Last of the week.

Ugh, but I’m heading into yet another ridiculous round of work, so expect the scarcity from here. On the other hand, what is there to do at this time of year? We trudge to work in the dark, come home in the dark. Lately we’ve been watching “The Wire,” now that it’s in HD, and “Girls,” and otherwise wasting away.

Alan is still sick. He went to the doctor today, who said, basically, “You’re sick.” It’s the basic three-week cold that’s been circulating for a while now. We went to a New Year’s party at that same doctor’s, and he was coughing so hard then that I wondered why they didn’t call it off. Today he was still coughing. The affliction, he said, arrived around Christmas.

Friday night is car prom. Yes, pictures are coming.

In the meantime, a big court decision here on same-sex marriage. It’ still going to SCOTUS, and we’ll see what they say. And the governor vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for people with restraining orders against them to obtained concealed-weapons permits.

So, open thread for the weekend? I’ll be your roving correspondent at the car show.

Posted at 9:06 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

79 responses to “Last of the week.”

  1. Deborah said on January 15, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    I don’t think I’ve had a cold in about 2 years. Which is the time I’ve been retired. Not working on a day to day basis with sick people always around has made a difference. Of course now that I’ve said this I’ll probably come down with a doozy any time now.

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  2. basset said on January 15, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    I saw “Hyundai pickup” on some show story or another and got all excited till I saw the pictures and realized it’s basically a Hyundai mini-SUV with the trunk left open and the lid removed, the natural successor to the Subaru BRAT, fine for swanning around the mall parking lot but no use offroad. No such thing as a small pickup any more, at least not in this country. The new Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon and recently revealed Toyota Tacoma are as big as an 80s full-size and ugly too, maybe I just need to find a low-mileage Chevy S-10 or Jeep Comanche in a barn somewhere and commit to periodic rebuilds till I’m too old to drive.

    (Already hearing the sound of bubbles as this post sinks without a trace… wrong topic to get any kind of response here but I figured if I had a chance to say it in Detroit, why not?)

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    All the small pickups are in Syria with a .50 cal mounted in the back, aren’t they?

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  4. Dexter Friend said on January 15, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    I got a cough around Thanksgiving that turned into pneumonia, said the doctor. I did not get a follow up call after my X-ray so that’s good; it means no more fluid in my lung like I had in December. I seem to finally have kicked it ten days ago, but it took that long. Good luck Alan.

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  5. MarkH said on January 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    basset —

    I feel the same way here sometimes, but…For the record: I don’t read everyone’s posts here, but I do read yours. You post when you have something to say, we’re both motorheads, and then there’s that college radio thing. So, OK.

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  6. LAMary said on January 15, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    I’ve got that cold. I’ve been working from home all week because I got the stinkeye at work every time I would have a coughing fit. It started around New Year’s Day and it didn’t ugly until Monday. Just fatigue, some coughing and snot. This week fever, coughing, snot and the desire to just stay in bed curled up in my quilt with the Labrador retriever sleeping on my feet.

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  7. Dexter Friend said on January 16, 2015 at 12:15 am

    I’ve been a partially lost soul since my Ford Ranger’s third engine blew up just as the other two had. That Ranger was too small anyway, but I adapted and I liked the fact that it got 180% of the mileage my 1986 Chevy C/K full size truck attained, but the 305 CID engine cranked out 190 horses in the Chevy and that was plenty enough power. The little Ranger’s engines were just pathetic…I had one HELL of a time getting over the Mad River Mountain when I drove it to Columbus a couple times, hauling a washer-dryer one time to my daughter. In any other vehicle, no problem climbing that mountain.
    I toyed with the idea of buying a new Ford F-150, but then I just know a car payment would stretch my budget too thin. I decided to keep cable TV instead. That was the choice I figured I had to make if I really wanted that truck so damn badly.
    Being a senior citizen paid off today, though. In Ohio (maybe all states?) when you hit age 65, the next year you get a “homestead exemption” on your property taxes. I figured maybe a hundred bucks less, right? I was floored when my deduction lowered my bill by half!
    Basset, I really love old pickup trucks, like from the late 1930s to the mid-1960s. The 1937 Dodge truck is my all-time favorite, and my 1966 GMC truck that I bought in 1978 and drove for nine years is a darling of restorers. People love those trucks. Mine fell apart, but I put 80,000 miles on it before it bit the dust. My first truck was a 1974 Ford full-size. I bought it in 1976 for $2,600. A two year old truck with 22K on the odometer. Now a two year old Ford truck in 10 times that dollar amount.
    Hey, if any of you are military vets but never gave the VA a thought, and are taking multiple meds from prescriptions or are diabetic, go see your VA rep. Tuesday in Toledo I got that follow-up X-ray, then a foot care clinic, they fitted me with a new cane, scheduled me to be fit for diabetic shoes, ordered several pairs of compression stockings (damn things are expensive as all hell if ya gotta buy them) , and asked me if there was anything else I needed. Who knew those people were going to be so nice? It’s a great deal for us, and I am glad I finally joined the system

