Top 10 uses for tar balls

Pat McMahon | Contributor

Last month, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour told Fox News that tar balls washing up on beaches are not cause for alarm. Anywhere from 250,000 to 750,000 barrels of oil seep through the ocean floor and into the Gulf of Mexico every year, Barbour said.  It’s natural to have a few tar balls. Mississippi is used to it.

Since tar balls are a way of life in the Gulf, BP or not, and given the current state of the economy, it’s probably worth making the best of a sticky situation. In that spirit, here’s a list of 10 practical uses for tar balls:

10. Hair Gel – Americans go through tanker trucks of gel each year molding their hair into unnatural shapes. Can a tar ball really be nastier than a palm full of Dippity-Do?

9. Lubricant – Is that squeaky hinge on your front door driving you crazy? Bike chain not shifting gears smoothly? Lube that up with all-natural Gulf Coast tar balls.

8. Buoys – Those tar balls are just floating in the Gulf anyway. Might as well attach some rope and lights and turn them into channel markers and guiding beacons.

7. Souvenirs – You know how beach shops love to take small creatures, shells and other unfortunate inhabitants, shove them into a cheesy frame and sell them for obscene amounts of money? Why not put tar balls into keep-sake frames with quirky titles like “Oil Spill, Summer ‘10” in bubbly letters and sell them, so everyone can take home a piece of this memorable event.

6. Jewelry – According to an ancient legend, if you wear a shark’s tooth around your neck you are forever protected from sharks. Well, apply that knowledge to tar balls and you’ve got a stylish necklace with a lucky tar ball pendant that will forever protect you from another dreaded oil spill.

5. Facials – What better way to cap off a relaxing day at the beach with a soothing, exfoliating facial. Tar balls give off a nice, thick spread that can do wonders for the human face. Think about it – the warm sun, a nice drink and a good oily mud rub. I can feel myself drifting off to sleep already.

4. Car fuel – Gas prices are so high, and with the loss of oil in the Gulf they can only go higher. Tar balls are free for the picking. Imagine driving for free anywhere and everywhere you need to go! With all that free fuel, you can take a nice driving vacation far away from the Gulf oil spill (not that you’d want to leave behind that rich goldmine of tar balls).

3. Power your home – Electricity is expensive and those Gulf Coast temperatures can be brutal. Luckily, tar balls can power your home for months to keep the air conditioning running long after the summer temperatures, fresh seafood, tourism and healthy beaches are a thing of the past.

2. Money – With the value of the dollar continuing to plummet, it might not be a bad idea to invest in tar balls. Besides, oil has long been called “black gold.” The tar balls aren’t going anywhere, so unlike the Euro there’s no danger of them ever disappearing. And, experts say there is only a limited supply of oil, so there’s no chance of inflation. Plus, it might just help the U.S. debt situation (so far it appears the tar balls are more persistent and stronger than anything in Europe).

1. Beach Toys – Why pay for overpriced beach toys when the Gulf supplies anything and everything you need to have fun on the beach. The possibilities are endless – tar ball volleyball, tar ball paddle ball, tar ball croquet, tar ball castles, tar ball fights, tar ball angels, skipping tar balls across the Gulf, tar ball soccer, etc. Never again will you have to listen to your kids complain about boredom at the beach.

Tags : accidents and disasters chemistry europe gulf coast gulf oil manufacturing materials science mississippi oil petroleum united states
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