Thursday, May 29, 2008
It may be only a short-term correction, but the price of both gold and oil are falling. That could be a leading indicator of some kind of comeback for the dollar. The U.S. dollar is in the tank and needs to be resuscitated if the Republicans want to retain any chance of winning the presidential race in November.
Is Bush listening? More importantly, is McCain listening? I hope so.
Time will tell.
Related news is that oil speculation is under federal investigation as to whether it's driving up gasoline prices. Was there ever any question? That could be the reason the price of oil is falling:
"The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's announcement yesterday appears designed to put those speculators on notice and address concerns raised by Congress, saying that the investigation begun in December was prompted by "unprecedented market conditions" and is aimed at "ensuring that the markets are properly policed for manipulation and abusive practices."
Commissioners issued a joint statement pledging to "deter, detect, and punish futures market manipulation."
At Financial Post, Rex Tillerson at Exxon stands up to radical environmentalists in a most politically incorrect way.
Let's snack with Barack and his bouncer, Mr. Love. Oui, oui.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Jay Nordlinger in the New York Post.
"Not so Mr. McClellan. He was far from being an administration big shot. He had no reputation to rescue nor did he necessarily have a political ax to grind. He wrote his vicious little pamphlet and nailed it to the wall because his publisher recognized a market for his scribblings, nothing more. There is doubtless some historical value in what we are told is a book all of 321 pages, although I doubt whether it would be anything much beyond footnote worthy. In essence, Mr. McClellan sold his memories — faulty or otherwise — for no other reason than he could." ---Rich Moran, on McClellan's book today at Pajamas.
Scott McClellan gets my dog award for the year, the decade, the century. He also gets the Judas Award.
It helps to remember that McClellan was fired by the White House in 2006.
He must be hard up for attention or money. Probably both. The main thing I say about this is---it says much, much more about Scott than it does about the Bush Administration. If this man was so convinced of these things at the time, why didn't he say something? Why is he just now speaking up through a book deal that he and his publishers stand to make money on? I smell a rat. Totally contemptible. Mark Levine smells it. And so does Investor Business Daily. American Thinker weighs in on payback time with more background.
I like Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, very much. And I'm still cogitating on this. Don't yet know what my opinion is, though I find it a truly fascinating idea.
Meanwhile, Sarah is a woman after my own heart......wonder if she caught this on a dry?
See also: Say Anything
Peggy Noonan in the WSJ
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
In a rare, rare moment of agreement with George Soros about anything, I agree that we are now in and oil and gas bubble that's getting bigger by the minute. But does he know how the bubble got started? The bubble that's now being blown up by speculators in the commodites market? He should, since it's how he made his billions, as in speculating in currencies assets on the world market.
The U.S. House of Representatives--- to wit ---and various talking heads, blame our gas miseries on OPEC and Big Oil, but I have a little different answer to our energy conundrum. Do go over and read Who Murdered Cheap Oil, and let us know what you think. And thanks.
Monday, May 26, 2008
This morning before running out the door, I checked the live cam of the osprey nest outside of Dunkeld, Scotland. Click the link and then click CAM1 on the top line to go to the live broadcast 24/7.
Mama is now feeding her chick real food, probably a freshly caught trout she tears with her claws and feeds it mouth-to-mouth. Absolutely fascinating to watch! Could stay here all day. Don't miss tuning in, especially when something is going on. Remember, the time zone of the nest is 5-8 hours ahead of all US time zones.
There are still two eggs which should be hatching soon. Mama goes between incubating the eggs and feeding her baby chick. Don't know why they haven't yet hatched. Time will tell.
Meanwhile in other science related news!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Nobody does it better, stronger and without equivocation than Lon. Always a privilege to be at this wonderful church in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
"It was at a church service in Munich where I was speaking that I saw him, the former SS man who had stood guard at the so-called shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck.With the other guards, he had often run his hands over naked bodies as they went by and responded callously to requests for help. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen after the war. And suddenly it was all there again—the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face. And then he came up to me as the church was emptying, ‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said, ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away.’ His hand was thrust out to shake mine....... But my hand stayed at my side.... Angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me—-I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I silently prayed.... Jesus I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seem to pass....while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me."
