Thursday, July 31, 2008

More money than sense, part 5

This post reveals my heart behind today's post: if you have a lot of money, you should give away what you don't need.*

I love cars. I love fast cars. I'd love to even just drive the Aston Martin Vantage Roadster. But I could never own one with a clean conscience. Basically, I know that $146,000 could feed an entire village in Kenya for about two years.

So if someone goes to F.C. Kerbeck in New Jersey and buys a new Vantage with cash, they could save about $28,000 just in interest payments. Again, a village could eat for a month, at least.

I'd challenge any Vantage owner to visit rural Africa. They might sell that car and drive a new Prius instead. And send the proceeds to the village they visited.

* I speak to myself on that too. I don't have a lot of money by Vantage owner standards, but by African villager standards, I'm fabulously wealthy. (I could be a lot more generous!)

See comments for more thoughts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lazy parents

stroller tourNow I'm probably going to step on a few toes with this post, so put your seatbelt on...

First, the ladies shown in the photo are not the lazy parents. The parents who hired them are.

We visited Washington, DC on our family vacation. This was important to me, as it allowed me to show my kids where I lived for 11 of my first 12 years (...suburban Maryland anyhow). Also, history-wise, they got to see a few places that were important to what America is today.

I'll spare you pictures and commentary on the Lincoln Memorial. But I will say that I was stunned to see these 4-kid strollers being pushed around the capitol. What will a 2-year old benefit from seeing those sites from a stroller? By someone who doesn't love them?

You see, a fancy day care company provides stroller tours for kids. I'm not sure if it's just a standard day care for politicians' children or what. But I was amazed to see about six of these strollers in a row, being pushed around the nation's capitol. At least 40% of their occupants had fallen asleep in the heat.

Now I'm not saying that day care is bad. I realize that some moms have to work to make ends meet. But this variety seemed like an upscale tourists' babysitting service.

Even Google makes mistakes

google newsI am amused sometimes when I check Google News. (It's a great news portal, by the way.) Sometimes their automatic news machine badly filters the information it finds. (The yellow highlighting is mine.)

So be encouraged when you mess up - even the big boys (and big girls) make mistakes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A tribute - June Hathersmith

June Hathersmith died in early June after only living 67 years.

She was a wonderful lady. I met her in Dallas first, and then spent time with her in England and Nairobi, Kenya. I worked with her because of her excellent skills as a photographer. I was inspired by her skills as a communicator - and by her communications.

She lost a long-running battle with cancer, as did her best friend Karen. But their short lives were a wonderful blessing to so many people, all over the world.

June's memorial service was entitled a celebration. Very appropriate.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kansas - land of superlatives

largest prairie dogKansas is home to many of the biggest, largest and finest things.

We did not stop to see any. I had to stop to photograph at least the billboard for one of them.

Alas, in our travels, greater things awaited us than the world's largest prairie dog. Stay tuned for more stunningly-exciting trip notes...

MobileMe - 2 objections

mobilemeMobileMe is a new set of Apple web applications available for your consumption. It does a lot of things for $8.25 a month. If you're not a Mac user, it's probably not even worth checking it out.

If you are a Mac user, it's the new version of .mac.

My objections:

1. Google's less pretty version(s) is (are) free. I guess you get what you pay for... MobileMe's usability and ease of interface is about ten times better.

2. The sync'ing features are not worth much for a non-iPhone user, such as me. (I don't even have my own mobile phone, so I'm not much of a market for such features. I used to be a Palm user, back in the day. But for my home-office setup, such devices don't do me much good.)

Update: Apple has experienced a bunch of problems with the service, so if you're thinking of doing it, maybe wait a month or three till you sign up.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I was in heaven. Heather wasn't.

white castleWe are safely back in our suburban home in Colorado. Over the next few posts, I'll give you some of the highlights of our family vacation.

We traveled 5,672 miles in the family minivan. That wasn't a highlight. But one of the joys of travel is enjoying food that isn't available in your home area. White Castle hamburgers are near the top of my list. You can't get any in Colorado.

They are lovingly referred to as "sliders" - because they are so greasy that they slide down your throat (or something like that). I know they'll take a few years off my life, in terms of cholesterol poisoning, but I love that taste.

By the way, they are available in your grocery store freezer, all over the country (or at least in most places) - but those just aren't the same as fresh hot ones.

A recommendation

"But isn’t God just like that? Ah, He’s a booger sometimes."

Visit here to read the context.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cool page, cool watch

swatchswatch blackino I love watches. Must be the design thing.

Funny enough, I don't normally wear one. I like having that unencumbered feeling. Plus, I am always close to a clock, as you saw from my previous post.

I own one Swatch. I bought it in 1996, I think. It still works. I like Swatches. So I went to their site recently, and I navigated around enough to see a page where you can see all the watches they currently sell. If you click on each individual watch, it shows you a larger view. Very cool.

This particular watch I featured here is from their summer collection. Sadly, it won't be a part of my summer collection. (My summer collection consists of some good memories, so far. And the memories have little to do with time - or watches.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Ikea goodness... for 99c

ikea clockWell, we're back from our family vacation. Posts on that later, after I get time. (This post was done a couple of weeks back - stored up for your enjoyment today.)

