‘Tis the Season to be…..WARY….

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Well, I’ve been dormant for a long time, but itching to get back to the blog the whole time…..

Instead of researching politics, I’ve been immersed in stocks, the economy, and Aerogardens (I hope to  post something on these amazing little machines sometime!).

Lettuce/arugula in one of my Aerogardens

Tussling with asset managers who really don’t get it has been an increasing occupation…researching links to European banks, etc.  It is very time-consuming, to say the least!

Yesterday, I was on the monthly conference call with the guy who manages an “Alternative” portfolio….metals, currencies, foreign ETFs, etc.  He gets the overall mechanics of it all, some of the big picture, but not the underlying monster.  I keep raising questions about things and never REALLY get the answers.

Well, I am no longer alone.  A woman named Elizabeth asked a question: “How do you plan to keep our money safe?” and referred to ME….that she had been reading what I had been reading! Eureka!

The guy is good guy and has no problem adjusting our accounts. So I just finished off an email to him instructing him on a couple of things…and then added a “reading list” for him to peruse. Whether he reads any of it is a big question, but I sent it along anyway. I tried to tap into something we have in common…he got his graduate business training at Cornell and I am now heading into my 40th Reunion year since my undergrad graduation !  (Which is pretty crazy, that I’ve come that far and survived! ) I told him that as Cornellians, we could put our brains together and survive….

Anyway, I thought I’d just plug in the part of the email with my reading list….this is a VERY short list….it is probably overwhelming for him but it barely touches the surface of what I read.

So, here goes, straight from my email to him…to you. It’s not pretty, the formatting is a mess…. but it gets to the basics! Hope you find this to be a helpful start…although, if/when systemic collapse comes who knows what preparations will really bail us out as individuals.


Now, I will bore you with a list of things I read regularly…
1)   http://www.zerohedge.com/    ZH is the go to place for the real nitty-gritty on what’s going on, no sugar-coating.  It’s really a must; updates during the day.
2)  http://www.jsmineset.com/      Jim Sinclair’s father worked alongside Jesse Livermore and Sinclair himself took care of unwinding the Hunt Bros. silver stake way back when.
Sinclair, otherwise called “Santa” around the blogosphere,  is very respected on the economic situation, metals, etc.   You will see a link to the left for Guild …their free newsletter may interest you.  Trader Dan Norcini started here and links to his own blog are now offered.  Direct link to Trader Dan….who is very cogent on gold,general market etc. analysis http://traderdannorcini.blogspot.com/

3) http://harveyorgan.blogspot.com/  This Canadian watches every ounce vs. paper at the Comex and the ETFs…things are not good there!  Also cites important news.

4) http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/   Great analysis of what the Cartel (mostly JP Morgan and the infamous Blythe Masters) is doing plus other stuff. all free. Reviews the COTS.  He’s been pretty spot on about price activity….

5) http://www.chrismartenson.com/   This started it all for me.  Former CEO, scientist started pulling things together and created the CRASH COURSE. It’s free pulls together various
threads for a big picture look at how our world is shaping up…Plus, very spot on economic analysis.  Site also is a great resource for “sustainable” living.   This site is a “safe haven” of
sorts….supportive and practical..  STRONGLY RECOMMENDED as a basis for what has many of us VERY WORRIED….and reading Zero Hedge every day….I have acted on many    recommendations…including yanking nearly all our money out of the banks like Wells Fargo….and I’m still researching TD Bank….nearly everything this man talked about a couple of years ago is unfolding now.    Pulled this up on TD Bank ….GreatPonzi.com – Canadian Credit Health Update 2011-09-19
Especially timely…current post…..http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/worse-2008/67136

6) Last but not least….the big picture of the bigger cycles/forces at work….Ray Merriman, whom I know personally to some degree.  His Weekly Preview is free.
Cut out the terminology you don’t understand, you will still get the idea….http://www.mmacycles.com/weekly-preview/mma-comments-for-the-week/
My 2012 book just came last night, so I’ll be deep into it.  These cycles are playing out right on schedule….

