Guess who I was listening to on the way to work today? I’ve been working on a Fourth Turning related article for the last two weeks on and off. I’m desperately trying to connect the dots to give some indication of what will happen in the next ten years. I’m trying to keep the big picture in view. The day to day distractions are unimportant. During a Fourth Turning, the specific events are not as important as people’s reaction to the events. My article is about 50% complete and I’ll have it done by Sunday, but in the space of two weeks the world situation has deteriorated rapidly. The Middle East is ablaze in revolution. Tensions are rising all over the globe. European countries are teetering on the brink of insolvency. Energy and food prices are skyrocketing. The worst earthquake in a century struck Japan this morning. The US economic system rests solely on the printing press of the Federal Reserve.

The MSM and myopic politicians are focused on the next election cycle, gay marriage, union protests in Wisconsin and American Idol. The world is changing. The old order is being swept away. Winter has descended on the world. There are bitter times ahead. You must keep the big picture in view. We are in the midst of a Fourth Turning that will not end until 2025. Buckle up.

A Fourth Turning only happens Once in a Lifetime for a person who lives a normal 80 year life. That is why I think the Talking Heads tune – Once in a Lifetime is appropriate today.  

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…


And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?
Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!
Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…

Water dissolving…and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…

Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime

46 thoughts on “ONCE IN A LIFETIME”


    11 March 2011
    SP 500 This Morning: Japan Quake Overshadows Saudi Arabia

    Here is what I am watching this morning. There is a potential bull pennant, but the 50 DMA represents an obvious point of interest.

    The devastating earthquake in Japan completely overshadowed the Middle East this morning. I am exchanging emails with a friend who is riding out the troubles in the Shinjuku district while he waits for the trains to resume so he can head home.

    My hearts goes out to all my friends in Japan, and all those who are in distress. I am trying to contact some and have not yet reached them. Shino san, can you please drop me a note and let me know you are all right?

    がんばって Ganbatte.

    I thought some of the book-talking commentary from Japan bears early this morning on was a bit over the top even for pigmen.

    In the spirit of never wasting a crisis, the Masters of the Universe staged a major bear raid on the metals complex this morning. I had to steel my resolve and pick up some positions at deep discounts to reality. Silver is in delivery now and the negotiations for cash settlement are introducing noise into the markets. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds, so prepare for additional swings as their massive short position is in its death throes.

    These events in the Middle East and Japan provide the perfect rationale for the Fed’s QE3.

  2. It is entirely depressing to allow the thought of a fifteen year winter setting in – especially at this stage of my personal path.

    My gut tells me that many Americans may not mentally survive the results of our decades of exuberance.

    Most people alive in America today, my grandma and her generation exempted, whom know the difference between “want” and “need.”

    They are going to soon find out.

    God help us all.

  3. … and that super-secret USAF space plane took off a few days ago on another ‘test flight’…

    (tinfoil hat, off)

  4. I’ve not seen this vid before. Liked it a lot. Jim, I feel like I’m getting a college education in music from you. You are the best.

    My favorite for this genre is still Eve Of Destruction … probably for nostalgic reasons.

    1. Stuck

      David Byrne is a genius. He is also a true artist. He could make millions by reforming the Talking Heads and going on tour with their oldies. He refuses.

      He did the music for the latest Wall Street movie. Good stuff.

  5. Can’t wait to see the new 4T piece, Jim.

    I’ve been thinking, all morning, about how we should be especially vigilant right now. The Japan quake gives everyone an opportunity to “get stuff done” while media and citizens are paying attention to that disaster. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Bernanke quietly announced QE3, or if Saudi Arabia finds a way to slaughter resistance without anyone noticing.

    1. Thinker

      What I’d really love is for Neil Howe to write an article about what he thinks will happen in the near future. When I re-read the Fourth Turning Prophecy chapter in the book, I can’t help but shake my head at the accuracy of their predictions 10 to 15 years in advance of what has happened.

