We have a WHAT?

In August, my ’97 Chevrolet Monte Carlo waned my fiscal conservatism. I must have looked at it wrong, as it came down with more problems. I already hate that car, a pathetic product of a union-starved, incompetently led corporation. It may have needed another intake manifold gasket replacement, more A/C work, and possible oil and crankshaft seal replacements.

Plus, kid #2 on the way is a convenient excuse…

You’ll be amazed: I don’t like SUVs. But now we have one. Here’s the logic:

Luggage taken on a 2 week trip with a 1 year old boy.
Luggage taken on a 2 week trip with a 1 year old boy.
  1. Wife wanted a larger vehicle but hates minivans. I’m OK with the “larger vehicle” part. The stuff pictured at right is everything we brought on a 2 week trip when our son was 1 year old. Yes, it fit in our ’02 Nissan Maxima, but barely. I can’t fathom how we could pack for 2 kids. We went back and forth on the minivan vs. SUV argument, but the SUV won both because of spousal preference and…
  2. Used SUVs are cheap! The price savings alone pays for several years worth of additional of gas.

After research and a few test drives, we focused on the 2006-2007 Honda Pilot. We didn’t go earlier than 2006 because only 4×4 models were available.

The dealers are idiots. None seemed to know how little their SUVs are worth. The “no pressure” dealers had exorbitant, barely-negotiable pricing. All of them lie, lie, lie.

2 weeks into the search, we checked the Acura MDX. While it’s the Pilot’s corporate cousin, it’s not the same sense as GM’s chicanery, where they took an Oldsmobile 98, tweaked the outside, slapped on leather seats and other doo-dads, and called it a Cadillac Fleetwood.

To our shock, Autotrader’s MDXes listed for less than the Pilot! HUH?

After a test drive and a couple more days of looking, Jennifer found a MDX for sale by a private owner. Pictures looked great, a VIN search checked out, etc.

Long story short, we met the guy on Monday, had it inspected, and by Thursday we were at his credit union buying it from him.

So here’s the new Cambre garage mate:

I still cannot believe that these are cheaper than Pilots, and I cannot believe the deal we got.

A while back, I told my wife I would never want a “luxury car.” It just didn’t feel right. Well, we have one now. It still doesn’t feel right, but the price was right!

I (heart) 90.1 At Night

My local public radio, KERA 90.1 FM, does a two hour weekly music program called 90.1 At Night.

It’s awesome.

Host J. Paul Slavens dishes up a truly eclectic mix, including many Texas and local pieces. And it has little crap in the smooth jazz, Celtic, or “mood music” (tonal study?) genres.

My wife complains that I wouldn’t normally listen to many of the songs. She’s right, but it’s just different when juxtaposed so eclectically. (Is that a word?)

90.1 At Night runs every Sunday, 8 PM to 10 PM on KERA 90.1 FM in the Dallas/Ft. Worth market.

Texas DPS to celebrate Christmas by hassling motorists

If you see this car in your rearview mirror, you won the reverse lottery!
If you see this car in your rearview mirror, you won the reverse lottery!

Per today’s press release, the Texas DPS’s holiday “special concern” is “drinking and driving,” but that doesn’t stop them from a colossal revenue grab.

In 2007, at least 80%* of their holiday moving violation tickets were revenue enhancement speeding tickets. Their stated “special focus” suggests the same will happen again.

The Texas Legislature created our 70 mph rural speed limit in 1963. Now, if you can tell me what an arbitrary number, picked out of a hat 45 years ago, has to do with road safety… You get the point: NOTHING!

So, yes, fully eighty percent of TxDPS’s holiday moving violation activity isĀ  revenue enhancement. This is what passes for highway policing?

Thank you, Texas DPS: revenue first.

*80% is from speeding tickets / (total citations - seat belt violations).