Everybody loves charts. Here’s a very interesting one published by The Wall Street Journal, highlighting the use of electric and hybrid cars in the United States. The data for these charts was collected through the “EV Project,” which was sponsored by the Department of Energy.
Here are some of my take-aways from this handy chart:
Points that will make EV/hybrid manufacturers happy:
-65% of Nissan Leafs (EV), replaced a previous vehicle
The obvious goal of EV/hybrid manufacturers is to entice consumers to put their gas-powered car out to pasture and replace it with an electric car. 65% of Nissan Leaf owners did just this. Only 28% bought an EV as an additional vehicle (probably to supplement a gas-powered car), and a meager 7% bought an EV to replace an older car, but actually kept both vehicles. Yes, this is a small number (we’re only looking at Nissan Leaf owners), but to Nissan, this probably deserves a pat on the back.
-The number of EVs and hybrids sold has spiked since 2010.
Since 2010, the numbers of EV/hybrids sold has increased drastically. The EV sales numbers for year 2013 are only through July. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, the numbers for 2013 are expected to double those from 2011. True, the number of EV/hybrids sold in 2013 will probably be lower than those sold in 2012, but for manufacturers, it’s still an impressive number compared to 2011.
Points that will give EV/hybrid manufacturers pause:
-The majority of EV/hybrid owners are middle-aged and older
Remember when I said the baby boomers were the dark horse of the auto and tech markets? Well, it seems they are also holding the strings in the electric car market. EV/hybrid manufacturers are trying desperately to get all Americans into these cars. Unfortunately, they are still too expensive for the younger, less wealthy Americans.
-Almost 4 out of 5 EV/hybrid owners had incomes of $100,000+
I guess this isn’t a huge surprise, since electric cars are usually pricey. The price tag of EVs and hybrids is an ongoing struggle for manufacturers hoping to extend its consumer market. Again, it is going to be difficult for manufacturers to cement EV/hybrid buying-loyalty in younger Americans if they cannot afford the cars…
Are you “typical” for your generation or are you a “freak?” Well, now you can find out.
The Pew Research Center has a quiz, “How Millennial are you?” It surveys your beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors and compares them to other Americans who have taken a national survey. Intriguing.
I took this quiz. Although I was born in the late 1980s, I wasn’t very “Millennial.” The Millennial point spread is from 73-100, with 100 being the “most Millennial” you can be. Below 72 points, you leave the Millennial spread and enter into Gen Xer range.
I received 80 points on my test, putting me on the low end of the Millennial attitude/behavior range. A good friend from college also took this quiz. She received 40 points; putting her in the Gen Xer range (the Gen Xer range is 33-72 points). I know many of my other friends would either be on the low-end of the Millennial scale or a Gen Xer.
Honestly, I’m not surprised. I’ve noticed that there isn’t just a difference between generations, but also within them. Sometimes, I look around at my generational peers and think “who are these people?”
I am about to cave and commit a common, Washington, D.C. food-crime. I am going to talk about cupcakes.
Cupcakes are all the rage in D.C. and I heartily blame their continued popularity on the multitude of cupcake/baking shows on TV.
I’m more of a crème brulee kind of gal, but I can get on board with a cupcake every once in a while. If you’re a cupcake lover, D.C. is the place to be. We have as many cupcake shops as we do monuments. So, if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, here are the best places to visit:
In addition to their hit show on TLC, Georgetown Cupcake is deservedly well-known for its creative cupcakes. This bakery is owned by two sisters, Katherine and Sophie, who quit their corporate jobs in order to focus on their true passion, baking. Their main shop is located in the Georgetown neighborhood in D.C. It’s easy to spot, look for the line around the block.
Georgetown Cupcake has set itself apart from other bakeries with its cupcake menu that features unique batter flavors and tasty frosting. They have weekly and seasonal specials—ranging from Lemon Blossom to Hummingbird and Irish Crème to Pumpkin Spice. Of course, the classics like chocolate and vanilla are always available. Also, there are always options for those who are gluten free. I highly recommend the classic red velvet cupcake—it seems to be a D.C. favorite.
Georgetown Cupcake (Home Location–Washington, D.C.)
3301 M Street NW (corner of 33rd & M)
Washington, DC 2000
Maybe you take two spots up front near the Best Buy. Or refuse to cede the left lane. Or tailgate, then slow down when we get out of your way.
You, sir, are a terrible driver. And for that, you’re going straight to Hell. We’re not guessing here, we’re just taking the word of every driver in a mile-wide radius around you at any given moment.
Your day of reckoning is coming, but unfortunately for the rest of the netherworld, you’re probably still going to qualify for a driver’s license down there. (Hell is apparently a lot like Florida, minus the wacky elections.) But what are you going to drive? It’d take forever to get your current wheels past their crazy-strict emissions tests.
No need. Hell has its own fleet of cars, and you get one assigned to you. Because it’s Hell, they’re matched to your particular driving sins here on earth. So don’t act surprised when you cross the river Styx, only to see one of these fresh horrors parked in your reserved spot.
This is the introduction to a great article, “The Nine Cars You’ll Drive in Hell,” published by Motor Authority.
After reading, laughing, and shaking my head “yes” to most of the article, I knew I had to explain Washington D.C.’s own, special circle in “car hell.” D.C. is notorious for its bad drivers. The natives are aggressive, the visitors clueless and unprepared, and the roads are always under construction. It’s a bad mix. If there are nine cars that are driven in Hell, then there is definitely a special circle reserved for some of D.C.’s worst drivers–and their stereotypical vehicle-weapon of choice. Here’s the short guide…
I’m young. I’m old. I’m almost mid-20s and six years from 30. It seems like just last year I was legally allowed to drink, but every time I consult the calendar, I come out age 24. I’ve been out of college for a few years, but each fall, when a new school year starts, I realize that I’m getting further and further away from my college memories. I’m starting to feel—confused.
I’m 24–where did the time go? But I’m 24! Shouldn’t I have accomplished a myriad of amazing things by now? That’s what everyone says… What’s with all this pressure?
And these last few questions are just it. I find that the Millennial generation is stuck between expectations set by tradition and rigid reality. What are we supposed to do in such a tough economy with such critics looking over our shoulders?
Tradition is the nursery rhyme, “First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in the baby carriage.” Slap a college education before “love” and “1.5 kids” after the first baby. Yep, you’re set! Not.
Reality is a sluggish economy, few jobs, loads of debt, and the possibility of relinquishing independence in order to live for free with family members.
This is the plight of the Millennials.
Washington, D.C. is the epitome of rainy and dreary today…
Cups of coffee on days like today work double duty: the morning jolt of caffeine and warm comfort in a cup. The best thing to accompany a good cup of coffee on a rainy day is a flaky, warm croissant or breakfast sandwich. If you’re near the Eastern Market neighborhood, you’re in luck.
Le Bon Café is the name of this cheery restaurant. They specialize in handmade pastries and pairing delicious bread with gourmet ingredients. Le Bon Café is a great stop for those suffering from a severe case of the “Mondays,” early-morning hunger, or just need something warm and fresh to fend off the dreary rain.
The Le Bon Cafe is quaint—but that’s what you would expect of a piece of Paris in Washington, D.C. A blue and white, striped awning and flower boxes greet you at the door. For patrons who prefer A/C over alfresco (and vice versa), there are charming, blue tables located inside and out. Although the color of the patio furniture has nothing to do with the quality of the food, the fact that the cute chairs are blue somehow adds to the ambiance and whimsy of the place. The inside is decorated with pictures of France and an ornate wall clock. It feels restful and comfortable—a perfect place to enjoy a fresh croissant.
Four months ago, I wrote a piece about the reemergence of electric car maker Detroit Electric. In that short piece, I mentioned that the electric car market is “super-saturated” with expensive, super cars.
While the American dream supports Detroit Electric’s pursuit of happiness (and success), I am not 100% sold on what D.E.’s niche will be… what will make them stand out compared to its competition? The start-up EVs tend to be super-cars on a veggie diet… or electric sports cars. Tesla has its sporty Model S and now we have, essentially, an electric Lotus Elise in the Detroit Electric SP.01. Keep in mind, buyers also have another luxury option in the electric BMW ActiveE.
The hybrid super-car competitor for Tesla and Detroit Electric, Fisker, is currently exploring bankruptcy and Tesla just made a profit (after 10 years). Do we really need another electric sports car? It sounds like something isn’t working… and it think it’s the price-tag.
BMW revealed its newest, brightest EV at the Frankfurt auto show last week. The new EV on the block? ANOTHER EV super-car. All I can do is shake my head.
Some stats on this new BMW:
Name: BMW i8 Plug-in
Tops speed in electric-motor mode: 75 mph
Mileage (Electric): 22 miles
Battery: 5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack
Mileage (Gas): 94 mpg
Price tag: $135,925
What else could you buy for this money? According to The Detroit Bureau, almost three Chevrolet Volts…
Bottom line: The new BMW is really cool. It has some amazing horsepower (362hp!) and is luxurious inside and out, but it’s just way too expensive. The creme de la creme of the population has a fleet of EVs to choose from — how about the middle class?!
Heavy-hitter Tesla has heard the complaints and is attempting to bring down its prices so that more consumers can purchase their vehicles. Good plan. I have said this so many times that I am starting to annoy myself: If EVs are actually going to be the car of the future, there need to more affordable options for consumers. Please. No more super-cars (unless they are under $40k).
Check out the previous installments of Becky Graebner’s ongoing series exploring Netflix’s Orange is the New Black:
August 21: Prisons Run on Hope (And Cup O’Noodles)
August 28: Love Wars: When the Loser Strikes Back
Many of my friends, as well as you readers, are well aware of my hot and cold relationship with this series. Whenever I try and explain my take on Orange, my description usually goes something like this: “The show can be funny, it has great one-liners, but there is something about it that I find almost disturbing—it holds me back from saying that I definitively “like it.”’
Several friends decided to watch the show after I mentioned my conflicted feelings and, sometimes, difficulties I had formulating pieces for this series. Many came back saying they thought the show was funny—what was my deal?
I decided I wanted to flesh out my negative reaction to this show—why does it make me so uneasy? What has caused many of you, Dear Readers, to write comments saying you also dislike the show? Today I highlight three reasons that might explain why some of us find Orange is the New Black more disturbing than funny.
Like many Americans, one of the first things I reach for in the morning is a large cup of coffee. I have a personal rule that any caffeine intake must conclude by noon—otherwise I worry my caffeine addiction could spiral out of control. Lattes are just too delicious—they require rules.
My journey to coffee started in college when I was forced to meet the dawn while writing a plethora of papers. The first cups were practically “candy bars in a cup”— aka loads of sugar, flavor, syrups…the kind of drinks your coffee-adverse sister orders at Starbucks. However, after a few years my palate matured. I can now enjoy a cup of black coffee—making the entire caffeine spectrum an enjoyable shopping experience. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means but I do dabble in both espresso and coffee beans. Although I enjoy the traditional cup of coffee, hot, black, and 16 oz., I also like to switch it up. Different beans, roasts, or an occasional flavoring. I had my usual haunts in both my home state and at college, but I had to start over when I came to D.C. Here are two tried and true coffee havens for the coffee lover on Capitol Hill.
We can blame the successful Toyota Prius for the iconic egg-shape that has taken over the electric/hybrid vehicle category. Most manufacturers have sought to duplicate the success of the Prius by adopting its technology—as well as mimicking its exterior design. So, what did the consumers end up with? Cars like the Ford C-Max, Ford Focus Electric, Honda Insight Hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf hatchback compact—or a dozen EV jelly beans on wheels that are starting to look like car clones.
Well, Toyota might be serving up a new exterior for the Prius in its quest to freshen its image!
