Saturday, December 24, 2011

End Of Year Post

The environmental nut jobs are on the loose with the proposed Keystone Pipeline that would bring oil from Canada to the United States. So they reject the possibility of 20,000 jobs and would rather rely of the whims of multiple quasi enemies to supply oil?

Maybe these wizards should go back in a time machine and view “The Big Ditch” constructed during WW II. This was known as the War Emergency Pipeline that would supply oil from Texas to New Jersey rather than using vulnerable tankers. In fact they actually started the oil flow before the line was complete.

Sometimes it takes extraordinary circumstance and leadership to address an issue and IMO this is an issue of national security. To set up mindless roadblocks is pure insanity. The pipeline is in our best interests and if it is constructed with the same diligence as the Alaskan Pipeline impact will be minimal or non existent.

Time for some leadership and direct intervention by President Obama.

I have recently been car/truck shopping in a serious mode but one of interest. As a current Pontiac owner I have a special “Off the books” rebate available that is between $1,500 and $3,000. But what I find interesting is the names they dream up. I think all of us have at one time or another bought a vehicle that we gave a special name such as POS or “This car sucks.”

I do believe the American auto industry has done a magnificent job of once again having products that can compete with any. Off course, most large world wide manufactures have their products build in multiple countries and the same goes for parts.

The standard for a vehicle use to be 100.000 miles. Anything after that was a bonus. IMO it is now 200,000 as many of the former bad boys such as exhaust systems and cooling systems use to have a shelf life that was dismal. No longer. But that high end technology comes with a price and that price is exorbitant labor and parts charges. I actually use a collision body shop for many repairs since they are very familiar in their triage business of worse case scenarios. The parts I’ll shop around and check after market or online sources and save upwards to 40%.

Last summer I had the opportunity to tour the Rouge factory of Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. The facility was the original site for Ford production and it is massive but today it is the assembly for trucks. They produce about 1,500 a day and the automation is intriguing. All computer driven. On the assembly line I watched the drones do one specific job over and over while working side by side with their robotic counterparts. The repetition and boredom would have me opening a vein before first break. I can understand why the workers are paid so well since you are being paid for a continually tedious job.

If you wander to Bowling Green Kentucky and are an aficionado of Corvette you can actually observe your car being assembled over a two day period. The computer and production process has your name on everything so you can build your own scrapbook. And being a capitalist society this little venture comes with a price tag - I do believe it is in excess of $500 plus your hotel stay and meals. I also understand with the ‘Vette - an engineering marvel - that virtually the entire car is American made. Few imported parts.

What frustrates me about purchasing a vehicle is that old ploy called “Options Loading.” Try buying a base model. You virtually cannot. Somewhere along the way you will have to determine just what you want and don’t want and attempt to get as close as possible.

What really ticks me off is the way a vehicle is sold. This expensive piece of machinery is then tossed into a dealership that may be ethically deficient or has a sales staff - most do - that reminds one of a street bazaar in Casablanca. It is all about “The Deal” and how “savvy” you are and their need to move the vehicle. Sales quotas, inventory excesses, cash flow and a myriad of other factors all play into how it is negotiated. The only thing that comes close to the full court press at a dealership is being trapped with a time share salesman.

Then, of course, is next up on my hit list and that is advertising. Anything over 200HP is shown in circumstances that are almost impossible with maneuvers that even an experienced NASCAR driver could not do. With trucks it seems every deep voiced actor has been captured to do those commercials. If you are a baritone voice over you have a job for life.

So I finally sprung for a truck. My current battle star had some wheel bearing work, muffle system in need and a bounty of minor ailments that would need to be addressed to the tune of about $2,000 so my ten year old got me a few bucks towards the truck (very few) and will end up in the auto auction. I lost money on that end of the sale but could care less since the aggravation of a private sale was just not worth it.

The truck I wanted was not available at a local dealer so they located one that another dealer would trade off on. Had just the base model and that is a real stripped down one. I have no need for bells and whistles and will probably use the bed so little it is really foolish getting a truck but I never had one. I would have held my breath until the Lovely Cynthia gave her permission.

Then comes one of my real pet peeves and that is the sales tax. You think the wonder boys and girls would have a one week or so open season where they would exclude the first $10,000 on a sale. That is a dream for sure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Week Of Bogo Nonsense

Now the flurry of activity to line up for casinos. First up is the wonderful pairing of Robert Kraft and Steve Wynn. Kraft - he of Hartford Patriot fame - wants to lease his land for a casino. Does this mean the illustrious Mr. Kraft will finally fork over the 8M needed for the bridge from his parking lot to Patriot Place? Nothing like a billionaire doing it on the taxpayer dime. Then the usual suspects will surface from MGM to some characters from Macau. Good luck, Massachusetts!

The Robin Hood tax has surfaced and it would take international proportions. What it amounts to is a small tax (small is undefined) on financial institution transactions and this bounty would be past on to poor countries to improve their lot in life. It would generate an estimated 48B and I’m am sure it would be as successful as our war on poverty.

