Saturday, April 28, 2012

Depreciating Asset: a vehicle by any other name

My wife and I are looking to purchase a new vehicle one that is practical and economically ethical. That means that I will have to wait yet again on my fully-loaded BMW X3. We have in fact narrowed it down to a couple of vehicle choices:

First, the new 2012 GMC Terrain with two tone leather interior and onyx black exterior. Thankfully, we were both smart consumers to have bought our vehicles and paid them off completely. In other words, great trade--in value. We received a low trade-in value at the GMC dealership but more on that in a moment.

Second, the new 2012 Volkswagen (VW) Tiguan with champagne cream leather interior and white exterior; the color scheme goes by the phrase: the Key West model. And since my wife and I are travelers and we have been only once to Key West we agree! The trade--in value from this dealership was significantly higher than that of GMC.

The marked difference plus the excellent safety features, navigation and sun-roof feature all tip the scale to the VW Tiguan rather than the GMC Terrain easily. Plus, I admit that VW consumers are smarter and well informed about their purchase stance(s). We have done our homework that's for sure and with our new baby girl it makes all the difference!

Winner: 2012 VW Tiguan SE.

Nota Bene: When purchasing a new vehicle some tips to keep in mind:
  • Purchase with the mindset to own the vehicle for a decade.
  • Once the vehicle leaves the lot it depreciates about 20% (on any vehicle); heck, in 3 months it will depreciate yet again and so on.
  • Do NOT lease a vehicle as this suggests a monthly expenditure including when you give the car back (leaving thousands still left to be paid by you AND you have no car to shoe for it).
  • What features are you NEED haves and what features are your WANT haves (yes, write these down).
  • If you have trade(s) in mind do NOT present this upfront; instead, find out what the walk-out-the-door-final price of the vehicle happens to be; then, offer your trade(s) accordingly.
  • Ask for a loaner vehicle; specifically, ask for it on a Saturday so that you can bring it back on Monday mid-afternoon. If you cannot get a feel for the vehicle within such a concentrated window then that is NOT the car for you.
  • If you opt for a certified pre-owned vehicle make sure it is certified by the manufacturer NOT the dealership. And yes, used but certifiably so is always better than a new vehicle.
  • Lastly, if you go in there to haggle, to deal, to negotiate BE ON THE SAME PAGE FROM JUMP or else, you may get pinned against one another. Remember, purchasing a vehicle in any economy, is the single-most worst investment you will make.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Massachusetts angst--critcial race theory

Not long ago was the eminent archivist and public intellectual Henry Louis Gates, Jr. arrested during irregular conditions. Here was a man that was entering his home in a method suspicious enough for the neighbor(s) to contact law enforcement.

This was a black man; a man of means and affluence; but a black man nonetheless.

Fast-forward to today's breaking news. Hockey forward for the Capitals Joel Ward receives racial-slur tweets for his overtime power play that gives his team the victory over the Boston Bruins.

This was a black man; a man of means and affluence; but black nonetheless.

Don't you just love post-racial America? I certainly love its myth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On this Wednesday, 25 April 2012 I finally break my silence to post. There is much that has transpired from within my sphere and without. I have been asked to officiate a Chicago wedding; my wife and I are shopping for a new vehicle; my classes have gone well this semester and finals week is catching up to me (and I am sure with my colleagues too).

I continue to process and to write; to process and to write. Many are the projects that have awakened my intellect but I resist for it is not yet my time. I have been (re)reading Tolstoy's What Is Art? alongside Borges' On Writing, C.S. Lewis' On Stories, Quevedo's El Buscon and Miles' God: A Biography.

Collectively, they are shaping a new tale which brings me to my mental knees. I am haunted with Bloom's anxious reminder but also defiant of Lopate's essai. Immediately, two tales like ethereal texts unfold before my eyes; the first pays for its existence in the second:

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me


Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you? --Ralph Ellison

I'm a sick man...a mean man. There's nothing attractive about me. I think there's something wrong with my liver. But, actually, I don't understand a damn thing about my sickness; I'm not even too sure what it is that's ailing me. I'm not under treatment and never have been, although I have great resepect for medicine and doctors. Moreover, I'm morbidly superstitious--enough at least, to respect medicine [...] But still, it's out of spite that I refuse to ask for the doctor's help. So my liver hurts? Good, let it hurt even more!


We even find it painful to be men--real men of flesh and blood, with our own private bodies; we're ashamed of it, and we long to turn ourselves into something hypothetical called the average man. We're still-born, and for a long time we've been brought into the world by parents who are dead themselves; and we like it better and better.  We're developing a taste for it, so to speak. Soon we'll invent a way to be begotten by ideas altogether. But that's enough, I've had enough of writing these Notes from Underground. --Fyodor Dostoevsky

At the end of Invisible Man I wept bitterly on the entitled white steps of the Blanchard House on the Phillips Academy--Andover campus at 8:46 a.m. (Massachusetts time).

At the end of Notes from Underground I felt the urge to laugh. As Du Bois would have asserted: it is the cool logic of the Club. And there's the rub, no.