Jewish World Review June 21, 2002 / 11 Tamuz, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Life IS a movie?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Last year, around this time, I was sitting at my desk when the power went out.

Luckily, I'd saved what I was working on, but I did spend the next few hours in semi-darkness, rolling my office chair back and forth across the floor, in a kind of embittered salute to my very first rolling blackout.

In exchange for this glorious privilege, my electric bill tripled that month. Along with the higher fees, however, the utility company did inform me exactly when the power would go out, and for how long. I guess that's what they call added value.

I remember trying to turn the somewhat bland inconvenience into something a little more dramatic, I mean, ROLLING BLACKOUT-- doesn't that sound like a made for teevee action movie? I was envisioning traffic jams, buildings in flames, Lorne Greene with his sleeves rolled up looking really really worried. Charlton Heston wrestling firehoses.

Imagine my surprise then, to discover THIS spring that the late lamented Enron may indeed have been responsible for the rolling blackouts, higher energy bills-- everything-- just as the state of California has claimed.

Apparently, Enron bilked the state of California in many different combinations. Enron executives even had code names for their fiendish strategies-- taken from movies!-- names like "Get Shorty" and "Death Star," even one called "Fat Boy," in which it is alleged that Enron bought power in California, where there was a price cap, and sold it to states where there was not, making millions.

I thought I couldn't despise these weasels more than I already did, but to learn that they may have contributed to both my rolling blackout and dwindling bankroll, AND that it was all just a movie to them, AND a much more interesting movie than the movie they stuck me in, well, it just made me see red.

On the other hand it was California's Fatal Attraction for this Terminator, this Tomb Raider, this bunch of Michael Meyers in three-piece suits, that allowed Enron to give us the Sting, to squeeze us Every Which Way But Loose, in the first place, leaving us Gone With the Wind, in the Pitch Black. Where we had once been Fast and Furious, we were left a Castaway, Dazed and Confused. It was a Perfect Storm, really, when you think about it, and we caught in the Jaws of The Wild Bunch masquerading as The Untouchables.

Well, there will be a sequel my friends. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

The head of any of those guys, really. The nights get a bit chilly in my neck of the woods. Maybe I can burn it for fuel.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/14/02: IN THIS CORNER SUSAN LUCCI AND STEPHANIE ZYMALIST!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/31/01: I COPY, THEREFORE I AM
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales