Thursday, October 25, 2007
I was driving home the other night listening to John Meyer. He had a sax blow a crescendo on one steady note. It fit the music beautifully. The problem was that I was making a left turn on a green light at the time.
No one was coming - I had checked the intersection. But, I still worried that someone was bearing down on me, standing on their horn.
It's like hearing sirens in a commercial or rap song. You never think, "Wow, those sirens sure made this song worth hearing." You always think, "Oh, crap. I'm getting pulled over!"
Jim Cramer commented today that Comcast was acting like a baby. Cramer always has great comments, and he sure knows how to read the market. The problem is that he used a baby-crying sound effect shortly after I had put my girls to bed. Instead of thinking, "You're right Jim, those clowns at Comcast are doing something wrong" I was thinking, "Oh crap. Which one is awake?" (That last comment should show you. The crying baby sound effect took my mind off of Cramer's show. I don't even know what the horse's asses at Comcast did wrong... or are doing wrong... or are going to do wrong).
So, what's the point of this post? There isn't one... except to say that I love John Meyer and Jim Cramer, but they're slowly killing me. Oh yeah, and thank you John McCain for what you did during Woodstock.
Monday, October 1, 2007
2. The winner of the "Squeaky-Wheel gets the grease" award goes to Elvira Tellez. Had she been a real pain-in-the-ass the nurses might have remembered her and been sure to send her home instead of leaving her in the CT scan overnight.
3. The winner of the "I wear the pants in this family" award goes to my wife. With the Padres and the Rockies tied in the ninth during the 7th regular season playoff game of all time, she had me switch the TV so that she could watch the rose ceremony on "The Bachelor".
4. The winner of the "Oh-$h!t!" award goes to Bob Stoops. He under-estimated Kevin Eberhart and ruined my Saturday afternoon.
4b. The runner up - and honorable mention - is Charlie Weis. No longer the gold standard, Weis may be unemployed by month's end.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Ask anyone that knows me... I have hatred in my heart (see Michael Moore, Fred Phelps, Alex Rodriguez, Corby) just none for Ahmedinejad. Why should I? I don't see why everyone dislikes him so much.
I thought I'd analyze some of the criticism.
There are some that state that Iran provides resources to terrorists. Says who? Bush? We all know that Bush's intelligence comes from a bunch of guys that couldn't find their assholes with both hands and a flashlight (see Iraqi WMD's).
Ahmedinejad said that Israel should be "wiped off the map." First of all, he didn't say that. That's in English, and he doesn't speak English. I don't know exactly what Ahmedinejad said, but "wiped off the map" is a translation. I've read that his words could also be translated as "eliminated" or "wiped away" and that Ahmedinejad was not talking about the state or geological phenomenon of Israel, but simply the Israeli government and regime.
Ahmedinejad said that there are no homosexuals in Iran. I'm certain that he did not mean that there are absolutely positively no homosexuals anywhere in Iran (see crying and its existence in baseball). I think Ahmedinejad was attempting to indicate that homosexuality is much more prevelant in American society. We have Will & Grace. We watch Ellen & Doogie Houser. Hell... Webster's New Millenium Dictionary includes "MetroSexual". I think Ahmedinejad was trying to say that the phenomenon is not accepted by Iranian society. I think he meant, "We don't have homosexuals because they all hide, or hang".
Iran is building nuclear weapons. Again... Bush and his intelligence isn't all it's cracked up to be. Plus, can you tell another country they are evil for producing nuclear weapons when we are the only country to ever use atomic energy in combat? Israel, Pakistan, China, and Russia are all in the Nuclear Club. In the early '80s some kid made an atomic bomb with material he stole from John Lithgow (wait... that was a movie). If I were Iran, and I got as much crap from America as Ahmadinejad does, I'd want a nuclear umbrella for protection, too!
So, what has he done poorly? Why is he evil? Why is this man hated so much? Someone explain it to me. Tell me I'm wrong.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
1. Kid Nation - Yahoo! states that lots of people are trying to find out more about the controversy surrounding the conditions on set for the kids. I think that interest will make this a highly viewed premiere, but I'm willing to bet that interest will die into the second or third episode.
2. Bionic Woman - Who can resist a hot chick who kicks butt? I'll bet the viewers of this show have the same names as many of the viewers of Alias. I don't think my father's generation will find favor with this show. This ain't no Lee Majors.
3. Gossip Girls - Never heard of it. Yahoo! states that this is the number 3 most searched new show. I guess it's all the rage amongst 17 year old girls.
4. The Big Bang Theory - Great premise, but I think the casting will be the end of this show. Nerds are funny (see Chuck below) but not these nerds. Even though the characters lack social skills, you gotta find actors with presence. If the previews are any indication of the actor's presence, these kid's ain't got it. Anyone can read lines, and this show proves it.
5. Reaper - The premise looks okay, but it needs some work. I haven't seen any previews, only the picture and description on Yahoo! A show about a less than brilliant guy and his even-dimmer side-kick? No thanks. I'll bet these guys fall @$$-wards into success at every turn.
6. Moonlight - This looks like it may create a cult following. If you liked X-Files or 24, I'll bet you'll like this one.
7. Cane - If this ends up being an evening soap, I won't be surprised (and I won't be watching). I like Jimmy Smits, but he won't have Aaron Sorkin helping him here.
8. Chuck - This is the show to watch. Great premise, great casting. These guys seem to have a good sense of humor about themselves. I'll be on the sofa for this one.
9. Private Practice - This certainly won't be a spin-off with the legacy of The Jefferson's or Frazier. Kate Walsh should take a lesson from McLean Stevenson. Being a part of an all star cast doesn't mean you can roll on your own... especially when the casting department is willing to give Amy Brenneman another chance.
10. Caveman - Are you kidding me? The commercial was painfully unforgettable... which is good for a brand inspiring commercial (will you ever forget about Geico when you're on the moving walkway at an airport?). But, commercials are only 30 seconds long. A half hour of the cavemen? I'd rather watch Dude, Where's My Car? again.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Why give this girl such a hard time? She's 18, she's on national TV, and she's probably a little nervous. Besides... I can understand why she misunderstood the question. I was surprised to hear that 1 in 5 Americans couldn't find the United States on a map. I'd like to know where that statistic came from (try this). Lauren Caitlin Upton referenced that sentiment when she stated that she and all of her friends knew where the US was on a map.
On the other hand, I work with some people that couldn't find their own @$$ with both hands and a flashlight.
I can understand that it may be illegal to sell plans to hack the iPhone. But can you really sue a kid for figuring out how to unlock it?
It's his iPhone. He bought it (or rather, it was given to him). Regardless... He owns it. It's not illegal for him to drop the phone on the sidewalk. It's not illegal for him to receive an e-mail with a virus (though, it may be illegal to send that virus). Why is it illegal for him to crack the case? Why is it illegal for him to fiddle with the insides?
