Thursday, August 25, 2005


I was pissed this morning. Gas in my neighborhood has climbed to $3.09 a gallon. And that's the CHEAP shit. THREE FUCKING DOLLARS AND NINE CENTS for a single gallon of gas. Will it make me drive less? Hell the fuck no. And to prove it, I drove around the block 4 times out of spite. They won't stop ME from driving, dammit. No way.

Some analysts say that increased demand for oil in surging economies like China's is driving up the price. Others point to constant instability in the MIddle East as the reason prices keep edging upward. I say it's something else. Instead of blaming external factors, I'm going to point the finger at me. It's MY willingness to pay whatever the hell they post on that plastic back-lit price board that keeps the price climbing. I learned that back when I was 14 years old. It's called the law of supply and demand. When demand is high, prices climb. Pretty basic principle, really. About as basic as Economic Theory gets. The astronomical rise in gas prices, while frustrating, has not dissuaded enough Americans, myself included, to modify driving habits accordingly. If demand were to fall off, the price of gas would stop rising. So what we have here is evidence of an economy that is so dependent on oil - FOREIGN oil, I should add - it simply cannot combat rising gas prices with a decrease in gas usage. Instead, we force ourselves to make cuts in other areas. I can do without cheese on my Whopper, but I can't drive without gas in my tank.

They'll keep jacking those prices sky high. And we'll keep paying them because we have to. We need to. Our way of life demands that we get from one place to another quite often. And nearly all modes of modern transportation - from the massive distribution network of semi-truck trailers to airline travel to public buses to our own personal pods of necessity and luxury - require oil. What are we going to do? Stop going to work?

I'm not backing down from high gas prices. I'm going to show those bastards by driving around my block over and over and over again. Yeah. That'll make me feel better. And when I'm done filling up for the third time I'm going to go make myself a grilled cheese sandwich - because that'll be about all I'll be able to afford with what I'll have left.

If gas prices get any higher, I'm going to start a campaign to bring back the horse. Yeah - just like the Wild West, baby. We can keep the paved streets and traffic stops and toll booths - but everybody will be cruising around on their own horse. Gas up with hay, my friends. Now that's what I'm talking about. Who's with me?


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Here's a link you may have already seen. If not - enjoy!

You basically create your own montages out of images found through a simple Google search...all at the touch of a button. The more interesting (or benign!) the word, the more interesting the montage. I made a montage out of "poop." It was steaming hot. Then I did one for "kaleidoscope" and almost threw up.

A picture of Sammy Sosa came up when I made a montage for the word "crud."
A picture of George Bush came up with I made a montage for the word "lies."
A Korean infant came up when I made a montage for "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"

Go nuts. Print them out. Laugh bewildered. Big fun for minutes on end.


I recently decided to simplify my finances by moving some credit card balances and getting rid of some unused cards. It was going to feel great to finally close those accounts. And tearing up the plastic would be symbolic of my economic progress, as I scrape and claw my way back to black.

I found a new Capital One Mastercard offering me 0% on balance transfers for a year with no balance transfer fees and a fixed 4.9% APR after that. As someone who writes credit card solicitations for a living, I recognized this as a very good offer. I immediately moved balances off of two separate cards to take advantage. I then went and closed one of my other accounts – just to show them I was boss.

“I don’t need you anymore!” I thought triumphantly as I navigated my way through their exhausting tele-menu system for the last time.

Turns out that was a mistake.

I assumed removing that card and all of its unused credit from my name would be a smart move. But it wasn’t. If you have any debt at all, unused credit is actually a GOOD thing. The more, the better. That’s because a large part of your credit score is based on your ratio of outstanding debt to available credit. By canceling my unused card, I actually HURT my debt-to-available-credit ratio.

Fortunately, my new card afforded me an even larger credit limit than the one I canceled…so in the end I ended up improving my ratio slightly. But had I kept my original card, I would have had a much better debt-to-credit ratio, and would have preserved the 6 year relationship I’d had with the original lender – something else creditors look for in evaluating your history.

Too much credit isn't the red flag it used to be. In fact, it's really only an issue if you have more than 7 lines open at once. Then you may want to consider consolidating. Otherwise, getting rid of your unused credit cards isn’t necessarily a good idea. Keeping cards you’ve paid off is actually a SMART move – even if you never intend to use them again. Tear them up, stash them in your sock drawer, or hide them in a cookie jar – but keep that line open. Lenders consider you more economically viable when you have access to dough.

Want to know more about how these folks keep score? Go here:

Monday, August 22, 2005


A friend of mine sent me this link today. (click header)

His buddy just got back from Tokyo where he saw these public service announcements everywhere. Many of them read like poetry; most read like a children's book to me. I clicked on the first one and then paged through for an entertaining introduction to how to smoke with manners. The author was clearly passive aggressive. Plenty entertaining.

My friend thinks he could make a lot of money selling these as t-shirts. What do you think?