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  8. MichaelG said on January 16, 2015 at 12:33 am

    The VA just declared me to be 100% disabled. They’re gonna send me some money! I’d rather have a cancer cure. But a few benefits will be a consolation.

    My last pickup was a ’70 F-250 with a 390 and a four speed. You know, the one with a granny first gear. What a wonderful old truck. All the torque in the world. 60 mph up the hill, 60 mph down the hill. Loaded or not loaded. Mpg? What is this mpg? I sold it two or three years ago.

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  9. Jolene said on January 16, 2015 at 1:09 am

    So, help me out here re VA eligibility. Are you eligible for care (or disability payments) for any condition, even if it is not service-related? And, is all VA care free, or are there deductibles and co-payments?

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  10. Deborah said on January 16, 2015 at 2:47 am

    My first husband had a pickup that I used to drive sometimes, it had a camper on the back. LB used to ride back there when she was with us, something that would be totally wrong now that they have the child seat laws etc. it was a Toyota something, had terrible pick up. My ex sold it for some reason I can’t remember. He went through a lot of vehicles.

    We have a Jeep Patriot in Santa Fe, there’s a huge hill on the way back from Abiquiu that I have to climb (the one that the Opera is on top of, for those that might know). The Jeep has terrible pick up getting over that, I have to downshift and floor it to make it get up. Meanwhile I find myself rocking back and forth to try in vain to give it some oomph.

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  11. MarkH said on January 16, 2015 at 3:32 am

    My current pickup I have owned for 22 years is an ’86 GMC 3500 4×4, a true one-ton in the old-style sense. Nine leaves in the rear, almost like it has no suspension at all. 454 with a granny gear 4 spd., it’s the last year for the carbureted big block from GM. Since it sees limited duty hauling a boat or camper, and gets less than 10 mpg, it has only 79,000 miles. It’s in remarkable condition. All the torque in the world, it will pull my house of its foundation. A real savior for the winters out here, too.

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  12. David C. said on January 16, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Knock wood, the nasty cold doesn’t seem to be going through work. Usually, I hear someone hacking away all winter. This year, not so much. I hope it lasts.

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  13. basset said on January 16, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Thanks, MarkH – I tend to assume, both here and in real life (what William Gibson calls “meatspace”) that whoever I’m talking to isn’t really interested and is listening only out of politeness or because they want something. Makes it easier to handle the times when that’s true.

    As I said back toward the top of the page, I’m disappointed in the new Colorado/Canyon – too big, too fancy, too expensive. I was planning to replace my Subaru wagon with one, it’s coming up on 200k, but now I don’t know, maybe find a first-generation Colorado and deal with its reliability and gas mileage issues.

    I have had a couple of manly pickups in the past – an ’01 4wd Dakota that I sold at 140,000, before that an ’01 Ford F150 that coughed clouds of oil smoke from day one and I got rid of at 17,000, and before that a ’93 Nissan that was just a great little truck, never would have considered getting the Ford or the Dodge if the newer Nissans were better on gas.

    The Subie should keep going for awhile, and it’s been useful in the woods, but there was a lot of this year’s deer lease I couldn’t get to because the wagon didn’t have enough ground clearance. If we opt to keep the Subaru alive I may just buy an old beat-up jeep or something next fall and sell it in the spring, entirely possible to break even or maybe come out a little ahead on it.

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  14. basset said on January 16, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Make that an ’00 F150. Didn’t have it long, anyway.

