Cast of Characters:

Enkidu (AKA Slim)
Beowolf (AKA Wolfie)
Blaze (AKA Blaze)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I've just finished watching Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It was a cute movie, but was very different from the book. In the book, the daughter, Sidda, has sequestered herself at a friend's cabin in the Seattle area, where she is able to page through the scrapbook. In the movie, the Ya-Ya's, minus her mother, kidnap her and take her to Louisiana and tell her stories.

Basically, the entire modern day story of the film is different than that of the book. There is also a lot that was left out of the film.

Some things were changed as well. In the book, it's an elephant ride that teaches Sidda not to be afraid. In the movie, it's an airplane ride.


I recommend the book, and the movie isn't bad either.

I think that the book is more in the tradition of Fried Green Tomatoes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"First they came..." by Martin Niemöller

"First they came…" is a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. (Wikipedia)

There are various versions of this poem. This is the one that is listed as the original at Wikipedia. Other versions include other groups such as the Catholics and the homosexuals. The idea is the same, though. If we don't speak out when we see injustice, we may be next!

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Loki Update

Here are pictures from the last couple of hours of Loki post-surgery.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Elephants are friggin' cool!

Take a look:

If the elephant recognizes the elephant that he paints as an elephant, than that means that he is able to make the connection between reality and symbol. Of course, this ability to make symbolic connections has already been demonstrated by the fact that elephants can be trained to respond to words.

Dogs also have this ability. Dogs that have been sufficiently trained can accurately identify various items by the words that their trainers use to identify them (i.e. they know the difference between "get your ball!" and "get your bunny!"). It's actually pretty cool.

Loki is superstitious

Loki's internal monologue:

If I just stay on this mat long enough, chicken baby food will appear!

Chaos' internal monologue

"I was going to clean my face on the carpet - you really didn't have to scoop me up and wipe the extra chicken baby food off of my chin with a towel before I could get there!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Flavor Bible

If you feel inclined to purchase something for me, I think that I could really make good use of The Flavor Bible. (Hmm...A guy I know named Kelsey would probably really appreciate it too.)

It's a book that tells you which seasonings and ingredients go well together, so you can more consistently be successful when engaged in experimental cooking.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chaos' Head.

Chaos seems to have gotten himself a tonsure...

I guess it's just ferret pattern baldness and no religious statement after all.

He also has cataracts and is licking his chops in anticipation of supper.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Keeping the Chaos Boy Warm

Here's my snoogly-butt! He wouldn't tolerate this shirt when he was healthy, but it's staying on him now. It's probably cold enough now that he finds it cozy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chaos, the not so fuzzy

Poor little guy...he was out exploring the hallway this morning, though. Life isn't completely gone out of him yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loki makes me laugh.

Loki found a dish of vinegar on the floor that I'd been using for cleaning. He dipped his nose in it and then backed up and shook it off. Then he tried it again from the other side and came away shaking his nose, looking rather disgusted. Chaos had a similar experience and so did Fuzzball. I guess ferrets need to be sure that their senses aren't deceiving them!

And then I called Loki a bit later with the squeaky toy. He was in the kitchen by the fridge and I was by the cage. He came racing around the stove, but didn't quite make the turn. His little feet went out from under him on the linoleum. I laughed so hard and have been laughing again every time I think of his little ferret exploits this morning. Schadenfreude.

Ferret Adventures

Loki once again found the door on the cage that I forgot to close this morning. The little guy was out exploring the apartment when I got home. He was quite the busy bee. He got a paper towel out of the bathroom trash and dragged the plunger and the toilet brush to the bathroom door. I hope that he has developed enough anti-bodies to survive such adventures! He seemed to be one happy little camper. (During all this, both of the other two were apparently still sleeping in the hammock in the cage.)

Lately, I've been wearing pants with rather wide legs. Enkidu keeps trying to climb up inside them. Very cute; not very effective.

Chaos is still trucking along.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Progress on the Fuzzy Front

When I got home this evening, I found both Loki and Enkidu in the same bed in the ferret cage. This gives me hope that they will soon tolerate each other well.

Enkidu is currently curled up in the ferret condo and Loki is making happy ferret noises in the crinkly tube.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chaos is less than fuzzy.

Choas is not nearly as fuzzy as he used to be and has become rather emaciated on the front end and full of tumors in the back end.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All voted.

