Notes from JWR:

Today we welcome our newest advertiser, Uncle Howard’s. They are a builder that specializes in barns, shops, combination house/shops and combination house/RV garages. Their designs maximize storage space, which is important for those that are preparedness-minded and have a lot of logistics to store. Their construction costs are very low. Be sure to visit their web site.

Special thanks to reader “RK” who very kindly sent his 10 Cent Challenge subscription payment in the form of a 1/10th-ounce American Eagle gold coin. That was very kind of you! Speaking of gold, I noticed that the spot price of gold briefly touched $975 per ounce before settling to $973.60 on Friday. Concurrently, the US Dollar Index sagged below 73.70. (When I last checked, it took $1.51 to buy one Euro!) Also on Friday, the DJIA lost 315 points (2.51%). The “Leap Day” Dow sell-off was in reaction to AIG’s huge 6.56% one day loss, blamed on, of course, subprime mortgages. CitiGroup lost 5.19% the same day. Be ready for more turbulence and downward pressure in these markets. If the Dow drops below 11,508 (its low point, in the past year), or if the USD Index drops below 72, there could be what my friend The Chartist Gnome calls “seemingly instantaneous negative implications.” Minimize your dollar exposure, folks!

I’m presently catching up on my backlog of correspondence. The following are some recent letters and e-mails: