From:
South of Jewfish Creek

 

 

Dear Friend & Subscriber,

It's the last day of April and I'm sitting here staring at a ball cap.

It's a pretty ordinary ball cap. Millions of people wear one like this every day. Except, what's different about this one is, it has a little rectangle of plastic attached to the front of it. This rectangle is 1-1/2 inches high and 2-1/2 inches wide. Inside the plastic rectangle is a gray window. Inside the window are black numbers. The number on the far right of the display changes every second. It's kind of like wearing a ball cap with a little plastic clock on the front of it. Except, this clock runs backwards. What it does is count down how many days, hours, minutes and seconds are left until this year is over.

This is a COUNTDOWN 2000 ball cap. When the numbers reflect zero days left, zero hours left, zero minutes left and zero seconds left, this year will be over and the year 2000 will begin.

This hat is an interesting gimmick but, it irritates me. It keeps me conscious of time slipping by. I bought it as a gift for my Uncle Jack (he likes it) and I'll be happy to give it back to him and get it out of my sight.

Recently, someone took a survey to find out what words or phrases Americans were most fed up with hearing. I would have guessed the top of the list would be "Monica Lewinsky." But, I would have guessed wrong. According to the survey, the #1 thing Americans don't want to hear anything more about is...

Y2K!

Well folks, that's just too bad because... before you know it... Y2K is going to be a very serious concern to all Americans. You see, after nearly a year of systematic investigation, a special Senate committee has finished a very sobering study of the Y2K problem that concludes... some incalculable level of economic disruption is inevitable!!

"Make no mistake," warns the investigating Senate panel, "this problem will affect us all individually and collectively in very profound ways. It will indeed impact individual businesses and the global economy. In some cases, lives could even be at stake!"

I don't believe a lot of government studies but, I do believe this one. The authors of the report have taken great care to avoid both undue alarm and unfounded optimism. Here are some of their findings:

 

Planes Will Not Fall

Out Of The Sky!

However, this nation's 670 domestic airports started working on Y2K compliance way too late and, what we are going to experience is a lot of... "flight rationing." And, as bad as it's going to get here, aviation problems are going to be much worse in other countries.

We Are Still Going To Be

Able To Make Telephone Calls!

It looks like 95% of U.S. telephone systems will be ready. However, the same cannot be said for data networks, cellular or satellite communication systems.

We Are Still Going To Be

Able To Get Our Hands

On Our Fungolas!

Or, at least, so they say. Banks are mostly Y2K compliant. You shouldn't have any problems withdrawing your money or getting cash from an automated teller. Plus, the Federal Reserve intends to expand available currency by about 1/3 to approximately 200 billion dollars to cover people who want to withdraw their money.

Sounds good. But, I wouldn't take it as gospel.

Health Care In America

Is Going To Suck!

90% of all American doctors have done nothing to prepare their offices for Y2K problems! 64% of hospitals have no plans whatsoever to test their Y2K fixes before the crunch date. Federal payment systems for Medicare and other health insurance programs are way behind schedule as far as preparing for Y2K problems. A quote from the report: "The health care industry is one of the worst prepared for Y2K and carries a significant potential for harm."

I see some nightmare scenarios on the horizon in this area.

Many of Us Are Gonna

Have To Live In The Dark!

As of the first of this year, only about 50% of electric utilities were ready for Y2K. The greatest problems will emanate from approximately 1,000 small, rural electric utilities. Local and regional "blackouts" are going to be commonplace but, a prolonged, national blackout is not.

Service From Government Agencies Is

Going To Suck Even More

Than It Does Now!

Some Federal agencies are prepared. Some are not. Strangely enough, among the least prepared is the Defense Department. (I don't know about you but, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.)

State and local governments vary widely as far as they are prepared is concerned. What is rather scary is the Senate panel said, "The greatest concern is the ability of local communities to provide 911 emergency services."

The Economy Is

Gonna Take A Nosedive!

According to the report, heavily regulated fields such as banking, insurance and finance are further ahead but health care, oil, education, agriculture, farming, food processing and the construction industry are lagging behind. Any failure of a critical system is likely to cost up to 3-1/2 million to repair!

What would you guess AT&T has already spent to solve its Y2K problems? Would you believe... 900 million dollars?!

And now, let ol' Guru Gary tell you the main thing that's gonna happen. The Senate report touched on it but, I'd like to give you an idea of just how awful what I see as the "main problem" is going to be.

In a nutshell, it is other countries.

You think we're not ready for Y2K? Hell, we're more prepared than a pack of boy scouts compared to other countries. Take Brazil as an example. It has already experienced economic chaos because of the devaluation of the "Real" this year. But, as losing football teams often say, "Just wait till next year!" You see, Brazil has hardly even begun to become Y2K compliant.

