Friday, December 2, 2011

Green Dreams, Economic Nightmares

California continues to serve as an object lesson to the rest of the nation.  

That most blessed land of Queen Calafia, that could be an economically and geographically viable nation in its own right, is stumbling and staggering under the weight of progressive statism. It's latest woe, like all the others, is of its own doing.

The state has mandated that one-third of its energy must come from renewable sources by 2020.
California's increasing use of renewable power will come at a price, pushing up electricity bills across the state.
And while it's impossible to tell how big the cost to consumers will be, some experts fear the total cost of renewable energy in California will be in the billions of dollars.
"You're going to see significant price increases over time from renewables," said Aaron Johnson, director of renewable energy policy at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. "As you add it to the system, it is going to result in higher costs for consumers."  (SF Gate - California Renewable Energy)
Eschewing cheap and bountiful gas and coal for green pipe dreams is suicidal, but suicide is California's specialty.  The only thing that keeps such governmental action from being criminal is the fact that people can escape, and they are.  The ones that are still there voted for higher energy bills, so I don't feel sorry for them.

Meanwhile, in China, a Boom Goes Bust...

Jersey (I think it was Jersey, if not, it was one of the statists that comment here) was complaining last week about China subsidizing it's solar industry.  I told him we should thank the government of China for chipping in to make solar panels we buy cheaper.  Our government would be stupid to do the same.

Now comes news that China's solar industry is collapsing...
Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Losses for China’s largest solar manufacturers, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. and JA Solar Holdings Co. may continue through next year as declining shipments prompt them to slash prices and liquidate inventory.
“Liquidation is leading to suicidal pricing.” Polavarapu said in an interview today. "There are too many solar companies in China, he said, and they are cutting prices to maintain share."
Once freed from government intervention (bad money always chases out good), solar will make technological gains and perhaps be economically viable someday.  For now, it remains the energy of the future.

Meanwhile, as Obama's venture socialists still talk of stimulus multipliers and lust for the opportunity to dump even more money down green job sinkholes, the gas and oil industry is creating real jobs and providing cheap energy to an America mired in high-unemployment Obamanomics.

The petroleum industry has done more for this country than Obama could ever dream of.

WRM - Chinese Solar Industry Goes Belly Up
The Fraying of China's Guilded Age


Z said...

"The ones that are still there voted for higher energy bills, so I don't feel sorry for them."

Are you kidding me? I know so many solid Conservatives in this state that that's not quite true :-)
And we don't need pity, we need a new governor! Don't forget, this state elected the fabulous Conservative George Deukmejian (a family friend, I might add :-) so there's a little bias here) and Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson.....
SOMETIMES, Californians aren't quite as persuaded by the dopey left; lately they've got such bigger funds by which to advertise and sugar coat their hideous platforms (like that in your post) that they're winning over the's all cloaked in dishonest euphemisms and exciting platitudes and promises and people buy it. They'll be buying it where you live soon, too, trust me.

Always On Watch said...

Z makes good points in her comment defending California. And certainly there are many conservatives in California.

However, in many respects, California statist record speaks for itself.

I have also noted the following for decades: what begins in California makes it across the entire continental United States within 5-10 years.

Smoking bans started there. The food police started there.

I could go on and on.

Anonymous said...

This must be class warfare, because the people that will be most affected by this will be the middle class and low-income families.

But in all seriousness, this is pretty stupid. Many people who are on the green energy bandwagon either ignore or are apathetic to the associated cost with going green. If they cared, they wouldn't be trying to do the whole cap and trade thing, which will do little more than make our electric bills increase.

The best part about ideas like that is that cap and trade won't even actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Silverfiddle said...

Z: I realize that there are good conservatives like you in California, but you are a minority.

It's a shame what is happening to California. VDH is poignantly documenting the decline. Too many people in the wagon, not enough pulling.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, what starts in CA moves Eastward, and so it goes.

Anonymous said...

The best hope for green energy probably lies in expanded cultivation, production and harvesting of legumes -- eminently renewable, edible, potentially tremendous source of power.

Beans, beans 
The musical fruit 
The more you eat 
The more you toot. 

Beans make wind, 
So, direct the flow, 
And you'll move faster
Wherever you go. 

Beans help foster solitude 
You'll soon be alone 
After eating this food. 

I knew a girl,
A terrible flirt, 
The beans she ate
Tore a hole in her skirt. 

