Frank & Oak last rites


I have to hand it to Frank & Oak for trying.  If you read my last post about them, they were concerned about the bad press generated by said blog post, and offered my readers a 20% discount.

I also received a free item from F&O because I told them I wouldn’t rescind anything I said about the company unless I tested the products again:  It was a french terry pullover in dark blue.

To be frank (no pun intended), the pullover was “just ok” for quality.  The french terry was a very tight weave.  Even in an extra large (and I’m not really that big, but I ordered larger due to my experience with their sizes), I had to shimmy into the thing.  The fabric doesn’t move with you, or stretch at all.  It’s tight – like wearing burlap.  I gave it to a female friend of mine who is much smaller than I am, and while she liked the “idea” of it, she won’t wear it either because it is simply not comfortable.

With all that has happened between me and the company of Frank & Oak, I have to say I am finally done with them.  From what I can tell based on responses to my original review of Frank & Oak, there are many, many of you out there who are also “done” and will not do business with Frank & Oak any longer.

I wish the company the best; I honestly do.  But until they up their game in merchandise quality, accurate, detailed descriptions of their products, and better customer service, I don’t see Frank & Oak as a survivor.  Not unless they are relying on pseudo-style-conscious “men” who don’t give a damn about quality, of course.

I know pronounce my relationship with Frank & Oak dead.  I’m calling it.  Time of Death – 11:54 AM February 12, 2014.  It lingered way longer than it should have.

Greed and Stupidity cause the music industry to lose money


I was on a web site recently. It was a discussion forum.  One forum visitor, replying to a another who was having a particularly difficult struggling with an emotional issue, posted a link to a music video.  I was curious so I clicked the link.  I was brought to YouTube and a video for a song called “Jealousy” by Will Young.  I had no idea who Will Young was, nor had I ever heard that song.  I loved it. (See bottom of this posting for the video link.)

After a little research I found out the Will Young was the original “Idol” from the very first year in the U.K.  The original version of the show is called “Pop Idol” and when it later came to America, “American Idol”.  But Will Young was the very first ever in that franchise to win. And he’s had a VERY successful carreer.  I couldn’t believe that even with all that I had never heard of him.  I’m not a kid anymore but I try to keep up with what’s going on in the world.  So finding the song, and the artist was a pleasant surprise.

I immediately fired up iTunes (as much as I hate iTunes, sometimes that’s just where you have to go) and did a search.  A pop up box said he couldn’t be found.  I was surprised and a little bummed out.  But the pop up box also said that what I was looking for was available on the UK iTunes site.  Cool!.  So I followed the link to there and found the song. When I tried to purchase it, I was asked for my iTunes account and after typing that in, I was told I couldn’t buy the song because I was in the US and I “wasn’t allowed” to purchase the song.  What?!  I suddenly remembered this happening to me a year or so ago when I tried to download some other song.  At that time I went through the process of setting up and account on the UK iTunes website, made up a UK address and all went well until I put in my credit card number.  I was told the credit card number belonged to a USA bank and therefore could not be used.  Fucked again.  At that time, I gave up, pissed off at how stupid this all was.

But not this time; I wasn’t giving up.  I went to Amazon.com and did a search and had the same problem with not being able to purchase it because I was in the US.  I was not yet deterred complete.  While FREE music download sites like Napster, Limewire and Kazaa are long gone.there are still ways to get free music.

Let me say, first and foremost, that I believe in paying for music.  If I could have handed Will Young the $20 for his CD personally, I would have done it gladly.  I would have paid him, his record company, a record store, or anybody else to legally purchase this music.  HOWEVER, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ITSELF HAD MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO PURCHASE THE MUSIC I WANTED.

By using a torrent download site I was able to get the entire Will Young CD called “Echoes”.  I probably shouldn’t admit that I did it because it’s probably illegal.  But I will gladly pay the $20 to whomever should get it, if they can tell me how I can purchase the music without having to fly to the UK to do it.

