Towse: views from the hill

February 23, 2005

Theme Thursday challenge: tools

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:18 pm

Theme Thursday challenge: Tools  Posted by Hello

Wood carving. Yunnan, CH

Recycled paper

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:08 pm

Interesting articles in the Merc (by Frank Greve for Knight Ridder) yesterday, in the CoCo Times (by Karl Schoenberger for Knight Ridder) a week ago and elsewhere recently about the amount of scrap paper that is heading over to China from the U.S.

The CoCo article reads, More than one-third of the merchandise passing through Oakland, the Bay Area’s shipping gateway, now comes from China or is on its way back. And tellingly, one in three containers leaving Oakland for China or other Asian ports is empty, hard evidence of America’s $618 billion trade gap with the world and its $162 billion trade deficit with China last year.

Further on it reads, Incoming containers from China and other parts of Asia bear computer parts, machinery and low-cost clothing. Some outgoing containers are filled with California-grown produce and wine, but most contain the discards of post-industrial society. Recycled paper, metal scrap and other waste material are the port’s top exports.

California’s biggest export to China these days is said to be scrap paper.

According to the article in the Merc, Americans are recycling paper at a great clip, 300 pounds per capita per year, about half the paper produced in the U.S.

Where does that scrap paper go? Well, there you have discrepancies between the two articles. The CoCo article claims that China is starting to prefer to get empty containers back instead of ones loaded with scrap paper because they can refill and reship them faster.

The Merc article claims that China is hungering for scrap paper to recycle into paperboard for shipping boxes for the goods that fill those container ships heading our way. China is short of trees and, hence, wood pulp. Years ago we were proudly shown a two-hundred-year-old tree, protected by fences, in Chongqing, which had very few trees otherwise.

In addition to improvements in the tactics of waste-paper collection, recycling is gaining from China’s suddenly ravenous appetite for U.S. scrap paper. Its hunger for recycled paper is fueled by its own shortage of wood pulp and a mushrooming need for boxes in which to ship its exports.

U.S. papermakers, who need scrap themselves, are struggling to compete against China’s mills, which made off with about 6 million tons of American scrap paper in 2004. That’s from a total U.S. paper recovery of about 50 million tons. Mills in India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea also are ardent bidders for American scrap paper.

Exports of U.S. scrap of all kinds have more than doubled in the last five years. Scrap paper is one of the big items. The problem, which is now affecting U.S. paper mills, is that China is willing to pay a higher price than American mills. Because the shipping cost is minimal, only 10% of the actual paper cost, China is now buying up scrap paper from East Coast port cities too. The top four U.S. port cities exporting paper are Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

Much U.S. scrap paper ends up in the massive new Nine Dragons recycled paper mill in Dongguan, China, north of Hong Kong. It’s the world’s largest, and is unique in its ability to turn low-quality mixed papers into respectable paperboard for boxes and packaging.

Good news: we’re recycling more. Bad news (at least for the American paper pulp industry): Global economics and the joys of capitalism mean the mill in Dongguan can out bid the Americans for American scrap paper.

Keep those ships loaded going to and fro.

 Posted by Hello

Photo Friday challenge: Rural

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:27 pm

Photo Friday challenge: Rural  Posted by Hello

Farmer’s ladle used to water seedlings in fenced field. Yunnan, CH

Markos Moulitsas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:14 pm

Markos Moulitsas (see link to Daily Kos over there >>> under hot crossed blogs) also got a writeup from K. Oanh Ha in yesterday’s Merc. (Registration required.)

“Revenues from ads on Daily Kos totaled more than $100,000 last year, Moulitsas said.”


Heather Champ

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:10 pm

Heather Champ (see link over there under hot crossed blogs) earned a writeup by K. Oanh Ha in the Merc yesterday. Registration required for the Merc article. No registration required to visit Champ’s photo blog. | 02/22/2005 | Bernard Tougas, valley restaurateur

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 4:59 pm

Bernie Tougas, valley restaurateur dies at age 78. Fans of the O in Menlo Park (and Jakes and the Boardwalk and the Garret) will remember him.

February 14, 2005

Moody Monday’s Mood: Romantic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:15 pm

Moody Monday‘s Mood: Romantic.  Posted by Hello

1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of romance.
2. Given to thoughts or feelings of romance.
3. Displaying, expressive of, or conducive to love: a romantic atmosphere.
4. Imaginative but impractical; visionary: romantic notions.
5. Not based on fact; imaginary or fictitious: His memoirs were criticized as a romantic view of the past.
6. often Romantic Of or characteristic of romanticism in the arts.

