A Nickel for your Thoughts

My random thoughts about politics, cars, computers, sports, the environment and so on. For free. And that's about what they're worth.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Delgado to Marlins

Well, the last big fish in the free agent pond is now, um, a fish. More specifically a Marlin. Four years, $52 M. Gawd.

Delgado, while undoubtedly a great player with his .949 career OPS, will be 33 in June, which means he'll be 36 at the end of ths contract, at which time he will be making a Beltre-esque $16 million dollars. Hmm...now which would you rather have, a 25-year-old third baseman for $64 million dollars over five years, or a 36-year-old first baseman for $52 million over four years? That's what I thought.

Delgado is already past his prime, and, if Florida is lucky, he'll be league-average by the time his contract is up.

This is just a miserable deal...if I were a Marlins fan I'd be mad as hell right now. With all the insanity in the free agent market these days (as further evidenced by the Delgado deal), the Mariners' Bill Bavasi is starting to look pretty savvy.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Words of Wisdom

The girls in the Maybelline commercials are born with it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

General Motors' New Minivans

(Van + SUV)/2 = FUGLY!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Four More Years...and They Haven't Even Started Yet

Together with the rest of the world, let us resolve to move forward from the beginnings we have made. Let us continue to bring down the walls of hostility which have divided the world for too long, and to build in their place bridges of understanding--so that despite profound differences between systems of government, the people of the world can be friends.

Let us build a structure of peace in the world in which the weak are as safe as the strong--in which each respects the right of the other to live by a different system--in which those who would influence others will do so by the strength of their ideas, and not by the force of their arms. (Italics mine)

Let us accept that high responsibility not as a burden, but gladly--gladly because the chance to build such a peace is the noblest endeavor in which a nation can engage; gladly, also, because only if we act greatly in meeting our responsibilities abroad will we remain a great Nation, and only if we remain a great Nation will we act greatly in meeting our challenges at home.
--Richard Nixon, in his second inaugural address, January 20, 1973.
We've made so much progress in the past 32 years, wouldn't you say? Now, instead of this touchy-feely '70s hippie crap about peace abroad and focusing our resources at home on candyass legislation like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act (all passed during the Nixon administration), we're diverting billions away from our domestic budget to occupy--oh, pardon me, liberate--a country which had not attacked us, which had no weapons of mass destruction nor the means to make them, and which hadn't done a goddamn thing since the first Gulf War. Obviously, the "different system" Nixon was talking about was Communism, but if you replace that with Islamic theocracy, his words are just as relevant today.

While he did a lot of shady things, I'd trade our current president in for Dick Nixon any day of the week and twice on Sunday. When he wasn't being "Tricky Dick," he was normalizing relations with China, getting us out of Vietnam with a modicum of dignity, forming the Environmental Protection Agency, and signing the aforementioned legislation.

Can you imagine if G.W. Bush had been President during the Vietnam War? Jesus H. Christ! It'd still be happening, except it would now be known as World War III and I'd be writing this from the comfortable confines of my 10'x10'x8' "nucular" fallout shelter. Hell, Cat Stevens probably would have been arrested as a suspected terrorist...oh, wait....

I long for a time when Republicans gave a shit about the environment, believed in the separation of church and state, and understood the value of diplomacy. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait at least four more years, and probably a lot longer.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Driving Like It's 1994

Everybody's so hot for hybrid cars these days. A co-worker of mine is buying a Prius...and he's on a waiting list. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for fuel efficient cars, but there's something perverse about this.

Years ago, you could have bought a car whose gas mileage was almost as good as a 2004-2005 Prius for a fraction of the cost. Anybody remember the Geo Metro XFI, last offered in 1994? The mileage was 53 mpg city, 58 highway. It didn't need fancy-pants hybrid technology and gee-whiz LCD screens to get that kind of mileage. It just needed to be small (overall length 12' 3") and light (1621 pounds) and have an itsy-bitsy 1-liter, 49-horsepower engine (55 in earlier versions).

In a market dominated by SUVs and ever-larger full-size pickups (a new Ford F-150 XL regular cab long box is 765 pounds heavier than the 1996 model), such a car would never make it. Nowadays it doesn't have to, as we have complex, expensive hybrids that get similar gas mileage, but is that really progress? I'm not convinced. If I were on the waiting list for a hybrid I might check AutoTrader or the want ads for a Metro XFI that'd been driven 50,000 miles by a little old lady...just a thought.