In re: Should I buy a used Geo Metro?

So those of you who know me know that I am all for high gas prices.  Yes you read that right, HIGH GAS PRICES, see I said it again.  Why?  Am I nuts?  Well since I was lobbying earlier for a $1 a gallon gas tax (on the coat tail of an article by Thomas Friedman a year or two ago) we have had exactly that kind of increase in fuel and the market response has already shown why we need high gas prices if we are to remove our dependence on oil from less than savoury sources (no offense Saudi Arabia – okay none taken).

I know several individuals who are now either using public transportation or carpooling something they would not have thought about just a year ago.  The increase in ridership (10% over last May here in Columbus) will of course allow expansion and improvement of mass transit, which in turn snowballs to allow further ridership.

One other effect?  Well besides SUV sales suffering and the rise of the Hybrid, there is the more low market response of scooping up Geo Metros, formerly the butt of jokes and now the hot ticket item that used car dealers can’t keep on their lots.  Actually for really green people a Metro (used – they aren’t made anymore) are better for the environment then a hybrid when you factor in the huge environmental toll making that new car and battery takes (apparently 100,000 miles is what it takes before you undo the toll of manufacturing and pass into the ‘Black’ environmentally w/ a Prius) whereas the Metro has long since overcome its manufacturing debt.  see story in the Dispatch

Of course a lot of these hot to trot people may be forgetting that the Geo Metros 40+ mpg that they are lusting after are computed with the old EPA numbers (i.e. numbers so fictional you needed to be drafting behind a semi with a strong tailwind to get close to).  US News has a good article telling you why buying a Metro today is a stupid idea (one of them is the car wasn’t that safe)

“The federal government altered the formula it uses to calculate gas mileage last year.It’s easy to compare old and new numbers — the EPA has already done it for you, publishing the older numbers alongside the new, revised numbers on its website.  So let’s look at the mileage of that 1992 Geo Metro. According to the old formula it should have managed a combined mileage rating of 38 mpg. That’s not far below the 46 mpg of the current Toyota Prius, just like the Mercury-News claims. According to the revised formula, however, that 1990 Metro should actually manage only 33 mpg — 13 below the Prius. That’s not nearly as impressive. In fact, it’s nearly the same rating as many current small cars.”  US News

(Oh and as a side note, I did just get a new car and it wasn’t a Metro, went with another VW Jetta, not the best fuel mileage, but the appeal of the 4 cylinder turbo and the fact i put on less than 8,000 miles a year steered my decision…)

In re: Appeasement is talking?

President Bush has recently been making a lot of dumb statements, some are about his sacrifice of giving up the sport of golf to show solidarity with our troops who are fighting and dying overseas (see story), another unfortunate statement he made was in front of the Knesset in Israel comparing Obama’s pledge (not by name, only by implication) to talk to all countries, including enemies with so the so called ‘Appeasers’ who allowed Hitler a wide birth to do as he pleased as he gathered up chunks of Europe.  The problem with the comparison is that Appeasement does not refer to the mere act of talking to someone, it wasn’t Chamberlain’s Government talking to Hitler that defines appeasement, it was giving away half of Czechoslovakia that defines appeasement.

Some radio host who I’ve not heard of (that isn’t saying much, I don’t know conservative talk show hosts or really any radio hosts for the most part) got bashed pretty good by Chris Matthews in an interview for using the term appeasement and having no idea what it was Neville Chamberlain had done wrong.

Also see NY Times story “Bush Assails ‘Appeasement’…

In re: Foie Gras ban lifted

Chicago has by the same large margin that they instituted a foie gras ban, repealed their ban on the sale of fois gras, something that many, including myself thought was pretty ludicrous.  Why ban foie gras?  well some would argue (and do) that its inhumane, but if Chicago really cares about animals they’d probably be having a much bigger effect banning factory farmed animals (watch how chickens are raised sometime) or to ban Rbgh laced dairy products.

see the story on the “Ban Lifted, Foie Gras is Back on the Menu in Chicago”

In re: Unassisted triple play

How often does one get to see something that has only happened 14 times in the last 100 years?  Well if your a baseball fan yesterday was just such an opportunity in the second game of the Indians double-header with the Blue Jays (how often do you see double headers?  this one was only due to a rain out the day before).  Anyway, the triple play is one of the rarest events in sports (rarer in fact than perfect games) and Asdrubal Cabrera became the 14th major leaguer to make one.  He made a diving catch on a line drive off of Lyle Overbay, ran over to touch second base and then tagged out Marco Scutaro who had already run past second on the hit and run to end the fifth inning.  Cabrera tossed the historic ball to the crowd as he ran into the dugout so the hall of fame is outta luck on that one.  (Cleveland lost the game 3-0 in 10 innings)

See a video of it (i had to watch the reply a dozen times, it may be simple and just a stroke of luck, but still pretty amazing to see)

In re: Is it really just the label?

Many of us know that we are influenced by labels, hype, presentation and apparently with wine that holds true as well.  Came across an interesting article in NY Times (discussing a book / study on the subject) yesterday on wine tastes and the influence that price and labels have over how we percieve the tast.  Smack a $50 price tag on a bottle of two buck chuck and suddenly you think its phenomenonal or at least thats what studies have shown.

It is important to remember that there are people who really do tell the difference in taste (i.e. Robert Parker and other refined wine drinkers, but for some of us suckers who can’t let go of our bias of brand and price we can’t get past it)

Wine’s Pleasures: Are They All in Your Head?

In re: Cinco de Mayo

So while a few of us have celebrated Cinco de Mayo from time to time, maybe had the occasional Margarita and some tacos?  Many of us forget what the holiday is anyway, probably most people would guess that it is Mexican independence, it is not, but since I couldn’t remember what it was (aside from being the Mexican equivalent to St. Patricks day) I looked it up on Wikipedia and learned that:

“The holiday commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.”

Okay, well with the learning part of the day over, guess its back to the Margaritas…

In re: ‘Crybaby’ is bad for business

In game six of the Wizards v. Cavaliers first round playoff game some Washington Wizards fan’s came equipped with ‘Crybaby 23’ t-shirts, directed at LeBron James who had been fouled hard throughout the series and who Wizards fans was soft.  Cleveland and LeBron got the last laugh winning the third straight playoff series between the two, in what turned into a colorful series involving lots of trash talk, hard fouls, ejections, suspension and occasionally even basketball.  Somehow when Papa Johns put out the crybaby t-shirts they forgot that they had a bunch of locations in Cleveland and Clevelanders don’t take lightly to their sports teams and players being made fun of, quickly locals called on Clevelanders to shun Papa Johns and take business elsewhere (PD Story).  Papa Johns has responded with an apology and a one day 23 cent pizza deal and donating to the Cavaliers charity (ESPN story).  (Don’t forget that Clevelanders were not too happy with Lebron for wearing his Yankees cap to the playoff series last year, he may be able to get away with that but Papa Johns definitely cannot)