Car Bleg for Advice

So, my wife alas, had little fender bender with my dearly beloved high mileage Honda Insight (2000) and I’m in the market for a new car. I’d made the promise to myself to continue to upgrade mileage … but that isn’t going to be possible ’cause nobody makes a higher mileage US car than the manual transmission 2000-2006 Honda Insight (with or without MIMA). I’m thinking of going for a slightly elderly used gas sipper as a stop gap in the hopes that in 4-5 years I’ll be able to get the car I really want, i.e., that can get better than 150mpg (or 2/3 gallons per 100 miles if you prefer) on dry summer roads. Oh, don’t worry, no real damage was done, my wife is uninjured (and nobody else was involved).

Looking around this morning, it seems a 5 speed manual Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, VW TDI, or Ford Focus look like the best bet. What do y’all think? Any other suggestions? It’s replacing a two seater so it doesn’t have to be large and likely when I turn it over it will be handed down to one of my girls, who are fast (gasp) approaching collegiate age.

The 4th and Books

Well, for those of you can’t help but keep reading and reading and reading … some reading for the 4th.

  1. I haven’t but perused this, but Kass&Kass have a wonderful anthology on Marriage (Wing to Wing) and now they have a new one on what it means to be American. The same thing occurs with the marriage book, liberals are (often? typically?) allergic to reading books or anthologies collected by a someone who is thought conservative. And clearly this is a conservative tome, after all that’s why you have a Veteran’s day speech included by that arch-conservative John Kerry.
  2. One of my favorite US historians to read is David Hackett Fisher, two book by him should be on everyone’s shelf, Washington’s Crossing and Albion’s Seed.
  3. Mr Olson (no relation to my knowledge) points to Chesterton on Patriotism.
  4. A repeated theme over the years on patriotism on this blog is that for myself, I think the patriotic feelings we have for country are best described by the first chapters of the book of Ruth chapter 1.

The Battery Saga (Part One)

My primary car that I drive (our family has two) is a 2000 Honda Insight which I purchased used a few years back. Mid summer after some heavy rainfall I drove through some deep water and tore a plastic panel off the underside of the car. Two months ago the “IMA” and “Check Engine” lights came on. IMA is the term for the Honda hybrid system, the acronym IMA means Integrated Motor Assist. Thus begins the battery saga.

So … I took the car to the Honda dealer with which I had previously been taking the car for checkups and tuneups. They informed me that the panel could be replaced but that three units related to the IMA system cause the IMA light to trigger. They said the MCM, BCM, and the big NiMH battery pack all needed replacing and that would come to about $6.8k. The two control modules would came to about $4.4 and $2.2k for the battery pack in the cost breakdown. I had them replace the panel and told them I’d “think about” the other repairs.  Continue reading →

A Sort of Silly Story

A little personal story … and the outcome I blame on long time commenter, JA aka the Jewish Atheist.

About a month ago, after dinner with my wife and youngest daughter, we stopped in a sporting goods store with an eye to pricing camping equipment. The store didn’t have a good selection of “real” (backwoods, hiking/canoeing) gear but my youngest announced she needed a new swimsuit.

Blam! I was trapped. Time just gets sucked away when two women start shopping. The two of them dived into the suits picking out various ones and trying on a vast array of offerings. So I was left to wander the store. I didn’t find much. An odd or end to help clean the pistol (.22 caliber Ruger Mark III) we use for our weekly range outing. The only other thing I found (and purchased) was an inexpensive Buck folding knife. Which … my eldest daughter then appropriated for herself. Hmmph.

Now, some months ago, JA had recommended a Spyderco “Sharpmaker” for keeping kitchen and other knives sharp. I had taken it to a family gathering some time ago and whiled away some hours gainfully sharpening our hosts cutlery and as a tool it’s worked quite well.  Anyhow, having had one knife snatched like that led me to shop for another … and I picked up a book on “whittling” from Amazon (The Little Book of Whittling) after all you can’t do anything without more books. 🙂

Seeing that Spyderco made a sharpener so I checked and lo and behold they make knives too, e.g.,   the Spyderco Tenacious. I got this one. Which was then appropriated by my youngest daughter. In (mock) desperation, I purchased a third which I claimed for myself by calling it a “father’s day” present (specifically this one, Spyderco Dragonfly).

So now we are all spending some quantity of spare time with our new hobby making pieces of wood smaller and trying not to nick our fingers too frequently. I did in fact buy more bandages just last week.

