Sunday, June 23, 2024

Rain, Pollen, Mediocrity, Snails and Beer, Jews and Japanese and Amish

We picked up 0.1 inches of rain last night. Just enough to make the mosquitoes frisky.

I am running the sprinkler.

Timothy (grass) and chestnuts are at peak pollinating @ 1100 Growing Degree Days b50.

"Only the mediocre are always at their best."  Attributed to Somerset Maugham

Every day will not be a Grand-Slam Home run. Every post will not be AWESOME!

Snails and beer

We will see if beer-traps for snails work. This year stands out as having an exceptionally large number of snails. I found them on peppermint, nettles and a host of other plants that I assumed would not be attractive to them. I was wrong.

Jews, Japanese and Amish

The people we have come to know as Jews wandered through the inhospitable desert for two generations, a pariah people with no allies other than God. Imagine being trapped in an elevator with your Mother-in-law for forty years. Having no other options, you would gladly accept God's rules for harmonious relations as the alternative was to be cast-out, into the inhospitable desert.

The Japanese have very little arable land as much of the country is mountainous. As an island, they were able to isolate themselves from outside pressures and influences for hundreds of years. Imagine the pressures to not waste resources as Maltusian pressures mounted. Imagine the pressures of a regimented society where antisocial behaviors could not be erased by moving elsewhere.

While many modern Jewish people embraced secular "progress" and the pressure-cooker of pre-1860 Japan eased, the Amish voluntarily chose to live lives with very narrow and limited horizons.

All three of these groups developed highly refined codes-of-behavior because of the restrictions of their environments where "costs" could not be externalized because there was no "external" to dump them to.

Consider a young company that sells gourmet hamburgers for 3-to-5X the cost of the most expensive hamburger on McD, BK or Wendy's menu. Growth is initially explosive as everybody flocks to the new restaurant to see what the "Buzz" is all about.

The company borrows money to open many new outlets. They want to saturate the market before the me-too competitors do. They determine that the buildings formerly occupied by an auto-parts retailer were optimally located and cheap, cheap, cheap...even though they were 8000 square-feet.

The bank is very happy to loan the money. The paper-work to loan out $20M is not that much more than to loan $20k. The footprint of the new Gourmet Burger company more than doubles year-to-year-to-year....

And then they implode.

The massive inflow of borrowed money masked the fact that very few outlets were making a profit on a stand-alone-basis. With the books swimming in cheap-borrowed-money, nobody felt any pressure to sharpen their pencils, rationalize manpower, eliminate waste.

Explosive growth, saturation...and then collapse.

The Jews, Japanese and Amish (besides being favored by God) were spared this fate because there were no sugar-daddies, no banks looking to make loans, no inheritances to subsidize (and mask) non-viable businesses, no vassal-states, conquests and booty to paper over losses. It was/is hand-to-mouth. Stupid choices were almost instantly painful.

It was my father's opinion that every young person should have a challenging  first-job: Picking pickles, roofing, paving, laying carpet...

His thinking was that it would provide motivation to upgrade our skills. It would give us a safety-net should the economy collapse. And ultimately, knowing how to survive on meager wages makes it very easy to save money when you start getting generous paychecks.


  1. Snails - yeast, salt, water - cheaper than beer

  2. Snails, runner ducks. Fun to watch, just keep them out of the ripe strawberries. Tasty too. Eggs nice if you keep them in the duck house until after 7AM. Otherwise wild nests.

  3. ERJ, I have had pretty good luck with beer traps for snails over the years.

    The example of the market opportunity is a good one. In point of fact, current economics does allow poor economic decisions to be disguised - sometimes for decades, something a cash only/subsistence only economy does not allow.

    (As a historical note, even under feudalism the Japanese economy saw a transfer of wealth from the samurai class to the merchant class. While the nation as a whole may have operated as you indicate, their economy - especially in the cities - was prone to the same sorts of poor economic decision making. One key factor was the decision to pay the samurai in coin instead of actual rice, which was done in older times. Suddenly you had individuals with cash in hand and - as the Edo period progressed - less and less responsibility for actual wars or even bureaucratic endeavors. It is a lot harder to spend 140 koku of rice than it is the equivalent amount of ryo. Cash made it easier to make poor decisions.

  4. Here's a video that you might find useful for your Copperhead Cove story. It's a 3D printable AR15 fire control group.

  5. We finally got our rain Saturday night. 30 minutes hard and heavy.

  6. I think service jobs are good for early education - waiting tables, customer service in a retail store, etc with good managers gives a perspective on life not findable elsewhere.


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