Night time beans 
Filled him with dread, 
Because often the sheets 
Blew right off his bed. 

Beans beans! 
Good for your heart 
Eat more not less 
For a roaring good start. 

Back from Progress 
You'll not be held. 
Instead, your life will be 

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

I love it here and see nothing that we hear about on the news.......
matter of fact, there they were pruning trees on the sides of the street the other day and filling small potholes...I wondered where the money was coming from.
Plus, I keep hearing nobody's lending any money and darned it I have a high rise going up on the main drag near me, Wilshire Blvd for those of you who know LA, and a four story apartment building halfway through completion.
I with they'd go give loans further away; I don't want more cars in the 'hood!

Yes, AOW, you're right. "What happens in California doesn't stay in California"

With all those good Republicans we've elected, and so many bad liberal bills barely squeaking past to win; trust me, there are a lot more good conservatives than people'd think.

KP said...

For better or worse California has started many liberal social, musical and fashion trends for the rest of the country since the early 60s. Once the rest of the country caught up with Cali we were already moving on.

Slowly, this has translated to politics. It started subtly. Decades of gerrymandering has left us with a state legislature housing individuals that could never win a general election. On a national level the same is true. Imagine Pelosi running in a national election (oh the pleasure!)

Our state political “safe zones” result in primary elections that have two candidates from the same party out promising the next. How do you win? Promise more bullshit. Promise more favors to special interest.

The result is deeper ideology in office. It’s not all left and it’s not all right; but it is clear the left has the upper hand in Sacramento. There are plenty of conservatives in Cali. Look no further than recent recalls and people fighting back via propositions. Not all of Cali is crazy progressive. San Diego has been a conservative city compared to LA and SF.

If one is an ideologue you may agree with policy we get from that state capitol. However; it is suicidal. We don’t have the ability to print money. Greece has the GDP of Dallas Forth Worth. Cali (as a country) is one of the top 7 or 8 GDPs on earth. We are unsustainable. It doesn’t much matter is you are right or wrong. We are governed by laws. Cali has ignored the obvious and is broke.

Cali is Europe. Obama is attempting to spread Cali and Europe failure to the rest of the nation. You can have great ideals and be all warm and fuzzy about change. And then, when you get carried away, you have a euro crisis, like we do here. Watch what Germany does. They will either force common sense on the rest of the western world or force America to be Cali.

Chakam Conservative said...

Like a wild dog that will chew off its own leg caught in a trap, we should all consider removing California from the Union and let it be its own little land. Maybe Mexico will want it?

As a simple-minded simpleton who clings to his guns and religion, (I reckon I'm a hayseed redneck of sorts), I shake my head in disbelief every single time I think of California. I mean, seriously...WTF is going on in that State?

I know not ALL Californians are morons and failed hippies. I know this. But people need to understand that man of us see no need to continue to have California be such an embarrassment and failure as a social-engineering experiment. Hollywood ain't that great.

I think America should start chewing off that caught leg before it infects the rest of itself with disease.

Jersey McJones said...

"The petroleum industry has done more for this country than Obama could ever dream of."

Silver, that was the single most funniest thing ever said!!! I'm actually biting my cheeks to keep from laughing out loud! Fuck, man, that was funny!!!

I can't imagine how many ironies one could pick out that little sentence.


Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, Jersey, you really showed us! Not.

@Jersey: I can't imagine how many ironies one could pick out that little sentence.

Obviously you couldn't because you didn't. You're a walking self-contradiction, a tribute to your liberalism.

Unlike Obama, the petroleum energy creates real jobs and does something useful, at a good price.

Following the California plan, like Obama wants to do, would raise everybody's light bill.

Keep smokin' that hopium!

Finntann said...

Not being the luddite many automatically assume conservatives are, I've actually looked into this.

I could achieve a net-zero (provides 100% of my homes electrical requirements) solar electric installation for a mere $82,640 with a 1033 sq foot installation.

To somewhat explain 'net-zero', my utility is a cooperative that offers net metering, meaning that surplus electricity is fed into the grid for 'credits' so when I produce less electricity than required I burn off credits before having to pay for electricity. The easiest way to think about it is to look at the electric meter as spinning both ways.

While this installation might not be viable in a suburban area, it could easily be achieved solely using the roof of my barn.

