Re: Guest Post - Greta would be disappointed

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According to my father-in-law's friend who owns a used car lot, it's hard to find a good used car these days and prices are high for anything reliable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:21 AM
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AIHSHB, I don't see why all that risk-averse fiance capital can't be pushed into building high-density housing and transit instead. That still leaves the car-dealers out of a job, but hopefully they can sell other stuff to all the people who aren't spending all their money on cars. (Who am I kidding? They'd be fucked. But once all the construction is done there'd be a lot less carbon emmited, so everyone would be slightly less fucked overall.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:25 AM
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Shady car dealers could transition into being shady estate agents.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:36 AM
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If you've already got a comical, vaguely criminal nickname, you only have so many options.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:38 AM
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And construction is one of them.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:41 AM
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Also, who has $3700 as a downpayment these days. :-(


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:43 AM
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That's another thing. The terms for new car loans are easier in terms of down payment and number of months to repay. It's possible to be able to "afford" a new car but not a used car that is recent enough to be reliable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:51 AM
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We bought a new car that was around $17000 six years ago. When we had to fill out info for financing the salesman became sad that we weren't buying something a lot more expensive, since he'd assumed we wanted a cheap car because it's all we could afford (instead of the actual case of preferring a small car). We didn't have enough to buy it outright, which I was sad about, but the interest ended up being like 2%.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:52 AM
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You should have burned a hundred dollar bill on the way out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 8:58 AM
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That's another thing. The terms for new car loans are easier in terms of down payment and number of months to repay. It's possible to be able to "afford" a new car but not a used car that is recent enough to be reliable.

That's (mainly) because the manufacturers subsidise the new car loans but not the used ones, for obvious reasons.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:06 AM
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I think also because the asset is more secure. A ten year old car has a greater risk of a mechanical issue that drops the value of the car close to zero.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:08 AM
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People here are now buying stupid pickup trucks. And by "here," I mean in the city. I blame growing economic inequality and the desire to park like an asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:13 AM
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I don't see why all that risk-averse fiance capital can't be pushed into building high-density housing and transit instead

Dense housing is a pretty risky business to invest in, in my understanding. I'm not sure that opportunities to invest in transit abound.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:29 AM
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Ban suburban development! Expropriate rights-of-way! BOT! Legislate it and they will come!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:39 AM
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There are no risk-averse fianc├ęs. It's a contradiction in terms.

A couple of random links: dominance of SUVs in Europe; higher mortality rate for pedestrian-car collisions correlated with more SUVs. Large, more expensive vehicles are overwhelmingly popular, and it becomes (somewhat literally) an arms race. I'm also curious about the role of leasing, which may have been discussed in the original article but I can't remember how to get around the WSJ paywall.

Apropos of absolutely zero apocalyptic fantasies, I need to set up my emergency water supply. In my abundant spare time.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:39 AM
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BOT = Build Operate Transfer?

||

More than one observer said that if Elizabeth Warren has been boinking a hot side piece on the regular since May, she probably ought to publicize that.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:45 AM
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|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:45 AM
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I have a spring in my basement for water. I should get it tested because it might be mine runoff and not safe even after boiling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 9:49 AM
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15 link 1 is perplexing and horrible.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 10:23 AM
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There are serious discussions now of banning tall SUVs on safety grounds - if you literally can't see pedestrians in front of you, why should it be something available to the general public?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 10:42 AM
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20: But if I can't drive a tall SUV, then how am I ever going to overcome the indignity of being a short man with a small penis in this cruel, cruel world?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 10:52 AM
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SUVs? Old school. My understanding is that pickup trucks are the new hotness, even in "blue" states. I see more and more of them in deepest, bluest MA.

