Monday, December 27, 2010


I am really sick and tired of the same climate deniers getting media space over and over again for the same tiring rants against science. There are a very small number of these people compared to the number of scientists who are on record that human-induced climate change is real and a serious threat to society.

Once again our local newspaper, The Oregonian, has published a guest column by our local climate change denier, Gordon J. Fulks, Ph.D. Dr. Fulks lives near Portland, and has a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago. Is it because he has a Ph.D. in physics that we should believe that he must be an expert on climate? His column lets us know that human-induced climate change is a big hoax being perpetrated by grant-greedy scientists and government propagandists.

And just who is the esteemed Dr. Fulks? Here's a bio for him posted on the web pages of the Rubicon Society of Lane County (Oregon), a self-proclaimed Republican organization that appears to have meetings and speakers at a Chinese restaurant in Springfield, Oregon. But I digress; Dr. Fulks is a physicist who studied "solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays." Also, according to the bio, he has "worked for a think-tank in Santa Barbara, California, primarily supporting the US Defense Nuclear Agency on nuclear weapon effects. When that agency faded away at the end of the Cold War, he supported the US Department of State designing new embassies and working at the US Embassy in Moscow. More recently, he has consulted for various business and government clients seeking to better understand electromagnetic phenomena, related scientific scares, and the concept of acceptable risk."

I googled Dr. Fulks today. I looked through the first dozen pages or so of >8,000 search results, and they all seemed to be his opinion pieces about the hoax of climate change, or links to statements and petitions he's signed about the same. I did find a fascinating site about climate change deniers in which the author researched a large number of these people to try to figure out who they are. He used the google scholar search engine to find published scientific articles by these folks; he found 9 published articles by Dr. Falks, all from the late 1970's and early 1980's, non of which are about climate.

I then did a quick search in the archives of The Oregonian for the past three years and found that they have published the same kind of "guest column" or op-ed about the "hoax" of climate change on February 25, 2008, August 4, 2009, and May 2, 2010. The most recent is today's column. One has to wonder why the Oregonian keeps publishing this guy's stuff without any explanation of who he is and why he seems to be their expert denier.

And what does the good Dr. Fulks say in his column? Well, although he claims that the field of climate change isn't science, he doesn't offer up any science himself. He uses generalizations about earth science and then launches into personal invective against specific individuals in the climate change arena. "Global warming is about politics, not legitimate science" Dr. Falks declares. Unfortunately, this statement is from a man whose science credentials are not in the climate sciences, and who has apparently not done any noteworthy science (i.e. published) for almost the past 30 years. His bio says that he is a consultant to business - I can only wonder who, if any, his clients are.

Perhaps The Oregonian thinks this is balanced journalism. I say it's bullshit, pure and simple. What I don't understand is why people who deny human-induced climate change do so.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


This post is specifically to the attention of those of us who voted for Barak Obama for President of the United States. And I want liberals and progressives (whatever that really means) to take note. We elected Barak Obama to be our President, so why don't we give him a chance to preside? It's OK to let him know our opinions; in fact, it's our duty to do that when we have specific points of view. But why do we, as a group, jump all over him every time he does something we think is a betrayal, or a cave-in, or too centrist compared to what we thought - or hoped - he would be? I've been guilty of the above, like when he made the Bush tax cut deal with the Republicans. But I really flopped back and forth on my feelings over that Presidential decision, and in hindsight, I think he did what had to be done in order to accomplish more important things.

I think we're all very proud of our President this week; repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell; ratification of New START; and medical aid for 9/11 responders. But if we take the time to look, this Administration and Congress have accomplished a hugh number of things, many of which are precedent-setting. Here's a great compilation of achievements, most of which didn't make the news. If you take the time, you'll have to agree that this President, and this soon-to-be-changed Congress are actually doing an incredible job.

Take a moment to remember what the Cheney-Bush administration was all about, if you haven't thoroughly moved all those memory files from your brain to the trash and emptied the trash. I shudder when I think about it, and I flip into a rant about how that gang should be brought to justice for all the crimes against humanity they perpetrated.

Or try to imagine an Administration of John "Old Grumpy" McCain (if you can figure out who the hell he is on any particular day) and Sarah "Momma Grisly" Palin. That is truly a scary thought, and good for us that we voted the other side!

So I have a suggestion for all of us, one that I've started to heed; let's let President Obama be our President; let's trust him and support him; let's let him know when he does things we support, and let him know when we have ideas about things we want him to do. And truly, let's control our anger and direct it where it is most deserved. But better yet, let's turn anger into pro-active action. If we liberals and progressives spent 1/10th the time that we take to rant against our own and turn it into political activism, like so many of us did during the 2008 election campaigns, we'll do a lot better in the coming years of Republican and Tea Party organized negativism.

President Obama - thank you! I support you, and I appreciate the work you are doing for America and the world.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


I want to personally thank Mr. Obama and the leaders of the Republican Party for extending my much-needed tax breaks. I'm certain that I speak not just for myself, but for all the other CEO's and executives and Wall Street money managers who's life style was threatened by the proposed ending of our cherished George W. Bush tax cuts. Now we can breathe a collective sigh of relief, and continue to stimulate the economy with our spending.

As a CEO, I make a modest $20 million a year, certainly not as much as many of my colleagues, but with a variety of stock options and other perks, I do OK. The gracious extension of the Bush tax cuts for me and my friends will keep me from paying an additional 4% on my income tax, amounting to a savings of $800,000 out of my annual salary. I'm anxious to go out and spend that money, and do my part for the economy. I think the first thing I'll do is buy a few more Mercedes cars for my family - I love that German engineering. And we've been thinking about another small vacation home in Spain, because we're getting a bit tired of always going to the ones we have in Italy, France and the Virgin Islands. The folks in Spain will be very appreciative of how the money we'll spend will boost their local economy. My wife and daughters will love going on a shopping spree for clothes in Paris, and my sons have been nagging me to do some yachting in the Mediterranean. Which reminds me, some of that extra cash will go for some new interior decorating in a couple of our yachts; there's a terrific place in Nice, France I've heard about that does great work.

So thank you Mr. President, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor; thank you for your wise governing that will allow me and my family, and our many friends, to keep our hard-earned millions and continue to use it to boost the economies of countries around the world.

