Saddened and conflicted by Gulf spill

It has been painful to watch photos and videos as the British Petroleum oil spill hits the Gulf Coast.

For the past dozen years or so, my family has taken a spring-break trip to the Alabama coast -- Michigan snowbirds flocking to the Redneck Riviera. Escaping the gray and cold is reward enough, but the Gulf of Mexico has always knocked me out with its beauty.

And the wildlife, whether passing dolphins or pelicans plunging into the water to catch fish, is a show in itself. Now I'm looking at images of those pelicans covered with skanky oil residue.

But whenever I get self-righteous about petroleum and offshore drilling, I have to check myself. You see, we get to the Gulf by embarking on one of those great American road trips. We pack kids, suitcases, cheesy paperbacks and sunscreen into the car and drive 1,000 miles. A week later, we drive 1,000 miles back home.

That sums up where we are right now, doesn't it? Hooked on what petroleum enables us to do -- but hating the harm it does.