Anyway, I always buy new (not pickup trucks!) and keep the car until it falls apart. I had my previous car for fifteen years and my current one is now (shockingly, to me) almost six years old. Although I have never it, I have read that getting an auto loan from a credit union or other non-car dealer is much cheaper than going through the dealer/manufacturer.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 10:53 AM
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|| I guess the moat story was a ratfuck to help Trump discredit the media in his acolytes eyes. |>


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 10:59 AM
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I'll just keep pumping in links. I skimmed this one; clickbait headline should (I assume) be ignored: https://jalopnik.com/the-collapse-might-finally-be-here-1838696472


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:07 AM
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New cars are far more fuel efficient than old bangers, though, so Greta might not be terribly upset.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:07 AM
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The last time I bought a car, which was the only time I've bought a new car, I spent a while poking around to see if there was some way to make financing come out ahead for me - take a loan, get a dealer kickback, pay off the loan in 60 days or something. But besides being complicated, I couldn't find anything that actually worked, so I just ended up paying for the whole thing outright.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:09 AM
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When the cities flood we can all sail yachts to work and Greta will be pretty chuffed.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:13 AM
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I absolutely love the Warren/hot ex-Marine sidepiece story and fervently hope it becomes a dance number at some point, with a chorus line of hot ex-Marines dancing around her. In my imagination, Channing Tarum is involved.

I will now imagine that a little bit more.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:31 AM
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Topically, my sister's car got repossessed yesterday at the behest of the credit union our grandfather founded. (Our family's fortunes took a turn for the worse a few years later.)

Ahimsub, I have never had a driver's license, so I don't particularly have a dog in this fight, but people just lose their damn minds when it comes to cars. One of the young families next door bought a new Mustang recently, which boggles my viscera. I mean, you live in a shitty apartment in a rough neighborhood, work as much ot as you can, and then you plow all your money into pointless conspicuous consumption. I guess maybe they figure they can drive that particular asset away from any serious escalation of the immigration war.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:32 AM
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22.1 is what I see. SUVs are for grandma. Pickups are so stupid in Pittsburgh for people who don't haul stuff. Also, in graduate school, I owned a pickup. What happens is people ask you to help them move.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:33 AM
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. . . a chorus line of hot ex-Marines dancing around her. In my imagination, Channing Tarum is involved.

I hadn't seen that story about Warren, but here is an obligatory link to Channing Tatum's dance number from Hail Caesar.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:50 AM
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Those links were specifically about SUVs, but I am aware of all urban pickup truck traditions. If you get one that's big enough you can put a tiny house in it, right? Right.

29.1 is depressing as shit; I'm sorry. Taking both your car and your credit rating seems so mean-spirited.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 11:58 AM
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My first vehicle was a pickup. In Msla, you really just have the two choices: Subaru or pickup.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:00 PM
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Anyway, your collective miseries remind me how nice it is not needing a car. And that's what's important.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:00 PM
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pickup


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:01 PM
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/charleycarp/7845120062/in/album-72157594480238830/


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:02 PM
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Nice truck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:18 PM
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We paid cash a few years ago for our CR-V, and could not manage to stop the guy talking about monthly payments. "With a 60 month loan you'll be paying $250"
"I get that you're used to having to say that, but we're paying cash."
"With a 72 month loan you'd be paying even less."
"I'm not taking a loan."
"Let me talk to our manager so he can help us figure out the loan that's best for you."

Manager eventually figured it out. "You mean you are ready, with the money, right now?!?"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:49 PM
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We bought a new car that was around $17000 six years ago. When we had to fill out info for financing the salesman became sad that we weren't buying something a lot more expensive, since he'd assumed we wanted a cheap car because it's all we could afford

Same here. They were surprised that we weren't getting something proportional to what "we could afford". That is what we did for a house, though.

In addition to cheap gas prices we need to remember that people with kids feel it is illegal to have a sedan because they are required by law to have gigantic car seats.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 12:51 PM
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38: I've only bought once, and it was via one of the no-haggle websites, but I like the Nicole Cliffe strategy of not correcting them from thinking you're getting a loan, negotiating and closing on the basis of total price, and whipping out the ready money at the very end.

Although some salespeople might recognize this tactic.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:07 PM
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In dimes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:17 PM
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Okay, I get it, EVERYONE'S other vehicle is the Mahayana here.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:30 PM
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36: That's a heck of a truck. And the pickup bed being used for passenger transport is a nice touch as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:37 PM
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The repayments represent a quarter of his take home pay.
[...]

