Less Than 2 Hours

I pay my credit card bill online. The good part about it is that I can wait until the last minute to pay my bill if necessary. The bad part is that if I forget the due date, I get smacked with a $39 late fee.

Here it is 1:40AM and I just paid the thing, thinking that it was due today, September 3. Oh noes. Due September 2. I was late less than 2 hours, and the late fee was already charged to my account. Dammit.

I’ll call later today after their offices open and see if I can get them to drop it. I doubt it, because I’ve tried numerous times to get them to lower my interest rate (to no avail).

The good thing about this is that they can’t increase my interest rate  because of the late payment. It’s already up there at the maximum, somewhere just under 30%.

Dammit. $39. I can’t even afford $2 for tacos.



Here I Come to Save the Day!

Lots of people are trying to save the planet. I’m not entirely certain that the planet needs to be saved. At least, not in the way they mean. Oh sure, socialist and communist and downright stupid ideas seem to permeate most every corner of the globe. And we certainly need to save the planet from that. But that’s not what people mean when they say they want to save the planet.

No, they’re referring to some sort of catastrophic ecological disaster a high priestess or grand poobah of the environmental movement has predicted in their crystal ball. I can’t remember; is the current doom hypothesis the giant heat wave or the ice age? They keep changing their minds, so I can’t keep up.

Anyway. People are convinced that they can save the planet by doing small things. While it’s generally a good idea to not be terribly conspicuous in your consumption (for more reasons than just the environment), I’m not convinced that it will really matter one way or the other to the planet in the long run. I think that most things people do to save the planet won’t really matter in the long run. Cracked doesn’t think so either: 5 Ways People Are Trying to Save the World (That Don’t Work). My favorite part is about “organically grown” produce:

The funny thing about those chemical fertilizers and pesticides is that they were invented for a reason, and that’s to increase food production. Turns out organic farming is pretty damn inefficient. Holding hands and thinking peaceful thoughts does dick all against pests that want to eat your crops and weeds that want to choke them out. The current acre of farmland produces 200 percent more wheat than it did 70 years ago. The same goes for meat and poultry. The chemicals did that for us.

Take them away, and suddenly you’re getting less food per acre of land. According to some guy who won a Nobel Prize, we could feed 4 billion people if we went all organic. This sounds great except maybe to the 2.5 billion people who would be left without anything to eat.

Can I get an AMEN?

One Step Too Far

When they invaded HGTV and Food Network with “green” shows, I sneered. When they staged “Earth Day” and turned off the lights for an hour, I laughed. When they shoved pseudo-science at us, I shoved right back.

They’ve insisted on impossibly low emissions, funky eye-killing migraine-inducing light bulbs, nasty oily recycled paper, expensive cloth grocery bags, and a million other inconvenient and/or expensive things to such an extent that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.

But now they want to take away my quilted fluffy two-ply. Oh. Hell no.

Of course you realize, this means war.

Shoe Porn

Oh my. I love those shoes. I don’t know what it is, but I love pumps that have a slight masculine style to them but still maintain an ultra-feminine sexy look. And if it’s a classic pump with a slight platform to the toe and a sharp stiletto to the heel, so much the better. I say “slight platform to the toe” because, well, too much of a platform looks a little trashy. And a heel that’s too high looks plain ridiculous. (Plus, I’m 5′-9.5″; I don’t need that much help with my height.)

And let’s not get into how unimaginably stupid a shoe can look when it should not have a peep toe.

F to the R to the E to the EeeaAARRRGH!!11!!!1!!!!!

It started with the pirate commercial. It was cute. It was funny. Never mind that it didn’t make much sense. (Why would he need to work a crappy second job because someone stole his credit identity? I don’t get it. Don’t we have laws protecting identity theft victims? I know when someone used my SSN when I was 16 to open up a Georgia Power account in some city to which I’ve never been, I didn’t have to pay the $300 bill the thieves left behind. Hmp.)