Although the Prius was a smash hit, Toyota lost its reign over the car industry a few years ago. A few too many recalls and boring vehicle line-ups cost the mass-market brand some customers. In an attempt to regain their crown, and curb some of Ford and Tesla’s success with EVs, Toyota is hoping to revamp its line and woo buyers. Toyota announced last week that they plan to shed their “frump” and are adjusting their design trajectory so that adjectives for future vehicles include “sporty” and “fun to drive.” Toyota is currently the top-seller of hybrid vehicles, and many of these design changes will primarily impact their hybrid and EV line up. Mr. Toyota wants to “inject energy into designs and driving characteristics in order to appeal to younger buyers.”
Check out the previous installments of Becky Graebner’s ongoing series exploring Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black:
August 21: Prisons Run on Hope (And Cup O’Noodles)
August 28: Love Wars: When the Loser Strikes Back
Thirteen hours, one notepad of paper, many laughs, and several puzzled glances later, I finished the first season of Orange Is the New Black. My feelings on this show have been mixed — which I’m sure you can grasp from my writing on the subject — and I’m still trying to process my overall impression of the prison comedy. What I do know is that season one ended with a bang — or should I say a “KAPOW! @#?% WHAM!” Poor Tiffany (not). I’m honestly looking forward to how Jenji Kohan is going to start season two after Piper’s life seemed to completely fall apart even more than usual when one enters prison. Here are a few plot and character predictions for season two.
This week’s culinary destination isn’t what I would call a “best kept secret” in Washington, D.C. In fact, it’s one of the “go to” restaurants in The District—and for good reason.
Miss your mother’s meatloaf, corn on the cob, or simple, hearty food? Founding Farmers prides itself on being a “farm-inspired” restaurant; serving up American favorites with a pinch of modern flair and bushels of fresh ingredients. A collective of American farmers own Founding Farmers–and all of the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced from these farming families in order to give you the freshest meal possible.
There are two locations in the D.C. metro area, and soon to be a third in Virginia! The restaurant in D.C.-proper is located near the White House—and is modeled after a rustic farmhouse. The dining space is an eclectic mix of old wood farm tables and a modern bar, stocked with colorful bottles and smiling bartenders. The atmosphere is homey and warm—a good indicator of the meal to come.
The word on the street is that the Obama administration is ready to reignite the Department of Energy loan program for alternative vehicles. I think I’ve harped on Fisker Automotive, Vehicle Production Group and the battery-failure twins Solyndra and A123 Systems enough for you all to remember that each one of these flops received large loans from DOE… and failed to pay them back. The controversial loan program was taken offline by then department head Steven Chu two years ago. Well, it’s back.
Chu’s successor, Ernest Moniz, is hoping that the department can jump-start the loan program again — and the department is hoping to gain support by pointing to companies that did succeed. Although many of the DOE’s success stories were overshadowed by the nightmare of Fisker Automotive and defaulting battery companies, not all loan recipients were total flops (at least there’s some good in this story?). In fact, a few are chugging right along. Case in point: Tesla Motors. Other loan recipients: Ford Motor Company and Nissan — both for their battery-based vehicles.
I’m all for research, new technology, and reducing the amount of times I need to fill up my car, but I worry that the push for the return of this program might lead to Fisker Automotive 2.0…
Check out the previous installments of Becky Graebner’s ongoing series exploring Netflix’s Orange is the New Black:
August 21: Prisons Run on Hope (And Cup O’Noodles)
Remember Jon & Kate Plus 8? Despite the adorable sextuplets, angelic twins, and a booming TLC show, the parents of this famous family suffered through a very hostile (and a very public) divorce in 2009. It was ugly. Kate got the house, the kids, and Jon ended up with, well, all of his Tom Hardy clothes. In the months and years that followed, the news periodically reported small scuffles between the TLC stars; Kate was made out to be a crazy woman and Jon a deadbeat dad.
The spats continue to this day. Just yesterday, the Gosselins reappeared in the news because Jon did something stupid and Kate wants to sue him. My first thought was, “Wow, really, Jon?” My second thought was, “Is he acting out against Kate because he needs the income and publicity? Is he really just a jerk or is he attempting to deal with heartbreak and change in his own way and is just failing?”
I’m starting to think that Jon is doing both: he’s acting out against Kate because he cannot deal with his own demons. It’s honestly sad and Jon needs help.
Larry Bloom in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black reminds me a little bit of Jon Gosselin. Like Jon, Larry is also stuck between a rock and a hard place… both men seem to have semi-lost their minds over a woman and family that they love-or used the love. Similar to Jon’s antics, Larry sometimes acts like a spineless jerk, but it’s probably due to his inability to deal with his own demons and separation from the woman he loves. I’ve been hard on the Larry character, but, in the end, he might be worthy of some compassion—so might Jon and Kate Gosselin.
The best Indian food I ever had was from a little Indian restaurant in Xi’an, China—cooked and served by an ex-pat Indian family. They made banana naan in front of all the restaurant patrons and served drinks that looked like sculptures. It was a meal of edible art.
I love Indian, but since my amazing experience at the restaurant in Xi’an, I have had a hard time finding a restaurant that I thought served authentic food and embodied the same spirit as my jewel in China. Fortunately for me and my Indian-food cravings, I was able to locate a place worthy of praise in Alexandria, Virginia.
My roommates and I stumbled upon Dishes of India by accident—it popped up first on an online list of carry-out places in Alexandria–and it had decent reviews. Note, the food is MORE than decent…
Bottom line, if Sheldon Cooper from the show, The Big Bang Theory, was going to add in another “carry-out” food night to his infamous food schedule, he would add in Dishes of India. If that alone doesn’t sell you, keep reading. I guarantee your mouth will start to water.
My usual routine for Thursdays is to write about something automotive—something “techie.” This week, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to give a respectful nod to a humble man who is the epitome of the American “rags to riches” story. This man started out with nothing—not even parents. In the end, he was a successful businessman and the owner of one of the most desirable Ferraris in the world. This past weekend, his Ferrari 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spider went to the auction block. It sold for $27.5 million.
This is a story of hard work, a Ferrari, and unfettered kindness that has brightened the lives of thousands of people.
The Value of Hard Work
The name of this respected businessman is Eddie Smith. But before he was well known or successful, he was an orphaned 10-year old trying to get by with three siblings in an orphanage. For several years, Smith woke early each day and went to work tending farms. Upon gaining his freedom from the orphanage at age 18, he left for Lexington, North Carolina to build a better life.
In Lexington, Smith worked several odd jobs; cab driver, theater usher, before making his way to a small mail-order hosiery business. Faced with unemployment after the death of the owner, Smith and some friends decided to start their own hosiery business; National Wholesale Company.
Teenage inmates at the Avon Park Youth Academy showed us how valuable some Cup O’Noodles can be in their detention facility. After one team lost a basketball game and didn’t pay up the predetermined amount of Cup O’Noodles, the facility was overtaken by angry rioters. They broke windows, golf carts, and started an office on fire. It took 150 officers to bring the melee to an end.
While a seemingly simple thing, noodles in a Styrofoam cup, the riots that broke out in Florida illustrate how important the “little things” can be in the life of a prisoner. Foods, activities, even certain kinds of soap are a link to the outside world—and normalcy. For some prisoners, these are the little threads that hold them together in their dark, cinder-block world. Everyone needs a shred of hope that keeps them sane, alive, and breathing each day—even if it’s just a cup of noodles.
In the fictional world of Orange is the New Black, “hope” is also a pervasive theme. Each character has their own “anti-depressant” to keep them going while locked up in Litchfield.
One of my oldest childhood friends was recently in town for a conference. After not seeing her for some time, naturally, I was ecstatic. “Let’s go out to dinner,” she said. “Uh oh,” I thought.
