Duck! and Gather

A Most Auspicious Day

Posted on: January 20, 2009

Count my wife and I among the vast bulk of human-kind swept away and moved by the proceedings today in Washington, D.C. My wife, amidst her joy, noted that Michelle Obama’s wardrobe could have used some funky-ness.

I responded that Michelle, and Obama himself, had achieved the effect they were looking for. They were looking to create the impression that the transition from George and Laura to Barack and Michelle is a smooth, natural one. Nothing to alarm the villagers. Because if everyone really knew just how radical the transition is, chaos might ensue.

But today, in his 2,399 word inauguration speech, Obama finally spoke without fetters. He is not running for anything anymore. And he has no one to whom to answer anymore. From this day forward, he is speaking only to history. So his words today were truly meaningful.

In my last post, I said that these words equated to: “Duck! and Gather”. This post will dig deeper into those words to cull meaning. Here goes:


Obama: “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.”

Meaning: Yep.

Sayonara Military Industrial Complex

Obama: “[E]ach day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. … But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. … We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

Meaning: Res ipsa loquitur.


Obama:”We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. … Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.”

Meaning: For years, I have told anyone who cared to listen that we are living in a time of historically low taxes. Capital gains at 15%? Highest marginal income tax rate in the mid-30s? Before 1984, these low numbers hadn’t been seen since the 1920s. And these low numbers won’t survive Obama’s first term. You can bank on it.

Goodbye Gitmo

Obama: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

Meaning: How many hours before the Executive Order goes out closing Gitmo?

UPDATE: Evidently, less than 24.

I Can Finally Switch the Canadian Flag on My Traveling Backpack to an American One

Obama: “Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. … For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Meaning: I am a citizen of America. But before that, I was a citizen of Canada and of Europe. I must say that the above passage holds resonant meaning for me, a boy who came of age in the time of Reagan.

Evidently, I was not the only one to feel this way.

Silicon Valley Will be a Beacon

Obama: “In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.”

Meaning: Last April, for about three weeks, my wife and I planned to sell our Silicon Valley home, and move to the Greek Island on which we have some land. But after those three weeks, we changed our minds. My reason for changing my mind was and is that I love America, love that we collapse, and love that we reinvent and renew oursleves.

I have long predicted that America will collapse in our lifetime. This is what “Duck!” is about. But as I said, we will rebuild, and prosperity will visit us again.

But even though America will collapse, not all places in America will collapse to the same degree. One place that I believe will see the least amount of chaos is Silicon Valley. When Obama spoke of “the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things”, he was describing what makes Silicon Valley singular in comparison with every other place in America. I don’t mean to say that other places don’t also have these attributes. I’m saying that these attributes describe Silicon Valley in totality. Nothing can survive in this place without those attributes.

Case in point: the leading VC in the Valley — Kleiner Perkins — has been making the biggest bets on the Green Economy. I wouldn’t be surprised if some K&P people helped on this inauguration speech.


Obama: “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. … [F]or those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

Meaning: Over the past month or so, I had been nervous that Obama, like the rest of the entire U.S. government, was going to approach the Muslim world through the filter of AIPAC. Over the past year, he had been showing many signs that this would be his course.

But I read the above words today as showing the opposite. I believe these words show the true colors of Obama, the colors that defined him before he started his run for the White House, and that still define him.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the second sentence quoted above, in its context, is explicitly directed toward Al Qaeda and its ilk.

However, put the above two sentences together, and we see the first clear sign that Obama will not turn a blind eye to the Israeli strategy of “slaughtering” hundreds of Palestinian women and children “innocents” as a way to “advance their aims” of “inducing terror” in Hamas (the idea being to deter Hamas from firing its rockets into Israel).

Gather, Baby, Gather

Obama: “We honor them [our soldiers] not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate. …

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”

Meaning: After we’re done Ducking, please Gather.

27 Responses to "A Most Auspicious Day"

Very well written. ITA.

I laughed at the part about changing the Canadian flag on your backpack.

Thanks. 🙂

Peter – I admire you a lot, and this is a good analysis, but I see an awful lot of projecting – I don’t come to the same conclusions you do from the words I read.

My wife got a mazazine today that had a big star on it with the headline (paraphrased) Obama is the greatest president we have ever had, and wy you will be better off than you are now, in a year from now. This sums up the Obama popularity at this point in time, IMO.

