Northwest Trip Planning & other stuff I’ve been up to.

Okay, okay, I haven’t written in a while.  I’ve been busy.  So here’s an informal update on what I’ve been up to.

Jim Kunstler sent me a review copy of his new “World Made by Hand” series novel that he calls “The Witch of Hebron.”  DH is reading it to me at night, which is a lovely way to digest it.  It is going to be a big hit, folks, so pick up your copy.  It’s just out.  One of the passages in his book that will probably not get mentioned by other reviewers is his artful description of an Outback Restaurant chain appetizer.  It evokes a “nostagia for the present” in his readers.  I’ll do a more expanded review, but suffice to say he’s really demonstrated his superior skill as a writer who grasps the depth of the human soul in this novel.

And Jon Cooksey’s Movie How to Boil A Frog will show on 7:30 PST on Movie Central this Wednesday – in Canada and has been accepted to the Blue Planet Film Festival in LA, a most unusual fest that includes hands-on experience with the subject of the films it shows.  Suggestions welcome for what they do after watching “How to Boil a Frog”!  Plus it is playing in Boston at:

We’re waited so long and now it is here!
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I’ve been reading, thinking and writing like mad for this upcoming lecture tour that starts in Eugene OR and goes to Victoria British Columbia, and man, I’ll tell you, I think there are places that are going to pull through this.

There is a danger in this movement, folks, centered around what I think of as hubris and turf wars, now that Peak Oil is as common as Hot Pockets.  Com’on Rob.H. and John M G., shake hands and make up.  And Rob, no fair with those cartoons.  Those were below the belt, Buddy.  Take the lead from the interview Jim Puplava did with Stoneleigh.  Inflationist, deflationist, it was nothing but respect between those two.  We need every joker, clown, teacher, fool, scientist, farmer, curmudgeon, and community organizer, optimist, pessimist, penny pincher and millionaire we can find.  We all have to start living in intentional communities–that would be the one you intend to live in.  We have to sit with contradictions and make them interesting, not “right” or “wrong.”  We have to stop thinking there is “THE FUTURE” and start thinking that we couldn’t possibly know the details of how it is going to work out, because we haven’t finished working in it, yet.

And hey, what about those German military guy’s leaking a bit of bad news on Der Speigel?  I just love how they can say “We’re putting Israeli foreign policy on a rubber raft to the US to secure the last remaining oil for Germany” in that great diplomatic talk.  And just when I was going to send over some benzos to the top commanders, they grab hold of their senses and while admitting that Peak Oil is NOW, adds “All of this bad stuff won’t happen for 15-30 years.”  Well, DAMN.  Who knows?  I could win the lottery by then!  (But maybe they should tell us why, like Tony Robbins just did…)

Look I know mind-brightening optimism sells.  I was struck by a talk I heard Tony Robbins, Mr. Motivational Speaker Himself (and someone I respect) give a dead on YouTube talk found Part I here, where he’s shouting louder than the Lost in Space Robot “Warning Will Robinson!”  It’s going to be a stock market crash, and it’s coming to a country near you!  After reassuring us that he works with guys who are worth more than several European nations, he tosses in a provocative statistic:  There’s only 3 percent  unemployment among those earning more than $150,000 a year.  Meanwhile, in the lower 10%, there was a job at a pizza parlor, but it was filled last Tuesday.  Tony, watch it.  That sounds like you are encouraging class warfare.  This is quite out of character for Tony, and you could tell because he kept saying “Do your own research” and ended by saying “I gutta catch a plane to Fiji.”  Fiji.  Poor Tony was invited on AM TV to give a “pep talk” but when he refused, they gave him 3 minutes to talk.  Three Minutes!  That’s Tony Robbins you’re talking to!  No time for pessimism, Tony.

Was kicking around investigating that 3% figure and found that while it won’t be your Grandmother’s Great Depression, apparently the rich are getting sentimental for the past and there are good jobs for butlers, maids, household managers, and the like, complete with uniform for those with the proper training.  These aren’t the old fashioned kind of household help, these guys and (mostly) gals are college educated.  I guess they figure with their unemployment reaching what, 39% or something crazy according to the unemployment figures for that age group?  That’s a guess, don’t quote me.  Twenty four percent had jobs waiting for them last May to help pay off killer student loans.  I think they should consider sinking in another $12,000 to train as a house servant.  This new college for a bright new tomorrow teaches you stuff you don’t get in you liberal arts college like How to Open a Door and to ask important questions like “Do you like the dog bed washed once or twice a day?”  They can make a chunk of change, live without paying room and board, and learn how the other fraction of a percent live.  I’d suggest the $10-$100 million Middle Richistanis who only spend on average $71,000 for their watches and $42,000 a year for spa services, living in modest $3.8 million dollar homes.  Lower Richistanis are, well, so nouveau riche “affluent” (apparently a dirty word to those in the know) and a bit nervous still of things like stock market crashes (tisk tisk), and also kids, when you get much bigger than a 200,000 square foot house to take care of, it starts to feel like a dorm again, with all that help scurrying everywhere.   I also think the Upper Richistanis might be too much of a reach for the upcoming college serf class.  It is great to see some old time traditions coming back.  There’s room at the top, but only for those who Wait.

I’m also having a fun time reading Matt Ridley and studying his Panglossian Disorder.  Watch how his face begins to distort and turn a bit green after a smashingly positive talk at Google.  The audience member asked him about energy, and it bummed everybody out.  (“Google it Dude!”)  It took him a minute to go back into his trance, before he muttered “Gas and then nuclear until transition!”  And hell, we don’t even have to go there, Matt.  Don’t you remember you said on page 238 of your opus, without bother of  reference or footnote: “Fuel can be synthesized from water using any source of power, such as nuclear or solar.” Fab.  Course he’s worried about water in another part of the book, but not that much.  Golly, folks, that’s optimism.

Don’t get me wrong, the guy has known hard times, but I think he just “put on a happy face.”  According to Wiki:  “Ridley was non-executive chairman of the UK bank Northern Rock from 2004 to 2007, in the period leading up to the bank’s near-collapse.”  Non-executive chairman, is that sort of a fill-in for country-club president type thing?  And his Dad was Matthew White Ridley, 4th Viscount Ridley, KG, GCVO, TDBritish nobleman, who served for approximately a decade as Lord Steward of the Household.  That had to be heavy.  I have no idea what that is except it is someone’s “Peer,” perhaps to the Royal Family?   Anyway, I think Matt Ridley has a lot to be optimistic about, and he does a great job sharing his enthusiasm with us.  He represents Panglossians well.  Way to Go Matt!  Hope and a bright future to you, Guy!,

About Kathy McMahon

Kathy McMahon Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist who is internationally known for her writing about the psychological impacts of Peak Oil, climate change, and economic collapse. She's written for Honda Motors, and has been featured in American Prospect, Greenpeace International, the Vancouver Sun, Freakonomics, Itulip, Ecoshock Radio, and Peak Moments Television.


  1. Funny! :-) Thanks for the chuckles, and good luck for the tour.

  2. Thanks Vera! Glad you got a laugh!

  3. That’s really funny and made me laugh a lot…. thanks for sharing this….. I hope you had enjoyed your tour……

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