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John East

I only discovered your blog recently and must say your prose style is captivating, much better than my other regular reads.

I also agree with your sentiments, but having profited by the simple strategy of investing the opposite way to the herd for over 5 years now, I don't fear the future. My only concern is that when (if?) the dust settles after the comming recession, and when everybody is buying gold, I'll be too slow getting into the new contrarian winners.

I'll continue monitoring your words of wisdom, they might help me decide when to jump.

Elaine Supkis

I know what you mean. I have been a contrarian all my life, it seems. When NYC was going bankrupt, I began to invest in properties there, for example. This meant, fighting for all sorts of things like police protection, etc. It worked.

Personally, I would move into alternative energy systems. They have a bright future. Even if you might not get rich, you won't see your money vanish. Even gold can lose 75% of its value nearly overnight, it can balloon like all other assets.

Jim Smith

Old crone? What old crone? Then the images we've seen are not the true Elaine! Thanks for an absolutely top drawer blog. Your virtuosity, versatility and vitality overwhelm me! Keep 'em flying!

Pat O'Meara

I am a Canadian of Irish descent and have little use for the British Royalty. However, the Queen is the official Head of State and this is useful because it allows us to treat our Prime Minister with the respect he deserves. If we don't respect him then we can hoot at him and occasionally even get a pie in the face. I think this is better than having a President who is also the Head of State.

In fact the Governor General is the Queen's representative and is appointed by the Prime Minister. They have no real power. Our current Governor General is a black women immigrant from Haiti. This pleases me.

Our currency has pictures of Prime Ministers on other denominations. Each denomination is a different colour which I find useful in dimly lit bars. I used to be in the USA a lot and owned a company there in the mid west. I liked the value of the currency at the time but I hated it in bars. The bills all looked the same so I could easily give a fifty for a five and so on.

I do very much enjoy your writing and as depressing as the content is, I can still get a good laugh.

Keep up the good work.


Hi John East,

I am not clever with finances but seems with current buying of US and European investment banks by the Chinese indicate that future determination of money and value would be based on their perceptions and beliefs.. so for your investments to pay off ..perhaps it should be based on being able to understand the PRC mindset.

Just a thought.

Elaine Supkis

Pat, we should put on our money some royal pain in the assets! Like Greenspan, perhaps.

Elaine Supkis

PRC mindset: they saw how Germany bought out the Russians and took East Germany and they saw how the Afghanis and a nasty nuclear accident destroyed the entire Soviet Union, their old enemies [remember, the more something is the same, the more hate]. So they hope to do with us.

mock turtle

your concerns about cheap, non-tariffed imports from countries that pay subsistence wages, and your concerns about the destruction of our currency etc are not our biggest problems.

give the ruling elite a few decades or less to further develop digital technology and then 90% or more of the worlds labor force will be unnecessary to the wealthy 10% or less who own most of everything. The rulers will produce everything they want without further need of the serfs.

Then what will they do with us?

And now you know the real reason for the governments desire to subject us to ever increasing surveillance.

Raymond in Niagara

Hi Elaine,

I know someone who works at the Currency Exchange window at the Niagara Falls border crossing and she deals with American visitors daily.

For many of them it is a big surprise to learn that the US$ is at par or below the CDN$ and this has led to some rage incidents. One angry American declared that our country is a "wasteland" and that "we could gobble you up." This gentleman's wife tried to restrain him and he loudly told her to "shut up."

Fortunately for my acquaintance, she is safe behind two-inch-thick plate glass.

At some point I would be interested to know the particulars of how the FRG "bought" East Germany. I had friends and family in the GDR and I flew over for the fall of the wall; it was a big deal for me personally. A decade later I hear from my cousins how they were "sold out." Any idea how much was paid?


If the national economy takes a severe recession the masses of citizens will empower a strongman to make radical change and implement some plan. Sometimes it can be quite good.. eg.. the neverending health bureaucracy and regulations and litigation that no politician can even stop the growth of, could easily be dealt with by a strongman.