By the end of 2009, I expect millions more to be unemployed, the stock market to be down another 30 to 40 percent from todays near-low and most of the 50 US states to be essentially bankrupt. You and your wife have decided to stay in Silly Valley – I worked there for about 10 years. I do not have your confidence that all will be well. Go look at Dice, my career as a software engineer is essentially over – 50 percent of the jobs have disappeared in the last 4 months. And those that are available are being subbed out to H1B’s, by Indian employment agencies paying half of what they were a year ago. The state of California is bankrupt – $40 Billion in the hole and sinking faster every minute. Did you know that if they laid off EVERY state govt employee, this would only cover HALF of the projected shortfall just for this year. THAT is an unsolvable problem.

California like Mexico is a going to be a bellweather.

You remind me a lot of my brother, who is an extremely smart guy who has put a LOT of hope into the Obama administration – you should know from your 4T exactly what these issues lead to – hint: 1780,1860,1940, 2020.

Even if Obama was the greatest President in US history, I think it would still be an impossible task to turn things around. It’s almost biblical in many ways – I remember back in 2003 writing a letter to the editor up in Alaska quoting an Newsweek poll showing 80 percent of Americans thought invading Iraq was a ‘good idea’ (98 percent of white male republicans).

Karma is a real bitch and this is going to be the mother of all paybacks I think.


Another wonderful comment Matt. Being an Enneagram Eight, I love that we’re now on the opposite sides of some of the issues.

First, I agree with the sentiments behind your fat middle paragraph beginning “By the end of 2009, I expect …”. Basically, I agree that America has barely even scratched the surface of the “crisis” to which Obama referred multiple times in his speech.

My only hope for Obama — who I see as a self-styled Messiah figure (I had a whole blog series on that notion) — is what I have already seen from him. In personality style, he’s a uniter, not a divider. He’s a smooth talker, with a calming voice.

In other times, a guy like that might come across as a charlatan. But in these current times, and in the MUCH worse times to come, Americans — who I see as profoundly irresponsible children — will need the calming voice of the “adult” Obama to keep the random violence to a minimum.

I don’t actually believe in any specific policies or tactics of Obama. I agree with the broad brush strokes of his agenda. But, for example, his team’s idea of spending its way out of an over-spending problem seems a tad silly.

As for Silicon Valley, my beliefs about its prospects have nothing to do with any particular technology or industry. Basically, my optimism about this place is that it, among all other places I have lived, comes closet to a pure meritocracy. A corollary to this is that old dynamics like culture and cults of personality have very little influence over this Valley. Sure there are many counter-examples.

But this Valley is still the best place in the world for a 20-year-old, with no connections and little money, to start something new, that will attract investors, and eventually see the light of day. That single attribute of this Valley distinguishes this place from every other place I have lived, including other cities in the U.S., Europe, and Canada.

Wow, that’s pretty depressing what Matt writes. I guess I have 11 years before I get my organic self-sufficient garden growing again. At least we’re all set with a root cellar and wood burning fireplace!

Of course Obama, on his first day of being president isn’t going to say: “listen guys, it’s even going to get much, much worse before it gets better.” That’s just bad politics and too demoralizing for the first day on the job. 🙂

Okay here’s my question. If the shit indeed hits the fan – like the fourth turning – (I don’t know, but I’m guessing 1780 was the American revolution, 1860 was the civil war, 1920 was the Great depression, and 2020 is ????? – being a Canuck I don’t know American history that well) – I have a practical question. I know I can survive and provide for my family with food, health, heat, shelter in terms of self-sustaining. But I’m wondering, if you guys truly believe in this 4T thing, where are you going to put your money? Like in government insured bonds? Under your mattress? Definately not in the stock market I’m assuming. What’s the smartest thing to do? Or do you think even paper money, or bonds will be worthless?

I can’t believe I’m thinking like this after such an uplifting and optimistic inaugural speech.

Right now, our family has all of our liquid saving invested in a gold pool account. Those funds will stay there until the panic hits when everybody suddenly realizes that we’re fucked, and so the price doubles in a very short time. At that time, we’d sell. By then, we’d better have plan about where to move the funds when we do sell. Hopefully, by then, things will be clearer. Maybe the Dow will have dropped to around 2000 by then. In that case, I’d put the money back in the stock market.