— Corrie Ten Boom
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Astronomy Picture of the Day:
Explanation: For about 300 years Jupiter's banded atmosphere has shown a remarkable feature to telescopic viewers, a large swirling storm system known as The Great Red Spot. In 2006, another red storm system appeared, actually seen to form as smaller whitish oval-shaped storms merged and then developed the curious reddish hue. Now, Jupiter has a third red spot, again produced from a smaller whitish storm. All three are seen in this image made from data recorded on May 9 and 10 with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The spots extend above the surrounding clouds and their red color may be due to deeper material dredged up by the storms and exposed to ultraviolet light, but the exact chemical process is still unknown. For scale, the Great Red Spot has almost twice the diameter of planet Earth, making both new spots less than one Earth-diameter across. The newest red spot is on the far left (west), along the same band of clouds as the Great Red Spot and is drifting toward it.
If the motion continues, the new spot will encounter the much larger storm system in August. Jupiter's recent outbreak of red spots is likely related to large scale climate change as the gas giant planet is getting warmer near the equator.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Oh, please. I beg to differ with Drudge's current headline. The fact that Hillary wants to stay in the presidential race by raising the specter of assassination may be a little weak, but not shocking in my opinion. Hillary is staying in the race because Hillary intends to at all costs until the bitter end.
There's no need for her to make excuses. Having said that, her reasoning is not that scandalous in my opinion.
We've all heard talk of assassination for months now in this race. It's mostly around the fears people have of what might happen if Obama is assassinated with or without being elected. Some people fear his highly emotionally charged, almost messianic following might go crazy and try to tear this country apart.
God forbid that we would ever have to live through any assassination again. Of anyone. However, to raise the possibility of something happening to any of the candidates at this point in the race is certainly not outside the bounds of political decency in my opinion. This is a political fact-of-life for all candidates campaigning in the public arena. So get over it.
Just because it hit a nerve with the Obama nation doesn't mean it's off-limits. Oh no it doesn't. And no, it shouldn't.
UPDATE: Hillary is already back-peddling and voicing 'regret' for this. That's ridiculous. I say stick by your guns, Hillary, and let the chips fall where they may. I'm no fan, but this is a non event, even if the Obamas throw a tantrum and try to make it one. Cool your jets, my dear, and let the faint-of-heart somehow, someday recover from this. Meanwhile, let them bear up under their immense strain, caused by the mere mention of the word assassination.
Quick! bring the smelling salts. Hillary said the word assassination.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I'm not sure whether to give the U.S. House of Representatives the benefit of the doubt by calling them utterly clueless and ignorant of the U.S. energy situation in its call to sue OPEC for high energy prices, or just to think of them as a hopeless bunch of clowns.
If ever there was a more ludicrous headline than this, I haven't seen it. Oh yeah, maybe there's one out there somewhere about a man who wants to marry his pet llama or some such idiocy. But until I see it, this takes the cake!
How do we tell them and ourselves that before we accuse OPEC, we need to take a look at ourselves and, among other things, our domestic energy policies for the past 30 years or so? It's a complex question, and maybe a lot to handle, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
This latest move by the House should embarrass Americans everywhere.
I'm currently in D.C. and may resort to wearing a paper sack over my head for the remainder of the day to protest this kind of lunacy. I wonder if they've ever heard the word projection?
Meanwhile, here are some interesting tips for saving on gas mileage:
I'm not about to follow all of these, especially the one about taking the spare tire out of his car to reduce weight (he must only drive around town, close to home). Still his points are well taken and rather astounding in their alleged effects.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Crude oil prices keep going up, up, up. There's plenty of fear and greed in the air and even talk of the end of the age of oil. Mr. T. Boone Pickens threw his dire predictions for oil into the fray yesterday only addding to the near panic of the markets.