I just got home from voting a bit ago. There were 3 people ahead of me in line; pretty painless, considering that some folks have been waiting hours to vote. There is something wrong with a system that makes voting that difficult.

Anyway, I voted for the Democrat ticket, school funding, and universal health-care.

I almost missed the two referendum questions, but fortunately, when I asked the clerk if I only had to mark one thing if I marked the party, she reminded me about the two yes/no questions at the bottom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On making vegetable soup with a blender

When you decide to make soup by first boiling veggies to death and then liquefying them in a blender, remember that you will need about an equal amount of water as boiled veggies, so one crock pot full of boiled veggies will yield two crock pots full of post-blender soup.

Loki the Horrible

Loki just has been getting more and more aggressive. I invited the neighbors over to have some of the giant batch of veggie/ham soup that I made. I let the lady hold him and he was fine. Then as they were leaving, I set him down and he sunk his teeth into the top of my foot and drew blood. I think it must be over-stimulation with other people. He doesn't generally bite me otherwise. After biting me, he went and abused Chaos. Poor little guy...he's just too old for that. I'm not sure what to do about this.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ferret Joy

I've gotten kisses from all three ferrets today.

Loki always kisses, so from him, it is no surprise.

Chaos has become more and more disinterested in human interaction and almost never kisses, but today, I got a couple of licks.

Enkidu has been too nervous to really be held, I think. I took him out into the hallway of my building this evening and let him bounce around, which he seemed to have really enjoyed. Then I brought him back into the apartment and scritched him behind the shoulders and he gave me some kisses.

It's good to feel loved. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oxymoron of the day.

Today's oxymoron:

Unitarian fundamentalist.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Undecided Voters

It just clicked for me today. There really is no excuse for undecided voters at this point in the campaign! If you haven't figured out the issues yet, go to a couple of candidate matcher sites. They ask you to indicate your position on key issues and how important those issues are to you. Then you can find out which candidate is the best match for you. Granted, no one will be perfect.

If you're not interested in the issues, then maybe voting just isn't for you. Stay home!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ferret Update: Loki is a butt.

Chaos, is still with us, despite looking increasingly like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. Loki is strong as ever. I also have a new 5 year old boy, named Enkidu. He's soft as a bunny, much softer fur than other ferrets I've had.

However, there's a problem. Loki is a butt. He's been incredibly aggressive lately towards both my feet and the other ferrets. I don't think that he's trying to hurt anyone; he never draws blood. However, I'm getting really sick of ferret teeth marks on the tops of my feet and heels - I'm allergic to them and they burn! I've tried spraying my feet with bitter apple, but he bites anyway. I've been scruffing him and carrying him around scruffed for a minute or so afterwards, which seems to help, but not until he's bitten and been scruffed a couple of times.

Loki is current on his melatonin implant, but he's still way too easily excitable. It's gotten to the point that he needs to stay in the cage when I have company over, which was never the case before. He also has been going after Chaos more than he used to, and Chaos is just too old for that! Loki and Enkidu fight all the time, but no one draws blood and they are both healthy, so I'm not as concerned about that combination.

Loki is about 4. Is it likely that his behavior would get better if I had his adrenal tumor surgically removed? The melatonin implants are working fine on his fur, but his behavior is really getting out of hand.

Alternately, are there any training sorts of things that you would recommend?

Thanks for any advice anyone might have!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Frosted Sugar Cookies!

These are my weakness. However, it was a box of these cookies that let me meet my former neighbor (and current friend) James. Basically, I bought a package of them, but knew that I shouldn't eat them all myself, so I knocked on his door and offered him the rest.

Friday, October 10, 2008

At the Pharmacy

I get Chaos' Prednisolone prescription filled at the local Walgreens, which is convenient, because I can get it filled when I am out of town as well.

Anyway, they have a rule that the pharmacist (as opposed to the lab tech or other cashier types) has to speak with the person picking up each prescription to make sure that they don't have any questions. I find this pretty hilarious, since I've yet to meet the Walgreens pharmacist who knows anything about ferrets and their medicational issues.

So, usually the conversation goes something like this:

Pharmacist: Do you have any questions?

Me: Do you know anything about ferrets?

Pharmacist: Nope.

Me: Then no, no questions.

It does sometimes get a bit annoying when I'm in a hurry and still need to wait for the pharmacist to become available to have that inspiring exchange.