Of course my area is rated as "great" for solar illumination with 5.69 kW per square meter per day.

For my $82,640 investment the instant estimated increase in my property value would be somewhat more than half at $37,180, perhaps an overly optimistic estimate.

This investement would pay for itself at 16 years, roughly 60% of the estimated system lifespan of 25 years, again perhaps an overly optimistic estimate.

This system would be producing electricity at $0.13 per kWh, a slightly higher cost than the $0.1196 kWh I am currently paying.

More interesting is that financing achieves a quicker breakeven than outright purchase given a 30 year loan (not sure if that is even obtainable except perhaps as a second mortgage or refi pulling all equity). On a financed system the breakeven is at 3 years with a net cashflow of $137 in year 3 and an annual cashflow of $3331 in year 25. Of course that assumes that the cost of electricty will continue to rise at a linear predictable rate.

Be curious what people think about this.

More to follow on other alternatives...

Finntann said...

Another alternative given is wind turbines. I live in an area rated as 'excellent' for wind energy systems with an averge 6.5 m/s or 14.5 mph annual average windspeed.

So up in the lower pasture go eight 1kW wind turbines at $5000 a pop for a total cost of $40,000. I live in a curving mountain valley that tends to channel the wind down it, this the lower pasture instead of a hilltop. I would however need to cut down lots of trees.

Let me first describe the turbine. These would have a 2.5m rotor diameter (4 foot long blades) on a 19m tall pole (62 foot). I think my HOA would have a fit though.

This installation would have a breakeven point of roughly seven years, in year seven earning me $910 and a grand total of $29,480 over the systems 15 year lifespan.

This $40,000 investement would result in a predicted immediate increase in property value of $23,481. Given financing, the system actually starts earning money in the second year at roughly $1500 a year and increasing thereafter.

Of course I could easily replace the 8 1kW generators with 1 10kW generator for a total cost of $48,000. This would result in a rotor with a 8m swept area (12 foot blades) on a 24m (78 foot) pole.

With the barn being dedicated to electrical power generation, I could easily install a solar water heater on the roof of the house.

This would be a 2 collector (64 square foot) unit at a cost of $6500 replacing the existing propane unit. The existing unit runs through an estimated 187 gallons of propane per year at a current rate cost of $458 a year.

Curiously this $6500 investment would result in an predicted immediate increase in property value of $12120 and would save me $16519 in utility costs over the 15 year lifespan of the system.

I offer no guarantee of veracity of the facts and figures, taking them strictly at face value as offered.

In reality, I could probably get away with a solar-electric or solar hot water system. I could probably not install a wind turbine system given our HOA rules without engaging in a significant legal battle.

A friend of mine I work with looked into a wind turbine system (he lives down on the plains), and immediately ran up against his HOA. Oddly enough he lives on the edge of his HOA and there is a neighbors wind turbine roughly 20 feet from his back pasture fence.


Finntann said...

er... slightly less than half? lol

Anonymous said...

I've spent the last six month in the glorious Peoples Republic of California. With any luck I will never be here again.

Anonymous said...

I bought my present house twelve years ago with unsightly solar panels in place on the roof. They didn't work well, and caused roof-rot underneath with resultant leaks in numerous places. I had them removed, and the roof support system repaired, a new roof installed, and interior signs of leakage resurfaced at great expense less than two years after moving in.

I've never made a better move in the field of home improvement. The place here is roughly 2,700 square feet of heated and air-conditioned space. My utility bills are eminently affordable. I do not believe any of the environmental-case propaganda. It could be nothing more than just another leftist power grab based on exploitation of a perceived problem.

Civilization had advanced to a beautiful, highly workable-livable degree by the 1920's. We lived exceedingly well in fine, beautifully furnished homes in the 1940's. We drove wonderful, solidly built, commodious automobiles. Trains were a pleasant, exciting, mode of transportation. Train stations were architecturally significant, dignified-yet-lively public palaces for the most part, as were movie theaters, museums, libraries and other public buildings. Airplanes worked just fine and airports were lively, interesting places. Travel was a joy 60 years ago. Today it's a pain-in-the-ass.

Whatever "improvements" have come along since 1950 have only served to complicate our lives and full us with confusion and consternation.

