Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just a thought

Here's a thought that just popped into my mind after hearing the latest news about President Obama's latest exploits. Apparently it's NOT OK to shake hands with your enemies, but it IS OK to Waterboard them!

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is 150 years old today, Happy Birthday Suez. Groundbreaking ceremonies were on this day in 1859. I remember it well! Sometimes I feel that old, but not today, today I feel fine. Which is just as well because I have lots to do today. And I have to get on with it now, starting with a cup of tea for Julia . . . gotta go.

Reflections . . .

. . . . in The Lake, or is it on The Lake? Whatever, or Whichever, there it is, or they are. All over it. Perfect reflections, the reflections in my mirror aren't any more perfect. On the right side of The Lake is the reflection of my neighbors pier with his two white Adirondack chairs carefully placed on the end. If I look out again in a short while there's a good chance that I'll see my neighbor Bill sitting there, holding his coffee and possibly with his wife Janice sitting next to him. Right now without them the whole scene is repeated upside down in The Lake. I'm hoping that they arrive soon, while it is still too calm to believe because I want to see what they look like upside down, in pink, yep, in pink. Not only is the water completely still and unruffled it is pink, from the colors of the sunrise, there are no clouds either so the pink is not even interrupted by different colors as it often is. No it is a perfect sheet of pink. Soon, very soon, the ripples will appear and the scene will be lost. No, not lost, changed. Even now it is changing, no, not with ripples, except right in the center, where the big white male Swan is gliding across in a perfectly straight line. Where is he headed? I think I see, on the other side of the Lake are two Canada Geese. He is about to chase them off. This is a scene that is repeated over and over on a daily basis. We assume that the Swan has a nest, we don't know where yet, and he cannot stand having any big birds anywhere near it. Near it must mean anywhere on the Lake which is quite large at 40 or 50 acres, because he chases them off wherever they are. He must have already scared off the pair of Egrets that arrived at The Lake about two weeks ago, because we haven't seen them in several days, and there are hardly any Ducks left. But the Canada Geese persist and the reason for this is quite obvious to us, but not to the Swan. One of the Geese has a badly damaged leg, when they are on land he/she has to hop around with the afflicted leg bent up under it. They come up onto the lawn fairly often to eat the grass - sometimes I wonder if I will need to mow the lawn this year! - and of course they are quite safe from the Swan on the land as I have never seen the big bully come up onto the land. But it would seem that the two Geese are trapped here. Maybe the one with the injured leg cannot fly either, I've never seen them fly, and they say that these geese mate for life. As all the other Canada geese have long gone and these are the only two remaining we are thinking that the bad one cannot fly and it's spouse is staying with it. How touching is that?
Well the sun has done it's work, the ripples are appearing all over the Lake, Bill and Janice didn't come out with their early morning coffee today, but they will another day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Getting up.

Someone who just lost his job and is busy trying to get back on his feet said - and I quote - "Its not how you fall down, it's how you get up".

I would add something to that, concerning the monster who just killed his wife, his 19 and his 11 year old daughters, and himself in a Towson hotel. I assume as he had "lost everything" he felt that he would be unable to continue to send his 19 year old to college, would be unable to send his 11 year old to college and his wife would have to "go without" . Well, I can almost , almost, but not quite, understand why he would kill himself, but not his family. I am SURE that his wife and daughters would rather be on welfare than dead! Here is where that person who just lost his job said it so well, "It's not how you fall down, but how you get up that counts." And any way, other than the way that man chose would be better, than the way he did choose. Get up in the best possible way, and that way is any other way than that man chose, I'm pretty sure that his wife and children would have helped him. Enough, I can't say any more, I am too upset.


Failure is not fatal. But, failure to change could be!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This is a LONG posting - probably 10 times as long as any I have posted before! If you are new to my Blog you might want to skip this one and try a few of the shorter ones, this one covers a lot of my youth!!!!

“I’m smelling again Mum.” Announced my sister Mary. “Well, you’d better have a bath then.” Said my mother.

What my sister meant of course was that she was finally getting over a cold and could once again smell things, not that she herself was smelly.

This got me thinking about smells, especially the smells of my youth.