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
2. Dave, what happened, man?
3. You can't let dogs fight... that's cruel. But, you can kill them softly.
4. Congrats, Nilay! (I hope I got the right link).
5. If anyone has a Rocklahoma t-shirt... I have a buyer.
6. Sudoku got you down? Try this.
7. Got a family member in another time zone? Don't do math... use this to find out if it's too late to call.
8. Hey, it's only 3:00. I'll add more later.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I wonder what my mom thinks about this.
1. My mom is the wage earner in my parent's house. She's a minister. (I'll bet that got Jerry Falwell rolling in his grave).
2. My dad is the one cooking dinner most nights.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I'll definately keep reading this blog.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Yahoo!NEWS recently reported that the IRS had notified Matt Murphy that the ball he caught in San Francisco will be considered taxable income. That means that Murphy could face a tax bill of 35% of a reasonable estimate of the value of Bond's HR ball. If that's $600k then Murphy may be expected to shell out $210k even if he retains the ball as memorabilia instead of selling it!
Matt Murphy - who until that point was a college student from New York who simply stopped by the ballpark during a layover on his way to Australia - has suffered a bloody nose, was escorted from the stands with a security detail fit for any high ranking political figure, had his name printed next to Barry Bonds in every sports page across the country, and was escalated into the highest tax bracket.
Here's the rub. Matt Murphy, who is apparently a Met's fan (which - in my opinion - is much better than being a Giants fan) has to make a decision about the ball (if he hasn't already).
If he sells the ball for $600,000 (which is the figure I keep reading in news articles) then he'll have the $210,000 required for his tax bill. However, he will no longer retain that particular part of MLB history.
If he decides that he's a true baseball fan and would like to keep the part of history in which he participated (even if it's only a minor role) he would have to find $210,000 for Uncle Sam's piece of the pie. To Uncle Sam I say, "Boo!"
Below, I've listed a few options that I thought of. Please, keep in mind that while I've filled out tax returns (and enjoy doing so) my income is much lower, and I've never held an asset near the value of this particular piece.
1. Sell the ball to his buddy Amir for $100 and pay the tax on that amount. I know that $100 may not be a reasonable value as far as the IRS is concerned, but it's worth a shot.
2. Donate the ball to Cooperstown or the San Francisco Giants organization and write-off the gift. Hope that your picture will make it somewhere near the display case. I don't think you can write off a $600,000 gift, but again - it's worth a shot.
3. Donate the ball to the Matt Murphy Foundation of Memorabilia. Same argument, different donation target.
4. Sell the ball and keep $390,000 after taxes (to ensure that you are still in good standing with other baseball fans, you could always buy season tickets in the Shea Stadium suites for the next decade).
5. Hope that a federal investigator can find definitive evidence of steroid use on Barry Bond's part and wait for the value of the ball to slip below the water-level in Covey Cove.
6. Send me the ball, and let me deal with the headaches it provides.
Whatever he choses, congratulations to Matt Murphy and good luck with your 15 minutes.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I know my girls will be smart. I hope that the Mrs. and I can raise them well enough to be determined. Full scholarships will be well praised in my house-hold. However, it's still a good idea to plan.
I found this article on a blog called fivecentnickel. It is a fantastic explanation of some research into 529 college savings plans.
Keep in mind that the discussion of state tax benefits is only reviewed in brief. Since I live and work in Texas, I'm not particularly concerned with state tax benefits, as Texas does not have a state income tax.
Have you done research on this subject? Are you currently saving for college? What are your thoughts or comments? Please, let me know.
Monday, August 6, 2007
1. My heart goes out to the families affected by the recent tragedy in Minnesota.
2. Congratulations to Tom Glavine for his 300th win. An MLB milestone not steeped in steroid accusations is certainly a breath of fresh air.
3. If Tommy Gavin does what he considered at the end of the most recent episode of Rescue Me I'm done watching that show.
4. I'm reading a long article entitled "I've Got Nothing To Hide" and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy by Daniel J. Solove. When I'm done, I'll summarize it and state some thoughts. Look for that soon.
5. With the first draft pick in my Fantasy Dog Fighting league - I chose Michael Vick.
6. I hope Jen gets evicted next.
Feel free to comment. Let me know what happened recently that raised your heart-rate or made you grimmace.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
In 50 years, what new technologies will exist? What paradigm shift can you predict? Will interfaces be neural? Will eCommerce completely replace physical storefronts? What will become of paper currency?
Friday, June 29, 2007
Studio 60 was produced and written by Emmy award winners Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme - both of "The West Wing" fame - and has the same brilliant script and dialogue that I enjoyed so much in their political drama.
While I don't agree with many of the political or social views that seem prominent on the show, they are presented in such a way that make it difficult to argue against. What I really like about both shows is that the characters don't simply complain about the way things are (a trend I see in many Democrats). They take action to change the things they feel need to be changed.
In "The West Wing", Sorkin didn't seem to be saying that the government was running itself incorrectly, what Sorkin showed was his idea of how the government should be run correctly. In Studio 60, Sorkin's characters saw things that needed to be changed. Instead of standing in front of a camera and saying, "Things need to be changed" they went out and took action. Characters quit their jobs to prove a point (and move mountains in changing the minds of network execs). Instead of making the easy or popular choices, they produced sketches that would cause controversy in order to make people think.
I knew a pastor who said - and I'm paraphrasing - "You may not agree with me, but I'm going to make you think about what you do believe, and why you believe it."
I'm rambling, and I'm off the subject (which is why I don't make a living writing), but I strongly encourage you to watch any episodes of Studio 60 or The West Wing if you see either one in syndication. They are worth watching.
Do great things.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Miller has invested in a company (through his Opportunity fund) that has a $2-billion maket cap. This company has no debt and is buying back 10% of its stock. He claims that the stock is down 30% to 40% from its peak, and 45% of the stock is sold short.
Frailey comments that massive short selling can be a profit opportunity for the patient investor. "When and if [the company] turns its business around, the stampede caused by short sellers covering their positions will give the stock price a mighty boost."
Frailey discloses that the company is not IndyMac and it's not Corporate Executive Board, "whose shares fell from $111 to $73 - and then to $60 in late April, when first-quarter profits failed to live up to analsts' expectations."
Do you think you know what the stock is? Frailey comments that we'll know the name when the Opportunity fund issues its June shareholder report. If you know (or think you know) comment here.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
If you've read my other blog, you'll be able to see that I get upset when someone gets paid to write an article full of common sense. However, the Ben Stein article (see link above) has true value. He doesn't tell you to "look at the other person in the face" when having a conversation. He doesn't remind you to speak clearly and not mumble. That's common sense. No one thinks to themselves, "Gee, I always thought it was okay to mumble. I'm glad I read that article." The people that mumble either don't think they mumble, or don't care.
