Friday, March 28, 2008

What does that have to do with the price of rice?

I remember this odd sentence from my childhood. I understood it was a cliché of some sort from the first time I heard it, and I also understood it to mean that the person who said it either wasn't listening to what you were saying or wished they weren't.

Today, the price of rice is serious business. Like so many commodities, the prices have risen steadily over the past few years, and right now rice is seeing a big jump, a 50% increase in the past few months alone with the price doubling since 2004. The rice supply in the U.S. is at its lowest level in several decades and many news sources report that exporting countries in several different regions are going to curtail exports to save the valuable food staple for their own populations.

Why do I tell you this? Haven't you got your own troubles? Yes, you probably do, but food riots around the world could soon enough become our troubles. When the price of gas or groceries rises for us, it's annoying. Price increases in other parts of the world can become a matter of life and death.

Just sayin'.

And now, something that has nothing to do with the price of rice, this week's Random 10.

Vuelvo Al Sur Astor Piazzolla
Out of Time The Ramones
State Trooper Bruce Springsteen
Smut Tom Lehrer
The Nearness of You Norah Jones
What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding? Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Open Letter (To A Landlord) Living Colour
Selfless, Cold and Composed Ben Folds Five
Pretty Lady Teddy Leung, Rick Edinger, Darren Lee
Suite For Orchestra #1 In C, BWV 1066 Passé pied (JS Bach) Nueues Bachishes Collegium Musicum

As Padre Mickey likes to say, ya pushes "shuffle" and ya takes yer chances. We start out in Argentina with the late, great star of tango nuevo, we end up in Germany with J.S. Bach. In between, there is the gathering of the usual suspects from pop and rock of the past 30 years or so, but Tom Lehrer and Stephen Sondheim both get in their say as well, Pretty Lady being from Pacific Overtures. Professor Lehrer, who teaches classes in American musical history as well as math, has been quoted as saying, "That Stephen Sondheim is the greatest lyricist in the English language is not a matter of opinion. It is a demonstrable fact." I'm always happy when one of my heroes lists another of my heroes as a personal favorite, like when Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet covered a Tom Waits tune, or when Waits absolutely tore up Papa's Got a Brand New Bag live on stage. I'm literally getting gooseflesh remembering that one. Padre Mickey and The Lovely Mona were there for the Elvis performance. I think I may have seen Tom Waits do the James Brown tune with Mina in San Francisco back in the '80s.


FranIAm said...

I hate to go all gloom and doom, but I keep hearing about food prices and seeing that as well. And hearing about food shortages around the world and riots about that.

I feel ill, I feel concerned.

Thanks for the random 10, which I am going to study in greater detail right now.

Matty Boy said...

Corn had a similar rise in prices about two years ago, but that was credited to the fact that corn is now both a fuel source and a food.

I think the real reason for most of the price increases we see is "because we can".

Distributorcap said...

wheat has also doubled recently ---

more than food -- potable water is next "big one"

Matty Boy said...

Thanks for the info, D-cap. I know that attempts to privatize water in many parts of the world have lead to strikes, demonstrations and riots. That doesn't mean the bastards won't stop trying.