Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tax Breaks for Energy

The Beer: I'm trying to decide what the winter lineup is going to be.

The Bicycle: Very comfortable on the Modovincere. I might still have to make adjustments.

The VRWC: Hmmmmm..... I'm ok with tax breaks for energy. The Left isn't....unless it's their energy.

Wind and "The Grid"

The Beer: I had to drink MGD Light last night. But since I don't complain about free food, free beer and free help, no complaints.

The Bicycle: Never change a tire and tube under the influence of alcohol. I can't come out well. So as the Madone awaits maintenance, I've made some adjustments to the (pre-Raleigh) Univega. I'm hoping for a more comfortable ride today.

As an aside, the Harley 105th is going on this weekend. For the 100th, we left town (living in downtown Milwaukee, there was no choice. Here in the northern 'burbs, not so bad). Last night was Springsteen. My brother had a line on some tickets, but couldn't use them himself and asked if I wanted them. We were at a Jazz party at a friends' house. An awesomely good time and much better than being around drunk bikers and listening to a political lecture by "The Boss".

The VRWC: As a voice crying out in the wilderness, I continue to hit energy issues and here is another.

There are a few things you have to understand here:

  • At any point in time, there is only enough energy out on the grid to cover all the needs plus all the losses. The losses are due to the limitations of physical laws. If you followed along in high school, you probably understand. If you didn't, you probably write energy articles for the New York Times.
  • The electrical grid is not Balkanized. There is a good reason to have many companies interconnected. It greatly increases the reliability of the grid. I'd explain, but there isn't enough space here to do so. Read the book Overload by Arthur Hailey.
  • Big Environmental has blocked expansion of the grid for decades. They have used every tactic from chaining themselves to trees (a personal favorite of mine. I say, "cut the tree down anyway and they won't do it again") to the big lie about electromagnetic fields - which is still used to great effect regarding cell phones.
  • An electric utility will purchase any energy out there which is cheaper than what they can make. They would be stupid to not do so. The fact is, even though the grid is, I would argue, antiquated and overloaded, wind power (mostly) just ain't cheap. It's not a question of moving it, it's a question of economics. The U. S. leads the world in wind power generation. In some areas, the generation cost is 4-to-6 cents per kwh. That's competetive, but intermittent. Wind (and solar) cannot supply baseload energy.

Bottom line here is that the article is misleading. There are a number of reasons why some wind farms can't get to market. It's not the lack of a road.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Energy

The Beer: Had a Lawnmower last night. It was awesome.

The Bicycle: Didn't feel much like riding last night, but I got up and went anyway. Figured, "base miles". I was within about 1/2 mile of the house and had a flat. Called my bride and she picked me up. It was all good ('cept changing the tire).

The VRWC: I'm probably boring you to tears with this energy thing, but that's kinda too bad. We're busy drinking the "renewable energy" Kool-Aid and I aim to stop it single-handedly if I have to ("....Redneck. You are talkin' to the duly appointed Sheriff of Rock Ridge.")

I went to this site to calculate the solar energy that lands on my roof every day. They are trying to sell various solar energy systems. Great. I filled out the on-line information and it came back telling me I could get a solar (photovoltaic) system for the low-low price of $73,383 after rebates ($94,500 before), at a monthly payment of $464 over the next 30 years and an annual average utility savings of $2229 (I'm thinkin' it should be an annual savings of $3000 for that kind of money). Somehow out of this, they get an ROI (Return on Investment) of 223%. What kind of voodoo economics is required to come up with that? Over 30 years, I'm paying more than I would staying as-is and I'm getting an ROI of 223%? That only works in Crazy-World.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Beer: Requires energy.

The Bicycle: Was made using energy.

The VRWC: I'm going to keep banging away at this energy thing until somebody "gets it". The following was sent to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this evening:

Rosemary Wehnes of "Big Environmental" would have us believe that the evil oil companies are only out to screw us (Don't believe the story about the oil that got away, Sunday, 8/24). She fails to make her case with any logic; only the tired rhetoric that Big Environmental has used for decades to scare the populace into compliance.

