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In Print: Blockade- The Diary Of An Austrian Middle-Class Woman 1914-1924

Slowly but surely, I’ve been bringing back those different series of posts I started running in November 2010. It’s been a while since I published an “In Print” piece (December 2014), but truth be told, I’ve hardly had time to read any books (to completion) for quite some time. Seriously. That’s changing, and a number of titles I have in my possession will be presented and discussed in future “In Print” posts. Some real good material there too.

This week’s “In Print” selection is entitled Blockade- The Diary of an Austrian Middle-Class Woman 1914-1924, which was written in 1932 by Anna Eisenmenger. I’m not sure exactly how I heard about the “diary,” but I’m glad I did- as were others. You see, I had just finished reading it when I posted the following comment on the blog area of the SHTF School website (produced in conjunction with well-known Balkan region war survivor/prepper/survivalist “Selco” and “dedicated to urban survival and preparedness”):

“Suggest someone who is dear to you to read real life experiences.” Selco, I recently read a book (diary actually) from around your part of the world that I found relevant and intriguing- Anna Eisenmenger’s 94-page “Blockade – The Diary of an Austrian Middle-Class Woman 1914-1924,” available for free on archive.org. “Diary of an Austrian woman who lived through World War I and the interwar years in Vienna. She witnessed the devaluation of the currency and the government controls on food, fuel, and travel. Her sons were wounded in the war and one turned to extremist ideals in the wake of the war. Interesting personal view of a sometimes overlooked historical period.” Eisenmenger talked about a range of topics, including asset protection, bartering, civil unrest, food shortages, health issues, urban versus rural when TSHTF, and going to extremes to save one’s family.

In response to a question of how to download the diary in a “readable format,” I added later:

If Selco and gang don’t mind me posting it here, below is the link on archive.org to the page where Mrs. Eisenmenger’s diary can either be read (page top) or downloaded (page right). I opted for the .pdf version, which worked fine in my Acrobat Reader. If the link gets stripped, you can go to archive.org, enter “Blockade The Diary” in the search engine (not that “WayBackMachine” box) and the link to the page where you can read/download it should appear near the top of the search results. Hope this helps. I found the diary insightful and sobering. Hard to believe it was published in 1932 as it reads like a modern manuscript…

https://archive.org/details/Blockade-TheDiaryOfAnAustrianMiddle-classWoman1914-1924

Selco and others were grateful to me for pointing out this free resource, with one blog reader going so far as to write:

Thank you so much for recommending this book. What a great read and if I was part of a prepper group, this book would be recommended reading…

No problem. And now I’m recommending it to Survival And Prosperity readers.

You can use that link to Blockade I shared with the SHTF School folks. I just tested it and it’s still “live.”

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Info/link added to “Resources” page. Tomorrow though as I’m beat from doing chores at the family’s place in Wisconsin earlier today and driving back to Illinois.)

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Chicago Has Highest Average Price Of Gas In The U.S.

Recently, a stack of bills came in the mail. One of them was for renewing the lawn care service that my girlfriend and I used last year. Everything was pretty much the same- except for a new fuel surcharge to compensate for the rising price of gas in the area.

Which really isn’t surprising, considering what I saw at the various Chicagoland gas stations less than two weeks ago and a new report saying the city of Chicago has the highest average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the country, once again.

Christian Farr wrote on the website of Chicago NBC affiliate NBC 5 yesterday:

The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has risen 5 cents in the past two weeks, which especially doesn’t doesn’t bode well for Chicago drivers.

The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday says the price of a gallon of regular is $3.61, the highest price in Lundberg’s twice-monthly surveys since late July 2013…

According to Gasbuddy.com, the average price for Illinois is $3.84 a gallon and $4.05 a gallon for the city of Chicago, which is the highest in the country

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The Chicago area routinely has the highest average price for a gallon of gas in the United States as of late. Consider these past post headlines of mine:

“Chicago Drivers Paying Nation’s Highest Average Gas Price”

-April 25, 2011

“Price Of Gas In Chicagoland Area Sets New AAA Record”

-March 26, 2012

“Chicago Has Highest Gas Price Of U.S. Cities In Lower 48 States”

-September 10, 2013

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Farr, Christian. “Chicago Leads Nationwide Gas Price Spike.” NBC 5. 8 Apr. 2014. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Survey-Shows-Gas-Prices-Are-Rising-254290651.html). 9 Apr. 2014.

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Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 Energy, Transportation, Vehicles 2 Comments

Seen On The Streets, Part 11

Potholes. Tons of them. Christopher Borrelli reported on the Chicago Tribune website on Monday:

It’s officially spring. We’re deep into pothole season, which, like other holiday seasons, seems to grow longer every year. This pothole season could be the longest yet. Potholes are out of control. The Chicago Department of Transportation said last month that pothole complaints have tripled in the past year; and since New Year’s Day alone, the city has filled more than 350,000 potholes. And because, according to CDOT, which assumes there are at least five unreported potholes for each reported pothole, their conservative estimate of the number of potholes remaining is, well, about 60,000 potholes.