"Eighty three million barrels of oil a day is all the world can produce," Pickens prognosticated, "and 87 millions barrels is the world demand. It's just that simple."
Never mind that Mr. Pickens self serving statements above only helps raise values of his hedge fund which is heavily invested in oil and energy stocks. Boone has rattled markets and helped his investment considerably. He may be right in the short term, but not in the long.
Increasing tension between supply and demand is adding more drama. Are we over a barrel yet?
Most people think this is terrible news, but I beg to differ. A crisis is always an opportunity to make necessary changes and so it is with the soaring costs and tight supplies of crude oil. Are we in the US finally ready to learn some lessons from this?
And what does this all mean for us as consumers of refined gasoline? Let's remember that we can't pump crude into our tanks. It's a long journey from crude oil to refined gasoline. Want to talk about this more in the days ahead.
Sorry to be missing in action the past few days. Am on the road and currently in D.C. Hope to get back in the swing of more meaty posts now.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The chicks are beginning to hatch! The first of three is here (click CAM 1 on top line). Its the 51st for the little osprey hen, still sitting on her nest waiting for the other two to break through their shells. The baby is hiding under her chest for warmth and protection.
Best reality TV I've ever seen!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
It's long, but well worth a listen. Dr. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York talks about his recent book, The Reason For God with the Goggle guys in Mountain View California on March 5, 2008.
On my way to Redeemer this morning.
HT: Mike at OneYearBibleblog.
OUTSIDE of Philadelphia, PA is the beautiful, lush green National Park known as Valley Forge where General George Washington and the Continental Army retreated and withstood one of the coldest, harshest periods in American history. It was the winter of 1777-1778. Today the park stands as a testament to holding on and ultimately overcoming in the face of myriad adversities. This is one of the places our resolve for independence was tested and hardened, and our freedom won. It was a time of ultimate responsibility before government bailouts and whiny citizens began to run the show and expect a painless relief from all that ails us. Valley Forge, a beautiful place that today inspires me on all levels.
God bless America.
Friday, May 16, 2008
15 May 2008
Things really are starting to pick up as we eagerly await the arrival of our first hatchling! It could be any day now but we are still expecting it to be early next week. These are very exciting times for us and even the ospreys are beginning to act more restless. The eggs are being left unattended for longer periods of time with the chicks inside generating their own heat. Look out for the female standing around the nest and cocking her head to the side, almost as if she’s listening for something. She is in fact listening for the chirps and peeps of the chicks. The male also appears to be bringing in more fish these days, perhaps preparing himself for when the chicks arrive?
Remember, you can watch live 24/7 by going to this link and clicking CAM1 on the top row. The suspense is mounting! It is truly fascinating watching this natural drama unfold.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The rant went something like this:
"We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten years---not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died, and the rest of us will be cannibals."
Speak for yourself, Ted, you ole cannibal you. Let's all mark our calendars and check this 'wisdomation' from Sir Ted in about 15-20 years when all his bison have frozen to death from a ten year cold weather front that set in right after he mouthed his prediction and followed it up with the resounding , "It's been a long time since anyone caught me saying anything stupid."
OK, Ted. Whatever you say.
But while this prophecy is still fresh in our minds and impossible to check out, let's put Ted's diatribe in perspective by revisiting some other so-called wise blasts from the past, forerunners of the Great Ted:
Nigel Calder, environmentalist at the First Earth Day celebration in 1969:
"The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind."
Harvard biologist George Wald in 1970:
"Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind."
Senator Gaylord Nelson founder of Earth Day said in 1970:
"By 1995 somewhere between 75% and 85% of all species of living animals will be extinct."
Paul Ehrlich, mentor and teacher to Al Gore, in 1968 blasted:
"..in the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death.....and if I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."
And who can forget the first Club of Rome report, Limits to Growth, in 1972, that the world was doomed to run out of natural materials like gold, silver, copper, mercury, tin by 1987 and petroleum and natural gas by 1992.
