Category: Travel

Inflated Gas

A hillbilly credit card, otherwise known as a siphon hose.

Gas has inflated substantially this year, and I’m not referring to all the political speeches ahead of November’s mid-term elections. No, I’m referring to the price of that awful tasting juice we pump into our cars. And I know it’s awful tasting because I’ve tried siphoning it a few times, through my hillbilly credit card.

Gone are the good ol’ days, when you could fill your 15-gallon tank for a mere three bucks. That was back in 1930, when gas sold for 20 cents a gallon. But in 1930, 20 cents went a heck of a long ways. I did a little research and found that two dimes that year equates to $3.46 in 2022 money.

But still, the national average price of gas is $4.86, as of this writing, on June 6, 2022. So, when adjusting for inflation, it seems we’re paying substantially more to fill our tanks this year, than our ancestors were spending on their Model T’s, 92 years ago.

This left me wondering how the price of gas compared with the years after 1930. So I got on Google, and dug my calculator out, and changed the spark plug in my brain, along with a few other tune-ups, then fired my thinker up to arrive at some scientific-like conclusions.

With the help of Google, I made a chart showing the national average price of gasoline at five-year intervals from 1930 through 2020. And then, using the geniuses at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (who also know how many times I’ve been fired from a job), I found the Consumer Price Index for each of all those years. From that I was able to add a column to my chart, showing the price of gas in 2022 dollars, for each of those years.

Here are my results:

YearActual Price2022 Price

Notice how the 2022 equivalent price doesn’t change much until 2022? I felt surprised on seeing this, how gas prices have been so stable. At least until this year.

I averaged these numbers out, and found that the average 2022 equivalent price of gas, from 1930 through 2020, is $3.10 per gallon. Thus, today’s price of gas, at $4.86 per gallon, is about 57% above the historical average. It’s also the highest we Americans have ever had to pay for gas. The second highest price occurred in 1935, when the piss-poor peons suffering during the Great Depression were shelling out $4.01 per gallon (in 2022 dollars).

Our President Biden likes to blame Russian President Putin for our high gas prices, due to the war he started in Ukraine. But the Ukraine war can’t be the whole reason. When you look at gas prices in 1945, 1965, and 1970, when the U.S. was at war, gas cost substantially less than today. And today, we’re not even in a war.

Some blame the high price of gas on Biden, who they say is making it more difficult for oil companies to drill for oil. They claim he wants gasoline to be so expensive we’ll buy electric cars. That way we can decrease global warming. But hell, when I examine my skyrocketing electric bills these days, I shudder at the prospect of plugging a car into my house.

This left me wondering if the president actually wants us to trade our gas-guzzling cars for a good pair of hiking boots. So I got online and researched the price of hiking boots. And, holy shit! It seems my actual footprint is getting to be about as expensive as my carbon footprint.

Maybe instead of a road trip or hiking trail this summer, I’ll just stay home. I’ll sit around in my livingroom, wearing slippers, while listening to the inflated gas of politicians on TV, who rail about the inflated price of gas.


Cousin Barney’s Bathroom Break

One thing I like when making airline reservations online, is picking my seat. Airplane seat, that is. I’ve heard that the safest seat in an airplane is toward the back. Apparently, more people survive crashes who sit toward the back, than those who sit toward the front.

Just the same, I don’t choose seats in the back. And it’s all because of my cousin Barney’s bathroom break.

Barney is a big man. In fact he’s so big, the United Nations blamed him for causing a famine. He’s so big, when he goes to the beach he changes the tidal calendar. He’s so big, he holds his pants up with an asteroid belt.

And all kidding aside, my cousin Barney is so big, he once got stuck in an airport. That’s because the airline wouldn’t let him aboard until he paid for two seats, to accommodate for his doublewide butt. After two days of living in the airport he finally relented, paid the double-fare, and flew anyway. Walking would have been impractical, and U-Haul was out of trucks. And he needed to get home quickly because he had to use the toilet. He didn’t like the idea of using a public restroom to do number two.

The airliner managed to safely leave the ground with Barney onboard. But shortly after it reached altitude on this transcontinental flight, a powerful sensation struck my cousin. His swollen bowels could not take it anymore. He realized he had to go. And fast. So in spite of his best efforts to hold it in until he arrived home, he would have to use a public restroom.

A clamant urge made him suddenly arise from his two seats and quickly squeeze his way down the aisle toward the restrooms in the rear. He made it just in time. And to his sweet relief, one of the restrooms was unoccupied. He frantically flung the door open and stepped toward the precious tiny toilet.

But something held him back. It was the doorway. The doorways of restrooms on commercial jetliners are not designed with people the size of Barney in mind. It’s important to save space when designing jetliners, you see. Thus, you get no legroom. And the restroom doorways afford no ass room.

Barney struggled valiantly to gain entry into the tiny cubicle. He pushed, heaved, sighed, and moaned, all the while feeling the pressure in his bowels grow exponentially stronger, like Mount St. Helens ready to violently erupt.

Time ran out and Barney still wasn’t in. But in a split-second, the adrenaline and terror pumping through his desperate brain inspired him with an idea. There in the aisle between the restrooms, Barney twisted his big body around and lowered his trousers. He planted his bare butt against the open doorway and released the fury of his internal volcano all over the restroom walls and floor.

This is a true story. And I like to remember it whenever I choose an airplane seat. I know it’s safer toward the rear, in event of a crash, but I choose the front. I’d rather die than go through what those passengers sitting by the restrooms endured, smelling the soup wafting from the restroom used by my cousin Barney.

