Monday, April 4, 2011

An hourglass with sugar

It took a tiny spider about ten minutes to pull itself from my living room floor all the way to the ceiling fan above.  Each couple of minutes it dangled further above the ground like a window washer on a sky scraper. I have no idea how it managed to get it's web onto the ceiling fan from my floor at least 20 feet below. Nor how it managed to feel safe enough to keep pulling itself up when it could have easily gone anywhere else in my house undetected. Why it chose the highest point in the living room gave it some gumption and maybe spared its damn life because I surely couldn't kill it now. I just watched it keep slowly moving up until it reached its destination. Maybe I was in awe of its courage.

On the television behind the spider climbing was the ESPN 30 for 30 episode about the Michigan Wolverines Fab Five and Chris Webber's infamous "time-out..I mean, no time out, oh sh#%t we are out of timeouts play." In short order he went from one of the most celebrated college players on a NCAA championship team to making a mistake forever remembered by fans and capsulized in video memory. There surely were dumber plays made in history somewhere, we just don't have the film to prove it. It just shows how time can change things, moments, perception, and history. I researched Webber on Wikipedia after the show ended and saw he earned 169 MILLION in his NBA career following this so I guess he gets the last laugh..Ted Dibiase style.

On my way flying home from Hawaii I sat in the plane next to an older gentleman who was in a talkative mood. Somehow we got to his former career as a CEO of several sugar cane plantations that used to exist on the islands. He mentioned that the one plantation in Maui is the last one on all the islands, which at one time had 11 or so active. I believe he said something like 68,000 acres of sugar cane fields were sold off into development and the plantations wiped clean. He mentioned that at one point they had spent 5 million to produce the sugar cane into ethanol for fuel and were prepared to send this to the mainland gas and oil companies and have it refined. These gas companies refused. They didn't see the value in turning this existing sugar cane into ethanol. So the fields were destroyed and only one field remains. Hawaii which requires 10% of their fuel to be ethanol actually has to ship the ethanol fuel in from the mainland, from corn. The irony is that it costs more in fuel production to receive the 10% ethanol fuel from the mainland then it would have if it was just 100% oil. This is the lunacy of our energy policies and the greed of the existing powers that dictate it. The irony is that the sugar cane field that remains is losing money. The price of sugar is stabilized by the US government. It costs the same now for sugar than it did in the 1950's, so there is no value in running sugar fields for profit, especially when the machines running them take oil.

As I watched that spider climb the web to the top of the ceiling fan suspended in time, I realized that we have probably hit our ceiling in this time and that web it has spun has entangled us all.

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