You know what really grinds my gears? Massive inflation in food prices. I was reminded of this again yesterday when I noticed that coke machines on campus now charge $1.50 for a 12 oz. bottle of sugar water. That is somewhat of a mixed blessing, because soda is kind of crap, and if it takes a ridiculous amount of price inflation to get people to stop drinking it, that is alright by me. My brother takes an even more hardline stance against high-fructose corn syrup: most people have something they will rant about if you let them, and his soapbox is actually a soda crate that he stands on to tell you how terrible coke is for your health. I say, next time you want a Jack & Coke, just take the whiskey out of your boot, pour it in a glass, add a spoonful of sugar and cut out the middle man.
Most experts agree that what is driving up the price of many foods is not just regular-type inflation or the rising cost of transporting food, but also the government's subsidies for ethanol-based fuels. That's funny, right, that we are diverting attention from using corn as people food and concentrating on making it machine food?
Well, I think it's funny, but not as funny as the fact that in either case, as food for people or cars, corn is a terribly inefficient source of fuel. Excuse my hyperbole for the sake of metaphor, but eating corn is about as energy-efficient as eating gold, and it could end up costing you as much in the not-too-distant future.
Meanwhile, in the bit-more-distant (and highly fictionalized) past of our great nation, when cartoon John Smith told cartoon Pocahontas that his people came to the New World to dig valuable yellow stuff out of the ground, she assumed he was talking about corn (prounounced maize) and not gold (prounounced gold). If only that Smith was (a) real, (b) extremely long-lived, and (c) prudent enough to invest in corn futures (otherwise known as the "Maize Hat-Trick" of investment strategies), he would today be a very wealthy man. Instead, he chose to learn how to paint with all the colors of the wind, which is a fine thing to do but far from a perfect dietary plan. Not that it seemed to matter, because the only character in that movie who ever ate anything was the raccoon.