Unlike today (2009) when everything is wrapped and double wrapped or bottled and it is possible to go into a supermarket selling a thousand or five thousand different things and not be able to smell any of them, back then when you went into the local store there was a multitude of odors. There was the carbolic soap (yuck), the Imperial Leather soap (yum), or my mother’s favorites – Lily of the Valley, Evening in Paris or Lavender.

But there were more than perfumes and soaps to attack your senses. Vinegar for example was sold from a barrel with a tap. It’s sharp smell was almost like a mild smelling salts. Freshly baked bread was a lovely smell, along with butter and cheese that the shop owner would cut with a wire. I was always amazed at how close he could get to the weight he wanted. My mother would ask for a half pound, he’d pull the wire through a huge piece of yellow Cheddar Cheese, put it onto a piece of wax paper on the scale which would read 8 ½ oz or something so close, I didn’t know how he did it. Then he’d briskly announce the price – “10 pence ha’penny, or one and thrupence ha’penny, O.K?”

Most things were sold loose – sugar, flour, dried peas or beans, and he would weigh them out in a sort of scoop on the scale. Some of the ‘more modern’ scales had a face that showed the weight but the older ones still used weights, he would put an 8oz brass weight on one side and then pour the sugar or whatever into the scoop until they balanced. Often he would actually make a bag! A few quick folds of a sheet of paper and he had a bag in his hand, the sugar would be poured into the bag from the scoop and he would quickly fold the paper down all the way around to close it up. He didn’t even use sticky tape to close it, he’d just push the edges under each other and it was tight enough that you never worried about it spilling in your shopping bag. Your own shopping bag that was, you took your own bags with you. I don’t remember getting bags from the store to carry your purchases home. Everyone used his or her own bags. We often used string bags that my Grandmother, Little Nanny, had knitted or crocheted. They were great because they were lightweight and folded up to almost nothing. You could stuff one in a pocket or put several into another bag. They would conform to whatever you wanted to put into them. Basically they were holes surrounded with string! She would crochet them out of string, most were white, but one of my favorites was green. They were immensely strong, we’d often carry potatoes, onions, meat and all kinds of things weighing I’m sure as much as 50 lbs in one bag. There always seemed to be room for more, they just stretched and stretched.

But back to the smells, at home I remember the coal fire, bread toasting over the fire on a brass toasting fork that my father had made himself. Chestnuts and potatoes roasting in the ashes. We had a chimney sweep there once and I can remember the smell of the soot.

Kippers smelled good, although I didn’t like eating them because of all the bones. A small piece of kipper seemed to produce a huge plateful of bones.

Another vivid memory is the smell of French polish and Linseed Oil around my Grandfather who was a woodworker ‘extraordinaire’. I remember once that he refinished a table for a neighbor, she had left a cigarette – revolting habit – perched on the edge of an ashtray and it had fallen onto the table unnoticed and burned its whole length while laying there, resulting in a three inch long burn in their beautiful table. My Grandfather, Thomas Howard Nethercott, sanded the burn, feathering the edges out and then doing his magic, mixing and applying the French polish to a perfect match. Then, also being a crafty old man, he turned the table 180 degrees so that the repaired end was at the opposite end. When the amazed owners examined the table they were unable to find where the repair was! A perfect match. A crafty devil was my Granddad. I could tell you a few stories about him, if I had time, well maybe just a couple of quick ones. During the First World War he was in the trenches of France and he told me that his boots had worn out, or maybe they rotted out because the trenches were deep in water and mud and they were in them 24/7 as we would say nowadays. Then he told me that he had to kill 8 Germans before he found a pair of boots to fit him! And there was the time, after I had my appendix out at age 10, that he told me about when he had his appendix out – “With a rusty bayonet in the trenches.”

However his son once told me that when he was in Turkey, after the Gallipoli campaign – one of Winston Churchill’s deadly mistakes in judgment – he had actually given his spare pair of boots to a Turkish prisoner who had no boots. Aside to my Grandchildren here, please read about the First World War as well as the Second World War and don’t forget to read about Gallipoli – a particularly horrendous campaign. You need to know about all these mistakes. So that you don’t make the same mistakes that we made. Even tho’ we do of course keep making them, over and over and over, will we never learn? Unfortunately it is you young people who have to suffer because us older ones are unable to do our jobs. Because politicians can’t do their jobs (which is to get along with each other) our young men and women have to be maimed and die.

