Monday, July 23, 2012

La violencia llega

Demons ran wild at our farm last night. I sit, drained. Exhausted. It began, I suppose, when three young Mexican men arrived at our farm.

I was working, as usual on a Sunday, the first day of the week according to my calendar. I saw Manuel and Jesus and a few unknowns sitting around a picnic table behind the trailer they share as I drove by. Smoke rose from the grill; the umpah beat of NorteƱo music blared from speakers of an unfamiliar car.

Later, while in the garden transplanting tomato plants, Manuel approached me with a few young men, introduced as nephews from Houston. They wanted to buy a hog or a goat, kill it, and take the meat back to Houston.

I told them I was too busy. Because I was.

They left, disappointed, or so I thought.

Around 10 pm my dogs began to bark incessantly. Leah and I were watching television. I heard a frantic knock at my back door.

I opened the door. Jesus stood in a pair of jeans and socks, bathed in blood. There was a hole in his abdomen and one leg of his jeans was soaked. Blood on both arms, his torso. His face drained white. Sweating.

In Spanish he said, “They tried to kill me with a knife. I killed Manuel, but the rest of them are still over there and I have no more bullets.”

Manuel is a beloved friend of twenty years. A brother, of sorts.

“Do what?”

Jesus began showing me where he’d been stabbed.

“You killed Manuel?”

“Yes, but just Manuel. The rest are still over there. What should I do?”

“Stand right here. I’m going to call the cops.”

The next few hours I count among the most difficult I have faced in this life.

It took about fifteen minutes for the cops to arrive but I couldn’t go to my friend’s aid, (or dead body, if what Jesus had said was correct), for fear of getting caught in the fray.

Being a convicted felon I’d be the only guy in a gun fight without a gun. I suppose I could have wielded a garden hoe or some such…

But I am not made of such stuff.

The rest is a blur of cops, ambulances, well-meaning volunteer firemen and rescue workers, and finally the helicopter that flew away with Manuel’s body.

I did not learn until midmorning today that Manuel survived his wounds, despite being shot in the face from point blank range with a .38.

Will violence jump the Mexican border?

It already has in my back yard.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gaff--horsin around

Day before yesterday I finally figured out how to access progeny reports on Gaff, our recently acquired Thoroughbred stallion. I also signed up for an alert system (Equineline) that notifies stallion owners any time offspring of a stallion work out at a track, enter a race, or run in a race.

Yesterday, Gaff had his first winner, a two year old filly in Puerto Rico of all places. Nilsa M. She finished 5 1/2 lengths ahead of the second place horse and over ten lengths better than the third place finisher in her first start.

I also discovered eleven of his progeny sold in two-year-old in-training sales. They fetched an average of $15, 563 with a median price of $10,000.

I had nothing to do with any of this, but I can't help but be excited.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Peak oil, fact or fiction?

George Monbiot recently penned an article titled, We Were Wrong on Peak Oil.

Peak oil pundits around the world convulse in their seats as they read these words.

By my definition, Monbiot is right. Average daily production reached the highest levels ever and continues to grow. Meaning we haven't reached peak oil.

What people fail to understand is that shale oil, the main contributor to new US domestic production, is costly to produce, both in terms of energy invested over energy returned, and also in terms of money.

They also don't understand that the vast majority of oil produced by a man-made fractured shale well comes in the first year, with precipitious drops in production thereafter.

Meaning that continued production requires a continued frenzy of drilling, fracking, hauling, etc.

The day this frenzied activity stops, you can set your timer. One year thereafter, this new supply will have, for all practical purposes, disappeared.

The rise in production continues, unabated.

The cliff at the end of this rise in production steepens.