No doubt some of our pensions, if we have them, are invested in this way.

I get from this that the Whole economic Thing is unsustainable anyway so we're going to have to go through the top-to-bottom change anyway, so the marginal risk of trying to make it *better* is not as high as Conventional Wisdom would have it.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:51 PM
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Phooey, sorry about missing the italics-close.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:51 PM
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Riding in the back of a pickup truck as a kid on a pleasant night was one of the best best things in my childhood. Cousins in the back with me, town lights and then stars above, parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents in the front (they must have been terrifically crowded, grandad didn't go in for big trucks on the road).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 1:53 PM
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Haven't read the full article, but I don't see what's frightening here. Why shouldn't a young guy with a steady job borrow money to get something he enjoys? If he loses his job, he can default and he still enjoyed the car while he had it. Why should loan payments be limited to 10% of gross income? Why should I care whether the car dealer makes more from selling cars or selling loans? What's unsustainable about the business model? Ford has been financing car sales for a century.

In an ideal world, cars would pollute less, band everyone who enjoyed cars would have one or two.

"Hardly anyone needs a new car" is self evidently false. Purchasers of used cars need purchasers of new cars to supply them with used cars.

The car lenders, unlike the student loan folks, aren't government subsidized.I borrowed significantly more when I was that age to obtain a private university liberal arts education, from a school I chose mainly because of its brand name. A state college offered almost the same product at much lower cost. This guy is making a better use of his credit limit than I did.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 2:06 PM
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people with kids feel it is illegal to have a sedan because they are required by law to have gigantic car seats.

There are definitely certain sedans where you can't fit three across, if your kids are not yet in boosters. I don't know that certain carseats are bigger or smaller than others, I think we had fairly standard ones.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 2:08 PM
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Also, I can't quite believe it, but Rascal is about to turn 5 and we very recently seem to be totally done with the small children stage. It's weird and sort of sad but I also am really enjoying the current stage, so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 2:09 PM
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re 47: Nothing magic about 10%, but that is quite a lot (pre tax) if your overall budget is at all sane. If you are a car nut and willing to forgo other entertainment or whatever, fine. If you are not doing any long term saving because your car payment is too high, not fine.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 2:26 PM
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Getting gouged on a car is so common for young junior enlisted service members that it is something of a common joke. All the camp followers have settled down just outside the main gate.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 2:34 PM
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The car lenders, unlike the student loan folks, aren't government subsidized.

Neither are payday lenders.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 2:45 PM
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51: especially trucks and fast motorcycles.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 3:29 PM
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/charleycarp/7845142722/in/album-72157594480238830/

Same truck. Same girl too, on the right. Girl on the left became famous.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 4:32 PM
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46 Both pics I've linked were in Glacier. Back of a pickup in the second best way to do the Going to the Sun road.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 3-19 4:35 PM
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54: that's a sad story. How did you know her?


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:55 AM
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A few years ago, I went car-shopping for my father (their car got totaled and he wanted someone to narrow options). He always buys basically the cheapest car available (often from companies about to stop making cars/selling in the US. He has owned a Studebaker, a Renault, a Geo Metro, and an Oldsmobile! The least unusual was probably the Pinto). This was maybe five or six years ago. We didn't find anything that was a small sedan of reasonable quality less than about $23,000. Used cars for the past many years have been pretty pricey relative to new, so if you're looking for a late-model coming off lease (so maintenance is likely good and relatively low mileage, it's not a very steep discount from buying a new car. Even without the interest rates from the dealer, money buys less and less. AJ liked to point out to his father that in the 70s, $17,000 was a pretty good starting salary for a white collar professional and a new car cost about 20% of that. Now, $40,000 is a pretty good salary and cars cost $25,000. (Not entirely confident on how accurate these numbers are, but not totally crazy at least.)