Ben Stein has good advice for people who like to converse. I just finished a meeting with an executive at my company, and while I think we had an intelligent conversation and both learned something about the other... I still wish I'd read this article before the meeting, instead of just now.
It may be because Ben Stein listens. He listens to society, and what makes them angry. He listens to big business and understands what makes it profitable. He listened to his economic professors and now seems to understand how a free market economy works (which, I don't feel many people truly understand).
It may be because he knows when to keep his mouth shut. I don't know how many stupid or irrelevant thoughts he's had... if there have been many, he's been smart enough not to say them out loud (a skill I sometimes wish I had).
Mostly, I think it's that Ben Stein doesn't have grandiose feelings of narcissism. He doesn't feel like the world owes him something. He doesn't feel like big businesses should offer services for free.
I am tired of paying for gas. It's expensive. But, I'm also tired of consumers who feel that it's collusion or price gouging on the part of big oil companies. If the product you sold was more expensive... you'd have to raise your sale price. That's how it works. Ben Stein understands that.
I like that Ben Stein doesn't whine or bitch about things. He doesn't try to tell you that your bank is evil for trying to turn a profit; a concept that seems foreign to Liz Weston.
Liz is upset about how banks charge overdraft fees, but doesn't seem to realize that you can avoid the whole topic by maintaining a balance in your bank account and not writing checks for more money than you have.
I've read the article, and I understand that my statement above is a simplistic conclusion based on material in her article. But, the point I'm trying to make is that big business is necessary. Big business doesn't try to screw customers - otherwise, they wouldn't have any.
Think about how many customers there are for a company like Wachovia (which is used in Liz Weston's story). Think about how many of those customers balance their check books and never have to worry about overdraft fees. Think about how many customers pay overdraft fees, but don't complain because they understand they make a mistake. Now, think about the customers that complain about overdraft fees. It's probably a small percentage of the overall population. And, even of all those that complain, how many are complaining simply so that they can raise a stink (My wife raised a stink about an overdraft fee, and they waived it). The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Do you think Wachovia could stay in business if they screwed their customers? They could if they were the only show in town. But, customers probably move money into accounts at other banks all the time. If Wachovia was in the business of screwing customers they would be hemorrhaging money.
Big business is necessary. If you don't agree... put your money in a local bank. Stop buying gas from Shell and Exxon. Cut up your credit cards and hawk your Dell or Ibook. Don't ever go to Home Depot or Wal-Mart and stop watching NBC on your Time Warner Cable connection.
Or... understand the services that are provided by big business. Call the customer support line and complain when you think you've been wronged. Don't be afraid to move your account to Bank of America or cut up your HSBC gold card and apply at Capital One.
Life is too short to be cynical (All banks are evil and the gas companies are in collusion). Be positive and happy (I don't like the way my bank treated me, so I'm taking my business somewhere else). Understand that prices are high because people will pay them. Think about your kids and smile. Know that sunshine is free.
Act like Ben Stein. Don't complain and think about what you're going to say before you say it.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Good though... poor execution.
Well... pirating music is illegal, even if "everybody is doing it." Sure, the RIAA may be bullying college students, but think about how many songs get illegaly downloaded across campus networks. How do you change the student's attitudes? These fines may go a long way to do that.
Sure, it sucks. I'd hate to be one of those students. I have a job, I'm not paying tuition, and I still can't afford a $3,000 fine. But, if you're the RIAA, you have to take some action. What else can you do?
Friday, May 11, 2007
I agree that the health care industry is in need of a major overhaul. I have corporate provided health care and am still forking over $300 a month for health care for myself, and two dependants. I also agree that George W. Bush has not established his legacy as a revered and respected president. He has shown that his intelligence is certainly not one of his strong points. However, Michael Moore seems to think that everything is Bush's fault. In his acceptance speech for the Bowling for Columbine Oscar, Moore scolds Bush for the war in Iraq. In Fahrenheit 9/11 Moore attempts to display the lackadaisical manner in which Bush responded to the terrorist attacks in September of 2001. In this new film, Moore seems to indicate that the health care problems lie solely in the hands of the President and his administration.
Does Moore provide any ideas for solutions? Or - as so many Democrats seem to do - does he simply provide criticism? I'm asking because I haven't seen any of these films.
While Michale Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed a record breaking $119 million, I can proudly say that none of that money is mine.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
2. Count on your hot-shot short stop - Okay, so this isn't really Tejada's fault, but I'm a little upset that Micheal Young tried to bare hand what could easily have been the first out of the inning. Instead, Young bobbled the ball and left it in the dirt. He looked like a little league player that was trying to show off. Of course, Michael Young's dad isn't there to yell at him and tell him that there are 8 other players on the field and he needs to stop bein' a hot shot and glove the damned ball.
3. Give up 4 runs before that first out - I don't mean to sound like John Madden here, but the way you win games is by limiting your opponents scoring, while increasing your own. Giving up 4 runs before the first out is the adverse to that.
4. Get your first out on a ground ball after 26 pitches - That's alot of pitches for your first inning... especially when your 26th pitch is the first out. You can't go nine if you're giving up pitches at that pace.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Well, of course. It's impossible for these bunkers to be used for anything else, so they must be storage for WMDs.
You may ask what happened to the WMDs stored there. Well, I'll tell you. The WMDs in these sites were excavated by Iraqis and Syrians. They were moved, with the help of the Russians, to Syria.
Of course, all reports of this have mysteriously gone missing and the databases were "inadvertently destroyed".
Melanie Phillips writes:
The Republicans won’t touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralise the danger of Iraqi WMD. The Democrats won’t touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the first place. It is an axis of embarrassment.
Of course, this is all true. They wouldn't print it if it weren't.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
He compares the doctor-patient privilege to the attorney-client privilege. I thought the most interesting point was that the attorney is an advisor. However, the ultimate decision is left to the client. The doctor's role is more parental - in that he can make the decision regarding a prescription drug (that is - if the decision is negative).
I would have definately stated that many people are not capable of making wise decisions regarding powerful prescription drugs and definately need a doctor's permission. Greenwald seems to state that adults may need to seek a doctor for advice, but that the decision should ultimately be up to the patient. I disagreed with him until I read his article.... now I'm not so sure.
Read his article and let me know your comments.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Tom: Personally I think that what he said was distastefull and rude but other than that it was nothing more than a bad insult. He called them ugly, so what. Why is there such a crazy uproar over the whole situation? We are allowed to free speech in America, he's a radio personality who's job is to talk so he's bound to make a mistake once in a while, and he said he's sorry. What more is necessary? I'm pretty tired of hearing about how these girls are "deeply saddened" by his words. I guarantee you that every girl on that team has said something insulting about another person before, if not several times that sameday. Then, the Reverend Al Sharpton calls for him to be fired. Shouldn't he be forgiving him for his words, not promoting them for ratings on his own radio show?
