In last months column, I said that I would give politics a rest for a month and, true to my word, I did. What with all of the political fodder out there, you have no idea how much of a challenge that was.
This column will be a compilation of miscellaneous things that have been on my mind, and while a non-partisan political association could probably be made to some of my meanderings, none was intended.
Be careful What You Ask For: My wife and I own a Prius and a Toyota 4x4 pickup truck. The Prius regularly gets about forty-six miles per gallon, and the pickup gets about nineteen miles per gallon. Were both tree huggers and border on environmental snobbery (not really, but Im setting the stage here). So, to save money AND reduce the amount of gas we burn, we drive the Prius the vast majority of the time, using the truck only as necessary.
Since Im usually the one who drives the truck, I generally fill the tank, which I did just a couple of days ago.
Well, shut the front door!
What happened to gas prices while I was obviously sleeping? I was shocked, shocked, I tell you. The price had risen so dramatically in such a short time and apparently, the worst is yet to come. We may see $5.00 a gallon.
Heres the ironic part. I have said in more than one of my columns that we should just let the gas price go as high as it wants so well quit using so much of it. Additionally, I brazenly said, let the free market (supply and demand) set the price as those-who-shall-not-be-named keep crowing about.
Looks like I got what I asked for, and now find myself on the horns of a dilemma. Do I carp about the prices like everyone else or curtail my driving and walk my talk, so Im using less of the black gold?
No contest actually. Well curtail unnecessary trips and make the most of every trip we take.
The struggling (or is it?) economy: First, let me say I truly feel sorry for the folks who are, through no fault of their own, busting their chops to make ends meet, trying to find a job, or those who may have lost their home to foreclosure. To all of those folks, this couldnt be more real.
However, as Ive said previously, if the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, then approximately 91 percent of the country is working, and apparently doing okay by some measures. The Super Bowl was just a week or so ago and news casts put the price of a ticket at two to four thousand dollars. One gentleman speculated he would spend up to five thousand for the weekend the weekend!
There were about 74,000 fans at the stadium! Im not sure if theyre the one-percenters, the ten-percenters or the ninety-percenters but somebody seems to have a sufficient amount of disposable income.
Additionally, the Daytona 500 is coming up in about a week and it seats about 168,000 fans, if it's a sell-out. Tickets may go from $50 to who knows how high. Lets just say there are 125,000 fans in Daytona for a week of race festivities. My guess is that by the time you consider fuel, motels, meals, tickets and other trinkets then a grand per person is probably understated. A few more seem to have disposable income and apparently arent aware the economy is in trouble.
Bike week in Daytona is the first week in March. Its a different crowd but the same principle still applies it's still full of those who have plenty of disposable income.
Several years ago, the crowds were estimated at 500,000 participants. How much ca-ching do you think they drop? So is the economy in trouble or might it not be as bad as were led to believe?
The Right to Bear Arms: On a different, but related topic, I took a concealed weapons handgun permit class last weekend in Frederick. There were fifty-six people in the class, and the class contained both sexes, multiple races and ages varying from late teens to early seventies.
Each participant paid around a hundred dollars for the course plus additional money for other items offered in the class. This is the disposable income component of the topic.
The other point here is that in one small city, in one small state, on one day there were 56 people interested in taking a training class to qualify them to apply for a concealed carry permit. This doesnt mean that everyone will apply, nor that they would be approved. Even if they did get the license from Utah or Florida, they still cant carry in Maryland purely ridiculous, in my opinion, but sadly true.
If one considers all fifty states and multiple classes given throughout the larger states on any one day, times say just 3 classes a week, that means a significant number of people have at least considered the fact the police cannot be everywhere, all of the time, nor can they reliably reach your emergency in a timely manner. Its not a sermon, just something to consider.
Theres Only One Rule You Have to Be Kind: Finally, there is one political point Id like to make. Since this is an election year, the venom being spewed forth is sickening and, at this point, is mostly contained to one party. Once the Republicans select their candidate, the floodgates will open from both sides.
Let us agree to not be part of it, and where necessary, just agree to disagree. Or, as a wise man once said: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Thats my opinion(s), whats yours?
Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.