Yes, I enjoy the computer -- obviously -- but "It wouldn't be missed, if it didn't exist." The same could be said of Sputnik, NASA, cell phones, smart phones, surround sound, 900 channels 90% of which are filled with crap on Cable TV, Garmins, out-of-season fruits and vegetables shipped and trucked everywhere at great expense, and on and on.

The average 20th-century middle-class American lived with more comfort, luxury, convenience and variety of options than Thomas Jefferson and George Washington could ever have imagined -- they just didn't appreciate it.

We can't go back, but it would be foolish for those of us who are old enough to remember not share our certain knowledge that life was a happier, healthier,more hopeful thing 60 years ago than has been since the advent of the 1960's.

Of course we didn't realize back in those, far off halcyon days that intellectual termites were busily eating the foundation of our existence and all our joy in living out from under us.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Z loves California. So, apparently, does KP. I have lifelong friends who live in Walnut Creek who can't say enough for The Golden State. YET, every one of these people freely admits that California politics stink to high heaven.

That says to me that the most important aspect of life has little or nothing to do with politics, or geographical loci. Even in the worst political environments and in the midst of poverty, disability or privation loving relationships and sociability between human beings can still flourish. So can ingenuity, creativity, curiosity, pleasure in natural beauty, good books, home cooking, and doing the best one can to keep one's living space clean, orderly, and to make it as attractive, comforting and welcoming as possible.

My grandparents were poor, and I have been poor much of my adult life, and believe me I know -- positively -- that this is true.

In fact the Human Spirit and our capacity for striving probably thrive best under conditions of adversity. Why I don't know, but there's a lot of evidence to support it.

My own family lived through the Great Depression and in many ways, when they looked back after it was over, they felt those were some of the happiest years of their lives.

So our politics, our institutions of higher learning, and our pop culture may be rotten, but that doesn't mean that we have to be degraded, debauched, deceived and deprived too.

Studying and learning to appreciate and enjoy the best Art, Music, Literature, Architecture and Scientific Advances of the Past really could make all our lives more joyful, exciting and filled with hope.

If this were not so, why else do you think the intellectual aggressors, who have hijacked and befouled the Academy, the News and Information Media, the Entertainment Industry and the Government, would be working so hard to confuse us, cause us to doubt ourselves, and cut us off from our history and our heritage while doing everything they can to dishonor, discredit and eradicate all memory of the greatness and manifest superiority of Western Civilization -- and of the profound Christian Influence under which most of it flourished?

Our lives and the land around us -- and above all our MINDS -- count for much more than our foolish, faltering, failed leadership.

Believe in YOURSELF as the Child and Reflection of Almighty God, and you can't fail, because you will have lifted your consciousness high above "the ghastly farce of material existence."

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Cali is Europe. Obama is attempting to spread Cali and Europe failure to the rest of the nation.


You mean like Texas, Mississippi, Arizona ...?

Silverfiddle said...

I can't speak for KP, but yeah, I'm sure Obama wants to ruin Texas, Mississippi and Arizona as well.

They all have lower unemployment and lower debt than California, so they must be targets...

KP said...

I am not sure what you mean Ducky. But I will try to clariy what I meant:

Cali state government is unable to fix itself. And doesn't seem to care. Like Europe, the government is unsolvent. Sacramento is driving business out of state or over seas. It undermines it's own revenue base. We can't raise taxes but continue to increase the budget. Any budget on paper is a hoax or accounting fraud.

Progressives say that we need to raise taxes on the corporations that are fleeing. They say our revenue issues are the fault of Propr 13 that prevents higher higher property taxes. As well, that we can't raise taxes because we need a two thirds majority of congress to do so. Those points of view have some validity.

Having said that, it is what it is until the state constitution is abolished and re-written. So we should live within our means. Europe is getting the difficult medicine. The rest of our country is beginning to understand. Obama is ten years behind the learning curve. He is one stubborn man.

I have lived in Cali my entire 56 years, a good life. I never, ever, thought I would leave here. I love Cali. But this last decade the state have proven itself so politically disfunctional that I have actively looked to relocate (not to Miss, AZ or Texas).

My point, Sacramento needs to understand, it's no longer about what they can get implement that is warm and fuzzy socially; rather it is about what they should do to save the state.

I worked as a lifeguard for seven years on the beach. We were taught to turn a swimmer we were saving into the pier so they could take the blow and we could save their lives. When flying, you are instructed to place your oxygen mask over your face before your children. Why? Because the state can't save anyone, let alone everyone, unless it saves itself. Why progressives can't undertsand this is baffling.

