Rated “E”

This post is rated “E” for entertaining.  No, educational, uh, erratic.  THIS POST IS FOR EVERYONE … Whew?  Sure glad we got that out of the way.

Oh well, it is Tuesday, and as with all Tuesday’s I have my problems.  Much like a child in grammar school, I am never prepared for the lesson on Tuesday, I am geared up for recess instead.

Most of my days, were spent in desperate contemplation of the hour in Gym class and a considerable amount of time was devoted to “the fine art of pencil sharpening and the observation of the world’ just outside the window.  I excelled in that, but unfortunately, I found out later in life, not much demand for it in the marketplace.

I used to really get into recess, which should not come as any big surprise to anyone that is a regular reader of this page.

You cannot always effectively plan for the future, especially when you are young.  I remember when released from the U.S. Military, they told me that “I could use the skills that were taught to me in the service” in my civilian occupation.  So when I found out that American Airlines wasn’t hiring any tail gunners …. I went to work for the Railroad.

This is what happens to you when you major in recess, remember this.

USA Today is reporting that stress levels are up nationwide and surprisingly, the most affected, are not adults.  The highest stress levels in the past six months have been reported by the 18-24 crowd at 64% coming in second is the 24-34 bunch 55%, 35-44 at 47%, 45-54 at close behind, 46%.  The old geezers like myself, we are just laid back and cooling it, only 37% of them reported stress.

Which is reasonable, when you stop to think about it.  We moved all “those hard to live with people out of the house” years ago.  And we are not forced to watch “Dancin’ With The Stars” three nights a week.  Did you know that more American’s voted for the winner of American Idol than voted for Bush in the last election?  True.

Might be a good day to talk about that “three ring circus” (the great American Dog & Pony Show) in the Nation’s Capitol, but to tell you the truth, I am really tired of it.  So much like T.Boone Pickens latest book (The First Billion is the hardest – Crown Business, 260 pages, $26.95) I am going to take a pass.  Having the lowest stress levels in the above group did not “just naturally occur.”  Often you have to work at it.

Good and Bad News:

Phoenix, Arizona has told home builders there that they are to install water collection systems on new homes and that they are going to collect rainwater from these systems for the watering of plants and outside shrubs.  Which is a good idea and a bad idea.  It is good to be geared up to “green thinking” and all that, it is bad, because as anyone knows.  Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert portion of the American Southwest and generally speaking …. It doesn’t rain there much, if at all.

Biting the hand that feeds them.

Hard to believe, but like beggar’s with outstretched hands the U.S. Auto companies are trying to entice the public to purchase a new car.  Only thing is, “they are going about it in the wrong manner or fashion” if you ask me.  Now they are telling us that in order to buy a new car, we need to bring MORE cash and a larger down payment is going to be required of us.

Tighter credit standards are forcing many car buyers to put up more cash in order to qualify for a loan.  The average down payment last month was $3,108.00 which is up 42% from the same time last year ($2,194.00).  It is like some kind of shark feeding frenzy on the American consumer these days.  General Motors wants to buy Chrysler and of course, they are lining up at the Federal trough to see if they can get some creative financing in the Great American Give-Away currently enjoying a nice run in Washington DC these days.

These dumb-bells ought to take a lesson from U.S. Oil, we stopped buying their products, and we effectively proved to them that we can do without oil based-products and we can do without these new cars too.

Eat Your Oil

OPEC (namely Venezuela and Iran) are crying the blues, they are now saying that they are cutting back on spending and projects in their respective countries because of the low demand for oil.  It seems that their profits are down some fifty percent and they are experiencing a hardship.  Now everyone …. All together now … One big collective sigh for our poor energy rich oil partners. Now didn’t that feel just swell boys & girls.  Actually that is a misnomer, we (America) get most of our foreign oil from places other than Venezuela and Iran.

Canada and Mexico for instance, are big suppliers to the U.S. and it is not $700 billion as previously reported but rather around $230 billion per year, big difference.

Anchor’s Aweigh

Not to be deterred, the Boys in Dubai went shopping this week, the oil rich energy czars bought the Queen Mary II and she is going to sail to Dubai on her last voyage.  After four decades of plying the oceans of the world she is being retired and will be converted into a five-star hotel in Dubai, the flashy Arab resort Center of the Middle East (United Arab Emirates).

This leaves the sister ship with the same name still plying the oceans for a little while longer, with peak oil, there will come a time in the not so distant future, when all of them are parked and converted.

“Uh, maybe the Woodpeckers were not a good idea?”

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark . One: Don’t miss the boat. Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat. Three: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. Four: Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big. Five: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done. Six: Build your future on high ground. Seven: For safety sake, travel in pairs. Eight: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs. Nine: When you’re stressed, float awhile. Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Now, wasn’t that nice? Pass it along this Tuesday, tell all your friends, and make someone else smile, too


Water Woes

All day I face, the barren waste, without the taste of water, cool, clear water. Old Dan and I, with throats burned dry, souls that cry for water, cool, clear water.” Did you know that “Dan” in that song was a donkey?

Yup, true.

The last time I ventured into these familiar waters (pardon the pun) I was called an “Eco Freak” by some knot-head that wanted to go round and round with me on the subject. Personally I prefer the term “Tree Hugger” it just seems to me, more personal and friendly.

The city is raising the rates on my water again. Not because I am using a lot of it, but because they are a city, and they KNOW that they can always milk the consumer for the life blood that he needs, and he will pay it.  You see, “You need water, and if you live in a city, you are going to pay for it.”

Some big challenges facing this country in the future, providing we make it thru this Wall Street debacle. One of them is going to be water. Fresh water is running out on a grand scale worldwide. The world is running out of potable water, which unfortunately, is a key ingredient to life as we know it. The last time I checked, the current numbers reflected less than 5% of the worlds water is now drinkable (potable) and that number is shrinking.

The latest data suggests we might be in big trouble, when it comes to water.

North America: The United States and Canada are the largest per capita consumers of freshwater, double that of our neighbors to the south in Mexico. Though supply has been abundant in the past, that may change. The High Plains Aquifer in the central United States that Mr. Pickens wants to deplete is expected to “decline dramatically.” Pollution, invasive species and under-priced water add to the stress of the region. In Canada, the demands put on water to harvest oil-sand petroleum is ruining the Frazier River Basin at an alarming rate.

South America: Due to fast population growth, the region’s major environmental problem of the next decade is expected to be a shortage of potable water.

Europe: Western Europe is pricing water at levels that allow for reinvestment and management of an adequate water supply. Easter Europe and the former Soviet Union, on the other hand, are still using more water per capita than Western Europe. In Eastern Europe, a business-as-usual scenario estimates water use will nearly double. Overall, water issues have more to do with quality and ecosystems than with quantity, which appears for the time being, sufficient.

But then again, Global Warming enters into the picture. A lot of people in Europe live below quickly melting glaciers, their primary water supply, when the glaciers have receded and are gone, then what?

Africa: More than half the population has no access to safe water, fewer today than in 1990. Almost half the population of the areas suffer from water-related diseases. In southern Africa, a business-as-usual scenario estimates water use will rise by half in just a few short years.

Asia: Nearly a third of the region has no access to safe water. Central Asia is already using 85% of available water, and South Asia nearly half that. Per capita availability of water has dropped by 70% in Central and Southern Asia since roughly 1950. In China the same applies, another business-as-usual scenario sees water consumption doubling in that country by 2025. Recently China has had to import huge quantities of rice, because acid rain has ruined the water in the surround country side and they are now growing crops in sterile soil.

Australia: Water usage increased by 25% in the mid ‘90’s, compared with the mid 80’s. At the same time, the water supply has been degraded, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin in the southeast. A prolonged drought hasn’t helped matters at all.

You pick up any newspaper in this country and each day there is an item in there about the shortage of water or the possible contamination of an Aquifer that is used for public consumption. Water who most of believe is just plentiful and everywhere, is in fact, a precious resource (mostly non-renewable) and is being squandered.

Monroe Louisiana – Sixteen parishes in northern Louisiana depend on the Sparta Aquifer for drinking water, but one expert said the water is slowly deteriorating in quality because of drawdown. Ben McGee, a supervisory hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, said the aquifer is tapped into at a rate of 70 million gallons a day by users from paper mills to residential homes.

Shapleigh MAINE – Voters in Shapleigh, in a setback for bottler Poland Spring, imposed a six-month moratorium on the testing or large-scale extraction of water. Residents voted 204-38 to adopt the moratorium, intended to give the town time to work on a regulatory ordinance.

Rockingham, North Carolina – Residents in three counties are concerned that pesticides used by peach farmers decades ago may be polluting well water. The Charlotte Observer reports that tests by health officials found 117 tainted wells in Montgomery, Richmond and Moore counties. For now, state officials are delivering drinking water weekly to affected homes.

Lubbock Texas – Billionaire T. Boone Pickens put plans on hold for a pipeline to send water from a Panhandle aquifer to cities downstate. A Pickens spokesman said the suspension of the Mesa Water pipeline has nothing to do with a Justice Department ruling in August that blocked changes to Texas law that helped create a water supply district. The district was dominated by employees of Pickens. He is all set to drain this aquifer (Ogallala) to supply Dallas with drinking water. He has however one big snag, “no one has asked him to provide them with water at this time.” Meanwhile, on the western fringe area’s of this water system they are starting to suck sand.

Slowly people are starting to realize that we have to do something to conserve this resource or we will perish. This week in Tucson Arizona, a dry and arid portion of the United States legislation was passed to conserve or re-use water. Homes built there after 2009 will be required to have wastewater systems that use drainage from sinks, showers and tubs to irrigate landscaping.

The ordinance adopted by the City Council requires new homes to have “gray-water” plumbing systems separate from piping that takes toilet waste to sewers. The new systems will cost about $500 per house.

It isn’t much, but at least it is a start.


I Don’t Understand

I don’t understand why Runway Models walk the way they do.

I don’t understand how a black cow, can eat green grass, under a blue sky and produce white milk.

I don’t understand the phrase … Settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar … Why are we not allowed to send in pennies … instead of dollars?

I don’t understand why Radio Shack wants my name and address to sell me batteries.

I don’t understand where all the overweight people are on television sitcoms … all the people in the background are always perfect, and extremely attractive, no one is overweight or obese.

I don’t understand this “New American Democracy.” Politicians equating dissent with treason.

I don’t understand why all the women on TV, not just a few, but all of them, want to have sex. And my wife doesn’t.

I don’t understand what is so glorious or patriotic about a picture of a G.I with a rifle in his hands.

I don’t understand media fiction and internet truth. The worst journalistic judgment of the year. Time Magazine’s pick of Man Of The Hour … ABC’s Person of the week.

I don’t understand … “They found the victims charred and burned body in the gutted car” and police “suspect foul play.” Why three time offenders are paroled and put back on the street.

I don’t understand how someone on television grabs his passport and goes to Tahiti and the average American has to wait for a passport six to twelve months.

I don’t understand people that call you with their number blocked (Private) and most always never leave a message, then complain when you do not call them back.

I don’t understand why we park on the driveway .. but drive on the parkway.

I don’t understand the National obsession with football, pro or otherwise.

I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want the name P. Diddy, and I don’t understand why anyone would want the old name … Puff Daddy.

I don’t understand … Britney Spears.

I don’t understand federal intervention and mandatory forced busing of students. This is a social study that did not work and is an utter failure. Why are so many kids bused to school in this country each day, especially when fuel supplies are in short supply.

I don’t understand why those amongst us, the Politically Correct Do-Gooders insist on hyphenating everyone when we are all Americans.

I don’t understand why the media would refer to the tragedy of 9-11 as New York’s’ best moment.

I don’t understand why the do-nut shop gives me a receipt for do-nuts, I am not bringing it back.

I don’t understand why we are selling off American infrastructure to foreign investment.

I don’t understand why more Afghanistan women are shoppers … There is a target on every corner.

I don’t understand how a turnpike built with tax payer funds and subsidized and maintained using tax dollars, can be sold by the governor of a state. Isn’t this “public property?” Who gave him the right to sell it to an Australian concern for the next 75 years.

I don’t understand:

Our home has had two garbage disposals, two dish-washers, two heating units, three hot water heaters, just as many air conditioning units …. But after all these years … the same original doorbell.

I don’t understand how a small country (Iceland) can run all of their cars, buses and trucks on Hydrogen fuel, but in the USA this technology is 20 years away.

I don’t understand how the government can track down a sick cow with mad cow disease, but cannot locate 22 million illegal aliens. Perhaps it is time to give each illegal a cow when they come across the border.

I don’t understand how any country in good conscience can spend some $10 billion a month fighting for a middle east country who’s citizens won’t even stand up and defend itself and allow little children to go to bed hungry here at home.

