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GP 5 October 2005: BioWillie

Carl’s Corner.  About 75 miles from Dallas on 35 East is Carl’s Corner, a town which is really a super truckstop, all the brainchild of Carl Cornelius, who schemed a bit until he could offer foot massage, chicken fried steak, a strip joint, and other earthy essentials to men of the road.  It has since become a joint venture with troubadour Willie Nelson and has made such a name for itself that it became the best segment on this weeks’s CBS Sunday Morning (www.cbsnews.com/stories/1998/07/09/sunday/main13562.shtml).  CBS SM is one of the four or five programs that are worth watching on all of TV anymore, quite a comedown from the days when CBS-TV was the king and queen of all the networks and was still endowed with a sense of stewardship enforced by the FCC that resulted in real news, occasional culture fare, and sunlit humorous comedies. 

Willie has replaced the strip joint with a theater and plays there now and again.  He even has Carl dancing again, quite a recovery for a man who had hit quite a stretch of sadness. Nelson has also grafted on his own branded fuel BioWillie to Carl’s: it is made from recycled animal fats and apparently makes an okay diesel (www.biowillie.com) and www.wnbiodiesel.com.  So far fatfuel has spread to Texas, South Carolina, and California.  For a good article about Carl and Willie, read www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0709-07.htm

Alternate Energy.  In their own energy caravan, our citizens, songsters, and dreamers have pulled way ahead of our politicians, pundits, and energy experts, leaving them in the dust.  They’ve motivated by both idealism and worried pocketbooks, sensing that global inflation has now been let loose by the energy crisis throughout the world.  Our sober leaders tell us that so-called alternate energy sources will never provide more than a drop in the bucket of our energy needs.  It’s fossil fuel and atomic fission/fusion or nothing, and don’t stop to think about global warming.  Or so they say.   

But our ornery average Americans just don’t buy it, and a man and a woman at a time, they’re off trying to get their own energy genies out of the bottle.  We get at least 4 or 5 queries about alternate energy each week.  The nation is plunging into alternate energy sources, and our leaders have no choice but to figure out what’s blowin’ in the wind.  In fact, the interest in solar energy is so high, even if it is still too costly, that solar panels are in short supply.  

Curiously enough, Texas is a leader into alternate fuels.  Not just Willie.  It is, of course, the state that got drunk on oil.  But we guess too many people there know the well is running dry.  One of our friends Dallas-way used to run the meanest, biggest cars on the road, but just this week he rhapsodized about the virtues of a new creamy Lexis RX 400  hybrid that he just added to his fleet.  He likes the gas savings, but apparently he enjoys as much the quietness of this vehicle.  (See www.lexus.com/models/hybrid.)  You won’t hear much about this Lone Star change of heart from the political leaders of Texas, who would still like to pretend the state is still a power in the world petroleum industry. Clearly Texas is changing under the hood.  We’ll be talking more to this ex-car racer who drives hybrids and lyricizes about bicycles in weeks to come.  And another time we’ll bring up the fellow in Fort Worth whose passion is shale oil. 

The biggest progress has come in wind energy, of course.  The Europeans in particular have made windpower a reliable and economic source of energy.  The very, very energy wasteful Chinese have big plans for the four winds (see “Wind Power” on Big Ideas).  In fact, even more than the U.S., both China and India, with high-powered 8% growth economies, are having to come to terms with energy shortages, pollution, and all the rest of side effects of a robust manufacturing economy and big hungry populations. You will find much about alternate energy in both our Big Ideas and Letters from the Global Province sections. In fact, as we have said, the keen investor must be on the lookout for investments in this sector.  See Investment Outlook (http://www.globalprovince.com/investmentoutlook.htm).   

Carl’s Lament.  Carl had 3 sons die along the way, and it took the heart out of things for him. And, too, his stop burned to the ground.  He was about to close down Carl’s Corners, but then Willie came along.  As he said, his “get up and go just got up and went” for a while.  Now BioWillie has put him on the road again.  For more on how your “get up and go” can float away, see “My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went” (http://holyjoe.org/poetry/anon7.htm).

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