We are coming down to the last days of summer. The Autumnal Equinox is 23 Sept 2015 at 4:22 AM EDT (adjust local time accordingly). Already Halloween decorations are out in stores and there are even reports-gasp!-of Christmas decorations appearing as well. Longer nights and shorter days are coming. Out here in Northern California we are having a mini heatwave. Our long dry spring and summer allowed for grapes and other crops to mature early. Grapes were harvested early this year. Sadly the drought has meant fewer crops planted,farmland gone to waste, and many jobs lost. Few understand truly how economies are interconnected. The farmer cannot plant much because there is little water to spare. That means he highers fewer workers to assist. Crops then need fewer people in the production and distribution sectors (canning, packing etc). Less inventory but high demand means prices go up. And so it goes. And if you do not have workers getting employed in the agricultural areas, it means retail and fast food stores sell less. There is less money going into the local economy which effects growth. Where the drought is the most severe, people are simply packing up and leaving. Worse for the state in areas where groundwater is dangerously low or empty, it means the land above it starts sinking. Which means infrastructure like bridges, roads and other things start sinking too.
Once long ago people flocked to California fleeing bad economic times that shuttered farms in the Midwest. It is quite possible now the reverse may happen.
Hobbies are great things to have. They help us from being bored and sitting around the television or the computer all day. Traditional ones like stamp or coin collecting sometimes lead to bigger things. Or in the case of John Siggins of the UK to turn a shed into a replica of Titanic’s dining room. Siggins, who works as as railroad engineer, has been working on this project for many years. It began when he got a blanket once owned by a Titanic survivor given when boarding Carpathia. That started him acquiring items from Titanic’s sister ship Olympic. And then slowly converting his shed into a dining room and cabin. He has been doing this for 25 years. Done by hand, he has put up wood panels, chairs, and collected dining sets to make it look authentic. “It’s history. I buy it all because it’s close to my heart. And this is how I want to see it.” And from the picture in the news article, well worth the effort.
Mike Arkus writing in the Huffington Post details a recent visit to Halifax. Halifax has a rich maritime history and of course connected deeply to the Cunard line (Samuel Cunard was born there). His article jabs at the touristy nature of Halifax but does have lots of interesting places to visit. Of course visiting Fairview Cemetery is where many Titanic victims are buried. And the once unknown child now has a name: Sidney Leslie Goodwin.
When you own stocks like Premier Exhibitions (NASDAQ:PRXI), it does not take much to send the stock down. Latest news was not great so the stock tumbled to 73 cents. A year ago it was $1.69. But declining revenues and uncertainty about when the Titanic collection will ever be sold has done its work. Today it actually bounced up to 76 cents before settling back down to closing at 74 cents. I hope no one put their pension money in this stock.
We are under water restrictions here and just about everywhere in California. More dire if you live on Catalina Island, where water is really precious. They have a small desalinization plant that provides only a small fraction of their needs, which comes from two reservoirs that are now looking quite grim. Tourists flock to the island but now restaurants and hotels have to tell customers not to take long showers. Ask for water with your meal and it comes bottled. To conserve water many places are using plastic ware for everyday eating. And hotels now have to start sending laundry to the mainland, which is not cheap.
Lawns are looking bleak these days except if it is a city park or owned by government. Most people have to cut back watering to one or two days a week. Neighbors are being asked to snitch on neighbors who are watering too much. Being green is not so good these days and a green lawn brings attention. Unless it is artificial which some in my area have chosen to do. Quite a lot have simply taken out the greenery and replaced them with rock gardens, wood chips, or drought resistant plants. And a byproduct of this drought is that many areas look more dirtier than usual. Sidewalks in front of homes are not being washed off as before. The city still does power washing certain areas like the downtown area (they and all cities got an exemption from the water restrictions). BART still power washes on Saturday mornings around the San Bruno station.
To close out this Friday Musings, here is a music video from Susanna Hoffs off her November Sun album. Fans of Hoffs will be surprised at how good she looks. Sorry guys, but she has been married to Jay Roach since 1993 and has two boys. The other lady in the video is also the lovely and talented Rosanna Arquette. Have a nice Friday everyone.