Random musings as a bright red sun creeps above the now-barren cotton field across the way:

  • Could there have been a more nearly-perfect harvesting/ginning season than we've had this year? Acknowledging, of course, the hurricanes that devastated crops across southern Louisiana and Mississippi, the rest of the Mid-South has enjoyed an almost unbroken patch of sunny, dry weather since early August, when soybean harvesting got under way. Here it is November, and the fine weather continues, with 80-degree temps daytime the first of this week.

  • From The-World-Is-Passing-Me-By Department: I've been a lot of places and tried a lot of things, food-wise, but…deep-fried Twinkies? Deep-fried Oreos? I've seen more than one reference recently to these culinary delights (?), apparently the hit of the state fair circuit. Even The New York Times, in taking note of a new “heart-stopping” barbecue restaurant in the Big Apple, described deep-fried Oreos at the Righteous Urban Barbecue as “a dessert to die for — a treat so contrary to doctor's orders that it's hard to resist asking whether it comes with its own defibrillator.” Lordy…

  • No, it's not the European Community: Voters in Sonoma County, Calif., were to decide this week whether to impose a 10-year moratorium on genetically engineered crops “to protect family farmers, our environment, and our children's health.” Should it pass, the county agricultural commissioner estimates first-year costs for implementing the measure would be almost $115,000 and that sampling and investigation of just one complaint could cost $10,000.

  • If you want to try and counteract this winter's forecast sky-high heating bills, you might consider adding some more insulation to your house — bluejeans insulation, that is. Two companies are offering a product made from cotton denim scraps. In addition to being environmentally friendly, it also avoids the chief consumer gripe about traditional insulation products: itchiness and breathing precautions. There are no irritation/inhalation problems with the cotton insulation.

  • And speaking of things dermatological, you will doubtless be grateful to know that you can now buy “sensitive skin” formula food for your dog/cat. There's also a “sensitive stomach” formula. Is this a wonderful world, or what?

  • It is no doubt the purest of coincidences that when several powerful members of Congress started talking about the possibility of levying a windfall profits tax on the oil companies, the price of gasoline miraculously has been going down and shortages have equally miraculously vanished. But hey, it's just the laws of supply/demand at work, don'tcha know. Not that a Republican administration would ever actually impose such a tax, of course, but it plays well with the voters back home when a senator or representative gets in front of the cameras and expresses concern.

  • And somebody 'splain to me why it is that diesel fuel, which is a cruder, less-refined product than gasoline, costs more? Used to be, diesel was the cheapest fuel around. Now, it's significantly more costly than regular unleaded. At the local Wal-Mart this morning, unleaded was $2.09, diesel $2.77 — 68 cents more. If it doesn't require near the processing as gasoline, why the price disparity?