Monday, January 29, 2007

The Next President of The USA

Lots of folks seem to want to be the next president. I guess after GW they figure anyone can do the job. Maybe they're right. As much as I hate to say it we have survived 6 years of Bubba Bush, I guess that's one of the great things about our system of checks and balances. Of course, there are those who think that Dubya is doing a great job, I think they must be members of the "Flat Earth Society".

I think that we should be watching Hugo Chavez very closely. He is making Socialism sound great to all the folks down there. The next logical step is to export it to all of the Southern Hemisphere. Then Good Ol' George can invade Venezuela for their oil. We call that "exporting Democracy". You know, no habeous corpus. warrantless wiretaps, unfettered mail opening, and a general suspension of human rights in the name of security.

It does seem that we are going to have lots of choices in the primaries. I suppose that we'll wind up with a moderate liberal vs a conservative moderate. I hope that we get religion out of the campaign. If the churches want to rally for something how about food for the hungry, clothing for the naked, and housing for the homeless. Leave the judgement thing to God, whatever form she may take.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The High Price of Wood Pellets

My elderly next door neighbors have a pellet stove they bought to replace a 50 year old oil furnace. They decided on the pellet stove because the price of pellets was low and they felt the could heat their home cheaper than any other way. That was 7 years ago and pellets were under $100 a ton. On cold days they use a 40# bag of pellets a day, so a ton would last 50 days. Their heating bill was about $200 a year. Now pellets are $220 a ton if you can find them, so the cost of pellets has more than doubled in the past 7 years. That's a pretty steep rate of inflation. Makes it tough for a couple on a fixed income. My gas bill has increased, but certainly not doubled, but of course the gas company is regulated by the government. My guess is that the pellet manufacturers have taken a lesson from the oil companies and have created their own windfall profits. It is interesting that the gasoline prices have continued to drop since the election. Now that the Dems are in control and not their Republican buddies, the oil companies are probably afraid of an investigation into their pricing practices. I figured that prices would go back up if the Reps won in November. I guess we'll never know. Of course, here in Oregon the gasoline prices haven't gone down much, certainly not as much as the rest of the country.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I was listening to NPR today and the guy being interviewed was talking about the amount of anger in blogs. He seemed to be surprized that there was so much anger being expressed. I think the reason for the anger is fairly easy to explain. First of all, until the advent of the Blog-o-sphere the only way to express anger to the masses was with a letter to the editor. Letters to the editor are a weak substitute for a good rant, especially since it will be a week or more until you see your opinions expressed in print, if at all. With blogs you can rant to your heart's content, and it is printed immediately. You have sent out your feelings to a huge audience and they can respond to your rant and you might even get a good arguement going. You might even get famous! Someone might read your piece and be so struck by your well reasoned thinking and your deathless prose that they might link to you and get others to read your stuff. People may even agree with you and start a world wide revolution for the betterment of humankind.

Of course, chances are that no one will read your stuff, but at least you have gotten it off your chest. I don't think there's any more anger than before, just an easier way to express it. Just look at my title, Rural Rantings, I was looking for a place to let off steam without getting my wife upset. I find that I really don't have much to rant about, but it is kind of fun to do the stream of conciousness thing. This way we can say stuff we wouldn't say to friends or neighbors without offending them. I think we are all frustrated authors who have found an outlet. So Rant on.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Now I'm a 2 Blog Guy (with pictures)

I guess I should pay closer attention to what they call my user name. It seems as though every site that assigns a user name does it differently. The other night I couldn't sign into this blog because they were changing things over, so I wound up with a new blog, Rural Church Mouse. Now for some reason I can't sign in on the new blog but I can find the old one. So here I am. I'm not sure I can keep 2 going. I don't have as much to say as I thought.

The picture is what I see out of my living room window some mornings. The horizon behind the trees is our local landmark called Vale Butte, but labeled Rinehart Butte on the maps. Rinehart built the first building here in the 1870's so he gets his name on things. The hill the maps call Vale Butte is behind Rinehart Butte and runs more East - West, whereas Rinehart Butte runs North - South. I guess that's more information than anyone really wanted. Anyway, the picture is of a fairly common sunrise in the summer. In the winter the sun comes up further south and doesn't give us quite such a spectacular display. The second picture is a winter sunset taken south of town. I was a little late getting to a good spot without trees and buildings so it is not as spectacular as it was in person. We do get great sunsets in the dry part of Oregon.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

Well, the new year is upon us. I was intrigued that there wasn't much of the year in review in the media this year. I'm not sure if it was because there wasn't much worth reviewing or if the media thinks that people don't care much about what happened last year. I seem to remember that there would be entire sections of the newspaper with the year in review, and Time and Newsweek would devote whole issues to the past year. I also notice the absence of "seers" making predictions for the coming year. I miss that too, because they generally had some outlandish prediction that everybody knew would not happen. The great thing about the prognosticators is that you seldom saw anything about their success from the previous year. It was almost as though it was a free guess, nobody cared if they were right or not.

Maybe I'm nostalgic for the year in review articles because it seemed to give closure to the year. This January 1 seemed to be just another day with football. Didn't see many pictures of Father Time giving way the Baby New Year 2007 either. Is all this just something that us of increasing age remember, and the current crop of news consumers couldn't care less?

Well, for us the year was kind of run of the mill. No life changing events occurred (at least that I can remember) and no once in a lifetime trips either. Just a year of getting our poop in a group and getting along. Our church life improved, we gained a great couple from the South. They are deeply involved and have gotten us excited about being The Episcopal Church in our little community. That is a good thing and we are pleased about it. It's been a good year and we look forward to an even better year in 2007.

So to you and yours, have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!