Saturday, June 9, 2012

~~~ This started out as a letter to a friend, then morphed into a blog post, not about my life in Riyadh, but just about a few thoughts flitting across the surface of my mind, like water striders across a muddy pond. Please pardon me that there are no pretty pictures to provide relief.~~~

How's life? Beautiful? I hope it gets more so each day.

I once heard one of the famous motivational speakers, it might have been Zig Ziglar, say "If you want to change your life, change your habits."

That really struck me. It's the idea that the secret is not to do something exceptional and out of the ordinary, but rather, to make habitual acts powerful.

I also heard one of these guys say, "Most people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year."

Doing something "in a year" is all about habitual acts.

Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm not quite so down in the mouth I'm looking at my routine and thinking of ways I can develop some new habits to get through this tunnel even faster and come out the other end even more prosperous.


I saw in the news that Japan is considering reopening 2 nuclear reactors because the cost of power is getting too high and threatening their economy. What do you think? Do you think it's just a justification or it's for real?

(The person for whom I wrote this originally works in the nuclear industry, thus the questions, though you are all free to respond.)

I thought it was so great when they took the step to shut them all down. I believe Germany is on the path to shutting theirs all down too. I wish we could get an American president and house of representatives that "had the noive" of the Cowardly Lion to do the same. That would throw the world power structure into chaos, probably in a good way.

Though I suspect that it would make even better chaos if we made ourselves independent of Nigerian and Middle Eastern oil imports, even if it meant holding on to nuclear for a while longer.

It's interesting to speculate what would happen in situations like that. If the USA became so energy efficient that it no longer needed oil imports, that would reduce demand drastically, which would reduce the the price of oil on the world market, making the wasteful countries more likely to waste even more. So it appears to be a double edged sword.

Then of course, the more oil there is, and the cheaper it is, the more China can conquer world manufacturing, by reducing its energy costs and the prices on its exports.

So, not only does it seem to be a double edged sword, we might have even shot ourselves in the foot with it.

On the other hand, being dependent on expensive, imported oil doesn't really sound like the answer either. It seems, what we need is a world in which oil is expensive for everybody and the USA is so efficient that we don't need very much. Then we are not vulnerably dependent on volatile countries and China doesn't have a cheap energy source it can exploit.

But that won't happen until the world really HAS almost run out of oil, which isn't happening in the next 5-10 years...

which brings to mind Leo Tolstoy's immortal question, "What then must we do?", though, unlike Tolstoy, our concern is not about wretched poverty and social injustice but rather about how to hold onto our "middle class" lifestyles, our heated pools and our SUVs in the face of increasing energy costs and a world in which we appear to be less and less competitive in the global marketplace.

I am not going to profess that I have the answer, and certainly not one that fits neatly into a blog post. But I do begin to picture an America in which we are not dependent on imported energy, AND in which we manufacture most of what we consume, while maybe still exporting a bit, to put some icing on the cake.

That starts to look like a picture in which it doesn't matter much to us how cheap China manages to makes its goods, because we don't need them.

So there you have it, the answer to all our national economic troubles, glimpsed dimly through a thick fog.

One last question, do any of you reading this know how to start a catalog? I was thinking about those "catalogs of catalogs" where all the catalog carries is catalogs of other countries. I was thinking it would be great to make a catalog that carries the catalogs of companies that manufacture products MADE IN THE USA.

So, if any of you have experience with catalogs, or websites, for that matter, let me know. Maybe we can go into business together.

Well, those are some of the miscellaneous thoughts on my mind, as I sit here at my laptop, in the middle of the vast Arabian desert.

Cheers, thanks a lot! -Patsy in AbFab-


  1. Brilliant idea Antonio. A comprehensive catalogue of Made in the USA products would be wonderful. I only buy pet food now Made in the USA. You can't even trust other countries like Canada because they can import the ingredients from China. So can we now that I think of it.

  2. As for nuclear, I'm now a believe of it's ability to destroy life as we knew it. Our west coast here has had some fall-out.

    So, let's vote on keeping plants open, and new plants as well. Here are the rules. Only the citizens with plants within a possible danger zone can vote, and the closer you are the more your vote counts. Those with the plants in their backyard get more points for their votes then, considerably more. As for advertising, for each pro nuclear energy ad there has to be an equal ad for the against nuclear power which portrays the worst of the worst images from Chernobl and Fukushima. Aren't we all tired of allowing people to vote on issues that don't affect them, except to profit? There's a little 'fallout' here though. I'm in CA. I live in a pretty moderate climate. There are people in areas that experience severe weather and can spend huge portions of their income staying warm or cold. So we really need to re-think energy in general, or at least the price. It's just a mess right now without better options. As for solar, why is it still so expensive?! What else is out there? What has been bought out and we'll never know about?