Monthly Archives: April 2008

Mopar Military Madness

Single most important piece of bad news I’ve read in a while.  I’m left wondering if Cerberus is looking for it’s own private army, or, if they see enormous returns ahead in the form of fat, no bid contracts.

Dear Democratic Party.  If we manage to elect a Democrat for President, and his/her first order of business isn’t putting this company out of business, you’ve lost me forever.   Period.

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Ok, Free Market, Do Your Stuff

Yesterday, as part of a larger post, I linked here, to a story about the Ewert brothers, who converted their family’s Prius so that it gets 100 mpg, on about 35 cents worth of electricity.  This morning, they were interviewed on CNN, and the anchor asked them if they had been contacted by any major car companies.

Nope.

Then the anchor asked them “why not start your own business?”  They basically said that they did this because they didn’t like what was happening with oil throughout the world, but they hoped some larger company, with more resources, could do this on a massive scale.

It took them two years…one full year of research, then a year of installing and tweaking it until they got it right.  2 years, and roughly 3000 dollars.  100 mpg.

You cannot convince me that there is no market for these cars.  Why is it that this story is getting such little attention?  This seems to me to be a perfect opportunity for our beloved free market to do it’s thing.

I don’t even see that much buzz about this on blogs.  100 mpg.  Cut that in half, and its a god-send to millions of working families.  Not to mention the jobs!

Where the hell is the excitement?

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A Little Housecleaning…

First, I seem to have inadvertently dropped all of my google Talk fellow googlers off of my handy IGoogle widget thingie.  They are always there, these (I’m about to coin a phrase, i think) Frooglers (friends who have Igoogle) letting me know what their status is, should i feel compelled to send them a quick note.  Now, I don’t know fer sure if Ivy is still bat-shit crazy, if Rachel is “workity-workin”, (which, btw, makes her sound like that neighbor from the Simpsons) or if Ginger is, in fact, on a conference call.

I kinda miss them.

Also, thanks to whoever it was that posted how to turn off that whole “related posts” thing.

I’d like to know if anyone could beat Powers Boothe in an “over the top” contest.  Pacino doesn’t even come close.  Boothe makes Keannu Reeves look positively Burtonesque.

Who is this Miley Cyrus person all over the news?

I’m thinking about throwing some kind of bash here at the farm before it gets too hot.  Volleyball, kickball, sack races, shrimp boil, you know, fun stuff.  Anyone interested?  Should we invite Conservative people, and then pick them last when selecting teammates?  I’d like this shin-dig to be kid friendly, I mean, do you have any idea how fun it is to have kids turn around and around on a baseball bat, then try to run in a straight line?

Also, a fellow blogger is moving soon, and if a bunch of us pitch in, we can make this less stressful on his family.  I think he said he would spring for gas, food, and condoms.  I have two trucks, so I’ll need an extra driver.  Let me know.

A guy came out today to give me a bid on something, he was from the Montreal area.  Said it took him three years to get his Green Card, because of all the “9/11″ stuff.  3 years.  Let me tell you, that is lightning fast.  Had he been from Cuernavaca, it would have been closer to twenty.

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For Those On A Budget

I think I’ve been pretty clear about this over the years:  High gas prices are here to stay.  If you don’t know how this affects you and your family by now, I think I could make a pretty good argument for “thinning the herd.”

Some of my friends and acquaintances are complaining to me right now because they are having a tough time making ends meet.  I always feel so powerless upon hearing them, I know its hard out there, but I’m compelled to point out the fact that they don’t seem to be doing much to help themselves.

Most of these people have not curtailed their leisure driving one bit.  I know it isn’t easy relocating to be closer to work, but there are certain  logistical considerations at play when planning the rest of your life.  If you live 15 miles from work, you drive a minimum of 30 miles a day.  If your car gets 15 miles a gallon, it costs you roughly 7 dollars a day, times twenty, to just get to work.  Thats 140 bucks, minimum. ANY LEISURE DRIVING BEYOND THAT MUST BE FACTORED INTO YOUR MONTHLY BUDGET.

In addition, plan to increase your monthly budget for utilities and food by at least 20%.  Then re-figure your budget again.  Eat less, or drive less, but the increased fuel prices will force you to make that choice, among others.  We have so many tools at our disposal for keeping in touch with friends, email, video-phones, cell phones, etc, why not use these instead of the car once in awhile?

Most of use grew up during a time when Americans didn’t have to think about the cost of travel.  The rest of the world did, and they built they built passenger railroads, bus-lines, and subways.  We built suburbs, and highways.  Until we make the inevitable transition to more accessible public transportation, we must protect ourselves by planning ahead in our own lives, and adjusting our habits.

I keep hoping that these higher fuel prices will bring about some positive changes in how we live.  Perhaps neighborhoods will be rejuvenated by doing business closer to home…perhaps small mom/pop operations will flourish since traveling to big-box stores will be cost-prohibitive…perhaps theres a couple of guys tinkering in their garage, who will figure out a way tweak a car so it gets 100 mpg.