Matt: Truth be told... if I (or Josh, or Kevin, or you, or Heather, or just about any of us) talked about a woman as a "nappy headed ho" at our job, we would be canned, with no recourse.... no opportunity to state our case... no nothing. Imus walks the decency line for living (just like O&A, just like Stern...) and for those that choose to entertain by walking that line.... well.... eventually you are likely to cross it one too many times....
Matt: Sure it's a double standard.... and I'm okay with that. Our lives are full of double standards, and I doubt they're going away anytime soon.
Josh: He's offensive, old, and has no business in a public forum if he is going to spit out mess like this to the masses.
Me: That's right! If you have something to say and it's not appropriate for all people to hear... you shouldn't be allowed to say it. The freedom of speech is only extended to polite individuals with objective and relevent comments. Now... that sarcasm aside... I absolutely agree with MSNBC's decision to stop broadcasting the show and with CBS's decision to stop giving Imus his paycheck. What I don't like is Al Sharpton (for many reasons, but I'll tellyou one here). He had Imus on his show shortly after these comments were made. He didn't let Imus speak at all. Al Sharpton wasn't interested in discussing the issue. He simply wanted to berate and ridicule Imus for his listeners. I think Al Sharpton is a horse's ass. Someone should drag him out to an alley and beat the shit out of him.
You: Feel free to comment! Please!
Monday, April 9, 2007
Anyway... I thought I'd take a minute to share some interesting web-gems with you.
I have a fraternity brother that maintains a pretty good discussion on his blog. He's recently called out "anti-immigration" views and discussed their fallacies.
My other blog describes society's descent into the muck. Here's a recent article chastising British teachers who would rather take the easy way out, than actually teach history.
I know that there's not much reading material here, and I'm sorry about that. If you've found something interesting, let me know. Add a comment here. If it's interesting enough, and I can find time, maybe I'll blog about it.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
I agree that Ron Washington is a great guy, but I also agree with the dissenting view on The Ticket... Lighting up a room is not the same as lighting up a scoreboard. Ron Washington has never managed above single A (at least, that was the claim on SportsRadio 1310). He's also been passed over many times by the A's. What do they know that the Ranger's front office doesn't know?
I don't think Ron Washington is a bad manager. I simply think that he's got to prove himself... and last night he didn't. I saw the same Rangers I've been watching for the past decade.
The pitching was mediocre (a hit per inning, fewer strikeouts, and all runs were earned). However, the Ranger's run support was horrible.
The only way Sammy Sosa could get on base was a walk, and then the Ranger's left him there. Overall they left 14 on, and you can't win pennants leaving 14 men on base.
Kinsler put one over the fence, but other than that the Ranger's bats were ineffective. *
Ron Washington has 161 more games. Will he be the next great manager for the Ranger's or the next great third base coach for Garland High School?
Friday, March 30, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Anyway... baby girl is back home after receiving a weekend of IV. We're just giving her as much fluid as we can. I told my parents we are watching everything that goes in and everything that comes out.
Here's some good information on the rotavirus from the CDC, Merck, and Wikipedia.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
First of all, don't panic... Don't throw away your child's entire toy collection. Don't keep your child in the protective bubble of your own home. Don't make all your guests wash their hands 5 times before sitting in the same room with your children.
My daughter is in the hospital with the Roto virus. There were many other children there with the same thing. Fortunately, my daughter doesn't have a horrible case. She's had a fever (off and on) and she's had diarrhea. Friday she began throwing up so we took her to the pediatrician, and then to the emergency room.
She's been poked and prodded. She's fussy about her IV and bored out of her mind (of course, mommy and daddy are worried and bored, which is a bad combination).
The warning? Wash your child's toys after he/she has had a play date. Wash your child's changing table after EVERY changing. Wash your child's hands, and your own hands after EVERY changing. Use a cover on a public place (like a shopping cart).
DON'T use public changing tables (a nurse told us the floor was cleaner than a public changing table). We usually change our daughter in the car before we go into a public place like the mall or a restaurant. Usually she will last until we come back out to the car before she needs another changing.
I'm left handed, so it's easier for me to put my daughter with her legs to the left when I'm changing her. My wife is right handed, so it's easier for her to put my daughter's legs to the right. We had to stop that... Always change your children in the same direction so their hands and head are never where thier poop and pee used to be. (If I can golf right handed, I can learn to change a little girl facing the other way).
I'm going to do research, and I'll post more information and include links as I find them. Don't panic, but go wash your hands right now.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I wasn't really listening to why (I had a fussy 10 month old), but the header on the screen said that Cramer didn't like the customer experience.
I'll agree... I hate going to Walmart. But, I hate going because it's always so crowded. I gotta tell ya'... I think having a crowded store is a good problem for a retailer to have.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
If you're in the Dallas area and you need a photographer for portraits or weddings he's your man.
Click here to check out his site. He has more examples of his photography there.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I saw him in many interviews, and he never looked happy. He looked like he was just there. Then I saw him hitting wiffle balls into the audience on the rosie "I ate my own child" o'donnel show. He was grinning from ear to ear and it made me happy to see Charlie Hustle happy.
Then he admitted that he bet on baseball, but never on the Reds. His game was still pure.
Now, he's tarnished that... and I don't know what to think about his on-field acomplishments.
He claims that he always bet on the Reds to win, but was there a point spread? Did he play poorly near the end of the game in order to keep the run difference to a minimum? Did he manage his players differently, or leave a pitcher in too long?
There are plenty of players tarnishing the game with HGH, but those guys are pansys that can't hit without a little extra juice. Pete Rose was just a damned good player. But, I wonder if he could have been better.
A short note to Michael Young: If we find out that you're tarnishing the game at the Ballpark in Arlington, I swear to God I'm going to climb a bell tower with a rifle.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Jaffe also criticizes Ms. Orman's stock market investments. Orman commented "I have a million dollars in the stock market, because if I lose a million dollars, I don't personally care." Jaffe summarizes that "...the person being trusted as everyone's financial adviser has a portfolio that few people could live with. "
However, Jaffe seems ignorant to the fact that Suze Orman doesn't encourage her audience to invest a million dollars in the stock market. She encourages her audience to make the best decisions for their portfolio. She encourages her audience to pay down expensive debt (and I agree in theory; but have difficulty in practice). Since Orman is worth about $25 million (according to Jaffe's article) she probably doesn't have an overwhelming debt load.
Her audience, however, seems to be middle class and lower income families and singles. I would guess that Suze Orman is the financial planner for people who can't afford financial planners.
If you make enough to own a home, but not pay cash... Suze Orman has good advice.
If you make enough to live paycheck to paycheck, but can't get out from under your credit card and school debt... Suze Orman has good advice.
It doesn't seem that Suze Orman is trying to sell her books to the executive that drives a mercedes, lives in a million dollar home, and paid for all of it with cash.
