Showing posts from November, 2008

Carlee Hoffman - two gold medals!

Carlee with her Paralympic Gold in China.

One of the wonderful things about sport is that sometimes it can truly provide life-changing experiences and create opportunities that go beyond what a young athlete might even dare to dream. While we cannot speak to the dreams of Carlee Hoffman, a 2004 graduate of South Christian, it might be safe to say that the fact that she has gone all over the country and the world playing wheelchair basketball was not something she envisioned a few years ago.
In her travels to Greece and China as a Paralympic athlete she has managed to pick up two gold medals as a member of the US women’s wheelchair basketball team. Her basketball skills had two Universities fighting for her attention and offering full ride scholarships – she chose the University of Illinois over the University of Arizona because she wanted to sharpen her skills under the tutelage of coach Michael Frogley. Carlee walked with her classmates at U of I in May, but she will not officially ge…

Another perspective on Big Three bailout.

I live in Michigan. I do my best to support local/regional/and Michigan businesses first. That being said, when I recently went shopping for a used vehicle with 4-5 thousand dollar budget I did NOT consider American made vehicles for very long.
My limited budget means that I am going to be able to buy something 8-10 years old with at least 100,000 miles on the clock. I need something capable of handling snow/ice, because that is what forces me to keep my motorcycles in the garage. Research pointed out the vast difference between say Subaru and Toyota 4wd or AWD compared to Ford/GM. GM was the first to get eliminated in my search - small SUV's carried descriptions that read "120,000 miles on body, only 12,000 on rebuilt engine"; "transmission replaced 8k ago", etc etc. Very similar things were found as I searched craigslist for a vehicle.
On the other hand, the general impression I got about Toyota/Subaru was that they are just getting broken in with 100k miles. T…

Fuel from a fungus. Could be waaay cool.

Just read an article in The Week (killer news magazine IMHO) about a plant pathologist who discovered a fungus in Patagonia that produces hydrocarbons as WASTE. The same combustible compounds found in oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel. He said the hair stood up on his arms when he realized what the little sucker was making! He could smell "a strong smelling gas" and brought the fungus into his lab in the hope that it might have anti-biotic properties. Instead, it can make biofuel from common cellulose.
Cool part is that it produces the hydrocarbons directly - it does not need processing or distilling like other biofuels.

Here is a link to some more details:

Thumbs up for all the farmers markets.

Well our favorite local farm market just closed down for the winter. We sure enjoyed getting all kinds of local produce there this year - berries, corn, squash, apples, etc etc. Lowell has a fast growing weekly farm market on Thursdays for several months and we made sure to visit that every week.
Shoot, we had a young couple buy the farm across the street and they have a stand in their driveway. They sell eggs, honey, maple syrup, and apples. We get our eggs there and I bought a BIG 2.5 pound jar of their honey for my toast.
On a 3 day trip up north earlier this year I was happy to see all the farm markets along the roads. Some of them have been their for years and years, but I saw many new ones. Really liked seeing that some of them were selling local raised beef and poultry.
Best way to eat is something NOT grown in a factory! Support your local food producers - it is better for everyone. You keep money in their pocket - you eat food that is better - and the environment is helped by no…

Keep using a little less gas America.

Sweet - the cost of a barrell of oil is $60 today. I like seeing gas for $1.95, don't you? I understand that the worldwide demand is lessening because of the financial crunch, but I want to encourage all my fellow 'Mericans (as Prez Bush would say) to keep a lid on their gas usage. If ALL of us who can drive could cut back on just 2-3 gallons per WEEK, it would help things a bunch in my opinion.
Think a little before you make the extra trip to the store. Ride somewhere with someone. How many millions of us drive in the US? If we all conserved just 2 stinking gallons of dino juice a week it would not take much effort on our part, but it would add up to billions of gallons NOT used every month. I just did a search and I found there were 196 million drivers in 2003, so we can use that number. If we all did not use 2 gallons a week that would be 392 million MORE gallons a week that could stay in the ground.
Let the oil producers sit on it for a while.
A long while.

Starbucks is closing stores?

Anyone surprised?
Goodlordallmighty - how on earth did they expect to keep stores open when they had them every block and a half? I know, I know, coffee is the most popular drink on the planet - yadda, yadda, yadda. But c'mon - talk about your market saturation!
As a capitalist swine, I take no joy in any business having to downsize (unless they are crooks, but shoot - they just get bailed out by the non-socialist Republicans or the socalist Democrats), but I am very surprised that the Starbucks phenom lasted as long as it did.

Make marijuana legal - treat it just like alcohol.

As I sit waiting for the election night returns, one of the items I am interested in is the proposal on our ballots in Michigan pertaining to the medical use of marijuana.
Interesting note on our household. While both Julie and I think pot ought to be sold like alcohol - we split on the medical use question. I felt it was a step in the right direction and voted for it. She felt that the issue SHOULD have been to make it legal and that the medical use effort was just a half-baked effort.
First and foremost, let me say I am not a pot smoker. Yes, I have smoked pot in my younger days (unlike President Clinton - I went whole hog and even inhaled it!), but it was never really my bag. So I am not advocating the legalization of pot for my personal gain.
I just believe there are far too many legal resources being wasted on pot. Cops spend way too much time on it - there are far too many people in prison or jail because of it - and it seems that lots of folks in Mexican border towns are being kil…

The bust of illegal aliens in Iowa.

Just read a disturbing account of the bust of 390 illegals at that huge meat processing plant in Iowa today in The Progressive. They were all charged with "Social Security fraud" and "aggravated identity theft". The article was written by a federal interpreter and he painted a pretty bleak picture.
Hardly any of those arrested even knew what a Social Security card or number is. All of their paperwork was filled out for them by the people at Agriprocessors, Inc. - which happens to be the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse and meat packing plant.
Hmmm, how can we bust the poor schmucks working there and ignore the crimes committed by the people who own and operate the plant? I can remember when Cathy Lee Gifford was crucified in the press because her clothing line was made in some 3rd world countries in less than ideal conditions.
Where is the hue and cry against Agriprocessors? Do you think it was just an accident that they happened to hire hundreds of undocume…