Enough of my soap boxing. Back to smells. Not too many memories of them right now. Oh yes, there’s the smell of the horse manure that we would rush out to scoop up when the milkman’s horse obliged close by. That delightful product would go onto my garden, which in turn reminds me of the smell of the cabbage that I grew in that garden. From there we go to smell of cabbage cooking in the kitchen. That in turn leads to the smell of the small shed/workshop that my father had just outside the kitchen door. In there was the smell of oil and petrol from the small motorcycle that he kept in there. Also in there was the wood sledge that he had made for me. We would take the sledge up onto the hill behind our house in Paulsgrove. Portsdown Hill, at 400 feet high was a perfect place for an exciting afternoon. I can still smell the hot, dry, dusty grass where our sled runs were. There were at least a dozen runs, varying from the mild ones, that were strictly “for the kids”, they became gradually steeper and steeper until we reached the steepest one that we called the Cresta Run. The Cresta Run was only for the bravest of us. This was the one we used – we being my friends Charles Tickner and Colin ? and of course Dad. My sister Mary was pretty adventurous at times but I’m not sure if she ever rode the Cresta Run.

Strangely enough I don’t remember the smell of freshly mown grass, surely one of the strongest and most wonderful smells. Although we did have a small lawn I don’t ever remember mowing it. Did we cut it with shears? I really don’t remember, would it smell the same?

We lived close to the sea, and many of my smell memories are of the sea. A few miles away on the south side of Portsmouth was the seaside area known as Southsea, a wonderful, wonderland of a beach. Not your boring old sand beach but a mixture of smooth stones, sand, rocks, seashells, stones with holes worn through them by the sea, sea weed, beautiful pieces of glass worn smooth by the waves and a host of other wonders, an absolute paradise for a small boy. And the smells, the salty air from the waves breaking onto the beach and the tangy smell of the seaweed which is still in my nose, its almost as if I were there right now. Even in the winter when we would go there the huge waves were like waves of the best smells that you can imagine as they crashed onto the stones dragging them this way and that in a cacophony of sound better than the best composer or orchestra could come up with. I could listen to it and inhale the odors for hours. In fact I used to take my daughter Sarah down there in her wheelchair in 1975 to eat lunch after the accident in which she broke both of her legs when she was 3 years old. I hope she can still remember those sad but exciting days.

As I said before, we lived close to the sea, if you went in almost any direction to the South, East or West you came to the sea and its wonderful smells and sounds. Different places had vastly different smells. To the West was Portchester Castle, surrounded on three sides by mud and the sea. Another wonderland for a small boy, Portchester Castle went back centuries, but when I was a small boy it was just another place that I took for granted. The vacation spot of Hayling Island was to the East with its half sand and half stone beaches. Even further to the East was Thorney Island with its old World War Two Airfield. Reed beds and salt marshes that were full of birds surrounded Thorney Island, but there were no beaches. The smells from the reeds was different again from all the other seaside smells. The airfield had old WWII planes parked there. I remember an old Lancaster Bomber, and there were others planes, but I don’t remember the smells of them.

Closer to our home at 109 Ludlow Road in Paulsgrove was Langston Harbour. The City Of Portsmouth was on Portsea Island. This Island was surrounded by the sea and mudflats, in fact at low tide it would have been possible, at least in theory to walk across, in actual fact you would have sunk in the mud and drowned. This did happen to one of my classmates, Barry Briggs, when I was about 9 years old. Stranded on the mudflats was a German submarine; you could see it when the tide was low. Another sight from my youth that I took for granted, it was just there, ‘the German submarine’; now of course I wish that I had known more of the circumstances surrounding it’s sinking. Did it sink or did it just become grounded when it tried to go through between Portsea Island and the mainland, or was it chased in there by the British Navy or towed in. I never knew and have never been able to find out.

