Car Buying Made Simple

I’ve been reading Scott Adam’s blog throughout the election season, because his take on the phenomenon known as Trump has both a unique take and the volume turned down, at least so far as emotionalism goes. But lately he has worked himself into an insanity regarding buying a Chevy Truck, and reported that he cannot do it without feeling screwed.

So the answer to my question about why other people can buy trucks and I can’t is that I have a degree in economics and I’m trained in persuasion, so scams are more evident to me. There is literally no path to buying a truck that isn’t some form of dealer abuse on customers. I can’t willingly submit to abuse, and my cognitive dissonance isn’t strong enough to overcome it.

So I have no truck.

This is banana-pants to me. Everyone talks about buying a car or a truck as though it was an endeavor comparable to signing a missile treaty. It’s not. It’s purchasing, largely on credit, a complicated and expensive machine you understand poorly in order to have transportation. It’s a long-term commitment, and it’s pricey, so it’s easy to feel out of your depth.

I’m here to help. I’m not an expert on cars (or trucks), but I’ve bought them several times, and I have what I think is the solution to Scott’s problem and a general, low-stress way to buy vehicles.

  1. No matter what you do, you’re going to spend a lot of money. Stop worrying about “getting screwed”. Only people who buy lemons get screwed. You’re buying an expensive thing. Guess what? It costs a lot of money. Figure out how much you’re comfortable with spending, and don’t spend more than that.
  2. Features are unimportant. A car or truck is transportation. That’s what it does. If it does that for a number of years without requiring major mechanical overhaul, then it has performed its function. There are many different features because there are many different people who all want different things, and there are limited means of manufacture. It is highly unlikely to walk onto a lot and find the car you’ve been imagining in your head. If you need a specific car, with specific features, then you need to custom-order it. And you will pay for that. See #1.
  3. Never walk on the lot unless you know what you want to buy. Anyone who expects a car salesman to put your needs ahead of his is a fool. His job is not to fulfill your needs. His job is to make money while making you feel comfortable while he does it. He’s going to try to sell you what his dealership has a lot of. He’s going to try to maximize the price you pay, and minimize the value of your trade-in. That’s what he’s going to do. He’s not your friend. He’s a man trying to make money off of you. That doesn’t make him a bad person, but it does make him an unreliable source of information. Believe nothing he says. Instead, forearm yourself with Consumer Reports and other sources of info that expect no more from you than the cover price of a magazine. Then, decide what you want. Decide which features are important to you. Decided how much you want to spend.

And understand that you will probably get something that’s 70%-80% of your ideal. That’s how the world works. Be okay with that, and you won’t feel screwed. And you’ll actually be able to buy a car.

Ghostbusters Ghostbusters Ghostbusters blah blah blah blah blah

A little while ago, I tweeted this:

Apparently no one else has considered this. Because apparently this film sits across the cultural divide like the fulcrum on a teeter-totter, and everyone’s pushing it one way or another.

A comedy film is good if its funny. If it makes you laugh, you account it good. If it doesn’t, you do the opposite. Laughter – and film appreciation in general — cannot be forced. I speak as someone who worked really hard to like The Phantom Menace back in the day. In the end, I couldn’t.

So the Ghostbusters remake will either be a funny film in which some comedic actresses amuse us, or it will be one of those movies that you keep waiting to be funny and never is (I’m looking at you, The Devil Wears Prada).

This has nothing to do with gender. Women are funny. I know this because women have made me laugh. An all-female Ghostbusters reboot? Whatever, why not?

I watched a lot of Ghostbusters as a kid. It was one of the first movies that my folks videotaped on the VCR off of HBO (That’s how it was done in the old days). I know it basically by heart. It’s eminently quotable. But I’m not emotionally attached to it. Yes, its lame that Hollywood won’t stop rebooting old properties. I hadn’t made any plans to see this one in the theater. But that doesn’t mean I was devoted to it failing. I just didn’t care. I’ll catch it on Netflix, probably.

I saw the trailer, and I laughed – not big laughs, but amusement – a few times. Which doesn’t mean anything. But one thing did bother me about it, and that was how Leslie Jones seemed to be doing a caricature of Things Black Characters Say.

You see what I’m talking about? “It’s a Cadillac!” “Aw, Hell NO!” and screaming at the top of her lungs. And maybe I’m only noticing it because in the original film, Winston didn’t seem like the Black Stereotype. Ghostbusters has as its heroes a snarky hustler, a nerd who doesn’t like talking to people, and a nerd who won’t shut up. Winston provided a necessary leavening of this dorkitude, but his role on the film is to be the Regular Joe, not the Black Guy. He has moments where yes, the blackness is more obvious (telling the Mayor “I have seen shit that’ll turn you white” one of my favorite lines, and the Mayor’s reaction is great), but overall, his deadpan responses highlight the audience’s own bemusement at the proceedings, allowing us to recognize and take part in the absurdity of analogizing paranormal activity as a big Twinkie. He wasn’t all Corn Bread and Street Wisdom, is my point. And maybe Jones does that too, just in a different way. Like I said, I’m not committed to this. But according to this guy who saw it, I’m not alone in that impression.

