Friday, October 27, 2006

Is It Fast Enough So We Can Fly Away?

We were trying to spend some money last Sunday, and started at the car dealership to look for a small commute car for me. We had our eyes on the Toyota Yaris, the Scion xA, and the Honda Fit. We started with the Toyota/Scion dealer, and the test drive with a somewhat feeble salesman went okay. It doesn't feel anemic, which is about as much as you can hope for with a small car. Satisfied with the car, I was ready to do some numbers to see how much the options I wanted would cost.

Understandably, the salesman was steering me towards the cars they had on the lot. But the last time I bought a car was nearly 11 years ago, so I'm in no mood to compromise. We were standing outside, I was motioning him to go inside and show me some paperwork, when he asked if I was prepared to buy the car right then. "No," I said, explaining that I would not be making a decision until I saw the Fit. I'd already driven a xA rental car, so I didn't need to test it. "Why do you need the price then?" he demanded. I was a little dumbstruck, and Mabel was beginning to fume behind me. We stood outside the dealership and argued for a few minutes, and he just refused to sit down and work out the prices with me. That man turned out to be the assistant manager or something.

Now agitated, we crossed the street to the Honda dealer, and told them that we'd like to test drive the Fit. Oh, no, they told me. They only get an allocation of one Fit a month, put a US$2,000 mark-up on it, and don't let anybody test drive it before buying. The final cost of the Fit would approach US$20,000, and you can't test drive one. What a way to run a business.

And then we went to the mall in hopes of upgrading our cell phone. That didn't quite work out the way I thought it would, either.

Monday, October 2, 2006

No Time!

A recent article begins like this:

"The scandal involving Mark Foley, the Florida congressman who resigned last Friday after the discovery of lurid e-mails and instant messages he sent to teenage congressional pages, has the potential to reshape the election landscape. It was the latest blow in a bad week of news for Republican congressmen getting ready to leave town to campaign - following a congressional report linking the White House to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and showing dozens more contacts with him than the White House had admitted, and a book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward strongly suggesting the Administration has mislead the public about the Iraq War. The Foley scandal could well be the most damanging of the three. Woodward's book, even with all of its details about Administration infighting and blunders in Iraq, reinforces a notion most Americans already hod, that the war in Iraq isn't going well. The Abramoff revelations, too, simply added more specifics to bolster what Americans already think: that congressmen are too close to lobbyists."

In a hurry, I see.

New to You

We scanned, edited, and finally uploaded some new old pictures.