Monthly Archives: November 2007

How much is a fair wage?

I guess it depends on where you are in the heirarchy of wages.

Check out this article from Ethicurian and let me know what you think.

My common sense-o-meter tells me something just ain’t quite just about this situation.

UPDATE:  I have more to say about this. 

The more I think about this the more pissed off I get.  These stupid CEOs, who make millions, can’t see it in their big fat stupid hearts to give these people a few extra pennies a pound so they can have a decent living?  Granted, the capitalist way is for corporations to maximize their profits for their owners and keep their costs low.  That’s bullshit. They just use that as an excuse to make their behavior sound OK.  They know what they’re doing is wrong, but they have to justify it somehow so they can sleep at night.

Maybe these guys should go pick tomatoes for a day and see if they feel differently about it then.  Sometimes you do things because you are forced to, but sometimes you do things because it’s the right thing to do.  Paying more to the pickers is the right thing to do

Anyway, I shouldn’t care that much because this is a fast food place and I frankly would feel better at night if they all shriveled up and died.  But, BK was one that I would go to if I had to because they had a veggie burger there.  Not anymore.  I’d rather go hungry or instead just hit a grocery store for some vittles if I’m that hard up for something to it.   

Midwest could have oil shortage soon

Below is an article that is from Reuters that came out of Singapore. 

http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNewsAndPR/idUSSP30921420071129
Here is the money quote:

The explosion on Wednesday about 3.0 miles (4.8 km) southeast of its Clearbrook, Minnesota, terminal shut down a line that carries nearly one-fifth of U.S. crude oil imports.

SINGAPORE, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Middle East crude traders are bracing for higher prices after a blast crippled the main pipeline shipping Canada’s heavier crude to the U.S. Midwest, anticipating refiners may have to scramble for supplies.

Pipeline operator Enbridge (ENB.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) shut down its network of four parallel pipelines that pump Canadian crude to the United States, and warned that the larger two lines carrying mainly medium and heavy grades could remain shut for a while.

Landlocked inland refiners such as Flint Hills Resources’ 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Rosmount, Minnesota, that rely on the pipeline for the baseload supplies, would have to drag additional shipments inland from the Gulf or East Coast that could reverberate.

“The only way to supply refiners that do not have Canadian crude is to send crudes from the Gulf Coast up the pipelines. These are mostly light sweet crude,” a Singapore-based trader said.

That will create a knock-on impact for demand for similar high-sulphur, dense crudes that can be shipped to the United States such as Russia’s main Urals blend or Middle East grades such as Oman, which rarely travels to U.S. shores.

Much will now depend on the duration of the outage, and whether the U.S. government reaches into its 700 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to try to fill the gap — although logistics may make that tricky.

“The problem is that the SPR oil is all in PADD III Gulf Coast, while the crude imports that have been lost are all in PADD II Midwest, and there is limited transport capacity between the two,” Sempra analyst John Kemp said.

Traders are also looking to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase output when it meets on Dec. 5 in Abu Dhabi, which might help temper the impact of the outage.

BRENT-DUBAI COULD NARROW

The explosion on Wednesday about 3.0 miles (4.8 km) southeast of its Clearbrook, Minnesota, terminal shut down a line that carries nearly one-fifth of U.S. crude oil imports.

One of the set of four pipelines will require repairs and regulator inspections, while the largest is “not likely” to start up any time soon, Larry Springer, a spokesman for Calgary, Alberta-based operator Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), said on Thursday.

Traders said the Brent-Dubai spread, used as a proxy for the premium of sweet grades of high-sulphur or sour crude, could narrow as a result of the stronger pull.

The spread has hovered above $5 a barrel for the past month and a half, indicating stronger demand for light sweet crude, and rose toward $6 as Brent futures prices outpaced the less liquid over-the-counter Dubai swaps market.

But in Early August last year, when BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) shut down its Alaska Prudhoe Bay field due to a pipeline leak, the Brent-Dubai Exchange for Swaps (EFS) halved from around $5.65 to $2.80 a barrel within one month, as West Coast refiners rushed for Asian cargoes.

Even if U.S. refiners do not pull Middle East crudes directly, European markets facing the loss of Urals may see increased demand, setting up a West versus East tug-of-war during the peak of season demand for the northern hemisphere winter.

Only about a handful of Middle East crudes from Oman, Abu Dhabi and Qatari crude are traded freely on the market, amounting to around 4 million barrels per day (bpd), but even some of that volume is contracted under annual contracts.

Higher demand from Japan and South Korea in winter for kerosene-rich Abu Dhabi crude, could further limit available supplies and help push prices higher. (Additional reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Jonathan Leff/Ramthan Hussain)

That was damn tasty!