The reviews are coming in, and I’m only seeing bad ones so far. Which may mean this film fails as comedy. If it does, so be it. If it makes money, so be it. But watching people flail over it like it Means Something is exhausting. Oh, what an exciting concept! Female heroes and a male director regurgitating a 30-year-old movie! THE REVOLUTION HAS COME BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

Or, as this commenter on the PJMedia takedown put it:

A culture that reboots “Ghostbusters” is a decadent culture. A culture that erupts in controversy over a reboot of “Ghostbusters” is a dead culture.

Nailed it.

Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation

Or OP, as they call it.

 

My first impression is that it sounds very Celtic, which is odd, as the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and their Norman overlords were none of them Celts. I must be wrong about that, then.

My second is that the lines flow with a musicality that they do not with modern pronunciation, and they aren’t any harder to follow than Shakespeare’s thoughts are anyway. Fascinating stuff.

Thanks to Twentytwowords.

The Roman Polanski Two-Step

The old goat is running out of places to not be extradited from.

Zbigniew Ziobro, who also became Poland’s chief prosecutor after the country’s new, staunchly conservative government merged the two posts, argues that it was the director’s celebrity status in Poland, where he grew up, that had prevented him from being extradited in the past.

‘I’ve decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the ruling … in which the … court decided not to extradite Mr Polanski to the US in a situation when he’s accused of and wanted for … a rape of a child,’ Ziobro told Poland’s state radio.

‘If he was just a regular guy, a teacher, doctor, plumber, decorator, then I’m sure he’d have been deported from any country to the US a long time ago,’ he said.

The truth! It burns!

And it gives me an excuse to re-link an old Revolutionary Nonsense favorite: “With the Rich and Mighty, or Is Roman Polanski as Smart as Michael Vick?

Let us therefore treat Roman Polanski as we treated Michael Vick. Let us punish him for the crimes he has committed, and then release him when he has served time commensurate with his offense. Let us treat the celebrated director and holocaust-surviving Polish Jew with the same justice as the Black Football Player.

It’s solid dudgeon. Read the Whole Thing.

Assassination is Not Your Friend

I don’t know if  Glenn Beck is really talking about what he sounds like he’s talking about here. As I read it, he was speaking hypothetically, like “what do we do if?…” The sentiment, however, is common enough to be talked of. Sometimes people feel like killing a President. But it’s been a while since someone killed a president out of patriotic obligation, out of the need to dispatch a tyrant. In fact, I’m pretty sure the last one to do that was acting out of patriotic obligation to an abhorrent rebellion aimed at using the rhetoric of liberty in order to keep men in bondage.

But let’s say that Trump, or Hillary for that matter, becomes the caudillo/caudilla of our worst nightmares. Is assassination the way to deal with him/her?

No. Here is why:

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Death_of_Caesar_-_Walters_37884

If classical references are lost on you, this is the Death of Caesar. Julius Caeser was assassinated at the beginning of a public meeting of the Senate by 12 Senators who had decided that Julius Caeser was a threat to the Republic, that his becoming Dictator  Perpetuus was the latest in a string of unconstitutional excesses that would end in Rome becoming an authoritarian state.

In this, they were almost certainly correct.

But in assassinating them, they made that state certain. In assassinating Caesar, they made him a martyr, and themselves – and the cause they espoused – the enemies of good order. Within a few years, the Roman imperium is divided among Caeser’s heirs. Within 20, Octavian has legally obtained from a tame Senate all the authority that matters. And the Roman people stood mum as long peace obtained.

Brutus and Cassius failed. John Wilkes Booth failed. Assassination is not a path to liberty.

“I Don’t Work for the G-d-Damn GOP”

Jonah Goldberg, explaining why he’s not voting Trump.

This is what I’ve been saying to myself for the last month or so. I don’t owe the GOP my vote. They don’t own my franchise, I do. I not only have the right, I have the duty as a citizen not to give my legal assent to something that displeases me. And if Hillary wins, so goddamn be it. But I live in a state that hasn’t given it’s EC votes to a Republican since I was 8 years old. There is no purpose to me holding my nose for the Great Orange Hope.

And it must be pointed out that for all their gleeful trollery, the alt-right crowd has a point. What the hell has the conservative movement conserved? What the hell has the GOP actually accomplished when they’ve been given the keys? I mean, aside from holding firm on the Second Amendment, which is really the one area of successful pushback we’ve had in the last several decades.

I’m tired of the charade of voting these clowns in, so they can find the most strategic way to only hold the left to half of what it wants, for now. I’m tired of them railroading the actual, committed conservatives so they can elect another Bush scion or sellout. Trump is what they deserve for playing that game too long.

Frankly, the GOP can go screw itself with an endive fork.

Read the whole thing.