I’ll be honest, this hasn’t been such a great week. Then again, it wasn’t so great for Bernie Madoff, who’s now about as popular as Hannibal Lecter. Nor for bombastic TV stock analyst Jim Cramer, who was “ripped a new one” on John Stewart’s “Daily Show.” Nor for Bristol Palin who broke up with Levi Johnston saying he’s “too immature.” Levi’s 19, an unwed father, has no job, but goes to the gym every day.
Levi quit his oil rig job because he didn’t have the required high school diploma and last December his mother was indicted on six felony drug charges. So maybe this is a blessing for poor Bristol, who got $300k from People magazine for photos of baby Tripp. (Whose unusual name rivals his uncles’ — Track, age 19, and Trig, age 1.)
My week began rather inauspiciously when I dropped my phone in the toilet (apparently that’s not good for it). Chatting while cleaning, as I reached for the can of Comet, bingo! I’ve occasionally said my “career’s in the toilet,” but never my phone.
Amazingly, the phone still works, except for the “locate” button. Before, when I misplaced it, I’d just follow the beeps. Now “locate” is turning my apartment upside down.
After last Friday’s column “Defatso leader of GOP,” some readers felt I was ridiculing fat people. No, just Rush Limbaugh. In my previous column, “Maybe Shakespeare was right,” I offended some lawyers. The logical progression is that I will offend fat lawyers, for which I’m apologizing in advance.
Actually, I’m very compassionate about weight because it was a huge (no pun intended) issue in my family. As a toddler, my first spoken word might have been “dietetic.”
Last Thursday I came home to find Don Waitkins’ anti-smoking ban Daily Press column scotch-taped to my door (assuming by a smoker with excess scotch-tape). Watkins, a devotee of the late Ayn Rand, the pro-capitalism icon, unfortunately ignored the reason for smoking bans — the dangers of second-hand smoke. Whoops.
In Canada this past week George Bush spoke in front of 2,000 people at $3,100 a table. Bush promised he would write an “authoritarian book” on his presidency. (Did he he mean authoritative?) I hope in rewriting history he remembers that by eliminating Saddam, we made Iran the region’s super power and that the final cost of the Iraq war will be greater than all the bailouts.
Ending the week, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Sy Hersh, reported that the U.S. had secret Special Ops death squads, answerable only to Dick Cheney. These squads executed people all over the world without notifying the host country or CIA station chiefs. I can just imagine Cheney’s response, “So?”
My malaise was thankfully snapped by watching “Fuel,” a documentary playing at the Santa Monica AMC. Even though our environment is eroding faster than anyone predicted (plus eight years of Bush inaction) director/activist Josh Tickell is contagiously optimistic about what each of us can do to help save the planet (unless you’re too busy).
Tickell, who has an office on Main Street, was an activist before becoming a filmmaker, but is remarkably adept at the latter. “Fuel” is filled with enthusiasm, humor, and compelling commentary from, among others: Richard Branson, Larry Hagman, Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson (who tours in a bio-diesel bus which purportedly smells like Kentucky Fried Chicken out the back and Maui-Wowie out the front).
After writing two books on alternative energy, Tickell wanted to reach a larger audience. Following “An Inconvenient Truth,” he decided to make a movie. Impressively, in 2008, “Fuel,” won Sundance’s “Best Documentary Audience Award Winner.”
“Fuel” is a very personal story for Tickell, who grew up in the oil-polluted region of Louisiana. In making the documentary he spent two years in a Veggie Van, a Winebago converted to bio-diesel. To get interviews for “Fuel,” he drove 2,500 miles cross-country on only used cooking oil.
“Change your fuel, change the world” is Tickell’s rallying cry. In the film we encounter many intelligent, dedicated people who are working tirelessly to develop alternative energy, including converting algae and waste into clean power. (Other than bombs, we don’t manufacture much in America anymore, but we’re number one in waste.)
If Al Gore is the scholarly professor, Tickell is Johnny Appleseed, joyfully spreading green energy. Go to: www.thefuelfilm.com, or, better yet, “Fuel” is at the AMC Santa Monica for at least one more week. Before it’s too late (literally and metaphorically) to go see, what many called, the “most hopeful movie of 2008.” Be forewarned. It might just make an activist out of you.
Meanwhile, I’ve misplaced my phone, once again. As I look under the couch I ask myself, “If I were a phone where would I be?” My answer is, “Just so long as it’s not in the toilet.”
Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.