And, of course…I listen to Marc Faber, Jim Rogers...http://marcfaberchannel.blogspot.com/     http://jimrogers-investments.blogspot.com/
These try to keep up with major comments….

Also,  at KWN, there are a boatload of thinking people of some repute who are really watching the gold, currency etc markets and know we’re in big trouble
The KWN Weekly Metals Wrap available on Saturday AM features Bill Haynes from CMI Gold and Trader Dan.   KWN is where all the key people are interviewed–Jim Rickards, James Turk,
Martin Armstrong, Sinclair, etc. etc.   The link is the Gold/currency section, but there are sections on other areas of the market as well.

I was so happy to hear another person (Elizabeth) pipe up on the call….I don’t feel so alone.  The stuff coming out of the mainstream is really not getting to the nitty-gritty. We are nervous
for good reason…I’ve been following this for several years now.  I actually keep wondering if I should just yank my money out. … Marc Faber has talked about being diversified because we don’t know what will happen….25%+ metals; 25% real estate (esp. foreign); 25% cash; 25% equities, although he is getting more negative on them… His ideas on diversification are repeated here from yesterday 12/21   http://www.zerohedge.com/news/mark-faber-i-am-convinced-whole-derivatives-market-will-cease-exist-and-will-go-zero

The overriding sense I have that we’re on the edge…and we’re not going to be an island of safety ultimately.


So, that’s what I fired at the poor guy…

Hey, sorry to be a downer during the holiday season…but, a holiday is just one day…it’s gone and then we’re back to reality.

I’ll toss in one positive…the days are now going to get longer and Spring WILL come…until then, I bask in the grow lights of Aerogardens!

Thoughts as I Watched the Revolution in Egypt…(Update 1X)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE  4/27/11

Well, Egypt  isn’t turning out so great…It’s all so predictable, isn’t it?  Any whiff of hope anywhere gets squelched real fast. 
And we’re now involved with Libya.  Meanwhile, the powers in Syria seem to be emulating the Libyan approach to dealing with protesters.

It’s like watching one disheartening train wreck after another.

Some personal train wrecks have taken me away from this blog…but, a rest still is in order.  It takes a lot of energy to fight the world these days!

One real positive is that our photovoltaic solar system is now up and running and yes, the meter is running backwards!  Have lots of pics and details which I hope to post one of these days!


Nothing profound here to say, only an urge to write about my feelings as I’ve been sitting glued to Al Jazeera for days on end.

Today, I was clapping and cheering for the people of Egypt. A rush of feelings and memories flashed by.  I remembered 2000 as our elections were completely corrupted. (Some satisfaction as George W.  Bush is unable to go to Switzerland…war criminal that he is!)  I was thinking of the lies that led to the Iraq War and thought about the report I heard this morning on NPR about how there are fears that something may coalesce as the heat arrives and the electricity remains on only 2 hours a day. Protests percolating already around Iraq, and I say, go for it!

I’m finding myself coming back over and over again to about how the U.S. is perhaps going to get its ass kicked and deservedly so. They utter hypocrisy of the “democracy talk” as we sit here supporting repressive regimes all over the world.  We are a fraud when it comes to democracy.

My mind dwells on the right wing religious freaks and the Republican Party that has become their home who continue to attempt to screw women out of their rights and their independence as human beings, who basically are out to screw anything that helps people. And I’m supposed to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood while I live in a country that has it’s own brand of the Taliban roaming the halls of Congress??

I think of John Lennon. A site has “Revolution” up but I’m thinking of “Power to the People.” Is that the right title? I don’t know, but I can hear John singing it. Who really killed John Lennon? I’ve seen enough and read enough to figure it wasn’t just another “lone gunman.”

I’m sitting here, having celebrated my 60th birthday a few days ago….reflecting on the marches for women’s rights, the power of the movement, and how every time a fucking Republican comes along…with fake Democrats who assist…how every time we go BACKWARDS! And how backwards we have gone!  I think about the type of  “leadership” we have in this country…there are no real thinkers leading these days.  Between the servants of the bankers,  the increasingly shrill Republicans and passive Democrats…Jeebus, am I supposed to look at the Palins, Gingriches, Romneys and that Jeb Bush lurking in the corner and feel optimistic??  When I see how skillfully a Chris Christie can take a state like New Jersey and divide people into camps and blame all ills on teachers  and the people who do the day to day work to keep the place running?….disgusting!  Lying thuggery personified…and just the tip of the iceberg, I’m afraid. And Obama pontificating on democracy after Mubarak’s demise…what a load of crap.

I think about how we were supposed to get some “community radio” but all I hear is right wing shit talk radio all over the dial. People getting very little true news follow these propagandists for the right as they go about their highly-paid work to divide and conquer and sow the seed of intolerance and hate.

Yeah, I’m watching Egypt and cheering them on….but knowing full well that the arm of the IMF will probably soon reach in and grab them by the throat. Hell, we fund it and guess what? The IMF is talking about the dollar no longer being the reserve currency for the world. I’m just surprise all this is happening so quickly…Between the IMF and the Fed, Americans do not know how the world is getting screwed and how it’s going to come back to bite them.

Fat and unaware Americans will soon wake up to find that they are being ground down to a pulp.  Your dollars will be worthless soon.

We wrote a lot in the past about the impending disaster that was going to befall lthis nation.  There are many wonderful sites out there trying to wake people up. I read them every day…and spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to save my own financial neck.

Start stocking up on food, go to ChrisMartenson.com to start to try to prepare yourself (in right sidebar links).

And to the Egyptian people…stay strong, stay proud. I’m rooting for you…you’re starting fresh while the U.S. is rotting from the inside.  Note to the women there…get loud and don’t let them steamroller you…

Ireland: Jim Corr Stands Up to the Bankers Who are Controlling the Production of Money and the Fate of Countries (“Message to the People of Ireland”…and Beyond)


We’ve written about currency wars, the demise of the U.S. dollar , Goldman Sachs, etc. over the past year  (see March 2009 for several pieces on China, plans to dump the dollar, etc.).

But this video says it all.  It’s a passionate plea for people to WAKE UP and recognize what is happening in Europe and what is going to befall the U.S.  We have been handed over to the big bankers and are more concerned about watching a lot of reality TV shows and dancing fools, rather than paying attention as our economic security goes down the drain.

The brutal truth is that the the same bunch (IMF, World Bank) that has impoverished many developing countries with their “loans” and harsh demands has its sights on Europe. Iceland was the first to suffer.  Ireland is now losing its sovereignty.  Portugal? SPAIN??  Then what??

And all  meant to pad the pockets of the elite with the hard-earned money of the little people and for them to garner complete control over our lives…. It’s not just about Ireland, it’s about US, too!

Nobody voted for these people…as Corr says, this is about the privatization of money…our money…it is about theft.

He warns about many things….listen, if you have been fearing about “crackdowns.”

Visit Jim Corr’s website for more info on the current sad state of affairs…which goes beyond Irish shores.


OK, Ready to Lose What Little We Had Now?? A Story About CRUMBS…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  Not terribly inspired by politics and in the wake of the election, ready to break every radio in the house so my mother can’t listen to “talk radio” anymore.

Heartbreaking results in New Mexico CD-2. Harry Teague was not my first choice to run for the seat 2 years ago, but he beat Steve Pearce.  Pearce never showed up, voted against the health needs of returning vets from Iraq, and when he did show up, his meetings weren’t exactly town halls…more like a select few.  Teague, to his credit, was back all the time, held many, many meetings with constituents, and even helped get something done for a family that had been neglected for years…an honor that had been overlooked. Meanwhile, there was talk about how Pearce had turned his back on vets who wanted to question him about his record.  I had kept a list of his votes on vet issues and the VoteVets.org literature AGAINST Pearce was a mirror of the info I had compiled. (VoteVets.org is a bipartisan group, by the way.)

Well, in this heavily retired military area along with a HUGE active military presence including White Sands, Pearce won. Which makes you wonder….WTF??