All of this to say, the so called experts have been making these doomsday predictions forever. Ted can be added to this list of clowns. He's in good company, especially with them and the Folly Green Giant. You know who I'm talking about.
That's right, flattered. Flattered.
If we ignore the company the candidates keep and the support they glean, then we do so at our very great peril. Has Hugo Chavez endorsed Obama yet? Yep. Ahmadinejad? Yep.
Only a man so deeply mired in believing his own BS could possibly be flattered by these terrorist thugs. Obama is a man of ultimate entitlement, naivete and arrogance.
Oh yes he is. And we should be very concerned about this.
Do you remember when you were little and your parents would get a baby sitter so they could go out for the night? I do. And I distinctly remember, as a child, wanting and preferring the ones I could hoodwink and manipulate, the ones who were easy targets so I could get my way. Conversely, I always knew the baby sitters who couldn't be coerced or flattered by me into letting me do anything I wanted, when and where I wanted, and for as long as I wanted.
Don't think for a minute that the terrorists don't see a soft and easy prey in Obama. And it should concern us greatly.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Eating and drinking lavishly? Nay. (Oh OK, maybe a small intimate dinner and a glass of vino later with a couple of good friends, after I've worked up an appetite.)
Going to museums and art galleries? Nay.
Have a party? Partied out at the moment.
How bout a good long nine mile hike with friends and fellow outdoor lovers, maybe, say, in Maryland?
Now that 's an idea worth considering! Think that's what I'll do today, but only with the best. See you on the trail.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Now I get it. The MSM has been catastrophizing the economy to set the stage for the bureaucratic Democrats to come in and fix all our dire problems through government regulation and new federal laws and programs. What fun. I can hardly wait.
Monday, May 12, 2008
As you wake this morning (Monday US time) you will no doubt hear about a major earthquake in north central China. The quake registered 7.8 and was centered in Sichuan Province, killing several children and injuring at least 100 – although it is still early and there will probably be many more in that tragic number.
We definitely felt this quake. I was out at a local copy shop a little after 2:30 pm local time when the quake hit. I was just a few feet from an exit door. Everyone in the building ran out into the street. Nona was home in our apartment and was very frightened. We live on the 4th floor of the building and so it took her some time to get out. Even after she was outside, the shaking continued for some time. It is a very odd feeling to have the earth move under your feet. But we know in whose hands our foundation is laid, and that our feet are on solid ground.
As far as we know there was no local damage and we are fine except for some frayed nerves. Please lift up China and those who might have been severely affected by this quake.
Indeed, they do need our continuing prayers in China for their trapped, lost and dead. This is looking more and more like a tragedy of mega proportions. The people in Burma need our prayers too.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
"Bush, like Truman, will have to leave his final assessment for posterity. But for a variety of historic reasons as well as his own self-interest, the president should at least take his now-unpopular case to the people, with more press conferences, public addresses, stump speeches and one-on-one interviews...
"The American people are more interested in exactly how they are going to improve things, rather than hearing each hour how our collective problems are simply the fault of one man. Searing 'Bush did it' into the public conscious won't resolve our energy, economic or foreign policy challenges.
"The truth is that America is providing unprecedented amounts of money to address the AIDs epidemic in Africa. Tax cuts brought in greater, not less total government revenue. International trade agreements created more, not fewer jobs. Security measures at home and losses suffered by terrorists abroad, in part explain the absence of a second 9/11.
"And drilling ANWR and off the coasts of building more nuclear power plants, refineries and clean coal plants---if Congress would only approve---could provide a short-term mitigation of energy prices until we reach a new generation of clean-burning and renewable fuels.
"George W. Bush could learn from "give 'em hell" Harry. A disliked Truman never went silent into the night, but defended his record until the very end---and was ultimately rewarded for it."
From Charles Krauthammer: On Hillary stepping down
"The lightness in Hillary's step just before Indiana and North Carolina reflected the relief of the veteran politician who, after months of treading water, finally finds the right campaign strategy. But it was far too late. And the gas-tax overkill, one final of modulation, sealed the deal---for Obama.