Believe me, I know that those of us with children are forced to do more driving than we like.  I’m not making judgments about the driving choices people make, I’m saying that if you don’t factor in the almost 2oo percent increase we’ve had in less than 5 years, you are sticking your head in the sand, and something will surely bite your ass.

If you own a large truck or SUV and it is your primary vehicle….unload it now.  UNLOAD IT NOW.  I’ve never seen a weirder car market than what I am seeing now.  Large vehicle’s values are plummeting.  Older, fuel efficient cars are fetching ridiculous prices, but they are still worth the money, if you can trade.  There are things you can do, even if you are carrying negative equity on your current vehicle.

Good luck.

* Someone on another blog called me Chicken Little today.  I’m cool with that.  If I’m wrong, whats the downside for me?  If I’m right…whats the downside for you?

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For The Missus

I worked on this for three hours, finally enlisting the aid of my very own computer geeks, Peanut Fanatic and Supermousey.  They think this looks like me, only I’m way handsomer…

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Doctor, I Have A Pain

2000 B.C.- “Here, eat this root.”

1000AD- “Roots are heathen, here, say this prayer.”

1850A.D.-“That prayer is superstition, here, drink this potion.”

1940A.D.-“That potion is snake-oil, here, take this pill.”

1985A.D.-“That pill is ineffective, here, take this antibiotic.”

2000A.D.-“That antibiotic is not covered by your HMO, here, eat this root.”

H/T:  The Primary Wife

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Inviting the onslaught of mindless sychophants…

This is really a unique experience for me, because, typically, I don’t write these kinds of posts.  I’m kinda big on privacy, and sometimes, seeing a conversation you had with someone pop up on their popular blog is a tad disconcerting.  But since the guilty party in question told me to blog about it….I believe I will.

Ok, so, the other day, Aunt B and i were fussing like we do on the phone, when out of her mouth came something so completely foreign to me, that I have been unable to get settled down with it since.  I don’t exactly remember how we got there, (except that I know she wasn’t sayin it about me) but she essentially said that condescension and hostility are the same.  Wait, to be Fox News fair, she may have said condescension was a form of hostility.

Poppycock.  Balderdash.  Horseshit.  I was having none of it.  So, i think we made a bet, or, rather, i believe I said “I’ll bet you that if we asked 100 people if condescension was a form of hostility….

And I’m sorry, i don’t remember if i gave a number that would agree, or set some other standard, but i was basically claiming to be “right.”  Now, Aunt B will go to her grave insisting that I always have to be right.  I have to win.  Perhaps, but since the disagreement cannot be settled definitively, I will use quotation marks and state upfront that I’m only using this exchange between us to make a larger, if completely disjointed point.

Ok, so, B is fond of saying something to me that, on its surface, sounds perfectly reasonable, but when i think it through, i think its one of those verbal crutches we rely on to hammer home our point.  She says,”words either mean something or they don’t.”

Lets, then, for a moment, examine the words in question, right after i make this disclosure:

My manner of communicating often sounds condescending, whether I mean to sound that way or not.  Having not yet shed the last of my patriarchal pre-dispositions, and,  standing at the threshold of curmudgeon-ness, at 51, AND, AND, when I consider that speaking authoritatively has served me well at times, I doubt that I will ever stop doing it.

That said, if i am unaware that the person on the receiving end is perceiving hostility, how can I be reasonably accused of being hostile?  Let me share a quick example.  (Again, i should state that this was not the catalyst for this post)  Aunt B has a very nice intern in her office, who I have met, and a few weeks ago Aunt B asked me if I would speak to her about buying her first car.  I am always glad to share an insiders perspective, so i agreed.  I am pretty sure this is what followed:

(in my head), ok, I know nothing about this person.  i don’t her finances, i don’t know her tastes.  I do know the working parts of a car deal, so i’ll  start asking what are known as qualifying questions.  I’m a little busy, and i know she (the intern) has work to do, so i am forced to speed through this important step and hope I can make accurate assumptions about what i miss.  Many of my questions probably started with “have you thought about this?”  and “have you looked into that?”

(in the Intern’s head) Sweet Jesus!  Does this guy think I’m a moron?  Of course I have considered my budget, and my driving habits, and my insurance costs, and cost of ownership, and resale value.  And why, yes, I’m perfectly comfortable walking onto a car lot and negotiating on my own.  I can’t believe he thinks because I’m a young woman, i’m automatically an idiot.

Pure speculation on my part, I’ll admit.  It may not be close to what she was thinking.  BUT.  I can say with all due confidence that she was not thinking…hmmmm, why is this guy being so hostile?  Why am i being attacked?

While I’m at it, the synonyms for hostile are here.

So, I say this about that.  Words do indeed mean something or they don’t, but condescension does not mean hostility, or that hostility even exists in the mind of the person being condescending.  I don’t believe it is rooted in hostility.

So, I think i win. Now I need around 99 people or so to back me up here.

Hows that for navel gazing, Garrigan?

Oh Shit!  Completely O/T, but has anyone else seen that Chase bank commercial where the guy gets permission from his wife to buy a new TV?  I loved it.  I’d like to see more of that kind of advertising.  (I’ll see if i can find it, hope that someone can walk me through embedding or embiggening or what not.)

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