January 12, 2008


Today my boss and his wife decided to hit the links up at Greenwood Park in Baker, LA. Not the traditional links, but disc golf links! It was a gorgeous Louisiana winter day (meaning shorts) and no humidity and a bright beautiful sun. It was good to get out and play on a new course and introduce Kim to the great sport of Disc Golf. After a few holes she was throwing the disc like a pro and we ended up having a great time, well besides that pesky photographer. Oh yea, I have a hideous face when I throw!

January 10, 2008

Golden Mexican Trains

Yesterday was really a golden day, well if you own gold it was. Gold flirted with the $900 mark for the first time and has since settled back some. Some analysts predict over $900 by the close of tomorrow. Many analysts feel it will go higher with some saying in the low $1000 to $1100 range by the end of the year. I guess I won't get that gold grill I had been eyeing after all.

My boss, coworker and their spouses (plus another couple an their adorable daughter) decided to have a dinner party. FAJITAS...ole!!!!!!!!! Good food and good talk. Played a new game for the first time. Mexican Train is a domino game that is played with bigger groups of people. Basically you match the number of dots on your domino's in your hand on the end of your trains. Follow the link to get all the details, but its a sweet game and lots of fun. Just don't let Kelly play, or she'll be dropping doubles on your all night...oh and don't for get to tap that last domino on the table before the next turn....I also recommend Blink for some fast pace frustration. I played this over the Christmas break with Rachel and boy was this a heated competition. If you have two minutes or 2 hours, this will fill the time nicely. Its also good for eye-hand-eye coordination and recognition.

The other day was an article about China capping the price of the commodities to ease the pressure of inflation on the people of China. Inflation is a huge problem in China and many of the less fortunate are feeling the pain of rising prices. Though there may be some unrest in the area of fuel as Chinese refineries are squeezed by the subsidized fuel. The refineries have to buy the oil they need at market prices but sell it below market cost. A lot of this is linked to their crazy economic growth which I talked briefly on earlier. Its just hard to imagine a country in which is now the worlds manufacturing hub of the world. What industry does China NOT do?

Better yet...? TATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would love to see how these $2500 cars would stand up to the saftey tests that US cars go through. If this shows up on YouTube let me know ASAP!

January 9, 2008

Biological Passports to 3 Quadrillion Dollars

So what would you do with $3 Quadrillion? With just $1 quadrillion you could buy the world...literally. In 2006 it was estimated that the world GDP (or GWP) was around $65-70 trillion ($US), well short of $1 quadrillion. If you would stack 1 quadrillion US pennies, it would reach 986,426,768 miles into space and weigh 3,125,000,000 tons (English units). So whats with the quadrillion rant? Well one individual who was affected by Hurricane Katrina decided to sue the US government for that exact amount. Crazy...well this is Louisiana!

The sporting world is trying to make the process of getting a passport even more tedious. Not only do you have to supply your birth certificate but now you have to give blood. Ok, just kidding. But in the hopes of trying to get the cycling world and the Tour la France clean, the powers that be are trying to develop a biological passport that each athlete would need in order to compete in the race. Basically its just a baseline reading of your body's chemistry so that when testing is performed, if you are significantly different than your baselines you could face punishment. Lets home the FAA doesn't get ahold of this...think of having to pee in cup just to get on a flight to Memphis...whew.....

January 8, 2008

Geaux Tigers and China Tuesday

Congrats to the LSU Tigers for kicking the crap out of the OSU Buckeyes! To bad your colors are purple and yellow...

Nothing of note really happened, so this is just a post of a good series of articles on China. The country is definitely on my list of places to see before I die, but probably near the end of my life. My lungs are too precious currently to head over there and tour the country (kidding). But this series looks at several aspects of Chinese life and the affects of the unprecedented economic boom on the society.

China in my opinion will be the new super power within a decade. The amount of influence around the world is crazy. During my stay on Dominica (which was life changing) the influence of the Chinese was crazy. Basically China came to Dominica and said that if Dominica switched their allegiance from Taiwan to China, China would build a new international quality cricket pitch on the island. Estimated at $17 million US, this is some gift. I have nothing against gifts, but what was disappointing with this was that the Chinese used very little (if any) locals in the construction of this facility. This is also occurring in much of the Caribbean and Africa. What do they have on the US? Simply (though its much more complicated) in my opinion, they provide on the promises. Though the environment or the people may suffer, the Chinese keep their word. Maybe the US should take note....