"There's only one remaining chapter in this fascinating spectacle: negotiating the terms of Hillary's surrender. After which we will have six months of her stumping the country for Obama, denying with utter conviction Republican charges that he is the out-of -touch, latte-sipping elitist she warned Democrats against so urgently in the last, late leg of her doomed campaign."
Thursday, May 8, 2008
With 42 gallons to a barrel, that figures out to be roughly 3.44 billion gallons of oil per day of supply.
This supply comes from the Big 3 Oil Supplying Countries: 1)Saudi Arabia, 2)Russian, and 3) the United States, with Venezuela, Iraq, Iran and various other smaller oil producing/supplying countries adding varying amounts to the world total.
If we go back and review, we see that world supply and world demand are almost perfectly in sync at 83,000,000 barrels per day. So where's the problem here?
To keep it simple, it's because world demand is going up faster than world supply can discover, extract, transport, refine and then sell and transport to demanding global markets. Even though world output has jumped almost 11% or 8.5 million gallons per day (which equals 357 million gallons a day)
This voracious demand is especially true in Third World Developing countries like India and China. And when demand is higher than supply with anything, the price of it---be it tech stocks, new homes, gasoline, or tulips----goes up, up, up.
Which brings us to today's rising gas prices going north of $4-6 this summer. It's here, it's happening and there's nothing we can do about it, in the short term. Or is there?
If so, what? And more specifically what can we do individually as citizens and also as the United States to help break the back of higher global demand fuelling higher gasoline and energy prices?
I'm glad I asked and can't wait to give some answers.
1) Energy conservation or cutting back our demand: We in the US can use less gasoline, less energy, and we can invest in more energy efficient houses, cars and lifestyles.
It looks like this strategy is beginning to work: According to the American Petroleum Institute, overall US fuel demand in the US was down 1.4% the first three months of 2008 from the year before. This was the third straight quarter decline in a row.
And while gasoline consumption has risen about 1.5% a year since 2000, it went down the first quarter of 2008 for the first time in over two decades. That doesn't sound like a lot of progress to the doomdayers, but it is considered real forward movement in many circles.
In short, voluntary energy conservation measures are slowly but surely working. If we continue to replace our gas guzzling houses, cars and other energy toys, we will continue to make headway that will bring gas prices back down.
And by the way, the growth of US CO2 emissions have voluntarily dropped greatly without Kyoto much faster than in countries that signed the misinformed treaty which President Bill Clinton never even sent to Congress to ratify.
2) Finding new domestic sources of energy and oil:
This is a very big subject, but it's clear we need to begin mining the many rich energy resources we have in this hemisphere and the North American Continent. Our reserves or oil, natural gas and shale oil are truly staggering both on public lands (656 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 112 billion barrels of oil as a minimum) and much more on private lands. .There are major untapped resources of oil and gas off the coasts of Florida and California, not to mention ANWR in Alaska. China has been asked by Cuba to help them drill for the oil we refuse to mine off Florida. If we don't, they will.
At today's prices of over $100/barrel it is economically feasible to go through the process of mining, refining, transporting and selling new supplies of energy, for our own use and to supply the rest of the world. US production has slightly fallen over the past 20 years and needs to start rising again.
Not only will it bring prices down, it will also take us out of the geopolitical fray of having to deal with tyrants in Iran, Russia, Venezuela, for starters.
3) Build new oil refineries and allow refiners to make a profit in the US, so that new supplies can be processed in this country faster and more efficiently.
It is truly a travesty that new refining capacity has not been built in the US since 1971. That means we're not only dependent on foreign oil, but also foreign refining capacity. This is a subject I'll revisit again later.
While other countries mine their supply side resources for all they're worth (China made 10 big oil discoveries last year, India has beckoned foreign producers into the country to help is drill for oil, and Brazil has discovered a huge new oil sources, the Tupi field and the offshore Carioca field, which is predicted to hold billions even trillions of barrels of oil, the US discovers and then twiddles its thumbs. Congress ties big oil's hands on all public lands in the US, even as new discoveries are found and mined on private lands.