I just finished dinner and we had our first baguette from a real bakery.

And it was incredibly good. I totally understand what everyone raves about now.

We were all just plain eating them with no toppings or anything. If I wasn’t so full I’d eat the rest of it right now. I’ll be trying to make those in the near future. Very good.

In other news, below you can see a picture of some purchases I made while hitting flea markets in Arkansas with my Dad. That was a good time shopping for cast iron pans and muffin tins. We had a good time. And even better, I found a couple skillets and a bread pan. I also found an ice cream maker. The kind with the removable insert to put in the freezer. It should be very exciting to make some ice cream in the near future! (Ice cream maker not pictured)

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I think I spent $16 on the three things pictured and $15 for the ice cream maker.

This bread pan is great because it makes a loaf that’s about 60% longer than a normal loaf pan. That means I have to cook a loaf less often, which is obviously good.

The first time we used it the bread stuff awfully, but now I grease it with some lard and the bread pops right out!

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And just for fun, here’s a picture of me making a loaf of bread while on vacation at my parents last week with my special cooking assistant.

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2nd thoughts

You know, my post yesterday reflects, I think, the fatigue I’m feeling over all the bad news that keeps coming out about the environment and our economy and Peak Oil and food prices and animal treatment and all the other things we keep hearing about.  Maybe I’m TOO tuned into the news and I need to shut some of it off so I can keep my sanity…

The shiny is all gone

Lately I’ve become less and less enamored with blogging, the internet, computers and technology in general.  I don’t know what it is.  For some reason at night now all I want to do is curl up with a book, do things around the house or go to bed.

I’m tired of working late into the night on the computer and being tired the next day.  Tired of reading all the depressing news on the internet and all the blogs.  I’m tired of spending my time that way.

It’s kind of a strange feeling for me.  When I started blogging I wasn’t sure how much I would like it.  I liked it a lot.  I’ve never been a particularly communicative person.  In fact, if you count blogging some days my writing is the most words I put out.   But now it feels like work instead of fun.  I enjoy sharing what I’m doing with all of you readers, but sometimes it feels like work.

Maybe I put the pressure on myself.  I could be trying to do too many things.  I’ve been known to do that sort of thing.  It doesn’t help that what I’ve been putting up here isn’t really good stuff lately.  Sure book reviews and cooking stuff is fun and all, but for some reason it just isn’t grabbing me anymore.  Maybe because I’m not delving enough into it.  Perhaps I’m trying to be abrest of too many different things and my mind if overloaded.

If I seriously think about all the things I’ve educated myself about over the past two years it’s kind of amazing really.

Preserving food, gardening (and all that goes with this), composting, biking, cooking locally, cooking with what’s in the fridge, making bread, making use of produce in bread, asian cooking, indian cooking, global warming, Peak Oil, oil dependency, economics (more than in the past even), stock investing, self directed IRAs, more real estate knowledge than I already had, water conservation, politics, taxation, history,  plus all the stuff I’m learning about to teach my kids.   Plus much much more.

For some reason right now sitting down at this computer to write these things out isn’t what I want to be doing.

Maybe I just need a kick in the ass.

The world is thirsty

Sharon tipped me off to this article, but it is really sobering how no one is talking about the implications of the drought conditions we are having in different parts of America, and across the world. 

Has our population grown so much that we are already too large to be supported by nature?

Do we just need to stop wasting so much water showering every day and watering our yards?

What needs to be done to use water more efficiently?

I live in an area with what seems like plenty of water resources, but should I be concened anyway so we can protect and better manage what we have?  Should I worry about refugees coming here because of our water resources?

These are interesting questions.  As the article points out, there are no easy answers. 

When will we be able to start making the tough choices we need to all make? 

Hell, a lot of these choices are easy.  It’s time to use some common sense folks.

Monday roundup

Well it’s been almost two weeks since I last posted, but I’ve been doing things.

On the 16th we sent south to spend Thanksgiving with my folks in Arkansas.  It was nice to bring 4 Iowans down and bring up the state IQ considerably for our short visit.

We have insulation people coming to our house this week so I was busy getting things done around the house so they could do their thing without causing us too much pain.  Unfortunately our house is a crazy mess now cuz we’ve got boxes and things everywhere.  But, hopefully we’ll be more comfortable in the future.

I’ve got some things to talk about but I keep running out of time to write them up here.  Stay tuned though.  I’m trying to get to a place where I can write more but for some reason I keep running into more and more things I need to do around the house and they are preventing me from writing as much as I would like.