So what? I'll tell you what. Brazil is Maytag's third largest market. How many washers and dryers do you think Maytag is going to sell to Brazilians when the new year makes the majority of Brazilian businesses come to a standstill? And, except for the U.S., Xerox sells more of its products to Brazil than anywhere else.

Think declining sales of Xerox and Maytag... and... all the thousands of other U.S. companies with major markets in foreign countries is going to affect our economy? Our stock market? You bet it will... and... it's not going to be pretty!

The Y2K problem, also known as "The Millennium Bug" is not going to be just another "bump in the road." No, it's going to be...

One Of The Most

Serious And Potentially

Devastating Events This

Nation Has Ever Encountered!

Halbert hype? Nope. That's a direct quote from the Senate report. And get this: The government almost always presents the most positive picture possible on any situation. So, just imagine how bad this situation is really going to be!

Look, the Y2K problem is not complicated. To save space, the pioneers of computer programming used only two digits to indicate what year the computer was dealing with. For example, 1999 is programmed only as 99. It just assumed the first two digits are 19. Therefore, in the year 2000, all computers that aren't fixed are going to think it's 1900.

This is not a trivial matter. It is going to create world-wide chaos.

Let's bring it home. What does all this mean to you? What should you do to be prepared? Is there any way you can profit from this situation?

I'll get to that in a minute. But first, I want to tell you some personal stuff... and then... I'm going to relate this personal stuff to the Y2K problem.

I have a small jet boat. Not a jet ski... a jet boat. It's only 14 feet and 4 inches long. I bought it for practically nothing. A rich guy from Ireland bought it for his son two or three years ago and then got pissed off at his son and never gave it to him. Instead, he put it in storage. When I got it, it looked brand, spanking new.

A jet engine on a boat operates a lot like a jet engine on a plane. The jet on the plane sucks air into the front of the engine and pushes it out the back... thus thrusting the plane forward. A jet engine on a boat works the same way, except it sucks in and pushes out water.

You know how if some sparrows or other birds get sucked into a jet engine on a plane, it screws everything up? Well, the same is true of a jet boat. If the jet sucks up seaweed, the engine loses power until you remove the weeds. In the case of my little boat, the way you do that is jump overboard, swim under the boat and pull the weeds out of the intake grate. Then, you clamber back aboard the boat and off you go.

Now picture this: It's a beautiful Saturday in the Florida Keys. The sun is out and there's not a cloud in the sky. The waters are calm. I'm out by myself in my jet boat. A few times I have to go overboard and clean out the weeds but, I don't think anything about it. I go to a little island named Money Key on the south side of the Seven Mile Bridge. I tie up my boat and explore the island. I walk clear around it looking at little fish, stone crabs and stuff.

I've been out for hours and decide I'd better go home. I untie the boat, start the engine and start mobilating back to the marina. I'm going like a bat out of hell. Maybe 55 mph which is really fast on the water. I'm running between the old Seven Mile Bridge and the new one. The boat starts to lose power. Shit. I've got weeds again. There's a very strong current in this area between the bridges... so... I head north away from the bridges and limp forward until I think I'm far enough away to jump overboard and remove the weeds. I tie a line around my waist, go overboard and under the boat to remove the weeds.

But, when I come up, I discover the current is so strong, the boat has been pulled all the way back to the bridges. Whatever. No problem. Except, when I turn the key, the engine won't turn over. I figure it's a dead battery. I later learn it wasn't. What happened was, a rope got sucked up into the jet intake and froze the engine. By the way, do you know the difference between a rope and a line? It's simple: A rope becomes a line when it is attached to a boat. Untie it from the boat and take it home with you and it's a plain ol' rope again.

Boaters are insane.

Anyway, now the current has taken me south of the bridges and is pushing me with a vengeance out into the Atlantic Ocean. Not to worry. I've got my trusty little 2-horse power "kicker" or safety engine bracketed to the stern for just such emergencies. But, guess what? It won't start either. It's brand, damned new... and... it won't start!

By now, I'm miles out at sea. I'm pondering my situation and I happen to look over my shoulder. What had been a nice day is not so nice any more. I'm looking at one the blackest skies I've ever seen. The storm that followed those clouds has become a minor legend here in the Keys. It appeared literally out of nowhere and lashed the ocean and islands with all the fury of a scorned woman.

There's just a little juice left in my cell phone. I make a couple calls and get the Coast Guard looking for me. They search for a long time but they can't find me. You see, my boat is white and, as I said, only 14 feet long... and... the whitecaps breaking around me are bigger than the boat. The Coast Guard asked me if I have a flare gun. I do with four flares.