Enkidu is top ferret

I just observed Enkidu drive Loki out of his own little bed and into the litter box (the only other place to be on that level of the cage). Loki cautiously climbed up to the next level after having backed off a couple of times because of Enkidu's hissing. So, it would seem that the hierarchy is thus:


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Chaos' Health

Well, today at the vet, we determined that Chaos' blood sugar level was fine, but he was still shaking. His lymph nodes are huge. The vet thinks that it's probably the lymphoma that's causing the shakes at this point. Poor little guy. He's also down 2 ounces in weight.

He might not live forever, but he's already outlived everyone's expectations.

Bladder Infections; not just for humans.

Enkidu has got himself a bladder infection. I get to crush up pills into powder, mix them with water and force feed him with a syringe for the next 10 days. Lucky me!

Loki pounced on Enkidu in the vet's waiting room, so Enkidu peed all over the floor. The receptionist was about to clean it up, but I told her that the vet might need the sample. So, she picked it up in a syringe and brought it to the vet, who told her to give it to a vet tech. The vet tech looked at this tiny amount of urine in this tiny syringe, as if to say 'That's all? No more? What am I supposed to do with that?' It really couldn't have been more than a milliliter. Then the vet explained that it was from a ferret and off of the floor and the tech went and did whatever they do with ferret urine samples. It was rather funny to watch.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Name that Ferret!

I picked up a 5 year old ferret at a shelter in the Twin Cities. He spent most of yesterday evening hissing at the other ferrets. But, they haven't damaged each other, so I think they'll get used to each other over time. The ferret shelter lady in the area here generally says "no blood, no foul". *shrugs*

Anyway, the new guy needs a name! His new "brothers" are Chaos and Loki. Any suggestions? The new guy has common ferret markings, but instead of being dark brown, his guard hair is black.

Update: I like "Enkidu". Thanks, Teresa!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ferrets in a Bag and the Nap at the End of the Tunnel

Yep...pretty much just random ferret photos.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Popcorn and Butterscotch

In a moment of weakness, I bought butterscotch chips at the grocery store. They are unbelievably sweet and really never should have come into my kitchen. However, I have come to the conclusion that butterscotch and salted butter popcorn should be rather tasty. If I weren't about to go to bed right now, I would test this theory, but since I am off to bed, it would be wise to avoid consuming anything else at this point in time.

Update: Confirmed.

Silly Loki!

Yeah...I guess the bed isn't really necessary...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Loki's determined...

Loki: I can fit, honest! I just have to push a little harder!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Magic Poo?

I saw Chaos peeing directly in front of the litterbox, so of course, I had to clean that up. I also had to clean him up, because his feet slid out from under him while he was urinating and he got messy too. When I came back from cleaning him to clean up the urine, I saw a perfectly formed poo on the edge of the table closest to the litter pan - fortunately, there was no urine on the table. And thank goodness for sanitizing wipes!

This is a bit of a mystery, since to date, neither ferret has managed to get up onto the table. I'm also pretty sure that I would have noticed if Chaos had pooed when I picked him up to wash him off and briefly passed him over the table on the way out of the corner. So, that leaves two possibilities: Either Loki has figured out how to get onto the table or the poo magically appeared.

Generally, I am disinclined to believe in magic poo. On the other hand, there are some plastic grocery bags on the table, a bowl of grapes, various bits of mail and my laptop. None of these seem to have been disturbed, which makes it difficult to believe that Loki climbed up onto the table, pooed and then dropped back onto the floor again. Also, he would have either had to have done it during the minute that I was out of the room cleaning up Chaos or while I was not more than 10 feet away, without me noticing.

Very strange.

Deja Vu

I was listening to Public Radio this morning and heard the plug for the upcoming Talk of the Nation (at least I think that's what it was...I was rushing to get out the door).

Paraphrasing, the snippet was something like this:

Obama says that he'll win the election.

McCain says that he'll become president.

Who will win? How will he do it?

I was struck by the possibility of both of them achieving those goals. Many say that Gore won the election and that Bush II became president.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wal-Mart's new Marketside stores

Apparently, Walmart has decided to start a line of smaller neighborhood stores called "Marketside". If you care about whether you shop at Walmart or not, then this may be of interest to you.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Evil Teachers' Union!

I was listening to part of the RNC on the radio and heard some guy shouting about the "liberal government" in Washington siding with the teachers' union and against the students. I'd like to take a moment to try to dispel some of the myths surrounding teachers and the union.

“School teachers only work part-time! Look, they have all summer off!”

On average, teachers work 186 days a year in the state of Oregon, of which 169 are spent teaching students. Some states require 180 school days.

A school teacher’s day looks something like this:

7:00-8:00 in school, available to students

8:00-12:00 teaching

12:00-12:30 lunch

12:30-3:00 teaching

3:00-4:00 in school, available to students

+2 hours of grading/lesson planning

That is an 11 hour day for a total of 1859 hours of work in the academic year, which divides out to 46.48 40 hour weeks of student contact per academic year. Additionally, there are the 17 days spent in teacher in-service and other duties, which add up to 136 hours if one assumes an 8 hour day; so another 3.4 40 hour work weeks. That sounds like full-time to me. Of course, that doesn’t include the time spent on required continuing education.

“School teachers are just babysitters!”

For comparison, let me also mention that my parents paid $9/day to my babysitter back in the early 90s. I have no idea what the going rate is, but we’ll go with that. If a teacher has a class of thirty and is ‘just a babysitter’, then that teacher should demand $270/day, which works out to $45,630 for 169 days. However, since a teacher also is to teach students, there is a certain value added.

“School teachers are just greedy and want too much money!”

A school teacher has gone to university for a minimum of 4 and often as many as 6 or 7 years. Generally, people who have gone to university for that long should be able to demand competitive salaries. Since teaching children is so important, it would seem logical that the people trained to do so would be very important to a society. If we want to have the best and the brightest instructing our children, then we need to provide a certain incentive for them to do so. If a person can’t make more as a teacher than as a secretary, where is the incentive? Teachers go into teaching because they enjoy teaching and want to help young people, not because they expect to become rich. However, they also need to have enough to feed their families and have health care so that they can devote their attention to doing their job, rather than to scraping to make ends meet. Also, as indicated above, teachers are professionals and should be paid professional salaries.

"Most money in the budget goes to paying teachers!"

Um, yes, the teachers need to eat. It is the teachers that make the entire enterprise possible. At minimum, a school needs students and teachers - a look at any third world country can tell us that much. We could do without the buildings and other accessories, but the teachers are absolutely necessary! This is not to say that we should stop maintaining the infrastructure, however, it is important to understand the vital role of teachers.

"The UNION!"

I would hope that teachers would be seen as allies in assuring a positive future for our children and, through them, our society. Teachers are workers just like just about everyone else. Teachers' unions are made up of teachers. A union is composed of individuals banding together to make sure that they are treated fairly and compensated for their labor. This doesn't make them evil! Also, many initiatives put forth by teachers' unions are aimed at helping further student education, so it is not only a benefit to the teachers, but also to the students.


Of course, I'm just preaching to the choir. Just about everyone who reads my blog on a regular basis already understands the value of education and the importance of attracting and maintaining qualified teachers.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Is the Daily Show slipping?

Is it just me, or has the Daily Show been slipping lately? It seems like there has been less intellectual comedy and more assholery lately, particularly with the conduct of the "reporters" at the DNC.

Don't get me wrong; a lot of the Daily Show is priceless. I like comedy. I'm just not much for watching people be jerks just to be jerks.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Another take on the cervical cancer vaccine

This is my translation of the Dutch snippet found below:

Doctors reject standard vaccination

The introduction of the standard vaccination against cervical cancer is unreasoned. That's what the doctors and researches write in the Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde (Dutch Journal of Health).

Minister Klink from the health ministry wants to institute vaccination for girls twelve and older in one year. The scientists and doctors call it premature and unreasoned because the vaccine has never been tested on 12-year-olds. It could be that the vaccine has different effects than it does on 15- to 26-year-olds, on whom the formula has already been tested. Overall, the reseachers find that the research on efficacy of the formula has yet to deliver trustworthy results.

Nieuwsservice van Radio Nederland Wereldomroep
Edition: Nederlands Nieuws, 27 August 2008

Artsen wijzen standaardvaccinatie af

Het invoeren van een standaardvaccinatie tegen baarmoederhalskanker heeft geen zin. Dat schrijven artsen en onderzoekers in het Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde.

Minister Klink van Volksgezondheid wil over een jaar vaccinatie voor meisjes van 12 jaar en ouder invoeren. De wetenschappers en artsen noemen dat overhaast en niet zinvol omdat het vaccin nooit is getest op 12-jarigen. Het zou kunnen dat het vaccin bij hen anders werkt dan bij de 15- tot 26-jarigen op wie het middel wel is getest. Bovendien vinden de onderzoekers dat het onderzoek naar de effectiviteit van het middel nog geen betrouwbare resultaten heeft opgeleverd.

Nieuwsservice van Radio Nederland Wereldomroep
Editie: Nederlands Nieuws, 27 augustus 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loki: Not dead yet!

I took Loki in for a distemper vaccination. In the car on the way home,just a couple of blocks from the vet, he started vomiting, so I pulled a U-y and brought him back to the vet. After he got there, he started pooing blood and his skin, especially visible in the paw pads and gums turned bright red. They gave him antibiotics, Benadryl, fluids and sugar water. He was pretty out of it for about 3 hours. Since the vet didn't have anything that he would eat, I drove to Target to get some chicken baby-food, which he ate, though he needed a bit of coaxing to decide that he was hungry.

Now he seems to be doing fine, though tired, since they had me keep him awake and try to make him active the whole time. Now we're home and he's sleeping. The little butt wouldn't take his medicine, even though I mixed it with chicken baby food. I'll have to try it again tomorrow morning with Ferretone or soybean oil.

I'm absolutely exhausted! The last couple of times that I had to take a ferret in, in critical condition, they died. Needless to say, I was very concerned that I was about to lose my Loki boy too!

I'm supposed to watch him tonight and see how he is in the morning. If he has more problems overnight, I'll need to take him to the emergency animal hospital, or if he's having issues in the morning, then I can take him back to the vet.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Queen and the Soldier

One of my favorite "local" bands covered the song "The Queen and the Soldier" by Suzanne Vega. It's a song that's haunted me ever since I heard it almost a week ago. Below is a Youtube video of Suzanne Vega singing it at a concert in Germany.

Here are the lyrics:

The Queen and the Soldier

The soldier came knocking upon the queen's door
He said, "I am not fighting for you any more"
The queen knew she'd seen his face someplace before
And slowly she let him inside.
He said, "I've watched your palace up here on the hill
And I've wondered who's the woman for whom we all kill
But I am leaving tomorrow and you can do what you will
Only first I am asking you why."
Down in the long narrow hall he was led
Into her rooms with her tapestries red
And she never once took the crown from her head
She asked him there to sit down.
He said, "I see you now, and you are so very young
But I've seen more battles lost than I have battles won
And I've got this intuition, says it's all for your fun
And now will you tell me why?"
The young queen, she fixed him with an arrogant eye
She said, "You won't understand, and you may as well not try"
But her face was a child's, and he thought she would cry
But she closed herself up like a fan.
And she said, "I've swallowed a secret burning thread
It cuts me inside, and often I've bled"
He laid his hand then on top of her head
And he bowed her down to the ground.
"Tell me how hungry are you? How weak you must feel
As you are living here alone, and you are never revealed
But I won't march again on your battlefield"
And he took her to the window to see.
And the sun, it was gold, though the sky, it was gray
And she wanted more than she ever could say
But she knew how it frightened her, and she turned away
And would not look at his face again.
And he said, "I want to live as an honest man
To get all I deserve and to give all I can
And to love a young woman who I don't understand
Your highness, your ways are very strange."
But the crown, it had fallen, and she thought she would break
And she stood there, ashamed of the way her heart ached
She took him to the doorstep and she asked him to wait
She would only be a moment inside.
Out in the distance her order was heard
And the soldier was killed, still waiting for her word
And while the queen went on strangling in the solitude she preferred
The battle continued on

Very sad, I must say.

Snowball has gained even more!

The little fuzzy is now up to 1 lb 14 oz (1.875 lbs)!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chaos has lymphoma.

I took Chaos in to the vet yesterday because of dehydration. The vet gave me fluids to give him twice a day subcutaneously. Poor little guy! The vet also found a bunch of hard nodules, which he says show lymphoma. He also felt some lumps in his abdomen. The vet gives Chaos weeks or months, but "not seasons or years".

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Can we please protect Americans abroad?

I'm not against the death penalty per se. I know that many people are violently opposed, but that's not what I want to write about here.

I want to say that I wish that Texas had just handed that Mexican rapist/murderer over to Mexico rather than going against the Vienna Convention and executing him.

Those treaties are the only thing that protect Americans abroad...if we don't respect the treaties, how can we expect other countries to do so???

Not that I plan on doing anything that would get me arrested, but I'd like to be able to contact my consulate while abroad, thank you very much.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Snowball is gaining weight!

Snowball is up 5 whole ounces! Compared to 1 lb 7 oz (1.4 lbs) a week and a half ago, she's at 1 lb 12 oz (1.75 lbs)!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Reassuring Observation

I just watched Loki and Snowball at the moment when Snowball was screaming bloody murder. Loki's teeth and claws were not engaged, which tells me that she was just telling him to go away, rather than crying out in pain. That lets me feel better about not rushing to her rescue every time I hear her scream. It's very common for deaf ferrets to be rather vocal.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Your Prescription's Ready

Snowball is one tiny ferret. If she ducks her head down, she fits entirely in the bag.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In this corner...!

In this corner, we have Loki, weighing in at 3.4 lbs! And in this corner, Chaos and Snowball, weighing in together at 4.1 lbs!

(If anyone is interested, they are eating a blend of chicken baby-food, ground ferret-food, and water. Loki doesn't need it, but Chaos will only eat wet food, and Snowball needs to gain some weight, since she only weighs 1.4 lbs.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Supply and Demand and Hemp and Poppy and Coca

I was just thinking that it seems very strange that a country that is ostentatiously so into supply and demand would try to handle marijuana, opium and cocaine by restricting supply.

Doesn't basic economics tell us that restricted supply leads to higher demand? Take the example of Prohibition (of alcohol), for example.

I would suggest that it would be best to leave commerical hemp production for such things as fibres and oil, and poppy for poppy seeds for muffins and stuff, and coca for tea, etc., alone.

Isn't the way to best deal with the problem to leave supply alone and to work on the demand side of things?

We should put those War on Drugs resources into addressing the causes of drug abuse. We need to have better education and better community building initiatives. Trying to restrict the production of the raw materials is akin to a game of whack-a-mole, but providing for healthy communities made up of healthy individuals is a long-term solution that will cut down on crime and other social ills.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Calculating your Gasoline Costs (calculate for gasoline sold by the gallon)

If you would like to figure out how much you are spending each time you drive somewhere, you can get a fairly accurate calculation by first determining the actual mileage that you get on your vehicle and then calculating how far places are and how much gas is used. For those who've forgotten how this works, I'm going to provide a step-by-step guide:

1) Calculate your mileage.

You can either use the published mileage for your car, or to be more accurate, calculate your actual mileage.

1a) The next time that you fill your tank, fill it until the pump auto-stop clicks.

1b) Before driving away, zero out your trip odometer.

1c) The following time that you fill your tank, fill it until the pump auto-stop clicks.

1d) Divide the number of miles on your trip odometer by the number of gallons that you pump. This number will be your miles per gallon (mpg). For example, 229.9 miles divided by 9.234 gallons equals 24.9 miles per gallon.

229.9 mi / 9.234 gal = 24.9 mpg.

2) Determine how far you drive.

One way to do this is to use a website like Ask the site to give you directions from your home to a destination. For example, it might be 5.2 miles from your house to the mall, but remember to double it for the round trip, which would be 10.4 miles.

3) Determine how many gallons your trip takes.

You might want to try, a site that lists gas prices for many cities. Alternately, you can just check with the price at your local gas station. In our example, you might find that gas costs as little as $3.97 per gallon and as much as $4.13 per gallon, depending on where you buy it.

4) Calculate the number of gallons used on your trip.

Take your distance of travel and divide it by your mileage. In our example, it's 10.4 miles divided by 24.9 miles per gallon equals .418 gallons for your round trip to and from the mall.

10.4 mi / 24.9 mpg = .418 gal

5) Calculate the cost in gasoline of your trip.

Multiply the number of gallons used by the price of gas. In this example, the lowest this trip could cost would be .418 gallons multiplied by $3.97 equaling $1.66 for your round trip. The highest price would be .418 gallons multiplied by $4.13 equaling $1.72 for your round trip.

.418 gal * $3.97 = $1.66 per roundtrip
.418 gal * $4.13 = $1.72 per roundtrip

6) Cry

Now would be a good time to figure out how to minimize your driving.