Okay, I’m a very simple person, leading a very simple life.

You actually think that when the shit hits the fan and everything collapses (which I’m starting to believe may be the case looking back at history), you think after the crash, that stocks will rise again?

See that’s where I think I’m either pessimistic or unknowledgable. I don’t think the stock market will climb again. (Even though everyone I talk to says that it will – even if it takes decades). The reason being, is that I think the economy as we know it now will be forever changed. I don’t know how it will change. I just think it will be unlike anything we’ve seen yet.

Something to do with people vs corporation thing. Something to do with investing in ourselves and our communities, collapse of multi-billion dollar corporations.

To me, the phrase “People vs. Corporations” is just shorthand for the more accurate, but cumbersome phrase People vs. Multinational-Corporations-So-Old-That-The-Founders-Have-Long-Since-Died-Making-Them-Dangerous-Entities-That-Place-Money-Over-The-Interests-Of-Humanity.

Corporations, per se, aren’t dangerous. It’s old corporations that out-live their founders, stockpiling hordes of money and political influence.

The stock market will always be there for trading shares in corporations, especially the good, young healthy ones.

I’ve traded gold in the past. In 1999, for a few mintues, I was up a million dollars in gold futures 🙂 Then I lost it all. I oneupped that this year when I blew a chance at $20 million in oil LOL – C’est la vie.

If you are in gold, you might want to consider CEF – I was in them off and on for several years and I don’t think anyone dealing in gold and silver is as reliable and consistent as they are. Only thing better than CEF is physical possession which if you approach a SHTF situation is the only way to go. I never found a gold pool I could trust. My 2 cents.

Peter: I am an Enneagram 5. I would be curious to know if you have ever taken the Myers-Briggs test ? I’m an INTP.

Kathy : no one has a crystal ball regarding the future. However, a person who is reasonable (able to reason) has to look at the way things are going and extrapolate that the future (next 10 to 15 years) is probably not very rosy.

To protect yourself financially, if you are a simple person, you need to get out of the markets completely. As a trader, you learn that emotions play a huge role in most investors decison-making process. For example, a large percentage of the people who have lost 40, 50 ,60 percent of their retirement savings in the last year or so are coping by simply refusing to open the financial statements they are being sent. They have been told all their life that buy & hold is the only strategy that works.

Unfortunately for them, we are at the end of the 80 year long cycle (the saeculum) that most likely defines the beginning of another Great Depression. If you were in the stock market in 1929 and you used buy & hold as your strategy, you got back to even 25 years later, in 1954.

Financially, for the average person, I would split my assets into three or four pieces: cash in the bank, cash buried in my back yard, gold & silver buried in my back yard, and CEF.

What Peter & I are talking about is that, as a trader, if you were to pull you money out now (or even better, last summer) and wait for the real bottom (most likely in the summer of 2011) you could then probably do quite well by buying low and selling before things get too crazy.

I use 2011 as a guide because I think this GD is going to rhyme with the last one – and it took 3+ years from the start to the first real stock market bottom. As an INTP, I am an Architect – I can build and understand systems very well, but my personal weakness is that I tend to spend too much time analyzing and not so good at actually pulling the trigger and getting all the detail type things done. If you can do nothing else, I recommend trying to keep as best relations as you can with your friends, families, neighbors – this is one of the things the 4T book strongly recommends. I would also say that it would be EXTREMELY important not to have all your eggs (especially financially) in any one basket. As a software guy I learned long ago to always have backups of backups of backups – and I know many, many times when that over-cautiousness saved my ass. Look at your life and try to see where things could go wrong and try to find as many alternatives as you can.

For me, I am like Peter, in that I am a pretty old guy HAHAHA (just kidding there bud 🙂 at 49, I have a 4 year old son and soon to be 3 year old daughter. My priority One is getting them thru the next 15 years in one piece. My strategy as a lifelong nomad is to always be flexible – we rent, we have a truck, I don’t have a real job just as a trader or if need be, consultant, we have very ow overhead – $2500 a month pays all our bills and half of that is extravagant (for us rent). For many years my father and his wife lived just fine on $700 a month. Voluntary simplicity/poverty is better than forced destitution. Lots of economic suicides already :

(warning not a happy read)

Again, no one has a crystal ball – I (and Peter could be completely full of crap 🙂 – so each person has to use their own reason and make the best choices they can – reality with be the final arbiter. Be flexible, be liquid, be skeptical about what your leaders tell you.