I fire up one into the air. They can't even see the flare. More conversation. I tell them exactly where I am. Time goes by.

They ask me to fire another flare. I do and they don't see this one either. Meanwhile, I'm drifting farther and farther out to sea. The waves are getting really big now and the water is coming over the sides of my boat. I have a line attacked to the boat and I tie it around my body. The boat has floatation and I figure if it capsizes, my best chance of survival is to stay with it.

After a while, the Coast Guard is ready for me to fire my third flare. I do and they don't see that one either. I'm now very worried. I'm sitting in a tiny boat which is being battered by large waves. I'm wearing an "el cheapo" life jacket. (It's the kind you should use when you are water skiing in calm water... not... to survive a vicious storm.) And, I've only got one flare left.

Then, I spot the Coast Guard boat!

They can't see me but, I can see them. I tell them which direction to point the bow of their boat and to look straight ahead and watch for my flare. Then, I fire my very last one.

YAHOO! They see it! Two boats race towards me. One is a cutter that tows my boat in. The other is a big, honking Zodiac and I had to get off my boat and onto that one right damn now! They snugged the boats together, held them as tight as they could and I rolled over my boat onto the deck of theirs.

Then began the roughest boat ride of my life. I was holding onto the center console with all my strength and we were hitting the waves so hard, my feet were flying off the deck. Then came a monster wave. We hit it so hard, I flew way up in the air and when I came down, I smashed my left leg. They tell me to stand up. I can't. I make the rest of that ride sitting on the deck of a boat smashing through the turbulent water like Lee Crull kicking ass in a bar full of bikers.

Finally, it's over. We're at the Coast Guard station and we're safe. Somehow, I manage to hobble off the Zodiac. They give me a blanket to wrap myself in. My Aunt and Uncle are there to take me home.

The nightmare is over.

But, little known to me, an even worse one is just beginning. I get my leg checked out and it turns out it's not broken. However, it's sprained so badly, they tell me it will be six months to a year before it's back to normal.

Then, two days later, I experience some horrible complications associated with some medicine prescribed for me and I become almost literally non-functional. What I had done was stop taking the medicine because I figured I no longer needed it. Well, when my trusty assistant, Theresa flew down to drive me to a doctor, I learned you have to taper off that particular medicine... and... quitting it abruptly as I did can cause you... to die!

By the way, that experience was worse than the boat accident.

Now we're up to just a few days ago and it has occurred to me I have been very lucky lately and I need to start being even more careful than I usually am. The brakes on my car are giving me a little problem and I have been putting off having them worked on. So, I say to myself, "Self, not paying attention to stuff like this is what gets you in trouble. Go get your brakes fixed right now!"

So I do.

Lo and behold, the very next day after I get my brakes fixed, the car ahead of me on the busiest section of U.S. 1 comes to a complete stop... with... no brake lights! I hit the brakes as hard as I can. If I hadn't had them fixed, I would have "fishtailed" into the other (very busy) lane. As it was, it was impossible to stop fast enough to avoid hitting the car in front of me... so... I wrench the wheel hard to the right and hurtle off the road and down the gully. Finally, I come to a stop. I'm unhurt and my car isn't even scratched. The guy in front of me gives me a blank look, starts his car and takes off down the highway without even a backward glance. I'm sure it didn't even occur to him to check to see if I was OK.

Probably from Miami.

All of which brings me to my first important point. Now that I live back down in the Keys, I have my old personal trainer back, a small woman named Marilyn White who I affectionately refer to as the "Nazi Bitch." She's easily the best trainer I've ever had and she gets more out of me in a workout session three times a week than I would've ever believed I had in me. She's got me in such good shape and so strong most people who don't know me guess me to be ten to twenty years younger than my actual age.

I'm absolutely convinced if it weren't for my working out, my leg really would have been broken in that boating accident. As it was, like I said earlier, when they examined my leg they said it would be six months to a year until it would be OK. Well, I'd say it's 90% OK already in just over three weeks. I give credit to my workouts for that also.

And, that near accident I had on U.S. 1? What if my reaction time had been a split second slower? It could have been very bad. I think working out helped in that situation also.

You know, a few years ago, I was talking with a few of my friends and we were pondering the age-old question of what we would do if we had unlimited money. Homes in different cities. A boat on each coast. Several cars. Money to charities and research organizations we believed in. Every one of us also said, "I'd get myself a personal trainer." Then it hit us. That's something we can afford right now. I've had one ever since. You can't believe the difference it will make in your life. Get yourself a personal trainer, arrange to workout first thing in the morning and you'll be stronger, fitter, calmer, have more self-esteem, have much more of an "up" outlook on life... and...

