Morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“In spite of the cost of living, it’s still popular” Laurence J. Peter

Even though last weekend’s snow is just a bit of memory, and mid-week the temperature spiked to springtime levels, the furnace is back on; and my morning mug of coffee is very comforting.

Wednesday, after a vigil lasting days for most, but months for some, a new house of worship opened. Our collective religion of consumerism got ratcheted up a notch. That morning, as bands started playing, the people began to emerge from tents and chairs, and stream from busses and cars, 12,000 of them. With awe they heard, saw the bright lights, and began to enter a new temple named Ikea.

This is a first in Ohio. All this came about when, halfway across the world in Sweden, a decision was made that this was the perfect place to park a new Ikea in what had formerly been (just last year to be exact) Old MacDonald’s farm.

We though have yet to gather, as a family, around an Ikea package to perform the assembly rite of its contents. Having said that, Marcia walks from room to room with a list carefully noting where a new piece of cheap furniture can fit or replace. She also advises that much ballyhooed, and therefore much valued, accessories are fair game. “Much needed” is the exact wording she uses.

I am not certain that I am ready to hike a “one way” two story windowless track, on a “long natural way” course weaving through room after room of stuff. But, over the years I have gained a certain amount of understanding and wisdom and I suspect that in less than two weeks the palm of my hand will be hurting from turning a screw driver as I too will be immersed in an assembly ritual.

This week I was thrilled that I filled up my car for $3.17 per gallon rather than the $3.46 everyone else seemed to be paying. Then yesterday, I was reading that the cost of food stuffs, eggs, cereals, milk, chicken, etc., has risen by double digits over the past year or so. Much of this increase related to a new focus using grain crops to produce ethanol as an alternative fuel source. I suspect that this is the latest boondoggle we have embarked on – food for fuel.

It reminds me of a business trip flying from the Dominican Republic and crossing over Haiti with whom the DR shares the island of Hispaniola. From the air the Dominican Republic is lush and green, and agriculture is evident everywhere. Crossing the border with Haiti everything immediately turns earthen brown. See, the Haitians, stuck in poverty, cut every tree and stick to make the charcoal used for cooking. I think I see a similarity here.

It also appears that ethanol production is not only a ‘zero sum’ game, but is actually a ‘negative sum’ game in that it costs as much or more to produce ethanol as it generates in revenue and power – getting tax breaks does help. We have not built a new oil refinery in over thirty years. If it is our goal to never again build a refinery then let’s get serious about alternative fuel sources, electric, hydrogen, nuclear, etc. But reducing our food supply to achieve fuel independence? Let’s get real.

Now that an amazing fog has roiled around and about our house let me finish the post so that I can take a morning walk in the stuff. I promised a photo of little Dinah celebrating her first birthday. If you don’t think you see a smile on her face it’s because she is deeply involved studying the camera or the crazy adult with a little box stuck to their forehead.

Finally, this is the week that brother George starts streaming his radio show. For almost a decade he has regaled southern Florida with a bit of insanity as he peddles his financial wares. From noon till one every Saturday listen to the show live via this link.

Make it a great week everyone. You just know that things could get better when, while ordering fries at a drive through, the clerk comes back with a “want fries with that?” Be sure to join in if you happen across your nearby St. Patty’s day parade.

Cheers,

Dirk

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