So we bought a second car. Life was just getting impossible with only one. Time and again, we faced the situation of each adult needing to be in a different place at the same time. So we bought a 1993 Eagle Summit (aka Mitsubishi Mirage/Lancer) from my father in law, who no longer needed it. He gave us a great deal, and we bought a known history. Funny enough, though it only has two doors, it has become our main car, because it gets better fuel economy than the minivan. All five of us fit inside.

It's the most basic model. No right-side mirror. No clock. Thus...

Yes, I bought this clock for 99c at Ikea. It's not the prettiest clock, but it does the trick. Actually, before that, I bought a special car clock from Target for about $6 or 8 - and it blacked out whenever the interior temperature hit over 90 degrees fahrenheit! So the 99c Ikea clock wins the race.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I'm taking a break from blogging for a few days. We're going on a zillion-mile family vacation, in the minivan.

I'll be back sometime after July 23rd. Happy July!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The beauty of packaging

My minor at university was package design. I tried illustration, but every illustration I did was like having a baby. (I decided having babies was best left to women.) After a few semesters of hard labors, I fit easily into the package design area of studies. (Part of the improvement was not just me - it was a better professor in that area.)

So anyhow, my sister Amy (who has had three babies) sent me this CD set. She bought it at a charity shop because she liked the packaging. I like the packaging too. To me, her string "ribbon" and the attached note were as much a positive part of the package design as the CD cover itself!

Monday, July 14, 2008

More money than sense, part 4

This lovely guitar sells for about $15,000.

It's not the guitar you're buying - but rather the signatures on it - a bunch of rock legends signed the guitar.

I must ask the question - what good does it do to hang that guitar in a case on your living room wall? Could that $15,000 be better spent elsewhere?

Finally, if you are the one who does want to buy it, here's the site. (Prices are not listed there; I had to call to find out - for your benefit, dear reader.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Ten Commandments book

I saw this gem while we were visiting a friend's house. It was published by Rand McNally in 1952. I loved the idyllic illustrations, from a different era. So I had to share it with you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The joys of a new kitty

Rachel got a new kitty for her birthday - Tiger. She loves him to pieces. We all enjoy watching his antics. He has so much energy!

Of course, there are issues of dealing with where he does his deed, etc. But he's teaching Rachel responsibility in a real hands-on manner.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What was once cool

Intercoms used to be all the rage. We visited some dear friends not long ago, and they had a state of the art intercom - circa 1979.

I'm amazed at how something that was so cutting edge at one time can become ancient history. I think intercoms could still be useful, depending on the house. Why did they go out of fashion?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A good warning

watch for snakesI spotted this sign at a rest stop in Texas. It's good advice for us all, wherever we may be.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pretty cool!

trek limeI "test drove" a really cool bike recently - the Trek Lime.

It has a 3-speed automatic transmission! There are interchangeable "inserts" so that you can change the look of it (like the Smart Car with its changeable body panels, only on a much smaller scale).

It has a computer-controlled servo that senses when you need to change gears, and it does it for you - well. "It works kind of like the automatic transmission in your aunt Edna's Buick." (That's how Trek puts it.) It also features a "trunk" under the seat, to put your cell phone or wallet.

Alas, it costs about $600 - a little out of my range.

Photo courtesy of the Trek Lime website.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th - a new WalMart logo

What could be more American than WalMart? Yes, it's the best and worst of American, all rolled into one place. (Well, maybe not much of the best...)

So yes, they came up with a new logo. I like it much better than the old. I'm not sure when it will replace the old one - all over America.

Buy-N-Large? Well, you gotta see Wall-E.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Hyundai does Lexus

hyundai genesisThe August issues of Car & Driver and Automobile magazines feature the new Hyundai Genesis. It's a luxury sedan that rivals Lexus models costing at least $6,000 more. I think the Genesis gives Lexus (and Mercedes) a run for the money. In other words, I think it offers seriously good value compared to the established competition.

The problem comes when it's time to sell the car. The percentage loss compared to the competition will probably be far greater. The money saved at the initial purchase will be lost then.

Why does this interest me? I'm a car guy. I would never buy any of the cars I'm talking about. But I still find them interesting. Maybe it's like how I enjoy going to an art museum to enjoy looking at masterpieces. I will never own them, but it enriches my soul to enjoy the beauty.

By the way, I took the photo in March, at the Denver Auto Show - before the car was sold.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pingbacks? No.

I would suggest to you that having the pingback feature as part of your blog's comments section is not a good thing.

I never read those little snippets. I would suggest that all they serve is maybe an ego boost to the blog's author to let them show that other blogs are linking to theirs. If it's necessary, maybe pingbacks could be in a second comment section below the main comments?

Wall-E: the 2-second review

wall-eIt was an interesting and enjoyable movie - yet I left feeling like I was missing something.

The hidden commentaries on WalMart/Sam's Club and obesity were thought-provoking.

And there's even a website for Buy n Large (the WalMart/Sam's company).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008