Your friend,
John. Q. C. Eyo

P.S. the campaign donation check is in the mail

Monday, November 22, 2010


In a post yesterday, I used the example of U.S. coal being shipped to China by an Australian company. Little did I know the depth of the story! An article in the NY Times today goes into detail about how China has changed from a coal exporter to a coal importer, and the magnitude of imports is growing rapidly. Environmentalists in the U.S., Australia and other countries are besides themselves over this turn of events, as well they should be. The moves away from producing electricity by burning coal in these countries, in order to reduce climate changing emissions, don't deal with exporting coal so someone else can burn it. By exporting coal we're exporting climate changing emissions to other countries. This is a serious turn of events.

Of course, nothing is black and white in the world, or, as we used to always say, everything has two sides. One reason China has changed from a coal exporter to a coal importer is that their coal is mostly high-sulphur, the wrong kind to burn if you want to reduce climate change and polluting emissions. So China is importing low-sulphur coal as part of their overall strategy to reduce the most harmful emissions.

At the same time that they are building coal-fired power plants at a fast pace, China has also accelerated the building of wind and nuclear energy generation facilities. They have overtaken the U.S. in wind energy production and will soon be the world's leader in nuclear energy production. But coal-fired generation remains the staple for generation of electricity in the rapidly expanding Chinese economy.

As the old Chinese saying goes: may you live in interesting times.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Ah yes, here I am, sitting in front of the fire (natural gas) checking FaceBook (FB), the site with which I have a like/hate relationship. I like the ability to connect with people around the world and from my past, and to get peeks into their lives - and they into mine, to the extent I let them. But I don't like the data collection and ad targeting FB does, and I often think that I should quit FB to regain a small bit of my privacy (probably too late for that).

What is "social networking" and is Facebook it? Here's how Wikipedia defines the term:

A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.

(Interestingly, when I went to Wikipedia for this definition, there was a message from the site founder with this link to an appeal for donations to keep the site a community site with no ads.)

So yes, I guess FB is a social network because those of us who use it are there for friendship, common interest, or etc. But did each of us start using FB with the understanding that we would be targeted with ads based on the personal data the site collects about us? I kind of knew this, but not to the extent I understand it now. To be honest, FB often bothers me, in a creepy kind of way because I know that I'm the object of many clever people who are developing and refining ways to harvest information about me and my habits, likes and dislikes in order to make money from me directly or indirectly. This really isn't OK; this isn't really what I signed up for. I don't like being harvested.

I would rather belong to what I would consider a true social network that has nothing to do with a profit motive. I think it probably exists out there, but it's existence is hidden by the sheer dominance of Facebook. The online social network I want is a site that does not harvest any data, and does not have any ads. It asks the users to donate a small amount of money once a year to pay the expenses, like Wikipedia does, a donation I would happily make.

So I think I'll look around. Maybe one of you knows about my perfect social network and will clue me in.


We don't talk about the big elephant in the room - and no, I don't mean the G.O.P. We do talk a lot about the situation in America that has been vexing us for a few years now - the Great Recession. We talk about the lack of jobs, the poor condition of our educational system, expensive health care and insurance. We bitch and moan about the wealthy Wall Streeters whose greed has no bounds. We argue about taxing the rich, or not. And the revolution du jour is about BIG GOVERNMENT and the need to cut it down to size and limit spending. Oh brother!

This is all talk about the symptoms, not the causes. As long as we limit our discussions to the above topics, following the lead of the so-called news media like FOX, CNN and MSNBC, we'll continue to fight each other while our country spirals ever downward.

The USA is a post-developed nation. We're not Numero Uno any more, except as the world's largest arms dealer. We don't place anywhere near the top on lists of countries rated by hunger, health care, and education. We've become a debtor nation running way below empty economically.

And we're trapped in this death spiral. Here's how I see it: with the exception of the top 1 percent of American earners, American wages have declined over the past few decades. This has led to the Walmartization of America under which we shop where we can get the lowest price. these low prices are a result of importing consumer goods from countries where the costs of production, both direct and indirect costs, are much, much lower than they are here. Millions of American jobs have been shipped overseas by corporations in order to cut the costs of producing goods, thus increasing profits (for those 1-percenters, above). The result is fewer jobs and lower wages for American workers, thus continuing the spiral.

How about an example? General Motors (note: I'm not picking on GM, it's just a good example). GM sold more cars in China last year than in the U.S., and most of those were made in China by GM-Chinese joint venture companies. Some Chinese-made GM cars are imported into the U.S., and those numbers are expected to grow unless American unions can fight them off. And the GM IPO last week? A major part of it was "co-managed" by two major Chinese banks (reportedly the first time foreign banks have had that position in an American company IPO), and GM's Chinese manufacturing partner bought $500 million of the offering. This isn't necessarily bad news, but it underscores the reality that GM, like so many other "U.S." companies, is really an international firm.

And American workers? A recent poll found that between June 2009 and June 2010, foreign-born workers in the U.S. gained 656,000 jobs while native-born Americans lost 1.2 billion jobs. However, these immigrant workers experienced a sharp decline in wages.

Are there other symptoms to look at? Sure. Last week here in Portland we read the news about an Australian company that wants to build a large exporting facility on the Columbia River, from which they intend to export U.S.-mined coal to China. Kinda sounds like a Third World country having it's natural resources exploited by the developed world.

Is there a way to reverse this downward spiral? I don't know, and I worry that the game is already over. We somehow have to create more jobs here that pay a living wage, jobs that once again produce many of the consumer goods we buy, and educate ourselves so we understand that it's OK to pay more for these goods because that keeps the jobs here and puts the money in our pockets that we spend on these goods. And yes - we need to tax the rich!

I hope Americans come to our collective senses very soon. We won't be saved by the Sarah Palins, Sharron Angles and Rand Pauls of the world; they are only doing the dirty work of the big money interests that bankroll them. They keep us at each other's throats while they sit back and add up their profits. Again, don't get me wrong, wealthy folk have an important role in this society, but that role has to benefit everyone, not just the few.

Come on America - we can do it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Oh what glorious days we've had this week! October sun, October blue sky, and that slight chill in the air. We know it's coming - the front page of the Oregonian told us - a cold, wet winter ahead. Ah well, it happens every year, and we'll deal with it.

But remember these days, savor them, maybe take a picture of them and save one in a glass jar marked "Open on the gloomiest day."

Hey, at least we have seasons.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


We watched with tears in our eyes as the miners in Chile were hoisted from 2,000 feet below ground to the waiting arms of family, friends, colleagues and the entire world. Their rescue was a collaborative effort by people from many countries who traveled to a remote desert region in Chile out of compassion. This is the goodness in our world that we so seldom see paid so much attention.

John Lennon would have been 70 years old on October 9, just a few days ago. It seems more than fitting to enter here the words from the song he wrote almost 40 years ago:

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try
No hell below us, above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do
Nothin' to kill or die for and no religions too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us and the whole world will live as one.

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can
No need for greed nor hunger nor folks with empty hands
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us and the whole world will live as one.

Miss you John.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


The writer and activist Liu Xiaobo has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and it's likely that he won't know about it because he is in jail in China. The award is certainly a political statement by the Nobel Committee intended, in part, to highlight the human rights abuses by the Chinese government. China, as I've written here previously, is a complex place that is on the one hand making great advances for it's people while also continuing to be in many ways a totalitarian and oppressive place. Mr. Liu has been jailed, again, for his activities promoting democracy and personal freedoms.

We have some friends in China; people we met during our travels there a couple of years ago. I hesitate to email them and congratulate them for one of their citizens being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; they might not know about it because the Chinese government has blacked out the news, and I don't want to risk getting them in trouble because the government monitors email traffic.

China is a problem for Americans for a variety of reasons. Many American jobs have been shipped to China, where labor and materials are low cost, and labor and environmental regulations are not very protective. China "owns" the USA economically, and we're basically trapped into a strange relationship with it.

I was thinking the other day about the Americans who think President Obama is a socialist, and government programs like Medicare and Social Security are socialism. What I'd like to say to those folks is: "go home and look at everything you own; more than 90% of it is probably made in China, a Communist country. The American government isn't socialist, but the international corporations who have shipped all our jobs to China are supporting communism! And the Commies own the US economy!"

The US government is in a tough situation in relation to China. On the one hand, we don't like their human rights record and numerous other policies and relationships they have with "bad" governments around the world. But on the other hand, we can't piss them off because most of our stuff is manufactured there (including the MacBook I'm using right now) and they control a huge portion of our economy (some info in a previous post). China is, after all, an awakening tiger while the USA is becoming an old, doddering and tattered eagle.

photo from:

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I keep asking myself "who are these people, and who votes for them?" It's truly a mystery to me. Things have gotten so dysfunctional in our political system that people actually vote for caricatures of comic characters. It used to be that The Daily Show and the Colbert Report were comedy about the news; now the programs are news about the comedy. It's funny and laughable; but is this the future of our Congress? Oh dear!

I suppose these political events are symptomatic of the reality of our times. People are angry, frustrated and fearful. The economy is in the toilet, the middle class is a fading memory, the wealthy class has shown their true colors of greed and disdain for everything except their quest for wealth and power, and our political system has become the Battle of the Partisans. Every good idea put forward by the Democrats is automatically rejected by the Republicans because, well, they want to be back in control.

And how do people deal with this? They lash out at - themselves. The rejection of "big government," entitlement programs, ending tax cuts for the rich, a comprehensive energy policy and other necessary programs only hurts the majority of people in this country, not those in power. We keep chewing off our own legs instead of fighting back against those who set out the traps.

I have to believe that this current madness will end before we do real damage to ourselves. I have to think that most people are intelligent enough to understand that this crop of wingnuts and dingbats is not what we want or need as representatives. Is it dreaming to hope that the majority of voters will see through the Party of No shenanigans and understand that we need intelligent and collaborative people in government if we are going to survive as a wealthy, vibrant and viable nation?

I still have hope for America - but it's on shaky ground.

Photo copyright P. Fishman
all rights reserved

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Oh wow, I just noticed that the activity ticker in the corner of my blog is at 5,063 hits. I'm over 5,000 - yipee!

Let's see, I started this blog in November of 2004, so that means an average of about 833 hits per year; although, I didn't start the stat counter when I started the blog, so it's actually more than that.

I think my wife represents half of those hits.

Oh well.


So much going on in this world; so many things to write about; so little enthusiasm to do it.

Item: the largest number of automobiles ever sold in the United States in one year was 17 million. China expects to sell 20 million per year by the year 2020.

Item: we bought a new bedspread recently, and I was amazed that the packaging stated: "Made in Italy, sewn in the United States." Amazing, I thought, something not made in China. The next day an article in the NY Times related that in the Italian city that is the center for production of fabric, a huge influx of Chinese laborers has replaced Italians in the fabric industry. Oh well....

Item: Those Whacky Republicans. In the Senate, they fought and filibustered against a bill that would provide funds for small business loans (it finally passed with votes from 2 Republicans). They are fighting to extend the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans because, well, it would hurt small businesses.

Item: Speaking about the Bush tax cuts... I read that the tax increase for the top 2% of us tax payers (those making more than $250,000 if filing jointly) would be 3% to 5% on the income above $250,000. So, if we use the 5% number, that means an increase of $50 per $1,000 income, or $50,000 per $1,000,000 income. So out of every $1,000 after an income of $250,000, I would retain $950; or $950,000 out of every $1,000,000. According to the Corporate Watch web site, the compensation for the top 100 CEO's ranged from a bit over $15 Million to a bit over $100 Million total compensation per year. So, assuming the total compensation for these CEOs is taxable (which I'm sure they loophole out of), the increased revenue to the United States government, if the Bush tax cuts end, would be $737,500 from the guy making $15 Million, and $4,987,500 from the guy pulling down $100 Million per year. And why is this bad??? By the way, the average worker in the US, according to the web site, makes a bit over $32,000 per year.

Item: Tea anyone? Yes, the Tea Party is roaring a mighty roar and winning primary elections. Amazed Republicans, including Carl "Yoda" Rove, dissed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell as stupid, weird and "nutty;" but the next day decided they'd better back her or they'll lose an important Senate seat.

