Thursday, May 22, 2008

gas is cheap

I am probably one of just a few people here in the U.S. who are not too disturbed by the rising gas prices. I have been back to the U.S. for two months now and the gas price issue is everywhere. It is not such a big issue here in NYC since there's public transportation. But I am happy about every article in the news that suggests that people in developed countries have to reconsider their way of life. I was working on a blog entry in the last two days when I read THIS article. It makes excactly the point that I tried to make in my entry: Gas in the U.S. is NOT expansive. $ 6-8 a gallon are normal in other parts of the world.

When I first moved to the U.S. in 2002 I was convinced that people would only change their way of dealing with energy resources if they are forced to do so. I knew that the American government wouldn't do anything in this regard since that would be political suicide. My big hope was the market. Now the market did it and I urge everyone to look at the chances of high gas prices instead of complaining about them.

Just a little story: In 1999 everyone in Germany (including myself) was complaining because the government introduced something called the green-tax. The idea of the green tax was to tax the use of energy to "force" people to use energy wisely and more efficiently. The tax money than was used partly to support the social system but more importantly to invest in renewable energies. For me as a car owner that meant an ANUAL increase by 4 euro cents for every liter up to this day on top of the rising gas prices. I was not amused but now years later I see the value: it changed people's driving habits and the car manufacturing industry. It also changed the daily life since saving any kind of energy at home just meant paying a whole lot less money. On top of that the industry had to address the peoples need for energy efficient green technologies.

I always have to smile when Obama and Clinton are talking about investing in renewable energies. Renewable energy sources are needed now in a time of high gas prices and not in ten years from now. The renewable energy market is already booming in the U.S.. Guess where the green technology is coming from. It is coming from the struggling former East Germany where the government invested the green-tax money that I used to be so upset about (read more about it HERE).

I honestly hope that the gas price will reach a point where everyone here in the U.S. has to rethink daily life just a little bit like we in Europe had to do a while ago. It doesn't really hurt and there are already indicators for changing habits which I am very happy about. THIS article really contradicts the argument that I hear so often: "Oh, all this public transportation stuff doesn't work in the U.S. because the U.S. is so big and different anyway..." Other countries are big as well my friends. It is not about that. It is more about Mr. Huevos taking his car to the office when he's late when he could use a bike as well.

It's a long term process that will need a long time. In order to address the rising gas prices the U.S. will need new technologies, an improved infrastructure, new emission standards, new building standards and most importantly a new attitude of the people.

As long as I have to open the window in order to adjust the temperature in my room here in New York, because the heat is adjusted by the janitor and cannot be turned down in the room, there's a long way to go...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

R. Kelly is awesome for a number of reasons...

...but filming yourself urinating on a 14 year old is decidedly not awesome. can you believe this is just now coming to trial? the man who played sylvester faces up to 15 years in the clink if convicted.

Magnificent Memorial Day Mimosa Party (take 4)

most of our loyal readership probably received my email about this, but thought i'd throw it out here as well:

WHAT: champagne, orange juice, sunshine.
WHERE: casa del lyndon
WHEN: monday may 26, 12 to 4.

unfortunately we can't rage as long and hard as in previous years, but it should be a lovely afternoon. hope you can stop by.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here's why I had nosebleed tickets to see the Boss...

I can't think of anyone I hate more that this fat asshole. If I was in any position of power, I would make sure that ticket scalpers were treated like child molesters.

