The centrality of gasoline.

As gas prices soar, thieves grow more brazen

Most gas thefts are still perpetrated by motorists who drive off without paying. After seeing declines in drive-offs earlier this decade, after many stores began requiring drivers to pre-pay, the National Association of Convenience Stores says they’re rising sharply again. “

Gasoline is at the center of the American economy, but there are those who will doubt this.

One group, for example, is crazy enough to believe that Baby Jesus will create more oil. What a crock. He would have already done it by now. (I really don’t need to refute this hypothesis on this blog.)

We will see more crime of all kinds as gas prices go up. More gas will stolen from the pump, perhaps tankers will be hijacked.

I hate to be the ominous village prognosticator, but we are seeing the beginning of how crazy it’s going to get when oil becomes scarce. Food prices will go up, and I think those living in the big cities are going to have the hardest time. I don’t want to sound like these people, but you have to admit that the potential for chaos is real.

The question is, How likely is the chaos?

About as likely that we won’t find alternative energy sources to meet our demand.

-MC Spanky McGee

A system of waste. $2 billion in gas gone.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080522/ts_nm/airlines_delays_dc_1

Flight delays could cost airlines more than $2 billion in wasted jet fuel this year, according to a congressional report released on Thursday. “

We have designed (or have been complicit in designing) a system that is extremely wasteful, and then we have the nerve to cry about these gas prices.

Think of all the damned plastic we throw away, all the gas we waste driving faster than we need to (just to save 2 minutes of driving). Poor little Bro Taguchi was telling me last night that when he went to the recycling center in Des Moines, that they wouldn’t even accept plastics numbered 3-6 (or something like that.) That is absurd. Even if the people happen to be willing to do their part in saving energy, the system isn’t set up to allow them to do that to the best of their abilities.

Who was involved in setting up this system? I do not want to treat it as if it is some mysterious spooky entity like the invisible hand. (The invisible hand can bite me.) We are all responsible for the status of the system. Now it seems that it is too large to steer in any direction, and it will take a major crash for us to start to do something new.

We are certainly shortsighted creatures.

$2 billion. Up in smoke.

-MC Spanky McGee

To the Americans:

Bush says Saudi oil increase ‘doesn’t solve our problem’

But Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said Friday it had decided a week before Bush’s visit to raise production by 300,000 barrels a day to 9.45 million barrels a day and didn’t see any need to do more. Energy analysts called the boost a token — it represents just 3 percent of the total — and it was seen as a rebuff, if a gentle one, of Bush by Abdullah.

Still, the president steered clear of criticism of the Saudis. He noted they are increasing refining capacity as well as pumping more oil.

“It’s not enough. It’s something but it doesn’t solve our problem,” Bush said. “One of the interesting things about American politics is, those who are screaming the loudest for increased production from Saudi Arabia are the very same people who are the fighting the fiercest against domestic exploration, against the development of nuclear power and against expanding refining capacity.” “

Listen up, people. Stop whining about the damned price of oil. We are responsible for its price. It’s simple–it’s called supply and demand. The economic solution is to consume less oil. Recycle your goddamned plastic Diet Coke bottle, turn off your lights, and ride a bike or the bus. Use less energy, and lower prices will surely follow.

-MC Spanky McGee

Clinton calls Obama “un-American” over Michigan and Florida

Where is Clinton left without revotes?

Clinton made a last-minute trip to Michigan today to emphasize her support for a re-vote there, saying it’s “wrong, and frankly un-American” not to have delegates from the two states seated at the convention.

I’ve already written on this topic today, but I’m so pissed off at how ridiculous this woman has gotten. This is clearly a shameless attempt to Swift Boat Obama by painting him as being an America-hater.

Clinton’s reasoning must be something like this:

1. Wright is un-American

2. Anyone who prevents Florida and Michigan from voting is un-American.

3. Barack Obama is preventing Florida and Michigan from voting.

4. Therefore Barack Obama is un-American

5.  Wright and Obama are un-American

The first premise is questionable. The third is definitely false.

Hillary is playing both on the Wright situation and the Florida/Michigan bullshit to make him look unpatriotic.

Total bullshit.

-MC Spanky McGee

Bush: “Gas is gonna cost what???”

Bush finds out about $4 gas forecasts

President Bush, saying he was unaware of predictions of $4-a-gallon gasoline in the coming months, told reporters Thursday that the best way to help Americans fend off high prices is for Congress to make his first-term tax cuts permanent.

Bush also criticized Congress, which is considering an $18 billion tax increase for large oil companies.

‘All that’s going to do is make the price even higher,’ he said. ‘We ought to be encouraging investment in oil and gas close to home if we’re trying to mitigate the problems we face.’

