Monday, November 13, 2006


My girlfriend Sarah made dinner for me the other night. In the salad she included some anise. Anise has a flavor that tastes like black licorice and it reminded me of my great uncle Acey. As he was my grandfathers older brother, when I got to know him, he was in his late 80's. As a young adult, I spent some time with him and by then he was pushing 100 years old and still had some good vitality. I took the opportunity to ask him what his secret to a long life was and he told me that he took a shot of annisette every day. He ultimately lived to be 101 and I now realize that I had not inquired enough about how he took his dose. Did he take a shot straight or did he dilute it in water or coffee? Did he only take one shot? Did he only take a shot of annisette and swear off all other alcohol. Goes to show that even a simple concept can have many competing alternatives.

In retrospect, I wish that I had inquired more about his approach to annisette. I did go to the liquor store and asked if they had any. The clerk never heard of it but he called the owner who found me a bottle that he had to dust off. I shared this sweet licorice liquor with Sarah and if it won't extend our health and vitality, at least we will have sweet smelling breath.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Supply & Demand for Oil

It's pretty amazing how much the price of gasoline has fallen over the past few months. About 25% from the peak earlier this year. The news says that tight supplies caused by the aftermath of last years hurricanes, refinery shutdowns and increased demand caused the price spikes. If that is the case, it appears that just a little change in supply and demand can have rather dramatic impacts on the price of gas at the pump - if you consider .70-80 cents a gallon to be dramatic.

I don't think that demand has decreased that much - actually, the declining prices may stimulate some demand. The supplies haven't increased that dramatically as there weren't really any reports of major shortages when the prices went over three dollars in California.

Prop 87, the tax on California Oil producers goes to the polls tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how the electorate votes. $47 million has been spent on the pro side with Al gore and Bill Clinton featured in the ads and $66 million has been spent on the con side saying that it will just create a bureaucracy. How much reduction in demand will it take the new technologies being supported by the initiative to reduce the cost of gas at the pump by another couple of dimes?

It is interesting that all the opponents of the initiative are focusing on a "wasteful new bureaucracy". Far be it for me to be for bureaucracies but if push came to shove, I would rather create jobs for alternative energy bureaucrats in California than protect the jobs of workers in OPEC nations. I'm all for creating some competitive alternatives to fossil fuels. We've seen the impact of supply and demand fluctuations over recent months. Let's hear it for more supplies.