Item: Taking matters into your own hands. And speaking of Ms. O'Donnell, the contender for the Delaware Senate seat, have you seen the video clips of her arguing that masturbation is a form of adultery? Can you spell wingnut?

Item: It's raining. Nice!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This one sounds like it's apples and apples. But first, let's figure out relationships: in 2007, the company Cadbury Schweppes spun off it's American beverage unit, creating the company Dr Pepper Snapple. Dr Pepper Snapple makes Mott's Apple Juice at its plant in Williamson, New York. Workers at the Mott's plant have been on strike since May.

What's this about? According to a NY Times article, Dr Pepper Snapple wants to cut wages and benefits, despite earning record profits last year. According to Mott's, they want to get their worker's pay and benefits more in line with "local and industry standards," claiming that average pay and benefits are less in the area. The company motive seems to be to further increase profits, based on the "fiduciary responsibility to operate in the best interests of all its constituents, recognizing that a profitable business attracts investment, generates jobs, and builds communities."

Oh what a steaming heap of bullshit! The translation here, in case it's not too obvious, is that corporate greed is the name of the game - "hey, the financial industry got away with it, why not us?" Contrary to Dr Pepper Snapple's statements, the best way to attract investment, generate jobs and build community is to demonstrate that a company can pay and treat it workers well and respectfully and still be profitable. Touting the fact that their workers are well paid and the company is profitable could help lift the "local and industry standards" that are likely less than a living wage.

Wouldn't it be nice to see more companies talking about corporate responsibility in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainability instead of more profits for shareholders (and I bet Dr Pepper Snapple execs aren't taking a pay cut)?

Mott's workers aren't the only ones being set up for a loss; area apple growers are about to start harvesting, and lower production at the Mott's plant - which is still operating with replacement workers but at about 1/3 capacity - can have a devastating impact on growers.

There are some good companies around, but I would say Dr Pepper Snapple isn't on that list.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Sitting on the back deck, reading the Sunday Times and Oregonian, drinking espressi, and reading about the things we eat. Damn!

Eggs for breakfast? Were they "cage free," "free range," "naturally laid?" According to an article in today's NY Times, 97% of the eggs produced in the USA are from hens in battery cages. Each cage has 7 hens, and the minimum cage floor space for each hen is about the size of my 13-inch MacBook screen. Cage free means the hens aren't in cages, but in a big warehouse where the hens are packed in, each with about 120 square inches of floor space, minimum. Ah, but you can get free range, can't you? Yep. This means the birds in the big warehouse have access to the outdoors through a small door, usually too small for the whole flock, and typically open for limited time each day. Scrambled or sunny side up?

How about some sugar in your coffee? About 30% of sugar produced world-wide is from sugar beets. A recent ruling by a federal judge has put planting of genetically engineered sugar beets on hold - these already grow on about 1 million acres in 10 states in the USA. The biotechnology beets are a product of Monsanto, and they were developed to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup, also produced by Monsanto. Farmers can kill weeds in their beet fields without killing the beets. But the FDA didn't do an environmental impact statement (EIS) before approving the biotech beets, and organic farmers and some organizations worry about these altered beets passing their genes to non-biotech plants. Read about it here.

Did you eat something that could kill you because of your allergies? Ah, now we get to food labeling, and what the labels don't tell you. I was shopping at New Seasons yesterday, and watched a young woman intently studying her iPhone in front of the toothpaste shelves. Turns out she has serious allergies, and was trying to find the hidden ingredients in the many toothpaste choices, including the "natural" ones. It's a difficult task, as described in this article.

Trying to eat healthy foods presents many challenges in modern times. I understand that large-scale production methods are needed to feed the number of people in any city. But do we have to sacrifice our health and morals in order to feed ourselves? Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to go out and buy a few hens for my backyard (been there, done that), but I do have some control over what I buy, and I try to be an informed consumer. Kids need to learn about healthy food in school, and also about eating locally-grown and healthy foods. So I was happy to also see in this morning's paper a column about moves in this direction resulting from U.S. Senate passage of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.

Enjoy your lunch today. Really!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


"Three wheels, six batteries, one extension cord, no gas tank!" That's what I say when asked about my pickup truck. A lot of people think it's "cool," and some, mainly my sons, find endless ways to make fun of me because of it. Even grandson Jake calls it the motorcycle with training wheels.
It's not a very practical vehicle in a number of ways: goes about 20 miles on a full charge, it's a rough ride (especially on Portland's rough streets), it has no vent/fan or air conditioning (it's close to 100 F today), and needless to say, I don't want to think about how it would do in an interaction with a normal car, SUV or truck.

One colleague remarked that I must have a lot of self confidence - this was when I pulled into a job site next to all the big rigs driven by contractors.

So why did I buy it, and why do I drive it? Part of it is certainly image - I like to be a bit quirky in the face of normalcy (hence the hybrid recumbent bicycle with a small red and black propellor thingy I added on the front). But a large part of it is trying to do something logical and practical in an otherwise very strange world.

Let me explain. My wife and I moved into a very urban neighborhood 9 years ago from a semi-suburban part of the city. We sold one vehicle and became a one car family; I bought a bike and started riding the 5 miles to work every day. We walk a lot in our neighborhood to all the shops, restaurants, pubs, theaters, etc. I signed up for Zip car and used one for times when I had to go to a meeting farther than biking distance, or needed to carry lots of stuff, or had back-to-back meetings with no time in between to bike to the next one. This worked very well.

But I kept looking at the electric car concept, and liked the idea. I saw the Zap cars at a local dealer a couple of years ago and test drove a sedan and "truck," but the prices were high for something I didn't absolutely need. However, I liked the idea, so I kept looking for a good deal on a used one. I finally found my Zap PK (the pickup model) this year, and bought it from a very nice guy who had bought it new and improved it with some important add-ons.

The Zap has worked out well; it's useful for carrying large objects, gets me almost everywhere I need to go in the city, and I guess makes a statement about cars, energy and etc. I don't yet have a good "story" to tell about the sustainability and green footprint of my Zap. It doesn't directly produce harmful emissions, doesn't use petroleum, and presents less danger to others compared to a larger vehicle. But I can only imagine the environmental and social harm done by the manufacturing of a Zap (it's made in China), and the lead acid batteries will need to be recycled properly (I can get a lithium ion battery pack for more than I paid for the Zap!). I just bought a meter to measure how much electricity it takes to charge my Zap, and electricity is produced somewhere and by various methods.

