Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome to The Future, Mr. Jones

The Aptera (Greek for “wingless”) is an environmentally-friendly car that’s as clean and green as it is fantastically futuristic. The three-wheeled hybrid, which offers an all-electric or plug-in hybrid option, isn’t just a concept- you can reserve your own with just a $500 deposit. Seating 2.5 with plenty of room for luggage, the Aptera can get up to 230 miles per gallon at 55 miles per hour, and has an (electronically limited) top speed of 95 mph. Plus, it’s just so darn cool looking, we can’t resist the arthropod automobile aesthetic.

The two engine options are eco friendly- you can choose from an all-electric or plug-in hybrid version. The all-electric is powered exclusively with batteries, to last approximately 120 miles. At night you simply plug the Aptera into any standard 110 volt outlet and in just a few hours you will have a fully charged vehicle. The plug-in series hybrid is powered by an electric drive train, assisted by a fuel efficient gasoline powered generator, stretching the travel range significantly further. In typical driving you may achieve over 300 miles per gallon and you will have range far beyond any passenger vehicle available today.

The design of the Aptera includes all the standard features, including airbags, a rear view camera, GPS navigation, and a CD/MP3/DVD player. It also includes a RFID key fob to start the car, and a solar assisted climate control system. The approximate cost of the Aphera will be $26,900, and you can reserve your own wingless auto for a fully refundable $500.

As if Anti-Semitism isn’t bad enough…


Either this guy is a lousy speller or this photo was taken at the recent International Natural Fruit and Vegetable Beverage Producers (INFVBP) trade fair, held in New York. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Cannibal Joke?

Two cannibals, a father and son, were elected by the tribe to go out and get something to eat. They walked deep into the jungle and waited by a path. Before long, along came this little old man. The son said, "Ooh dad, there's one." "No," said the father. "There's not enough meat on that one to even feed the dogs. We'll just wait." Well, a little while later, along came this really fat man. The son said, "Hey dad, he's plenty big enough." "No," the father said. "We'd all die of a heart attack from the fat in that one. We'll just wait." About an hour later, here comes this absolutely gorgeous woman. The son said, "Now there's nothing wrong with that one dad. Let's eat her." "No," said the father. "We'll not eat her either." "Why not?" asked the son. "Because, we're going to take her back alive and eat your mother."

Separated at birth?

A Short Blue Joke

GrannyOn hearing that her elderly grandfather had just passed away, Katie went straight to her grandparent's house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother and comfort her.
When she asked how her grandfather had died, her grandmother replied, "He had a heart attack while we were making love on Sunday morning."

Horrified, Katie told her grandmother that 2 pe ople nearly 100 years old having sex would surely be asking for trouble.
"Oh no, my dear, " replied granny. "Many years ago, realizing our advanced age, we figured out the best time to do it was when the church bells would start to ring. It was just the right rhythm. Nice and slow and even. Nothing too strenuous, simply Ding and then.. Dong."
She paused, wiped away a tear and then continued, "And if that damned ice cream truck hadn't come along, he'd still be alive today.”

Monday, February 9, 2009

On a Night of a Million Stars

The Milky Road
Credit & Copyright: Larry Landolfi

Freeing you from your shackles!


The new law, passed by Parliament 10 days ago, has made it possible for 1.92 million people who have had credit card applications denied because they were labeled too risky after failing to pay their debts on time to apply for a new credit card. Normally, individuals or companies whose names are recorded in the database of risky customers cannot take out loans or have their credit card applications approved for five years after their names enter the list. Other than 1.92 million credit card casualties, nearly half a million people were on the list because they had failed to pay their individual loans and another 5.9 million for bounced checks, while 3.87 million were labeled risky customers because of failure to honor promises to pay. The new law has given them an opportunity to be freed from the shackles of a record of unpaid debt.

Another brilliant decision. I especially enjoyed the phrase "shackles of a record of unpaid debt." What exactly is the problem with keeping a record of those individuals and businesses that have defaulted on their loan payments? Why shouldn't the credit companies have the right to refuse further credit to those with poor repayment histories? Applications for new credit must be based on something, after all and failure to pay-as promised- your credit debts is a criminal offense. (In fact, the law, if I understand the article, allows people to apply for a new card. Anybody can apply for a new credit card. It doesn't mean acceptance.)

Think about it for a moment. Doesn't this amount to punishing all those small businesses and individuals that have responsibly paid their monthly credit card bills? What kind of message is that?

I think of no better way for Turkey to jump into the current economic crisis with both feet than by enacting this ridiculous law. We should be asking for more accountability, not less. This, on a grander scale, is how so many countries got into trouble in the first place, by carefree and unlimited borrowing and irresponsibly using credit without sufficient means for repayment.

Last year a friend of mine had the misfortune of working as a partner in a private company which might have served as a MBA case study on how NOT to manage a company. The stories my friend daily reported were both amusing and frightening. The first time the accountant saw the books, his hair must have turned white. Whenever his Turkish partner went to IKEA, ( which was usually about 2 times a week and almost always during working hours) he would smugly remove a stack of credit cards, at least 30 different ones, and flip through them like a Las Vegas card dealer. Items for personal use were routinely charged on his company credit card. "His attitude was: I am going to charge and charge as much as possible on my credit cards. Especially for personal items because if my company goes bankrupt, at least, I will have something to show for it," my friend told me. "Everything, and I mean, everything was charged on credit. As far I could see, he hardly ever gave a thought how he would pay any of it back."

Bottom line: There are some people who should not, under any circumstance, enter into the business world. Nobody actually relishes the idea of working as an underling. It is always more fun to give orders than to receive them. Unfortunately, just having the desire to be a bigwig businessman is not nearly enough. A success in the business world requires much more than the need to satisfy your egotistic cravings.

Small businesses that borrow without the capability to repay- or, still worse, without even the intention of repayment- are doing nothing more than stealing. Those company owners that use credit irresponsibly must be forced to close their doors because in the end, it is the tax payers that must repay the debt- with the added effect of increased interest rates for all of us. People and companies often go into bankruptcy for good reasons; this is one of the hard facts of life in the capitalist system.

On the other side, credit companies should not be expected to underwrite bad credit and the government has no authority to force them to do so. Credit is not a handout, for heaven's sake. Credit companies keep records of those individuals and companies that fail to pay off their debts for very legitimate reasons. How many times would loan money to a deadbeat friend that lives like Rockefeller and never repays his debts? Is it better to forget his failures and continue to loan him the next time he runs into a problem?

But, then, more cynically, if you were a incompetent business owner using your credit cards like tomorrow would never come, who would you be voting for?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For your barber to be!


The Fall of '29

Here is my first film! Let me know what you think. The song, "The Fall of '29" is sung by an early country and Western band, The Light Crust Doughboys" I couldn't transcribe the entire song- the audio is admittedly poor- but here are the first two stanzas.

Well hello there, Mr. Ice Man

Where have I seen your face?

Please don't try to tease me Mister

just because I lost the race.

I was working as a banker worth a million for a time

but I lost the whole Caboodle

In the Fall of 29

In the Fall of 29

That's when we started sliding

In a call for 50/50

you lost yours and I lost mine

But it made us all more human

In the Fall of 29

Hey there Mr. Taxi driver

Where have I seen you before?

Listen buddy I'm the fella

who'd stocks and bonds galore

My office was on Wall Street

Everything was going fine

when my stocks and bonds all vanished

in the Fall of 29


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