A little birdie told me

June 23, 2017

Trump was in Iowa yesterday in a city close to us and the
righteous indignation has begun. Iowa gets around 36% of its
energy from wind turbines and during his speech the president
said “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your
homes and your factories as the birds fall to the ground.”

These few words caused one of our Senators to proclaim “Trump
would succeed in ending the production tax credit in Congress
over me dead body.” Supporters of green energy spoke out and
gloom and doom was predicted over a simple sentence. Yet the
consensus is that those who attended the event cheered the
remark.

Wind energy is like ethanol in Iowa and considered by many to
be the only answer to our many problems. Both have been around
longer than people think. I am one Iowan who believes both are
over rated. Wind energy is still more expensive and ethanol is
just a stepping stone until something better comes along.

It is fun to read, and hear, all the people forecast the end of
the world as we know it if changes are made. We lived before
these fads came along and will continue breathing when they are
gone as long as the good Lord is willing. Too many people take
this stuff too seriously.

We, on the other hand, have a life. And since the wife has a
few days off in a row we are going to cruise the two lane
blacktop to somewhere, spend the night in a motel, and cruise
back when we’re ready. Until then I will have no internet
access but will post upon our return.

So enjoy our Friday, it’s the last one we get this week.
Comments are always welcome.


Odds and ends

March 13, 2017

Well we got 7 inches of white fluffy love from above here on
the east coast of Iowa and I don’t think the birds enjoy it as
much as I do. Didn’t even bother firing up the snowblower
either. This was a strange snow as grassy areas got the full 7
inches while roads and sidewalks ended up with about 3.

Since I live in Iowa again this question doesn’t pop up much
but it sure did in my traveling days. It never failed when I
was out of state and somebody asked me where I was from they’d
immediately ask if I knew their friend who used to live here. I
don’t even know everybody in town let alone in the state.

And I was having a great Sunday until the wife reminded me it
was Monday. No, a smart phone wouldn’t help. I’ll keep my flip
phone. Life just seems simpler that way.

Watching the local news one of the stars of the program was
talking about how great ethanol is and why it’s good for us
too. Of course our state is for it, we grow corn! I just
couldn’t believe they got away with broadcasting that many bold
face lies.

Yesterday this flock of geese appeared to be following the
jetliner west. It had me wondering if they didn’t know where
they were going or just thought it was mama. Wish the picture
was better but I couldn’t zoom in closer and keep both in the
shot.

Finally, the wife and I have been having a discussion over who
snores. She claims I do yet when I wake her up so she can get
ready for work the windows are rattling. I can now say the
answer is at hand and should be in mailbox shortly. See below
for my solution to the problem.

Enjoy your Monday or whatever day you think it is. Since I had
beer batter cod and french fries for lunch, supper will involve
a toasted pizza with all the toppings I can fit on top.
Comments are always welcome.


Brilliant idea or propaganda?

May 22, 2015

car26

It should be no secret that I don’t like ethanol.
I get confused on why it is a good thing when it
harms cars and small engines, reduces our gas
mileage, and pollutes more than what it replaces.

Now comes talk of E15 and how is supposed to help
our environment even more because it harms cars
and small engines, lowers our gas mileage a little
more, and pollutes more than what it replaces.

Well if it so safe to use in our cars, why are the
automakers saying hold the phone? Why? You may
remember when the talk of E15 first started we were
told it could be used on models 2001 and up.

A few asking questions and few more spouting facts
didn’t do much to stop the mandate. But forgetting
what we’re told, and what is listed on the label on
the pumps, what do the automakers say?

Ford states it is acceptable for 2013 and newer
models, GM said it can be used on cars made since
2012 except the 2015 Chevy City Express, and
Chrysler says not to use it in any of its vehicles.

The backers of E15 usually pipe up about this time
and state that only one American manufacturer has
actually come out against it and they are uninformed. Ok.
Then how about Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Volvo all said
no to E15. For their cars built after 2012 they say to
check your owner’s manual and if E15 isn’t recommended,
keep using E10.

We are getting the bull shipped again. Who would
you rather believe, the talking government head
with an agenda, or the people who build the cars
we drive? Even AAA has an opinion.
Comments are always welcome.


It’s funny…

May 17, 2015

vern

Our government is a great source of amusement if
you think about it. First they came up with the
idea of a gas tax to pay for road repair. These
taxes remained level for many years until…

The same government ruled all automakers had to
start making cars that got better gas mileage. Of
course when you drive the same distance in a vehicle
that gets better gas mileage than the one you used
to drive, you use less gas.

You use less gas and the government gets less gas
tax monies to fix the roads. What to do. Well,
government’s answer was simple, raise the gas tax.

A little later on government started pushing the
car makers to produce electric cars again, as a
more kinder way to treat our environment. So a few
manufacturers got on board and produced electric
cars again. Then the government found out these
vehicles don’t use gas so owners paid no gas tax.

And as we know government’s solution is another
tax. Although called a per mile fee it is a tax.