The connection between the mudflats and the title of this story is the smell of the mudflats. Whereas the smell of the sea and the seashore has always been a delight to my senses I was never quite sure about the smell of those mudflats! Their smell was strong, very strong; I don’t think that I liked it, could it be because it reminded me of the demise of my classmate Barry? The thought of him drowning in that mud has always horrified me but I don’t think that is the reason for my dislike of it’s strong smell. Possibly it was because I found them unattractive. When the tide was low there were miles and miles of soft black mud, inaccessible, smelly, ugly. Anyway it certainly ranks among one of the smells of my youth. Definitely not one of my favorites, but one of the many.

The fourth direction from our house was North; to the North was the English Countryside. I have already mentioned Portsdown Hill and its memories of smells of hot summer days sledding down its slopes but once you were over the top of that 400 foot high hill and could no longer see the sea and the Islands of the south coast of England you descended into the true English countryside. Little lanes, tiny villages, hedgerows, farms, fields of corn, sheep and cows. When we were young my parents would often take my sister and I for a walk “Over the hill.” The ‘over the hill’ smells were many, is there room to list them all? Lets try to list just a few. Of course the farms supplied most of the more memorable ones, the cows and the sheep especially, there were a lot of sheep. As my good friend Larry Mossman commented once when we visited England with our wives in the 1990’s “England floats on sheep shit.” Some of the farmhouses had duck ponds, pooh did they pong! The fields provided more gentle smells, the smells of England’s lovely wild flowers, primroses, bluebells, cowslips, and a hundred more that I can see in my minds eye and smell in my minds nose! We would sometimes stop in a farmer’s field for a picnic, fields of corn, barley or beans. Other times we would explore a little village, walking around inside the cool church and being lifted up to look over garden walls at the cottage flower and vegetable gardens and once in a while if Dad was feeling flush stopping at a pub where he would have a half pint of beer and we would have a lemonade. There were the wild animals too; sometimes we’d see a fox, and once even a deer. But there were no smells that I can remember of the wild animals, except the dead ones. One of the birch woods that we would walk through had a gamekeeper’s house in it. Hanging all along the fence were rows of dead crows, foxes and other animals. We’d always hurry past that.

It sounds now as if we had a wonderful time on these walks, and I think we did but I often wonder if my parents thought we did. I can remember many of our ‘moans’, “Are we there yet?”, “Can I have a drink?”, “My feet hurt.”, “Can you carry me?”, “When are we going home?”, “How much further is it?”, “I’m tired.”, And so on!
But we did enjoy them, I don’t know how far we used to walk, several miles I’m sure, and we did walk. I suppose we got the bus back sometimes, but I don’t remember going on the bus much, I suspect we walked all the way most of the time. It certainly did us no harm.

What smells will my Grandchildren remember when they grow up? I hope some of them will be of the flowers from our garden at Dock Road, the Southern Magnolia, the Sassafras Trees, and the hundred other trees, flowers and bulbs that grow there. The smell of their dog probably and of their Camper by the river where they spend some of their weekends.

I hope they have as many happy ‘smelly’ memories of their youth as I do.


A special Birthday breakfast, and card game, and dinner.

Yesterday, Wednesday, brought forth a birthday invitation for Julia, - and myself because I don't let any opportunities pass me by if I can possibly help it - for a birthday lunch, from our friends Jane & Bill Weber. Even more than this, when Julia was talking to Jane about the arrangements Julia explained that I would be going to the Doctors for some blood tests between 8.00 and 9.00 am, and could not have anything to eat first. Jane said well come over for breakfast straight from the Doctors. So began a delightful Wednesday. As usual with us, we were late getting there, I am sure that it has never happened to you, but sometimes I have to wait for my Doctor! So as it was past 10.00 o'clock already and Lunch time was fast approaching we all decided on a small breakfast of toast and coffee. Well of course the toast had to have butter and marmalade (British Marmalade from Fortnum And Masons yet!) And Jane decided that a cup of Yogurt each would go down well, they arrived loaded with raspberries and then some bowls of walnuts and sunflower seeds to put on it. And don't forget the fresh brewed coffee. I think it was a plot to beat us at cards which we played a few hands of after the sumptious breakfast. But if it was a plan, it backfired, because Julia won the card game and I came in a distant second - which doesn't say much for Jane and Bill's positions in the standings. Then again maybe it wasn't a plan to beat us. I think they may have let us win because we were their guests.
Dinner was at an Italian Restaurant in Severna Park called the Cafe Mezzanotte, and we had a wonderful lunch there. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. The food and service were both excellent and I reccomend it. After lunch we sat for an hour or two and completely solved the worlds problems, so don't worry, the World's wars and economic problems and worries are all behinds us now - if our plans can only be put into effect.
Jane had an appointment so we reluctantly had to leave and return home.
At home Larry and his new helper Mark had worked through the rain and got more of the deck completed.
In the evening we watched a DVD entitled 'Portrait of a Marriage', and went to bed at about midnight.

