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Monday, January 12, 2015

BATA YAKI, VENUS AND THE SINKING PRICE OF OIL

My late wife's mother, who still lives  in Hilo, regularly made something called bata yaki (butter fried), basically, slices of steak fried in butter, and like teppan yaki, accompanied by various kinds of vegetables.  As 15 Craigside had shrimp for dinner--and I'm allergic to crustaceans--I went to Costco to purchase a blue plate rib eye and Marukai for some hamachi sashimi and lotus root kimpira.  

I had bought 2.2 pounds each of Niigata and Gifu) rice on my recent trip to Japan for just under $10/pound.  I noticed that you can order from Amazon 5kg of Koshihikari Niigata rice for $97, so the price is similar.  Using an induction stove, I carefully controlled the temperature to the pot of boiling rice to just perfectly burn the bottom to provide that distinctive taste missing from rice cookers.

At sunset...


...on my lanai, I used that same induction stove to fry in butter pieces of rib eye, sliced onions and enoki mushrooms:


I also had Kirin beer and Kikusai Junmai Ginjo sake.  What a feast.  At the end of the meal, Planet Venus appeared (top left):


I find it fascinating that the tallest mountain on Venus is Maxwell Montes, 6.8 miles high.  To quibble, it is said that Mauna Kea is the tallest (from base at bottom of sea) mountain on Planet Earth at 6.3 miles, while Mount Everest is the highest mountain (from sea level) at 5.5 miles.  However, Olympus Mons on Mars is 13.2 miles high.


The volume of Mars is only 15% of our planet.  Final trivia, the volume of our Moon is only 2% of Earth, but Mount (or Mons) Huygens is almost three miles high, which I think is in that square:


Here, though, is some reality.  Not sure what will happen at the end of the day, but WTI (American crude oil) petroleum sunk 5% today, and is now around $45/barrel.  However, consider that in January of 2009, the price was $43.58/barrel, and in December of 1998 oil went down to $16.25/barrel.  Inflation adjusted, that figure would range from $2.55 to $5.43/barrel in terms of 1973 dollars at the time of the First Energy Crisis.  $45 today would have been worth from $3.50 to $11 in 1973, depending on what parameter of comparison was used.  In October of 1973 oil sold for around $3/barrel, which jumped to $12/barrel when that oil crisis occurred.  Here is a useful historic price of petroleum graphic, the red line adjusting the price to today:


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