The Publix Sub

There are a number of things I really miss in the South: Manuel's Tavern, the Starlight Drive In, Athens and my extended Athens-ATL group of friends, real barbeque, Athens Penal League. Somewhere in that list, though, lies that staple of countless evenings that followed long workdays and/or accompanied extended time on the couch for a baseball game, the Publix sub. I really miss the Publix sub. I haven't found anything like it out here. In fact, I didn't really find anything like it back home.
There's something about the interaction of that just dense enough sub roll with the right amount of meat and a disciplined amount of toppings that can sometimes blow the authentic panini or the Caliente Cab cuban completely out of the water. When I first tried the Publix sub I did it the wrong way. For whatever reason, I tried to completely weigh it down with a mound everything offered as a topping: lettuce, tomato, onion, three types of peppers, olives, salt, pepper, drowned in olive oil and vinegar, blah, blah, blah. And you know what? It tasted exactly like that, a big mound of everything, or maybe a big mound of nothing.
Somewhere along the way I discovered, as with pizza, that discretion can be good. From here on out I did it the right way: turkey and ham with provolone or swiss, topped with black olives, green peppers, banana peppers, scattered jalapenos, light mayo, heavy spicy mustard, oregano, onion, a few pickles, and (maybe) light olive lettuce to soften up the bread and mush into a pulp, no tomato to distract from the interplay of the flavors and textures of the other ingredients. WOW! There I found MY sandwich. And there I plan on finding my sandwich at some point next Thanksgiving when I return to visit. For all the tacquerias, sushi spots, Thai Elvises, and dumpling houses in LA, there's still no Publix sub.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Movie Time


What's the old saying - if there's a gun over the fireplace in the first chapter, it will go off by the last? In this case, the gun shows up and goes off in the first act, setting in motion an increasingly implausible series of events and ruining what could have been a pretty interesting movie.

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as an inner-city jiu-jitsu instructor who gets caught in a scam more labyrinthine than the one at the center of Mamet's earlier movie The Spanish Prisoner. The best thing in the movie, Ejiofor projects unworldliness while avoiding the cliche of the soulful black man who is sent to teach a profound lesson. He is also especially effective when it's time to go into human-weapon mode.

In contrast to Ejiofor, the rest of the cast,which includes Emily Mortimer, Rebecca Pidgeon, and Tim Allen (?!), inhabits a parody of Mamet-world, delivering flat, affectless performances intended merely to recite the writer-director's grossly overrated dialogue.

Jimmy Carter - Man from Plains:

A few years ago, Jimmy Carter wrote a work of historical fiction set in the South during the Revolutionary War. The New York Times titled its review of the novel "Founding Bubbas." Which is to say, if you are from the South, or if you actually believe in Jesus Christ, it does not matter if you win a Nobel Prize. There is an intellectual elite in this country that will still portray you as a simpleton.

But the New York Times' condescension is nothing to compared to the insults aimed at Carter that are presented in "Man From Plains." Jonathan Demme's documentary is not a full biography, but rather an attempt to convey the essence of its subject by focusing on a very narrow slice - Carter's book tour to promote "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid." While the furor that erupted around the book could not have possibly been predicted when the movie was planned, it brings into high relief the most interesting question surrounding Carter and his legacy: Is Carter's love-your-neighbor philosophy unbelievably naive or is it the sign of a genius made only more profound by its simplicity?

Demme gives ample time to the former, while making it clear that he firmly sides with the latter. At times Demme is a little too adulatory, including (apropos of nothing) references to Carter's time as a nuclear engineer and his fluency in Spanish (gained, apparently, through self-study of the Bible in Spanish). Ultimately, though, "Man from Plains" proves that the most infuriating thing about Carter is not his simplicity or his self-satisfaction, but his merely living in accordance with principles that most of us espouse but very rarely act on.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall:

The Onion once had a headline that read "Ugly Guy with Large Penis Wondering How to Get the Word Out." One solution to that eternal dilemma, apparently, is to write a movie that requires the lead to show his junk and then cast yourself in that role.

Just to be clear, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and I will gladly sit through 10 seconds of dongbone if it means that Hollywood will continue providing me with gratuitous boob montages. The problem with "Sarah Marshall" is that it's a romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor comedic. Jason Segal becomes more and more irritating as he mopes through the movie, while the script piles on bit players (including the normally-reliable Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd) and then gives them nothing to do.