Suze Orman knows her audience. It doesn't seem that Chuck Jaffe does.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
The Stupid Thirty-Three
1. Were you named after anyone? Not that I know of
2. When was the last time you cried? I don't cry
3. Why are you so fickle when it comes to women? No one is as beautiful as my wife.
4. What is your favorite lunchmeat? Pastrami.
5. Do you have kids? One beautiful 10 month old girl, and one on the way.
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? I doubt it, I'm an ass.
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Of course not.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yup.
9. Would you bungee jump? Has hell frozen over?
10. What is your favorite cereal? Coffee.
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yes.
12. Do you think you are strong? Yes.
13. What is your favorite ice cream? Yes.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? I try not to notice people, it leads to conversations.
15. Red or pink? Blue.
16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? Nada.
17. Who do you mess with the most? My family.
18. What was the last thing you ate?Bag of Jalepeno chips.
19. What are you listening to right now?Foreigner.
20. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My wife.
21. Why aren't you married? You're not very bright, are you?
22. Last movie you watched? Man of the Year (Don't).
23. What did you dream about last night? I dream of Jeanie.
24. What book are you reading? The Cell by Stephen King.
25. Summer or winter? Summer.
26. Hugs or kisses? I'll never tell.
27. Do you have any special talents?Yes.
28. What are they? Bite me.
29. What did you watch on TV last? Seinfeld.
30. What is your favorite sound? Music
31. Rolling Stones or The Beatles? The Stones.
32. Most likely to respond to this meme? What?
33. Least likely to respond? Huh?
Friday, March 2, 2007
I am a Rangers fan... through thick and thin. I complain about their pitching as loud as the next guy, but I'm still a fan.
I like to go to the Home-Opener. I love taking the day off work and heading out to the Ballpark at Arlington for an afternoon game in the April sun. I enjoy drinking a cold beer and keeping score. So, I was prepared when tickets went on sale this morning at 9:00 AM CST. I started hitting the ticket site about 10 minutes before nine (just in-case my clock was different than the Ranger's). At 9:00 am I was put into a "Virtual Waiting Room" that kept refreshing every 30 seconds. I also tried calling the ticket office every few minutes (it was busy every time).
At 10:15 I was pulled from the "Virtual Waiting Room" and allowed to select a game. Finally, my waiting had paid off! However, the Home Opener was sold out.
This is a city full of fair weather fans. Everyone likes the Rangers now, because they haven't lost a game. How many people at the Home Opener will still give a sh!t in September? I'm certain, very few.
I'm also willing to bet that half the fans in the Ballpark will be rooting for Boston. YOU'RE IN THE WRONG DAMNED CITY! I like Boston, too. I really enjoy it when the Bossox can beat up on the Yanks (of course, I like it when the Angels and the Mariners beat up on the Yanks, too), but you freakin' Boston fans need to get on a G*D D@MNED PLANE!
Thank you for reading my rant. If you have access to tickets for the April 6th game, please, let me know. I'll sit anywhere.
(So, why don't you buy tickets for the next game? The next afternoon home game isn't played until April 22nd. I was really looking forward to an afternoon game).
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Near misses included a 5 spot for the Cubbies, a famous hurler, a long time "blue" and a hard charging negotiator. The question has been asked, "Should the Cooperstown Veterans be able to decide who joins their club, or should the news men make the list?"
The problem with the hall of famers is cronyism. Why vote for a Union Chief that may or may not have negotiated the right salary for me? Why vote for an umpire that may or may not have made a questionable call against my teammate? Why vote for a pitcher that didn't play in my era when one of my less-deserving buddies is on the list?
I'll tell you who should vote. The fans! Isn't baseball for the fans? Aren't the fans the ones filling the Cooperstown coffers with entry fees and souvenir purchases? Should we be the ones to decide whether Charlie Hustle gets a plaque?
I'm finally willing to agree with Joe Torre (even if he is a damned yankee). Torre was quoted as saying, "It's a shame because it benefits nobody."
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Monday, February 5, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
I would like to disclose that I work for an Auto Finance company that is a division (and/or subsidiary) of a major credit card issuing company; though, not in an executive or managerial position.
I watched Senator Dodd struggle to understand how interest is calculated (why is he the chair of this comittee?). But, I felt that it was important to comment on a statement made by Elizabeth Warren. Dr. Warren is the Leo Gottleib Proffessor of Law at Harvard University Law School.
Senator Richard Shelby commented that she was "...clear, concise, un-ambiguous and forceful in [her] testimony". Then he asked, "Why... in your judgement, would a credit card issuer send me - for example - 3 succesive credit cards if I had a balance on one that I may have been struggling to pay?" Her answer was, "There can be no reason except to increase the revenue to the credit companies. That's all this is about, plain and simple."
I'm going to state my comments in capital letters. I think it's important that you understand that I am stating this very strongly. I am speaking very slowly and very clearly.
CREDIT CARD COMPANIES ARE PROFIT EARNING CORPORATIONS. THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THEIR EXISTENCE IS TO GENERATE AND INCREASE PROFIT.
I am baffled at the people (especially Harvard Lawyers) that do not understand the purpose behind a corporation. I do not understand how critical comments can be made about a profit earning organization who's primary goal is to increase profit.
If Dr. Warren were stating that these practices were unfair or deceptive, I would understand (though, I would still expect for her to explain that argument). However, Dr. Warren criticized these companies because they had no reason to facilitate this practice except for the purpose of increasing revenue. I would wonder what other reasons a company has for taking any action. It seems to me that the generation of revenue is the primary reason for any practice - by far.
You can watch the hearing here, but it's long. (This blog references the comments at 2:18:50). I apologize that my concluding skills are inadequate.
When I take 99 piss poor strokes on a golf course, I get excited about the one that's beautiful. I get excited about warm pie with cool whipped cream on top. I get excited everytime I look at the pictures of my wife and daughter on my desk. But, the thing that got me excited today was very small, but very big.
Someone actually typed in the right string of search words and my blog was listed as the first result. That's right. Someone actually typed: "ESPN cover with vitamin water" into Google and then followed the link to my blog.
Okay, so it was only one guy, and he didn't click any of the adds on my website. But, it's exciting to me that I'm actually showing up in Google's searches (especially since I just found that my name doesn't show up in the first five pages).
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Kevin Craig is running for congress in Missouri.
Kevin Craig is an acoustic artist playing venues in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Kevin Craig is the director of core engineering at the Rensselaer school of engineering in Troy, NY.
Kevin Craig is the 15th district delegate for the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Kevin Craig is a councillor for the Lambeth Labour party.
Kevin Craig is a meteorologist for WXMI Fox 17 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Kevin Craig writes web pages for extremists.
Kevin Craig is a freelance writer and editor living in Ontario, Canada.
Kevin Craig is an assistant research scientist for the Coastal Systems Science and Policy Division at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.