Big Environmental doesn't want you to know that "renewable energy" requires more energy to make than it provides. Current technology makes ethanol a break-even at best while using ridiculous amounts of water. In addition, putting our food supply in our fuel tanks is raising the cost of food and starves third-world people (to throw a little scare tactic of my own into it). There are two ways to get hydrogen for the "Hydrogen Economy" that Big Environmental is pushing. You can strip it from natural gas, making the natural gas useless, and I suppose, releasing carbon, since natural gas is a hydrocarbon. You can also make hydrogen by dissociating water molecules. Again, requires more energy than it provides. Let's try the solar energy Big Environmental is pushing. A recent news article touted a solar energy facility in California which provides 600 megawatts of solar power. First, you can't build an outhouse in California without Big Environmental showing up on your doorstep to protest. So how do you score 12.5 square miles of habitat to produce a crummy 600 megawatts? By way of comparison, the Energy Information Administration states 4,064,702 thousand megawatt-hours were generated in the U.S. in 2006 (the latest available numbers). That comes to a daily average of 464,000 megawatts, if I have my numbers right. Since the sun only shines about half the time, our solar installation is only going to give us an average of about 300 megawatts. So we will need only about 20,000 square miles of habitat to have solar cover our energy needs. Of course, this assumes it isn't cloudy and we are somewhere around the summer solstice. Big Environmental might say, "Your mileage may vary". I'm pretty sure oil companies and electric utilites and coal producers combined don't use up that kind of real estate.

It's Big Environmental's big (dumb) ideas that will rob our grandchildren.

Biden: Change We Can Believe In?

The "Ultimate Outsider" has chosen an ultimate insider as his running mate. So much for credibility.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Solar

The Beer: IPA goes down very nicely. I've given away over a 1/2 case already and early results are good. Got $10 for a mixed sixpack. I don't know what I'm going to brew next, but I found the best beer label EVER. It's Ale House Flaming Damsel. I can't find a good pic of it to link to, so you'll just ahve to go out and find a six-pack.

The Bicycle: The Madone is back as of yesterday. I plan to ride later today when it stops raining. I also put in an application at the Bike Shop. Can always use a buck-or-two and would like to learn the skills this way, instead of trial-and-error.

The VRWC: The MSM Full-Court-Press is on for Solar Energy. 64 MW. Great. 300 acres. Only when the sun is shining. Maybe they'd like to tell how much it generates in MWh over the course of a year. It's not (64 X 8760). Is anyone else going to question any of this?

By the way, for those of you who can't do the math, the 100 Gigawatts he's quoting here will require 1/2 million acres. Remember the maximum Solar energy falling on the earth is a little over 1000 watts per square the the noon....on a perfectly clear day. That's 10-100 watt lightbulbs....for half a day. Maybe.

EIA data shows current peak demand at around 800 GW, so we're talking 400 million acres to replace all the evil other sources of electricity. Good luck with that. At best, solar will only be a niche. I don't want to minimize the contribution (although, you can argue that's exactly what I'm doing). But it isn't the future.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Need a New Chainring

The Beer: This could get interesting. Film at 11 (Kentucky Fried Movie reference, as if you've seen it).

The Bicycle: My trusty steed needed more preventive maintenance (yes, it's preventive, not preventative) than I gave it. After 2500 miles on mostly the 52 chainring, the chain will stretch and result in chipping of chainring teeth. Note to self: new chain every 1000 miles.

The VRWC: It may have become obvious by now....maybe not. I'm a bit of an energy geek. I "get" this stuff. At least a lot more than the average human. Go here for a wealth of energy information. Unfortunately, if you have already swallowed the kool-aid, you either won't "get" it or you won't believe it. You'll see it as a Bush-Cheney-Big-Oil-Cartel conspiracy. But facts are facts. Unless we choose to go back to the stone age, solar, wind, biomass and other "renewables" will never make it. Do the math (oh, I forgot, most people can't do're idiots). Seriously...I have no time for people who are unable or unwilling to look at the facts, do the math and realize that the Left is all wrong. ALL WRONG! Are you listening? This environmental panacea they push can't work. Period. It violates every physical and thermodynamic law. Newton is spinning in his grave so fast, you could couple him to a generator and make 60 hertz (you have no idea what that means, do you? Do you even know who Newton was?).

Let's add something else here. The air and water are demonstrably cleaner than any time during my life. Maybe any time since the start of the Industrial Revolution. But here is the headline. But nobody mentions that this is because THEY CHANGED THE RULES! EPA recently changed the definition of "compliance". Since the air continues to get cleaner, they have to change the rules ("We have to keep our phoney-baloney jobs"...another movie reference you are too simple to understand...prove me wrong).

