Thursday, August 28, 2008

Get Ready To Take it In The Ass!

I'm On My Way Home From Work And I Notice That Gas Has Gone Up .25 Since I Went In!

I Think This Is Fucking Ridiculous! I Know That We Don't Have It As Bad As Some Other Countries Or Even As Bad As Other Parts Of This Country, But Dammit It's Crazy When You See That The Jackass Oil Speculators Jack Up The Price Just Cause They Can.

The Price Of Fuel Had Steadily Been Going Down But I Guess that Since It's Labor Day Weekend They Feel The Need To Ejaculate As Much Cash From The Average Person As They Can. After All, Despite Record Profits, Yet AGAIN, Last Quarter The Investors Were Dismayed That It Wasn't Higher.

Here's The Bullshit Part. There Is An Oil Coalition Called ICE. These Are The Main Oil Speculators, They Get To Trade Energy Commodities In The US. The Good Part Is That They Are Also The One's That Get To Set The Price On Fuel. "I Think That The Price Is Going To Go Up Because Of Blah. How About That The Price Went Up Cause I Said Blah!" They Not Only Get The Profits From The Sale Of The Fuel To Shits Like You And Me, They Also Get Profits From The Commodities Trading. Sounds Like Another Enron To Me.

But Hey Look On The Bright Side, The Government Looked Into It And At Least We're Not Being Randomly Gouged By A .25 Raise In One Day. I For One Plan On Parking My Vehicle For The Remainder Of The Weekend.

More Info Can Be Found Here:

Oil speculators provide the perfect microcosm of what happened to the economy under Bush. Back in 2001, investment banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan got together and created an online exchange called the ICE for trading energy commodities. The ICE ended up buying the British-regulated International Petroleum Exchange; it then opened trading windows in the U.S., allowing Wall Street investment banks to make oil-futures trades on American soil, on their very own commodities exchange, without any federal regulation whatsoever.

"In financial terms, they were playing blackjack at tables where they themselves were the dealers, in casinos they themselves owned," says Warren Gunnels, a senior policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders. "It was crazy." Trading on the ICE had a massive impact on U.S. gasoline prices, and more than one legislator wondered if energy speculators were manipulating the market, as energy traders like Enron had been before.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Victory Garden Or Just Frugal?

My Neighbor Works For Walmart And She Has To Travel A Lot. This Past June She Left For A 3 Month Stint In Hawaii, Lucky Bastard, And Had To Leave Her Garden Untended. She Told Us To Help Ourselves To Whatever Happened To Grow In Her 100 Sqft Plot.

There Hasn't Really Been Much To Choose From, We Don't Weed Or Water The Area So We Didn't Expect Much. She Planted Beans, Corn, And Tomatoes. The Beans, To Me, Are More Of A Hassle Since You Really Have To Have A Lost Of Plants To Get Any Kind Of A Harvest. The Corn, I Think, Was Planted Late And With An Overly Wet Spring And Beginning Of Summer, Was Very Stunted And Only Had 1 Inch Ears.

The Tomatoes, On The Other Hand, Have Been Doing Well. They Have Not Been Huge By Any Means, But Have Been Tasty. It Has Had An Unexpected Effect On My Wife's Aversion To "Home-Grown" Foods. We Have A Decent Size Yard That Would Be Good For Planting While Still Leaving Room For Other Activities, A Must With Two Kids Under 3.

I Had Suggested A Few Times That We Plant Some Things To No Avail. "I Don't Eat Grown Food, *Crinkled Nose*" She Would Say. However The Tastiness Of The Tomatoes Has Made Her Change Her Mind. So This Year I Will Finish My Deck And Start Making Preparations For The 2009 Project. I Have A Lot Of Research To Do And Am Glad That I Saw Her Garden In The State It Is Now. I Would Have Been Disgruntled With My First Attempt In Which I Would Have Probably Done What I Did And Been Pissed At The Lack Of Produce.

Coincidentally, NOT Ironically (I Hate When That Is Misused,) In Wired's Most Recent Issue There Was An Article On Urban Farming. Clive Generally Has Great Articles And I Figured I'd Repost Here.

Clive Thompson on Why Urban Farming Isn't Just for Foodies

This year, Carol Nissen's crops include mesclun, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and assorted herbs. When she sits down to dine, she's often eating food grown with her own two hands.

But Nissen isn't tilling the soil on a farm. She's a Web designer who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey — one of the most cramped, concrete-laden landscapes in the nation. Nissen's vegetables thrive in pots and boxes crammed into her house and in wee plots in her yard. "I'm a micro-gardener," she says. "It's a pretty small townhouse. But it's amazing what you can do without much space."

The term for this is urban farming — the art of growing vegetables in cities that otherwise resemble the Baltimore of The Wire.It has become increasingly trendy in recent years, led by health-conscious foodies coveting just-picked produce, as well as hipsters who dig the roll-your-own vibe.

But I think it's time to kick it up a notch. Our world faces many food-resource problems, and a massive increase in edible gardening could help solve them. The next president should throw down the gauntlet and demand Americans sow victory gardens once again.

Remember the victory garden? During World Wars I and II, the government urged city dwellers and suburbanites to plant food in their yards. It worked: The effort grew roughly 40 percent of the fresh veggies consumed in the US in 1942 and 1943.

These days, we're fighting different battles. Developing nations are facing wrenching shortages of staples like rice. Here at home, we're struggling with a wave of obesity, fueled by too much crappy fast food and too little fresh produce, particularly in poorer areas. Our globalized food stream poses environmental hazards, too: The blueberries I had for lunch came from halfway around the world, in the process burning tons of CO2.

Urban farming tackles all three issues. It could relieve strain on the worldwide food supply, potentially driving down prices. The influx of fresh vegetables would help combat obesity. And when you "shop" for dinner ingredients in and around your home, the carbon footprint nearly disappears. Screw the 100-mile diet — consuming only what's grown within your immediate foodshed — this is the 100-yard diet.

Want to cool cities cheaply? Plant crops on rooftops. This isn't just liberal hippie fantasy, either. Defense hawks ought to love urban farming, because it would enormously increase our food independence — and achieve it without the market distortions of the benighted farm bill. You don't need tomatoes from Mexico if you can pluck them from containers on your office roof.

Better yet, urban farming is an excuse to geek out with some awesome tech. Innovations from NASA and garage tinkerers have made food-growing radically more efficient and compact than the victory gardens of yore. "Aeroponics" planters grow vegetables using mist, slashing water requirements; hackers are building home-suitable "aquaponics" rigs that use fish to create a cradle-to-grave ecosystem, generating its own fertilizer (and delicious tilapia, too). Experts have found that cultivating a mere half-acre of urban land with such techniques can yield more than $50,000 worth of crops annually.

But what I love most here is the potential for cultural transformation. Growing our own food again would reconnect us to this country's languishing frontier spirit.

Once you realize how easy it is to make the concrete jungle bloom, it changes the way you see the world. Urban environments suddenly appear weirdly dead and wasteful. When I walk around New York City now, I see the usual empty lots and balconies and I think, Wait a minute. Why aren't we growing food here? And here? And here?

In fact, that's precisely what occurred to me when I came home and looked at the window of my apartment. So now it holds three pots balanced on the ledge: One with herbs, one with lettuce, one with tomatoes.

I should have my first crop in about a month. And I expect my victory salad to taste very sweet indeed.



Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Blog

I Got Bored With Myspace And Decided To Just Start A Blog. I Intend This To Basically Be A Repository For Everything. I've Got Stuff Spread All Over The Net And Decided To Consolidate It All To here.

We'll See How Long That Lasts.

Oh Yeah, Much To The Chagrin Of My Friends, I've Also Decided To Go Back To My Old Posting Style Of Caps At The Beginning Of Every Word. Those That Hate It Will Continue To Hate It. ;P