Kevin Craig is an assistant professor of clinical family and community medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Kevin Craig is a player on the AVP Crocs Pro Beach Volleyball tour.
Kevin Craig is the SVP of Facilities Services and President of Site Based Services for Emcor.
On the first 5 pages of a google search for Kevin Craig, I am not mentioned or referenced.
1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?Montana.
2. What's your favorite article of clothing?my 3/4 sleeve baseball t-shirt.
3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex?lower back.
4. What's the last CD that you bought?A collection of Beethoven symphonies.
5. Where's your favorite place to be?Anywhere with a pillow.
6. Where is your least favorite place to be?Anywhere without a TV.
7. What's your favorite place to be massaged?Shoulders
8. Strong in mind or strong in body?Mind
9. What time do you wake up in the morning?I get out of bed at 6:30 am, though I wouldn't say I'm awake at that point.
10. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?My Bread Maker
11. What makes you really angry?Ignorance and Apathy.
12. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?anything stringed.
13. Favorite color?blue
14. Which do you prefer...sports car or SUV?SUV
15. Do you believe in an afterlife?I'll tell you later... much later.
16. Favorite children's book?The Art of War, Sun Tzu
17. What is your favorite season?garlic pepper
18. Your least favorite household chore?cleaning the toilet
19. If you could have one super power, what would it be?invincibility
20. If you have a tattoo, what is it?nope
21. Can you juggle?yep
22. The one person from your past that you wish you could go back and talk to?My Grandfather Al
23. What's your favorite day?today
24. What's in the trunk of your car?a lug wrench, motor oil, rags, a change of clothes, a set of golf clubs, a baseball glove.
25. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?burger.
There were some smartly written observations ("Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen.") as well as some rhetoric that may have been intended to be inspirational ("This war is more than a clash of arms - it is a decisive ideological struggle...") but sounds somewhat ridiculous to this blogger.
The President stated well the effect that our military strength will have on the creation of democracy and liberty in the middle east. He commented that the Iraqi government is willing, but not able. He also commented that "...now is the time for their government to act." But, he never explained the benefits or purpose to the American people. He never explained the link between the security of Baghdad and that of New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, or the American communities between.
Senator Webb's response was about as useful. He stated that the Democratic Party hope is that the administration is serious about addressing "domestic priorities". He touted his families' contribution to the military and condemned Bush's stance. However, his only proposal was for "an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy".
It's important to note that the quote above is Senator Webb's proposal in its entirety. There was no more discussion or allusion to anything more than criticism for the current status of the war.
It reminds me of a balloonist that asked a fisherman for directions... but I digress.
My conclusion is that last night neither the President, nor Senator Webb stated anything useful or productive. While the President alluded to new initiatives that may be important policies for the American people and will definitely be challenging resolutions for the American government (and only time will tell whether or not these initiatives are substantial or simply smoke and mirrors); Neither seemed to be concerned with finding options or ideas that would benefit the voters, tax-payers, or American society as a whole.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
For the first to ring in with the correct answer (add a comment) I will add a link to your blog or website of choice at the top of my page.
Friday, January 19, 2007
We always knew that magazines sold ads. No worries. We skip the ads and read the articles. But, the last bastion of pure sports has been sold. Say goodbye to The Cover.
ESPN The Magazine's January 29th Edition cover shows LT juking a vitamin water bottle. After all, it's "The New Superconductor". Though the cover artist isn't so sure... there's a question mark.
By the way... I avoided links on purpose. I didn't want to promote ESPN or vitamin water.
But, you should click on the ads in the column on the right.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
It seems that a celebrity (Danielle Lloyd?) in the Big Brother house in Britain called for Shilpa Shetty (a Bollywood star) to return to her native land. Lloyd also opined the eating utensil choices for Asian countries such as India and China.
This "row" now involves the Prime Minister and has cost the TV station some sponsorships (though it seems to have increased the viewership). By the way, if anyone can clarify the term "row" in British slang, please, comment this post.
Anyway... the point of my post is to introduce a new feature to my blog. I figure I'll write a weekly commentary on societies new lows. I'll call it "Hell in a Handbasket" (since that's the direction and mode of transportation for society in general). If you have any ideas that may trump this, let me know.
By-the-way... if this feature had been created a few weeks earlier, I might include Donald Trump's and Rosie O'Donnell's recent discussions into each other's character qualities and the appropriate expectations for a beauty pageant winner.
Your input is always appreciated. If you see something that makes you empathize with God's choice to flood the earth and rebuild society from a floating zoo, let me know. Please, reference your material so I can include any appropriate links or allusions.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid states that Sen. Webb, as a combat veteran, "understands personally how crucial it is to find a new direction in Iraq and begin to bring the war to a close."
My question is... why have the Democrats decided that a 60 year old freshman senator who hasn't seen combat since his time in Vietnam (as no more than a 1st Lt.) considered the best option to review the current direction of the war in Iraq? He served as Navy secretary for Reagan, but is that enough? The war in Vietnam and the Cold War were both very different than the current war in Iraq. The policies were different. The combat actions were different, the soldiers and the weaponry were different.
What in his combat experience has qualified him for this task?
By the way... what happened to the soldiers "in-the-know?" I know that neither General Schwarzkopf nor Colin Powell would be in a political position to provide the Democratic response, but they are familiar with both the enemy in Iraq and the current U.S. Military capabilities. (Yes, I know that even the enemy has changed since Operation Desert Storm. But, the differences between the Iraqi insurgency and the NVA are much greater). Why haven't we heard much from these two gentlemen?
Monday, January 15, 2007
Use the link on the right to access BrainCast and open a free account.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
It will take me more than a thousand years to earn that much.
If the Dem's are successful in their minimum wage bid, it will still take an earner more than 3,315 years working 40 hours a week just to earn what David Beckham will earn in one year playing a game for an hour and a half every week or so.
If there are 36 games in a season, and David Beckham plays for the entire hour and a half... He's earning almost a million dollars an hour!
Look at the bright side. Atleast he's playing an honest game and not stealing "unknown substances" from his teammate's lockers.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I've always had respect for the officers of the Muncie police department. Of course, it's the same respect I have for porch furniture or a pineapple smoothie.
I will tell you one interesting thing about the show. Do you remember the bar where Wee Man was partying? I've been thrown out of that bar.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Go to Apple's site and check this thing out. The only caution for Cingular Wireless customers, this phone does not utilize the 3G network!
NewsStories about the iPhone
Build your own iPhone today!
Monday, January 8, 2007
First of all, you'll need to know that there are different ways to finance your new car (whether you're buying a new or used vehicle, for the purpose of this article - it is new to you). For this article, I'll focus on an auto purchase (instead of refinancing an existing loan). You can finance your purchase through a direct product. This means that you apply directly to the finance company. You can also receive financing indirectly. This means that you apply through a third party (usually the car dealer). In this scenario you'll sign a contract with the dealership, and the dealer will sell that contract to the finance company.
