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Christmas is Coming – Ready or Not…

It seems like I’m working all of the time (just finished another seven days in a row), but I still have Christmas stuff to take care of.  Went to the post office today and took care of the holiday mailing.  Here’s something amazing : it costs less than a dollar to send a Christmas card to Brasil.  Pretty cool, huh?

santa at the mall
santa at the mall

We saw Santa at the Christiana Mall.  It’s a blurry cell phone picture.  I tried cropping out the women, but it just emphasized the blurriness, sorry.  There were a LOT of people at the mall tonight and it was difficult to get a picture without capturing other people’s backsides.  As you can see, I wasn’t too successful in avoiding that.  I love the palm tree in the background.  I remember when my kids were little.  Sitting on Santa’s lap was something that we had to do every year.  We would usually go to Concord Mall, where they had the BEST santa.  I was at that mall the other day.  Their Santa looked a lot like Shemp thumbshemphowardfrom the old Three Stooges film shorts, wearing a beard.  Definitely not the same guy.  Not even close.  Now, I like Shemp, but I wouldn’t pick him for a Santa.


The Focus has been replaced.


We have a new (to us) car – a Mitsubishi Galant.  We bought it from a nice couple in New Jersey, who advertised it on Craigslist.  I was looking for a nice Mitsubishi because these cars have really been unfairly treated in the resale market (bad for the sellers, good for us).  Because of that, used ones are a good value.   An automatic transmission Focus with the same amount of miles would easily be a thousand dollars more than we paid for this little car.  It’s not perfect – no used car ever is, but so far, it seems like it’ll do just fine.  It’s not too small, not too large and when you hit the gas pedal, you’d swear that there was a 6 cyl motor under the hood.  These little cars are made here in the US, in the same factory as the Dodge Stratus.  I find that weird.  I got rid of the Ford Focus that was made in Mexico and replaced it with a Mitsubishi built in a plant in Normal,

Last week, in a moment of weakness,  I test drove a BMW 328i.  A BMW in my price range is bound to have a few problems.  The one I drove had the unmistakable smell of anti-freeze coming from the heater vents.  No thanks, pal.  The heater core in those things is buried so far under the dash that it can take a whole day to get to, and another day to put everything back together.

visaAnd now for some really awesome news.  I recently received a phone call from the folks at VISA.  They said that they were mailing me a check for the damages to my rental car from the trip last month.  Isn’t that cool?  Whenever I rent a car, I always decline the “collision waiver” because it can double the price of the rental, and because VISA promises to make me whole if something happens.  Well, something finally happened, and they’re sending me a check about a week after I sent the required paperwork off to them.  All in all, everything worked out OK.


Monica made Christmas cookies today!!  She found a recipe that sounded good and bought the ingredients this afternoon.  It’s a basic Christmas-type cookie with coconut, pecans and chocolate chips.  MMMmmmm.  This was the first time that she ever made anything like them.  We had to watch them carefully to keep them from burning because we don’t have insulated cookie pans (yet).  I think that we’re going to get a set of them soon.


Finally, there’s a little good news from Washington.  The government is not going to throw our money at the failing carsautomobile companies.  That’s not what the government is for, folks.  The auto makers will have to tough it out and cut their costs in order to survive.  Bankruptcy may be necessary, but it won’t be the end of the car companies – It’ll just allow them to put their business together without some of the silliness that they have now.  The management that allowed this to happen should suffer, as should the stockholders.  Hopefully, we can get this behind us and get back to the business of building cars THAT PEOPLE WANT TO BUY.  Of course, congressional meddling in the car business (like raising the CAFE) is going to make that more difficult, but perhaps we can find a way to deal with that, too.  If people want to drive dangerously light little deathtraps, then they’ll buy them.  If not, they’ll continue to buy SUVs.

repubAnyway, cheers for the Republicans in the Senate.  They stood up and said no.  Perhaps now the waterfall of taxpayer money into private businesses will start to dry up.  Folks, all of this money being created from nowhere can have an effect on our economy, and it’s called inflation.  I hope that doesn’t happen, because inflation robs money from those who live responsibly and save, rewarding those who are in debt.  I remember inflation – hope that it doesn’t come back.

Oh, and the majority party’s reaction?  The majority leader in the Senate’s response to HIS failure to get the deal that he wanted?  harry

Mr Reid’s response – “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.”

Harry’s little hissy fit didn’t move the markets on Friday.  As a matter of fact, the Dow closed up 64 points for the day.  What a reckless and petty way to react.  Was that an irresponsible comment?   Did that snarky little whine put your retirement savings at risk?  Jerk.

all for now,







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