El Parque del Amor – Miraflores – Lima, PERU.

El Beso, a sculpture by Victor Delfín, dominates the park. The park overlooks the ocean and is surrounded by wavy walls embedded with mosaic tiles scripting romantic quotations, including one by the poet Antonio Cilloniz, “in the cities they do not build monuments to lovers.” The park opened February 14, 1993.

According to our guide there is a kissing contest held here on weekends. Newly married couples vie to hold a pose identical to the statue’s. The couple that can hold the pose for the longest period of time is rewarded with a dinner for two at La Rosa Naútica, the restaurant down by the edge of the ocean, visible from the bluff at El Parque del Amor.

Gavin’s anniversary party yesterday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 1:30 am

The guys came up and spent Friday night so we could get an early start Saturday morning. Gavin’s anniversary event was scheduled for ten at City Hall. Doors opened at nine. We planned to walk down the Steps at eight and catch the F-line at the Embarcadero and take it over to Van Ness, then walk over to City Hall.

All went without a hitch. We arrived at 8:45 a.m.

The guys kept reminiscing about the rain and the lines last year. This year at quarter to nine, the line didn’t quite reach the first corner. Last year when they arrived, the line of same sex couples waiting to get married at City Hall had wrapped around the block to the fourth corner and was almost wrapped back on itself when they arrived.

We stood in line and watched the line grow, wrapping around the corner and disappearing from sight. Petitioners and other sorts handed out papers and chatted up the crowd in line.

Registration went smoothly. Everything was under the older niblet’s name because he came first in the alphabet. They had a record that the guys were bringing two guests. We walked into City Hall, passed the security screening and headed toward the rotunda.

I found a place under a lantern where I could stand with the lantern post at my back so I wouldn’t get wigged out as the crowd got bigger and people started to crush. If you look at this picture, I planted myself in front of the lantern on the left side of the picture.

We stood around talking and taking pictures of people taking pictures for over an hour as the crowd grew and started to fill the balcony and then the next balcony and then the next and the people on the floor of the rotunda started pushing closer and closer together.

Ten o’clock came and went with no sign of Gavin. The crowd was getting restless. People would start a rhythmic clapping which would then die out.

“Gavin! Gavin! Gavin!” came the shouts.

Still no action, but I didn’t mind. People were still arriving. Wouldn’t you be pissed if they started without you through no fault of your own but because security was being secure and the line behind security was backing up?

People kept arriving. A lesbian couple stopped and chatted as they pushed by with their twins in a stroller.

The energy in the room was amazing. People shouted at friends on the balcony tier across from them. Someone shouted, “Happy anniversary!” and the room exploded with applause.

Finally, about ten-thirty, Kate Kendell came out and made brief comments and introduced an eight-minute trailer for a film covering the past year and Gavin’s Valentine’s surprise. The crowd cheered in places. Booed in other places.

Finally, it was time for Gavin.

He gave a rousing speech and had people cheering and shouting. At several points audience fists punched the air. Newsom was stirring, angry, joyful, congratulatory in turn.

Too soon the speechifying was over. Gavin brought Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the lesbian couple — together over fifty years — who were the first same-sex couple to be married at City Hall last year up on the stage and the crowd cheered and shouted, whistled and clapped. He brought up Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno and others supporting the cause and after cheers and whistles and loud applause, the party was over.

Realizing after about fifteen, twenty minutes that there was no way we’d ever get near Gavin and waiting for him to wade through the crowd to get to where we were wasn’t going to work either, we headed off to the room next to the Rotunda for cookies. We jumped on the F-line and headed back to Levi’s Plaza, and then up the Steps to home.

~~~ Photo set ~~~

February 13, 2005

wordPhoto current word: Star

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 7:33 pm

wordPhoto current word: Star  Posted by Hello

Photograph taken in schoolroom, Yunnan province, China

February 11, 2005

Photo Friday challenge: Luscious

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:15 pm

Photo Friday challenge: Luscious  Posted by Hello

XOX Truffles [754 Columbus Avenue
(between Filbert & Greenwich), SF. North Beach]

Casimira and Jean-Marc‘s truffles are … luscious.

Mail-order available!

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