Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The New Winner of The Butt-Ugliest Car award

Click on the link below to see the pictures of the 2006 Subaru Crossover. This car is scary ugly. Yo mama so ugly that if she were a car she'd be a Subaru Crossover. You look in the dictionary for the word ugly, you see this car. That's how ugly this thing is.

I can just see the Pontiac Aztek (anthropomorphized) saying "Mirror Mirror on the wall, Who's the ugliest car of all?"

"Not you, my queen. There is one in the land who is far more ugly than you."

According to thecarconnection, GM might put out a version of this car for itself. The AztekII anyone?

According to the article, this design resulted in "positive feedback" in consumer clinics. "Positive feedback?" Is that the same as throwing up?

Click only if you have an empty stomach.

The Car Connection [ The Web's Automotive Authority ]

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Revenge of the Neons

You know how Pokemon evolve into even more powerful Pokemon with different names? I suppose you can say that the same thing has happened with the Dodge Neon evolving into the SRT-4. How about 5.3 seconds from 0-60? I don't know whether our discount applies or not. I heard there's a waiting list. Though there are $3000 rebates on lesser Neons, none apply to the SRT-4.

If I get a chance to drive one of these puppies, I'll report it in the blog.

Car and Driver Magazine : Dodge SRT-4 : April?2004

Friday, March 19, 2004

Oops! Correction

It's not a Microsoft site - it's the government antitrust site. I always thought that the government's pursuit of Microsoft was half-assed. If they really were bothered by the Microsoft monopoly, wouldn't they have been more aggressive about buying non-microsoft products? I bet all those briefs against Microsoft were written using Microsoft Word on Windows computers.

Welcome - Coordinated State Enforcement of Microsoft Antitrust Judgments
Whatever you do, don't complain about Microsoft's Anti-competitive practices using Netscape

The Microsoft website doesn't allow the use of the Netscape browser (or others for that matter).

FYI - I've been using Mozilla at home, and I'm really pleased with it. My previous experiences with Netscape were less than satisfying.

Microsoft antitrust complaint site only accepts Internet Explorer browsers, claim

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Finally, like a new Googleteer(tm) search

The Googleteer comes out of hibrernation for this search

"hilary duff" "I'm like" "it's like"

(All 3 must be hits)

506 hits

I'm like so annoyed when every other like word is like, it's like so annoying.

Google Search: "hilary duff" "I'm like" "it's like"

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Most improved player - 2004 Saturn Vue (V6 models anyway)

Below is a link to a review by that touts the improved character of the 2004 Saturn Vue.

2004 Saturn VUE Review
Edmunds Deals of the month - A 2004 Buick Rendezvous Ultra for $18860 Wow - except . ..

I saw this on's deal's of the month. 2004 Buick Rendezvous Ultra AWD. (That's the high line version with all the stuff & the new 3.6 liter twincam v-6.) $18860 after rebate. Wow. Except, this just isn't right. These prices are way off, at least $10k. Oh well. Edmunds is usually reliable.

Best new auto prices from Edmunds TMV
The next wave in Globalism - Debt Collection is being outsourced to India.

Justice comes in all forms I suppose --

"I understand that you lost your job, Mr. Smith, with My employer NCO, but that's no excuse for not paying your bill. Now excuse me while I eat my curry."

Collecting debt going overseas

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Road Trip Suggestion - Rube Goldberg Competitions
Chicago April 17
West Lafayette Indiana April 3

If you are in the midwest and are looking for an April road trip. You can do a lot worse than checking out the Rube Goldberg Machine competitions that are being held in Chicago and in West Lafayette Indiana (Purdue University).

The Chicago competition is for the high school competitors.
And the Purdue competition is for the college competitors.

My family went to the Purdue competition a few years ago, and it was a lot of fun. I think they had about 100 steps to fry an egg or something like that.

Argonne Rube Goldberg Home Page
Twin sons of Different Mothers? NOLSW/UAW Local 2320 and AFSCME 3357

Check out the similarities between the websites for the National Association of Legal Service Workers (UAW Local 2320) and our AFSCME 3357 site.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Wacky Packages are back

I spent all my money on these from age 7-10.

MSNBC - ‘Wacky Packages’ make a comeback
Ford Escape Hybrid to use Toyota Technology

Toyota's standing at the top of the hybrid hill was confirmed with a public press release that Ford will be using Toyota technology in its upcoming Escape Hybrid SUV. Toyota has been public in its ambitions to license the technology widely, but as far as I know, until now had no publicly announced takers.

I talked to someone at a Nissan dealership who indicated that Nissan may be the next to announce the licensing of the Toyota technology.

Ordinarily, I would criticize Ford for licensing the technology rather than developing its own, but in this case I think it is the right approach. Toyota has shown that it is at least a generation ahead of everybody else. It makes no sense to try to reinvent the wheel.

If you haven't tried out the 2004 Toyota Prius, you really should drive one. The car is amazingly good. I probably would have put my name on the waiting list the day I drove the car except that my contract with UAW-LSP prevents me from driving a non-UAW built car to work.

IHT: Ford will use Toyota's hybrid technology
The Teflon(tm) finally starts to Peel off Paypal

As an attorney with UAW Legal Services, I have fielded a number of complaints by our clients against Paypal. Consumers sign up for the Paypal service to buffer the risk of internet auction sites only to find that Paypal lets them down time and time again.

In essence, Paypal is an escrow service that denies it's an escrow service. At least it denies the fiduciary responsibilities that generally come with being an escrow service.