Morning has risen.

Last night we had another wonderful sunset, it is a pity we only get 365 of them a year. I try not to miss any of them. If I am out I try to get back in time to not miss it. This morning, if possible, the sunrise was even better. You may wonder how I can see both the sunset and the sunrise over The Lake. Well the sunrise is not actually over The Lake, but the effects are clearly there. The sun hits the trees on the other side of the Lake as it rises and makes a gradually widening and lengthening band as it rises higher. The effect is gradual but fast, the changes are much faster than the sunset, and if you avert your eyes for even a minute or two you can miss amazing things. This morning the smoothness of the Lake was blotched with a series of what appeared to be previously undiscovered Islands but which were in fact Islands of tree pollen floating on the Lake. Many of the trees must have dumped huge amounts of pollen over night, because I had not seen it before. Soon the Lake's surface began to form ripples and it was not long before the whole Lake was covered with small waves. This broke up the pollen and the "Islands" disappeared. Now the whole Lake is bright with sunshine - almost as bright as Julia's smile. Time to get coffee and the paper. David

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Don't forget.

Don't Forget : - All of the chemicals that we use in our everyday lives in this area end up in Our Rivers, Our Bay or Our Groundwater. Everything! All of it! Especially all of us who live near the Bay and have septic systems or drain fields. All of you who live in the towns and cities that have sewage treatment plants, please remember that 2/3 of all the chemicals that go into that treatment plant come right out the other side! And the chemical industry is creating hundreds of new chemicals every year - there is no way that the EPA (EPA stands for Encouraging Pollution Agency) can test more than a few of these chemicals. Guess where those chemicals go when they come out of the "treatment" plant - right into our drinking water. After you use it again, putting into it all the chemicals of our 'modern' society, like toothpaste, bleach, bathroom cleaners, dishwasher powder, washing machine soap, Tylenol, toilet bowl cleaners, prescription medicines (All that stuff goes through you and goes into our water when it comes out of you) and thousands of the other chemicals that we put into our water every day, it goes through the "treatment plant " again and the cycle repeats itself, with more of that nasty stuff in your water each time!. You didn't think that they just disappeared did you? No, every time the water is used - and it is used over and over again, it gets another dose of those miracle chemicals that our wonderful society and our wonderful chemical manufacturers tell us we need thousands of times a day, in all the TV, radio, billboard and print ads that we see everywhere. (And we pay for - for every ad that is run WE pay for it! In the form of higher costs for the product!) Unfortunately the only thing that I can see to help ourselves is to try to limit the chemicals that we use. If we use 1/2 of the amount, we have half of those pollutants going into our (And our children's and grandchildren's) drinking water. Stands to reason, if you less of the nasty stuff, that's less of the nasty stuff that you have to ingest! Easy! No brainer! So, I use a quarter inch of toothpaste instead of 1 inch, half the dishwasher powder - try it, I don't see any difference, same with washing machine soap, etc, etc, etc, try to use 1/2 of everything, some things you don't need to use any of. Just use that universal old fashioned cleaner called - elbow grease, you'll feel healthier for it, as well as breathe easier, and drink cleaner water. Be happy, be less stressed, be less polluted, drink less chemicals, drink cleaner water. Be good. Love David XXX

The early morning mist.

