Unlike most blog posts I write, this one began unfolding during the middle of a blazingly hot, humid, terribly uncomfortable Friday afternoon. I attempted to feel cool and comfortable, though—I finally set up a compact disk (CD) player in my office so I could listen to some of my long-ignored CDs. The piece I listened to while writing these words was Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. I’ve loved that music from the very first time I heard it, many, many years ago. Before listening to that, as I mused about what and when I wanted to write, I listened to selections from The Memory of Trees, by Enya. And before that, music of Dire Straits. Earlier, I listened to more Gordon Lightfoot. Speaking of Dire Straits, one of my favorite tunes is Sultans of Swing. Regardless of the music, though, it’s not right unless one’s mood fits it. At any rate, I’m cobbling this post together, using a few moments here and a few moments there as fabric; my imagination and my fingers constitute the sewing machine. And I have returned here, after 8 on Saturday morning, to continue my odyssey.
Okay. It’s Saturday morning (much later than usual, I might add). And I feel compelled to think and argue with myself and to express ideas that have, heretofore, been hidden in the recesses of my brain.
Renting should cost more than buying. That’s my economic assertion for today. The reason: renters generally do not have to worry with mortgage payments, property insurance, repair of major systems like water heaters or air conditioners or foundations, etc. Buried within rental payments are what amounts to management fees that enable renters to avoid the direct costs of ownership. Renters pay for convenience and for absolving themselves of responsibilities. And, of course, they pay to avoid making a large down payment on a property they may not be able to afford.
On the other hand, of course, landlords can be a greedy lot. Not all of them, of course. But some of them. Some of them yield to the allure of income sources over which they have almost absolute control; just set a price and demand it be met. The only real recourse available to renters when met with unreasonable increases in rent is relocation. Given that very real possibility, renters are less likely to accumulate unnecessary material goods; they want the pain of moving to be as painless as possibly, so they travel light…lighter than their property-owning counterparts.
Ah, but we allow ourselves to be duped into the belief that economies of scale allow apartment owners to charge less for a rental unit than what it costs to buy a home. We have accepted the concept. Economies of scale? More likely, the write-offs available to landlords minimize tax burdens and make the idea of charging less the cost for rent an attractive proposition. But, then, I’m not a landlord; I’m just a cynical old man who has been exposed to greed painted to resemble charity or philanthropy.
Our former next-door-neighbors hosted a dinner last night at at Blue Springs Grill in celebration of their fiftieth anniversary. We were honored to have been among the twelve people they invited to share their celebration. The dinner was superb; we were among others who share our political leanings and, in general, our social philosophies, so it was a very pleasant, stress-free evening. One of the invitees had arranged for the entire group to go see a musical immediately after dinner, but we opted out of that because we’re busy preparing for our lengthy (4500-5000-mile round-trip) road trip.
What if? What if the heat wave we’re experiencing is not a “natural” phenomenon, nor a consequence of global climate change? What if, instead, it is the result of a deliberate effort by a cabal of unfriendly foreign governments to bring us to our knees? Conspiratmo—the name given by this group of foreign powers to its group of elite weather control scientists—has successfully manipulated atmospheric conditions to the point that Conspiratmo scientists can actually program weather patterns and launch them at will. This most recent weather catastrophe is the brainchild of Bellicose Nostradamus, a French-born agent for the People’s Republic of Somalia (PRS), one of the participating nations. Nostradamus, who earned his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Understanding from the University of Nairobi, was recruited as executive in charge of developing and operating the Somalian Weather Control Agency (SWCA). SWCA quickly earned a reputation for taking bold, unprecedented actions intended to empty the sky of rain. Later, as Nostradamus was perfecting his team’s capabilities, the agency was credited with the management and movement of heat domes. Naturally, when other countries were able to verify and validate weather-based military attacks, all hell broke loose. The larger, more powerful nations (USA, Russia, China, France) had laughed at the feeble efforts of SWCA until its work brought about floods, heat waves, and fierce windstorms to local environments. But by then, it was too late. Conspiratmo had already initiated the formation of monstrous heat domes and impossibly strong hurricanes. The objective: up-end world power relationships and force the big, powerful, deeply arrogant nations to beg for survival.
Enough of this. I have things to be and people to see.