Thursday, April 16, 2020

U.S. oil independence is threatened by the coronavirus, wild sturgeon return to the San Joaquin river and are you spending the lockdown fat, drunk and happy?

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

 * ... OIL SLOWDOWN: Under the Trump administration, the United States has enjoyed a period of energy independence, but the coronavirus pandemic threatens to upend all that. That's according to Chad Hathaway, CEO of Hathaway Oil, who says worldwide consumption of oil is down 30 percent and that may not be the bottom. "We have changed the fundamental nature of travel," Hathaway told
me. "There are no places to sell our product." Hathaway says by the time the U.S. emerges from this pandemic, we will be an oil importer once again. Across the globe, Hathaway said tankers full of oil are sitting idly on the world's ocean, waiting for a place to dock and sell their goods. It's not happening. "We are running out of places to store" the oil, he said.

* ... LOCKDOWN HABITS So how are you spending your time in lockdown? Tutoring your children in math? Reading a novel? Working on a home improvement project? Researching ways to help humanity in this time of need? Well those are good thoughts, but if you believe Forbes, most of us have devolved into couch potatoes who drink too much, eat fatty foods and watch pornography. Listen to Forbes describe us: "It looks like Americans are collectively channeling their inner-slacker attitude. People are consuming more alcohol, smoking weed, playing video games, eating a lot of junk food, binge-watching Netflix and adult films more than ever before... According to investment advice site Motley Fool, 'During the first few weeks of the month, cannabis sales were soaring and spiked around the middle of the month as fears heightened that people would be confined to their homes in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.' Marijuana sales are high in a number of states where it's legal... Pornhub, if you can’t tell by its name, is a popular online adult film site visited by roughly 120 million viewers every day. Now that Americans are self-quarantining at home, Pornhub has seen a large rise in traffic—up 11.6 percent."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Well, millennials finally stopped going out for avocado toast. Can everybody afford a house now?"

 * ... QUOTE OF THE DAY: You just have to love this quote from Sheriff Donny Youngblood, commenting on the party where - amid the pandemic - 400 people gathered for a party in east Bakersfield. A drive by shooting left six wounded at the party and the victims are refusing to cooperate with deputies. Said Youngblood: "You can't regulate stupidity."

 * ... GOOD MARKETING: You have to give it to the folks over at Hoffman Hospice for coming up with a brilliant way to a) lift our spirits while b) raising money for the non-profit during a difficult time. I am talking about those red "Everything Will Be Okay" signs that are popping up in yards around town. Hoffman sells them for $20 each and will deliver to the house of your choice. When one mysteriously appears in your yard (thank you Karen Rowles for the joy you brought to me and Alysia Beene) it is certain to lift your spirits.

 * ... WILD STURGEON: It's been a long time but a rare, wild green sturgeon has been found on the San Joaquin river near Merced. According to Lois Henry writing on her SJVWATER.ORG blog, it had been years that the fish had been spotted that far up the river. Like salmon, sturgeon spawn in rivers and then swim out to sea, only to return to spawn once again. Most sturgeon are bred in farms for their eggs, or caviar. Said Lois: "Though the San Joaquin River Restoration Program is concentrated on bringing back spring run Chinook salmon populations, green sturgeons were also native to the area and evolved in the same habitat so it’s not surprising to see them return as the river has been brought back to life."

 * ... EASTER SUNDAY:  This is a lovely and telling photo spotted in The Los Angeles Times of Easter Sunday in Los Angeles. Enjoy.

 * ... MEMORIES: From the Kern County History Fans Facebook page: "This is the Lakeview #2 gusher at Maricopa, May 1914. It produced 20,000 barrels a day from a depth of 3400 feet."

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