Tasty Tidbits 8/27/11

  1. World’s strongest hallucinogen is 152 (million?) years old today.
  2. Hurricane Irene.
  3. Fed Jackboot report.
  4. On a more hopeful note.
  5. Weighing money versus counting it.
  6. Steve Jobs on succeeding.


On this day in 1859, oil was found in Titusville, Pennsylvania — the first time anyone deliberately and successfully drilled for it.

The rest is history.

Real historians might say it otherwise, but since I’m a disaffected rabble-rouser I’ll summarize that America grabbed some papers at Quicky-Mart, toked up on the stuff, and quickly decided that economics as the study of scarcity had been repealed, and that Americans faced a future of limitless wealth, fueled by this yummy, nougaty center Mother Nature had been kind enough to give us (HT James Howard Kunstler). We made oil, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, and jillions of magic chariots to burn them. With what was left, we paved tens of jillions of miles of magic carpet for them to drive on. We decided that there was no reason why everyone couldn’t have an estate with a McMansion in the country and drive his very own magic chariot to his job in the city. And now we’re running out of it, and the Chinese and everyone else wants it, too, and we’re kinda stuck because we’ve been delusional for so long and have built an infrastructure to fit our delusion, and we’re resorting to scams like trying to turn food — food, fer, cryin’ out loud; what we used to call the “bounty from the World’s Breadbasket” — into something that will feed our magic chariots instead of people who aren’t as important and productive as us …


… especially those of us who live on the east coast.

Doug Masson Tweets “Fact: East Coast weather events are just more important. Because the people they effect are better than other people.”

I’ve been reading the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. I think Doug’s right.

Can I be important if I move east? North Carolina’s east, isn’t it? Charleston? Savannah?

Oh: maybe the key is that the East Coast is rather densely populated, so a storm affects more people. Actually, less hallucinatory than the West Coast in that regard. But I like Doug’s very midwestern theory better.

(Spelling tip: It’s “wreak havoc,” not “reek havoc.” When will they come up with an anodyne checker on word processors?)


Fish and Wildlife Service raids Gibson Guitar, seizing wood it says is environmental contraband or something. Owners of vintage guitars who cross the border with them might fall afoul of the same law.

The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

Or some desk jockey at FWS doesn’t like troubadors.

I’m no fan of Ayn Rand, but I do have a favorite quote attributed her:

Did you really think that we want those laws observed? . . . We want them broken . . . . There’s no way to rule innocent men.  The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals.  Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them.  One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.  Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens?  What’s there in that for anyone?  But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of lawbreakers — and then you cash in on guilt.

(From Atlas Shrugged, quoted by Herbert Schlossberg in Idols for Destruction, 1983, in the chapter on Idols of Power)


Enough cursing the darkness. I love the direction Distributist Review has been taking at Facebook. They not only have some theory, but some neat stories about how people are building lives — a bit counterculturally — in various ways. They’re publishing them faster than I can read them, but look for some in coming days.

Now if we can just keep them from falling afoul of Fish & Wildlife Service and its ilk. No doubt some corporatist will tattle on them.


One of my favorite bloggers has left construction and taken a desk job as a school counselor. He alludes to all the clothes he bought 20+ years (and 4 inches of waistband) ago “when I was making the kind of money you weighed instead of counted. But for 20+ years I’ve been counting ….”

We’ll miss you, Steve. Check in occasionally, at least, okay?


Michael Hyatt, recently-retired as CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, posts a thought-provoking “slide show” distilling some Steve Jobs wisdom.

Wall Street Journal’s Digital Daily was loaded with Apple stuff. It’s as if “those in the know” know that Jobs is out for good this time, and not long for the world; much of what’s written sounds a bit funereal.

But not the slide show.

(I find that I have no category for this item. Shows how much I blog on business management and “entrepreneurship,” with which term I’ll at least tag it. Come to think of it, those Distributist experimenters are entrepreneurs, too.)

* * * * *

If you’re missing partisan political rants, I’m sorry, but I was giving the impression that I cared, so I stopped blogging politics. “They” are all idiots except for the ones who are rogues. But RogerWmBennett Tweets about politics and stuff over in the right-hand column. I generally agree with the guy.


Bon appetit!

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