At the very, very least…

Personally, I think the roads have been crap in many places around the Chicagoland area for a number of years now.

One spot in particular that’s incredibly chewed up and which I drive through on a regular basis is that portion of Thatcher Road right outside the Oak Park Country Club in River Grove.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the report of the shotguns being fired nearby on certain days at the Club- in conjunction with the cratered road- reminds some veterans of being in a warzone.

As a high school kid, when I could scrape together several bucks I would buy the latest duPont REGISTRY (magazine of luxury autos for sale) at the old Crown Books on the corner of Harlem and North. Lots of daydreaming would ensue where I’d be piloting some hot sports car around Chicago.

A number of years have passed, and practicality along with fate has left me driving an older, high-mileage Toyota instead.

Still, my lust for a high-performance vehicle has never subsided.

Although, the crumbling streets I’d encounter around the Chicago area made me remark to my girlfriend one day that owning a nice sports car (or even a “regular” one) may not be practical around these parts. For starters, there’s the city traffic. Second, there’s the high price of gas- especially if the vehicle requires the premium stuff. Finally, the increasingly crummy roads will “eat up” the bottom of the vehicle.

Case in point. While watching the local news one day this winter, I spotted a reporter doing a live broadcast about how bad the potholes were in the city. As they were doing the shoot, a hipster’s car went over one of these holes, tearing off a big piece from the underside of her vehicle. I felt really bad for the young lady as she proceeded to talk about what just happened on camera.

Further evidence of just how bad the local streets have gotten can be seen in a Craigslist.org post I saw the other day while taking in some car porn. From March 29:

Porsche 914 (1974) – $10500 (chicago)

Tired of winter and potholes, the car is 99% of the time in the garage…Selling my ’74 914,wide body from Sheridan Motorsports,custom interior,disk brakes front and rear,1.8l engine with double webers(40mm)pulls strong with no leaks,transmission rebuilt less than 500 miles ago,75k miles

Considering trading for a WRX of similar or lesser value…

“Tired of winter and potholes, the car is 99% of the time in the garage”

That trade request for a Subaru WRX makes sense, as things considered.

Still, even that rugged all-wheel drive vehicle may have too low of a ground clearance for some of the “surface anomalies” I’ve been spotting for some time now.

After I told my girlfriend about sports cars perhaps being impractical to own around these parts, I suggested for one to really experience what a sports car is really capable of performance-wise, one would probably have to head out to the back roads.

When I finally get my hands on one of these cars, “Escape to Wisconsin” will take on a whole new meaning for me…


Jamiroquai, “Cosmic Girl” (1996)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Borrelli, Christopher. “Making potholes into art.” Chicago Tribune. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-31/entertainment/ct-pothole-art-20140401_1_pothole-season-mosaic-marble). 3 Apr. 2014.

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Jim Rogers: ‘This Is The Time To Buy Russia’

Investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers has been bullish on Russia for some time now. In fact, by the time I first blogged about his optimism for the country back in February 2013, he had already invested there.

Despite the recent crisis in the Crimea and subsequent sell-off of Russian assets by international investors, the former investing partner of George Soros hasn’t changed his mind about the former Communist nation. Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Daniel Bases reported on the Reuters website Sunday:

“Russia’s stock market right now is one of the cheapest in the world, and probably one of the most hated,” said investor and commodities guru Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, in Singapore. “This is the time to buy Russia.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Chavez-Dreyfuss and Bases added later in the piece:

Rogers, who has been investing in Russia for the last 1-1/2 years, said he bought Russian stocks last week. He said if more sanctions are imposed and the equities market declines further, there would be more buying opportunities in Russia.

Rogers said he is looking for non-energy companies – a tall order considering the RTS Index of 51 leading Russian companies is heavily skewed toward energy (58 percent of the index) and basic materials (13 percent)…

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

In January 2013, the Singapore-based investor identified Russia as one market holding the best prospects for investors. Next month, Rogers made it known he had bought Russian bonds and currency. By September, he revealed he had also bought Russian ETFs, but explained:

I don’t want to buy their oil and gas plays because I own enough oil and gas. I’m looking for other kinds of companies in Russia.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Chavez-Dreyfuss, Gertrude and Bases, Daniel. “Analysis: Russia sell-off spurs hunt for bargains.” Reuters.com. 30 Mar. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/30/us-emergingmarkets-russia-investing-anal-idUSBREA2T03720140330). 31 Mar. 2014.

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Seen On The Streets, Part 10

While I’ve been doing quite a bit of driving around the Northwest Side of Chicago and surrounding suburbs lately, I’ve noticed the price at the pump has been rising.

I filled up the Flintstone Mobile for $3.99 a gallon of regular gas last weekend, and noticed that was typically the same price at the various stations I drove by yesterday while in the west suburbs.

From the Journal & Topics Newspapers (northwest suburbs) website yesterday:

Gas prices in the Chicago-area are quickly approaching $4 per gallon.

The average price of a gallon of regular gas peaked at $3.98 last week and had only fallen to $3.95 as of Friday.