Paypal performs some of the functions of a bank, yet it is not regulated as a bank.

The New York Attorney General's office just entered into a consent arrangement with Paypal over its dispute handling procedures. This promises to be a fast-evolving story over the next few months. The site below, seems to keep good track of Paypal and has numerous stories indexed.

What bugs me most about Paypal is that the company is in a fabulous niche. It could be a great company. Even though I have fielded numerous complaints, even I recognize that over 99% of the time, the transactions go through Paypal with no problems at all. Fundamentally, Paypal's management needs to recognize that when you are in a service business, you have to have a service attitude.

In the long run this scrutiny will force the company to improve its business practices. I have a hunch that a year from now Paypal will be a much better company to do business with. (Yes, I know I ended a sentence with a preposition. Deal with it.)

Online Payment Systems At a Glance

Monday, March 08, 2004

Argonne National Laboratory Transportation Technology R&D Center

If you want to keep up with the cutting edge developments in advanced automotive technology like fuel cells, hybrids, etc, check out this web site.

Argonne National Laboratory Transportation Technology R&D Center
Warren Buffett has $36 Billion in cash, and that's just sad.

According to the New York Times, Warren Buffet reported that he is holding as much cash as he can due to uncertainty in the economy. This is just sad. Here's one of the smartest investors in the world, if not THE smartest, and he can't be confident of making more than a puny money market rate of return on his capital.

Needless to say, this keeps $36 Billion out of productive use. I think back to the Bible story where the father throws the son out of the house because he buries the money entrusted to him rather than putting it to productive use. Of course, money market funds are productive, but only to a degree.

Finally, what does this say about George W. Bush and establishment confidence in the Bush Economic Plan?

Buffett Has Cash Holdings of $36 Billion
(free registration required)

Friday, March 05, 2004 - another option for effortless fundraising?
Whenever I make a significant consumer purchase, I try to use scrip so that my childrens' school can get a little extra money. It sure beats selling popcorn.

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon This site actually had the best price on the first thing I looked at, and 2% goes to the charity of your choice. It's worth checking out the next time you buy something. - Save Money. Support Non-Profits.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Peyton Manning and the Peyback Foundation - Doing the minimum for the maximum attention

Peyton Manning touts his contributions to disadvantaged kids through the Peyback foundation. Per his website $320k since 1999. This is not all coming from Peyton though. Numerous corporate sponsors are listed.

Here's an open letter to you Peyton. You are taking a lot of money out of our city, Indianapolis, Marion County. We have schools that have been starved for funding for public projects like the football stadium that brought the Colts to Indianapolis. Here's a proposition: Pay to air condition one school per year.

The city is talking about funding a $200-300 million stadium. The least you can do is kick in $5 million for the kids. $300k of other peoples' money just isn't that impressive.

Peyton > PeyBack Foundation
Peyton Manning and the Great Apes

Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning has been in the news lately for his new $99 million contract with a $34.5 million signing bonus.

This shows how out of whack our priorities are. Below is a link from the United Nations. They are begging for $25 million to save all of the great apes (Gorillas, Chimpanzees, orangutan and Bonobos) from extinction. Hey Peyton, why don't you really "pey back" and cut a check for the whole amount. They can name wildlife sanctuaries after you.

$25 Million Urgently Needed To Save Great Apes, U.N. Says

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

A Big Onion for Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is in my doghouse for customer service. I received an e-mail advertisement in my inbox ostensibly from Southwest. When I went to find the unsubscribe information, the message directed me to go to the southwest website. When I clicked two menus deep into the website, the site told me I wasn't on their mailing list.

I then looked for an e-mail contact at southwest only to find out that Southwest doesn't accept e-mail. That's funny, because they market with e-mail.

I called two different customer service numbers. Finally one person told me that the message didn't come from Southwest, it came from a spoofing virus. Maybe yes, maybe no, but it appears that Southwest has a policy of sending e-mail marketing messages and not accepting replies. Further, a search tells me that Southwest has had problems with spoofing before, but there is no mention of it on the website. Finally, from the link below, the policy of not accepting e-mail and resulting low customer service ratings is not a new situation. This goes back at least to 2000.

So, Southwest, you are in my doghouse. Stop quivering in fear and get back to work.

Airlines hit snag with online customer service | CNET

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Where for art thou Ford Escape Hybrid?

I stumbled on this press release from April 2000 touting the hybrid version of the Ford Escape to be available in 2003. This is the first I can remember any press release noting that the basic technology of the car comes from earlier Volvo projects.

Ford Escape to have clean, efficient hybrid-electric powertrain in 2003
Where for art thou Ford Escape Hybrid?

I stumbled on this press release from April 2000 touting the hybrid version of the Ford Escape to be available in 2003. This is the first I can remember any press release noting that the basic technology of the car comes from earlier Volvo projects.

Ford Escape to have clean, efficient hybrid-electric powertrain in 2003

Monday, March 01, 2004

Pokemon PT Cruiser to be auctioned on eBay

Ck out the specially built Pokemon PT Cruiser. My 6 year-old loves Pokemon. I think he'd have a hard time coming up with the money to buy this car.

Motor Trend News - Pokemon-e PT Cruiser To Be Auctioned On eBay
Starsky & Hutch Torinos making a comeback?

I never liked the red Torino with the white stripe driven by Starksky & Hutch. So naturally, the car is making a revival with the new Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson movie.

There's now a website dedicated to the Starsky model Torinos.

Starsky and Hutch Torinos