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  15. alex said on January 16, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Deborah, it’s funny you should say that re: colds. When I lived in Chicago, I could go for years without a cold and it always amazed me given that I was constantly on tightly packed public transportation full of people hacking and wheezing and in densely populated public buildings and lived in a 750-unit high-rise where thousands of filthy fingers touched the elevator buttons every day. Now I live in Bumfuck and the cooties manage to get me every time someone a mile away comes down with the sniffles. Go figure.

    Basset, I love car talk and can’t get enough of it. And cannot understand why so many manufacturers stopped producing small pickups. GM is bringing theirs back, it appears, but Ford and Chrysler appear to be done with them. Of course, small is a relative term. The Toyota Tacoma looks to be massive these days, as was the Dodge Dakota before it was killed off. GM’s new offerings look puny by comparison even if they sport the new massive grilles they’re slapping on all trucks these days.

    I would have settled for a Tacoma back in ’05 if I could have gotten a well-appointed one with a manual transmission, but they didn’t offer one like that until after I purchased my full-sized Tundra, which wasn’t available with a stick but had other benefits. I have never been more pleased with any vehicle. At nearly 180K miles, it has been the most trouble-free of any I’ve ever owned, and there were some Hondas in the past that held that honor until not long ago. I’m glad I got a full-sized truck in retrospect given the amount of hauling and trailer pulling that I’ve done with it over the years. I cannot imagine subjecting anything smaller to the loads of gravel and soil that I pick up every spring for basic landscaping and maintenance around here. What amazes me at this point — 180K — is that I have yet to replace the brakes. I would have expected to hear loud squealing about 120K ago. One of these days I’ll need to act preemptively but haven’t felt compelled so far. Everything works on this truck just like it did on the day it was new except for some dashboard lights that went dark recently behind the climate control switches. My only gripe with it is that the rims are developing some strange corrosion and I may just spring for some new ones when I get around to doing the brakes.

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  16. brian stouder said on January 16, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I have to downshift and floor it to make it get up

    Deborah (and Mark H) – you rock! (literally)

    I’m a paved roads guy, pretty much 100%. When we visit Pam’s folks in Cass County, then its gravel roads and lanes, and even some gentle hills – but nothing that upsets my city-slicker sensibilities.

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  17. beb said on January 16, 2015 at 8:47 am

    In the news:

    Someone should call the police…

    Also, someone is thinking too much about the children…

    The governor’s veto of the must-issue law about concealed carry was shockingly liberal of him. In fact the early commentary wasn’t about him vetoing this terrible unwise bill, but that he had killed any hope for higher office. Like being for Common Core or a sensible approach to immigration The Republican Party will not tolerate imposing reasonable restrictions on our nations bat-shit crazy faction.

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  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 16, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Jolene, your questions earlier are best answered here: and here

    You can be a schmuck like me, no service overseas, no shots fired in anger, no problems that are directly related to your time in the service, and still get a certain level of care. What and how they cover your care is impacted in a variety of ways (current income or insurance status, service-related injuries & illnesses), and that’s where you just need to ask VA and they’re pretty good about finding you the best deal they can.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 16, 2015 at 9:10 am

    The kid story I’ve been asked about, officially and unofficially, a dozen times in the last 24 hours — short answer, 6 and 10 year olds, driven a mile from home, told to walk home, you can’t be surprised that someone called 911. I wouldn’t have, but I’d likely have walked along a ways to confirm they got home if they walked past my house like that. And when the cop responded to the call and followed them home, asking dad “what’s up?” (jerkily asked or not), when you start arguing from GO with the cop about why they shouldn’t be there, you can’t be surprised the cop will say, just on general principle, “show me ID.” And yes, I know there’s an argument about when a cop really can ask you to show ID, but they’re always gonna say “the 911 call IS my probably cause.” So when you argue at length about getting ID to show the cop, you can’t be surprised that the cop puts in a CS call. To which CS shows up, sounds like they were very mellow and congenial by the parent account, but they still refused (yes, their right, but look at the sequence) to let the caseworker see the inside of the house, and did the whole interview on the porch.

    So the big stink is “we let our kids go to the park (not quite correct, but okay) on their own, and now we’ve had 2 CS visits/harassment” which I don’t think really is what happened. Should a 911 call have been made? Heck, I wish 911 operators had the right to quiz back and use judgment, but that’s NOT what the public has pushed us to: they’d be fired when that exchange went on the air. So you listen, ask clarification questions, and send a patrol unit to investigate a citizen concern for child safety. And in that light, there’s nothing to see here other than a couple, the guy with some issues from growing up in Russia, and the mom a woman who knows how to light a candle on social media.

    And no, I don’t think a 6 and 10 year old should be dropped off a mile from home (that’s dad’s account, mind you) and told to make their own way home. Two ten or twelve year olds, maybe, but I don’t even think it was utterly silly for some local resident to call 911 seeing a pair like that walking along a busy road all the way out of your sight.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 16, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Oh, also for Jolene, per VA health care:

    Minimum Duty Requirements
    Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.

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  21. Dorothy said on January 16, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Yay for trucks!! My husband prefers to drive them and so that’s what he always gets when it’s time for him to get a new vehicle. He had an El Camino before we got married – a big ol’ black one with silver side pipes. That thing was a beast. When he graduated from Pitt (night school for so many years) in 1990, he got a Ford Ranger that he named Buford. A guy he used to work with was from Georgia, and he said the good ol’ boys he knew always named their trucks. BuFord seemed to be a perfect name for that one. After Buford died he got a red Chevy Silverado, which was eventually passed on to our son when he needed a vehicle at OSU. Mike had to drive the old Lumina we got for when our daughter turned 16: such an indignity! It was already a used piece of crap when we bought it in 1999. Then in 2006 he got his current truck, a white Silverado. I learned to drive a manual transmission on Buford. Trucks are mighty handy to have, that’s for sure.

    I got good news yesterday, folks – after a VERY long wait and interviews with several departments, I was finally offered a job again. (I’ve been working for the College of Arts and Sciences since September 8th, full time hours but paid as a part time worker – and no benefits.) I’ll be starting in the Music Department come February 2nd!! I’m very excited. And relieved. I’m really pleased at the timing because my one year anniversary of starting here will be Feb. 17th. My last day as a full time employee was August 29th. I hope I can stay in the Music Department until I retire. Whew!

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  22. basset said on January 16, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Great to hear that, Dorothy!

    Alex, the new, smaller Chevy pickup, the Colorado, is about the size of a Dakota; it’s not quite as big as a Silverado, that’s about it. Same size more or less as a C-1500 from the Eighties. Even the work truck trim level has a backup camera, though – we had a rental with one and now Mrs. B. requires it in any new vehicle we buy.

    This beast right here is just about what I need – if it were only left-hand drive, I’d think seriously about importing it:

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  23. Connie said on January 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Jolene, my husband has a Purple Heart and was exposed to agent orange so he is about the most eligible category after wounded in action, not that he has gone.

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  24. Jenine said on January 16, 2015 at 9:35 am

    @MichaelG: glad you made it through the bureaucratic process and got a good result.

    @Dorothy: happy news! I was hoping you would have a job you could look forward to soon. The Music Dept sounds very promising.

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  25. jcburns said on January 16, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Hey Nancy, while you’re wandering and corresponding, see if you can pick up one of those aluminum F-150s with one hand. #bionicwoman

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  26. Deborah said on January 16, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Working in the music department of a university sounds like the best job ever, congratulations Dorothy.

    When I was in kindergarten and my sister was in first grade we walked 13 blocks to school everyday. All the kids walked. After that we changed schools to one miles away and had to take the school bus. Of course this was in the mid 50s. The neighbor kid upstairs is 10 and goes to a school about a half mile away, he gets dropped off and picked up everyday, sometimes by us. I wouldn’t do this in Chicago but here in Santa Fe I think the kid could easily walk.

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  27. jcburns said on January 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Oh, and be sure to check out the new 1957 Clay Buick while you’re there.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 16, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Note to self: tell son to check out UC on his college list.

    Congrats, Dorothy! (It is UC, right?)

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  29. Dorothy said on January 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Hey bassett I have a story about using the word “beast” to describe one of our trucks. Back in 2002 when we got the red Chevy Silverado, I was driving it for a week or two until Mike could get back home (and claim his new truck) from his job in Cincinnati. My son was doing children’s theater in the summer and I had to pick him up after rehearsal one afternoon. He told me that as he was sitting on a stone wall watching me drive up the road, one of his fellow actors (another teenager) was sitting with him. Josh said “Hey Adam, I gotta go. Here comes The Beast.” And Adam said “That’s not a nice name to call your mother!” It was a joke of course – Adam knew he meant the truck. Still, it was funny.

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  30. Dorothy said on January 16, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Not UC, Jeff – UD! And Deborah – I used to walk a little over a half mile to school from our first house when I was growing up. I walked with friends when I started school, and two years later my little sister Chrissy joined me. Sometimes we walked by ourselves and sometimes other kids were around. Didn’t seem to be much of a big deal in 1963-68. In ’68 we moved three blocks up from the school to a much bigger house. I walked a half mile to school for high school.

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  31. alex said on January 16, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Jeff, it doesn’t surprise me that kids walking alone would generate concern these days given some of the stories I’ve heard from around here. During summer break, a couple I know who own a bar/restaurant let their two pre-teen sons go hang out in the park while they’re working. At first, the police kept bringing them back because callers had complained of them playing in the park unattended. The police know better now and ignore the calls but these days people really seem to get bent out of shape when they see children unaccompanied by parents.

    As so many others have commented here, we had a lot more freedom just a few decades ago and people’s fears these days seem wildly overblown. I attribute the change to mass hysteria caused by watching too much creepy stuff on television, including oversensationalized news, as well as rampant frivolous personal injury litigation in the age of lawyer advertising.

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  32. coozledad said on January 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

    She may look clean, but… Nah. She doesn’t .

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  33. Michael Einheuser said on January 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I have a number of friends who have been in same-sex relationships for 20 years or more. Common reaction to the same-sex marriage debate – “Who cares? We have stayed together during the times when it was very easy to leave. Why should we get married now?”

    Two professional income individuals would incur the “marriage penalty” and be liable for more federal income tax as joint-filers than they would as single individuals.

    One commentator observing the dramatic increase in acceptance of gay marriage among the general public said; “Gee, pretty soon the only people who are going to be against gay marriage are gay people who are married”.

    Just one more. President Obama said his view on gay marriage has evolved. This really pisses off conservatives because they are against gay marriage and evolution. (badum-CHING)

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  34. BigHank53 said on January 16, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Basset, you are far from being the only person grinding their teeth over the lack of small pickups. When I look at the Rangers available in Australia or the VW Anorak or the Mitsubishis we can’t get… I had a couple of Nissan pickups back in the nineties that were really excellent little trucks.

    You might keep an eye out for a second-hand Xterra, which were built on the same platform as the Frontier pickups but didn’t suffer from the steroid injections.

    The spouse and I tried out a little travel trailer a while ago, and after we decided we liked it we went shopping for a second-hand tow vehicle. The midsize pickups like the Colorado and Dakota got exactly the same mpg (terrible) with a trailer that the fullsize pickups did. So we test drove a bunch of those, too. The F-150 was the biggest, tallest Taurus in the world. Comfy, but not much of a truck. The Colorado with the five-cylinder was underpowered even with a standard transmission. We wound up with total overkill: a Dodge 2500 turbodiesel with a towing capacity of almost five tons. I now know why those Cummins engines command such a premium; the thing will deliver over 17 mpg while towing the RV. Through West Virginia. At 70+ miles per hour.

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  35. Basset said on January 16, 2015 at 11:50 am

    We’re planning on driving to Alaska when I retire in 3 years – Mrs. B’s parents did that back in the 80s and took a month or so, Kalamazoo to the far north in a Suburban with a 20-something-foot trailer. We’ll be a little lower impact, probably in some kind of smaller van camper like a Rialta.

    I was a rural kid, never walked to school till I got to IU.

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  36. brian stouder said on January 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Regarding the cars/trucks/concepts/clay models (very cool, JC) – forget all that!

    I’m looking forward to the dangly earrings (etc), from the car prom!

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  37. Sherri said on January 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    basset, I don’t know anything about pickup trucks, but I always read your posts. The “nobody likes me, think I’ll just go eat worms” thing is just the depression talking.

    Great news, Dorothy!

    And, hey, don’t you people know that the VA is the very definition of socialized medicine?!

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  38. Dave K. said on January 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I have enjoyed the pickup truck discussion. Brother “Pilot Joe” and I spent 30+ years at the Ft. Wayne Dana Axle Plant, at a time when most of the pickup axles, for all manufacturers, were built in that plant. Lots of 4×4’s in the parking lot in those days. Lots of well deserved pride in our work.
    My wife didn’t understand why I would lay on the ground to look under a new pickup in a parking lot, but I could tell from the ID stamp on that axle when it was assembled. Pretty cool to say “We built that one 2 weeks ago”.
    Pilot Joe could tell a few stories about the new ’78 Silverado 4×4 he bought with those Union wages. Something about Friday morning Jack Daniels and Coney Dog Happy Hour, and going airborne back in the B&O yards in Garrett? Also, his new wife had one of those Brats. Rugby trip to play South Side Irish in Chicago in a near blIzard with 2 rookies riding in the open back seats…just 2 snow covered lumps when we arrived at the pitch. Some alcohol may have been involved…

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  39. Basset said on January 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Depression? Me? Surely not… (I refuse to put a smiley face icon here but you get the idea.)

    Interesting that the post I thought would go nowhere has gotten more response than anything else I’ve put out there in awhile.

    Quite looking forward to the car prom pictures, I want to see how the “desperate old tart” look turned out.

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  40. Deborah said on January 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Shows how much I have blocked from my memory of my former life with my ex, LB just informed me that her Dad’s truck was a Chevy S10 not a Toyota. She remembers because she named it Sammy Joe, Sammy for the S and Joe because J is the 10th letter of the alphabet. She also named my MG that I had at the time Margaret Geraldine.

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  41. MichaelG said on January 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I’m new at this VA thing, Jolene, so bear with me and understand that I may include an inaccuracy or two. I had several complaints going when I applied to the VA. They scheduled me for an interview and I brought along my little memory stick with my Kaiser records. The nurse copied the records and listened to my sob story. Then she scheduled me for a couple of tests. The results are that the VA determined some of my ailments are service related (I once had a job that involved a whole lot of close contact with Agent Orange) and some are not. They will pay me a cash monthly benefit and provide medical benefits as 100% disabled based on my sarcoma and lung cancer. They specifically denied any benefits for an ailment they considered non-service related although that doesn’t matter at this point. To the best of my knowledge they don’t pay benefits or provide care for non-service related conditions, although I could be off here. There are no co-pays, no deductibles, no nuttin. It’s free including hospitalization and long term care. There are lots of other bennies, such as access to the commissary, in home nursing care, etc. that I have to explore. I understand that the VA and Social Security and Medicare all work with Kaiser to divvy up who pays how much for what.

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  42. MichaelG said on January 16, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I once had an MG, Deborah. The best of 1920’s Briddish engineering.

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  43. Basset said on January 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    You’ve heard, then, but maybe others haven’t… why the English drink warm beer?
    Because they have Lucas refrigerators… Lucas being the manufacturer of electrical systems for many British cars back in the day, including MG if I remember correctly.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Dorothy–congratulations! Hope you love it and do get to keep it until retirement.

    My dad loved those small pickups since he could haul stuff and still get decent mileage. Now the son wants one and I think the hubby would too, once he gets over the disappointment of not getting a Tesla. CRVs don’t hold that much.

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  45. Jerry said on January 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Bassett, over here we know why Americans drink very cold beer. It’s so they can’t tell it doesn’t taste of anything! Though admittedly the lack of decent refrigeration may have influenced our choice of cool rather than icy beer.

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  46. Dorothy said on January 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Deborah LB and I would get along just fine, I think. We love to give names to things or places, and for strange reasons. When we first moved to our latest house, when we’d walk our dogs around the neighborhood, we took note of lots of things. The first street west of ours is actually called Springcrest (or I think it is anyway). However there was a car parked in front of one house that looked like some piece of crap Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad) would have driven. So that street is now called Jesse Pinkman Street between my hubby and I. The house on the corner of Jesse Pinkman and Summerfield is called “the Hotel” because last year it would have 4-5 cars in the driveway, and then two or three parked in close proximity to it. One street west of Jesse Pinkman is a street with the name “Winter” in it – Winter Glen perhaps. Winter…something. Hubby calls it “Game of Thrones Street” because …. duh …. Winter is Coming. On the corner of Game of Thrones and Summerfield is a house occupied by a bitchy lady who, in mid-December, asked me not to let my dogs pee on her shrubby things on the corner of her property. She says it’s killing her shrubs. This lady has a big yellow lab herself!! It’s 2-3 blocks away from my house, and by the time my dogs get to pee on/near/in the vicinity of her shrubby things, they barely have two or three drops of pee left in them. So now her house is just the Bitchy Lady house. Both Mike and I know exactly who that means if we mention seeing her as we drive by.