  6. Jim

    He did do this piece in 2010… and, while it may not be all that specific, I do believe that his primary predictions are going to come true. That is:

    1) People are going to develop a new, survival-based mindset. Expensive annual vacations, new cars every couple of years and flat screen televisions in every room will be distant memories. Home gardens, preserving your own food and carefully allotting every dollar will become the “new normal.”

    2. People will desire greater community, localism and common-sense populism. Howe thinks that people will expect government to increase protections, but we all know that we’re just beginning that struggle. It’s likely that government is going to have to be broken down and reformulated before people restore trust in it.

    3. America will become more isolationist. I think this is already happening, but it’s likely to also increase as America’s debt leads to further decline in our global standing. Along with China’s rise.

    4. Longer-term thinking will prevail. For too long, we’ve only worried about the next quarter, the next year. Living paycheck-to-paycheck was the norm for most of the middle class… now they realize they can no longer do that. Sense of security is a more deeply-embedded human motivation than hedonism and, when survival instincts kick in (as they will), people will learn to plan for the future. You already hear the rumblings of it — that the debt is unsustainable, that our children and grandchildren shouldn’t foot the bill. Doing something about it will come eventually (we’re still early in the 4T), and Americans in general will be more cognizant of how their actions impact the future. For a generation or two, anyway… then the New Prophets will blow it all to hell, just like the Boomers have.

    5. Xers will increasingly take on leadership roles and push Boomers out. It’s the only way that institutions can be broken down and reformulated. Xers have a deep understanding of self-sacrifice and strong survival instincts — the very things that will be required to do the “dirty work” of the 4T. We already saw the 2010 election put more of them into Congress, and the 2012 will be no different. Someone has to take on the Boomers, and the Xers are the perfect ones to do that. As the 4T Crisis deepens, more will get over their general apathy and do what’s needed.

    Probably more than you were looking for, but take a look at Neil’s post and see what you make of it.

    1. Thinker

      Awesome post. Your list will help me with my article.

      As an Xer, I’m ready for what is coming. My dread is related to my 3 heroes at home. We both know that it is the heroes who have to do the heavy lifting.


  7. “We are in the midst of a Fourth Turning that will not end until 2025.”-JimQ

    So tell me Jim, what is going to end the Turning in 2025? We are going to build a lot of Nuke Plants that year? What?


    1. RE

      I don’t know. It might end as you predict with the destruction of the country. A Fourth Turning sweeps the old social order away. What replaces the existing order is up to us.

  8. @THC4SSS

    You were buying CD’s in the early 80s? Wow, you must have been really rich.

    I didn’t buy my first CD until the mid-90s, even though I had won two Sony Walkman CD players in 1992 (from Rick Dee’s Weekly Top 40 of all places!).

  9. @Thinker

    OK, from the Cliff Notes I get this at the end of the 4th Turning Chapter:

    “Throughout the 7 saecula of modern Anglo-American history, each turning has made its own contribution to history. Each offered its own solutions—which, in time, created new problems and anxieties. Thus have the four turnings kept the great wheel of time in motion, infusing civilization with periodic new doses of vitality, propelling the human adventure ever forward. ”

    Love the prose, it’s so bombastic and grandiose it sounds like something I would write after a few too many Sam Adams. LOL.

    However, its mighty short on specifics of exactly what sort of “periodic dose of vitality” we will get in 2025 to “propel the human adventure ever forward.” So what is it? The Vulcans are gonna arrive with Dilithium Crystals to power the society and the Ferengi will show up with enough Gold Pressed Latinum to run the new monetary system? Inquiring minds want to know.


    1. Thinker

      RE shits on anything that doesn’t fit into his master plan scenario. No one else can offer a view of the future. He is the Alaskan Nostrodomus.

  10. RE

    Can’t do anything about the prose. Authors are authors; they write the way they write. You of all people should appreciate that.

    IRT 2025, we’ll move into the beginning of the High, when people are exhausted from the Crisis and just want a nice, quiet life. Trust me, after 20 years of Crisis, that’s exactly what will happen.

    If the Crisis goes well, that High will be a time of investment, growth, and strength — prosperity and stability will follow. If the Crisis doesn’t end well, the High will be a time of austerity — calmer and more stable, but with little growth and prosperity.

