The old ways make heaven and nature sing. Only the steel part remains of a totally awesome wood-and-steel chopper (above center) from Great Aunt Helen's [Goomp's father's sister] turn-of-the-century pantry on Mill Creek in Riverdale, Cape Ann, Gloucester, MA, the summer heartland of our childhood. A new wooden handle is on Tuck's list of things to fabricate. A Xmas-Eve side dish combining spinach a la Rachel Ray with our classic Potato Meltdown is in the works. It's one of those dishes that is wicked pretty to watch as it takes shape.
"The Administration's environmental views are supposedly paleolithic, but it's long been obvious that Mr. Bush has also bought into some of the Beltway's most useless energy superstitions," says the WSJ in an editorial on the energy bill the President signed Wednesday, brilliantly [pun intended] titled "Dim Bulb":
Neither a major increase in the production of "renewable" fuels nor a ramping-up of fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles will have any real effect on climate change, or "addiction" to foreign oil, or whatever. But while imposing real economic costs, they offer the appearance of "doing something."
The Renewable Fuel Standard requires fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of "biofuels" by 2022, a fivefold increase over the existing mandate, created just two years ago. The current supply comes almost exclusively from corn ethanol, and the new laws will continue that trend with specific, year-by-year usage requirements. Ethanol production will double, with plenty of pork, subsidies and tax preferences to grease the way.
The problem is that these technologies remain speculative.All this while even many hard-core environmentalists are backing away from ethanol. Cultivating row crops like corn is highly energy intensive, often requiring a gallon of fossil fuels to produce a gallon of ethanol. The mania clears more land for agriculture while draining aquifers and increasing fertilizer runoff. Then there are the market distortions, not least higher food and commodity prices . . .
Washington decided to throw a similar subsidyfest for other "alternatives." The balance of the 36 billion gallon quota is made up by biodiesel and fuels derived from cellulosic sources like switchgrass or wood chips . . . The problem is that these technologies remain speculative.
Here's how the Potato/Spinach Meltdown looks once it's all blended and just before you top it with shredded parmesan and put it under the broiler. For two diners, we shape it as a free-standing crisply square-cornered loaf (above) on an alumiinum-foil-lined baking dish. For Xmas Eve Monday night we've prepared a bigger batch and packed it into an 8 x 8 baking dish.
We cringed when we heard chapter and verse of the Church-of-Gore litany "confronting global climate change" spewing forth from the mouth of the man we had voted for in the last two elections. We're still with GW because he knows the difference between good and evil and isn't in thrall to polls of popular "opinion." But you know what's wrong with the President's use of Gorespeak? It's the pandering to ignorance, stupid. More thoughtful opinion from that WSJ editorial:
Oh, and Washington officially joined the world-wide lightbulb prohibition movement. The regular incandescent bulb has worked fine since the 1880s, but Congress is dictating that it be phased out starting in 2012 in favor of compact fluorescents. CFLs may be more efficient, but here's a textbook case where the market is more illuminating than the dim bulbs on Capitol Hill. Come to think of it, that sums up this whole exercise.
First it was roasted garlic. Now it's roasted shallots. Tomorrow the moon?
On a brighter note, Senator Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, shines a little incandescence of his own on the gathering darkness: Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007." We've long been on to what Woody West -- in an Insight commentary back in July of 1990 -- called "The Tribal Filter on Green News," of course, but it's encouraging to see someone in power providing a forum for dissidents.
Update: Maggie's Farm links.