I should add that we keep about a years supply of cash in our checking account (not money market) in the local credit union and a bunch of cash in my closet.

As a trader, I follow Nassim Taleb’s advice – you take a small amount of your money (10 percent or so) and place huge, high risk bets and you take the rest and put it the safest place you can think of. In my case it is cash in my trading account. If need be I can automatically transfer it out with a few clicks of a mouse.

This is what I am doing now. I had a big investment in CEF for a while, but took my 100 percent profits and got out a year or two ago. For now (now being the next few years) I plan on trading the markets down to near where I think the bottom will be. As a trader, I can make as much or more money betting on the way down as other people do on the way up.

One thing I have learned after decades of watching is that the system (political, financial, etc.) has an ENORMOUS amount of inertia – even something like the current stock market collapse is like trying to turn a battleship using a butter knife. It takes a very long time for things to fall apart.

I would eventually like to buy a house – but as an example, the rental I am living in now is falling in value by $5000 per month right now. The bottom in real estate will most likely be near after the bottom in the markets. One good thing is I grew up relatively poor in northern MN and Ontario, so I know how to do a lot of the wood burning, fix your own car type stuff.

But no man is an island, and I have to agree with Kathy that I think at some point this is going to diverge from the last GD and not in a good way. At that point I hope have enough money, enough preps, and a decent place to hunker down for the storm. All I am trying to do now is build up my finances to allow that move to more self-sufficiency to become possible.

IMO, most of the prepper types I know are going to be felled by financial problems long before the SHTF.


Thanks so much Matt!!!

That was so informative. Being someone who has no clue whatsoever about high level financing, I understood about half of what you wrote.

One thing that I was thinking, was if I did start saving cash at home on a monthly basis (in a fire proof box), my question is – why not just put it in the bank? I mean, here in Canada (with the banks intimately tied with the government), if the banks folded, that means the government would be caput, and if that happened, then cash I would think, would be worthless. What do you think? Wasn’t cash worthless in the Great Depression?

So I got to thinking about your suggestion, about keeping gold around your home buried – like the actual stuff, but I didn’t understand that you meant by: “you approach a SHTF situation is the only way to go”.

It’s so heartbreaking to hear of people who have financially lost because of the market collapse, especially the elderly.

We didn’t have much in the market (thank God) – $52K in mutual funds. We lost 25% as of today. But what you said about 2011 I totally think is correct (just an intuitive feeling). I think the market may go up again before that though (what do you think?) – go up just a titch, say maybe a 15% loss instead of 25% for us. At that time, we’ll transfer the money into government secured bonds. Other than that, we have no money in the stock market.

We have been really lucky since we only started saving for retirement in the past 3 years. Before that, we concentrated on having no personal debt, and no business debt (my husband and I are a 2 person corporation), and having our house paid off. Had we been saving like most people do for retirement – in their 30s – we would have experienced huge losses and would be carrying a debit load at present. We started saving in our late 40s after all our debts were taken care of.

So, I guess Peter’s whole Duck and Gather thing has been one of the factors that led my husband and I to go: okay, if the shit hits the fan, can we survive? can we support our children (who are 15 and 23 – the latter being abroad at present)? and how can we do this?

So we figured, if everything collapsed, could we depend on ourselves? Yes we figured out. Financially, all we would need to live on is money for land tax ($800/year) and money for hydro ($2500/year, unless we cut wood on our property to heat our home). Food we could grow on our property if it came to that. And even now, we stock pile cans of salmon and bags of oats, rice, etc. We basically do this because it’s a more economical way of eating at present (to buy food in large bulk amounts), but if the shit hits the fan, we’ll be fine for food (and share it with our neighbours) for many years to come. If we needed to barter, I could see patients in my home and trade for basic needs.

Yup. We’re quite simple people.

We all have mountain bikes. So if we have to travel around town, we’re good to go if oil becomes obsolete.