I had to get a car when we moved out to car country. I was surprised that a five year loan seems to have become mostly standard.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 4:43 AM
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My dad had a Suzuki that was the same as the Metro. That was a fun car, unless you had to go on a freeway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 4:50 AM
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In the 70s, my uncle was making payments on a new car with only income from a graduate school stipend. Two things changed there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 4:53 AM
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59: The grad school stipend was what led to AJ's comparison. His dad pointed out that AJ's stipend in 2003 was pretty much what his first salary was in the early 70s, so how could AJ not afford to replace or repair his dying 1989 Chevrolet?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:00 AM
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I don't think anyone I was in graduate school with was living entirely off the stipend. Without a car, it would have been possible, but you wouldn't have been able to afford beer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:04 AM
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61: I think sciencey grad school stipends were/are a little better. I remember checking ours, and they were (shockingly, to me), above poverty level for a family of four.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:07 AM
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Ours were like $1,400 a month. This was back in the 90s, when we had to walk uphill both ways to school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:10 AM
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I had to get a car when we moved out to car country. I was surprised that a five year loan seems to have become mostly standard.

That's how you make the higher prices "affordable". Spread the payments out. Of course, you end up paying more interest.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:13 AM
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If you have good credit, interest rates are very low. That's another reason things haven't collapsed on the demand side.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:19 AM
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Somebody should explain to me why interest rates are so low and have been for so long. Probably the answer involves China and late capitalism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:34 AM
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Cars are at least a lot more lasting than they were twenty or more years ago.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:40 AM
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And they now have a button you can hit that will tell you the name of the song being played on the radio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:33 AM
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63: Hmm, ours were $1475 almost a decade later. Your beer budget must have been higher than mine.

64: Yeah, I was just surprised that it was what the credit union defaulted to, rather than giving options. I bet 50 year mortgages will become increasingly standard, too. Would make housing more "affordable."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:41 AM
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All this car talk reminded me of my dad's inexplicable decision to bring his AMC Rambler station wagon to Israel for his sabbatical year at the Weizmann Institute.
Did he realize that the "Big Red Car" would instantly become a legend in Rehovot? It was closer in size to the buses than the average cars on the road in Israel at the time. But how could he not have realized what a huge headache it would be to repair? It was pretty much continually in need of repair.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:41 AM
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66: China, late capitalism, and an aging population that isn't growing as quickly.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:44 AM
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If you die debt-free, that's leaving money on the table.

Maybe I should write an alternative guide to personal finance.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:45 AM
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68: But back then I knew every song they played on the radio.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:47 AM
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Hmm, ours were $1475 almost a decade later. Your beer budget must have been higher than mine.

IIRC, mine was closer to $1900, which I only post because we were at the same place at the same time, so I'm surprised there was variation like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 7:59 AM
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Also I'm surprised that I haven't really thought about this, but my mom drives a 1985 volvo that she got in the early 90s, which makes it a significantly old car at this point. My dad drives a late 90s SUV that he's been on the brink of replacing for 20 years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:01 AM
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I drive a 2006 minivan with almost 300K miles on it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:02 AM
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We have a 2006, but it only has 75k miles on it. We rarely go more than six miles from our house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:06 AM
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I guess I'm often in Nebraska, but I don't drive to Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:08 AM
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I guess most people go to Nebraska often, so I probably didn't need to specify.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:23 AM
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On the daily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:27 AM
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That dated slang finally reached Nebraska this year.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:27 AM
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I usually take the train, myself.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:28 AM
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This makes me feel better about not having a car. It's not easy having 4-year-old with no car, and we'll definitely need it if either our home or her school moves basically anywhere else, but we've managed so far.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:34 AM
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I used to step over parked trains on my way to class.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:34 AM
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It should be relatively consequence-free to max out your credit card with cash advances and give it away just before you die, right? Assuming you can manage the timing and don't have any assets.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:35 AM
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If you don't have any assets and are too old to work, you probably have no income of the kind that can be garnished, at least in most states. Don't wait until you're ready to die to max out the cards and default. (Or maybe there's a hidden downside I'm missing?)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:44 AM
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85, 86: This is the kind of thing my alternative guide to personal finance will cover. I've already borrowed money of the million-dollar advance I will soon be getting.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:49 AM
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More than enough for a proofreader.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 8:56 AM
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Probably by the time a generation that grew up with credit cards starts dying, this will be a common enough strategy that credit card companies will develop strategies to defend against it.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:10 AM
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"This is Capital One calling to ask what type of fillings your recently departed father had."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:18 AM
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I used to a ridiculous amount of credit across several cards because they just automatically offered more every 6 months or so and I was financing a bunch of corporate stuff. At some point I got rid of 50k+ of it and was surprised how difficult it was to convince the banks I wanted lower limits. You would think they would start ratcheting back down when you aren't using it as much or can't demonstrate the income (e.g. retiring).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:21 AM
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91: perhaps that should have been earmarked for a real bender around my 75th birthday