This movie clearly owes its entire existence to its association with Judd Apatow, who at this point could probably get his grocery list green lighted. If Apatow puts his name on one or two more turds like this, though, I predict he will have plenty of free time on his hands.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The News

It's funny to hear that network news is dead when actually it's the only place to get news on television that isn't just glorified, round-the-clock gossip. I don't bother reading much news on the internet, either --only of course if someone sends me a link to an article of interest. Instead, I stick to three places: 1. PBS 2. NPR 3. CBS. On PBS, Frontline is amazing. One episode called "The Medicated Child" ( about the struggles of diagnosing and treating kids with psychological disorders is outstanding. There was also a recent, infuriating episode on the Catholic church's cover-up of sexual abuse allegations ( My favorite recent episodes on Frontline were called "News War, " a series of episodes on the relationship the press has with the government ( Also, if you're ever bored on a Sunday afternoon, a couple of hours spent watching NOW with David Brancaccio and Bill Moyers Journal on PBS will be well-spent. On NPR, you can't go wrong with All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and This American Life. Then there's CBS, the scourge of the earth to many conservative clowns. I will concede that Katie Couric is horrible, but other than that CBS gets the job done. Who doesn't love waking up to Charles Osgood, a couple of bowls of cereal, and a few stories on CBS Sunday Morning? The nature moment at the end of the show (and whenever Osgood breaks out the piano) is priceless. And about 7 out of every 10 times I watch 60 minutes, I'm glued. For instance, this week Scott Pelley (he always seems to get the best stories --in a perfect world I would have his job or the job of a major league baseball player), reported on a man from Dallas who was freed from jail after being falsely convicted of rape and murder 27 years ago. Then, there was a story from Byron Pitts, another badass, about a man named Paul Farmer who has worked for years trying to eradicate curable diseases in developing countries. You can even watch an interview with the first-class jackass of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, if you're looking for a good laugh. It's all online at

On another TV note, has anyone watched the John Adams documentary on HBO? I'm on episode four. The image of the guy at the beginning of the movie getting tarred and feathered and the image of Adams's daughter with smallpox are unforgettable. Adams is a somewhat overlooked founding father with quite an intriguing story.
This t-shirt kinda sums up my take on Hillary Clinton. Yes, she's annoying, her personality is lacking, and I didn't vote for her in the Georgia primary, but she's been crucified by everyone outside of the more Democratic parts of Georgia and the U.S. for years, and now she's shat on (on an occasion or two rightfully so) by many supporters of Obama.

Oddly enough, this shirt was designed by a children's author and illustartor who illustrated this wholesome and educational biography. His name is Britt Spencer.

Monday, May 05, 2008


interesting piece on the perception of liberals as elites.

the prescience/applicability of the quotes for some reason reminded me of this cool passage in sinclair lewis's babbit. is it ironic to quote a satirical novel as postscript to an article about elitist liberals? how pretentious.

through the wonder of the internet, i was quickly able to locate that passage for your enjoyment:

"They went, with ardor and some thoroughness, into the matters
of streamline bodies, hill-climbing power, wire wheels,
chrome steel, ignition systems, and body colors. It was much
more than a study of transportation. It was an aspiration
for knightly rank. In the city of Zenith, in the barbarous
twentieth century, a family's motor indicated its social rank
as precisely as the grades of the peerage determined the rank
of an English family — indeed, more precisely, considering the
opinion of old county families upon newly created brewery
barons and woolen-mill viscounts. The details of precedence
were never officially determined. There was no court to decide
whether the second son of a Pierce Arrow limousine should
go in to dinner before the first son of a Buick roadster, but
of their respective social importance there was no doubt; and
where Babbitt as a boy had aspired to the presidency, his son
Ted aspired to a Packard twin-six and an established position
in the motored gentry."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I love my job.

If I were ever to publish a "Chronicles of The Public Defender's Office" it would make Chronicles of Stilltown sound like a bunch of short stories for Mormon kids. Alas, some modicum of client confidentiality/tact prevents such things. Every so often though, one of my clients really goes above and beyond and makes the local paper (above the fold bitches! You can't buy publicity like this!). This story is about two topics repulsive to Joe Marietta: 1. criminals who get free tickets out of jail and 2. dudes who steal money from their cancer ridden grandma to get sex changes and ring up huge bills for naughty talk. The public hates both (check out the drop down comments on the article to read the words of some twisted half retarded rat bastards from Madison County) and both are the bread and butter of my trade. The funny thing is, so much craziness happens that, it's not until you see it in a public forum to you get any sense of how it looks to the general public.