I could understand a little more if a new person were running on the GOP side. But, the same piece of crap who scorned the district for 4 years and the vets who live here???

Meanwhile, at the state level, Nate Cote, whom I first helped get elected 4 years ago, was defeated by a piece of crap named Ricky Little who put out so many lies about Cote that the latter had to have fliers printed up and wrapped around a campaign doorknob hanger in an attempt to save his reputation.  Nate did many wonderful things for the district, including helping out the Animal Shelter, which desperately needed help.  The man was a vet, too…but he got no respect.  Little won…a guy who thinks mammograms shouldn’t be paid for by insurance or some such.

Now, we hear this ridiculous BULLSHIT out of the Republicans whining about how “partisan” Obama  was (while all they did was stonewall everything, even their own Heritage Foundation health plan that grew up into Romney Care). And we have to hear their plans to AGGRESSIVELY derail funding, etc. with long range plans to repeal it all, even the good parts, I imagine, so that we can all buy insurance across state lines (that will do SQUAT), blah blah blah. These people are VICIOUS. And, they are BAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

To top it off, we have Susana Martinezn as governor-elect who wants to repeal the legal use of medical marijuana because there are SOOO many great Big Pharma drugs to ingest (which, according to a nurse I know, aren’t as effective as pot).   And, what the hell, let those mining operations off the hook  by getting rid of the waste pit rules….And if we’re really lucky, Martinez will be a clone of Chris Christie in my home state of New Jersey and destroy the teaching profession in favor of chums running charter schools with my taxpayer money and doing the school voucher thing!  YAY!  AND, let’s not forget, she’s NOT pro-choice, to top things off! Her money came from a big developer in Colorado and that guy Perry in Texas who funded the Swiftboat campaign against John Kerry.  Nice bunch of friends she has.  She has NO legislative experience, so we’ll have to ferret exactly who will be pulling her strings. Lots of money came in from Houston, too, so we can only imagine what happens.

Sort of interesting that she didn’t carry the Hispanic vote…

I went to the doctor today, a wonderful woman whom I’ve gone to for 10 years. She is retiring in June, 2011. A couple of years ago she sold out when her sister, also a physician became ill and ultimately passed away.  She is now an employee of a large group.  She is still in her office, but her own staff is gone and there is a revolving door of personnel. Remember, this is the BEST health care system in the world…My Canadian acquaintance here for the winter snickers.

Today, my doc commented on some of the good things in the health care law and the Republican plans to destroy who knows what.  Then she did something highly unusual. She told me that people were STUPID and that as far as she was concerned, she hoped they felt the effects as things like being able to keep an unemployed 20-something on their parents insurance disappeared, just as they came into effect.  Of course, we’ll have to wait to see what happens to the pre-existing condition hell that has been lifted as well as that requirement that health care businesses have to use 85% of their cash to actually reimburse the people they insure.   In the dentist’s office the other day, I heard Millie tell a patient that she would put his claim through but if he was terminated, he shouldn’t be surprised if the company asked for the money back.  I mean, you have the policy,  you use it,  you’re covered for care, the procedure is over,  then you lose your job and they take the money back?  Heck, that sounds like a total scam, doesn’t it?  Like taking a body out of a grave.  But, that’s what has been going on with breast cancer surgeries, so I guess we’re used to being abused here in the United States and won’t mind if the Republicans gut any good things that may be in the health care law.

I know there are many people who were hell bent on voting ALL incumbents out, no matter who they were or what they had done, even if some of it was good.  I hope they are happy now. The moment I hear any whining from ex-Democrats who voted Republican this year and who suddenly become upset that the Republicans are  in, I will tell you what we all heard back when Obama was elected….I TOLD YOU SO!!  I’m no longer a registered Democrat, but I’m not about to sit back and NOT vote against a creepy Republican at this point…and the reality is,  they are SUPREMELY creepy and vile,  so bad that as much as I detest the present state of the Democratic Party, I just can’t bring myself to let a Republican in without a fight.