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:22 AM
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You'd think that if you thought they wanted to minimize how much debt people carry longterm.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:23 AM
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Right. They care about the payment stream, not the principle (principal?).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:28 AM
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The principals have an unprincpiled approach to the principal.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:30 AM
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My stipend worked out to about $1500/month, but didn't cover student fees, which were quite high.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:30 AM
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re 94: hence the concern around retiring or otherwise your payment stream falling off a cliff


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:42 AM
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But if they've been getting money for years on the same debt, they come out way ahead.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:44 AM
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my stipend was about $1200 I think, but scholarships double that so I did ok.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:47 AM
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98: that's fair


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:48 AM
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I do expect they would change the rules very quickly if lots of people who never carried a balance started running five digit balances after age 70.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 9:52 AM
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56 She and my wife were exchange students/roommates at Cal in 79/80. After the school year, they came to visit me in Montana, and then left to join the AIM Long March. Katrin did the whole thing, while my wife left it in Albuquerque and ended up making another visit to Montana. Katrin came to see us whenever she was in the US -- including for our wedding in 83. She was getting ready to come visit us again just right at the end.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 10:17 AM
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74: Wow! Y'all were rich! My recollection was that the university set TA pay for our department (college?) guaranteed for your first year at $17,500, plus they gave us health insurance (which was legit, brand name, not "go to the health center"). RA salary was required to be 90% of what a TA salary paid. We got raises a couple years in to when someone realized our department (or maybe just some labs?) RA salary had not tracked as 90% as TA salary got bumped up to $19,500 per year. I'm flabbergasted by your relative affluence. A fancy nationwide fellowship my first year promised $25K per year, which seemed so luxurious.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 10:21 AM
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Oops -- 102 is me. Obvsly.

And not Long March, but Long Walk.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 10:28 AM
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103: Our department had a similar scheme (19k though, I think) guaranteed access to TA/RA before they would take on a student.

But the mechanics were that it was partially required as part of your degree program (i don't know why, some sort of interdepartmental politics I guess). Which meant that even if you had a scholarship they had to give you a TA or RA (at lower hours though, so 10-12k or something). And there was some sort of retention thing going on so that if you did have a fancy name brand fellowship/scholarship (e.g. your $25k/yr) the university (not the department) would 1/2 match it and drop your tuition costs or something like that. So it was actually a little embarrassing in my department because if you got the fancy scholarship the university topped it up automatically, and the department also had to offer you a minimal TA/RA. If they really liked you and/or wanted to keep you happy they could assign the RA to your supervisor who could tell you to work on your research... this definitely lead to a bit of "haves and have nots" but for the most part didn't cause problems as the base stipend was pretty reasonable. In later years of a Ph.D you could stop TA/RA and teach courses at standard (adjunct) rate, you had to do at least 1.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 10:32 AM
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Our grad student stipend is now just shy of $38k/year, which exceeds the NSF fellowship stipend of $34k/year. 15+ years ago when I was a student, the NSF paid $30k/yr and that was more than the universities paid.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 10:41 AM
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107

Not Safe For Fellowship.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:03 AM
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Technically, our stipends were $15k/year, plus $3000 in summer funding. We had to RA or TA 20 hours/week. We also had really good health insurance. My understanding is that PhD students in the natural sciences did much better. I think fees were something like $2k/year, which was not something I really understood until I got there and suddenly had to take out loans to cover.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:15 AM
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55: Back of a pickup in the second best way to do the Going to the Sun road.