The 10% in high risk bets sounds like a good idea, but we have never been gamblers, my husband and I, and we’ve always played it safe. Maybe that’s why we won’t ever become millionaires. 🙂 But we’re still looking for ways to play it safe and to achieve that. 🙂

Bummer about the potential 20 million. 😦

Good luck with your work and your family.

By the way, who did you vote for in November?

And last question. When the bottom drops, and the markets are at an all time low, what companies/industries/products do you think would be good to investment in at that time? environmental green stuff? green cars? what do you think?

Wow. I read the last 3 comments and realize this blog is becoming way more important (at least in the comments) than the intellectual masturbation of a person with not enough colleagues with whom to chat. Now we’re getting down to brass tacks.

I agree with Matt that I want my safest moola in a Canadian institution. That’ why I picked — headquartered in Montreal. I actually called them up before investing to confirm that they are based out of Montreal, not New York.

Interestingly, throughout the collapse of this last year or so, there has been no change in moving money out of my gold pool account with Kitco. But huge changes with my Citibank account in moving money in. Transactions that used to take 24 hours to move money into my Citibank account can now take up to four days. Wobbly bank.

Matt, on Myers Briggs, I’m some flavor of “E”. But, um, I have a researched view that the personality theories of Myers-Briggs (which derived from Jung), Freud, Adler, and Maslow are the theories for 5s, 7s, 8s, and 6s, respectively. This is because being Jung, Freud, Adler, and Maslow were a 5, 7, 8, and 6. In other words, the theories that each of them came up with are the just worldview of their own personality.

In other words, Matt, I’m not surprised that:
(a) you think you’re a 5
(b) you’ve enjoyed this blog from time to time (I’m an 8 who was raised by a frustrated intellectual 5 dad) — I suspect the vast majority of people who have returned to this bog are 5s
(c) you find Myers-Briggs interesting, and you concluded you are an “INT”- something.

Sorry if that sounded annoying. But you really demonstrate that you get the Enneagram when you write: “my personal weakness is that I tend to spend too much time analyzing and not so good at actually pulling the trigger”. Bingo! That’s the 5.

Here’s the true indicator that I am an 8. Here I am, mister duck and gather himself, preaching about the coming doom to the masses. The funny thing is, I read the comments of Matt and Kathy on their preparations and realize that as I write this, I have my family much further behind. In other words, this is proving to be a really, really busy year for me.

My wife hit it on the head when she said to me a month ago: “You did this on purpose didn’t you? I mean, you got into this situation just so you could pull us out of it.”

Th funny thing is she’s right, and moreover, I knew this about myself years ago. And over the past four years, I watched myself not make sufficient preparations. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve made lots of preparations. Way more than most.

But what I’m saying is that having seen this coming collapse years ago, how the hell is that I’m in te position of having to pull out some really big “wins” for us in the next 12 months?

It’s a personality thing. I’m at my best when under stress. I mean, my “big brain” comes out only when I’m animated. Nothing like life biting at your butt to get you animated.

But when life is a beach, and there’s no stress, I don’t get shit done. I’m friendly, but useless.

It’s a weird life. Very stressful for my wife.

Thanks again for your comments. I think it’s helpful to share our stories.

Kathy :

To answer your questions 🙂

“Only thing better than CEF is physical possession which if you approach a SHTF situation is the only way to go.”

Physical possession means that you have the gold and silver you paid for in your grubby little hands – as opposed to a gold pool or CEF which are pieces of paper indicating ownership of some gold in a vault somewhere. In the last GD the US govt confiscated ALL gold from safe deposit boxes in the banks – and this is why having not just gold, but silver as well is important.

In the last GD thousands of US banks closed and if you had deposits in those banks you were wiped out – interestingly enough, if you owed money to one of those failed banks, that debt was sold to solvent banks and you were still required to pay it. Pretty evil, huh ?

If you talk to some old people who lived thru the GD (or spend some time searching for stories on Google) you will find that those oldsters are RADICALLY paranoid about keeping money in the banks because they watched their parents lives collapse when the banks failed.

As for waiting for to carve your losses to 15% – sure you can do that – as long as you understand that you are taking a risk by doing that. The thing you need to ask yourself is “What am I going to do/feel if I am wrong.” Or what if you decide that you will wait for a 15% rise and it only goes up 14.5% (and you don’t get out) then it drops straight down from there.