I don’t like Obama, never will…have been pissesd as hell with the Democratic Party since the primaries, etc. etc.   Like my doctor, I’m mad that a public option never got a chance.  However, I am NOT a masochist!  If I had a choice between a bastard like Steve Pearce vs. a Harry Teague, I HAD to vote for Teague to try to save myself from Pearce.

My philosophy at this point centers on the word CRUMBS.  Both parties are full of CRUMBS.  But, occasionally, the Democrats will give a FEW crumbs, while we can be damned sure that the Republicans won’t give the little guy ANY crumbs.

So, there you go.

Oh, but wait!  Obama is going to meet with the GOP to work out a bipartisan agenda!!  I can’t wait!  I’m SURE everything will be OK…NOT!


P.S.  It was close but a Library Bond issue passed…Eureka!

“Hope and Change, Change and Despair” as Costa Rica Gets Crossed Off My List of Possible Escape Routes…

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Costa Rican Cloud Forest...Paradise Lost?

I haven’t posted in awhile…Life does get in the way sometimes.  And, quite frankly, I’m pretty turned off by what’s going on in this country.  Hope and Change got us Republican Lite;  now, we’re probably going to Change and Despair as the Republicans run on some sort of platform to “fix” what they had a large part of creating in terms of the bleak economic outlook for this country.

So, what’s person to do?  During the Bush years I longed to get the hell out of here.  During the Obama years, with debt crises all over the globe, there are few places that are worth looking at that would truly be considered “an escape.”  In the latest surge of desire to get out of this political hellhole of a country corporate  state (with way too many religious nutcases running around in D.C. and the military), I took the next step–I subscribed to International Living magazine after getting their dreamy free e-mail newsletter for years.

The folks over at IL actually discover places that are ripe for development that can lure Americans to the good life overseas.  One of the hottest places has been Costa Rica, which is now going  to be developed in the northern part of the country, complete with highway and airport, to facilitate the influx of ex-pats.

Costa Rica’s selling points are many:  lots of ecological areas preserved for eco-tourism; varied terrain, from beaches to mountains, temperate climate to tropical jungles; excellent healthcare (one facility has a direct link to Johns Hopkins back in the States), a commitment to renewable energy and a pacifist society which hasn’t used its resources to maintain a standing army.

Perfect!!!  HOWEVER, it seems the Mexican drug cartels are on the march in Costa Rica and….guess who may be offering “help”??

I haven’t gotten a mailing for ages from Truthout.org, but one popped in my box today with the story:

What the Heck Are US Marines Doing in Costa Rica? Obama’s Tilt to the Right on Latin America

Friday 06 August 2010

by: Nikolas Kozloff, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis


Perhaps, Costa Rica’s drug problem could be addressed through a combination of poverty alleviation and coastal interdiction. Indeed, for some time, Costa Rica has collaborated with the US Coast Guard. However, under the new arrangement, other branches of the American armed services are to be deployed. The US force which is called for is massive: a virtual flotilla of 46 warships accompanied by 7,000 Marines and five planes. Take a look at this footage of the USS Makin, and consider whether this huge aircraft carrier is best suited to combat drug trafficking or perhaps some other end.

According to the Navy’s own web site, the fearsome vessel “will also have secondary missions of sea control and power projection by helicopter and fixed-wing vertical short take-off and landing aircraft.” The euphemism “power projection” caught my attention in this instance. To be sure, the cartels are a menace, but there is also an increasingly inflammatory geopolitical context to consider. In light of military developments in Costa Rica, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder whether the US might have some kind of ulterior agenda.

The author has suspicions about the Obama Adminstration’s policies in Central America that echo what has happened in Latin America:

Moves to bring the US Navy to Costa Rica have sparked widespread suspicions that Washington is looking for a justification to remilitarize the Central American region.

