Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gasoline prices and elections

Having voted in several presidential elections I've gotten to see some of the trends that present themselves around election time. Case in point: Gasoline prices!

Do you ever get the feeling we are being played? There is the OPEC thing that's been around since the late 60s or early 70s with certain suppliers controlling the faucet of oil supplies in their petroleum rich areas. Squeezing the hose to bring up the price gets more money into their coffers. Good business sense they call it. Then, on a regular basis we have to deal with unstable governments of oil suppliers and the on again, off again liquid energy spigot. When we import so many gallons upon gallons of oil each day there are so many variables it's mind boggling. The feeling of being played doesn't come from them though. Those elements aren't really predictable are they except that uncertainty is itself guaranteed. What I mean is the gasoline prices at election time.

What was gasoline a year ago per gallon, maybe $3.90? But at that time no one was involved in a battle for the presidency with the cost of gasoline as a huge issue to the average driver. Who exactly controls the prices is simply not open to the public. There are so many doors and dummy corporations we'll probably never know. There are also so many excuses as to why the prices shoot up around traveling holidays and after elections it would be hilarious if it weren't for the huge hole it leaves in our wallets.

I don't know enough to point fingers and place blame, or if it even is a control issue. But, facts present themselves in a way that makes me wonder. I wonder of more is in play here than supply and demand. Is there someone behind the curtain like in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz"? Oh yeah, I almost forgot last year $3.90, as high as $4.10 around here, now, a few short weeks before the election: $3.20 and probably going down. Just like the last election! Why do you suppose that is?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dealing with a bore.

Ever notice that occasionally, when you are having a conversation with someone, suddenly you realize that, in their opinion all your things and ideas are crap and all their things and ideas are "special"? You know what I'm talking about don't you? We like this kind of coffee, they think it tastes terrible because that kind is better. You like this kind of car, they like that kind of car because ours is terrible and bad in every way. It's the same with almost anything. If we don't like what they like we are obviously ignorant, uninformed and in need of their direction and advice which they are more than willing to spend an enormous amount of our time imposing on us. We are left with the feeling that according to them, we cannot make a rational decision. Period! Nope, we are not capable of making up our own minds. Besides an acquaintance or two I get that feeling from more than a few salesmen and, of course, political ads and those news reporters and the subtle facial gestures
and head movements they make while reporting in an "unbiased" way.

The advice from those in the know says that when you are faced with an opinionated know it all, your weapon of choice is the question. Any question will do to start but it is important to stay with an aggressive attack of inquiry so as to deplete the resources of the offending social bore. Who, what, why, where and how, with the occasional, "really?" Salesmen, news and the political stuff aren't really a problem for me, I find it (according to the latest poll) almost equally balanced between humorous and annoying and I am in charge of being there or the on/off switch. It's when meeting this problem face to face in a social setting that I need to sharpen my strategic maneuvering abilities. I'm looking into this question weapon thing.

My first question?
"Did you know there is a booger smeared on the side of your nose?"

That should get the conversation started in the right direction shouldn't it?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

History class one-O-one

You can't go back to the past.

Over time, children's TV cartoons have evolved to, in part bring down the level of violence. Mighty Mouse was always doing big timer damage to villains, Penelope somebody had a bunch of crooks as her protectors and Wiley Coyote wrought terror upon the helpless desert habitating Road Runner. On the retail side, pop guns, cork shooting rifles, cap loaded revolvers and bows and arrows are so totally avoided so as to not put the tools of violence into little Billy's hands and create anti social behavior. Cartoons most often in recent years have become a horse of a different color. Cute, non violent, complete equality and so obviously non argumentative. Powder puffy, soft, calming colors, low voices, big eyes,  able to show emotions at a single word, apologetic and unconditionally forgiving. All this change coming about because the theory is the old cartoons showing the battle between good and evil confused the little minds of our kids. How's that working for us?

Clothing is changing too. Now that our kids are so much more mature at a much earlier age modesty is considered old fashioned and stifling to imaginations filled with all those mature ideas of dressing up like their older "equals". Walt Disney brought us the Mousketeers for our safe amusement half a century ago. Fun, innocent and entertaining while maintaining an element of modesty and good taste. To the point of using constricting undergarments so as to not overemphasize the bust of blossoming teenagers. Parents could safely allow kids to watch without supervision to explain the stuff about sex. Today's kids are way too smart to give that much fun a second look.

School dances at one time were having all sorts of difficulties because the guys would make themselves sick drinking a bottle of Coke straight down without swallowing or the girls would get caught with too much make up. Gum on the school grounds was considered a huge problem. The more mature, well adjusted and informed teens of today don't even mess with that kid's stuff. They only dress revealingly enough so as to validate their sexual prowess they learned so much about in class, dance as if they were about to pro-create and speak with a four letter word category I never even knew existed.

Cap guns are scarce but paint ball guns and soft air rifles resembling assault rifles and machine guns are sold everywhere.

You can't go back in history. All of those changes were made to help us live in a better, less violent society. How's that working out for us?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Melting polar ice and swimming

While reading the newspaper the other day, (yes, I still faithfully read the newspaper) I came across an article regarding the melting of the polar ice. Seems the ice is melting at an alarming rate, in part due to global warming but mostly because we are in the middle of the 150 year earth temperature cycle. Rather confusing if you ask me. Imagine, us little people changing a world that has existed millions of years without us meddling with it. There was even a time when the world got sick of those huge prehistoric reptiles and sucked them up into bogs and turned them into oil. Us humans weren't even around at the time but the benefits of that reptile purging and subsequent production of oil have definitely brought about a quality of life we wouldn't have otherwise had. A lesson in evolution I guess. But I'm drifting away from the melting of the polar ice aren't I?

Anyway, this ice is melting and it is logical to assume that the water resulting from that melting has to go somewhere. I'm wondering just where it goes? The great lakes are at an all time low. We've got ships entering the great lakes from the oceans this water is melting in every day. How bout we take some tankers, fill them with the water from melting polar ice, bring them up the waterway into the middle and dump that water to fill the lakes back up. Might as well use that water otherwise it's just going to make the oceans overflow, right? Some may assume that we, as insignificant humans can't possibly take on such a task, but I think if we are the cause of all that melting, we can make use of what we've done. Or, something like that. Then again maybe I just didn't read far enough into the article to get the basics of cause and affect, or effect whatever the situation is. That's the trouble with trying to learn about the world with limited information. An old saying goes, "He has just enough information to be dangerous!"

Where's all this going? Well, I know a person that is so caught up in cause and affect that when she goes swimming, after she dries herself off, she wrings out the towel over the lake or river so as not to change the destiny of that particular body of water. If she finds some sort of aquatic life on the shoreline, she places that aquatic life thingy back into the water so as to carry on the proper cycle. She's a nice, intelligent person but I guess maybe I don't have enough information on that thought process. I would never make fun of anyone doing their thing to preserve the world in an educated and thoughtful way but I'm lost when it comes to extremes. Lions, and tigers and bears, which exist just as naturally as we do, do not concern themselves with all that stuff. Beavers aren't worried about the environmental impact of their dams, birds don't take make surveys of cause and affect before letting loose with droppings, and the world keeps moving on regardless.

So, what I'm wondering is this: If the water left on my body after a swim is wrung from a towel back into the pond, now saturated with my sweat and other stuff, does the now polluted water have the affect of eventually melting the polar ice? Maybe, just maybe. Is this climate situation being generated by nature to make us extinct and turned into some type of energy for the next type of creature that attempts to rule the world? Now there is something to think about.
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