This is going to have to change, even as new reserves are found like the Bakken oil basin which extends from North Dakota to Montana and Canada. Colorado and Utah meanwhile are estimated to contain 1.2 trillion of shale oil reserves that are only now becoming economically feasible with today's high prices.
I could go on, but this is enough for now. If we don't get started drilling soon, we will only fall further behind the world. These high prices are the best thing that can happen to a country like ours that has become energy fat and very lazy. I'll revisit this again.
More US stats.
One of the greatest country music legends of all time and shrewdest of businessman bid the world farewell here early this morning. We will all miss this fine singer and gentleman who helped put country music and Nashville on the map long before country was cool.
Eddie Arnold has gone to his Maker.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I, like everyone, get these ridiculous, often photo shopped joke e-mails from friends and family that go around the Web. I usually delete them before ever opening them. But when I occasionally go in, only one in a hundred strikes me as funny. Today a very funny man sent me such an e-mail, and for reasons unknown I laughed so hard over this that tears came to my eyes.
Is it because the donkey reminds me of Democrats or is it because it reminds me of something else? I've known plenty of mules and donkeys in my life and they sure have a mind of their own, unlike horses. Seeing this one hamstrung is priceless in my book. Hope it amuses you too.
From the dairy at Loch of the Lowes: 7 May 2008:
"The ospreys haven’t had much drama or activity to deal with apart from the odd intruder on the 2 May and routine incubation.
"It’s May now and it’s almost as if someone’s flipped a switch for the weather! After a cold, wet April ,we are now enjoying fantastic warm sunshine: perfect fishing weather! The male seems to be bringing in more fish which is a good sign. He’ll have to bring in more food soon enough for when the chicks hatch! Of course the calmer surface of the loch makes it much easier to see his prey so fishing will be easier at mornings and evenings!
"With all this great weather we have noticed our poor male panting while sitting on the eggs, just a little bit too warm; does he maybe think he’s back in Africa? It is probably a bit of a shock to the system after the cold April.
"We are now over halfway through the incubation and the centre is beginning to buzz with the possibility of the first chick hatching within the next couple of weeks. Of course… in this weather, it could be earlier!"
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I strongly doubt it. But even if they join the Obamas in the race, I doubt that such a ticket could get elected.
So here's the deal: The Clintons will not inhabit the White House again or the Naval Observatory ever. It's not rocket science.
Hillary's presidential bid is over. And no amount of wishful thinking, tenacity and perseverance on her part will change it.
Above, future home of Hillary and Bill?
PLAIN AND FRISKY
Taaa Daaaaahhhhh! Introducing my brand new conservative woman car. It's a little 2008 Ford Escape (non hybrid) with four cylinders, standard transmission, and is supposed to get about 28 mpg on the highway. After rebates and haggling, I got the sticker price down the $17,600. So with taxes, my out-the-door payment was $19,600. Not bad in my estimation.
Because I drive cross country, I didn't want a teeny tiny car and I certainly didn't want a major gas guzzler, so I landed somewhere in between. Because I drive over 10,000' mountain passes, I agonized over the four cylinder decision. But not for long.
After looking at all the Toyotas. (I'm over them--except for the Lexus which I admit I'm attracted to and briefly considered) Toyota has the audacity of not putting a standard option now on the Rav4 (don't like the spare tire on the back door), the Highlander (too weird looking) and the 4Runner (too big, heavy and gas guzzling). Shame on them.
I liked all the Hondas I drove and came very close to buying one. I loved the Pilot, especially the way the driver's seat sits high, but the Pilot doesn't get any better gas mileage than my Explorer. I was also crazy about the CR-V which in the end was just too small for my needs, and once again hasn't the standard option. The Element is just not my style at all. The Honda dealership here couldn't have been nicer and was willing to haggle a bit. I wished I could have given them my business.
