BANANAS!What do bananas have to do with the fact that FDIC deposit insurance is not a sure thing? I don't know but it was a famous song in that OTHER DEPRESSION and I'm humming it today as questions roll in to the MELTDOWN PAGE but what does it mean? Well, follow along with the Q&A.

DEAR ANITA: ARE MY LIFE SAVINGS INSURED? Are they OK? They're in one of the top banks in the USA.

ANSWER: All I know is this banana song comes to me by osmosis for some reason when I  hear television commercial for banks  “Member FDIC Insured.”  As you know, supposedly the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has been insuring our money up to $100,000. This was supposed to make working-class people feel safe and comfortable. Now suddenly, a series of huge banks collapse, falling like dominoes one after the other, so indeed, our individual financial safety is put in serious jeopardy. Back in  1929, everybody LOST their life savings. So they made the FDIC law about insuring your deposit up to 100k.

With the passage of the Wall Street bailout legislation, the rules for the FDIC have supposedly changed. Now, the sum per bank "deposit guaranteed" by the FDIC has been temporarily raised to $250,000. Suspicious that I am, I feel this 'new law' is to get RICH FOLKS to leave ALL THEIR MONEY in the bank and not go cause a RUN, which would occasion a serious DRAIN on the bank. The FDIC is also allowed to borrow from the Treasury to cover losses that might occur as a result of the new, higher insurance limit.

The FDIC, however, currently has enough in its reserve fund to cover only 1 percent of insured deposits. As of September 2008, the Deposit Insurance Fund had a balance of $45 billion. Why don't you google up the REAL AMOUNT AMERICANS HAVE IN THOSE BANKS. I'm betting it's l00 times that amount!

If there is an all-out run on the banks and everyone decides to try to collect their money, millions of workers might not be able to recover any of their money, let alone the up to $250,000 now guaranteed by the FDIC! So if you believe in SANTA CLAUS, go ahead and leave your cash in your bank!

However, there's some serious CAVEAT EMPTOR running around, as there's another thing I read online. IN the realllly FINE PRINT your FDIC contract says 'they have twenty years to pay you back.'

So when you go to your bank to get your money out, if that bank is still open, they can cite chapter and verse and sing right in your face, "Yes we have no bananas! We have no bananas today!" So here's a tip. Get some of your cash into silver quarters, bags of them buried in a chest in the garden, smaller fruit bowls of quarters around the house. Cover with a napkin and some huge wax bananas on top. Kids aren't told as they'd eat sweets. Young people have such an appetite for sweets. Let them eat bananas. When the fruit's gone and the quarters below have been used for buying minimal groceries, frugal items, like no frozen stuff, all real, all cheap, all the loss leaders at market for that week, then each bowl gets refreshed from buried stash once a week. You have gas money, shopping money but not cafe cash. NOBODY eats out, NO MORE coffee at Starbucks. All coffee is made at home, and not super strong. Start growing chicory to create a way to CUT YOUR COFFEE. It's very easy to grow. Might give you a second business as the CHICON is used for BELGIAN ENDIVE! (How to grow a lusty crop of something lucrative like this BELGIAN ENDIVE GROWING TIP from a genius website.)


ANSWER: They're FINE until the day they close banks! Then, your check is useless. You'll probably get a stack of them every month, 12 a year. Save them though. Just imagine that little paper check, right? It's either in your mail box and of no use to anyone as nobody will take it, cash it or even look at it! Or it's at your bank with AUTOMATIC DEPOSIT and ditto! Useless as Confederate money.

So here's an idea, to give you an edge, a new habit. Go cash it FIRST DAY IT COMES. Meaning you check past bank statments to find out day it arrives your bank. 1st, 2nd. Then, go there and nail the cash. What happens if five days later, banks close -- is, you have 25 days of eating. Maybe the last days you don't starve in your entire short life!

Now the landlord is another thing, entirely. You may have to work for the guy. My landlord owns 22 homes. Dick is an Irish descent taxi driver (His Pop was immigration officer on Ellis Island). Dick invested his cab salary (in spite of wife's anger, ) --buying l house after another for fifty years and renting them all out.

These houses cost l0k, 15k, apiece, in that ballpark. All are worth a half mil today so at this point my scruffy ex cab driver's empire is 11 million dollars. And he is FRUGAL as an AMISH banker. However,  the salient fact is: he needs a handyman and a landscaper. I am very landscape-able and my son too being Basque descended, (ATLANTEAN tribes on edge of what became Atlantic ocean, were his Pop's forebearers.) the kid knows electricity, wiring, home repair, handyman by osmosis and can fix any motor, an Atlantean trait. We'd have two sets of able hands to offer this landlord for a while. At least to wait out the Great Depression. Also that kid could undersell all the Mex gardeners that folks hire on my block.

My landlord has hired a Mexican man for the last twenty years, a geezer who once was in Diaz Ordaz' army. Pablo is 72 yrs old,  getting too old to do the hard work. I noted in him an existential haunted quality.  Wasn't sure he was dumb or what. Then I asked, what ugly things have you seen. Turns out that when President Diaz Ordaz killed 1000 Mexico City university students (not at the costly Univ, no the little cheap one,) in 1968 on the eve of Mexico City Olympics, Pablo had to dump bodies in river for two solid weeks afterwards. Kind of does a guy in.

Well, Pablo and I painted this house exterior in a day and a half.  IQ of a toad but my kindly landlord has loyalty to ole PABLO so it would take some sales spiel to get him to use my son Luis on a second day a week, to really spiff up those 22 homes.

So my second quasi-realistic idea here --is to find out what your landlord needs, trade wise. FINDING your Barter/ Trade talents is real import. You can create ITHACA DOLLARS. It takes posters on every fone pole to do it.   http://home.earthlink.net/~astrology/ithaca.htm

You can even create merchandise. If you had bunnies, it would be fresh meat. (Reminds me of ROGER AND ME, the MICHAEL MOORE FILM! Remember the bunny scene? ) If you fish the rocks on the seacoast, you'd have luscious bass, sculpin, corbina, valuable fish to trade. Easy to find subscribers. All of it under the table. If you know how to knit one could handknit fisherman's sweaters..Course wool is damn costly so you'd better have sheep, carders, spinners too. Nobody realizes wool sweaters are  400$ retail and your landlord sure wouldn't! He'd try to give you a twenty dollar bill. At least, MINE would! But it's a thought. Anyway get the family together and make a BARTER TALENT PLAN NOW.

ANSWER: Shit happens. My grandpa and grandma Szendrei in Leipzig GERMANY went through all that. The famous Ravaging INFLATION where to buy a loaf of bread, you needed a shopping cart to haul the bills. Gramps wrote up the experience himself. http://www.masterjules.net/inflation.htm

And oddly, another grandparent, Granny Elena in San Luis Obispo along with her mother --faced the 1929 mess by turning their fairly large home on Marsh Street into a boarding house. She wasn't much of a writer so the only tips from her come thru my genes' message to me. Elena was a terrific gardener and cook, able to turn home made, home grown food into group meals she could charge for, rent rooms by the month & made out like a bandit.