Monday, January 09, 2006

The weekend was largely about finances. My Jeep didn't exactly break down but it did begin to make some worrisome clunking and grinding noises in the front end, as I drove the last quarter mile of the road to Fritz's on Saturday. I didn't feel confident taking it on a super highway back to Boston on Sunday, so we dropped it off at his highly trusted mechanic in Exeter, NH. Then Fritz drove me to Manchester airport for a rental car since everything in Exeter was closed for the day.

The Jeep was steering and running just fine. I thought I'd heard noises like that before--wheel bearings and universal joints. But I hadn't heard such noises from THIS Jeep until this Saturday afternoon. The word came down today: both universals, one "totally smoked" and one beginning to seize up, and one wheel bearing so deteriorated that the ball bearings were just about gone. Why hadn't it been giving me noisy warnings for some time? The mechanic thought it should have been deafening but I hadn't been given a clue.

Whatever. Between the U-joints and the bearing, and with the rental car thrown in, the total will come out on the unhappy side of nine hundred dollars.

But wait--there's more! It's winter in Nouveau England and while it hasn't been especially cold--yet--it's still post-Katrina in terms of natural gas and home heating oil prices. I heat my water and my house and do my cooking with gas. I've kept the thermostat at an even 61 degrees and, before my beloved gave me the mushroom farm kit that requires no temperature lower than 60, I programmed my thermostat down to 57 at night. When I get home in the evening, I change into flannel-lined jeans and a sweater. Even with these fairly stringent measures my December gas bill is a whopping $449.

Of course, I'm lucky. I'm gainfully employed, as the expression goes, although at this rate there isn't going to be a lot of gain left. Still, the situation for a huge number of people in the expanding pool of the poverty stricken in Bush's America will be very difficult. A lot of families are going to be placed in a situation where they have to choose between heating the house or having food to eat, and that's going to hurt their children. Hurting the children--you know, the job all us gays and lesbians are supposedly doing.

Former Bostonian Ron of Ron's Log posted a news item today about the blood letting that went on in upstate New York over proposals to install a wind farm near one community.

A group of 22 to 34 wind turbines generates as much electricity in one year as one and one half million barrels of oil. Opponents, including a Republican (natch!) candidate for office, were objecting with rational arguments ranging from wind turbines cause mange in cattle, to women who live near wind turbines have up to five periods per month. Others claimed that the roaring noise of wind turbines (that are actually virtually silent at close range) was similar to the sounds with which the Nazis tortured Jews during the Holocaust. Sounds like excerpts from the Book of Intelligent Design.

Fortunately, the silent majority (58%) of open minded thinkers in the county finally came forward when it was time to vote, and the proposal passed. This winter will probably be painful but it just might get some of our politicians and government leaders up off their asses and working to free us from our ever-deepening dependence on fossil fuels.

George Bush Quote of the Day:

t's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
George W. Bush

And just where are we supposed to have been all this time?

I am continually amazed that anyone believes and supports the kind of nonsense that these politicians spouted about wind turbines. How much do people have to suffer before they question authority and consider alternatives?
RE: Wind turbines. There is an energy company trying to erect a wind farm near Richwood, WV. There are people on both sides of the fight. I assume the objectors are afraid of taking jobs from coal miners, as coal seems to be the staple of WV's economy. I would have to disagree. I think that energy would be cheaper and people could buy more things which would require more energy to make, thereby balancing out the need.

People can be so self-centered sometimes, especially if they're AGAINST something.
Hehe, before I moved to Portsmouth, I was living in Exeter. If you guys are bopping around my neighborhood so much on weekends, how come we haven't gotten together? Hmmm?? :-)
Your gas bill is outrageous!
I'm going to do a post soon about high the prices are in's a paradise in many ways but definately not a consumer paradise.
We're in Exeter often; more so when Fritz's sister lived there but still we shop, eat and go to exhibits at Phillips Exeter with some frequency.

We're in Portsmouth a lot also--Strawberry Banke for the holiday stuff, the Music Hall for movies, and concerts, shopping, restaurants, and just because we love the place. My any chance do you know Sally Allen who teaches at UNH (art)? She also teaches for Fritz and sits on our Board of Directors.

Brian and Mr. Brian--
Why is it that people are so terrified and paranoid about change? The fears those people
articulated are right out of medieval witch trials. Just how thin IS the veneer of knowledge and civilization? I lot thinner than even I thought, apparently.

I had no idea the prices were so bad there--is that for both Americans and the native Brazilians? What is the status of the dollar versus the Brazilian currency?
On the one hand, the bills are outrageous and out thermostat is about the same as yours and on the bad days (thankfully few so far) it's a tough haul. But on the other hand, I don't feel nearly as pampered as when i could crank it up to 70 (and then throw it back to 63 before the boss came home). Living the heard live is a good Puritan eithic.
You didn't actually answer my question. :)
Will-in my home province of Alberta they have had wind turbines installed near Pincher Creek since 1993. The 145 turbines produce enough electricity to meet the needs of 35,000 homes. A recent survey of residents showed that 96% strongly supported the wind energy industry.
p.s. Pincher Creek in SW Alberta is not too far from Ft. Macleod where "Brokeback Mountain" was filmed.
Sorry to hear about your vehicle problems.

I can relate with trying to keep the gas bill down. We close off the majority of the house and live in the kitchen and dining room. It's like turning a 9 room house into an efficeincy apartment. Then we also use electric ceramic heaters. Luckily the gas bill was $183. this month.

Poor Scooby sometimes wears his stocking cap in the house.
Take care and keep warm.
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