Silverfiddle said...

KP: You should move to Colorado. Business friendly, but perpetually purple enough to keep everybody honest.

Granted, California has beautiful weather, but if you don't mind some snow, Colorado is great.

You'd do great here. We are a fit, outdoorsy state.

KP said...

You bet! The specific business opportunity I have been offered is in Colorado. I have close friends and business associates who live there who are part of that fitness community. I go each summer to ride the all the passes since 2003.

Separately, my wife has been offered an advancement in her career in Longmont as well as Denver. But like FT (I think) said, I love Cali; the sun, the surf, etc. Too bad I am disgusted by the politics.

Jersey McJones said...

"The petroleum industry has done more for this country than Obama could ever dream of."

First of all, yes the petroleum industry has been very profitable and works pretty well for public and commercial customers. It has played a huge role in our development as a nation.

Over the past 40 years we have learned that it is not such a good idea to put so many apples in that one basket. Shifts in the global market are beyond our control. We can not nearly produce enough petroleum to influence global prices as we did in the old days, and we never will again.

If you do not understand that, then you do not understand the petroleum market, which is just a part of the oil market.

Oil is a globally traded commodity. We are on that market. Only distance determines where we get our oil. Canada, Mexico, and yes, good ol' Venezuela, are conveniently close to us. We have terrible wars and terrorism and crises all with oil being a running theme through all of it.

The very fact that the petroleum industry has been so "successful" is a bad thing. We should be far less dependent on it.

What you said, sounded to me like it might have been, "The cocaine industry has done more for this country than Obama could ever dream of." Both utterly inane and hypocritically ironic.

Funny stuff, Silver. ;)


KP said...

FT, I like the stories about your and your family's past. I wish those views had a greater share of history taught in our schools. It has nothing to do with religion but it is a spiritual success story.

Those stories are what I enjoyed so much in Obama's books. I know the they are common the the left, right and middle, but we don't hear enough of them. Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. For a short period of time an overwhelming majority of Americans feel war in the middle of winter.

KP said...

"warm in the middle of winter" :-)

Ducky's here said...

I am not sure what you mean Ducky. But I will try to clarify what I meant:

Given some of the shitholes in the south to point to California as a singular example of failed government is purely doctrinaire.

It sounds like the crap Libertarians spew about the unions destroying Detroit.

Shallow, doctrinaire.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: You still have not explained how my comments were "ironic."

Petroleum a bad thing? What are you heating your house with and powering your car with, whale blubber?

Ducky: You need to elaborate. Looks to me like the southern states are doing just fine, unlike California. And just exactly what did destroy Detroit?

You're the one who is shallow and doctrinaire. Do you realize how fact-free your missives are?

98ZJUSMC said...

Ducky sez -It sounds like the crap Libertarians spew about the unions destroying Detroit.

Shallow, doctrinaire.

You really do abhor the truth. No surprise and I guess you can pat yourself on the back for consistency, if nothing else.

98ZJUSMC said...

Jack Camwell said...
This must be class warfare, because the people that will be most affected by this will be the middle class and low-income families.

Just another inconvenient truth for all of us to ignore. Nothing to see here.......

Anonymous said...


1. Someone who sees his own particular views as unquestionably right, and any belief or opinion that differs from them as invalid, irrational, perverse or evil.

2. A person intolerant of opinions different from his own regarding values, morals, religious beliefs or politics; one obstinately and blindly devoted to his own political party, religious beliefs, or opinions.

3. An extreme partisan of any kind

We see rather a lot of that sort of thing -- from all directions -- these days, don't we?

One could interpret it favorably by defining it as being true to oneself.

~ FreeThinke

98ZJUSMC said...

Silverfiddle said - Do you realize how fact-free your missives are?

Now that is true.

Once freed from government intervention (bad money always chases out good), solar will make technological gains and perhaps be economically viable someday.

*Head -------> Desk*

When oh, when, are more people going to understand this? Government is not going to make Solar feasible. The market will make solar feasible when technology brings the efficiency to a cost effective level, usable on a large scale. Solar is just not a feasible substitute for the scale necessary. Finntan's posts are pretty close to what I found out, also. On an individual scale, you can become almost grid independent. Almost. Does not work at the neighborhood level, much less an entire community. My only quibble with his figures are maintenance and upkeep. I may have missed them. Nonetheless, will never be done on a wide scale due to initial cost.