    To understand it, you have to look at the past Highs (1Ts) — after the American Revolution, when our newly-formed country pushed into the wilderness, mapped and settled new territories. New canals and infrastructure was built. Educational institutions were founded.

    After the Civil War, we had Reconstruction, with the Industrial Revolution and the burgeoning middle class. It was more austere, mainly because the Crisis was overly brutal and ended abruptly, but it was still a period of growth.

    After the Depression/WWII, we saw the rise of America as a world superpower. Infrastructure was again developed. The middle class enjoyed the greatest wealth of any other time. Average people finally were able to afford their own homes.

    As we’ve said before, the theory isn’t about reading the future, no matter how much people want to. At best, you can recognize the struggles, anticipate how they’ll be resolved and then extrapolate some idea of what might happen. You should be able to come relatively close, if you know what’s happened in the past and what’s driving the Crisis now. Human nature, after all, doesn’t change.

  11. Jim

    No worries… glad it helped.

    I know what you mean about your Heroes… I have three little nephews/niece, myself. They lost their Dad (my younger brother) last September, so it’s becoming like they’re my own. We Xers just have to teach them to survive it. Just like the Lost (Patton, Truman, Eisenhower) were there for the GI’s.

  12. @Thinker & Admin

    The problem with 4th Turning stuff is it only accounts for smaller cycles, not grand supercyles. Did things turn around in 20 years after the collapse of the Roman Empire? Hell no, we had about 500 years of the Dark Ages. You know, Vlad the Impaler, Attila the Hun those guys.

    This one is going to make those Dark Ages look like a sunny day on Waikiki. Our future is as Bright as Charlie Sheen vision during a Total Eclipse in a Darkroom wearing Shades.


  13. “RE shits on anything that doesn’t fit into his master plan scenario. No one else can offer a view of the future. He is the Alaskan Nostrodomus.”-Admin

    NOT TRUE! Several other people offer a pretty accurate assesment of the Future. Jim Kunstler, Dmitri Orlov, Mike Ruppert etc. I just don’t think Strauss and Howe are Doomy enough.


    1. RE

      This isn’t gloomy enough for you?

      Thus might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse – or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension. – Strauss & Howe

  14. Odd, I was just listening to that song yesterday on the way home. Or maybe not so odd . . . 😉

    Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments Thinker and Admin, and my focus is on my three home-Heroes, too, although the youngest one seems to act like an Artist these days.

    I also can’t wait until the Boomers are swept out of power, but its going to be a long decade until that happens — and they won’t go quietly. There will be demands for absolute solutions — including the war you mentioned yesterday or the day before, and probably setting up internment camps to put people in like during WWII.

    Survival, Liberty and Honor — let those be our watchwords.

  15. My home state is in the news:


    Seems we have a generation gap here – heh, *I* could have told you that! An issue that divides the state deeply is the gay marriage issue. One of our gubernatorial candidates based his entire campaign on it. And then, when he lost, he devoted his entire career to ousting the Iowa supreme court justices who allowed gay marriage. (That one worked.) 99% of the time, the views on this issue divide along generations, and boy is there ever a generational war brewing.

    You have people in their 60s who have made out like absolute bandits on the entitlement programs and think homosexuality is an “immoral lifestyle choice.”

    Then you have the young people who are getting totally screwed by the entitlement programs and don’t see homosexuality as immoral, a lifestyle, or as a choice.

    What the young people do is leave the state in droves. Our population has shrunk so much that we lost a congressional seat, and the rural areas are emptying out completely. Young people leave, and the old folks say ‘good riddance!’ They figure if you are such a godless heathen that you don’t even have the decency to be upset by homosexuality, then you can just go live with the rest of the libertines and infideles in places like Colorado.

    Nevertheless I invite everyone to do Ragbrai this year. The Road Pirates welcome you!

  16. Jim: if you’d put up the money to send the residents of the 30 blocks of squalor to Japan, they could loot the place and be back by Sunday.