So, music industry folks, I don’t know if you are dumb, greedy, or both.  It seems that one begets the other.  But you need to get you act together.  I believe that most people are like me.  I would gladly pay for ANY AND ALL MUSIC THAT I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE, JUST GIVE ME A WAY TO DO IT. Get your lawyers and your licensing and your greed in check and then people won’t be forced to steal music from the Internet.

Let me tell you something:  music is a very personal thing.  When a song hits you, it hits you hard and you will do anything to get it just so you can listen to it anytime you want, over and over again.  Some music is just like that – you simply must have it.  It’s innate.  I’ll say it one more time.  I WOULD GLADLY PAY FOR THE MUSIC I WANT IF YOU GIVE ME A WAY TO DO IT.  And I believe most people out there feel the same way. 

By the way, if you are interested in the song I was trying to find, here it is.  The dance edit called “Alias Edit” is fantastic, as is the rest of the CD.  If you are in the US, good luck.  Maybe I should send it out to anyone who want it.

So long Stugazzi’s Restaurant


The last thing I ever want is for a local, small business in my town to fail.  But just because a business opens, doesn’t mean it will be successful, or deserve to succeed.  It is especially difficult for a restaurant.  One in four restaurants fail (or change ownership) in the first year.

Maine is place where even international chain restaurants like “Chili’s” can’t even stay open,  so a small, private restaurant has to have a lot of luck and something very special to offer the public if it’s ever going to make it.

I wrote a few reviews of Stugazzi’s Restaurant in Springvale, Maine.  I was harsh, and it spurned some lively debate.  That’s a nice word for “arguing”.  My reviews had hit a nerve.  I wasn’t being snarky.  I was being honest.  It it was awesome, I would have said so.

By all accounts, even by those who stood up for this restaurant, if anyone took an honest look at this restaurant, had to admit it was below average.   The truth hurts, I know.  Maybe one or two of their food items were good, but overall, a restaurant can’t call itself an “authentic” Italian restaurant and serve “chicken fingers”.  I don’t care if some people think that restaurants need to cater to the kids; Italian mothers in  “authentic” Italian kitchens in the Tuscan countryside don’t feed their kids chicken finger.  If you want to serve kids a crunchy, chicken appetizer, cut up an “authentic” chicken cutlet, pounded thinly, pan-fried in a very light and delicious coating, quick-cooked to perfection.  Top it with fresh buffalo mozzarella and a side of home-made marinara sauce, and you are good to go – without compromising your “authentic” principles.  It’s not more expensive for the chef to cook the real version than the insipid American concoction known  (which by the way started in American-Chinese restaurants) unless that restaurant is buying them frozen from a restaurant bulk frozen food supply house, in which case you’ve lost your way on the “authentic” road anyway so you should pack it in.

The food itself wasn’t the real problem with Stugazzi’s, it was the design of the customer experience.  Nothing worked.  From confusing self-seating, to “where the hell do I park”, to an uncomfortable entrance where the patrons landed right at the bar, to the rude staff, to the restaurant’s inability to properly pack take-out food —  the gaping holes in service were endless.  This isn’t rocket science.  And if there is one thing that Sanford/Springvale needs is more quality restaurant choices.  For god’s sake, the hot dog truck on Main Street is one of the better establishments.

It’s not my job to tell a restaurant owner how to run his restaurant.  But if the owners and their friends had read the clues (which could hardly be called clues since they were not inconspicuous in my writing; they were direct and on point) instead of firing off nasty emails and comments about my comments, then maybe their authentic Italian restaurant would still be open – and successful.  That would have been awesome!

I truly am sorry that a local business failed.  I really am.  It’s the last thing our little town needs. But I’m not sad to see a low-quality restaurant with poor service close up shop;  in my neighborhood or anywhere else.

Now, if the owners would like to re-open, with a new attitude, and a new outlook on how to serve quality food to the public, in a unique, satisfying, affordable, and authentic way, I’d be happy to help wherever I can.

The biggest problem with Stugazzi’s is that it appeared as if the owners never walked into their own establishment as a customer (incognito, or send in a mole with a hidden camera), as if they never had seen the place before, and experienced it from the customer’s perspective.  They needed to do that objectively.  Call in an order for pickup. Sit and order food, on several occasions on several different days and times.  Eat at the bar, and eat in the dining room.  Then they would have seen what most of us saw.  A successful restaurant is about its customers, not its owner’s ego.

