February 2007

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New Car Angst 2:The minivan circle is complete


Well as a follow up to this previous post, we bought a new minivan.

We looked at all the top rated minivans on Consumer Reports, Honda, Toyota and Kia/Hyundai (Sedona = Entourage now). We test drove them and checked out the prices and decided on the Toyota Sienna LE with option package #3 (although we ended up with option #4 for no extra cost). It seats 8 passengers, has dual power sliding doors, an aux input for an iPod, and stow-and go rear seats. No DVD player, no satellite navigation, no Lo-Jack ubiquitous garbage. We also got a 7 year/100,000 mile extended comprehensive warranty. Total cost out the door was $30,000. (Financed through USAA at 5.99%)

Some funny things:

  • The internet sales force and the showroom floor sales force are completely different. The internet sales team doesn't mess around because they assume that you have done your homework and know the bottom line prices. Key recommendation here: get price quotes from local dealers on line and try and get them to match each other long before you go to the showroom. Also get quotes for all the add-ons like extended warranties because once you are in the showroom you are at an information disadvantage in lots of ways.

  • The 2007 Honda Odyssey has this funny lazy susan thing under the floor than stores stuff in a rotating circle. All I could think of was drug smuggling and the Millenium Falcon when I saw this.

  • The showroom sales force will lie to you about everything and anything when you are test driving to avoid looking like they don't know the answer to something. Find the answers on your own online then check them on the physical car.

  • There is some confusion spray that is in the air in the dealer's showroom. If you don't know exactly what you want and how much you are going to spend the confusion spray will cause you to get completely flummoxed and buy something you did not want. Even though the finance guy (post-dealer interaction) had us completely convinced we needed other stuff, we said "no" on principle. When we got outside we couldn't believe that any of the stuff sounded attractive 5 minutes ago.

  • The dealer tried to sell us a $600.00 package of paint sealant and Scotch-guard which we declined and later found out was already on the car.

  • The dealer also tried to sell us VIN etching for the windows. We declined and then he gave it to us for free anyway.

  • The insurance from USAA for the Toyota was cheaper than the Honda which was cheaper than the Kia/Hyundai. That and the 8th seat was what really swayed us toward the Toyota.

Sandy is very happy about the new car, so I'm happy too. Here is a funny video clip which she wanted to share with everyone to celebrate.

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The Dawkins Delusion


Here is a great YouTube video which pokes fun at the rhetoric around Dr. Richard Dawkins recent media blitz to promote his book, "The God Delusion"

Dr. Dawkins is an evangelical atheist.

Click on the image on the left to watch/listen.

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Rules to Grow Rich By


Money magazine online has a great list of "Rules to grow rich by". They are really great ones that I completely support. At the same time it's clear that very few people are following these rules.

Click on the image on the left to go there.

Thanks Nate!

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Many (all?) of these are seemingly no-brainers. Makes you wonder why they are not practiced more...

Posted by: Nate at February 9, 2007 3:17 AM

Praise the Source of Faith and Learning

Flickr Image
Photo courtesy of photoplasia

Praise the Source of Faith and Learning

Thomas H. Troeger

Praise the source of faith and learning who has sparked and stoked the mind with a passion for discerning how the world has been designed. Let the sense of wonder flowing from the wonders we survey keep our faith forever growing and renew our need to pray:

God of wisdom, we acknowledge that our science and our art and the breadth of human knowledge only partial truth impart. Far beyond our calculation lies a depth we cannot sound where your purpose for creation and the pulse of life are found.

May our faith redeem the blinder of believing that our thought has displaced the grounds for wonder which the ancient prophets taught. May our learning curb the error which unthinking faith can breed lest we justify some terror with the antiquated creed.

As two currents in a river fight each other's undertow till converging they deliver one coherent steady flow, may we blend our faith and learning till they carve a single course and our seeking and our yearning join in praising you their source:

Praise for minds to probe the heavens, praise for strength to breathe the air, praise for all the beauty leavens, praise for silence, music, prayer, praise for justice and compassion and for strangers, neighbors, friends, praise for hearts and lips to fashion, praise for love that never ends.


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The Knack


"I'm sorry ma'am he's going to be an engineer." Click on the image on the left to play the Dilbert clip. BTW, since when is Dilbert an animated cartoon?

Thanks Nate, I think.

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No problem. Anytime you engineers need to be rebaselined, I'm your man. Netflix offers DVD's of an apperently cancelled (!) Dilbert series. I've waffled as to if it would be worth renting them.

Posted by: Nate at February 5, 2007 4:09 AM