Very interesting story on car anti-theft devices and the lovely insurance companies. This quote boggled me:
I went to see Montes at his custom motor-cycle shop about a half hour south of San Francisco and asked him how someone could have stolen my car. He just laughed. “If I want to take your Civic, I’ll do it in 10 seconds,” he said. Then he confirmed Hyser’s story. The mythical Honda override exists: It’s a series of presses and pulls of the emergency brake. Each car, it seems, has a unique override code, which correlates to the VIN.
“You want to get yours?” Montes asked.
Sure, I said.
He called an acquaintance who worked at a Honda dealership. I listened, awestruck, as Montes fed the guy a barely credible story about a cousin who had dropped his keys down a sewer. The dealership employee was at home but evidently could access the Honda database online. I gave Honky’s VIN to Montes, who passed it along to his friend. We soon had the prescribed sequence of pulls, which I scribbled down in my notebook.
I walked outside and approached Honky. The door lock would have been easy – a thief would have used a jiggle key, and a stranded motorist would have had a locksmith cut a fresh one. I just wrapped the grip of my key in tinfoil to jam the transponder. The key still fit, but it no longer started the car.
Then I grabbed the emergency brake handle between the front seats and performed the specific series of pumps, interspersed with rotations of the ignition between the On and Start positions. After my second attempt, Honky’s hybrid engine awoke with its customary whisper.
I had just jacked my own car.
Yeah that's right, my civic is jackable. And all it takes is a phone call!
From John Stossel's Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity:
By failing to account for inflation, the media have some Americans so alarmed that they can't think straight. "What costs more," I asked customers at a gas station, "gasoline or bottled water?" The answer I got from almost everyone was gasoline. At that very gas station, water was for sale at $1.29 for a twenty-four-ounce bottle. That's $6.88 per gallon, three times what the station charged for gasoline. It gets sillier. I asked gas station customers, "What costs more, gasoline or ice cream?" Again, most people said gasoline cost more. But at $3.39 a pint, "premium" ice cream costs about $27.00 a gallon.
We should marvel at how cheap gasoline is-what a bargain we get from oil companies. After all, it's easy to bottle water, but think about what it takes to produce and deliver gasoline. Oil has to be sucked out of the ground, sometimes from deep beneath an ocean. To get to the oil, the drills often have to bend and dig sideways through as much as five miles of earth. What they find then has to be delivered through long pipelines or shipped in monstrously expensive ships, then converted into three or more different formulas of gasoline and transported in trucks that cost more than $100,000 each. Then your local gas station must spend a fortune on safety devices to make sure you don't blow yourself up. At $2.26 a gallon (about forty-six cents of which goes to taxes), gas is miraculously cheap! But what we heard from the clueless media was, "Gas prices are at record highs!"
Speaking of pipelines, I recently saw The Yes Men, a hilarious documentary about some guys who pretend to be representatives of the WTO and actually get invited to conventions to give talks. Hilarity ensues when the presentation becomes absurd, slowly pushing over the edge to see what the listeners will take.The funniest skit was when they were invited to a university and they gave a presentation (including a hilarious CGI animation) of a new McDonald's invention to feed the poor and hungry in 3rd world countries.
The presenters brought in boxes of hamburgers just purchased from McDonalds and gave them freely to the students, setting the stage. They then said that the human body wastes about 80% of what it ingests. They proceeded to describe a new type of burger. The CGI showed a McDonalds bathroom. Someone goes to take a dump, and the human waste is then pumped through various pipes and tubes processing it and going all the way to a 3rd world country's McDonalds, coming out of the pipes to make new not-all-beef patties for customers in turbans.
The students in the audience stop eating their burgers and are appalled. They actually believe it! This skit is just absolute genius, and the movie is worth seeing just for this. It perfectly conveys the concept of shitting on other people.
Picked up a Honda Civic Hybrid this weekend. Below are some stock photos of the color I got. Great, now I have 2 cars that I don't drive . The weather is so nice that I bike to work every day. I even picked up the car by biking to the dealership. Here's a tip, if you want car salespeople to leave you alone, come into the dealership with a bike and sweating like a pig. No one will want to sell you a car .
The Civic is a neat car. I can actually sense the charging when using the brakes which is interesting. It has an aux in for my ipod and a navigation system. It has all sorts of futuristic lights that make me feel warm and fuzzy. I got the 'bass speaker' upgrade, but really it doesn't compare to my Infiniti. Hey, it's a Civic after all, what can I expect. It's not bad though.
My lease is up in a few weeks for my Infiniti, so I should be back to 1 car soon. I paid for the new car cash, no financing bullshit. That feels good to not have car payments.
Now I gotta find a condo or something to invest money in rather than wasting it on rent. Ahh the endless rat race...
Here's a great, albeit old, article on car salesmem.
My lease is up in May. I'm planning on getting a hybrid. That is, if I can get one!
I currently drive a fairly nice car: Infiniti FX35. When I go to dealers, I like to park a bit down the street so they don't see my car. Salespeople are always looking out for nice cars for big-spending customers. I come in walking, and sometimes a salesman won't even approach me unless I ask, because they don't think I will spend any money. That's the way I like it.
Today I test drove a Toyota Prius. I liked it very much. It turns out there is a 5 month waiting list at the dealer I went to. WTF? Makes you wonder just how much big oil has their fingers in. I put a $500 deposit to get on the list, then went to the Honda dealershit.. umm dealership.
I received the worst service imaginable. They had no Civic Hybrid for me to test drive, and didn't even let me see the interior of a regular Civic. The salesperson was a rude ass. They definitely won't be seeing my money.
Anyway, I'm thinking if I decide on the Prius, I would be out of a car for a few months when my lease ends. That wouldn't be so bad since I can get by with a bike. We'll see...
The honorable Schwarzenegger has granted me my driver's license. I missed 3 questions on the written test (6 maximum). I didn't have to take a driving test thank God. You actually have to study a bit. I remember one question that threw me off. It asked what was the speed limit in a business district if there is no posted limit. I had remembered 25 was for residential, but for some reason thought business was 35. It is actually 25 too.
They punched a hole in my FL driver's license and it is no longer valid . I have to get my car smog-checked before I can get my registration.
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