July 02, 2010
July 01, 2010
But before getting to that, an answer to John's question about Dmitry Orlov's onboard toilet facilities: my understanding is that the yacht is equipped with a composting toilet. My own very limited experience with such facilities suggests that a composting toilet aboard a a fairly small boat (32 feet) could present some olfactory challenges for the average American, who tends to be somewhat squeamish or sensitive about such matters, more so than (I'm guessing) a native of Orlov's homeland, the Soviet Union. Americans do not like body smells of any kind, actually, which is one of the reasons we have trouble with international travel. As for the rest of Orlov's carrying charges, I doubt he generates much trash or garbage, living as he does. The cost of berthing a boat in a metropolitan area probably varies by season, but I agree that's a major consideration. I took a tour around the berths of Orange County's Balboa Island recently, and the guide made it a point to impress us with the outrageous cost of berths, which often exceeded the rent on a good-sized apartment. Then again, if you're handy with oars you can moor the boat instead of berthing it. I suspect overall, however, that being freed up from mortgages and real property taxes (and paying much less for insurance) results in a far lower shelter cost, and Orlov, who's an engineer by training and very rigorous in his approach to, well, everything, no doubt has thought it all through. By the way, the picture is of the house of the infomercial king who came up with not just the Veg-o-matic, but Spray-On Hair, a monument to American entrepreneurship in one of its last bastions, the RepublicanLand of Orange County.
June 29, 2010
Noted Nobel Laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently threatened Germany with U.S. Congressional action, followed that with a threat of trade sanctions against China for its currency manipulations, and then threw a tantrum in the form of an essay because no one is listening to his demand that the federal government dump some more stimulus money on the U.S. economy. Since we won't listen, he told us we were in for a Depression.
June 28, 2010
Just a passing thought, but one that hadn't occurred to me before: while half-paying attention to this pretentious, boring, stultifying thing called the "G-20," where a group of political half-wits gather to decide the fate of the world, it occurred to me that Thoreau would, in modern contemplation, be called a "survivalist." I don't know why that never occurred to me before, but sometimes I get distracted. The thought came to me last night while reading a series of essays in Dmitry Orlov's print-on-demand book (I hold copy number 149 of a run of 500) called "Hold Your Applause." Dmitry and his wife live on a 32-foot sailboat in Boston Harbor, own no car, bicycle everywhere, and are apparently quite content. Probably more so, and understandably, than an unemployed carpenter who used to live in a suburban tract home in Riverside, now foreclosed, whose unemployment has run out and has no prospects for future work.