Below is a picture of the stadium during construction when I was there in June of 2006. I was rapidly ushered away by Chinese workers after taking this picture. The link above has photos of the completed complex.

January 7, 2008

Monday..alarms, commutes and water bottles

Its so hard to get up on Mondays sometimes. The New York Times had some great articles that I found today and I felt it would be fun to pass them along. The first looked at the natural health care product company Burt's Bees, maker of an amazing lip balm. Typical article discussing the of how Burt's Bees got its start, its history, and how it got its name were fascinating. What struck me the most was that the company is now a subsidiary of Clorox, a company that does not necessarily ooze environmental health. Roxanne Quimby, the former owner, sold her stakes in the company to spend portions of her time to preserving large tracks of land, returning them to their "pristine" condition. I wonder why money prevailed in this instance. I feel that Quimby still could have preserved her swaths of land, by no means a bad thing, and still kept Burt's Bees out of Clorox's clutches. If nothing else the PR around the buying and preservation of land would have been amazing. Think if Burt's could have struck a deal with say Ducks Unlimited and worked to preserve even more areas for preservation. This means that Burt's could be the official lip balm of duck hunts everywhere...ha.
Another post (though a couple of days old) on the NYTimes was a conundrum of whether or not to reuse plastic water bottles after use. This country is already addicted to many things and bottled water is just another item on the list. To the tune of billions a year we consume the water and toss the bottle. Most of the time this water is just city tap water. It is a better alternative to say pop, but most of us have access to clean water right from the tap. Even more disturbing is in the building in which I work. There are several water fountains (the old fashioned kind) stationed throughout the building. But instead nearly everybody takes a single use cup, gets a swig from the water cooler and throws the cup away...really is a waste. Not only in the form of the cup, but also in the energy used to capture, bottle and transport the water to the office.
Some people, like myself, rinse and reuse the bottles over and over again. I have since changed this habit once I started reading more and more literature about chemicals from the bottles leaching into the liquid as the bottle ages. The NYTimes piece was humorously written about the very same problem I faced. At home, I no longer use plastic bottles to store my water in for when I am at home (I do keep a few bottles for when I'm on the run and in the car) but have since switched to glass jugs like those used at some "posh" restaurants.
Nalgene's are probably a better alternative to the "single use" type bottles but according to some research these may also leach chemicals and have since been banned in some Canadian sporting goods/outdoor outfitter stores. If you're really concerned, metal bottles are available and don't pose the risk as the plastic.
But for me reducing the ridiculous amount of plastic containers we use in a given day. Whether its glass, Nalgene, or metal, if you are reusing your sturdy bottles to limit the amount of waste your produce I think the risk of a little chemical in the body is worth it. What do you think?

January 6, 2008

Oak Alley Plantation

Today I was curious and wanted to get out and see some of rural Louisiana. I had found an interesting plantation named Oak Alley Plantation which has been featured in many many travel magazines. I decided that this would be destination for the day and set off into the back country of Louisiana. The road to get to Oak Alley is a winding county road that is nestled up against the Mississippi River Levee system. It is an interesting road with lots of unusual findings along the way. It made me realize just how much stuff gets shipped up and down the mighty river on any given day.

The Plantation is on a slight curve and if you happen to not be paying attention you might just pass it by. But it is definitely worth it if you ever get the chance to see it. The stunning oaks lining the walkway are magnificent. Truly makes you wish that your house (minus the nasty and ugly history of slavery) could have such a beautiful entrance. I took several photos and below is a taste of what you might find when you arrive at Oak Alley.

I find all that occurs on the Mississippi simply fascinating. The size, sound, and smell (though not healthy) of the ships and tugs is just amazing. I saw the tower of this ship above the top of levee and decided I wanted a closer look and see what it was up to.

Snapped the photo and left as not much was going on. Decided to Google her name for the heck of it and the GIUSEPPE RIZZO is a bulk cargo hauler that was made in China in 2004. Doesn't mean a hill of beans to me, but its just plain cool what you can find on the web these days.
NFL playoffs started this weekend which is exciting. Now its just time to go and get ready for this oh so exciting GMAC bowl that is about to kick off. GO Tulsa...wait...Go Bowling Green...seriously...who cares?