Both of these methods are great ways to finance a new car, and can be used to comparison shop against each other. My recommendation is to apply for direct loans prior to shopping for your car. Once you have a few approvals, you can pick out the best one (or two or three) and take those with you to the car dealership. Use those as a gauge to measure the dealership's offerings. (Read my article about how to shop for that new or used car).
In both types of products, you will need roughly the same information.
To apply for a loan you'll be asked for personal information such as your name, social security number, address & phone, employer name, address & phone, as well as your current income (usually gross). You may be asked to provide former addresses and former employers as well as a few references.
If you are applying with a co-applicant, that person will need the same information.
During the Loan Origination process the finance company will ask for certain documents in order to verify the information in your credit profile (this consists of your credit bureau report as well as the information on your application). If you applied through the dealership, the finance company will most likely provide a list of stipulations to the dealer, who will - in turn - ask you for the documents.
ID: You will need to provide some sort of government issued ID. Since you are buying a car, it is reasonable to assume that you have a driver's license, though a passport or a military ID will work for most finance companies.
Proof of Residence: If your time at current residence is short, or if your credit is not excellent, you may be asked to provide proof of residence. Your finance company should accept most bills (utility, credit card, cable TV). Some companies accept bank statements or pay stubs, but will rarely accept magazine subscriptions, personal mail, reminder post cards, etc. Finance companies do understand that sometimes the bills are not in your name (they may be in your spouses or parents name). If you are unsure about your proof of residence, contact your finance company and see what options they can provide.
Proof of Employment: This usually consists of a phone call to your employer. The finance company will simply want to call your job and talk to your boss, a receptionist, or another employee to make sure you work where you say you work. Make sure you have provided accurate information for this.
Proof of Income: The easiest way to provide proof of income is to submit your most current pay stub. In the first few months of the year, a finance company may accept a W-2 form. If you are self employed be prepared to provide tax returns for the past few years. If your income comes from a retirement account or annuity you may be asked to send in a benefits letter explaining your monthly allotment as well as how long you will be receiving this income (if you're income only lasts 2 or 3 years the finance company may not be comfortable asking you to pay back a loan for 60 months).
Proof of Insurance: You may not have added your new car to your insurance at this point (especially if you're still shopping). However, your current insurance usually covers you for 30 days after the purchase of a new vehicle. Make sure you bring your insurance card showing your coverage (this may also be required if you want to test-drive a vehicle).
Mortgage or Foreclosure Documents: If your credit bureau shows that your mortgage is behind or in foreclosure, make sure to bring the documents proving that you are current on your payments. Most finance companies will not lend you money to purchase a car if you are behind on your mortgage or if you have gone into foreclosure.
Bankruptcy Documents: If your credit bureau even hints at a bankruptcy, you will need documents to prove the current status. Usually the most recent court documents will be acceptable. If you are currently in bankruptcy, the finance company may not lend you money (as it is too easy to roll a new debt into a current bankruptcy). However, if you have been approved and your bankruptcy has been discharged, you may be required to provide proof.
If you have any special circumstances that affect your credit, residency, employment, or income be sure to bring any supporting documents you have when you go shopping for your car.
The finance company will most likely ask for other supporting documents (including the buyer's order, odometer statement, etc), but since they relate to the new vehicle, the dealer will provide them.
If you are buying a car from an individual, you will need to contact your finance company directly. Many of the documents required for that will differ from the list above.
In general, finance companies try to make this step of the auto purchase as easy as possible. Don't hesitate to ask questions of the dealer and finance company. Providing customer service is often the only advantage that some finance companies have. They'd be more than happy to explain each stipulation in detail.
Be sure to read my related article about the purchase of a new or used car or truck. There are plenty of tricks that the dealer's use and this article helps you avoid those pitfalls.
Friday, January 5, 2007
While many people feel that these drivers are wreckless or dangerous, I think it's important to remember the job that these truck drivers do. Have you ever gone into a store and bought anything? It was most likely delivered by a commercial truck driver. If we limited these trucks, we would be limiting almost all of the consumable products that we purchase daily.
But, does that make it okay for them to drive wrecklessly? Well, certainly not. However, you can't just walk into the DMV and get a commercial driver's license (CDL). You have to go through extensive training and gruelling testing. That 40 year old soccer mom with three screaming kids in the back of her SUV probably hasn't had a driving class since she was 15. Commercial truck drivers know the road, they know their rig, and they are better trained than any other driver on the road.
What about the company that employs them? Do you think that the drivers would continue to be employed if they kept getting into wrecks? If a truck driver consistently wrecks, he delays the delivery of the product he's hauling. A wreck costs his company money to fix the truck, money to replace the product, increased insurance premiums, and the driver can put that company at risk of a law-suit. If the 40 year old soccer mom gets into a wreck, she calls her husband to come pick her up. If the truck driver gets into a wreck, he calls his wife to tell her he can't afford to feed the kids.
Sometimes it's frustrating when a truck takes up the left lane to pass another truck at a snale's pace. Sometimes it's difficult to drive near a truck on a wet road when the trailor is kicking up gallons of water. But, remember that these truck drivers are a necessary part of society. They're not out their to make your life difficult, they're out there to make it easier.
Next time you pass a truck (or a truck passes you). Don't fret. Smile and waive.
Thursday, January 4, 2007
I have worked in auto finance for many years funding contracts, answering phones in a dealer services group, customer service call center, and as a unit manager for those groups. Over the years I have learned alot about how dealerships sell cars and how finance companies finance those cars. I've learned alot of important tricks that dealers use to ensnare customers. I've also seen customers that have worked out some great deals! I decided to write a blog that shows you how to get a fair deal on a car without paying through the nose.
It's important to recognize that the dealership is in the business of selling cars. In other words, "he's gotta make a profit." Generally, car dealers aren't out to screw you. But, if you aren't paying attention, you may help increase a dealer's bottom line without realizing what you're agreeing to. Hopefully this blog will help you limit the dealer's profit to an appropriate level and keep you from getting into a deal that turns out to be a dud.
There are so many different car makers with so many different models. You can't just walk onto a lot and hope to find the perfect car. The first thing you need to do is think about what you want. Do you want a new or a used vehicle? New vehicles are nice, but they depreciate quickly. That means you may owe more than the car is worth for quite a while (the is called being "upside-down"). Used vehicles are cheaper, but have been driven by someone else. Often you don't know how well that person drove or maintained the car. Do you have a family or are you a bachelor? That may affect how many doors or how much seating you'll need. What kind of budget do you have? We'll talk about financing in a minute, but you definately know whether you're looking for a Kia or a BMW.
If you're reading this, you have online access. Use the Internet. Narrow your search to a few makes and models. Familiariaze yourself with the vehicle's options. Which model has the horsepower you need? Is a sun-roof important to you? Standard or automatic transmission?What about the car-audio, fog-lights, etc? If you're looking for a used car, review a dealership's inventory (most dealerships with a website list their used inventory online).