The most important aspect of driving the Zap, however, is the different mind set I have developed. First, I have to plan my trips carefully to be certain I can get home or somewhere else where I can plug it in before running out of juice. This is truly different from having a gasoline vehicle in which I can ignore distance and simply pull into a gas station when I'm getting low on fuel. I don't think many drivers normally plan their trips carefully before leaving home.

Second, driving the tiny Zap gives me a different view of the world of motor vehicles - there are a lot of huge vehicles on the road, and drivers like to drive fast. I can go 45 mph in the Zap, but that's top speed, and I rarely do it (uses a lot of battery power).

Third, if you've ever driven a hybrid car, you know the light bulb moment when you realize that the machine turns off at red lights, waiting in line at the drive-in restaurant, etc. I'm sure there are statistics for how much fuel is consumed and how many tons of emissions are spewed by gas-powered vehicles that aren't moving, and the numbers are certainly large.

Driving the Zap has given me a new vision of urban planning. In this vision, those who want or need a vehicle have small electric cars and trucks to get around the urban area, and only these vehicles are allowed on most streets. Key arterial roads are designated for larger gas-powered vehicles, and these are mostly for service vehicles and travelers going between urban areas (I won't discuss the need for lots more trains and buses here). Strategically located parking garages are on these arterials, and people can park their small electric there when they need their larger vehicle. Life in the city would be slower, quieter, and much more sustainable.

I'm glad to see the major car manufacturers coming out with electric vehicles (EVs); although I don't understand the logic of building electric cars that cost $40,000 like the Chevy Volt. This prices most people out of the market, particularly those who could benefit most from owning an EV.

So if you see me driving by (you won't hear me), flag me down and I'll give you a ride. The Zap is a lot of fun, and I always have a smile on my face when I'm in it.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I find myself, again, standing at the edge of the water looking into and over the waves crashing towards me. I am humbled by the enormity of the ocean, and knowing something about it's complexity of physics, chemistry and biology makes me feel even more insignificant. I am but a speck on the vast edge of the sea, occupying much less area than a singe pixel of a satellite photo on Google Earth. That is tiny.

This overwhelming sense of awe and wonder washes over me when I walk the beach, just as the waves dying on the sand wash over my feet. It ebbs and flows, filling me with wonder at one moment, joy the next, then sadness born of the realization that I am merely an animal whose life is less than the blink of an eye in the scale of this world. I don't completely understand the sadness part; I think it's because I am so naturally curious, so filled with a thirst for knowledge, and knowing that I won't be here long enough to figure it all out.

I always stop and watch the sand in that zone on the beach where waves wash over it. A seemingly random set of patterns actually makes sense if you stop and watch for awhile. The water mobilizes the sand grains and the things mixed in with them; bits of rock, shell, wood, leaves and tiny living animals. As the water recedes, these things sort out by size, shape and density, except for the living animals - they seek shelter until the next wave. The resulting patterns are beautiful art works by nature (although, I know that "art" is something I can label because I'm a human).

The last time we were on this beach, I brought a small net and held it in the water as a wave receded. When I emptied the net into a bucket of water, the water came alive with tiny transparent animals, a kind of shrimp (Mysids, to be geeky about it). You can't see them when you watch the water swirling around your feet, but they are there by the thousands, along with other animals who make their living in the surf zone of the beach. Here's a photo of Mysids taken with the digital microscope I also brought last time (yep, more geekiness).

And then there is sand. Amazing stuff, sand. How many grains of sand are on the beach? We sat in the sand today, and I let hands full of dry grains sift through my fingers, trying to imagine how many there were. I looked at this photo I took of sand grains last time we were on this beach (yes, the digital microscope again).

According to the scale in the photo, a grain of sand on this beach is approximately 0.25 millimeters in diameter. A quick calculation, and I came up with this number: one cubic inch of sand from this beach has somewhere around 1,061,208 grains of sand. Each of these grains of sand was part of molten rock deep within the planet millions of years ago, came to the surface and formed land, was eroded or broken loose and carried by wind and water ultimately to the ocean, where it was cast upon the shore for me to walk and sit on. Talk about feelings of insignificance!

I am amazed, and again greatly saddened, by the fact that the human species has now altered the physics, chemistry and biology of the world's oceans. I'm not talking about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I'm talking about the effects of unbridled dumping of chemicals and trash into streams, rivers and oceans; emissions of climate altering carbon into the atmosphere; wanton depletion of stocks of fish. I could go on, but suddenly, I don't feel so insignificant anymore.


Additional reading -

ocean acidification article

Tuna's End

forage fish article

forage fish as cat food and animal feed

Sunday, June 27, 2010


It was a beautiful Sunday morning on vacation in Ashland, Oregon. Coffee, the Sunday NY Times, on the front porch of the rented house with my wife and good friends (and their dog, Harry). I always start Sunday morning with Frank Rich and then the rest of the NYT Week in Review section. I know - why ruin a Sunday - but it's what I do, and for some reason I enjoy getting my intellectual juices going this way every Sunday.

Nick Kristof's column today was not a pleasant read, but it was educational. I learned that my smart phone and my laptop might have minerals in them that came from the Congo, and play a role in the brutal horrors there, including rape, disfigurement, and mass murder.

Sunday afternoon we went to the theater to see a production of "Ruined," by Lynn Nottage. This powerful and disturbing play centers around women in Congo who are victims of brutality at the hands of competing military forces and a society where women victims of these brutal acts are outcasts. The topic of conflict minerals is woven through the play (although not the main theme).

So now I'm looking on the web to learn more, including what I can do as a consumer about this. I have learned that Nokia, the maker of our smart phones, has been working since 2001 on being certain that their suppliers don't source these minerals from conflict zones. I'm going to check about Apple, the maker of my laptop. I'm going to send emails to these companies encouraging them not to use conflict minerals. I'll also email my elected reps about this.

