Friday, April 22, 2011

Silver Goes Crazy

Back in 1994, I was publishing a zine called Asylum For Shut-Ins. (Yes, the name was a blatant rip-off of the TV show of the same name. I was trying to find the creators of it!) Anyhow, I offered a deal to subscribers, as an experiment: Take 90% off the subscription rate of $10/year by sending $1 in face value pre-1965 silver US coins.

I actually had several takers. In those days, silver traded at less than $5/oz, so my $1 in pre-1965 quarters, which are 90% silver, was worth close to $4. It was a good deal for subscribers.

That less-than-$5/oz price held for some ten years before edging upwards to $15/oz in 2006, then $20/oz in 2008. It dipped down hard to $10/oz in 2009. Since then, it's off to the races. Yesterday, it closed at $46.06! Link to silver price history.

So, that $1 in coins I got for a subscription, which I still have, is worth $41.54- until today's new high is set. That's a 1000% gain since acquiring 17 years ago. Yes, I would do this over and over, all day long.

Problem is, it only reflects a devaluing of our dollar. I'm not getting rich here. I'm preserving some value. I have crabbed and crabbed about inflation, especially at the stimulus when it happened about inevitable inflation. I don't know why that clarion cry, so widely issued by libertarians, was so widely dismissed. I dunno: $4 gas? Food prices going up?

I only wish I was in better position to heed my own advice. I did buy some silver when it was at $20 last year. Bought some this year at $30. I'm very glad that I hung on to every coin I got from the Asylum experiment! I imagine very few people hold metals. I'd be interested to know the percentage of Americans that have physical possession of gold or silver.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Even More Watt

I caught up with Mike Watt's tour diary and found that he had more to say about his stay at the Kole house:
pop at eight bells after a yet another halfass konk - this was like rolling around and squirming for seven fucking hours. fuck. don't what it is that's making this happen, just don't know. I gotta get a handle on it though. don't have to hose off cuz did that last night so I get into the day outfit: the coat ronnie gave me, chonies and levis. I do the morning catch up of what I can do via internet.

mike is very kind to cook us up sausage pucks, bacon, toast, raisin toast, cubes of fried potatoes, fruit bowl to spoon grapes and melon pieces out of, muffins and blueberry crisp. I didn't list eggs cuz there was none. he makes sure we have butter and not margarine cuz of last night's spiel but of course he couldn't of known of the richard meltzer connection. bob-san chows butter on his sausage pucks - goes for last one but when called on it, splits it w/me after buttering it up. I never use either butter or margarine at home but do here for our host w/the most post, mike. he is very cool people. he tells us of his people's people: from east europe. he tells me of the spiels he done w/me in the past: three. or is it four? baka watt. I know he wants to do one this time but I am worn and so promise him after when back in my pedro town that we can do a skype one. promise.
I'm so bummed that he slept so poorly! That was probably my top concern- that everybody sleep well. I know it isn't easy doing the kind of tour he does, and upon finding that he was fighting off a bug, I really tried to set him up for as good a night's rest as possible.

Ronnie coat. I think I got it now! 'Coat that Ronnie gave me' has to refer to the late Ron Ashton of the Stooges. It has UAW and Ford logos on it. Watt's doing a show with the Stooges tomorrow night in Ann Arbor MI to honor Ron.

Sausage pucks! That's funny stuff! It was just the thick variety of sausage patties. Being a hockey fan, that's going to stick.

Butter & margarine. At the end of the show, Watt grabbed the mic and admonished the crowd, "Start your own band! Write your own music and songs! Write your own poetry!" Then he went into this stream of consciousness about margarine. I felt like I got it- about what's real and all. He's right that I didn't get the Meltzer connection. Anyhow, we never have margarine in the house, but I would have felt like an idiot serving it if we did. So, I couldn't resist making a point of showing him that we had organic butter in the house. Then it turns out that he never eats the stuff, and does eat it, because I made my point about his spiel.

My people. I was talking about some ancestry stuff in response to discussion about the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Mainly, I feel no real connection to it. I have quarters of nationalities in me: Slovenian, Polish, Irish, and Hungarian, and I know that my forebears all came to the USA well after the Civil War and before WW2. The one lineage I know best is on my Dad's side, the Slovenian. His grandfather apparently was recruited to come to Cleveland to work in the New York Central locomotive shops at the Collinwood Yards. This also apparently because a foreman was a Slovene, and he used the Old Country as his employment pool. Watt went into his lineage, with some being in the USA prior to the Civil War, and the Italian side... I'm not sure.

Spiels. I interviewed Mike Watt 3 times between 1988 and 1995. I also traveled to see him play Columbus when he wasn't passing through Cleveland. The 1995 interview was especially intense, and I actually want to see if he remembers it. The story is so good that I want to keep it under wraps until we can do the interview, post-tour. His entry reads like maybe he was feeling guilty about not being able to do it when he was here. Of course I really wanted to, and sure I felt some disappointment, but I'm very realistic about the nature of his tour. There are a million details that he has to manage, and it the motivation is fairly selfish of me, frankly.

How can I complain? Mike Watt is one of my heroes. How many people get to host their artistic heroes, or have three personal interview conversations with them in their lifetimes? He's so accessible. It's one of the things I really admire about him, that he has remained accessible long after people started using words like 'legend' to describe him. He's true to the spirit that led him to reject the distance of arena rock between performer and concert-goer. His staying with me is the proof. I mean, try to have Mick Jagger or Justin Bieber crash at your place.