“Power projection.” Doesn’t sound good to me…

Things are shifting down south…

For a brief moment, it might have looked like South America’s Pink Tide would sweep through Central America, propelling significant social and political change in the process. But with the South American left now facing its own significant challenges and internal problems, it’s unclear whether Central America’s social movements will get much of a long-term boost. Meanwhile, whatever Oliver Stone might claim about Obama’s true intentions, the US continues to play its same age-old game in Central America.

Sensing weakness, the pro-business right wing has made significant electoral inroads in Panama, Honduras and, now, Costa Rica. Allied to the military old guard and the US, this resurgent right poses a thorny problem for the left. You don’t need to tell that to Central American social movements, who recently met in the Nicaraguan capitol of Managua. There, activists denounced the “silent invasion” of US troops in Costa Rica, declared their opposition to worker repression in Panama and criticized the Lobo government in Honduras for its clampdown on the opposition.

So the question becomes, when does the “silent invasion” become something else? And Panama…well, that’s another haven that I seem to have to cross off my list…

Hey, I’m not a pot smoker, but if California does legalize marijuana use, I may have to move there and become one…it may be the only feasible way to escape!

Hope and Change; Change and Despair….seems to be all over the place these days…


Related Info:

U.S. Department of State section on Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica (Blog by an ex-pat)

Costa Rica Photos from TrekEarth (gallery)

It’s Sun Oven Season: Solar Cooking Revs Up!

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

(Cross-posted from Open Range Ramblings)

At the Jersey Shore, Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kick-off of the summer season.  Here in southern New Mexico,  we ease into summer early, usually during May. And that’s when my solar cooking kicks into high gear!

The great thing about living in the Southwest is that I can use my Sun Oven all year long. In more northern climates the winter gray will curtail its use.  But, temperatures won’t stop you–so on a clear, sunny winter day, you can cook!

Here during the summer, when the sun shines down from high in the sky and the days are longer, I can use it to cook several meals in one day.  And, it costs nothing and doesn’t heat up the kitchen and make the A/C run like crazy.

I’ve had my Sun Oven for about a year and it’s fantastic. I bought it for “self-sufficiency.” This simple but well-engineered oven uses no electricity or gas and can cook, dehydrate, and pasteurize water.  Just the thing to have around if things get dicey if and when the dollar collapses under the weight of our national debt.

In the meantime, I’m just enjoying it for its own sake.  I have to say that this thing makes the BEST sweet potatoes (yams) that I have ever tasted! No need to candy them with extra sugar–they candy themselves.  So much better than baking in a regular oven, microwave or boiling them!!   In fact, all foods taste wonderful.  Seriously, for this reason alone the Sun Oven is worth having!

Side view of the oven

I bought my oven after attending a talk at our co-op given by the president of the company that makes them.  They are carefully designed and are so well insulated (with non-toxic materials) that they are able to keep food warm after cooking is completed, something most solar ovens can’t do.  The company has worked with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and governments to fulfill their mission:

Our Mission

SUN OVENS International, Inc. is striving to develop and implement comprehensive solar cooking programs that will radically decrease the developing world’s dependence on fuel wood and dung as the primary cooking fuels while benefiting the environment, raising the standard of living and improving the health of the poor worldwide.

From ice fishermen in Minnesota baking their catch on a frozen lake to desert dwellers in Kuwait baking lamb,
SUN OVENS® are helping people everywhere!

“Everywhere” includes the following countries (click on the the links to find out the details about these efforts):

You can get all the details on how the ovens are built and operate at the Sun Ovens International site.

Here are some more pics of the oven:

Reflectors fully opened...

The oven is easy to carry when closed up...

Since the oven weighs only 21 pounds, it’s easy to carry and set up anywhere!  And yet, it’s big enough to roast whole chickens and a decent- sized turkey! There are loads of recipes here at the Sun Oven International site…but it’s easy to create your own and adjust them to cooking solar.