I guess the bottom line is that as a consumer, I have a responsibility to understand what I'm buying and make smart choices. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task in this complex global economy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Illegal poaching of oil from the Gulf Oil Pool increased slightly over the previous year, according to figures released by the Gulf Oil Pool Authority. GOPA figures show that oil poaching in the year ending December 31, 2035 was 12,231 barrels higher than in 2034. A GOPA spokesperson gave assurances, however, that improved monitoring and enforcement measures would result in reductions of illegal pumping, particularly in remote areas.

The GOPA has gathered data on illegal pumping from the Pool since two years after its formation in 2020. The massive Gulf Oil Pool project was completed in 2020 with the installation of the final section of sea curtain that formed the Pool. The sea curtain project was a collaborative effort of the United States and Mexico after the two countries nationalized the floating oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico following the creation of what was then known as the BP Vent, a man-made and seemingly perpetual flow of petroleum from deep beneath the Gulf floor.

Enclosing many thousands of square miles of floating oil, the Gulf Oil Pool sea curtain stretches from Naples, Florida, to Bahia del Mariel, just west of Havana, Cuba (the 51st state of the United States since nationalization by the USA following Operation Democratic Annexation by Walmart), to a point of land north of Cancun, Mexico. Official oil pumping facilities at locations in both countries were authorized by GOPA following the Gulf Oil Pool Allocation Summit of 2018.

In a related development, GOPA scientists recently reported results of a 5-year study of fishery resources in the Gulf Oil Pool. Presenting at the annual GOPA Slick Science Symposium, researchers provided details of their studies of fish evolution, in which they have found indications that a variety of fish (and shellfish) species are adapting to and evolving in the petroleum-rich marine environment of the GOP. Ancillary studies by marine seafood scientists have shown that these new species of fish and shellfish are not only edible, they can by fried without the addition of cooking oil due to the naturally high level of oil in the tissue.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Tim Robinson, author and resident of Roundstone, Connemara Ireland, has wandered and studied the bogs of that region for many years. I have read and re-read the following passage many times, pausing to think about climate change, unbridled development and, most recently, oil spills.

As to our own effects on the ground we stand on, our powers of creative destruction and destructive creativity are enmeshed inextricably. Intellect calls on the remotest fields of knowledge - even the mysteries of cosmic rays and quantum physics - to let us look into the depths of the bog. What was darkness and burial is opened into views of an ur-landscape, a clean scoured world of rock, quickly enveloped in flowers and forests; then a shadow is glimpsed between the trees; one can feel the ground quake at the fall of a grain of wheat pollen. A new species has arrived, carrying a dreadful weapon, the intellect. An arms race has begun, the axe evolves from stone to bronze to iron to steel. Great woods with all their sighs and cries go down into silence; the animals succumb: yesterday the bear, wolf, boar, deer, eagle and today the grouse, the golden plover. The soil is coerced into fruitfulness for a while and abandoned when it falls exhausted. Cultures and religions succeed one another; the coming of intellect (borrowing that word to stand for symbolic communication, communal memory, cumulative innovation) tumbles us into a rate of development beyond the adaptive capacities of biological evolution. Intellect is a new factor, arising out of nature but wrecking its equilibria. Ice Ages were so slow-moving that animals and plants could retreat before them and survive, but intellect is a raging fire. And now intellect, discovering its own effects, acquires a guilty self-consciousness. At the last moment we try to conserve some shreds of nature, which are in fact the waste products of our economy. Our wastelands are so beautiful and so tender we wonder if we should enter them at all. Should we stand here discussing the origins of the bog, knowing that a footprint in sphagnum moss lasts a year or more, that the tuft of lichen we crush unseeingly has taken decades to grow? Sometimes when a snipe leaps from under my feet and goes panicking up the sky, I am appalled at my own presence in a place so old and slow and long -suffering as Roundstone Bog.

Tim Robinson. 2006. Connemara: Listening to the Wind. Penguin Books

Sunday, May 02, 2010


It's ours! All of us; we want it, we demand it, we pay the consequences for it.

It's easy, way too easy, to point fingers at the evil oil companies like British Petroleum, and chastise them for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with their ultra-profit-making oil. But perhaps we need to take a time out from blaming and take a close look in the mirror of humankind. Look around, and everything you see has a relationship to oil. If the oil spigot were shut off right this moment, would you be OK without it? How loudly would you complain if your life style were suddenly that of the rural poor in the Third World?

Here's an animation of the Gulf oil spill (up until May 2). Scary!

And here's a map of oil platforms in Gulf of Mexico.

Almost 4,000 active wells/rigs. And guess what, there are lots of oil spills every year in the Gulf of Mexico, from U.S. as well as Mexican wells.

And lest we think the Gulf of Mexico was a pristine place before this recent/on-going spill, the New York Times reminds us otherwise. In a short, illustrated article, we are reminded that the impact of humans has already taken a huge toll on the environment in the Gulf: hypoxic, or dead zones on the Gulf floor caused by algae blooms resulting from agricultural runoff conveyed by the Mississippi River; human population increase of 45% between 1980 and 2003 that has replaced habitat with development; 2,000 to >6,000 barrels of oil spilled annually into the Gulf by oil production (that's >2,000,000 gallons between 1996 and 2009); erosion of wetlands at a rate of about one football field every 38 minutes resulting from channelization of the Mississippi River and it's wetland replenishing sediment; and many, many tons of trash (lots of plastic) dumped into the Gulf, even though it is illegal.

I'm not saying it's therefore OK to let the oil keep spilling, or to drill baby drill. I am saying that we (and particularly the greenies among us) should not just be critical of BP, we should also demand a real energy policy in this country - and the rest of the world - that is logical and rational. As long as we are a petroleum culture, we will continue to get what we ask for - oil, lots and lots of oil - everywhere.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I just can't bite my tongue any longer. It is well, well past time that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church deal with child abuse by priests. The number of abusing priests is a small percentage of the clergy, but the effects on children, the adults they become, and whole communities is huge. The continually unfolding news about abusive priests in Ireland, Germany, the United States and other countries, and the myriad failures of Church officials, including, it appears, the present Pope, to deal with these child molesters is chilling.