Now, Thorium reactors, on a community scale, look very promising.

KP said...

"Given some of the shitholes in the south tp point to California as a singular form of failed government is purely doctrinaire".

Perhaps, but that is not what I said. I shared that in California we have a sytem of government that is broken -- as well as broke. Pregressives, the far right and everybody in between knows this to be true. Feel free to list a dozen other failed examples of government we can all agree on.

If you won't agree that Cali is broken then I can only guess you don't know enough about what is happening here or are not telling us what you know. The second is unsettling because it means you just like to argue even when you agree.

Finntann said...

USMC... no you didn't miss them, they were never provided, which is why I don't have solar cells on my barn and a wind farm on my lower pasture.

My understanding is the wind generators require biannual maintenance... details of which are unknown. The solar PV panels should be cleaned quarterly, and may need to have the coverings replaced. Other than that the PV cells are designed to degrade gracefully, losing cells decreases efficiency, but generally the panels don't just go dead. The inverters and associated control equipment are probably another story in itself.

On the plus side for me, I've been working with electronic, hydraulic, and electro-mechanical systems for about thirty years so could most likely do all the maintenance myself given the schematics and service manuals.

All in all I'd say the wind or solar PV's would have to come down about 50% in price or go way up in efficiency before I'd buy. If I did buy, it'd have to be a hybrid solar/wind system. Generally if it's cloudy here, the wind is blowing.

I might venture a solar water heater though, given the relatively lower price. The solar water heater would require two 8X4 panels. Might even go so far as a five panel array with three dedicated to radiant floor heating in the downstairs. Always wanted radiant floor heating since I lived in a house in Korea with it.

Nothing nicer than a warm floor.


Anonymous said...


ANOTHER vanished post!

Must remember to write in Word first.

Anyway, thank you KP.

~ FT

Silverfiddle said...

FT: Highlighting and copying your comment before publishing is always a good habit.

You never know when the Blooger Black Hole will swallow your comments...

KP said...

SF, as of yesterday and this morning I am unable to highlight and copy to leave a comment. I can highligt and copy an old comment to word but I cannot copy from word to leave a comment. Any ideas?

Silverfiddle said...

Wow. I have no idea. Are you using a different browser than before?

Also, the old ctrl-C, Ctrl-V also works for copy and paste.

Ducky's here said...

A Reasonable Point of View

The last page is cogent.

KP said...

Ducky, when I attempted to read your link my security system said there are active threats on the page and was bizzy blocking them. I am unable to navigate it. Do you have another way to view the articles? Thanks.

Ducky's here said...

That's odd, it's a link to The New York Review of Books.

Go to

read the article
How We Were All Misled
by John Lanchester

It's worthwhile.

KP said...

Thanks. Very well written. As he says, it is not a feel good story. It leaves many of us sad; and mad.

Silverfiddle said...

I agree with KP. The conclusion was spot on:

I think, though, that the failure of responsibility was linked to a failure of agency—the individual’s ability to affect the course of events. An enormous number of people today feel as if they have very little economic agency in their own lives: often, they are right to feel that. The decisions that affect their fates are taken far above their heads, and often aren’t conscious decisions at all, so much as they are the operation of large economic forces over which they have no control—impersonal forces whose effects are felt in directly personal ways.

The elites have stolen our liberty. Thanks for the link, Ducky.

Silverfiddle said...

...and going camping with friends in the mountains beats flying somewhere every time!

Anonymous said...

In the olden days, we used to think getting together with family for a Saturday Night Supper of Hot Dogs, Baked Beans and Brown Bread followed by a few rounds of Michigan Rummy or Help Thy Neighbor was one of the most satisfying ways to spend leisure time imaginable.

I've done a lot of fancy, highly adventurous things since then, but I've never stopped cherishing those humble experiences at home with family and friends. Only memories now, but Oh how I wish such experiences were still available!

We used to get so excited -- and so involved -- in enjoying the pleasures of hearth and home. As someone who experienced the joys of Middle Class Family Life as it used to be before TV, the Sexual Revolution, Social Consciousness Raising and Technology took over, I can tell you there's nothing better to be found on this earth.

With that in mind I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

~ FreeThinke