  17. You never know, RE, what if all our problems are solved by technology like Ray Kurzweil predicts?

    I don’t agree with his overly optimistic views, but I don’t think you can exclude the possibilities.

    Personally, I’ll be happy if we make it to 2025 without killing each other.

    And I’m waiting for a credible Gen-X leader to stand up and say “I ain’t promising you nothing extra.”

    From the vault:

    “Ten Bears: These things you say we will have, we already have.

    Josey Wales: That’s true. I ain’t promising you nothing extra. I’m just giving you life and you’re giving me life. And I’m saying that men can live together without butchering one another.

    Ten Bears: It’s sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, and so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of Ten Bears carries the same iron of life and death. It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life… or death. It shall be life.”

    — The Outlaw Josey Wales

  18. Pirate, my state is the same way.

    The entitled – in my case the “poor” (lazy & amoral by any standards), the unions (dear gawd we are held hostage so 20% of the population can live like kings) and the seniors.

    If you throw in the cocksucking bankers — why isn’t anyone bitching about the increase in fees and the like? did you guys know that the FDIC made changes that included a SEVEN DAY WAITING PERIOD to withdraw your own cash from non-interest baring accounts (so the little companies and the working poor!) — It feels like we have 80% of the population riding on our backs and they all keep coming back for more.

    This can’t end well, it just can’t. That is what sucks the most.

    I pray to a god I barely believe in that we will come out of this mess stronger. Then I go to Walmart, call a customer service rep, open yet another government information concerning another regulation/tax /change and sincerely doubt there are enough people like you to bring light into the darkness.

    Our only hope would be if those in the 30 blocks, Detroit and Washington DC, were the majority of the unlucky. I fear there is just too many of them though.

  19. Technology is the absolute wild card. There have in the past been gloomy times when a technological breakthrough ushered in a new era of growth. We cannot rule that out for the near future. But we can’t rely on it or predict it either. To simply assume some magical technological fairy will save us is cornucopian, not to mention infantile. Of course that seems to be what the politicians and economists believe in. But I repeat myself.

    Anyway, barring the unpredictable possibility of a technological breakthrough in energy, I think we’re heading towards some dark ages, possibly rather permanent dark ages. The energy sources we currently depend on are rapidly depleting, and if we can’t replace them the whole world is fucked, more than a gigolo hippie who hits on Smokey while wearing an Obama campaign t-shirt. In this scenario, the 80-year cycles only set the stage, and as RE suggests we either need to look at a “grand supercycle,” or perhaps realize that not everything runs in cycles and this could be the big nasty one for the human-oil civilization experiment.

  20. Pirate Jo, I grew up in Iowa, too. Cedar Rapids, actually. I always tell people Iowa is like historical Ireland. A relatively educated, rural place where there are not enough opportunities so all the most talented young people leave if they can. You’ll find Iowans all over the country for that reason. Most of my high school friends ended up in Chicago, Madison-Milwaukee, Minneapolis or Kansas City. Or Colorado as you mentioned.

    I only have one brother left there. It’s kind of depressing to go back — CR still hasn’t recovered from the flood and you can tell things are deteriorating. The sign of pay-day loan outfits all along 1st Ave is a dead giveaway.

  21. I stay in Iowa because my ties here (friends/family) have grown so strong, and because there is nothing like our cycling culture anywhere else in the USA. Cycling culture in other states involves getting kitted up in matching spandex and riding as fast as you can. In Iowa it means loading a 12-pack on your fat-tired, steel-framed mountain bike and riding with your friends out in the country. It is a beautiful state and I don’t want to live anywhere else. That’s not to say this place isn’t stuck a good 50 years in the past in certain ways, but that can be part of its charm. I do love a vacation to a big city somewhere, or another country. I love to try new things and see exciting places as much as anyone – but at the end of the day I want to go home to peace and quiet.

    — Bag End, Bagshot Row, the Shire (Iowa), the beginning of the Fourth Turning

  22. @Admin

    No sorry, “millions of people killed” doesn’t quite cut it. Off by at least 2 orders of magnitude. We are looking at numbers in the Billions here, not Millions.

    I see Dead People.