The Catholic Church is a huge enterprise with a very top-down corporate structure. It appears to be, overall, a wealthy organization that owns properties throughout the world. It has been paying settlements totaling many millions of dollars, with a lot more in the pipeline.

Not to be outdone by other large corporate entities, the Church has also jumped on the bailout bandwagon. While in Ireland recently, I picked up a daily newspaper that had two major stories on the front page. Above the fold was an article about one of the largest Irish banks, AIB, that has been bailed out by Irish taxpayers to the tune of $3.5 billion, and they need more - that's right, they are too big to fail.

The article below the fold was about one of the Catholic dioceses in Ireland. The Bishop has asked the 100,000 parishioners to contribute $85,000 per year for the next 20 years to pay for ongoing legal cases and settlements related to child abuse claims. That's right, the Church wants to be bailed out by it's "taxpayers" because it's too big to fail! And why shouldn't they use the same ploy as the big banks? After all, they have both done the same thing - screwed (figuratively and literally, respectively) the people who rely on them and trust them, kept the perpetrators employed and given them bonuses (either money or more victims to abuse), and tried their best to hide the evidence. Never mind that Ireland is in it's worst recession since the 1930's, with unemployment at 12.5 percent.

And so, to the leaders of the Catholic Church I have to say: you guys (yes, guys) pay your debts, clean your house, and don't ask your members to bail you out. Priests should keep their frocks closed, or be defrocked.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


There's a lot of Israel-bashing out there. This MSNBC news story shows what the mainstream media tend to ignore about Israel, its humanitarianism efforts around the world.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


By all signs, the end is near for America - seriously. Rome is burning, and you Dems are furiously fiddling. Hey Barack! Hey Democrats! It's time to get a backbone! We, the people of America, are sick and tired of your political pussy-footing. Just do it! Damn it!

If the President and the elected Democrats would read this post, I'd tell them to read today's column by Bob Herbert. I'd tell them that this moment is it; this moment is the one that really matters for the future. Stop the theatrics, roll up your sleeves, bar all lobbyists from entering your offices, take off the Beltway Blinders you've grown so accustomed to wearing, and take a good close look at reality.

America is sinking; we've hit the iceberg. Don't bail out the iceberg; bail out America! Damn it! You should have taken over the banks that are "Too Big to Fail" and reorganized them to help the people, not the corporations. You should have bailed out the homeowners who were duped by the Wall Street Bandits, not the Bandits. You should have put money into massive job stimulating programs, not into Wall Street executive's bonus accounts. You should have pushed through real health care reform, not some complex sop to the Medical Industrial Complex.

Maybe it's too late to think you Dems even have a spine and can do anything meaningful. How wonderful that the Supreme Court has upheld the corporationpersons right of free speech. That means you electeds will now be even more controlled by these corporationpersons than you already are.

And Mr. President, with all due respect, you've got the bully pulpit - use it! Enough of this "bipartisan" crap. It doesn't work. Washington is a polarized battlefield video game upon which corporate interests move their pieces by remote control, fueled by massive buckets full of cash, with organized special interest groups cheerleading on the sidelines. The Republican Party is intellectually and morally bankrupt; you Dems appear to be just plain afraid.

To help you put things in perspective, let's look at some numbers for how Americans are doing in the State of Oregon:

Population (2008): 3.8 million people
Poverty level for a 4-person family: $22,050 or less annual income
Poverty rate (2008): 13.6% (516,388 people)
Child poverty rate (2008): 17.5% (148,000 kids)
Child homelessness: 44th worst in the USA; 22,688 homeless children (2.65% of children)
1 in 26 kids (4%) don't know where their next meal will come from
Unemployment rate (December 2009): 11% (approx. 418,000 people)
Number of people whose unemployment benefits will run out (2010): January: 2,500; February: 2,500; March: 15,000
Number of Oregonians without health insurance (2007-08): 16.5% (626,500 people)

This is stunning. This is drastic. This is getting worse, not better. This is not America!

OK, so you lost the 60 votes in the Senate. That's tough, but you need to toughen up. Don't react by weakening the already crappy health care bill. Don't start quaking like an aspen leaf in a breeze. Stand up for the American people. If the Republicans want a fight, take it to them! You've got to stop dancing to the string tugs of money and politics and start acting for the people of this country.

Damn it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Today's column by Thomas Friedman in the NYT made the proverbial light bulb go on over my head. Tom talks about two Chinese economies that exist side-by-side: "Command China," which is the Communist Party and affiliates; and "Network China," represented by internet-savvy entrepreneurial companies, mostly in Shanghai and Hong Kong. It's an interesting column, worth reading.

The light bulb in question is related to the item I posted a few days ago; Google taking on the Chinese government over internet censorship and using Google searches to go after Chinese dissidents. I think the internet Pandora's Box has been opened in China, and the result has to be a major change in Chinese society. Google just might be the proxy Western World Warrior that pushes things to the tipping point.

I've thought about a young Chinese woman who became our friend in Beijing; let's call her Ginger. Ginger left China shortly after we were there to go to university in Australia and get a degree in business. She was soon on Facebook, and I imagine she uses the internet a lot for school and social networking. What will it be like for Ginger when she returns to Beijing and finds that her internet access - her googling - isn't the same as it was in Australia because her government blocks certain sites? Multiply this by many thousands of young Chinese who go abroad for school, and the large numbers in-country who are able to find ways around the government censorship.

Global information sharing and social networking is the new reality, and the future. The technology moves much faster than most of us have the mental capacity to match. The future looks very different from the now, and it will be a changed context from the present. I see the disconnect between the old and the new/future as a major driver of conflict in the world today. Extreme forms of nationalism, religion, and politics try to preserve the past from the onslaught of the future, and this is a losing battle. Within a generation or two from now, many of the "battles" of the day - such as gay marriage, Jihadism and all the others - will seem silly.