VW is planning a Middleboro move but not much of a move since they are already ensconced in the Metro complex about a mile up the road. It will be a welcomed addition to finally see the building - the former RV center - put to use.

When I first moved to Middleboro they had at least three major brands of cars sold in town with a Ford, Chevrolet and Buick dealerships around. That has been down to zero since McGee moved to Raynham. But we do have a number of nail salons and I can hop on a tanning bed if necessary to give me that George Hamilton look. That, I guess, is the important stuff.

Trucchi’s finally has their sign up.

Flat Iron has discontinued music so I’ll have to go on the road for my BB music fix.

Nice weather means lower gas/electric/oil bills. I encourage mother nature - one hot babe - to keep it up.

The Patriots defense gives it up quicker than a drunk cheerleader on prom night. So much for being PC.

But I’m a Giants fan and they have been down right dismal but are now in first place. Go figger.

Bobby Valentine seems like a good fit for Boston.

Squirrels, rats and seagulls - just a higher form of cockroach and mosquito to me.

Cathedral lost a Super Bowl football game because a player raised his fist for two seconds while scoring a touchdown. This is in violation of a newly emplaced celebratory rule and under the very strict interpretation was warranted, but it is also a judgment call, and it this case the ref who tossed the flag had some serious issues with circumstance and how to apply it.

Alec Baldwin once again had his bizarre behaviors surface. Money and fame doesn’t necessarily translate to class.

Spokesmen for the current failed administration - not be confused with the failed administration they replaced - claimed in 2009 they were unaware of the extent of the financial crisis. After Lehman Brothers folder in 2008 all the forensic MBA’s in the world could connect the dots and the government could not? Laughable.

The financial crisis was handled like a Big Market baseball team handles problems - throw money at it.

Too bad the basic message of OWS was lost in their loony nonsense and scruffy appearance they presented. If they had stuck to the specific message they may have been taken as a serious force.

What is major league baseball thinking of? They instituted a dress code for reporters - and you know it was directed at female reporters - attempting to limit the Victoria Secret’s clothing some wear. First Heidi leaves and now this.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Humbug To The PC Crowd

Christmas is upon us so out of the woodwork from a long hibernation will come the usual suspects whose sole intent is to demonstrate a lack of civility, respect for an ingrained tradition, plain old appalling manners and anything else I can assign from what they manage to dream up in their cloistered little clueless universe. Of whom do I speak? Why the collected Grinches that make up the PC crowd! And, of course, their collective ire over a Christian holiday - XMAS!

I’m an atheist and proud of it but I do have some minor degree of civility and common sense that I manage to apply at this time of the year. I could care less about calling it “A Holiday Tree” - it‘s a freaking Christmas tree! I could care less about a crèche displayed on public property. I could care less about carols sung to God wherever she may be. They can pontificate all they want about Jesus and I could care less. I will not go into a fetal position and whine endlessly to gutless public and private sector entities about “making changes.“ Christmas is important to my family, neighbors, friends and about 300,000,000 or so total strangers who reside - legally and illegally - in the United States. Sure they wallow in the excessive commercialism but they also managed to get their arse in gear and actually reach out to at least give some degree of holiday spirit. I may not be an active participant but I managed to keep my yap shut and throw some fiscal bones to assorted charities. Since I don’t believe in an afterlife I am certainly not investing in a stairway to heaven.

Now along comes assorted PC characters - usually with a abundance of Cambridge and Brookline zip codes - to try and do everything possible to actually put a damper of what a very vast majority celebrate and do so in a fairly harmless manner. Hello! PC! You folks are cranks! Understand you morons it is not the end of civilization to actually allow celebrations to take place. If someone finds it offensive for religious reasons or some type of moral conviction just don’t participate. Hey - I don’t celebrate Ramadan - but somehow it doesn’t toss me into a fit. Stick to that former obnoxious habit of prayers in schools. Concentrate on the “In God We Trust” that seems to still proliferate - although I really don’t get lathered up about it.

What is amazing is how easy some public and private types with decision making powers cave in so quickly to the whims of a few kooks. Seems everyone is so damn petrified of offending someone that they are 100% clueless that who they are actually offending is the 95% or so who participate in all this Christmas shenanigans. Schools seem to be the ones most terrorized by any possibility of being classified as “insensitive.” Tells you the state of education in America.

So this is one atheist who will have limited Christmas participation. I will be in the holiday spirit which is translated into giving a boat load of gifts to assorted family members. I will have to go and pretend I am interested in a tree - “Yes, dear, this one looks great and it is only $55!” I will have to hang lights out which means seeing how good Medicare really is when I do a flop off a ladder. I will have to somehow hide when it comes to that traditional exercise of sending Xmas cards to people I never even heard of. I am really insistent on not sending out any for two years in hopes that we are removed from all lists. I will toss our usual cache of toys and food to the proper depots. I will have to actually with a straight face tell my daughter her dog dressed in Xmas attire looks “cute.” So if I can swallow what little pride remains for me this time of year so can the handful of PC types who can just burrow away until 12/26.