Now that you've narrowed your search a little, it's time to start thinking about how much car you can afford. The dealership will most likely provide you with a few financing options, but it's still a good idea to review other options as well. If you do business with a bank or finance company that you like, call them. See what they can provide. Call your insurance company and see if they finance cars or have a partnership with a finance company. Many organizations like AAA, CostCo, and AARP have partnered with finance companies to provide discounts to their members.
The important thing is to get an idea of the amount you can borrow, the APR, and the term (in months) that you will get from your choice of outside financing. An approval is your best bet (a pre-approval is not the same thing as an approval). If you get an approval then you'll know how much you can finance, at what APR, and at what term (in months). You'll also be able to calculate your monthly payment. You can use any simple interest calculator (most auto finance websites have calculators as well as websites like Bankrate or Yahoo! ). Play with different terms and finance amounts so that you have an idea of how much you can afford. An approval doesn't mean that you'll have to use that company. It just gives you a tool to make sure you get the best deal from the dealership. (I'll talk about that negotiation in a future posting).
Now that you have a basic idea of the car you want (or at least you know what you're looking for) and you have some ideas about financing, you're ready to make a trip over to the dealership!
Going to the dealership
The first person you'll meet is the salesman. The minute you set foot on a lot, the salesman's only goal is to sell you a car (which is good, because your ultimate goal is to buy a car). However, you need to think about a few things first. First of all, no matter where you live, there is always another dealership nearbye. You need to be prepared to walk away from this dealership at any time. Also, make sure that you do not show your excitement. There's no need to be rude, but make sure you never say things like, "Honey, I love this car!" or "Dear, I've always wanted one of these." It's important that the salesman need you and not the other way around.
When you go car shopping, make sure you have plenty of time (I'm thinking 3 - 4 hours). If you're in a hurry, or have a doctor's appointment in a few hours, it will limit your ability to negotiate a fair deal (I'll explain why in a minute).
Your discussions with the salesman are your opportunities to discuss the vehicle, the options, the availability, and the sales price. Do not discuss any finance details like APR and monthly payment. Your salesman will probably ask you, "What kind of payment are you looking for?" He does not need an answer. Do not give the dealership the opportunity to raise the APR to meet your monthly payment. When asked about the monthly payment, just ask about the total sales price.
Sometimes the sales price seems daunting. After all, a monthly payment is usually $300 - $600, but a sales price is $15,000 or $30,000. This is where the financing research you did earlier comes into play. It's important to know what kind of sales price you can afford. For example. If you want a $400 monthly payment and you got an approval from a bank for 6.95% for 60 months, you would know that you can finance about $20,225.
If you've decided that you will only pay $16,995 for this car and the dealership won't budge from his offer of $18,500 it's time to go. Remember that you'll have this car for quite a few years. Don't pay too much for a car that won't make you happy. Make sure the dealer has your phone number (he may call you with a lower offer later, maybe while you're shopping with one of his competitors).
Now that you've found your car and agreed on a sales price, you've completed one of the most difficult parts of the negotiation. But, you're not done yet. The salesman will take a credit application (I know you already have an approval, but give the dealer the option to beat it). Then he'll refer to you his "F&I guy" (Finance and Insurance). You'll probably have to wait for him. You'll be shown in to a waiting room and told it will be a few minutes. There are two reasons for this. The first is obvious, the F&I employee is with another customer. The second is a "trick of the trade". The longer you wait, the more impatient you get. When you're impatient, you just want to sign the paperwork and get out with your new car. Don't get impatient! This is important. Make sure you're patient enough to read everything before you sign it. Take a book, take a nap, but don't get impatient.
Once you get past the waiting room, you'll be working with the F&I employee. He wants to talk to you about financing and "back-end" products. He's going to ask about your APR. Don't tell him. If you tell him you have a 6.95% APR, he may tell you he can get you a 6.49% APR. That's good, but if he doesn't know what your APR is, he may give you his lowest available offer - and that might be 5.99% (if the dealer can sell you a higher APR, the finance company will give him a share of the increased profit).
You also still don't want to tell the dealer your desired monthly payment. If the dealer gives you a low APR and figures your total amount to finance, he can calculate your monthly payment. If you tell him your desired monthly payment amount, he may increase the APR to match.
If the dealer beats your APR and you decide to sign a contract READ IT! I can't stress that enough. The contract will have a federal disclosure box that will tell you - among other things - the amount you are financing, the APR as a percentage, the APR as a dollar amount, the term (in months) and the monthly payment. Do not let the dealer tell you that the finance company will lower the APR later. If you sign a contract stating that you'll pay $650 a month for 72 months, the finance company will expect you to pay that.
The dealer will also try to sell you "back-end" products. I've tried to list many of these products for you. Some of sales amounts are limited by your state, you'll want to make sure to find out which ones, and what the limits are.
Sales Tax: This is a percentage based on the sales price of the car.
Title & License: This is the amount that the dealership will pay to your state on your behalf in order to get the title and license plates.
Doc Fee: This is a documentation fee that most dealers charge. Some states limit this to $50 (Texas), some to $600 (Florida) and some don't limit this charge at all.
GAP insurance: If you wreck your car, your insurance company will pay what it's worth. If you owe more than that amount, the GAP insurance company will pay the rest. Otherwise, you'd still owe money on a car that you no longer have. If you're buying a new car, have a term longer than 48 months, or have sub-prime credit and have a high interest rate, I would recomend you look into GAP insurance.
Service Contract: Most used cars no longer have a manufacturer's warranty. A service contract may be helpful if your car breaks down.
Life or Disability Insurance: This will pay off your car if you die or are disabled and can no longer make payments.
You are not required to buy any type of insurance or service contract from the dealership.
Now that you've found your car, negotiated the sales price, APR, term, and back-end products, you're ready to sign the contract. Make sure you read everything. Don't believe the dealer when he says it may change later. When you sign a contract, be prepared to make the payments listed on the contract. If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Once you've signed the contract, you can't take it back!
There may be a little more follow up in the days to come, I've listed that information in the next section.
I hope this has been helpful. Don't be afraid to make comments here if you have questions or need more detail. I'm more than happy to help.
Now that you've signed the paperwork and driven away in your car the dealer will submit your contract to a finance company (if you signed a contract with him). You or your employer may receive calls from the finance company in order to verify certain information from your credit application (i.e. your income, residency, etc).
You'll want to make sure to notify your insurance company of the new vehicle.
You should also receive your title or registration in the mail as well as the licence plates for your car. If you have not received those in a few weeks, call the dealership and ask. Sometimes the dealers wait until they have a bundle to submit to the state, and sometimes the state just works slow.
Enjoy your new car and don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions along the way!