The Communist rulers of the Peoples Republic of China will hang on for as long as they can, and from what we've seen, it could turn brutal and ugly. But change is inevitable, and the internet - driven by the Google giant - is the change agent.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Human Frailty. The devastation in Haiti is a brutal reminder of our frailty and mortality, as well as our shortcomings. The pain and suffering of the Haitian people, coupled with our own individual feelings of helplessness to do something - anything - meaningful to help them, is a humbling feeling. We've donated money; we'll donate more. But somehow this doesn't help me feel that things will change in the long run. A 7.0 earthquake will certainly kill people anywhere, as one did in California in 1989, even though the building codes in California require seismic safety. But the level of devastation in Haiti, and the level of unpreparedness to deal with it, is unacceptable, and is directly linked to the failure of government to provide for it's citizens. I'm one of the very fortunate people in the world; I can afford to sit here with my laptop pondering the fate of humanity. I am dogged, however, by a feeling in my gut that the human animal probably won't ever get it's act together.

Did Johnson & Johnson Kill my Mother-in-Law? The federal government filed a complaint against Johnson & Johnson yesterday alleging a massive kickback scheme to promote the use of one of it's expensive drugs. Federal prosecutors, using information provided by two whistle-blowing former J&J employees, allege that the corporation paid off Omnicare, Inc., the largest dispenser of prescription drugs in nursing homes, to push the use of Risperdal for elderly patients. Risperdal is a powerful schizophrenia drug, and Omnicare pharmacists pushed it's use for elderly patients with signs of Alzheimer's disease. Risperdal has been found to increase the risk of death in the elderly.

My mother-in-law died last June in a nursing home where she lived after a stroke 11 years earlier (don't get me started about how the for-profit medical system failed to provide the measures that could have kept her stroke from being so debilitating). I think she might have been put on Risperdal for a time during the past 1-2 years for some signs of dementia. I think my wife finally decided to take mom off the drug because of what she felt could be negative symptoms. We'll never know if Risperdal was a factor in mom's death, but I'm angry that, once again, corporate greed outweighs any sense of right and wrong.

Google Stands Up to China. We were in China last year, and the Chinese people are warm, friendly and generous. But the Chinese government is something else, and I think we, as Americans, have been too afraid to challenge the Chinese government because of their control of our economy. So when Google decided to stand up and say "enough" to the Chinese government, I cheered. Google has told the Chinese that, unless they stop controlling web access and using google searches to persecute Chinese dissidents, the company will pull it's services out of China. OK, so the cynic might say that this is a purely business decision by Google; I'd like to think otherwise.

Neanderthal Cosmetics. This just in from the world of archaeology: Neanderthal people might have used make-up. Archaeologists have found what appear to be hand-crafted sticks of pigment that might have been applied to the skin as makeup. But why is this discovery so surprising? I mean, think about it; if you looked like that, you'd use makeup too!

So now I'm wondering if these archaeologists will find evidence that the first Republicans were Neanderthals. This would certainly make sense to me, based on the present-day behavior of this group. And, um, this adds context to the saying about "putting lipstick on a pig."

The Real Reason Palin is on Fox News. Yes, she's there, lipstick and all! I watched the first Palin appearance on Fox news - Palin the Political Commentator (common tater?). Well, I actually only lasted for 3-4 minutes before I had to hit "stop." This was classic Palin: down-home, gussied up, and dumb as a stump. Her stuff was funny, in a heart-sickening way; I mean, you couldn't write stuff this funny, really. Which led to my realization of what Fox is doing - Palin is the Fox News answer to Jon Stewart! Fox News is now directly competing with the Daily Show for the top comedy-as-news show. I think they have a chance.

Is the Bra Bomb Next? OK, this is a sensitive topic, but it has to be spoken out loud. First there was the shoe bomb, then there was the undies bomb; what's next? I think it's intuitive that the bra bomb will be next. So will airport security start profiling women with large breasts? And the bra, because of its two compartments, provides a new paradigm for design. For example, one cup could be filled with Pepsi, the other cup filled with Mentos, with a tube and valve gizmo connecting them. Yikes!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Leave it to Pat Robertson. According to this butthead, the people of Haiti are "cursed" because they "made a pact with the devil" to get rid of the French. What??? I always thought earthquakes were caused by shifting tectonic plates, but now I find out that the devil is behind it - or is it god punishing the Haitians for allying with he-who-cannot-be-named?

As for history - let's see if I can get this straight: the Haitians made a pact with the devil to get rid of French colonialism. Does that mean that Americans also made a pact with the devil to get rid of the English? Are we also doomed to eternal suffering because of it? Are the September 11 terrorist attacks, the financial crisis, the reign of Cheney-Bush and all the other ills we've experienced caused by our pact with the devil? Have we really gone to hell in a hand-basket?

I say to hell with Pat Robertson!

Saturday, January 09, 2010


We humans are confused and perplexed by the sea lions who are "missing" from Pier 39 in San Francisco, a major haul-out and tourist attraction since 1989. There were 1,700 lions at Pier 39 in October, 2009 - by Thanksgiving, there were fewer than two dozen. Meanwhile, at Sea Lion Caves, a tourist attraction on the Oregon coast, there are more sea lions than anyone can remember ever seeing. Are these the "missing" San Francisco sea lions?

To find out what's going on, I got in touch with my friend Sammy C. Lion, who is frequently in the Portland area while on fishing trips up the Columbia River. I asked Sammy what's going on, and this is what I found out.

The sea lions are massing off the Oregon coast for a huge demonstration at Bonneville Dam, in the Columbia River, this spring when the salmon migrate upriver. Based partially on their anger over the killings of their relatives by humans with the federal government (part of a court-sanctioned plan to prevent sea lions from eating salmon by killing them), and based partially on inspiration from the movie "Avatar" (Sammy and some friends snuck into an iMax theater recently), the sea lion clans of the eastern Pacific are banding together to put an end to the madness, once and for all. "We're tired of being blamed for the decline of salmon" said Sammy. "We've been following salmon up the Columbia for millennia, and it's never been a problem. We shared them with the humans who lived on the river, and it wasn't until recently that other humans screwed up our river."

Sammy wouldn't tell me any details of the planned demonstration, but I'm guessing that thousands of sea lions will mass at the base of Bonneville in a show of force designed to demonstrate that nature can fight back. "We're all part of a delicate web of life on this Earth," said Sammy, "and it's way past time you humans understand that it doesn't all belong to you."

Sammy promised to keep in touch (I loaned him one of my waterproof cell phones), so I hope to keep you all posted.