This morning there is a heavy morning mist on the Lake on the other side this side there is none. In fact just like yesterday at this time the water is perfectly still, as still as I have ever seen it. The reflections of the trees are so perfect I think that I can see the leaves - or maybe I imagine I can. The mist is clearing already. If I had got up a half hour later I would not have know it had been there. As with yesterday the colors reflected in the water are many, but today they are the same colors as the sky, the pink of the sunrise and the blue of the sky, plus of course the colors of the clouds, whatever that is, it's hard to say what with the sky changing color all the time! The remains of the mist have retreated to a small area to the right far side of the Lake now and it looks like a new Island over there. A piece of wood is floating about 100 feet off of the pier, it looks to be about 10 feet lond and thin, possibly a branch or maybe a 2X4, if it were later in the year I would swim out and retrieve it, but April is still too cold for me to be swimming.
Well I gotta go, I have a Doctors appontment to have some blood taken. I had one last week but was so busy watching the Lake that I forgot and made ny coffee and drank it before I remembered the appointment, so they had to reschedule it as you are not allowed to have anything before blood work. So, just time for a s--t, shower and a shave and another look at the Lake before I leave.
Talk to you later, Love David.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The deck progresseth!

This morning dawned breathtakingly beautiful over the Lake. As it is on many mornings the water was like a mirror, not just smooth, but like silver, well not silver, pink, no not pink, blue, or was it white, or black or . . it's hard to tell. Lets just leave it at breathtaking. It was 5.58 am and as I stood there spellbound, still in my PJ's, a Great Blue Heron flapped lazily in and landed gracefully - well sort of gracefully, for a Great Blue Heron - on our pier. Not a minute later another landed next to the pier in the water, the first one saw him coming and turned his head sharply to watch, then he turned back to watching the water - for breakfast? The second Heron who had landed in the water, walked calmly under the pier (Heron number 1 had his back to Heron number 2 and so could not see him.)Suddenly I saw Heron number one lean way over the edge of the pier and dip his head way down so that he could look under the pier, he had heard the second Heron walking through the water. After a little confusing back and forth they both took off into the sunrise - if that wasn't something to see I don't know what is.
Those Herons are amazing, I'm not sure if they are graceful or awkward or what, sometimes they look as gracefull as a ballet dancer and then they look as gracefull as a new born colt - all legs, going every which way.
The header here says the deck progresseth and it does, the contractor - our friend Larry - arrived and started work. Once again his helper did not show and soon there was much phoneing going on. Later I found out that his helper was no longer his helper! Larry told him no workee, no payee. So Larry is now doing the deck himself.
Back to the more pleasant subject of Great Blue Herons and The Lake. Later on that morning as I sipped my coffee and read the paper, I saw a sudden movement out of the window, by the Lake. Looking out I saw a Heron running along the top of the bulkhead, which is about 8 or 10 inches wide, his wings were half out - for balance? - and his long legs looked like they were caught in an egg wisk. But what really caught my attention was my immediate impression that a small dinosaur was running along the top of my bulkhead! At first glance it looked exactly like one of the Raptors in Jurrasic Park. Soon it reached the end of the bulkhead, jumped down into the water and continued running, in the water, until it reached my neighbors house where it ran up onto the lawn and stopped. Then it just stood there completely still. Finally I got tired of watching and went back to my paper, when I looked up a few minutes later it had gone.
In the afternoon the stump grinder man arrived with his $54,000 machine - that surprised me too, until I got the bill for the stump grinding! He removed 5 stumps that I was afraid would put my mower out of action if I missed seeing one of them in the long grass. They had been cut off to only 3 or 4 inches high, which seems real nice at first, until you start mowing and can't see them. Last year I had hit one and it did the mower no good at all! In fact I need to get new blades, it bent them, I straightened them out somewhat but not completely. So it wobbles and shakes. A sixth stump, the biggest one, had been cut off to about about 18 inches high. I built my firepit around it and after burning several fires the stump has completely gone. I considered burning the other away in the same fashion but didn't want to have 5 more dead areas of lawn 8 feet in diameter dotted about over the lawn.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Would you like to reduce the price of oil?

