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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It's Spring Again

In case you haven’t heard, we are now over the hump. Ah yes. It’s that time of year again when hope springs eternal and middle age men’s minds turn to thoughts of buying the long-delayed convertible of their dreams. Never mind the mutterings about second childhood and the like. It’s time to raid the 401k for something a little sporty.

Not so my thoughts. I have been musing about the wisdom of taking a cruise, having spent the winter perfecting my design for a workable, and portable kerosene fridge. You are wondering what would a cruise and a kerosene fridge have in common and I can see you are inexperienced in these matters.

Alternatively, I am toying with the idea of developing a working relationship with my local purveyor of fine burgers and fries. There is a short treatise on the internet somewhere for converting my car to running on grease you see, and where better to acquire free raw material than at the local grease trap? That idea rules out any immediate chance of my purchasing the mid-life convertible, whose toplessness would not go well with the scent of yesterday’s biggie fries wafting by on the wind. No convertible for me, rather I have been scouring the used car web sites for a Buick Roadmaster station wagon, the ideal mode of propulsion for large supplies of fuel.

As you may imagine, supply is the key ingredient here. You are protesting that there is a greasemeister on every corner who would be only too glad to give away some of their waste but that is not necessarily the case. Sooner or later there will come a time when some sage venture capitalist will latch on to idea of contracting with corporate lard houses to collect their grease, pump it into flashy containers and brand it for resale. Small-time collectors like myself will be banished to prostrating ourselves before the local MSG mavens. With supply short, you’ll need large capacity for the times when you get lucky. Enter the Roadmaster, that of low lift-over load floor and gobs of real estate when the seats are folded. If you have ever tried loading 55 gallon drums into a sport utility vehicle you’ll know what I mean.

Free grease will be a wonderful alternative to the branded variety I envisage in our near future. For your part, you should avoid succumbing to the wiles of the shills who will be offering “lightly used, partially hydrogenated Brand X” or the old standby “X On with Safron.” The Roadmaster is so cheerfully low-tech it will run on tar sands, let alone two- week-old Shrimp stir-fry less the shrimp. Try that in a Honda S2000 and you’ll be crying in your soup.

I have already calculated the savings in gasoline from running the old Buick on discarded olefins and it could prove to be rather substantial even considering the cost of a used roadcraft carrier. There are several listed on the internet for $1500 or so, but that’s the asking price. I postulate that anything that casts such a large shadow can be safely taken off a relieved owner’s hands for $500 or so. I won’t bore you with the math but it’s safe to say I’ll end up with enough money left over to…go on a cruise. And no self-respecting cruiser should venture forth without a kerosene refrigerator.

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he lose his mind or is he sick?” Neither of the above me hearties. Cruise ships, you may have noticed, have a strange propensity to lose passengers, run aground, roll abruptly or develop unexplained fires, often at the most inconvenient times, in the summer, in the Caribbean, in 90 degree weather. In that kind of scenario, the price of refrigeration on a stranded cruise ship could approach that of X On with Safron, and with the only workable model of coolness on board I’ll be the Sheik of Daboat in short order. I have already calculated the profits from running the refrigerator onboard and it could prove to be rather substantial…just enough to buy a Honda S2000.

Mike McFarlane


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