WHAT SHOULD I DO FOR MY 100TH BIRTHDAY?

So my 4,000th column is coming up (this is #3,978).  Not to say that more than 20 or 30 have been real columns.  (My favorite: the one about being a loud sneezer.)  Most have been your contributions, shamelessly stitched together and hyperlinked.  But it’s still 4,000 of them – that calls for something.  And #4,000 will appear, by happenstance, almost exactly on my 100th-or-so birthday (don’t be fooled by the photo, upper left).  More reason to . . . well, to do something.

I’d like to tell you that I will that day unveil the results of the study I commissioned to determine just how well or poorly this site’s stock picks – purchased only with money you could truly afford to lose – have fared.  In other words: how much money you did lose.  But the task proved so daunting that the capable man I enlisted (and even paid a little), eventually gave up, someplace around column #2,716.

I’d like to tell you that Borealis has scheduled something so compelling for that day that the stock, in celebration of #4,000, will sail to the moon.  But it’s just always $3 or $4, whatever the news; like the speed of light: a constant.  (Just slower.)

But I do have a small surprise in store, potentially.

Toward that uncertain end . . .

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GAS PRICES

If anyone tells you more drilling will lower the price of gasoline, show them this.  More U.S. production does essentially nothing to affect the global oil price.  “Sometimes,” indeed, “prices increase as American drilling ramps up. . . .

Mitt Romney knows this, of course, and yet . . .

ROMNEY ON GAS PRICES

Hard as it may be to believe, Mitt Romney has actually changed his position on gasoline prices.

From The New Republic:

As he campaigns for president, Mitt Romney is ratcheting up his attacks on Barack Obama over high gas prices, putting the issue at the center of his economic message. He is calling for Obama to fire his Energy secretary, EPA administrator, and Interior secretary, saying they are to blame for high prices at the pump. “No question in my mind that these—I call them the gas-hike trio—that those three are on a mission to drive up the price of gasoline and all energy so that they can finally get their solar and their wind to be more price-competitive. That’s what they want to do,” Romney said on Monday.

Curiously overlooked, though, is just what a shift this rhetoric is from the approach that Romney took while governor of Massachusetts. Befitting his profile as a moderate Republican who cared about the environment, Governor Romney responded to price spikes by describing them as the natural result of global market pressures and by calling for increases in fuel efficiency—the same approach that he now derides Obama for taking as president. . . .

ETCH-A-SKETCH

You’ve doubtless seen Romney’s top advisor confirm that his guy will soon be changing positions yet again.  If not, it’s here.

And according to this piece, “Mitt Romney is right to be rattled about being labeled Mr. Etch-A-Sketch.”

Joe Klein, meanwhile, thinks the Etch-A-Sketch gaffe “may go well beyond a momentary embarrassment and become a campaign-defining disaster. This is true for several reasons: . . .

SOLAR

Could this be the year?  Prices of silicon solar modules have fallen from $4 per watt in 2008 to just over $1 a watt now, according to this story, and “In what was once a Polaroid factory 50 miles south of Boston, a high-tech company is printing sheets of solar cells made of plastic [that] curl into lightweight rolls and can be unfurled and put on a wall or a tent or an impoverished hut . . . A recent succession of efficiency gains has researchers, investors and companies convinced the effort is finally close to success.”

All leading toward a future a few decades off when energy is clean and “nearly free” – just as communications now are.  Which takes us, potentially, to a whole new level of prosperity.

BOREALIS

Could this be the year?  Probably not, if experience is any guide.  But the El Al and Jet Airways letters of intent (LOIs) have been signed and announced – no small thing, if you ask me – and according to last week’s investor email, “We have just completed another 737 LOI and an A320 LOI.”  Which would bring the company up to four airline customers, assuming they can actually deliver working motors and win F.A.A. certification.

THOSE 17 MINUTES

If you haven’t found time to watch – and imagining that weekends may be less frenetic than Monday mornings – here, again, is Tom Hanks narrating the 17-minute story of the last three years.

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