During all this the government decided that the
gas we had been using for decades was no longer
safe for the environment. So the talking heads got
together and decided to make fuel out of moonshine.

They couldn’t call it moonshine so they named it
Ethanol. Touted as the cure for what ailed us.
Yes it lowered gas mileage but the environment
liked it so much the birds started singing again,
and the oceans quit rising. Or so we were told.

Now it turns out that the millions of acres
converted to farm corn for the ethanol is causing
environmental damage with runoff into our water
ways and pollution of our air.

But again we were assured there is no problem. Ok.
Scientist Joost de Gouw from CIRES and NOAA did a
study on a refinery in Illinois and discovered the
pollution is actually 30 times higher than the
government estimates, generates ozone forming
compounds, and is helping the buildup of smog.

One government entity did do something about it.
The Hawaii House of Representatives ended their
state ethanol mandate because using our corn for
fuel caused food prices to increase and the state
had recognized the unintended consequences.

And that is a small fraction of why we are amused by
our government.
Comments are always welcome.


The most famous, less known, Economy Rally

August 11, 2014

bandit

The week starting October 17, 1981, 38 vehicles
left Los Angeles for an eight day run across
America known as the Future Fuels Challenge Rally.
The rally was to end in New York City.

The course ran 3,400 miles and all vehicles that
were entered had to run on alternative fuels. You
know like ethanol, peanut oil, hardwood, Snickers,
cherry pits, shrimp shells, cooking oil, or methanol.

Entrants included a methanol powered Ford Escort,
two Mercury LN7s, pickups with wood fired boilers
filling the bed, a methanol powered three-
wheeler with 19cc Honda engine, a few old Saabs and
Suburus, a 1973 Cadillac powered by a methanol
eating turbocharged VW Rabbit 4-cylinder, and a VW
with 227,000 miles on the odometer converted to
run on alcohol.

Problems with an event of this size were to be
expected and some popped up before the vehicles
even left Los Angeles. Some complained that the
trucks with the wood burning boilers had an unfair
advantage because of how the BTU values were
calculated.

On the second day out the man who laid out the
route and his passenger, who supplied all the
instruments to measure fuel consumption, were
broadsided at an intersection in Phoenix. The
organizer was hospitalized in very critical
condition and some thought the rally was over.

Another argument ensued the next day with the car
guys and absent-minded professor types against the
Wall Street bunch. It was decided the former group
would not be allowed to ‘draft’ and the later would
lighten up a bit.

The winner was to receive $300,000 when the event
began. Before the group hit New York it was down
to $150,000, and at the close of the rally that
number shrank to possibly $25,000.

When the rally hit New York City 20 vehicles were
left and to be honest, we don’t know if a winner ever
was announced. It was just another of many zany
things, we as Americans, get involved with.
Comments are always welcome.


What’s that smell?

August 2, 2014

50

Ethanol mandates have been in and out of the news
lately and E-85 is in some of our gas stations. We
have heard the bull they’re shipping from our
nation’s capital, but of course we remember that
they are politicians and can’t balance a checkbook
nor should they be allowed to carry matches.

But those of us who work for a living know that this
renewable fuel isn’t as good a deal for us as it
is for politicians in corn producing states.
Estimates have been as high as 40% of our corn crop
goes into ethanol production.

Why not mandate finding other sources to make the
fuel and a way to make it using a lot less water.
The excuses are getting old. We know ethanol can
be made with everything from algae to hemp to
switch grass.

Ethanol cost more to produce, lowers gas mileage,
corrodes older engines and parts, and pollutes as
much or more as regular gas.

It’s time we put somebody with common sense, or at
least somebody who wears big boy pants, in our
government so the hard choices can be made. We have
to stop the nonsense.
Comments are always welcome.


New ideas?

June 17, 2014

A lot of people are of the belief that light weight
cars running ethanol is a new idea and the way of the
future. You know, the ones with the composite body
panels and lightweight materials throughout made to
run on an alcohol/fuel mixture.

As far back as 1925, Henry Ford thought that ethyl
alcohol was the fuel of the future. He said: “The
fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like
the sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds,
sawdust-almost anything. There is fuel in every bit
of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s
enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of
potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to
cultivate the fields for a hundred years.”

From 1925 to 1941 Ford experimented with hemp to
make lighter cars and to make ethanol for gas.

hemp_car

Did you know that on August 14, 1941, Henry Ford
unveiled to the world his ‘biological’ car? Instead
of fiberglass the body was made of hemp and other
natural materials.

Though not mentioned in the video the timing gears,
horn buttons, gearshift knob, door handles and the
accelerator pedal were derived from soybeans. Even
the tires were made with something different,
goldenrod grown by his friend Thomas Edison!

Now we have carbon fiber and aluminum panels but the
idea is the same. Drop weight to save fuel and to
have alternative sources for said fuel. So after 80+
years of research the best we have is still ethanol?
One wonders.
Comments are always welcome.