I do wish the owners well, and I hope, maybe, they learned something that can take them on to their next endeavor, which will be successful.

99 Weekers – Enough is Enough !!


Apparently I lost my job at the wrong time.  It was 2007 when I was let go without notice, and without real reason.  It was devastating.  I’m single, live alone, and have no other source of income, other than my job.  I got the standard six months of unemployment and then nothing.  I was out of work fo 18 months.  Living alone is expensive.  There is no one with whom to share the expenses of maintaining a household.

I almost lost everything.  Including my sanity, my self-respect, my self-confidence, and a reason to go on living.  My car was repossessed, I was on food stamps and I sent out hundreds upon hundreds of resumes.  If it wasn’t for the good will of family and friends, I never would have made it.  On top of just living expenses, I have some chronic medical issues.  At one point, a doctor refused to see me anymore unless I paid something on my balance. 

Eventually I found a job.  It paid literally half of what I was making at my previous job.  So now I make barely above what would be considered poverty level.  The last time I earned this little of a salary, it was 1992.  Gas was about $1.25 a gallon and so was milk.  I could buy a brand new Honda Accord, well-equipped, for about $17,000.  That same car today is about $25,000.  The math doesn’t make sense.  Salaries have gone nowhere for years but prices have sky-rocketed. 

So these people who have been out of work, and on unemployment for 2 years should just SHUT THEIR MOUTHS and be thankful for what they got.  It may sound heartless, but I don’t care.  I had to take a less than ideal job making half of what I made before, and so should you.  Take any job you can find; even if it means flipping burgers part-time.  Just because you can’t get a job “in your field” doesn’t mean you can’t work.

I just can’t imagine being out of work and getting a check from the government for TWO YEARS, and then complaining that the government is leaving you out in the cold for not extending your benefits EVEN FURTHER.  SHUT UP AND GO FIND A JOB.  Or start asking your family and friends for handouts.  Because you’re not using MY TAX DOLLARS to sit around on your ass anymore.

That’s my opinion and I’m a liberal democrat.  This isn’t about partisanship.  This is about real life.

Where’s my stimulus?


I hear this question all the time.  “If the government can give banks billions of dollars, why can’t they give average American’s a bailout?”.

Well, it’s true.  I hear these unimaginable dollar amounts being talked about, and given out, to Banks, Auto Companies, and god knows who else, and it seems everyone and their brother is getting money, but no me.

It was just announced that Wall Street will give out 140 some odd billions of dollars in BONUSES.  It’s sickening.  I am driving a 14-year-old car that has a trunk that leaks so badly I get 6 to 8 inches of standing water in my trunk every time it rains.  The air conditioner doesn’t work, and it’s starting to rust out.  This car did not qualify for “Cash for Clunkers” because it supposedly gets more miles per gallon than the government cut-off of 18 mpg to qualify for the program.

The average car price now, is about $22,000 dollars.  And that’s for a regular old standard sized American and Japanese cars.  I’ve learned over the years that when you buy a used car, no matter how much you know about cars and no matter how much you know what to look for, you are always buying somebody elses problems.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be selling the car.  How many people sell a car that they like and that runs great. 

So all I want out of the trillions of dollars being shuffled about this country from one place to another to a bunch of people who don’t deserve it, is my $22,000 to go buy a decent car.  If I were able to get that money and buy a car, the first person that benefits is the car dealer, and its employees.  Then, I would be way more likely to go on road trips like I used to do.  I don’t take road trips now because I don’t trust my vehicle.  But if I go on a road trip, then restaurants, motels, retailers, liquor stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and their employees, all benefit from me spending money.  It’s called the economy, stupid.   Giving money away to people who already have money doesn’t stimulate shit.  The rich will just have bigger bank accounts but they won’t spend more than they spend now.  To grow the economy, there must be a GROWTH in spending, not the status quo.  Plus if I got a new car, I wouldn’t be contributing negatively to climate change.  Cleaner vehicles are good for the environment regardless of whether you believe in climate change or not.