Gas prices in the Chicago-area are expected to continue their rise, peaking in late April or early May between $4.10 and $4.25 a gallon in Chicago…

(Editor’s note: Bold- yes, bold now- added for emphasis)

If the cost at the pump does indeed go higher, I predict irritated drivers will start showing up on the local news again like they did in the summer of 2008.

Question is, will they also start cutting back on spending in other areas like they did that year?

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Gas Prices Spiking Again.” Journal & Topics Newspapers. 26 Mar. 2014. (http://www.journal-topics.com/business/article_3c8eed54-b526-11e3-b729-001a4bcf6878.html). 27 Mar. 2014.

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Chicago Has Highest Gas Price Of U.S. Cities In Lower 48 States

Nothing takes a bite out of prosperity like high prices at the pump.

And as U.S. cities in the Lower 48 states are concerned, Chicago takes the top spot here.

While on the website of Lundberg Survey, an independent market research company offering local and national coverage of fuel prices, I spotted the following in a linked Associated Press article from Monday:

The average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. has risen 3 cents a gallon during the past two weeks…

Lundberg says a gallon of regular now costs $3.58 on average. Midgrade costs $3.77 and premium is $3.91.

Of the cities surveyed in the Lower 48 states, Chicago has the highest price at $3.92 a gallon. Tucson, Ariz., has the lowest at $3.27.

Blame it on Syria, right?

Is there any wonder why I fill my gas tank to the brim while I’m in Wisconsin?

(Editor’s note: According to WisconsinGasPrices.com this morning, the station I frequent there charges $3.55 a gallon- 37 cents cheaper compared to Chicago)

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“US gas prices rise 3 cents a gallon.” Associated Press. 9 Sep. 2013. (http://news.yahoo.com/us-gas-prices-rise-3-143222010.html;_ylt=A2KJNTsl_S1SOQsAy6XQtDMD). 10 Sep. 2013.

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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 Energy, Middle East, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles No Comments

AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Usually around this time of year, I commute more often between my pad in Chicago and my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin. While that won’t be happening as much in 2013 due to everything that’s going on around here, I still like to keep on top of gas prices to get an idea of how much I’ll be shelling out to enjoy the open road.

(Editor’s note: Open road my butt. This is the Chicago metropolitan area, where if bumper-to-bumper gridlock isn’t taking place, you’re dealing with drivers who are distracted, in a hurry to go nowhere, or who really just don’t care about the rules of the road. And a “good drive” is one where you don’t lose a hubcap/wheel cover from a pothole that goes all the way to China.)

Venting process complete.

Anyway, here’s some highlights from the “AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook” that’s just been released on the “NewsRoom” section of the AAA website:

• Gas prices nationally averaged $3.55 per gallon in April, which was the least expensive average for the month since 2010. Gas prices dropped about 13 cents per gallon in April (3.5 percent), which was the largest percentage decline for the month in ten years. In comparison, gas prices in 2012 averaged $3.89 for the month, while the average price in April 2011 was $3.79 per gallon.
• Gas prices should drop to $3.20 to $3.40 per gallon by mid-summer if current trends continue in regards to oil prices, motorist demand and refinery production. Gas prices in recent years have declined in early summer after reaching a springtime peak as refineries ramp up gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season.
• The cheapest gas prices are predominately in the Southeast where extensive refinery production and lower-than-average taxes have helped keep prices low in comparison to the rest of the country. Gas prices in the Great Lakes region have increased in recent weeks because of planned refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages following recent heavy storms.
• The five states with the highest averages today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($3.97), Ill. ($3.91), Calif. ($3.90) and Mich. ($3.79). The five states with the cheapest gas price averages today include: S.C. ($3.23), Tenn. ($3.26), Ala. ($3.27), Ark. ($3.27) and Miss. ($3.28).

As for me in Chicago? Prices at the pump have not only been brutal this spring, but are expected to go higher. Samantha Bomkamp reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

AAA said Tuesday that motorists nationwide are paying the lowest springtime gas prices in three years, but don’t tell that to drivers in Illinois.

Despite a recent dip, drivers here are paying the highest average price in the lower 48 states. With a statewide average on Tuesday of $3.91 a gallon, Illinois drivers are paying more than every state except Alaska at $3.97 and Hawaii and $4.34.

Costs are even higher in Chicago where the average price was $4.32 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. Prices averaged $4.14 in the suburbs…

While AAA predicts that drivers nationally should see gas prices fall even lower, motorists in Illinois and other Great Lakes states should see even higher prices as maintenance continues on refineries that provide most of the region’s gas supplies.

It’s a good thing I fill up in Wisconsin, where the price of gas is routinely cheaper.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’…

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook.” AAA. 29 Apr. 2013. (http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/04/aaa-monthly-gas-price-report-april-2013-trends-and-summer-outlook/). 1 May 2013.

Bomkamp, Samantha. “Gas prices ease nationwide while Ill. marches higher.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Apr. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-gas-prices-ease-nationwide-while-ill-marches-higher-20130430,0,3861102.story). 1 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 Energy, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles No Comments
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