But in the end, I stayed with unglamorous, uncomplicated Ford. Because I could break down driving in Kansas, or Timbuktu and need a basic part. Ford will be there. With a striped down, no frills model I got everything a woman needs---tires, an engine, windows, four or five doors, CD player, automatic windows and locks, and a lighter to rev up my cell phone.
What I didn't get, I added. That would be a key less entry, which I had Ford install on the back hatch.
I also didn't get an option to raise the seat up higher, like they offer in the more expensive versions. So today, my new car is over at Cannonball's getting the seat raised and fitted to my small frame. That will add several hundred dollars to the cost, but well worth the expense.
Two more points in closing:
First, my son in New York tells me that all the NYC cab drivers are now going with the Ford Escape hybrid to save gas for in town driving. I say, if the Escape is good enough for them, it's good enough for me! Incidentally, I took a little of the money I saved, and just bought some Ford Motor Company stock (F). Think it's ripe for a turnaround. We'll see.
And second, my erstwhile, super-liberal husband just called me, and in the course of our conversation I told him about my new Escape. Not to be outdone, he said he has just this week traded his Saab for a __________ (what?). Now what would a man of the world who will be voting for Obama who believes we're in a climate change planetary emergency be buying? No surprises there.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Photos to follow. A few minor things need some tweaking to make it suit me, but overall, I think it's a good fit. And the gas mileage is quite good.
P.S. It's not a Prius.
And I didn't trade the Ford Explorer. It's still my car emeritus. Only if the Smithsonian Institute calls will I consider letting it go at this point. Excuse me, my phone is ringing.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Some years ago I was actively involved in prison ministry with Prison Fellowship.
One seminar I conducted was in a maximum-security prison in the State of Texas. It was a tough prison. During a break, one inmate came up to me and said he had heard that some of the volunteers at the seminar were themselves former offenders. He asked if it would be possible for some of these ex-offenders to share their testimony during the seminar.
I thought it was a great idea and asked if any of the volunteers wished to share their testimony. One of them told this story, as best as I can remember the details:
"I was an inmate in this prison some years ago. I was a member of a motorcycle gang, living in a house with other gang members. In fact, I served time for stealing a motorcycle. My life was not going well at all, and someone told me that I should read the Bible, so I got one—well, actually, I stole one.
"I began to read the Gospels. As I read of the person of Jesus Christ and His love, I was so overwhelmed that I began to weep. I wept so loud I had to go into the bathroom to read, where I could turn on the shower to cover the sounds of my crying."
There is something about our Lord in the Gospels which draws men and women to Him. The disciples who heard Him say, “Follow Me,” could do nothing but follow Him. Men and women guilty of shameful sins drew near, somehow assured that He would not reject them, sensing that He had come to forgive them. I believe a significant part of that magnetism which drew men and women to our Lord was His love.
I believe hearing, reading the Gospels of Christ and his love for us can and does have profound effects on men and women down through the ages. It happened to me. It can happen to you, if it hasn't already. Christ didn't come to save the righteous and those who were satisfied, but rather He came for the sinners, the sick, the needy who were struggling with issues, both inside and out of the system in which they lived. This Samaritan woman is a wonderful case in point.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
How dare it do such a thing.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I first made her acquaintance a few weeks back outside of Dunkeld, Scotland up at Loch of the Lowes.
We both like the out-of-doors and hit it off immediately.
I'd just flown in from the US, several thousand miles away, to get ready for my son's wedding the next weekend. She'd flown back over 3,000 miles, two weeks earlier from Senegal, West Africa where she's wintered for the past 17-20 years.
At one round-trip flight a year back and forth from Senegal---coming to 6,000 miles a year for 20 years----I estimate she's flown over 120,000 miles in her little lifetime of 20 years, which gives new meaning to the term Frequent Flier. She's got a few miles on her.
I was coming to Scotland to get my act together to greet family and friends from two continents.
She was coming back to get to it with her mate and start her next brood of chicks. She did her duty like the true champion she is, and is now sitting patiently on her 50th, 51st and 52nd eggs, due to hatch in the next few weeks. she is being assisted in this prolific venture by her mate who feeds and relieves her on the nest.