On the other hand with that much power wars and progroms start. The 1930's saw for America Roosevelt come in and make huge systemic changes.. Germany saw Hitler come in who did the same. Both men got their countries out of depression.

Closer to our own time in 1990's I predicted a strongman would emerge in Russia. And indeed at rock bottom when pensioners were starving on the streets Putin came in. The Russian masses empowered him to make radical changes.


One angry American declared that our country is a "wasteland" and that "we could gobble you up." This gentleman's wife tried to restrain him and he loudly told her to "shut up."

LOL typical yanks lol



New scanners will not allow anyone to scan any currency. That little add-on was never officially announced, and it is not anywhere in the US legal code.
To scan currency you will need to find a pre 2004 scanner and its software. ( The restriction is in the software for H-P scanners and all-in-ones ) it might be a firmware restriction in other brands.
The same code in in Photoshop and probably other image editing and capturing stand alone software packages also.

Chris Hudson


The bit re having the kids cry while trying to get fuel had me laughing with pleasure @ 5 a.m.

Being on the border w/Canada here in the PNW, I'm always complimenting the Canadians on their pretty banknotes but I think Euros are even nicer. But I love the "twoonies."

I've read that some of the biggest counterfitters use old (cheap) american printing presses and hand engrave the dollars. Old school style.

Elaine Supkis

Germany, starting in 1980, began to pay Russia for a number of things and making deeper contacts...for energy! During these negotiations, the Germans told Russia, they would subsidize the removal of most of the Warsaw Pact troops, build them housing and pay their pensions.

So bit by bit, Russia quietly removed the troops. When the place was mostly emptied out, the East German populace noticed and began to riot. First, in Leipzig.

The government rapidly lost power to the point, they wanted CNN to broadcast a news conference which was supposed to announce some reforms.

I got up early in NY to watch it live, in German, for I knew through my contacts that the government was on the verge of falling. The offhand remark by one of the officials, a remark that was NOT sanctioned by either the East Germans or Russia, that no one was to be shot on the borders anymore, set events into motion.

NO ONE EXPECTED THIS. I laughed and said, 'A political coup of vast proportions, launched by a few words!'

West Germany went into high gear to reassure the Russians they need not fear a united Germany. More money was deposited in the communist party vaults which were, by the way, nearly empty at this point. Chernobyl was very destructive to Russia's economy.

We don't know exactly the terms, of course, they were secret. But Gorbechev decided they were necessary due to Russia's looming bankruptcy.


"Then what will they do with us?"

Two words, Mock Turtle...

Soylent Green.

(Actually, they'll find something for you to do. All that digital technology still won't clean the bathroom. So get out your brushes and your Scrubbing Bubbles and start practicing!)


First, since I'm a virgin commenter, let me take a moment to thank our spectacular and gracious hostess! If there's any hope for the future, it will proceed from this sort of sharing of common wisdom and perspective. And, Elaine, you make me laugh incessantly!

Second, and more to the point, I wanted to disabuse JSmith of his optimism for the future of serfdom:


... Sorry JS, looks like the job's taken!

mock turtle

JS and CT...seriously

If people don't own their own land (debt, Foreclosures and subprime mess)


high land taxes drive them from their homes..

then we will have "proles" to quote Orwell.

elimination of all property taxes for one residence and sufficient subsistence acreage (not vacation homes or investment properties) should be the law of the land.

Otherwise we will be driven from our homes.

Elaine Supkis

Oh, yes, true, mock turtle. I pay pretty high property taxes on this here mountain of mine. And I used to make money off my bees, sheep and oxen but all are gone! Except for personal use. Due to free trade.

Prices collapsed. And the cost of winter corn feeding has shot up.


That self-cleaning toilet is interesting - it's probably expensive to begin with, but cheaper over time than the cleaning people walking away with this-'n'-that.


This is not a loonie it is a twenty dollar bill

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Due to the availability of easy money and a concerted effort of the G7 bankers to keep interest rates well below the rate of inflation.

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What a nice photos and paintings that I have never see before!Just a small requirement,can you post a tutorial on the HDRI?I am really have difficulty of getting any real one with this.Thank you very much in advance.

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