One of the most treasured memories of my youth was going over Beartooth Pass (Yellowstone to Billings) in a back of pickup truck. Was on a trip with my boy scout troop where our transportation got messed up by a railroad strike so we eneded up flying. Indelible memory.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:17 AM
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Humanities fellowships were pretty meager 10-15 years ago. I don't know how much they've improved since then. My offer from Cal in 2007 was something like $16,000 a year. I came very, very close to taking it; I think I could have gotten by. Whatever UW (Seattle) offered me was lower. There were also unfunded offers if that was more your speed.

The question is whether I'd quit my job now to get a no-strings-attached stipend to read books for a year, plus health insurance and transit assistance. I think if I say "no," I have to admit to myself that I've sold out.


Posted by: faceless data point | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:19 AM
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I definitely sold out. I'm not even sure I still have the attention span for books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:35 AM
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112

One More Cup of Coffee works really well when sung to a cat. Is this common knowledge?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:54 AM
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113

What were we talking about?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:55 AM
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114

It was songs that please cats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 11:56 AM
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My early nineties takehome pay from a university rate stipend (not set by the funding agency) was around $1100/month. There was health insurance, more than just student health center, I remember a set of rabies shots at a hospital off campus.

reading

Patricia Lockwood's essay about reading all of Updike in LRB is truly excellent.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:15 PM
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What kind of program were you in that you got bitten by an animal?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:18 PM
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114: I thought it was crypto-felid Dylan songs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:19 PM
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117 to 116.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:20 PM
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112: I don't even what that means. Does the cat like it? If so, how can you tell?

Also, is that the Dylan song?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:22 PM
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I hope there was hazard pay for rounding up the feral dogs or whatever the fuck you had to do that landed you with rabies shots.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:24 PM
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115.3: Yeah, I didn't have the patience for all of it, but the parts I read were hilarious.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:24 PM
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112: I think I figured it out. It fits your cat, because your cat doesn't offer affection, gratitude or love, isn't loyal and doesn't know how to read or write. There's lots more that probably works, but I'm doubtful about your cat's breath being sweet,


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:36 PM
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116,120:
The dusty places where my soul used to be were briefly lit by some light from the outside, and I was suddenly full of regret having lost a year and a half working to catch up to my better-prepared or quicker classmates in the beginning of the program. I walked back to the townhouse we lived in, sat on the bench on the porch and ruminated as the students hurried by to beat the coming downpour. The rain started. I looked at the storm drain, saw a dog struggling in the whirlpool.

Here was a chance to redeem the otherworldliness of too much work and undersleep, a chance to reconnect with a living thing in the actual world. I got completely drenched in the few yards between stairs and drain. A little too late. The little guy bit my finger, barely, on his way down. Hmmm, his head was more triangular than a dog's though.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:38 PM
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116,120:
The dusty places where my soul used to be were briefly lit by some light from the outside, and I was suddenly full of regret having lost a year and a half working to catch up to my better-prepared or quicker classmates in the beginning of the program. I walked back to the townhouse we lived in, sat on the bench on the porch and ruminated as the students hurried by to beat the coming downpour. The rain started. I looked at the storm drain, saw a dog struggling in the whirlpool.

Here was a chance to redeem the otherworldliness of too much work and undersleep, a chance to reconnect with a living thing in the actual world. I got completely drenched in the few yards between stairs and drain. A little too late. The little guy bit my finger, barely, on his way down. Hmmm, his head was more triangular than a dog's though.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:38 PM
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125

Raccoon?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:43 PM
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123-4 awesome. Pulitzer right there.
Also does one need to have read Updike to appreciate lrb thing??


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:45 PM
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Probably. I think it had lived or at least rested in the storm drain, there had been a dry spell before the day's heavy rain.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:47 PM
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If I have to live in a stormdrain I think I'll skip the LRB.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:49 PM
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126.2: Absolutely not. But maybe you should first read DFW's takedown


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:54 PM
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Dallas-Fort Worth is into lit crit?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:58 PM
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123: That's hauntingly similar to the beginning of It. I guess you should count yourself lucky.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:58 PM
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130: When the oil wells dried up, that was where they found consolation.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 12:59 PM
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Link. That review sure got a lot of attention in MFA circles at the time.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 3:57 PM
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Mother Fucking Authors.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:08 PM
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"John Updike Drops One" is a great title.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:18 PM
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"Norman Mailer wonders where the plunger is" would be a good one too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 5:19 PM
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I had a humanities stipend ~10 years ago in Pittsburgh that was 24k/year, which was enough for some of my classmates to buy houses. 24-26k was pretty common in the 'top' PhD programs in my field, but it was particularly luxurious in Pittsburgh.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:21 PM
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I have now read the Lockwood LRB piece - and it's good! Her LRB pieces are always good - but note that she didn't actually read all of Updike because no one could possibly read all of Updike. We're seeing him off. I don't think he's much read now, and he'll never be read more.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:37 PM
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Woman visits area national park, overdresses.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 4-19 6:46 PM
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I'm not even sure I still have the attention span for books.

I recommend flying Air France. Amazingly, they don't have wifi on transatlantic flights. I got through 500 pages of a 1000 page history of the Holy Roman Empire.

My graduate stipend in the mid 90s was $12,500/year. But Baltimore was pretty cheap, so it wasn't too bad.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 6:01 AM
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Why does she always look like she's been photoshopped into locations?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 6:01 AM
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The locations don't want to be in the shot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 6:32 AM
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~10 years ago in Pittsburgh

We could have been on the same bus. Except that I wasn't taking buses very often until about nine years ago.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 11:11 AM
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going over Beartooth Pass (Yellowstone to Billings) in a back of pickup truck

Soil and geology departments often have dusty pictures of classes going off to fieldwork on the backs of flatbed trucks. Roomy, but easy to fall off of. I never found anyone who had heard how fast the trucks drove.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 11:18 AM
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"It's a girl, my Lord, falling off a flatbed Ford."


Posted by: Opinionated, but Confused, Eagles | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 11:19 AM
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speed itself isn't much trouble sitting on a flatbed, so much as cornering velocity.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 12:53 PM
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"It's a girl, my Lord, sliding off flatbed Ford cornering with alacrity."


Posted by: Opinionated, but Confused, Eagles | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 1:15 PM
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There's a memorable bit in On The Road where they catch a lift on the back of a flatbed truck, which slows down so the passengers on the load bed (all men ofc) can pee over the side, and once they've got started the driver deliberately weaves around all over the road to see who can keep their balance. Took me ages to work out what was happening when I first read it, since I had never seen one then.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 1:33 PM
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A penis or a penis that was peeing?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 1:40 PM
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I was very well brought up. I had never seen either. Flatbed trucks, on the other hand, thundered down every rural lane in England until they were banned by the EU along with pre-decimal currency, fish, and dentists.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 1:51 PM
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I remember driving around in the country drinking beer and one guy said he needed to pee. We all laughed and laughed when a girl (somebody's cousin from out of the area) was shocked that we just stopped the car and walked behind it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-19 2:00 PM
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140: Is that Heart of Europe by Peter Wilson? If so, how is it? It's been on my kinda-wish list for a while.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10- 7-19 1:10 AM
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We've moved on, but I just bought a new car at the end of July--paid a bit over 25% down, 60 months at 1.90%--the financing is all but free in real terms.

As with someone above, we bought our last car new, drove it into the ground over 15 years (not a lot of miles, but mostly city driving, and the car never spent a night of its life in a garage). That's the plan for this one as well.

On the SUV/pickup thing, I noticed the other day that even smaller pickups are now massive: the Chevy Colorado is ostensibly of the class that used to include the Ford Ranger, but now has a hood that is chest-high on me (I'm 6-1). I saw one parked in front of a Jaguar coupe, and literally the entire coupe was lower than the sides of the truck bed. It's basically sociopathy on four wheels.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10- 7-19 2:52 PM
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