The reduced use of gas - mostly by the US has caused oil prices to drop from $140 a barrel to $50 a barrel. If we were to reduce our use even further oil prices should drop even further. We can do this easily with minimal inconvenience to us. If we were prepared to put up with a just a little inconvenience or discomfort we could cut our oil use - and therefore our oil prices - even further.
Here are a few ideas on ways to reduce our oil use : -
Shut off engines when stopped. Leaving the engine running when you are stopped is probably the biggest waste of gas. I often see people sitting in their cars waiting for the kids from school, or for someone in the store, with their engine running. An SUV left idling uses approximately a gallon of gas every half hour. (That's 12oz - a coke can full - every 6 minutes!) It uses less gas to stop and restart a vehicle if it is going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds. (I even saw a report once that said more than 10 seconds! But I am sticking with 30 seconds.)
I know people who could cut their gas use in half or more this way. My neighbor leaves her big Pick Up Truck running for a half hour every morning before leaving for work - to warm up in winter and cool down in summer. When she stops at the 7-11 for her coffee she leaves it running - to keep it warm, or cool. Her drive to work is only 20 minutes, so she uses more gas at idle than driving!
A vehicle at idle uses about the same amount of gas as a vehicle idling along at 30 mph.
Drive steadily, no fast starts or stops. Don't ride the brake.
Don't overfill the gas tank, trying to get the pump up to the next dollar. If the tank is too full, when the gas expands in the sun and it will expand right out of the filler tube and onto the road while you are diving - you won't even see it going!
Keep tires properly inflated.
Obvious one here - use your most gas economical car more. Even better get one that uses even less gas.
Another biggie, some people have two or even three SUV's that seat 6 to 12 people. At least 90% of the SUV's I see have only one person in them. Common sense (In short supply.) says if you have a big family and need a big vehicle, fine, but why not get a small car with 4 or 5 seats, so you can use the small vehicle the 90% or more of the time that you are only carrying 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 people and use less than half the gas that it takes to run the SUV.
Every gallon that we save puts the squeeze on the oil producing countries that hate us - and lowers oil prices.
Keep your home temperature higher in the summer, 78 degrees instead of 68 degrees uses about half of the electricity (and therefore half the oil) I find 78 to be perfectly comfortable, just wear less clothes, it helps you to remember that it is summer too - keeps you in touch with the seasons. In the winter keep it at 68, or even 66, instead of 75. Again save about half. Dress warmly, it's winter, a sweater is appropriate. Keep the bedrooms even cooler, in winter you are only in there at night and it's warm in bed, throw on an extra blanket.
Use a solar dryer - otherwise known as a clothes line! I compromise and use the clothes line for heavy items like Jeans, sweaters, coats, blankets and use the dryer for small things like socks, shirts and underwear. It only takes a few minutes to hang up the few big items, but it saves most of the electricity (Oil). Just remember any power that we save cuts down on oil use, not to mention cutting down on pollution and keeping dollars in your pocket , instead of sending them to Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Russia - the big oil producing Countries.
Lights - turn off when not needed.
Do you want to go even further? Ask me to send you my "Book" entitled "Half" which tells you how we did, and you can, cut your spending in half! (It works best if you are just starting out.)
Here's the biggest one of all.
Have less children - means less cars, less pollution, less oil use = lower oil prices. A new report says that more than half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended! So if only wanted/intended children were born, imagine the price of oil! We'd eventually cut oil use in half right there. Imagine all the extra parking places! And the uncrowded roads! And only wanted children, instead of all those children who were unwanted.
Well, enough of that pipe dream. But I really think we could cut our oil use and thus it's price considerably and keep a lot of our dollars here in the US instead of sending them to people who don't like us.

Somali Pirates.

When I first heard about these Pirate attacks a few months ago I had an idea that seemed to me would stop it in its tracks. It seemed so simple that I assumed it or something like it would be implemented right away. It was not, so I am going to put it out here for your and anyone else's consideration, plus my second idea which I feel is just as good, if not better than the first one!
The first idea was simply to put an electric fence around the perimeter of each ship, quite easy and inexpensive I would think. It could even be compartmentalised so that it could be turned off in various areas for work to be carried out. Let them try climbing over the edges of an electrified ship!
The second idea is to make the ships travel in very tight shipping lanes, instead of wandering all over the Gulf they have to travel through on certain lanes. This way it would be easier for "Guard ships" to watch them, overhead pilotless lookout planes could track small ships and the Guard Ships would have a relatively small distance to go to investigate them. A few ships could be stationed every 10 or 20 miles or so and maybe they could even have a helicopter on board that would be able to reach a ship being attacked quickly and sink the offending pirate with a few well placed shots. End of problem