Georgie, are you fucking serious? This is totally ridiculous.

1. You weren’t aware of the outlook on the price of gas? Have you been stranded? Is that why you don’t have a clue?

george bush castaway

2. The best way to deal with these prices is a tax cut? Why don’t you push alternate sources of energy? Why not say that we should cut demand?

Because you’re still an oil man.

Just say that we should consume less gas, goddamnit. If demand goes down, so will the price. It’s really easy.

-MC Spanky McGee

Soupy Trumpet Blasts from the Web 2-27-08

Here’s another Soupy Trumpet daily-dose of internet finds to enjoy:

OIL ON TITAN? SWEET! updated for the modern human.

(Post updated 2/14/2008)

Heh. I commented on Titan’s oil back in November of 2006 (that post is below), and now the news is saying:

Saturn’s orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new Cassini data. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes. http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMCSUUHJCF_index_0.html

(See also http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/02/titans-organic.html)

Ok, ok. This is very good news for us. Kinda. It depends on what we mean by the word, “us.” Here’s what I’m thinking.

  1. Someday the sun is going to go supernova and engulf the Earth. Fact.
  2. That means that we are going to want to pack up our Taco Bells and get the hell out of here. Thus, the Grand Planetary Hop.
  3. However, (and this is the juicy fun part) not everyone will “qualify” for the GHP. In other words, when the sun swallows Mercury and the Earf heats up, not everybody is going on the rocketship. “This is ground control to Major Tom…. it’s getting very waaaaarm….
  4. Solution? Lottery. “Free” markets. In other words, ya better start a trust fund for your temporally-distant relatives. Don’t say that MC Spanky McGee never got anything right.
  5. Ok, so you’re gonna need tons o’ cash to go. You hit the moon, Mars, and then you’re off to Titan to load up on some sweet rocket fuel. Brrrr.
  6. Have fun getting your ass to Proxima Centauri. http://www.astro.wisc.edu/%7Edolan/constellations/extra/nearest.html “Gonna make it… gonna make it…. not gonna make it”

By the way, if you’re left behind when the supernova is about to occur, I know it’s going to suck. Total chaos. Total anarchy. Sorry we didn’t have the foresight, will, or ability to do ya better.
Peace out.
-MC Spanky McGee


So I’m reading the December 2006 issue of National Geographic last night, la la-la, checking out these kickass pictures of Saturn (I’m a dork. So what?), kinda reading the article about the Cassini and Huygens probes, when I hit page 54. At the top of the page in bigass letters, it quoted Hunter Waite, from the Southwest Research Institute:“THERE’S A LAYER OF FROZEN HYDROCARBONS, SIMILAR TO GASOLINE, COVERING MUCH OF THE MOON [TITAN]. IF YOU COULD MINE TITAN, YOU’D NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT OIL SHORTAGES.”-Sweet! This is going to rock. You can drive 95 after all! We will send a freakin’ huge rocket to Titan, which will take 7 years. We’ll load up on oil, and then we’ll send it back, and wait for 7 more years. Come on, now, don’t wuss out on me. You can wait 14 years for oil so that your ol’ Corvette club can still roll around and listen to Elvis–just for shits and giggles. Of course, this will only please us if we use more oil than we’re getting out of the trip.-
Below: the totally rad moon of Saturn, Titan.
oil_on_titan.jpg

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What is extra-sugary is that National Geographic is in the middle of story about these strange objects in our solar system, and one of the things they highlight is how we could plunder that shit for oil. (Man, I hope there are some life forms on Titan that we can screw over. We have the God-given right to any oil in the solar system.) That’s like talking about a quadratic equation in a math book and then telling the reader that you could apply it to some chicken strips. Sure, Grown Pumpkin thinks about chicken strips a lot, but do you really have to torture the lil’ guy when he’s trying to do his math homework? How can I focus on the pretty pretty rings of Saturn when I start daydreaming about going to the gas station?
-

Too bad I’m not gonna be around for the Grand Planetary Hop. Humans are going to be intergalactic oil pirates some day, and I’d be a freakin’ sweet foot soldier in that shit. I just played 3 hours of Gears of War with Pumpkin on his monstrous plasma screen this last weekend. I’m ready to kick some alien-ass.

-

Ah, for some reason, I hear Queens of the Stone Age: “GIMME SOME MORE… DEEP FRIED, GIMME SOME MORE!” Now there’s the American motto: “GIMME SOME MORE!”

We soooo rock the house. Beeg time.

Exxon posts record profits…. BULLSHIT! A hose job on you and me.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/01/news/companies/exxon_earnings/index.htm?postversion=2008020111

Exxon Mobil made history on Friday by reporting the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company, boosted in large part by soaring crude prices.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said fourth-quarter net income rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 per share. The company earned $10.25 billion, or $1.76 per share, in the year-ago period.”