Many pseudo-conservatives would be all, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean you were stupid." I won't say that because most who read this are. We have failed the most recent generation. They know how to feel good about their failure and little else.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Make Up My Mind

The Beer: IPA is bottled. I'm done with the summer brewing. A friend is interested in going commercial. I'm intrigued. But I'm not quitting my day job....yet.

The Bicycle: 40 yesterday in PR time. Easy 45 today. I don't like going easy. A little bursitis in the left shoulder, but nothing like a little Ibuprofen to fix that.

A little cycling advice:

  • Lose the Ipod. You're gonna get hurt. You don't know I'm there because you can't hear me. That means we're both gonna get hurt.
  • Wear a helmet. It isn't going to save you in a massive accident, but it will save you. I'm living proof. So is my brother-in-law.
  • If the trail isn't wide, go single file. I don't want to fall off the edge because you're too freakin' busy yakkin' to pay attention.
  • Watch for traffic, car or bicycle...or pedestrian. And if you are a car or pedestrian, watch for bicycles. And if you wouldn't do it to a car, don't do it to a bicycle.
  • Be courteous.

The VRWC: Bisphenol-A Is Safe. No...really? A zillion studies were performed indicating there's nothing wrong with it, then a couple months ago one says, "maybe there is" and the entire world panics. No, "Let's take a closer look at this". Huh-uh. Full-Court-Press to eliminate it.

What has gone wrong with society? Are we that afraid of everything? We're more than willing to drink the kool-aid on very thin evidence (see "Global War...."er..."Climate Change"). Even when the all-knowing, all-caring government weighs in and says stuff is ok, we want to believe the worst. Why then, do we believe when the government says something is bad? We have completely lost any ability to look at a situation rationally and come to a rational decision.

Wake up. Pay attention. You might learn something

Friday, August 15, 2008

Don't Get Me Wrong Here

The Beer: A taste of the Lawnmower indicates it's going to be a nice beer for the end of summer. IPA will bottle over the weekend. I hate cleaning bottles.

The Bicycle: I'm back in the saddle and doing well, but the Madone needs a bath. Really bad.

The VRWC: This is not completely accurate. Nor is it accurately complete. I'm not against solar power. At all. But let's be truthful about it. OK, it will generate 800 megawatts. But for how many hours? Just prior to sunrise, it will generate a big, fat zero. That value will rise throughout the day to something less than 800 megawatts most days, since the 800 megawatts is based on the optimal (MPB - is that correct use of the word?) sun conditions. One cloud, anytime off the Summer Solstice and the sun at other than apogee, the output will be less than 800 megawatts. But the purveyors of this tripe have to make it look as good as possible, so the consumer doesn't know what a big, steamin' pile this is. That is made clear by this comment: "The companies said they were forbidden by contract terms to talk about price, and a spokeswoman for Pacific Gas & Electric said her company was trying to obtain the best possible deal for ratepayers by not telling other suppliers of renewable energy what it was willing to pay." That type of contract wording would never fly with another technology. Build a nuke, and that price has to be blasted over the pages of every newspaper in the country and touted on TV as an indication of what a gigantic failure it must be. No, the only reason for not giving rate payers the price is because they would scream bloody murder when they found out how badly they were getting ripped off.

And the 12.5 square miles of land (read that as "habitat")? How did that ever get past the Environmental Impact Statement. In California, you can't build a shed on your own property without the do-gooders telling you "no" because there is an insignificant "endangered specie" nesting within 100 miles.

This is misleading at best and hypocritical at worst. Either way, electricity is going to get more expensive in California.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coincidence? I Think Not

The Beer: The Lawnmower is bottled. The IPA is to be bottled this weekend.

The Bicycle: Slowly getting back on. Set a new PR last night in my 20-mile. I should ride more often when I'm, "not feeling that great".

The VRWC: Here's a Conspiracy Theory for you:

We know that Big Environmental (use that term as often as possible) is extremely well funded. We also know that, while in the long term, market manipulation is difficult at best. But is it possible that as Big Environmental saw oil prices surge they saw an oppotunity to get the behavior they have been unable to get through legislation and litigation - a movement in the energy habits of the American people? As energy prices began upward, Big Environmental pushed for greater use of ethanol. As energy prices continued to climb, is it possible that Big Environmental used their gigantic funding to help artificially inflate the price of crude? It gets blamed on speculation by hedge funds, increased use in China and India and lack of refining capacity (also courtesy of Big Environmental), nobody "follows the money" and Big Environmental has their behavior change. All at a huge cost in jobs, food and third-world starvation. Reduces the "population bomb", too.