She's currently incubating three eggs in their nest.
She and I---both accomplished our missions. But only one of us got our own reality TV program in the process. And a HI-DEF show at that. The closed circuit reality show went to her, as well it should.
And now, with no further ado, I present the little Osprey Hen that can and does----and LIVE, if you dare. This is television at its best, as far as I'm concerned. And it's live 24/7/365.
Tune in here by clicking the link and then clicking CAM 1 on the top line for the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Please remember, her time zone is 6-8 hours ahead of ours in the US.
If you're persistent, you may see all sorts of things, including her mate, the chicks being hatched soon, and the explosive, irrepresible Life Force that keeps this amazing universe going.
Remember this is live reality TV. There's no canned applause, just the sound of the great outdoors and the wind.
I've linked to it in my sidebar, and will be posting more on her remarkable little life, as the weeks go by. This is a wonderful respite from too much presidential politics.
Demand: Energy demand has been sky rocketing for decades. Not just here in America, but in our voracious world neighbors such as China and India. Their demand, coupled with the rise in energy dependence elsewhere in the world, have contributed to rising prices. This trend will not abate anytime soon. This has nothing to do with you-know-who for those who are even moderately inclined towards sanity. Has energy dependence risen under G. Bush? Yes, as it did under Clinton, Bush and even the indescribable Jimmy Carter......surely we remember those long gas lines under American's worst president.
Speaking of demand, let's look at US demand and how it's been shaping up for the past 20 years. You know, twenty years ago when we should have taken much more sensible and aggressive action---called personal responsibility---for our energy future.
World demand for oil is currently 86 million gallons a day, up from 67 million gallons a day in 1990. This rise is only going to increase.
The United States is the third largest oil producing country in the world, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, much more, from our known and vast unknown reserves, yet we continue our childlike dependence on foreign sources to the tune of increasing our imports of oil from 42% in 1990 to 60% today. So we're more and more dependent on foreign oil, rather than less.
With this demand in mind, it's safe to say that any unexpected increase in demand will only cause prices to go further through the roof.
The medicine we deserve is the medicine we're getting: sky rocking gas prices. Our energy chickens are coming home to roost.
How do we brillant Americans purport to deal with this megatrend in demand? By advocating we all purchase Priuses and Soviet Union-like looking light bulbs, turning corn into oil reserves and declaring almost ALL our coastal and northern oil reserves, including the sacred cow called ARWR, off limits due to remote possibility there might be an oil spill and some caribou could catch a cold as a result. We've also put a moratorium on building any new nuclear facilities, diss construction of any new coal fire power plants even though they're getting cleaner and cleaner and even protested any new wind facilities with the ever increasing cacophony Not In My Back Yard! (NIMBY) Right, Ted?
Aren't we brilliant? as an even larger spill looms ahead, and I'm not talking about oil. We want our energy cake and eat it too. We want energy independence but don't want to do anything here in American to get it, except to play tiddle-dee-winks.
It's that old black magic called rising demand. It's just doing its job, and there's nothing we can do about it, no matter how much we, led by the environmental terrorists bitch and moan and scream and throw tantrums.
But wait, there's more. Much more. But for now, repeat after me: Demand is rising, demand is rising, demand is rising.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Only one way to turn it around at Starbucks: Offer a smoother, better product at a lower price. Oh and one more thing, Starbucks should have FREE wireless in every last one of its haunts. There's no excuse for the lack of it. None whatsoever, in my opinion.
I don't use sugar or cream in my coffee. I don't use bitter or stiff (as in prices) either. I don't do paid wireless either, unless I'm in a foreign country and have absolutely no other alternative.
I predict this rising prices energy moment will cause a lot of businesses to rethink their products as consumers start to cut back on spending. And that's not such a bad thing.
I'd much rather have a cup of coffee at Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, McDonalds and any number of places than Starbucks. One of my favorite coffee cups is the free one at Kroger---we call it Nobucks.