because there’s been a lot of “overlooking” of equal rights for all citizens in the past; I don’t expect that to improve.
Sheesh, I almost forgot. Another thing that isn’t improving is the fuel supply. The NFRD is saying that fuel allocations are going to drop some, maybe 5%, starting early next year — Iraq is pumping flat-out and it’s still not enough to make up for drops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, let alone Mexico. The yap radio mouths are having a field day with that — it’s getting listeners’ minds off secession, which has to be a relief for their patrons. Things might not change much, though — people have had since August to make adjustments, and we had some allocations expire without any bids week before last. But bids for fresh allocations started picking up late last week; those people still driving somewhere for the holidays are probably trying to line up their supplies ahead of time. But between the people who let their unused allocations expire, and the ones who buy them up to take them off the market, I have to wonder where the extra gas is going — or has the NFRD deliberately overbooked a little?
Now if only they could make me an electric motorbike with a 100 mile range, I wouldn’t worry too much.