Oh, while were at it, the phenomenon formerly known as "Global Warming" (now "Climate Change" because the warming has ceased) made it cold enough over the past 12 months that crops are late or stunted or nearly non-existent. Hmm.

But it's all just Conspiracy Theory. Big Environmental wouldn't do that....would they?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

RIP, My Man.

Bernie Mac. Gone. One of the funniest, no doubt.

Edit: The same weekend....the loss of Issac Hayes. He of Shaft and Chef fame.

"Good-bye children"....."Damn Right!"


The Beer: The Lawnmower is in the secondary and should bottle this weekend. The IPA still has another week to capture the bitter, citrusy goodness of Cascade Leaf Hops. I have a request to start my winter brewing. Some of the deer hunters at work have offered a Deer-for-Beer deal that I have a hard time refusing.

The Bicycle: Weather, after-work committments and a poor reaction to a new medication thwarted my efforts to get out on what may have been the nicest week all summer. I'll get out today, sore though I may be. Which is a nice segue into what I did last night.

We had a Team-Building exercise "at work" last night. The reason it was "at work" is because it wasn't "at work". At about 5:30, my bosses staff (that includes me) gathered at Road America for some go-karting. 6.5 HP Honda Engine on a go-kart. 50 mph max over about a 1/2 mile track. Wow. I'm still sore. Three go-rounds of nine laps each. Our ages range from late 30's/early 40's to 56. I'm second-oldest at 52. I had no idea how much effort was required to really race a go-kart. The first round was practice and I got a late start (last in line at the start. They got me out the gate so late that the guy in front of me was out of the first turn already). The second and third rounds went much better. No crashes, no spin-outs and finished third and second. I have to admit, my upper body is still a little sore. A little bruising in the ribs. Or Maybe that's all from dinner.

After the event at Road America, we drove up to St. Anna to a (very popular) place called Schwarz's. We waited about an hour-or-so, but the beer was good (and the boss was paying). The meal was worth the wait. Prime Rib (King's Cut, of course-with some left for lunch today). Medium Rare. Best Ever. Eight of us got out, with cocktails, at $325 before the tip. No wonder the place is popular. I might add that they have the most attractive staff in the state. The trip home was about an hour and I rolled in after 11. Well worth it. Much better than those other "Team-Building" thingys. You know: "Ropes Courses", "Trust-me-to-catch-you" crap.....

The VRWC: I was going to talk about automobile emissions testing, but I've bored the you-know-what out of you at this point, so I'll take it up later.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The Beer: The Lawnmower is fermenting, the IPA is waiting.

The Bicycle: Crappy weather yesterday and visit to the doc today prevents bonding with my trusty steed.

The VRWC: In what Universe does this make any sense? The last paragraph has been changed from the print version found in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which reads, "In a related development, scientists say this summer's cooler arctic weather should prevent a repeat of last year's melting of the polar ice pack".

Someone explain 2 things to me: First, why the contradictory information? Second: Why is it deleted from the electronic version?

Remember, it's not that Anthroprogenic global warming isn't happening, it's that we just don't fully understand the data.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Norm Stopped By

The Beer: Tried the Belgian mid-week. Pretty good, if I do say so myself. The IPA has a couple weeks to bottling and I put together a Saison (Lawnmower) today. This should be the end of summer brewing. I'll start on an Octoberfest as time and finances allow.

The Bicycle. Pretty good week. I got in 72 yesterday and 15 with Mrs. today. I'll get her ramped up over the next few weeks. I've decided I no longer have anything to prove, even to myself. I'll ride as far and as often and at the locations I feel like.

It is now possible to get from the Lakefront in Milwaukee all the way to Oostburg (It's in Wisconsin. Look it up. Do I have to do everything?). I'm looking forward to the tie in with the Plank Road Trail in Sheboygan. Note, that, as a Conservative in the Reagan mold, I believe taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill, although I am willing to help foot the bill.

The VRWC: I know Phelony Jones. Phelony Jones is a friend of mine. Here's the view from Casa Phel: