Monthly Archives: June 2007

My New Gig

I have a plan. After our cowardly lawmakers once again punted and effectively voted to keep Americans as divided as possible by ignoring our broken immigration system, I decided to get on this gravy train. I too, should turn a tidy profit on this issue. I applied for Steve Gill’s job, alas, I was rejected after the pre-employment medical detected both a heart, and a brain. Apparently, to get Valentine’s job, you cannot possess a soul either. All they want is the mouth.

I thought next about running for Congress. After all, 170k a year is nothing to sneeze at, and you get to raise even more money for campaigns every two years. The best part? You don’t even have to lead your constituents into the future! Heck no, this sweet job involves paying someone else to read polls, and vote in a way that ensures you keep your seat. In the event Coulter isn’t booked on Hardball or Dobbs, you get to be on TV, and bash those among us that have no vote. Brilliant. I had to nix this when my wife reminded me that I no longer own a suit. Rats.

Then I thought I might start a non-profit, snarf up some fat grant money, open an office on Music Row, (you know, ground zero for Nashville’s immigrant community) and make a nice living teaching Mexicans that drunk driving is a bad thing. I’ll throw expensive parties at posh locations under the guise of “cultural awareness.” The flaw in this plan is that before long, Serpas and Daron Hall’s shiny new immigration toy will deport all the “criminals” here among us, and how much grant money can I raise for like, 8 people?

The easy way isn’t going to work for me. So I had to devise a plan that might take a while to bear fruit, but in the end, it promises to be a bonanza.

I’m joining the Border Patrol. el_hombre_cansado_patrulla_la_frontera.jpg I love the Southwest anyway, (yes, it’s a dry heat) and I do so miss me some Carne Adovada with fresh corn tortillas. Think about this…I get to run around in the desert in a 4 wheel drive vehicle and chase people around. I’m well suited for that. I’m going to make a deal with the Coyotes that allows them slip in enough undocumented workers, ooops! I mean, illegals, (clearly I’m going to need some training here) while lining my pockets, but I will capture enough women and children that I am eventually awarded the Medal of Freedom.

I will parlay that into a book deal. Imagine this, the son of illegal aliens, and former human rights activist sees the errors of his ways, and becomes Super Patriot. Every dickless TV host on the planet, (granted, only ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and FOX have them) will have me in to peddle my book. I’m pretty sure Lou Dobbs will want to have sex with me. (That isn’t necessarily my thing, mind you, but if it came down to Lou or Coulter, wow, decision time) Anyway, once I am the darling of the airwaves, the Republicans will trot me out at every fundraiser, and, well, them boys throw down. I will play hard to get when Oprah’s people call me. Oh, she’ll get me all right, but my coyness will make her up the ante, and, frankly, she’s got it. I even think Colbert will make room for my likeness on his mantle. Just sayin.

I have a plan, all I ask is that y’all don’t tell anyone, cool?

I want you all to know that when I am rich and famous, I intend to remember each and every one of you. Oh, may I see your papers, please?

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Open Letter To Various Would-be Creditors

Dear Financial Institution, (and most recently, Regions Bank)

I know you don’t know my wife, at least not well.  Seems the other bank she was doing business with got swallowed up by you guys.  Mores the pity.  Anyway, you are the keeper of the Note, now, she had nothing to say about that.  Since she is about to pay you off in full, rather than subject herself to your condecending employees, I thought I might take this minute and ask you a few questions.  Over the next 20 years, you stand to make roughly 20,000 dollars on just this little note.  Since you already had all of the personal information about her, I called you to ask about converting this to another product, hoping that I could save her some time and trouble.  I already had a quote from an online source, one whose employees were polite, knowledgable, and helpful.  She does her best to do business locally.  She likes to walk into the bank, sit down with a loan officer, and close.  Sending back a foot-high stack of forms signed and notarized really isn’t the same.  Nevertheless, she did so today.  So here’s my question:

Why do you spend inordinate amounts of money trying to get her business, only then to treat her like a leper?

She doesn’t borrow money because she has to.  There are times when she finds it smarter to borrow a little, but stay liquid, particularly when money is relatively cheap.  She offsets the interest charged with investment interest, and some degree of peace of mind.  I bet that you know many people that do this.  Was it because the amount was too small to worry about?

Do you find it a good business practice to not return her calls, knowing that she will never do business with you again? 

Are your employees instructed to advise me that when my wife was too busy to sit and answer questions, that she should not have taken the call? 

She did, after all, hand me the phone, and sees no reason for both of us to be tied up.

Was it her credit?

I mean, I know she isn’t that much in debt, and you probably stand to make zilch on late fees, because, you know…she is never late.  Was it because she has a flawless track record with respect to paying loans off on time, and in full?  She has paid off 4 houses, countless cars, and a business loan.  What about her says “we don’t want her business”?

Are you still intending to call her at all hours, promoting your products, and sending her offers in the mail? 

If you are, I thought I might save you some time and money.  She isn’t interested.

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Polls

Ginger sent me this story today.  Strange set of circumstances, but what really struck me, and ultimately where I found some humor, is that the poll offered reflects that 3 out of 10 readers thought this woman should be deported.  There is, I suppose, some solace that the overwhelming number of people responding to the poll took a reasonable position, but that 30% did not is a good example of the current immigration debate.  In fact, I think it is roughly 3 out of ten Americans that are so desperate to find a reason for their unhappiness that any scapegoat will do.  They are clearly susceptible to the propaganda emitting from their radios and television.  Even after hearing the facts, and presented with every logical argument against their position that exists, they will cling to the notion that undocumented workers are somehow threatening to their “way of life.”

I will probably post again about this story, if for no other reason than to see if the poll changes dramatically.  But that 3 out of 10 just leaped out at me…

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Chamber Head Panics About Immigrant Backlash

Over at Hispanic Nashville, Eva Melo sounds the alarm for the Hispanic community to publicly proclaim their intolerance for drunk driving, robbery, gang-banging, and tax fraud. Why not child rape, too, Eva? I mean, I’m firmly against that. Puppy torture? No way, Jose. I’m agin it. I really think she needs to include more crimes in her list of things we in the Hispanic community should denounce, I’d hate to miss one, and cause my American born neighbors undue fear.

It’s demeaning, and damn disrespectful to ask any single community to publicly announce that they are against crime. Those that hate will never be convinced, and reasonable people already know that any sane person is opposed to senseless killing. To think otherwise makes me believe Eva is a tad late to this party.

I have no desire to pander to, or unduly appease frightened Nativists.

Then again, I don’t have a Chamber of Commerce to worry about…

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Since You Asked

Imagine that you negotiated in good faith to buy a computer, or a television.  You and the seller agreed to a price, then when you got to the register to pay, the cashier informed you that she is adding a “fee” for the privilege of buying from them.  You’d balk, right?  Why is it, then, that so many people never even blink when informed that they must pay a 200-500 dollar “Doc” fee when buying a car?

Here’s a brief breakdown of the used car business:  The dealer gets a car, either through an auction, or a wholesaler, or from a trade-in.  Let’s say that the car costs the dealer 5000 dollars.  Most of the time, the car is run through the shop to ensure that it is road worthy, that is, the brakes, the lights, the signals, etc are all in good working order.  Maybe they will change the oil.  So, lets add 200 dollars to the cost.  5200.  The car is now parked on the lot for sale.

The salesperson who helps you on the lot is paid on gross profit.  Let that sink in a minute.  Unless you are buying the car from Carmax, (they don’t pay their people the same way), the chances are that you will pay far more than is necessary to own that car.  (Carmax isn’t much different, except they don’t pay commission in exactly the same way) Here’s why:

The $5200 car is now “packed”, that is, the dealership adds a set amount to each vehicle to offset the costs of acquiring the car, paying the interest on the loan (floor-plan) to buy the cars in the first place, transporting the car, washing it, advertising it for sale.  Let’s say the “pack” is 600 dollars.  Now, the car’s cost is $5800.   In the old days, most salespeople knew the cost of the car.  So, if I am the salesman, I know that the car costs 5800.  Remember, I am paid on gross profit.  I will receieve approximately 25% of the gross profit.  If you agree to pay 7800 dollars for that car, I am paid 500 dollars, since we made a 2000 dollar gross profit.  I am never working “for you”.  I may only sell one or two cars that week, so I need to make all I can on every deal.

Ok, you are happy with the price.  $7800.  You go sit down, and I bring you a buyer’s order, and, on the bottom of that form, I list a “doc fee” of $399.  (That is an actual doc fee listed in the buyers order of a Toyota dealership in Clarkesville.  God bless our troops)  When it is all said and done, the amount you are paying for that car is now $8200.  (I rounded up a buck) Never mind that there is no reason for that extra fee to be there.  It is pure profit, and the salesperson sees none of it in his pocket.  Next, add roughly 9.25% for State sales tax, and the total rises to 8958.50 (If you buy in metro Nashville, you get to pay an additional “Metro Tax” as well.  I don’t know what that is, so I am not including it.

You do not have 8200 dollars cash.  You have 1000 dollars to put down.  Ok, now you go see the Business Manager.  His job is to extract every dollar he can from you.  He will do everything he can to get you to focus on the payment, not the actual cost of the vehicle.  He will include in his first quote everything he can, like a warranty for the car, and various forms of insurance (except that none of those products actually has anything to do with insuring the car) and then the actual financing.  He too is paid based on gross profit.

He has of course looked over your credit, and he has already in his possession the “buy” rate from certain banks.  You decided to buy the warranty, and it costs 800 dollars.  You bought the “gap” insurance, and it costs 300 dollars. (Oh, these are taxed too) So let’s add 1100 to the car, now we are paying $10,058 total.  You think.  Let’s assume that he has a bid from a bank that will buy this sales contract at 5% interest for 60 months.  He tells you he can offer 8% interest for 60 months.  You put the 1000 dollars down, so you are financing 9,058 for 60 months.  The Business Manager has earned a commission on the warranty, the “insurance” and on the rate.  He has earned approximately 400 dollars in 45 minutes.

Your payment is 183.69, for 60 payments.  That comes to 11,021.  Plus, you put a grand down, so that 5000 dollar car costs you roughly $12,021.  The figures get much worse when you consider that most people don’t buy 5000 dollar cars, don’t put down any money, and many extend their payment term to 72 months.  It’s staggering.

Yes, there are ways to get an edge, but the process is designed to extract every dollar from you, and you had better do your homework before ever setting foot on a dealership lot.

I offered this today because some of my friends asked me recently about buying cars.  It’s harsh, but there ya go.

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Sleeper Madness

Because I go to bed early, I am frequently awake at times favored only by vampires and serial killers.  True to form, last night I awoke at roughly 2:oo a.m.

For some reason, everyone else is still sleeping.  Slackers.  So, I usually slip on headphones  and catch something on TV.  My choices are almost always B-movies and infomercials, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t watch “Reefer Madness”.  All I can say is that it would have been hilarious, with, well, reefer. Apparently, I must have sleepwalked over to the cabinet where I keep my tin foil hat, and donned it for this movie, because I couldn’t help but think that flick was made by the alcohol and tobacco industry as propaganda to discredit the herb.

Then I got to watch “Who Killed The Electric Car” for the third time.  I still get mad every  time I see it.  We can build a damn fine electric car.  We can build an electric infrastructure, and reduce emissions by roughly 90%.  The technology is here.  Today.  All we lack is the backbone to sacrifice for a decade or so to insure that our kids, and their kids, can breathe cleaner air, and have the same freedom of mobility that we have enjoyed for our entire lives.  Oh, that, and some political leaders with courage and a sense of the greater good.

I don’t like the odds.

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Ball-less in Robertson County

Last Spring, our mare gave birth to a beautiful foal, a colt we (the kids) named Arras. He had two days worth of colostrum, which was fortunate, and we were able to keep him alive by bottle feeding him roughly every four hours ALL LAST SUMMER. Well, Arras now weighs in around 530 lbs, he’s 13 months, and has started to become a stallion. Plus, he doesn’t fear us, of course, because he equates us with food and grooming, so he doesn’t understand why he can’t run up to us at full speed, or nudge and bite like the other horses let him do. So, today, he is officially nut-less. The Vet came, sedated him, and he crashed to the ground with me holding his lead rope. The Vet then spilt open his nut-sack, and pried his testicles out. Almost as soon as he tossed them aside, Rocky had gobbled them up. He should be a tad mellower in the future. Like the Vet said, stallions are like Governors, every state only needs one…mvc-016f.jpg

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