Some Semi-Random Thoughts

One thing that comes to mind when issues regarding increased influence by the government in healthcare. Today there are no public hayrides. Why? Because somewhere someone decided they could sue if some rambunctious teenage got hurt during the ride … which mean insurance was required … which meant no more hayrides. How much public interest in health care of this sort not give increased impetus to control risk or other behavior deemed not necessary if that activity has but the smallest negative impact on public health and subsequently public insurance rates. Hayrides are harmless romantic fun that were once common in the New England autumn. Now they are only a private affair hidden from any organized groups that might be subject to suit.

There is a notion among so many today, and my impression is that this idea is found more on the left than the right, that if someone is injured especially badly then there is necessarily another at fault. Actual accidents do not exist in their world. And that it is right to use legal proceedings after any substantial injury to redress the wrong and to locate (or invent) a guilty party and get them to pay. This is, I think, quite a childish impulse. I don’t understand how an adult can act on such an idea in the absence of evidence or any suggestion of malfeasance or malice.

Negligence is often cited as a cause for accidents and used as a proxy for fault. Tiger Woods occasionally misses a nominally routine putt. Jose Calderon has an 2008/9 NBA free shooting percentage of 98.052%. Why not 100%? After all free throws are routine. The point is that humans performing any routine activities will occasionally fail or introduce a mistake. Accidents can occur which are not intentional and are not actionable. All too often an error is cause for suit even when it is an “honest” mistake. An obvious rejoinder is that this is what courts are for, to distinguish between honest mistakes and ones which arise from malice, greed, or other intentional errors. And yes, that is the case. But the courts should not be the place where this issue is explored, but the place where evidence of error is tried.

Worldview and Babel

Par tof the methodology by modern progressives is to put much weight on narrative over dialectic. Personal and other narratives … story is put to the forefront when defending policy choices. An odd factor in this choice of narrative as important is that, for example, I can’t remember any particular time, if ever, my friendly neighborhood liberal/progressive blogger David Schraub bloggin at The Debate Link has ever given any narrative explanation from a conservative point of view that resonated as being a good description of the conservative mindset. That is, he’s often given his perception of the conservative take and explanation (narrative) to explain a policy or point of view on an event. As far as I remember, it’s never been right.

Likely this means as well, that as far as that goes, I’m also completely misguided and wrong when I attempt to interpret and diagnose liberal points of view. How much more likely are we to be completely off base and confused when we try to interpret the point of view or narrative of Iranian politicians or Hamas militants? It turns out that modern historians have some techniques that might be useful. This method is outlined in The New Testament and the People of God by N.T. Wright. Bp Wright wears two hats as it were. He is both a theologian and a 1st century historian. In this book, in the first part, he explains the methods that historians have developed for trying to come to understand and, well, crawl into the head of people who lived long ago, in his case the 1st century middle east. In our case, we might consider trying to use this to cross the left/right divide in this country or the Islamic extremists (mostly) overseas. Below the fold, I will attempt to summarize some of what he writes on these methods. Continue reading →

Kids and Boredom

Kids these days are often “bored”. Are young people the same? My regret isn’t boredom, it’s that there aren’t five times as many hours in the day so I could pursue all the multifarous things I wish I had time for.

How about you? Are you ever bored or do you more often wish you had more time?

Is it a growing up thing, or is a generation gap I wonder.

Update: Or perhaps I’m just marching to the beat of another drummer, I’m just to the far side of this demographic (45), but it doesn’t fit me at all.

Oops. That Was Really Dumb.

Yesterday evening, after a nice quiet dinner out with the family, we walked around in a new mall. Earlier during the afternoon, I had completed a very hard interval set on the bike and had tire sore legs. My youngest daughter (10 and who is very athletic … unlike me) goaded me into “seeing if she could outsprint me”.

Well, when you’re muscles are cold, tired and you’re 45 y/o … don’t try this. I actually felt my left hamstring “pop”. Now I have a sprained left hamstring. Oh joy.

Later tonight, I’ll see how it feels while riding my bike, which is really all I care about at this point. Walking, standing, and moving about are quite painful however.

Weird Concert

I just attended the choral “musical” of the 4th grade classes at my younger daughter’s school. It was billed as a “history of Rock’n’Roll”, but periods for the “Rock” songs sung were from the 1950s->1970s. There was an Annette/Frankie skit and song for example. This done by kids mostly born in 1996-1997 to parents who weren’t for the most part old enough in that era to take part in it either.