The “R” Word…

I’ve been watching this on the news for the last several weeks and think we need to clarify the fact that there is a definition to what a recession is and is not. By definition, a recession is 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product (GDP). This week’s report shows growth for the first quarter at .6%. That’s GROWTH (i.e. GDP increased). If you’re a talking head and go on television talking about the current recession when the last two quarters show economic growth, you look like an idiot. Suck it up and face that fact that the American economy is simply robust enough to endure the “shock” of high oil prices, the collapse of the housing bubble, and increasing prices on commodity and manufactured goods while continuing to grow. Stop looking like an idiot. That is all.

No frontrunner…

So, after two years of paying for the registration, maintenance, fuel, and other sundry bills on two vehicles, I’m thinking it’s about time to pull the plug on that. Yeah, it’s been nice having one when the other is down for maintenance, but realistically I can rent a car much more cost efficiently than keeping one on standby just in case. Part of me says I should be looking for something economical and fuel efficient, but the other part (the side that usually wins these arguments) says that I might as well get what I want since it’s going to be something I live with every day for the next 3-4 years.

With that in mind, I drove four vehicles this afternoon: a Jeep Commander, a Toyota Tundra and FJ Cruiser, and a Ford Escape. Yeah, I know, no mileage winners here, but my logic is that because SUV’s are so discounted right now, I would be taking my savings on the purchase price rather than at the pump. Basically on any of these, my payment would come down about $100/month while consuming gasoline at roughly the same rate as either of my current vehicles.

Here’s my quick assessment. The Commander has a huge cabin and keeps the slightly rough “Jeep” feel without the kidney jarring or wind noise of the Wrangler. The Cruiser is a remarkably impressive vehicle. Simplistic interior with clean lines, but I worry that once the novelty wears off I’d just have a rather odd looking vehicle. The Tundra was the come from behind contender. It impressed the hell out of me with its quick pick up from the light and extremely easy handling. The Escape was the least impressive of the lot and felt quite constrictive and more like riding in a raised station wagon than a truck or SUV.

In any case, there is no clear frontrunner and I’ll be doing a lot of research. If any of y’all have any personal experiences, feel free to chime in.

Absolutely nothing…

There really is absolutely nothing new going at the moment. I’m starting to plan the transition from my current job to my new one and the corresponding move down the hall. Winston is doing well (15 pounds at the vet this past Monday). I’m enjoying a terribly good cup of local coffee and the weather this weekend should be nice enough to starting getting the yard in shape or putting down some fresh mulch.

Don’t worrky, I’ll let you know when some asshat comes along later today and shoots my good mood all to hell.

Things I’m tired of seeing in the news…

1) The price of gas. Yes, it’s $3.20 a gallon. It is what it is. Instead of bitching about it when someone shoves a camera in your face, maybe you should consider trading in the armored personnel carrier you use to take Bobby and Katie to soccer practice and get something more efficient. Otherwise, suck it up and pay the bill, sweetheart.

2) The “outrageous” cost of healthcare. You’re paying for a service. If you don’t like the going price, find a cheaper service or try just going without and see how that works out for you. Some things are worth a premium. Living is one of them.

3) The stock market “collapse.” I don’t know what economics or finance classes you took in college, but I distinctly remember learning that the price of stocks moves in both directions. If you were so heavily invested in one thing (i.e. stocks versus bonds versus gold), you need to learn about diversifying your portfolio. The market is doing what it does. I didn’t hear anyone bitching when it was soaring past all reasonable expectation.

Dyson…

I never in my worst nightmares thought I could get all hot and bothered by cleaning equipment, but I picked up a Dyson vacuum at Target this morning… and oh my frigging god. I had no idea there was so much disgusting stuff in my carpet. I generally think of myself as a meticulous cleaner, so I was actually a little disturbed at the amount of stuff this thing picked up. I filled the canister just going over the living room. And then I filled it again. Twice. My old vacuum was no slouch, but this one is clearly making an impression.

I know it’ll wear off in time, but right now, I’m totally hot for this vacuum.

Suburban Motorcross…

I don’t have a problem with kids who ride motorcycles. I mean I was one of them growing up. I was a holy terror on my little Honda and even later on my four-wheeler. Of course as a kid my house backed up to thousands of uninterrupted acres of places to ride. There was a time when I knew trails that would take me from Frostburg to Westernport in an afternoon’s ride. With that being said, I don’t know what would possess a parent to give their kid a dirt bike in a subdivision of ¼ acre lots.

I don’t fault the kid for ripping and tearing around the cul-de-sacs, but I sure as hell have a problem with the parents who are teaching him that it’s ok. I’m not gonna be the guy who calls and gets the kid in trouble with the law, but I wish there was some legal way to smack his parents in the back of the head. I’m just saying, if you want little Billy to be the next Motocross champion, maybe you should have considered buying a house that was… I don’t know… outside the city limits? Asshats.