Aside from cooking the best yams ever, I like using my oven to make casseroles. I put some elbow macaroni in the bottom of a blue Pyrex baking dish that I’ve sprayed with cooking spray, add vegetables, and pour over diced tomatoes or broth.  After the oven is preheated (usually to about 350 degrees or even higher on extreme sun days), I pop the dish into the oven and walk away, except to check on where the sun is every half hour or so and move the oven slightly to catch the maximum light.   If I start a dish for dinner at about 3:30 p.m. I’m ready to eat by 5 or so and if I eat later, the food is still warm.  If I want to cook during the noon hour, cooking time goes way down…often to cooking times similar to those of a conventional oven.  You can even put your food in the oven before going to work and come home to a fully cooked meal!

Solar-cooked foods are extremely healthy, too, because you can cook without any oil.  Natural juices are retained and food is delectable!

The oven comes with a dark enamel pot and lid which  maximizes heat retention. But, if I want to check on the progress of a dish, a dark glass dish (red or blue) will do fine (especially for casseroles–see above).    It’s easy to tell when a dish is starting to cook…food smells begin to waft out of the oven and once condensation starts to form on the glass, you know that some serious cooking is underway!  If the dogs are out, they start to sniff the good smells, too!

Here’ are some pics of a dish I made the other day for dinner:  eggplant with onions, garlic and tomatoes over pasta.

Ready to start cooking...

Within 45 minutes, cooking is progressing nicely.

Serious cooking underway, lovely smells wafting...

Even though clouds cut into the sunlight later in the afternoon, the temperature in the oven stayed high enough to complete the cooking.

In addition to baking potatoes and making casseroles, I’ve baked bread and made pasta (warm up uncooked pasta in one container while water is being boiled, then dump the pasta into the hot water and continue cooking…).  It gives me a real kick to cook food “off the grid.”

As I write this, I have some yams cooking in the dark enamel pot. Here’s a pic of them nestled in, before being covered. I wash them and no extra water needs to be added. I use 4 binder clips to make the cover fit tightly, which helps them cook even faster. I don’t even prick them with a fork. Once done, they will be incredibly melt-in-your-mouth soft and sweet.  I have them at breakfast every day. Yummy! And the dogs LOVE them…

Yams ready to go...

I’m seriously thinking of getting another oven so I can cook and either bake, boil or dehydrate at the same time.  That way, if things get crazy and there’s a disruption of services, I’ll be able to put a meal on the table without a problem!


More info on worldwide use of solar ovens, testing various ovens, etc. at The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air site…

China Using “Soft Power” to Lock Up Venezuela’s Oil and Assure Its Energy Security

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Add this to our growing list of “soft power” moves by China.  This time, China is getting even closer to Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, specifically, its oil reserves.  Recall that only a couple of years ago, Chavez nationalized the oil industry, including projects involving American and other foreign energy companies.  (And note that Brazil’s largest oil company has also signed a deal to supply China…)

From Bloomberg.com:

China Lends Venezuela $20 Billion, Secures Oil Supply (Update3)

April 19 (Bloomberg) — China, the world’s second-biggest consumer of oil, will lend Venezuela $20 billion and form a venture to pump crude from the Orinoco Belt, President Hugo Chavez said, vowing to meet the Asian country’s energy needs.

The financing from China is separate from a $12 billion bilateral investment fund, Chavez said, and will pay for Venezuelan development projects. Venezuela currently sends China 460,000 barrels a day of crude oil. The oil is used to repay the Asian country for $8 billion Venezuela used from the fund for infrastructure projects.

“We agreed on a huge, long-term financing plan,” Chavez said on state television on April 17. “This is a larger scope, a super heavy fund. China needs energy security and we’re here to provide them with all the oil they need.”


Chavez said that the $20 billion loan is the largest that China Development Bank Corp. has extended to a country, and will go toward funding housing, railroad, energy and agriculture projects. China built and launched Venezuela’s first satellite into orbit in 2008.

China last year agreed to loan Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, as the company is known, $10 billion, and signed a long-term supply contract with the company.

“The relations between China and Venezuela extend from below the surface of the earth to outer space,” Chavez said. “We’re producing oil together and our satellite is out there in space. This is a mutating world in transition.”

And, isn’t that satellite deal interesting?

“…a mutating world in transition…”

Chavez hit that one on the head.


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