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31.7.13

Holy Ghosts, Dog Stars And Oil

I am an avowed contrarian.  Now, a contrarian is different from just plain ornery.  Ornery is good old fashioned hardheadedness.  A contrarian, on the other hand, takes an opposing side based on well-considered principles.  I believe in cultivating vices because, frankly, the people I know without them are boring and lead pointless lives.

I'm not sure what any of that has to do with anything, but I do like the word ornery.  Oh, and among my favorite vices is gambling, which leads me to a little story:

Years ago, I was at a horse track in Arkansas (Ar-kun-saw) not having much luck.  I ran into one inveterate hide-smacker who taught me a little trick called "Holy Ghosting".  I wouldn't mention this, except it works.  Basically, if you see the same number come up in close proximity to each other, bet on it to win a third time.  I taught the trick to a buddy of mine who then went to Maccau to, among other vices, gamble.  He was playing roulette and sent me a photo of the tote board showing the number 9 having come up twice in a row.  I urged him to bet heavily on 9 again, much to the shock and incredulity of the crowd at the table.  He won $1,000.

Now, as any gambler knows, when that happens, you walk away.  Quickly.  He didn't.  He lost it all in subsequent play.  Such is the nature of gambling.  That's why I only play Blackjack.

I hear you sitting there: So, B, what has any of this got to do with the price of tea in China.  Honestly?  I haven't a clue.  It's just the end of July, we've survived two apocalypses (apocalyptae?) in the past seven months, and I'm betting heavily to survive the next one, based on the Holy Ghosting theory.

I was pondering Giordano Bruno, who was bar-b-qued by the Inquisition for daring to state that there were many worlds in the Universe with many civilizations.   It took 400 years, but he's been partially vindicated.  Just goes to show you, never trust government.

In fact, that brings me back to the contrarian thing.  I have this view of things that says that if a government agency promotes, or causes to be promoted, a certain belief or point of view, it should be rejected out of hand, or at the very least confirmed by competent authorities, such as gutter alcoholics and strangers at horse tracks.  If they are in short supply, then turn to your local curmudgeon.

My father was vehemently opposed to my desire to work in the legitimate theater and performing arts.  Naturally, I went whole hog into it and managed to have a reasonably successful career and do many really interesting things while getting paid for it.  He also told me I was crazy for marrying my third wife, so naturally I did it.  One of the few times he was right and being a contrarian didn't work.  However, he also horse-whipped me into marrying my first wife, and that didn't work either, so it all balanced out, I suppose.  At least it proved I should have followed my contrarian instincts.

Call it midsummer doldrums or the full moon, but there's just nothing in the current events or net discussions that spark a fire.  I mean, a new JFK theory?  C'mon.  That horse done been whipped.  Snowden?  Old news.  Manning?  Did you expect anything less?  Detroit going broke?  Just another symptom of the disease that's been eating the global economy since 2000.  Bammy having lunch with Hil or touting his 'jobs' program at Amazon?  Puh-leez.

Call it the Dog Days of Summer.  The helical rising of Sirius and Leo and Canis Major.  Everything seems to go on hold about now.  It's too hot to get flustered about anything...or if you're in the southern hemisphere, too cold.

But speaking of the southern hemisphere, there is one news story that isn't getting a lot of play, but which has long-term implications for the balance of power in the world.

In the Arckaringa Basin in the state of South Australia, reports are of an oil field that puts Saudi Arabia's to shame.  It's a good thing that they've been using US companies to consult on this huge new find, otherwise the marines would likely be sent in to 'liberate' the country and dip everyone's fingers in purple ink as a sign of their new slav..er...freedom!  Estimates are that the field holds 200 to 400 billion barrels of oil.  That's more than enough to keep the Anglo-American empire running free of Saudi input for a long time.

Keep watching this story.  It will have long range implications on Western hegemony in Asia, as well as the whole Peak Oil discussion.  One wonders if finds like this and the Canadian/North Dakota shales have been hidden until the Middle East was nearly depleted.

If nothing else, it certainly makes for good Happy Hour ponderings and adds impetus for those looking to expatriate.  Should be enough work for a roughneck to last a career there.

At any rate, what will Australia do now?  After all, they've been cozying up to China in the past couple of years, even adjusting exchange rates with the renmembi to make business a little easier.  Australians are an ornery lot, and they may just remember that they were a penal colony for the UK back in the day, if push comes to shove.

If I were a gambling man, I'd say the odds are even as to which way this boat will tip.  Also, with two major discoveries in the past few years on A-A empire-controlled territory, the Holy Ghosting principle states that it's a good bet that a third is forthcoming in the near future.

Ain't vices fun?  As Lady Bracknell said upon hearing that Jack was a smoker, "I'm glad to hear it!  A man should have an occupation of some kind."