This immediate reaction didn’t have anything to do with Cait personally, but her eating habits. As a five-year-old, I remember her diet was completely made up of chicken nuggets, pizza, and plain pasta. I admit I was abnormal as a young eater; I liked all veggies, seafood, and was willing to try just about anything, but Cait was especially difficult. Meal time at my house was always an interesting affair — even dessert. She wouldn’t even eat frosting.
Between our American Girl doll-play past and the present, I honestly wasn’t sure if her palate had developed much. Finding a restaurant to suit her could pose a challenge.
Thankfully, as we perused King Street in Old Town Alexandria, it became apparent that she was very much up for any kind of food: Indian, Thai, Greek, Pizza. I relaxed. We decided to “go big” and celebrate her first time in D.C. by spending the evening in one of the swankier places on King Street: Vermillion.
An article at the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that baby boomers are snapping up cars that are marketed towards younger buyers. To some, this is weird and unexpected, similar to that odd conundrum when moms and daughters fall in love with the same pair of tight, hip-hugging jeans — thankfully cars are a little more forgiving. But what’s the deal? Why/how could something marketed towards 20-somethings attract 60-somethings?
Let’s start with the economy.
With the economy in a rough place, the automotive industry has been cautious. Auto makers have been targeting the younger generations with cool, sporty cars in hopes of securing their brand loyalty: you buy a Corolla at age 20, and, hopefully, you’ll love it and buy Toyota for the rest of your life. That’s the theory anyway. Companies hope to lure first-time buyers with Bluetooth, Pandora, navigation systems, and touchscreen everything. The real problem with this whole theory is that the younger generation is poor. Nice to meet you Mr. Recession and Mrs. Debt!
This is where the baby boomers come in…
The baby boomers are still pretty cool. These men and women of the mid-20th century are looking for something other than the “senior citizen mobile.” They are drawn to the smaller, sportier sedans and hatchbacks on the market — think the Scion line up, the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, and the Kia Soul… the cars meant for their grandkids.
I’m not surprised that the baby boomers are buying up these little cars; nobody should be denied a fun, cool car due to age. Nobody puts Baby in a corner! I think the auto makers might be overlooking two things when it comes to surviving in this tough economy…
Following up her dissection of Netflix’s House of Cards, Becky Graebner now critiques the streaming internet TV company’s new offering from the creator of Showtime’s Weeds. See her previous posts in this series:
Growing up, little girls aren’t huge fans of little boys. Boys tend to be sticky, they smell, and they are usually annoying: stomping on sand castles and flushing Barbies down the toilet. However, there’s a serious transformation in the way girls view boys as they both age — eventually, we realize they aren’t all that bad.
At age five, little girls are convinced that boys have cooties and the precocious kindergartener starts to believe that her sex is superior to boys: girls rule, boy drool. However, by fourteen, girls are poring over magazines, reading about how to do their hair and how to act around young men they may find “cute.” Pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio decorate their walls.
By college, girls have just as many male friends as female friends and they’re even starting to think about marrying a guy (if that’s their preference). At this point, girls have come a long way from their cootie-averse days in pre-k. Men… they’re alright — they aren’t all jerks.
Despite this usual change of heart regarding boys — and the natural admission that your brother isn’t ALL that bad — it seems like Jenji Kohan, the writer/creator of Orange Is the New Black, decided to glaze over the positives of men and chose to write all of the show’s male characters as loser-lying-creepy manipulators. She probably still thinks men have cooties. Essentially, men = bad in this show, and Kohan shows the many facets of “male evil” in her male characters. Nobody is spared…
A wounded Iraq War veteran who gunned down his wife, a Wauwatosa police officer, while she was on duty Christmas Eve will get a life sentence on Friday.
But Benjamin Sebena should at least have a chance for parole, according to a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday that details the psychological and physical effects of his combat experience, including a claim to have killed 68 people during his military service.
The memo also suggests Sebena believes he killed his wife, Jennifer Sebena, so she’d go to heaven, fearful she’d follow a threat to take her own life if he committed suicide first.