I don’t understand why they are allowed to pocket $80 billion in oil revenues, and we go bankrupt feeding and maintaining them on a daily basis.

I don’t understand why if the earth’s core is molten lava, hotter than the asphalt on a Texas Two-Lane in Mid July, then why aren’t we drilling into it and producing geothermal heat for our country’s energy needs.

I don’t understand how T. Boone Pickens can imagine the USA as the “Saudi Arabia of Wind Power” when we don’t have the electric lines in place to move anything generated.

I don’t understand why Germany has miles and miles of solar collectors alongside their interstate highways, producing cheap, reasonable electricity and all we have are fast-food joints and truck stops.

Show me a road, where I might go, show me the place where I might hide out for a season or two. A gentle place, where things make sense, where they are no poisoned darts, where heartaches do not abound.

Show me this road and take me south … To a place, where I might understand.


Heatin Up …

One of the drawbacks to living in this part of the world, Oklahoma, it is hot. We have despicable weather, some of it severe, some of it nice (not much of that), heat that is at times almost unbearable, linked up with high digit humidity, on some days, a lethal mix.

Another thing that happens is it never seems to cool down at night, when it heats up in Oklahoma, it stays hot, long after the sun has disappeared.

You can go to other places and it heats up in the day, but it cools down at night and the temperatures are not all that severe due to the lack of humidity, but here, it is miserable in the summertime. I just finished reading this piece on scientists and global warming, doing my best to get a handle on some of this, try to understand the physic’s in play.

Scientists are those whacky guys that feed a bunch of numbers into massive super computers, statistic’s, random numbers, proables, and then throw in for good measure those things that could and could not happen — mix it all up, run around to the other end and patiently wait to see what comes out.

I call it the “What If Factor?” What if the temperature here goes up, what if the ocean current switches 2 degrees north, what if ……. Well, you get the idea.

Recently scientists fed a truckload of numbers to a super computer concerning the weather and some of it is pretty astonishing. Here is a small part of what they discovered. It is going to get hotter, a lot hotter. If you believe you are hot now, you haven’t seen anything yet. Our grandchildren will scoff at these present temperatures, a 100* day will actually be a cool down, a relief.

In the year 2100 it is predicted that 100* days will be in effect, cool off periods.

The computer simulation pointed out that cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Kansas City are 105*, 112*, and 109* today. In the next few decades, these kind of temp’s will seem lovely and cool. In the 22nd century it is going to get hotter, and it is going to last longer. The same three cities will then be 110*, 117* and 116* and cities closer to the equator will fare even worse.

Delhi India, should see 120*, Baghdad, Iraq, will reach 122* for example, the computer test revealed all these things. Heat can be a killer, when the temperature shot up to 106* in Chicago (not long ago 1995) some 600 persons died. Especially at risk are the old and the elderly. So it appears our days are truly numbered and we best find some solutions to our problems and do it quickly.

Can T.B. Pickens be right, can he be trusted? Is anyone out there crunching the numbers he is projecting? We are not the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas, the wind doesn’t blow every day (although in Oklahoma it often seems like it does) and the sunshine isn’t always going to be there when you are going to need it.

From what I gather about all this. Mr. Pickens assumes that as we give up one thing (gasoline and oil) it will free up something down the line (natural gas) and as wind power comes on line, (we give up coal and natural gas). In theory it sounds somewhat plausible, but American’s are not known for giving up things, they are known for consuming things.

Are people like him and Al Gore the forerunners and true prophets of our impending doom? Are we most certainly be required to cough up the estimated $3 trillion to complete these ideas. Bet on it. We seem to be hearing nothing but progressive talk from all these lofty Messianic Energy priests.

Then there is reality. Mr. Gore, he talks the talk, but it appears that he is not walking the walk.

Recently Al Gore showed up for a speaking engagement in two super sized Lincoln Town Cars and a full-growed S.U.V.. He lives in a 10,000 sq ft. home in Tennessee that has a carbon footprint that is five times the size of the Average American home. Mr. Pickens is buying up all the water rights in West Texas and he orders wind farm projects like we buy lite bulbs.

We have all these canaries in the mine, and for now, they are still singing. But for how long. It just doesn’t make good sense to mix “science and myth” together. I am going with the scientists and the super computer (predictions) which I believe is telling me, it is going to get hotter, it is going to get a LOT hotter.

Best find some shade.


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.


RELATED: More On West Texas Windy Joe.