Blowin In The Wind

Wind Power On The Plains

Wind Power On The Plains

From time to time, I often wonder why it was that I voluntarily gave up Prozac, life seemed a lot less complex, when I shared it with Prozac. More HOT AIR blowing out of Washington DC., last night on the news, which I guess is appropriate, it is after all the middle of summer here in the U.S..

It is an ill wind that blows across the prairie this day, it is debatable if anything good will come of this latest new approach to our energy problems in the United States. Last night on the news they were talking about “fueling cars with Natural Gas.”

My friend across the pond in the U.K. commented today on a 60% increase in her natural gas bills for this winter.  Which we can readily see will cripple a lot of folks and put even more stress on their lives.

I am somewhat ambivalent about it, I am not only a user of natural gas, but also a producer of it.  Which is good for me, I live in the #3 natural gas producing state in the U.S. I have royalty interests in two working gas wells in Kingfisher, Oklahoma … bring it on. When it gets especially cold outside or the country decides to use even more of a limited resource, my hamburger check each month gets bigger.

It is not a good deal for you however.

You see, although America is a huge producer of natural gas, there are folks in the Middle East that are even bigger producers of the stuff.  They have so much of it, that each day, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, they burn it (flare it off) and release it spent into the atmosphere to reduce the pressure on their own wells.  If we convert over to this “newly discovered economic panacea” who do you think is going to see their pockets enriched even more.

I will give you three guesses and the first two do not even count.

So in essence, if we convert over to all natural gas burning automobiles and trucks, we are “giving a gift early this year” to our wonderful sand partners in the Middle East.  We are in effect, trading one addiction for another.

Can you see why the rest of the world considers us somewhat stupid or ignorant.

Our newly self appointed Energy Czar from Amarillo, Texas, a Mr. T. Boone Pickens wants us to burn natural gas and use more wind power.  You don’t suppose Mr. Pickens is heavily invested in either one or the other do you?

He is not doing this for the country, you can bet your last dollar on that.  All these big boys in oil are milking it for all it is worth, it isn’t going to last forever.

So now let us move on to Wind Power.

Washington State this week announced that wind power could actually overload the grid and shut everything down in their part of the country.  Utilities there are prepared to quadruple the amount of wind power in the northwest, but unfortunately, the electric grid might not be able to carry it.

The problem lies in powerlines, that are only capable of taking about a third of the estimated 4,716 megawatts produced.  There is a transmission problem without additional lines to handle the load.  It currently costs about $3 million per mile to string a transmission line (when the crack-heads and the thieves are not strippin’ it for the copper).

A resource, in this case, even a “free one” (wind power) isn’t very valuable unless you can deliver it.  As for Mr. T. Boone Pickens, after what Big Oil has done to me here lately, I don’t believe I need another friend in the Oil Industry.

Friends like that … don’t do that … to each other.

Think about it.

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RELATED: More On West Texas Windy Joe.

Convict Lake

Convict Lake Eastern Sierra Nevada's - California

Convict Lake Eastern Sierra Nevada's - California

There is a special place, nestled high in the Eastern Sierra’s of California that I just love.  It is Convict Lake, north of Bishop and in the Lone Pine area.  It is quiet and serene, most of the time, but because of its rather close proximity to Los Angeles it can get rather crowded in the summer months.

It is a pristine place, off the beaten path, that time seems to have forgotten.  A lot of the Sierra’s are like that, but it is getting where you really have to hunt for these places if you want to enjoy them.  Civilization is encroaching the mountains too.  If you find yourself there at a good time, during the middle of the week, you can take a break, actually hear the flutter of a birds wings when they fly by and lose yourself briefly …. In the bosom of nature.

In the late1800’s a small band of convicts escaped from the Nevada State Prison and they were chased south thru the Sierra’s by a mounted and heavily armed posse.  At the site of what is today named Convict Lake there was a fierce gun battle and the bandits and the posse hooked it up until most of them lie shot up and some on both sides, lie dead.

This is how the lake got its name.

Some mornings I like to come in here, put on the headphones (Sony noise reduction – block out 80% of all external noise) stare into the picture and let it all hang out.  It might remind one of the movie with Christopher Reeves “Somewhere In Time” which is when he transports himself back in time, about 100 years or so, and then has a romance with a woman who has captured his heart.  His main love interest in the movie was Jane Seymour I believe, Medicine Woman, lately of Dancin’ With The Stars fame.

I can put on those headphones, stare at this screen for a few minutes, or a block of time that has no actual count, and transport myself to a warm granite rock and a cool can of Mountain Dew and escape for a brief moment in time.  This is my screen backdrop on my computer this month.  Same thing works with the NASA site and the pictures of deep space.  I use both of them from time to time, alternating between nature and deep space, and I make some nice trips.

One thing God richly rewarded me with was an over active imagination.

The other day a commercial for National Geo graphic’s or Discovery Channel came on, and it was dealing with Our National Park System.  And they were showing all of these random shots of parks around the country and as I sat there and took it all in (I call it “eye candy” for the soul) the majestic beauty of it all, the raw untamed natural beauty, it made me acutely aware of how fortunate I am in life.

I don’t live in some Mega Rat Hole full of predatory citizens, crack-heads, or dope fiends.  I live in a reasonably sane environment and within the span of minutes, can find myself surrounded by countryside, open space and clean air.

Oklahoma believe it or not, has more cows than residents.

We are basically rural communities, agriculturally based for the most part, we are The Heart Land of America ….. Everyone stand up and take off your ball caps!  Okiehoma where duh wind come roaring across the plains …. Dodedah, dodedah.  What were we talking about here?

Nature.  Yeah.  That was it.

When I sat and watched those commercials and the sites racin’ across the screen, I thought about some guy in New Jersey, New York or Chicago, some big eastern city, who can only dream of visiting one of these beautiful areas of America.  As they rolled by on the screen, one by one, I mentally clicked them off, been there, seen that, done that – got the T-shirt.  Very few if any, were considered a stranger to me.  When in fact, because I am so privileged or fortunate, I have been to most of them at least once, and some of them on frequent occasion, several times.

So in reality, although I am prone to complain much too often, I do have it made.

I live in a rather special corner of life.  I am thankful for this day.  And the next time I find myself sitting on a rock at Convict Lake or any other spectacular location in America, I am going to relish it like a bottle of fine wine. I am going to smile and immerse myself in the moment.  I am going to mentally bottle it up and save it for another day.

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