  23. @Admin

    Big Undershoot on the estimate by Strauss & Howe. No less than 1B this go round. As we well know, 7M was average Great Depression type death numbers in Europe. Available tables in the Statistical Abstract of the US from 1940 in Da Fed archives don’t provide the data for 1931-1935 to make accurate estimates for the FSofA. In any event, we had a much smaller total population then, less environmental degradation, less dependence on Oil based systems and Big Shity population centers. Result, this go round, many more Dead People.

    I See Dead People.


  24. Reverse Engineer says: “As we well know, 7M was average Great Depression type death numbers in Europe.”

    here we fucking go again. i don’t even know what that sentence is supposed to mean (average? type death numbers?)

    how does the ‘great depression’ time period fit in with events in the ukraine?

    wait, this is just more re throwing shit up on his computer screen, which only relates to actual historic facts by wild coincidence.

    i should just ignore. nevermind.

  25. “As we well know, 7M was average Great Depression type death numbers in Europe.”

    i sure as shit don’t comprehend that abomination of a sentence. what would your man mccourt have said if you brought him some crap like that? he would’ve worn out three red sharpies on that mess.

    and you will bring it back as proof of something in the future. hilarious.

  26. @Howard

    I’ll spell it out for you dimwit. As you well know, 6-7M are the generally accepted and quoted numbers for Jews exterminated in the Holocaust. Similar numbers are claimed for Gypsies and Russians.

    Frank McCourt gave me my first copy of “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas”. If you think my prose is creative, read the Good Doctor of Gonzo sometime.

    You really are an idiot Howard.


  27. so what the fuck does the holocaust have to do with the great depression? don’t get mad at me that you are unable to communicate a simple concept.


    i have damn near every thompson book on my shelf, having read and treasured them all. as well as a portrait, (a lithotype print, or something), sketched by steadman. you can just leave my personal literary hero out of your mad ravings.

    your prose is quite creative, but to mention dr. duke raoul in the same breath of your own sick twisted rantings is the funniest thing you’ve ever written.

    your ravings are much more charlie sheen than hst. nice excuse for you lack of logic and fact, call it gonzo.

    intestinally yours.

  28. WTF does the Holocaust have to do with the Great Depression? Can you really be that stupid?

    World War II occurred resulting from the economic failure of the Dreat Depression, filling up country after country with desperately poor people. In Germany, many of those desperately poor people were fairly recent imigrants from the time of the Pogroms in Russia. When the Nazi’s came to power, Hitler came up with the “Final Solution” to the problem of Poor People. He exterminated them.

    This is my last direct response explaining cause and effect to you. If you cannot make connections like this in your head, you are truly among the hopelessly stupid of the earth. People this stupid cannot be saved. You clearly are one of them, and I will no longer make the attempt. You will be ignored.


  29. good.

    let me lay this out for you.

    you know as well as i and anyone who cares to read that your post was another transparent, lame-assed attempt to retroactively justify your 7 million bullshit.

    you keep bringing that crap back.

    as long as you leave it retired, you have nothing to fear from my methodical, harsh but fair and factual dismemberment of your words.

    back away from the 7 million garbage, and i will leave you to your mad rants unmolested.


    every time you try to slide that shit back into the platform; everytime you try to revive your 7 million in america died of starvation fantasy, i will slap you and it down.

    i will be tom mf joad.

    let the 7 million bullshit rest, i humbly suggest. for your own sake.

    heh. gonzo my fat black ass.

  30. Jim

    Charles Hugh Smith also adds some good points for your 4T prediction article:

    When Things Fall Apart

    I love that he quotes THE SECOND COMING by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    1. Thinker

      I’ve seen CHS mention the Fourth Turning in previous articles. He sees the big picture as well as anyone.

  31. Far away
    across the field
    tolling on the iron bell
    calls the faithful to their knees

    to hear the softly spoken magic spell …

  32. A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
    You shout and no one seems to hear.
    And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
    I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

    a roger waters/wb yeats mashup

  33. bump

    because my beatdown of re documented above is just too delicious to remain just between us. that would be selfish of me.



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