We hear all about deficits and debt.  But there is still enough money in this country, controlled by the top 10 percent of all Americans, to pay off America’s debts.  So don’t tell me the country is falling apart.  The rich are STILL getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer.  I’m just trying to make it to the middle class.

Bail me out!  Stimulate me!

The wheels on the Republican bus have officially fallen off


I didn’t think that the Republican Party could fall out of favor any further than it has.  But in true Republican fashion, they never let you down when it comes to disappointment.

I would not have believed if I didn’t see it.  Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher blamed Barack Obama for the violence and death on the streets of Iran.  He said that if Obama had spoken up and denounced the violence three days ago, the violence would have been avoided.  That woman who was shot and died on live television would be alive if it weren’t for Barack Obama.  Yes, this guy actually said it.

And what if John McCain was our President.  According to his recent remarks, we would be at war with another Islamic country; further degrading the standing of the United States around the world.  And thousands upon thousands more would be dead.  McCain couldn’t even answer this question:  Is Barack Obama on the side of Majmud Ahmadinajad or is he on the side of the factions that are protesting an unfair election.  McCain said “Well I know what side I”M on” insinuating that Barack Obama was on the side of the tyranical President.  He’s kidding right?  No he’s not.

Then, Republicans like radio host and columnist Mark Savage, and a Maryland Republican women’s group, and many others too numerous to mention, have been, just in the last few days, comparing Barack Obama to Hitler.  They are litterally trying to make direct comparisons between Obama’s actions and policies to Hitler’s reign of terror.  It is amazingly ridiculous and hateful, and so far off base that I can’t figure out who these people are trying to convince to join or support their party.  They should have stuck with the idea that Barack’s birth certificate is a fake.  At least that is a conspiracy theory the right wingers can REALLY get behind. 

And now Mark Sanford, South Carolina Governor, admits to infidelity with an Argentinean woman, which explains where he was over Father’s Day Weekend when neither his wife, his sons, nor his administration  knew where he was.  And all the while they thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  He was lost in the woods, alright, metaphorically speaking.  I can’t wait to see how Sanford’s close friend, Joe Scarborough handles this tomorrow morning on “Morning Joe”.  Will he defend Sanford using tax payer money to go to Argentina for a booty call?  Just this morning (Wednesday) Joe was defending Sanford’s behavior.

This is like a bad plot in a bad daytime soap opera.  Even Luke and Laura knew when it was time to give up the Ice Princess plot line.

So Mark Sanford goes on TV today and gives a very long list of all the people he hurt; beginning with his sons.  The young people behind him in his news conference were giggling.  I don’t know who they were or why they were there.  But it was sad, demeaning, and even somewhat humorous.  If there were ever a reason to have a pre-planned speech or tele-prompters, that news conference was it.  This is a man who said President Clinton should resign for such sexually deviant behavior.  Well, Mr. Sanford, will you now resign, because you should based on your own moral compass.

Is it any wonder why the Republican Party is falling apart.   What comes next; calling Barack Obama a extra-terrestrial being while some other Republican congressman gets arrested for molesting pre-school boys. 

Barack Obama is poised to strike and get whatever he wants out of Congress; Republicans or Democrats.  Now is the time Barack.  DO IT!  Get health care passed.  Clean up the environment, Get all the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, create millions of jobs, send America over into the financial abyss; finance our asses off.  Who cares?  It can’t possibly be worse than anything that brain trust we call the GOP can come up with.

And just yesterday, the GOP had begun to lay out plans to take back Congress in 2010.  Sorry guys, I don’t think so.

And the cherry on top?  Rush Limbaugh said about Sanford – “he could have been our JFK”.

I can’t even keep up anymore with the train wreck and casualties that make up the GOP.

It’s time to Fade to Black.

Why Obama is the right person, right now


We know the economy is a mess.  In a way I feel lucky because I lost my job in April of 2007, lost everything, was out of work of 18 months, without any programs to help me.  I’m now back to work making half of what I did before.  I am still struggling to stay afloat after those 18 months, for most of which I did not receive unemployment compensation.  And while I am working now, it is for a small business with 13 employees.  So I can’t count on anything going forward.

Lucky?  You ask quizzically.  Yes, because I already went through what many people are going through now and will continue to go through.  I don’t have a car payment anymore because I lost my car to the repo man.  I don’t have a mortgage because even before all this happened I didn’t make enough to own a home.  Some would say I did.  Many tried to convince me that a single person like me making the kind of money I made, should be investing in a home.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Rent is just fine with me.  And while I almost lost my apartment, the kindness of friends, family, and an understanding landlord have helped me hang on.

I watched President Obama (I still love writing that) last night in his non-State of the Union Address.  Have you ever in your life heard a President be so bold to tell the truth?  He told the truth about the current condition of our country and gave us hope that we can get through it.  There is an awful lot to be said for having the right attitude.  And Barack Obama has it.  I get the sense he truly does believe we can turn this situation around. 

The President is not letting the “party of NO” stop him from going forward.  The American public spoke.  They spoke in November of 2006 and in November of 2008.  One party is in charge right now for a reason.   Can you really imagine John McCain being the President right now.  Really?!  For Christ’s sake he’d still be talking about “the surge”.  And while I have learned a new respect for Hillary Clinton, I don’t think she would have the same oratory skills required for the job.  Not to mention that Bill Clinton would be an incredible distraction.  The Clinton’s would have been skewered by the neo-cons and so much distraction and shell-gaming would be going on that the country wouldn’t have a chance.

When they call the GOP the “party of NO” they mean it.  Republicans are so out of touch with the pulse of America right now that they should all be sued for malpractice”.  And soon-to-be former-presidential-candidate Bobby Jindal with his insinuations last night that Barack Obama’s message included something about America ‘s best days are behind her.  What is that all about?  Did you, or he, hear something I didn’t?  I watched the President and listened to what he said.  THAT, my dear Jindal, is NOT what he said.

What I am about to write is not an original idea but it keeps popping into my head.  Democrats will tell you what the are FOR, and Republicans will tell you what they are AGAINST.  That is one of the major differences between the two parties right now.  The GOP has no leaders, no platform, and has lost the trust of the American people.  Average Americans are not even listening to what Republicans have to say, because all that comes out of their mouths is blame, finger pointing, the word “NO”, or nothing at all.

There’s no question that I am a Barack Obama supporter.  I don’t agree with many things he has said or done.  The one thing I have to hold on to is that I trust him.  Unlike the Bush Administration,  Barack Obama is in this for the American people, the Americahe loves.  The Bush Administration was in it for their own egos, their own power, and in many cases, their own pocket books.  (Can you say “Halliburton”?).

And one last thing.  Karl Rove didn’t show up AGAIN for his testimony to Congress.  It’s time to hold him in contempt and throw in him jail.  That’s what we do to criminals, don’t we.  Barack Obama said last night, unequivocally, “The United States does not torture”.  But if Rove doesn’t want to play by our rules, let’s play by his.  Anybody have an extra water board lying around?

So back to my original premise. Barack Obama is the right man for the job.  There’s another Democrat (and certainly not a Republican) who has the balls to do what he is doing right now.  And as for these Republican Governors who lambaste the stimulus package and then want some of the money, you can’t have it both ways.  Grow a backbone already.  And if you don’t know how, ask Obama.

The February Update


Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t written a post for this blog since Inauguration Day.  Three things have kept me away.  First, there has been a lot going on in Politics but in my opinion there hasn’t been anything earth-shattering that hasn’t been covered by everybody else blogging and in the general media.  I haven’t seen any blatant mistakes or misrepresentations by others than haven’t gone unchecked, or caught, by others.

Second, I have been very busy with my other blog about Digital TV, High Definition TV, and the converstion of Analog to Digital.  It’s been very busy over there at http://mainehdtv.blogspot.com

Lastly, my Carpal Tunnel problem has quickly gotten worse.  It’s sort of ironic that after spending almost 2 years writing and teaching about Digital TV and the Conversion, that my C.T. surgery is randomly scheduled for February 17, 2009, the day of the conversion.  So if things go horribly wrong, I won’t be able to type for a few days.  In thinking about his more broadly, it’s probably best.

Oh, did you think that President Obama’s achievement of extending the conversion to digital to June 12, 2009, will actually have any impact.  Well, it won’t, because it is non-binding.  TV Stations can still turn off their analog signal on February 17, many have already shut off their analog signal, and there are only the few stations left who are so far behind the digital curve that they are using this extension as a smoke screen to cover up for their technical inadequacies.  Anyway, you can visit the other blog to learn about that if you wish.

I feel I should comment on the Stimulus Act that will be signed by President Obama (I do love typing that) early next week.  However, I can’t even pretend to understand it.  I’m not an economist. Hell, I don’t even balance my checkbook.  I know how, barely.  I just don’t.  I hate dealing with money.  So all I can say is that I hope somebody out there in Stimulus-land is way, way, smarter than me.  I trust Barack to try to do the right thing.  It seems as if nobody knows whether or not it will work.  Although, the Republicans seem pretty positive it won’t.  They don’t know what WILL work, but the know what WON’T work????  How does that work?

I had the misfortune of watching that big, screaming, Republican queen, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), swish and lisp his pretty homosexual mouth through the motions of pretending to know what the hell he was talking about.  All the while I kept wondering from whose talking points memo he was reading verbatim.    And I was thinking how scared he looks all the time that someone might out him.  Yup, that was my Sunday morning.

I’m in a foul mood today because when I had no insurance, I got some discount prescripton card off the internet.  Now, with my prescription coverage, I had to spend $178 for three prescriptions because I haven’t satisfied my deductible.  So my plan for the weekend were cancelled because I had no money to spare.  I needed every single one of those dollars to eat, drive my car,  and pay some utility bills.  I had planned to go to an inexpensive dinner with friends yesterday.  So I had to cancel.  I don’t know if the new Stimulus Plan will help me specifically.  I doubt it.  But I sure could use some stimulating.  In more ways than one.  Maybe Lindsey has some advice??

Sorry, no big news, no big opinions.  I got nothin.

The Auto Bailout Debate continues


Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe” (MSNBC) was a raving, ranting, unintelligible maniac this morning.  What the hell is “patriotic economics”.  He wants to save the American auto industry at all costs because they are American.  He’s not a socialist or anything.  He’s a true blue republican, in his mind.  Yeah, right.  What do you call blindly subsidizing a company with no oversight.  Congress doesn’t know how to run a car company so how can oversee it.

First of all, we know the banking bailout didn’t work so why are we continuing to bailout other industries.  Congress lost control of the credit crisis the second they agreed to sign that bill.  Paulson doesn’t know what he’s doing and he can’t or won’t tell us where the money has been spent so far.  All legal, I might add.

If we’re going to bail anybody out, bail out the people.  It would cost less to put these folks on unemployment and retrain them for other jobs than to just keep writing checks to auto industry fat cats.  And don’t give me this crap about American cars being better, and safer, than Japanese or German imports.  If Joe Scarborough feels safe with his newborn in the back of his GMC Yukon, good for him.  I’ll take a Toyota Sequoia or Honda Ridgeline any day of the week, you know why?  Because the trucks I want to drive are tough and rugged and will last longer than any American truck.  AND, the resale value will be…well, it will actually have a resale value.  How much is a 5 year old Yukon with 120,000 miles worth, Joe?

So Joe, and Pat Buchanan, can blow it out their you know what with this “Patriotic Economics” bullshit.  Toyota, Honda, Vokswagen, Mercedes and Nissan all manufactur cars right here in the good old USA with American workers.  The difference is, these car companies don’t have bloated executive salaries, bloated pension and health benefits, and guaranteed paychecks whether you actually work or not as compared to all of the American car companies with their labor unions.  American workers at foreign car companies have jobs like the rest of us; the kind without decades of legacy bargaining chips that have been leveraged to the hilt.  Companies like the big 3 don’t work in this economy anymore and haven’t for decades.  They no longer fit into the American workforce and they don’t build cars that Americans want.