You say you’re not a gambler but that sure sounds like gambling to me 🙂

A bird in the hand is better than two in a bush right ? There is a reason all those old sayings keep sticking around.

As for voting – I am an independent in a country where that vote is worthless. I voted when I was younger, but have come to the conclusion that it is just soul-sucking to watch people vote for the same incompetents again and again. Did you know that incumbents in the US have a 99% chance of keeping their seats in an election ?The regular people refuse to open their minds and think and we continue to get the dismal quality again and again. More on this later.

What is a good investment at the bottom ?

Hmmmm good question. For once in my life 🙂 I’m at a loss for an answer. My best guess is that by that time, deciding where and how to invest will be a moot point as each of us will have much more important things to worry about.

I will say that it sounds like you have many of the best ideas already down pat- you’re not a gambler, you worked hard to get out of debt, you live within your means, and you plan for the far future (almost no one does this nowadays). In many ways you are way ahead of me – so I am in no position to give more advice along those lines LOL


Thanks again for the great advice Matt.

A few more questions. Where do I buy real gold and real silver? Like there are no stores or anywhere that I know of where you can walk in and buy this. Where do you go and get the real stuff? (I live in the boonies).

Again, just picking your brain. What I was going to do, was wait until the market went up. And as soon as it started to go down again, then I would transfer the funds. That is, whether it goes up 10% or up to 20% (I was just guessing 15% increase at the max). I would wait and I would watch and I then I would transfer immediately after it starts to go down. My husband on the other hand wanted to tranfser right at the first wave of crash back in September. I wish I had listened to him. Does this make sense, or do you forsee the markets dropping even further before 2011?


Haha nice dodge there Peter on the MB. I spent a couple of years in grad school for psych and quit ABT: all but thesis. You are completely right when you said all those big minds just replicated their worldview in their theories. We had a class where the prof said the same thing and extended it by making us write a long paper on our own theories. I’m not sure that a person could do anything else – a cow is not a zebra.

Adler was my favorite BTW – I especially like his ‘first memories’ idea – the theory that the first real concrete experience we can remember that has emotional significance (true or not) has a large bearing on our later adult personality. I also like Jung quite a bit – I thought a lot of his ideas had great merit and he was truly an original thinker.

I guess I am interested in what makes you tick because I believe the People vs. the Corporations schtick you came up with is one of the most unique and far-reaching ideas I have ever seen on the internet and it fascinates me to no end that it and you are relegated to a virtual backwater (no offense intended 🙂 ) undiscovered.

I was hoping you’d put yourself in the box and I wouldn’t have to guess (ENFP for you btw). I find it a bit humorous myself that I anticipated all those so far in advance yet have made few physical steps to prepare as well (not like the well-stocked Kathy above 🙂 ) In my case it isn’t the hope of being the hero pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but as a 5 (and an INTP) it’s more like the fascination a mouse has for a smashed snake on a freeway. I just want to be able to dissect how that all came to pass so that I can tell the whole story to my grandkids if I make it that far.

Anyways, sorry for diverting these comments so far from the original post – can’t help it – too rare to find intelligent life nowadays – certainly none in the real world, other than my wife and my father (who is also an INTP / 5).


So I was curious about the MB thing. I recall doing it when I went to nursing school 3 decades ago. I am an ISFJ and took this this test:

(Back in nursing school I thought I was an extrovert. Oh well, old age I guess 🙂 )

That’s fascinating about Adler. Now it all makes sense why I’m the only one of us three kids in the family that is enormously interested in romance/sentimentality/love stories – and it’s all based on my earliest childhood recollection! Too funny. However, I’m sure Peter would have an Enneagram theory for that one.

The sad thing about potential future collapse from my own personal perspective, it that I don’t know if I would be able to have fun blogging like this if that should happen.

There’s a question. With a total collapse, what would happen to the internet? easy global communication? would it cease? completely? partially? or would it gain momentum and be even more valuable and more accessible for people?

Correction: After reading the personality types I am on the cusp of ESFJ and ISFJ. 50% S and 50% I.

I think this is progress Pete. Your Duck and Gather material is finally starting to gain moment to rival the Foxy Knoxy blogs. 🙂

“I think this is progress Pete. Your Duck and Gather material is finally starting to gain moment to rival the Foxy Knoxy blogs.” It’ gone way beyond that Kathy!

