Saturday, January 23, 2016


With all the hysterical talk on the Weather Channel about the impending snow storm, and no doubt it is going to be disruptive and dangerous, it made me remember an event from my teenage years. Certainly nobody was hysterical about storms like this when they hit the sparsely populated Great Plains...which they did with some regularity.

The temperature was in the 20-below range which prevents propane from vaporizing, or at least vaporizing properly. The cattle and horses could withstand low temperatures under these conditions: they were not wet, they were properly hydrated. They naturally migrated to places where they were out of the wind.

"Once it gets below zero, there's no difference how cold it is," said NO ONE who has experienced thirty below! It is different in so many ways beyond creature comfort--machines don't work or they break and the water tanks freeze over just as fast as you chop the ice out of them.

Only my brother and I were home, my guess is that I was 13 and he was 18, and we had been trying to round up the livestock and get them close to buildings and wind breaks, but there was snow and the terrible cold, and we only had one heated water tank. The propane burner would not stay lit as the flow was too weak.

The bulk propane tank held probably 1,000 gallons and was located near the main driveway to facilitate replenishment with a bob-tail since it would have been a mess for them to be required to go into the cattle lots with a truck. That meant the gas had to travel perhaps 75 yards to the burner.
Add that to the temperature and lack of vaporization, and we were looking at problems because there would be a subsequent result when the water pipes froze if the flow stopped.

The only solution we could come up with was to encourage a more rapid rate of vaporization, and that required the propane to get warmer. The only way we could figure out to heat up the propane tank was to light a fire under it. So we did. We took two (as I remember) "hog pans" that are round and maybe three inches deep, set them under the propane tank, dropped a 1" to 2" layer of diesel fuel and lit it off. Don't try this at home, boys and girls.

When our dad, Wallie, got home, one of his first questions was "How did the propane tank turn black?" I don't think he was pleased, but the fact that none of the livestock were lost was a good thing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith

Jada Pinkett-Smith, along with others including Spike Lee, are on a rampage about the lack of African-Americans nominated for Oscars.

Wow, I thought that was based on merit.

The video of her (Jada's) rant shows an elephant tusk in the background. Then another. Not that I was ever going to see a movie that she or her husband were in, but the fact that she has pieces of ivory from elephants pretty much strikes her off my list.

Wonder what PETA thinks of that?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TESLA, Third time


First, September 2014, second August 2015 and now, January 2016. Although I write about the past a lot, this is the only longitudinal series.

Today, January 13, 2016, the stock of Tesla is about $210 per share, again pretty volatile but with a total market value of nearly $28 billion. 

It is hanging in there, the bubble has still not burst. But we will keep track. General Motors still has a bit of an edge in total market value (market cap) at $48 billion. 

We will continue to keep track.


The post below was written 11 months ago. I don't think it was ever posted, which is no surprise as I write a lot of stuff that never sees the light of day...fortunately!! But the date was September 4, 2014 and the observations were made below. Just wanted to update.
The stock was at $290 and the sky was the limit. By April, the stock dropped to $180; yesterday it was $270 and this morning it is opening in the $240 range, or down 10% plus. That’s volatility.

The previous article pointed out the small production and it is still a problem as 2015 was the year that they would achieve a pace of 100,000 units per year. Well, folks, it ain’t gonna happen—they changed “guidance” by -15% and still think 100,000 is going to happen…next year.

Meanwhile, the company loses $16,000 per car, up from a loss of $11,000 per car last December. The $2.3 billion raised in the market last year is essentially gone, burned up.

Are we starting to see a trend here? It is still valued at $34 billion (which is less than Apple, valued at $650 billion) but I can’t reconcile that with the current GM value of $50 billion.

Is anybody else thinking tulip bulbs? Google “tulip bulb craze.”

