Madison County Opinion...

APRIL 7, 2004

By Frank Gillispie
The Madison County Journal
April 7, 2004

Frankly Speaking

Gas prices are ultimately in your hands
One of the major laws of economics is “The Elasticity of Demand.” It says that the price of any commodity will grow as long as demand for that commodity grows. In other words, the more of the stuff we want, the higher the price.
That is exactly what is going on with the price of gasoline. There are more of us driving more miles in bigger pickups and SUV’s. We are demanding more and more gasoline. Therefore, the price of gasoline is following the natural law of economics, and climbing steadily higher.
I heard some pundits trying to blame OPEC for the high prices because they have decided to reduce production. That is not the cause. We are getting all the oil our refineries can handle. It is just that the refineries cannot produce gasoline as fast as we burn it.
The law of Elasticity of Demand says that the more gasoline we burn, the higher the price will go. We create the high prices by using more and more gasoline. We have two choices: pay the price or quit burning so much gas.
For those of you who have decided to fight the high gasoline prices by reducing your demand, I have reached back to the last big gasoline crisis and recovered all the suggestions for conserving energy. It is not as hard as you think, just a little more inconvenient. Like I said, you choose which is more important, the price of gasoline or your personal convenience.
Let’s start with your car. Make sure your tires are fully inflated. Soft tires create more friction on the road, and forces the engine to work harder to propel you forward. Keep your speed down. Again, the faster you go the more gasoline it takes to maintain your momentum.
Don’t make unnecessary trips. At the start of each week, draw up a list of places you need to go and plan to make as many stops as possible on the same trip. Check with your family to see if you can share a vehicle for rides to work, the grocery store, the mall or even to the post office.
If you have more than one vehicle, choose the smaller one when practical. Don’t take the SUV or large pick-up unless you have a heavy load to haul.
As the weather heats up, try using your model 260 air conditioner. (Roll down two windows and go 60 mph.) Air conditioner compressors use up a lot of gasoline, especially in smaller cars.
As I said, if you have the money and are willing to pay the price to drive your big SUV at 80 or 90 mph with the air conditioner going full speed, then go right ahead. If you need to keep your spending on gasoline down, follow the suggestions above.
President Bush cannot control the price of gasoline. John Kerry can’t.
Neither can Allen Greenspan. The future price of gasoline is in your hands. So, you make the decision by how you drive.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is

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By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
April 7, 2004

A Moment With Margie

The ‘Jesus Movement’
It seems a matter of ongoing puzzlement to many that the story of Jesus continues to compel.
In fact, since the release of The Passion of the Christ, Jesus has become a veritable superstar — the movie about his sacrificial death selling out and outselling other movies. Many said it was because pastors were “encouraging their congregations to see this R rated movie.”
And that’s certainly true.
But, I think it’s much more than that.
I think we — all of us, whether we admit it or not — are hungry for something that makes sense. We’re hungry for something that gives meaning to why we are here, that let’s us know that someone does care, and care a great deal, enough to suffer and die on our behalf.
And, most importantly, to live again to give us hope. For Christians, that’s what Easter means. We are not celebrating a death; we are celebrating a life — and one that gives us hope and a purpose.
Long before “The Passion,” even before 9/11, a little show called “Touched By An Angel” was ranking high in TV ratings — also to the shock of critics and experts alike. Many critics found it “sappy” and “idealistic.” To be sure, it didn’t give a traditional view of God and angels, but what it did give was a message. That message was simply that we are all loved and that there is a God who does know us, even down to the number of hairs on our head. And the show’s creator wasn’t afraid to handle tough issues about life and about death.
Then, this year, there’s also the surprise hit of “Joan of Arcadia,” another TV show about God. In this one, God appears to teenager Joan in many different forms — he may be the janitor, the teenage hunk, or an old woman. God often requests something of Joan and from fulfilling these requests lives are changed and lessons learned, not only Joan’s, but those around her.
As the actor who plays Joan’s father said about the show’s success, he feels many people are looking for spirituality — for something to believe in, if not before, certainly since Sept. 11.
And there have been several recent movies that have a subtle spiritual message, like Signs (which starred Mel Gibson) and The Count of Monte Cristo (which starred Jim Caviezel, the actor who portrays Jesus in The Passion). In each of these, and others, the message of a loving God is clear.
I went to see The Passion a few weeks ago and I don’t know how to talk about it or to write about it, really.
I have thought about the experience of seeing it often since then. I feel that it’s the closest thing to actually witnessing the crucifixion. I feel changed by having seen it — and more than ever aware of just what it was that was done for mankind, for me, on that day long ago. It also occurred to me that the message of Jesus has gone from being spread by word of mouth and ancient texts to being broadcast to billions, just as it was intended from the beginning.
As I sit here writing this I’m watching a three hour special on Jesus and Paul on ABC — a program broadcast in primetime to mainstream America.
And I’m willing to bet its ratings will be high.
After all, Jesus, the humble carpenter, a man of sorrows who was well-acquainted with grief, a man who had no where to call home, who washed the feet of his disciples and associated with sinners and the poor — that man is a superstar.
That man really was, really is, the Son of God.
Go figure that, skeptical world.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.
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