Wow, details of collapse prep and now personality theory — all in one set of comments. Pretty shitty little box we have here to type in.

Hey — Matt and Kathy: What do you think about turning this blog into a community. i.e. Instead of posting your great thoughts in these little shitty comment boxes, you could throw up a post when you fel like it. Over time, through amazing comment threads like this, we could invite others to join in.

Lemme know what you think.

Matt, re personality theory, some things that interest me most about the Enneagram are:
(a) all nine types “suck” in a different way – there is no implicit “best” type (unlike MB and Jung in which the INTJ or some such — which was Jung’s type — is the ‘favored’ type. Read some guy named Kearney on MB re this point)
(b) no single “priest” came up with the typology – they seem to derive from the ‘seven deadly sins’ that Dante wrote about, and trace back at least to Pope Gregory — i.e. many, many hands, over time, built this model — this means no single worldview dominates the model
(c) the theory is founded on the dichotomy of the emotional states of fear & desire. This ties the theory to evolutionary psychology and Buddhism, to name but a couple. Same cannot be said of the other models.

As for me, I’m an 8 with a 7 wing, who was raised by a 5 dad, in a 9 country (Canada).

What this all means is that, my public face is very polite and cordial (i.e. Canadian), my interests are informational and problem-solving in nature (i.e. my 5 dad’s influence), and I have been known to be a bully about it all from time to time (my 8-ness).

I believe that people can generally be understood through this three layer prism:
(a) individual personality type
(b) personality type of the family during childhood
(c) personality type of the culture during maturation

I could go on, but this comment box sucks. If we’re going be having these great discussions, I say we should be having them on the posts.

I don’t mind the box. The set-up is okay, except the following:

The thing that I don’t like, is, let’s say you write 4 more new blogs. Then this blog that we’re responding to now is almost impossible to find. You have to do lots of back clicking. And also, you have to open the thing up to see if there are any new comments. Who is going to remember the # of comments at the top of the piece?

So if I were to suggest any changes to this site it would be these:

1) Make it much easier to go straight to the blog you want (and the side bar doesn’t always contain what you’re looking for).

2) Make it much easier to see what additional comments have been made (to any blog). You know how YouScription is? Where you can see the latest activity and comments, then click and go right to the blog? That’s what you need on this site.


Hmm. All of those features you mention would have to come from WordPress — the technology that manages this and zillions of other blogs. YOUscription is a “roll your own” site I built with Ruby on Rails. I’ll look into what WordPress allows on those scores.

Don’t know if you guys saw this :

Orlov is a sharp cookie – former Russian (I’ve lived there so I can relate to a lot of what he speaks of).

Gold and Silver, 2 best places I have heard of is Tulving and Apmex. You can google them or go to the “Gold is Money” forum and read there – lots of advice. If you only have a small amount of money, 90 percent silver coins are the best buy IMO.

BTW – as of today, the stock market is alrady up quite a bit. The low so far on the S&P is 740 – it hit 940 a week or two ago (200/740 = +27%) and it is currently at 870 (130/740 = +17.6 percent).

As an I/E SFJ you would be almost my polar opposite.

Peter, appreciate the offer, but this is your blog and I wouldn’t feel comfortable butting in – even with an invitation. The comments area is fine for me. If more people showed up and had some plans in common then taking the next step would make more sense.

I understand what you are saying about the MBTI, but I have found it a useful theory. On a long time ago, and on the gold is money site, I saw a couple of threads about what people were. It was pretty eye-opening – easily more than 60 percent of the posters were INTP or INTJ – yes in the general population they make up only 2 to 4 percent.


“As an I/E SFJ you would be almost my polar opposite.”

Yes, I had noticed that when I did the test.

Thanks for the coinage info.

Pete or Matt:

With a collapse/great depression II/4t, whatever, – what do you think the internet/easy global communication, will look like?

More accessible? Less? Different? If so, how?

[…] stooges might be the only way that America would be saved. Made me very sad to think so, given how moved my wife and I were when he took office. But one reads history, and sometimes national tragedies like that are the spark that sets a nation […]

[…] stooges might be the only way that America would be saved. Made me very sad to think so, given how moved my wife and I were when he took office. But one reads history, and sometimes national tragedies like that are the spark that sets a nation […]

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for the money has gone too far

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