Soooo, the logical thing to do is short the stock, right? Not so fast, there, Baba Looey. It is already close to being “fully shorted” meaning a lot of short interest which is also dedicated buying interest since the shorts have to be covered eventually. The bigger influence, in my mind, is the power of Wall Street. Don’t discount the ability of the brokers who are going to pick up hundreds of millions when they place the $2 billion or $3 billion in the next financing round.

Let us just sit back and keep track and determine if the markets are, indeed, efficient.


I have not been an electric car fan, principally because I think it requires too much government support to make them even marginally competitive in the marketplace. Now, Tesla is getting about $3 billion or more in tax breaks to put a factory in Nevada.

The second reason I don't think electric cars should have a place on the planet involves the ecological damage created by the batteries. The awful ecological disaster in Canada where the raw material is mined has been used by NASA because it resembles a moonscape. The factories where the lithium is processed in China are polluters on a cosmic scale.

But...since the cars run part of the time on batteries (Tesla's are all electric, not hybrid as I understand it), they are "green." Now, the power plants that supply the electricity to power the batteries are deemed to be enemies of the environment by the politicians, but that doesn't appear to matter.

Now, get this:

Excitement over Tesla’s future has caused Wall Street to give this momentum stock a $35 billion market capitalization, versus General Motors’ $55 billion. Tesla sold 39,149 cars through June 30, while GM sold north of 9.7 million vehicles last year alone. Tesla has posted net losses of $581.93 million from January 2012 through June 2014, while GM has posted net income of $13.84 billion over the same period...

Not in this article, but in another it was noted that Mountain View, California saw a lot of Tesla purchases. I guess you can afford one when your house is worth $1 million, $773 per square foot.

Monday, January 11, 2016


November's 50th anniversary issue of Cosmopolitan magazine should have been a blockbuster. After all Christmas ads, 50th anniversary, but they were able to yank a defeat from the jaws of victory.

How? By putting the Jenner/Kardashian family on the cover and calling them America's "First Family." Well, I suppose better than the actual, "First Family," but still.

Anyway, sales tanked. About a 20% drop in sales of the magazine, meaning about 100,000 Americans who typically bought the magazine voted with their dollars and said "NO!"

Gives ya hope, don't it?

Friday, January 8, 2016


Instead of trying to figure out a way to pillory the police, somebody ought to be talking about how violent crime in this country has decreased since its apex in 1991.

I don't know if the police have anything to do with it, but the rate of violent crime in this country has decreased by 49% since 1991. Does anyone talk about this on TV?

The way gun violence is measured has changed over the years, but since 1993, it has been consistent and the decline in gun violence is similar to the decline in total crime violence. In 1993, there were 7 homicides per 100,000 people, and in 2013, that had dropped by nearly half to 3.6 per 100,000.

In 1993, victims of crimes involving guns that did not result in death were 725 per 100,000. By 2013, that number had decreased to 175 per 100,000.

Yet, there is the outcry to take the guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Makes ya wonder, don't it?

And these are government statistics and the Pew Research which have not been doctored by MSNBC or Yahoo or the networks.

As an aside, I was provided an article from the New Yorker that had a title somewhat like this: "Republicans would rather be shot than agree with Obama." Do they also run insightful articles like this about Democrats? And they say the media is not prejudiced.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


We have a Soloman dilemma going on:

Here's the url:

Here's the issue:

1.     A 47-year old California woman contracted with a Georgia (man/couple?) to act as a surrogate mother.

2.     She is carrying triplets and the father wants her to abort one of them because he only wants two.

3.     She is refusing.

Here is what I wonder--why is there even a dispute? How can someone threaten to financially ruin the mother (yeah, forgot to tell you that is what he is going to do) because she doesn't want to abort? Wonder what the various political factions will say? Will the pro-abortion faction support the father's "right to choose," as supported by his contract? Or, will they support the life of the unborn baby?

Likewise, the anti-abortion crowd...well, I suppose they would naturally support the surrogate mother.

This is weird enough to come from California, I guess. Another factoid, the surrogate mom wants to adopt the third baby, but the father just wants it killed. Wonder how you choose?