Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Price of Oil Is Not High Enough.

In South Florida, right now the price of cheapo gas is around 373 per gallon. The price of the good stuff is around 393. Not only are these good numbers to play in the Cash-3, but they are numbers that have changed my thinking on our current gas crisis.

Some people are alarmed at the high cost of gas. I am no longer one of these people. I think gas prices are not high enough. I would like to see gas pricess hit at least $8.00 per gallon before the end of summer. In fact, I pray that it happens.

Oil is a non-renewable resource.

And yet we drive SUVs.

Oil is a non-renewable resource.

And yet we do not carpool.

Oil is a non-renewable resource.

And yet we (in South Florida) have a piss-poor public transportation system. Buses that run every hour and a half--if that often. Buses that don't take you where you need to go. A rail system that runs from Hialeah to Dadeland South. Who the heck needs to go from Hialeah to Dadeland South? A rail system that does not take you where you need to go.

Oil is a non-renewable resource.

And yet we in South Florida NEED our cars to drive a mile and a half to Publix to buy a gallon of milk and a pack of smokes.

Oil is a non-renewable resource.

And yet we use it as though it is as perennial as the grass under our feet.

But the minute the price of oil begins to soar . . . we begin to treat it like the valuable, precious, unique, non-renewable resource that it is.

Precious? Non-renewable? And you want it to sell for a dollar a gallon?

Folks, wake up! It's time to face the facts! Dead-dinosaur juice ain't cheap! If it is valuable, then set the price nice and high.

Then maybe--

We will walk or bike that mile and a half to the grocery store.

Then maybe--

We will demand buses that get us where we need to go and on time here in South Florida.

Then maybe--

We will demand a rail system that goes east and west as well as north and south.

Then maybe--

We will demand a rail system that has a hub, or a main stop, at each of South Florida's college and university campuses--Barry University, St. Thomas University, The University of Miami (They have one already, yippiiii!), Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus and Florida International University South Campus, and all Miami Dade College campuses, North, Kendall, Wolfson (They have one already, yippiiii!), Medical, Homestead, InterAmerican, West, and Hialeah.

Then maybe--

We will demand a rail station that gets us to the airport from all important parts of Miami.

Then maybe--

We will demand that all major county employers (like the colleges and universities, the school board, Miami International Airport, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and others of large size) design and implement their own in-house transportation systems. In other words, each employer should operate a system of vans and buses that transports its employees to and from work.

Then maybe--

We will start realizing that driving alone in your big car should be the exception rather than the rule. "Hey guys, let's all 7 of us jump in my SUV and head on up to Georgia for the big game against tech!" We don't have to be fanatical about it--heck, if your daily job is off the map somewhere, then maybe you should drive to it alone in your car daily. Heck, if you get up one morning and you missed the bus and the train, you should hop in your car and get to the big meeting on time. Heck, if the kid has a medical emergency in the middle of the night and you can get him there faster in your car than in an ambulance, then you should do it.

Then maybe--

We will think seriously about hybrids, synthetic fuels, and plant-based fuel sources.

What we're talking about here people is moderation. We wasted our large reserves of oil by not using it in moderation, so now we must pay the price.

Eight dollars a gallon. Ouch!

But it is a price that should cause us to reconsider our wasteful ways.

Repent! Repent!

Don't blame the president. Don't blame the economy. Blame yourself and repent of your wasteful ways!

Otherwise the prevailing economic factors WILL set that price as high is it needs to go to get us to start treating oil like the precious resource that it is.

Precious. Nonrenewable. Indeed it is.

Once it is gone, it is gone.

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.