They had plenty of warning; like 30 years of warning, if not more.  Good night sweetheart, well, it’s time to go.  Hey I was out of work for 18 months and it killed me.  I just went back to work in October of 2008 (yes, last month).  If I can make it, so can they.  Somebody needs to tell GMC, Ford, and Chrysler to find a good bankruptcy attorney and let their suppliers know that the gravy train is pulling into the station.

Why are we bailing out General Motors?


The worlds #1 auto maker is bleeding cash (in their own words) and want the infamous $770 Billion bailout to be partially funneled in their direction.

Why?  Why are we going to bail out a company who sells products that the American market neither wants not has the credit to buy?

It makes no sense to me.  I consider myself to be an average American when it comes to consumer purchases.  However, while I am recently employed, I was unemployed for 18 months, causing unbelievable damage to my credit and changed my way of thinking when it comes to quantifying what is a “necessary” purchase.

When my car was repossesed, I relied on friends and family to get me through.  I borrowed cars from family and friends, most of which were old beaters not even remotely road worthy, and would never pass inspection, but I had to take a chance.  I needed a car to get to interviews, if I ever got one, or god willing, a job, if I ever got one of those either.

In the end, it was a very good friend who loaned me money, to be paid back “whenever” to buy a decent used vehicle.  I bought a used, 12 year old Toyota.

I have driven at one time or another, just about every car out there.  Wehter it be through test drives, rentals on business trips, or just driving cars owned by people I know.  There is no way in hell I would ever buy an American car.  They are still, to this day and after everything the American auto industry has been through, unreliable, lack creativity and ingenuity, are made of plastic, and still have the same look inside as they did in the 1970’s.  You just can NOT compare any American car to its foreign competition; not in quality, not in price, not in reliability.

General Motors, and Ford, and Chrysler for that matter, are all failing.  And rightly so.  It’s part of the cycle of consumerism.  It’s basic supply and demand and we as Americans don’t demand American cars.  We bailed out car makers before, in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  These companies had some sort of a rebound only to be overtaken each and every year by Toyota and Honda.  Other than the Ford Taurus, which I still can’t explain, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been the top selling cars in the United States for decades.

So why, with the incredible financial crisis goiing on in this country, would the government bail out American car companies.  Nobody wants to buy a GM, Chrysler, or Ford.  It is no longer a matter of patriotism.  Most foreign based car companies who sell cars in the U.S. build them here, or buld part of them here.  In many cases there are more foreign parts in an “American” car than there are in an “import”.

So General Motors wants the U.S. government to bail them out to keep them solvent.  Why would we do that.  Even if these U.S. automakers were financially viable right now, there is no credit available to customers to help them buy these cars.  This is not a “one-issue” problem.  And if I could get a car loan, I wouldn’t buy an American car.  For those who can afford to buy a car in cash, they are not going to buy a Chevy Impala, they are going to buy a Lexus.  Just as in the housing crisis where the government should be bailing out the consumer rather than Wall Street, the government should be giving grants or loans to buy vehicles rather than just writing blank checks to U.S. auto makers.

We have given American car companies 30 years, an entire generation and then some, to catch up with what Americans want in a car.  They couldn’t do it.  They won’t do it.  Even with government subsidies, they lack the vision.  And any company that is no longer relavent in the world tends to go out of business.  So be it.  With the advent of digital cable and on-demand television, we don’t need Blockbuster anymore.  Would we bail them out.  No. We’d let them go by the wayside because they are no longer relevant.

So what do we do about the 3 million employees of American car companies?  I don’t know.  Maybe we should convert American car factories to Toyota, Honda, and Nissan factories, and throw in Hyundai for good measure, and let these car factory workers go back to work.  We can export the ones we don’t buy here to places all around the globe instead.  Export, baby, Export.

Any time you see a documentary or news report from some unknown corner of the world about violence, political unrest, war, etc., what do you see in the background?  Not a Chevy pickup; you see a Toyota.  Even in the poorest more dangerous places on earth, where the poorest of the poor are fighting for their basic human rights, they drive Toyotas.

Hello!?