Then came the wife commercial, which admittedly pissed me off on some slight level. He wouldn’t have married her if he’d known about her crappy credit score? What a bum!

Then there was the car commercial. It was slightly funny, but that’s just because I this was the commercial in which I realized that the guitar player is totally high in all three videos.

And freecreditreport.com paid for these three commercials to play nigh unto infinity. I was heartily sick of the three musicians long before the company decided to cash in on their popularity and make two more commercials. Oh, yeah: there are now five of these fuckers playing ad nauseum.

So now there are two more (and in one of them, we learn just how short the lead singer is). Which would be fine, but the original three are still playing non-stop. And the bike one licks the balls of the green movement. Which just brings me to a whole new level of pissed off with the entire issue.

So please forgive the Howard Dean meltdown in the title above. I’ve got an ear worm that won’t quit.

Barrels and Bucks

Upon the psychology of pricing oil.

We’ve all heard the people who mock SUV drivers for their big gas tanks. They’re the same people who claim that we Americans believe driving is a God given gift. They like to drive itty bitty plastic hybrid cars with bumper stickers on them predicting that driving hybrid cars will save the world. (Hubris, I say!) They’re the ones who’ve been laughing with glee as the rest of America suffers under the weight of high gas prices.

Now as the price of gas drops, I’ve been laughing, too.

I think the latest decrease in the cost of gas is an interesting phenomenon. We’ve been told, forever, that the reason why gas prices rise in the summer is because of demand. (Ditto for winter.) As demand increases, you see, so does the scarcity of oil. And scarcity of an object means that it will be more expensive. Yes? Economics 101. It makes sense, from my basic college freshman economics class level of thinking. So gas is expensive in the summer and winter because we use more of it and thus it becomes more valuable.

Or so we’ve been told.

Imagine my interest, then, to see gas prices drop recently at the pump. Imagine my shock, then, because the scarcity of oil hasn’t wavered all summer. What could be the reason behind the large decrease in gas prices?

Just before the prices dropped, the president rescinded the Executive Order banning offshore drilling. And suddenly, the price of oil per barrel goes down over $20, which translates into about a $0.30 savings per gallon at the pump here in Georgia. In my car, that’s a savings of $3.60 per tank of gas. Considering that my car is filled up about twice a week, I’m saving $7.20 per week directly from the price decrease. That’s almost $30 per month… and that ain’t small change.

It’s interesting that the president’s act alone caused the price drop. I mean, there’s little to no chance that our Democrat-controlled Congress will actually allow offshore drilling to recommence. Ever. I’m fairly sure that the people who control gas prices know this. (Though, I am happy to see the Republicans’ surprising spontaneous growth of balls today on the issue.)

[Who are the people that control gas prices? I mean, they don’t seem very friendly, do they?]

So the gas price dropped from nothing more than speculation. Which makes conspiracy theorists’ claims of mal-intent on the part of those gas price controllers seem all the more plausible. I think it’s clear that the price of oil includes more than simple economics. If it were all about supply and demand as we’ve been told, then the president’s lifting of the offshore drilling ban wouldn’t have had an effect on the price. (It makes me wonder how much of that gas price is padded by “speculation.”)

And it puts an end to the Nancy Pelosi and Company refrain that drilling offshore wouldn’t help our problems immediately. Please. We’ve just seen a $20 drop in gas per barrel because of nothing more than speculation. What would the drop be if we actually started drilling? Hell, what if we just started planning on drilling? How much of a drop would that cause?

But more interesting is the effect the price drop has had on the economy. The dollar is up. The markets gained. We’ve had real, measurable economic growth (not the piddling little half a percent growth we’ve had for a while that’s made all the boo-hooers cry “recession!” – we had almost 2% growth, which started before the gas price drop, but still).

It shows a very real relationship between the price of oil and our economy. I think it’s time for the people who’ve crowed over the high gas prices to stop laughing and help the rest of us get the gas prices down. A bad economy hurts everyone (except, perhaps, the people who want it to be bad (more conspiracies!)).

So drill, already.