Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Discovery, Gas Prices, and More

I spoke with Eric, the “gentleman” I spoke of in Friday’s posting, over the weekend. I actually recorded the conversation, but the sound quality was so horrible that I don’t think I’ll be posting it here.

He didn’t seem too disappointed when I told him that the car wouldn’t start and offered to give him his money back. I played that all out, got him to sign a receipt for the refund, and gave him his money. Then I sprung it on him: “By the way, what time were you here last night? It was dark out, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, it was about nine o’clock,” he said.

“You didn’t happen to see anything suspicious did you?” I had been avoiding direct eye contact with him throughout the conversation until this point. “Because someone broke into my wife’s car last night and stole some stuff out of it.”

What would your reaction be? Shock? Surprise? I’m not sure how to best describe Eric’s reaction. He said nothing, and his only facial expression was that his eyes opened wide. My immediate first impression was that he was trying to appear surprised or shocked. “No, I didn’t see anything, but I was doing this mowing job last week….” He went on to explain how someone else had their car broken into while he was doing a mowing job. Then quickly changed the subject again to the time when his car was broken into at work and his radar detector was stolen.

Bottom line: yeah, I still think he did it. But he doesn’t owe me any money anymore, and I don’t have any of his money, and hopefully I’ll never have to deal with him again.

In my line of work, I sometimes get an inside lead to upcoming increases in prices at the local pump. Not much of an advance notice, but enough to run to the gas station and get filled up before the price changes, if I wish.

A week or so ago, I was filling up for less than $2.20 a gallon. Did you ever think you’d see the day where less than $2.20 a gallon seemed like a good price? Neither did I, but here we are. Then last week, King Fahd of
Saudi Arabia passed away. King Fahd, of the largest oil producing country in the world. King Fahd, a man who was King in title only, since his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, has been ruling the country for more than a decade. So why, then, if Abdullah is now King, but there is no real change in the actual leadership of the country, did gas prices suddenly jump as much as twenty cents a gallon? They expect there to be no significant change in policy in Saudi Arabia under now-King Abdullah.

Today, as I drove in to work, I passed a local gas station selling gas at $2.33 per gallon. Insanely high already, by my standards, though I’m sure many of my readers still pay much more. Then I got a tip today from my inside lead that the price would be climbing to $2.50 per gallon before day’s end. WHY? What happened this time? Did King Abdullah stub his toe, or something? Why must we be so dependent upon the whims of another nation for our very survival (as we certainly could not survive at today’s standards if we lost access to all Saudi oil)? President Bush has a plan to begin off-shore drilling in
Alaska, but the environmental activists are strongly opposed. Off-shore drilling has become so advanced that there will be minimal impact to the environment and wildlife, but they would apparently rather keep filling the coffers of King Abdullah and the other OPEC nations.

It’s time we stand up and take action. It’s time we become an independent nation again. Is there really any difference between England taxing tea and OPEC overcharging for oil? I say it’s time to repeat the
Boston Tea Party , with a little Washington Oil Party. Call your Senators. Call your Congressperson. Call the President. Let them know you SUPPORT change that will reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. CALL TODAY! If you are uncertain who to contact, click here.

By the way, on my trip home today, as I passed the same gas station, a gallon of 87 octane unleaded was priced at $2.49.


The crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery today remained in orbit as weather in
Florida prevented them from being able to return to Earth. Should Discovery safely reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and all the crew return home safely, then their mission will have been a great success! Regardless of your view on space travel and the Space Shuttle program, no human being with even an ounce of compassion can say that these men and women aren’t heroes. That applies to the current Discovery crew, the crews of both Columbia and Challenger, and every man, woman, or monkey that has ever left the Earth’s atmosphere in search of greater knowledge and advancement.

Average Joe Blogs salutes the crews of Discovery, Columbia, Challenger, and Atlantis – past, present, and future – and the entire NASA organization, as well as a President who has the vision to continue exploring the outer reaches of our galaxy.

I wish the Discovery crew a safe and problem-free ride home.


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