Too bad my cousin couldn’t be assisted by a restroom attendant, who might have been able to wedge him through the door. Some airline restrooms offer assistance to passengers, as you can see in this SNL sketch, with Flip Wilson:

Gringo Gulch, 2015

According to Bill Maher, the pandemic is frickin’ over. He says it was wonderful for awhile, but now, good riddance. Now it’s time to get back to normal.

Back in the “normal” days, my wife and I went on cruises now and then. But these days we refuse to board one of those big boats until they end all the pandemic restrictions, such as proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks even if you’ve been vaccinated. We’ve been vaccinated, but we don’t like the idea of carrying that stupid, oversized card around, and having to present it to get back into the country.

What if we lose it in Mexico, for instance? Well, maybe someone named Pedro could sell us a new one, in some dark alley. Or we could just join one of those caravans, where you’re allowed to illegally cross the border with impunity.

We’re just tired of dealing with all the Covid bullshit. So no more cruises for us for now. Not that I really miss cruising. The only cruises I’ve been on have been with Carnival, and by the time this pandemic hit, I was pretty much through with them. They seem to be the Dollar Store equivalent to cruise lines. Carnival is very affordable, but you get what you pay for.

Back in 2015 my wife and I went on Carnival’s week-long, Mexican Riviera cruise. I had a different blog back then, where I posted about our excursion into Puerto Vallarta. I thought it would be nice to reminisce about the good o’l pre-pandemic days. Also, if you’re willing to brave all the Covid restrictions and you’re considering going on that cruise, then you might be interested in this post. So what follows is a repost of a post from a bygone blog:

Gringo Gulch, 2015

Maybe the most appropriate place for gringos to visit in Mexico is Gringo Gulch.

Our third and final port of call on our Mexican Riviera cruise was Puerto Vallarta. Carnival Cruise’s offerings of excursions were not as enticing at this port, as they were at Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. Most involved some flavor of swimming with dolphins, getting drunk on an island, or swinging through the jungle on a zipline.

Approaching Puerto Vallarta.

We prefer sightseeing tours instead, but had few to choose from. Perhaps the recent carnage from the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel made sightseeing tours outside the city too risky for gringos from cruise ships. We finally opted for an excursion entitled, “The Best of Puerto Vallarta & Shopping Tour,” for $34.99 per adult.

We boarded a motor coach (euphemism for “bus”), which first took us to a century-old church called Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here we were allowed a few minutes to pray for our safety, before exploring seedier parts of the municipality.

Guess who I caught hanging around the church?

After this we stopped in a few shopping districts established specifically for separating gringos from their money. For a fistful of dollars we could buy opal, silver, and gold jewelry. And for a few dollars more, there was an ample supply of catchpenny trinkets.

In every tienda, we were followed by anxious, overly helpful sales people, eager to be amongst the lucky few to sell their wares to us. We left 95% of these high-pressure purveyors in a wake of disappointment. And each of these abandoned shopkeepers was careful to leave us with heavy sacks of guilt slung over our shoulders, which magically dropped away within about five minutes of departing their company.

The El Malecon paseo, where we encountered many tiendas, along with some beautiful views of Bandera Bay, such as this one.

The motor coach then transported us to a scenic restaurant overlooking Bandera Bay. For about thirty American dollars, my wife and I dined on bland Mexican fare, which reminded us of our misfortunes with food on the cruise ship.

Our last stop was Gringo Gulch. This was the real, original, autentico Gringo Gulch. At least, that’s what our tour guide said. The history of Gringo Gulch in Puerto Vallarta goes back to the early 1950s, when a few artists and writers from the United States settled on a hill overlooking a gulch. These Americans happily adopted the ethnic slur, “gringo,” and decided to name their neighborhood Gringo Gulch.

Creek at the bottom of Gringo Gulch.

At that time, Puerto Vallarta was unknown to most Americans. It did not become a popular tourist attraction for gringos north of the border until the 1960s, with the arrival of film director John Huston, and Hollywood stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. They showed up in 1963 for a movie John Huston was directing called, “Night of the Iguana”.

Huston’s movie was very accurate in one respect. There were lots of iguanas at Gringo Gulch, including this one.

Richard Burton starred in this movie, but Elizabeth Taylor had no acting role in it at all. Apparently she just wanted to—ahem—observe Richard Burton’s performance. It seemed like a safe place for Liz and Richard to fool around because, after all, who ever heard of Puerto Vallarta? Who would be suspicious? Certainly not Liz’s husband, singer Eddie Fisher, or Richard’s wife, actress Sybil Williams.

But they underestimated the tenacity of the gossip press and paparazzi. Soon the romance of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, plus Puerto Vallarta, became international sensations.

However nothing could stop the torrid romance. They married in 1964. And together they both fell in love with Puerto Vallarta. Richard Burton bought a villa there, called “Casa Kimberly” and gifted it to Elizabeth. Later they bought a second home across the street, expanding the size of their estate. They owned these properties for more than 20 years.

Elizabeth Taylor’s villa. It’s the one on the top level, with the white arches.

Our tour guide walked us through the sylvan tropical gulch below Taylor and Burton’s villa. There we encountered a statue of John Huston, a grand staircase, and trees filled with parrots and iguanas.

Statue of John Huston.

And then our guide loaded us onto the motor coach and sent us back where we came from. Back to the cruise ship. And back to the good ol’ U.S.A.—that giant Gringo Gulch to the north.

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