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The Surprising Progression of a Day

Sprouting Sweet Potato, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

They’re better for you than white ones, you know, so I reached in a cupboard in my motor home where I knew I had one more I could bake for Jerry and me to eat for dinner. As I grasped the long tuber, my hand grazed across something lacy, and when I looked, I saw our dinner had taken on a farming specter.

Perhaps it would have been okay to eat had I carefully trimmed the potato, but when I saw those sprouts, I recalled having sweet potato plants in our home when I was a child. From its place on the outside table, I brought this green pot, filled it with water, and am hoping for the best. I can’t remember exactly how to do this–seems we inserted toothpicks to suspend the potato over the water. Not sure.

Then it was off to Crestline again, and when we were approaching Victorville and the Cajon Pass, we saw this heavy appearing cloud of fog lying in the valley ahead of us. Wisps of fog began blowing around us, and within a ten-minute period, the temperature dropped 28 degrees–from 78 to 50. It was uncanny.

The fog stayed with us as we turned onto the mountain road to take us to Crestline, and as we passed trees that had turned now into ghosty beings.

Sometimes the fog would clear, then close in again. It was clear as we passed this station, but the sight was so ugly, I turned my head.
I had brought a few groceries, and as I opened the cupboard to place a couple of onions in the onion container, I was greeted with this sight. A forgotten bulb startled me, but he is so pretty, I took him out, posed him and snapped his picture.
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Where Goes the $4.00 You Pay for a Gallon of Gasoline?

It seems any other time Jerry and I would have found it necessary to travel a lot would have been a better time than now. We are spending a fortune on fuel as we run here and there, and the subject of gasoline and diesel prices is on the lip of everyone we meet. So….I was intrigued today by this article from the Chicago Tribune that analyzes the $4.00 we plunk down for every gallon of the oily stuff we pump into our tanks.

The average price for gasoline on Long Island is at a record-setting $3.791 a gallon for regular, says the AAA. And diesel? Fuhgeddaboutit: It averaged $4.648 a gallon.

But where is all that cash going?

59.6 cents a gallon goes to state and federal taxes — of which Uncle Sam gets 18.4 cents a gallon, and the remainder goes to Uncle David in Albany; 26.2 cents a gallon pays for refining crude oil; and another 11.2 cents a gallon goes to distribution and marketing.

And, yes, except for the taxes, each of those items includes profit for the oil industry, Dougher said. Last year’s tally was about $123 billion.

But the industry, including Dougher, hastens to point out that those numbers represent a rate of return of only 8.3 cents per dollar of company revenue — a rate lower than those of the beverage, tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, electronic and chemical industries.

According to Ray Dougher, an economist for the American Petroleum Institute, crude oil accounted for 74 cents of every dollar consumers paid for gas, which would work out to $2.765 a gallon, based on yesterday’s New York State average of $3.736 for regular. Dougher added that the rest breaks down as such:

59.6 cents a gallon goes to state and federal taxes — of which Uncle Sam gets 18.4 cents a gallon, and the remainder goes to Uncle David in Albany; 26.2 cents a gallon pays for refining crude oil; and another 11.2 cents a gallon goes to distribution and marketing.

And, yes, except for the taxes, each of those items includes profit for the oil industry, Dougher said. Last year’s tally was about $123 billion.

But the industry, including Dougher, hastens to point out that those numbers represent a rate of return of only 8.3 cents per dollar of company revenue — a rate lower than those of the beverage, tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, electronic and chemical industries.

Those who don’t buy that argument are not alone. And they’ll be outraged again this week when Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Marathon Oil announce how much they made in the first three months of this year.

I’m not an economist, nor an oil tycoon or driller, nor a naturalist, nor a developer. I’m just a consumer whose wallet is suffering because of these prices. Can’t something be done? I ask.

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