You Will Make A Lot

More Money!

You know, whenever I write a newsletter like this, I always get a few "bitch" letters. "I don't need to know this crap. I want to know about sales letters, lead-generating ads, copywriting tricks, mailing lists, etc."

But, I nearly always get a few "rave" letters too. You know who those come from? They come from the most successful of my subscribers. The winners. People like Joe Sugarman, Ben Suarez, Ted Nicholas, Joe Polish, Robert Allen and so on.

See, these people know what it really takes to win and that your #1 Priority needs to be...

Be A Good Animal!

So, get yourself a personal trainer. Don't you dare lie to me or yourself and say you can't afford it. You can't afford not to do it! And, with what's coming up with Y2K, this is something that will be more important than ever.

More: If you are on any kind of crucial prescription medication, start now to stock up on a surplus supply. The last thing you want if you are on some heart medication or the like is not to be able to access your doctor. Remember, it is in the area of health care where the really serious problems are likely to arise. A temporary blackout and lack of electricity is an inconvenience. Failure to get the medication or medical care you need can be fatal!

What else should you do? Many alarmists will tell you to stock up on canned foods and water. It's not a bad idea. But, I wouldn't go overboard if I were you. The world is not going to fall apart; it's just going to stumble like a dead drunk sailor for a while.

Does your business depend on computers? If so, getageek to make sure they are Y2K ready NOW! Listen: These guys (the Millennium Bug Exterminators) are going to be so much in demand later this year, you probably won't even be able to hire one. Even if you can get one, if you wait much longer, you're going to have to pay through the nose.

Next: Get ready to bite the bullet. No matter what business you are in, chances are excellent your sales are going to plummet. Money is going to dry up and people are going to be afraid to spend. Get rid of all buildings, equipment, employees and expenses you can do without... and... do it soon. Look, the entire globe is connected now. Any economic problem in any country affects in some way... all other countries. A business bankruptcy in Brazil will have consequences for a hardware store in the Bronx. Turmoil in Kosovo affects folks in Kansas. (Why are we fighting over there anyway?) Russian poverty portends poorly for prosperity in Rhode Island.

Plus, things are happening faster than ever now. There's a new book called "Blur" which details the speed at which everything is changing and has some valuable advice on how you must adapt to this change. Check this out: It took from 1896 to 1972 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to hit 1,000. That's 76 years.

It took from 1972 to 1987 for the Dow to go up another 1,000 points to over 2,000. That's 15 years.

It took from 1987 to 1991 for the next 1,000 point jump to 3,000. That's four years.

It took from 1991 to 1995 to hit 4,000. That's also four years.

It took from February of 1995 to November of 1995 to hit 5,000. That's nine months!

It took from November of 1995 to October of 1996 to hit 6,000. That's 11 months!

It took from October of 1996 to February of 1997 to hit 7,000. That's four months!

It took from February of 1997 to July of 1997 to hit 8,000. That's five months!

It took from July of 1997 to April of 1998 to hit 9,000. That's nine months!

It took from April of 1998 to March of 1999 to hit 10,000. That's 11 months!

And, how long did the last 1,000 point jump take? How long to go from 10,000 to 11,000?

Only 35 Days!

So, lemme ask you something: When things start going bad, how fast do you think it's going to happen? A hint: Last August, investors lost 500 billion in 24 hours!

Should you be fearful and morbid about all this? Not at all. It's going to be exciting. For those who are ready, a whole new world of opportunity is going to open up. I bet an investment in gold bullion coins right now will increase in value by 500%, 1000% or more by sometime next January. I bet homes, cars, boats and everything else under the sun will be for sale at dirt-cheap prices next year. I bet those of you who are fleet-footed enough to learn how to help all those poor souls totally unprepared for Y2K will be able to make a fortune.

But, you've got to be lean, healthy, fit, mobile and liquid. Think of yourself as an American soldier approaching a German farm house in WWII. You don't know whether there's a young, horny German farm girl or a Nazi sniper inside the house. But, you've got condoms in your wallet and bullets in your weapon so...

You're Ready For Whatever

Comes Out Of That House!

That's how you should be thinking about this very real Y2K problem that looms just over the horizon.

 

 

  Sincerely,
 
   Gary C. Halbert

 

 

P.S. Next month, I'm going to reveal unto you a mail order secret that will blow your socks off!

     This month though, I felt compelled to tell you what you really needed to know and, at least attempt to shake you out of your state of "chronic denial."

         I hope to some degree, I succeeded.

         Peace.

 

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