Sebena tried to pursue an insanity plea, but doctors who examined him said his condition did not support it, though he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
This is the summary of a sad story that I have been following since December. Not only because the victim’s family was friends with mine, but also because this tragedy illustrates two cracks in America: support for returning war veterans and the “lock ‘em up” attitude towards criminals with mental illness.
Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking—which is why most people decide to eat out. However, for that population who wants it all “eating food they didn’t cook, at home,” here is the place for you.
Balducci’s tagline “Food Lover’s Market” really hits the nail on the head. Balducci’s is a grocery store, but with gourmet, ready-made dishes that would even impress your Italian grandmother.
I was introduced to the magic of Balducci’s by a friend. I had heard of this mythical place, but I had never experienced one until recently. I was on my way back from a car show (go figure) and we decided to stop in for lunch. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a fruitful friendship.
As soon as I walked in, I felt like I was in a store out of Harry Potter — the place looked like it was magical. All of the specialty foods were beautifully wrapped in foils and decorative papers and there was an aisle just for chocolate. Chocolate. (I was sold.) They carried some specialty brands from Sweden, which made me very happy, and they had walls of soups, salads, and desserts to take home. Jackpot. There was a chef serving up “to go” boxes of salmon piccata, three-cheese tortellini covered in pesto, roasted artichokes. Yea, we weren’t in D.C. anymore.
But, I digress. Like I stated before, we stopped in for lunch — which meant I was lead over to the “deli”…
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting story last week:
Today, more people are choosing gas-saving, practical cars; the hybrid Toyota Motor Corp.’s 7203.TO -1.09% Prius was the best-selling car in California last year. But that doesn’t stop drivers like Mr. Redmond from trying to put a little panache into being prudent, turning eco-friendly cars into lowriders, race cars and mini-monster trucks.
They are a far cry from more traditional souped-up rides. A Smart car is nine feet shorter than some classic Chevy Impalas and has five fewer cylinders. But even mockery from old-school hot-rod drivers hasn’t fazed this new generation.
Many Prius “pimpers” have followed the lead of comedian Tommy Chong. He turned his hybrid into a black lowrider, with its body lowered to the ground, and added red and gray detailing and tinted windows in 2006. Mr. Chong, 75, who came to fame as half of the Cheech & Chong comedy duo, installed hydraulics to lift the car up and down, blacked out the taillights, and added a loud exhaust.
I don’t think it’s a secret that I am wary of “green” cars. It’s not because I don’t believe in their function, but because the barrage of green-energy initiative failures has left a bad taste in my mouth. But, that being said, I admit that, even as a “green vehicle skeptic,” I enjoyed this article. It proved me wrong regarding some aspects of car culture — and I’m okay with that.
Not all main characters in books, TV shows, or plays are likable. Frank Underwood in House of Cards is a rotten scoundrel. Henry VIII in The Tudors vacillates between warm and ice cold. Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s Emma is whiny and stuck up, Yossarian in Catch-22 is self-centered, and Katherine in Wuthering Heights is selfish and picks money over her true heart — leading to the misery that is unleashed on her family by the jilted Heathcliff.
There’s nothing wrong with crafting a main character that isn’t meant to be beloved. Humans are flawed so it makes sense that fictional, human characters are not perfect either. Sometimes, having an unlikeable main character is what gives the story a touch of realism — not everything is rainbows and ponies.
I think Piper falls into this group of half-loved, semi-misunderstood protagonists.
When I’m watching Orange is The New Black I want to like Piper but I find her naivety to be frustrating and annoying. In fact, I think she and Emma Woodhouse would get along famously. Amelia Bedelia could also be a friend as well as Sally in the painful scene when she orders pie with ice cream (on the side!) in When Harry Met Sally. I feel like that’s what Piper would do in a restaurant. Annoying.
However, despite her shortcomings that annoy me to no end, it is important that Piper’s character straddle the two worlds of “like” and “dislike.” Making Piper a dislike-able protagonist is what gives Orange some spice and sets the stage for a possible transformation in Piper’s conduct and world-view. Who knows, the time in the big house could transform her into a grown up woman…