How many times have we been told that the cost of gas is due solely to market forces??? How can the price go up so much, placing so much strain on the average American household, yet Exxon posts the highest profit, ever?

I can hear it now: “It’s because the invisible hand is rewarding them. The market rewards successful businesses.”

I got your invisible hand, right here. The article continues:

“Exxon’s record results, which coincide with smaller rival Chevron’s (CVX, Fortune 500) profit jump, are likely to draw fire from consumer rights groups, who contend the oil industry is deliberately restricting supply and profiting on the back of U.S. motorists.”

You bet your sweet ass Exxon is controlling the supply. Newsflash, people: OIL IS FINITE ON EARTH. IT WILL RUN OUT BEFORE ALL THE CHICKEN AND COW FOSSILS WE CREATE CAN TURN INTO MORE.

No, Baby Jesus will not make more. This fact alone shows you that any oil company will have to deliberately ration their product, so that they can continue to make a profit, near and after the end of oil. They’re not stupid.

That’s why they’re so awesome. They’re loading up now, while they can. If you want to make a killing, you go into oil stocks and futures. Cash prizes.

As for me, I’m thinking big. I’m headed to Titan. “That’s when the big bucks start rollin’ in….”

And then we’ll see who the new King is.

By the way, I filled up at the pump this morning…

-Agent Spanky McGee

Arby’s+stocks+Cub Foods=I’m a good American.

I thought I was going to eat lunch at home, but I realized that I had an opportunity to make good partially on my pledge concerning Arby’s. So, after I bought stock in AMD, Yahoo, and Sirius today, I went and got my first roast turkey and swiss sandwich, which ran me close to $7.

menu_market_fresh_roast_turkey_and_swiss.jpg

As usual, the curly fries got the job done. The sandwich was very good, and its HUSK-FACTOR was about an 8. I think they knew they had to make it fairly big to compete with their roast beef flagship, and they succeeded. My complaint, however, is that you can easily make this sandwich at home (lettuce, tomato, onions, spicy mustard (I think) and wheat bread), and it would taste just as good. Furthermore, you’d save yourself about $5.

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Prediction: Pumpkin will balk at the “Market Fresh” label it bears. I don’t think he likes hearing how “fresh” anything is. I already said that I’d be exploring their more obscure sandwiches, just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. Although this sandwich was good, I doubt I’ll be buying it again.

___

Next: my adventure at Cub Foods. In a previous post, Pumpkin lamented the failure of Jimmy John’s employees to offer conscientiously a cup to him. One thing that bugs me is people who go through the line at Cub foods only to block the way out with their cart. You’d like to get your cart through there so that you can park on the other side to collect your groceries, but NOOOOOOO–Susie McSelf-absorbed has already claimed the land for Spain. Now, the response that Taguchi made to Pumpkin’s post equally applies to this post, but, goddamnit, why should I have to say something??? As Pops McGee taught us McGee children, “Pay attention to your fucking environment.” Ok, he doesn’t drop the F-bomb, but whatever. Look, lady, you know I’m back there. Get that cart situated and we can all be happy.

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But maybe I’m missing something. She might be entitled. After all, she spent her money first, she got there first, and she was going to start consuming gasoline before I was. I got beat out of the starting gate, and she had every God-cosigned right to be there, with her Zamboni taking up the little Cub Foods Chute of Consumption. Praise Jesus.
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On the way back from Cub, I saw all these trucks on the road, getting ready to deliver shit people bought, and I felt good. I thought, “I’m buying stock, out spending money on sandwiches I can make at home, I’m consuming gasoline, trucks are rollin’, goddamn I’m a great American.

Well, maybe not as good as Susie. But hey–my stock portfolio is up $9.36.

-Spanks.

A SMALLER Hummer? NOOOOOOOOOOO!

I just saw that Hummer is releasing a midsized H3. I haven’t taken it for a test drive, and I’m not gonna. I’m just going to do some good ol’ conceptual analysis on it. So, my review goes like this:

What the fuck? Hummer must be in trouble. I thought the point was to make everything bigger. Did someone kidnap the Hummer execs and put evil clones in their places? We can’t go midsize! That’s contrary to the Hummer spirit. Where am I going to out my 32 gallon cup of Coke from McDonald’s? Where does my quadruple quarterpounder fit? What about my husky kids when I take them to soccer practice (that they’re going to quit after 3 weeks)? Better yet–what if I want to take Pumpkin somewhere when he wants a fruit smoothie? Are the folks at Hummer collectively drunk?
I know what it is–Hummer is just not American anymore. Maybe they should go someplace where they like smaller things.
-El Spanko Gordo