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  47. LAMary said on January 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Where are you in UK, Jerry?

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  48. brian stouder said on January 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I do believe that Ms Dorothy has just won the thread, and the week!

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  49. coozledad said on January 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Another part of Rongo’s fascist legacy rolled back. Wonder what the glibertarian Republicans will say about this?
    Too black an approach?

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  50. brian stouder said on January 16, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Cooz, the glibertarian-in-chief, Rand Paul, may actually stick to his guns (so to speak) and agree with Holder…..naaaahhhh!

    But I heard Oxy-Rush carrying on about the Jeffery Epstien sex scandal – which in his drug-addled brain somehow shows that HRC can never, ever be president!

    I didn’t understand him, but never mind about that – Rush was breathing hard (so to speak) and almost squealing his comments. Because, y’know, ol Oxy KNOWS what goes on when people fly to other countries, and brings all the Viagra they can carry…uhh..errr..

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  51. brian stouder said on January 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    forgot the link

    Woman suing Jeffery Epstein for Sexual Slavery Claimed Bill Clinton Must Have Known

    Several conservative news outlets, including Fox News, the Washington Times and the Drudge Report have carried news reports insinuating a “possible connection” between Bill Clinton and Epstein. The Drudge Report could not contain its excitement about the prospects of a new Clinton sex scandal, coming out with a sensational tweet, “Bubba and the Palm Beach Pedophile.”

    This is pretty limp stuff, especially given that they’re spending it now

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  52. Deborah said on January 16, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    MichaelG, I had 3 MGs in my life and Basset, you are right about Lucas electrical systems in them. I had major electrical problems with 2 of them, always in the shop. But they were fun. When the Miata came out I bought one, no more MGs and no more electrical problems. My first Miata lasted me 10 years then I let my step daughter use it when she moved to So CA. She totaled it. Meanwhile I had gotten a new Miata which it turned out I didn’t like nearly as well, I sold it when we moved to Chicago. No more little sports cars for me, and I miss them.

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  53. Jerry said on January 16, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    LAMary @47: I live in Sidcup a rather boring dormitory suburb on the southern edge of London. Any particular reason for asking? Or just general curiosity?

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  54. MichaelG said on January 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    The Miata took all the fun out of life for all the thousands of people with unreliable British sports cars.

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  55. LAMary said on January 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Jerry, I share my home with someone I refer to as the In-house Brit. He’s from Manchester by way of Brighton.

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  56. LAMary said on January 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Hey, Michael, watch it. The in-house Brit used to work for British Leyland.

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  57. alex said on January 16, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    I thought Americans drank their beer cold in order to tell the difference between what goes in and what comes out.

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  58. LAMary said on January 16, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Dorothy we have a house near us we call the poop house. The previous owner had dozens of signs on his trees, utility poles, fence that said, “no poop here, dogs!” I think all the local dog owners would go out of their way to let their dogs poop there. The house has changed hands twice and been remodeled but to me it will always be the poop house.

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  59. MichaelG said on January 16, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Sorry, Mary. Cheap shot.

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  60. Little Bird said on January 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    My tendency is to give names to people rather than places. Not all of them are … friendly.

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  61. Dexter Friend said on January 16, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I was told this by my local VA rep: In-country Vietnam vets are classified as Agent Orange exposed. Agent Orange exposure causes diabetes. All VietVets can apply for a small percent disability payment if they have diabetes. That’s how I will get a monthly pension starting in six months to two years…whenever they review my case. The VA also takes responsibility for any veteran who develops ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s a mystery, but for some reason way too many cases of ALS are service veterans. I know very little how other medical conditions are compensated.
    MichaelG…I did not have a memory stick…I lugged in a folder about three inches thick containing my medical records from the past 15 years. Heavy.
    I will not have to drive to Ann Arborto get my new diabetic shoes…the VA is fee-basing my claim for the shoes to a local place one mile from my house. Good people only have I met in the VA…how the hell did it get so messed up in places like Phoenix?

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  62. basset said on January 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Jerry, isn’t Keith Richard from Sidcup? I’m half Brit myself and agree with you on the beer… you know why drinking American lager is like making love in a rowboat? It’s ****ing near water, that’s why.

    Dorothy, I woulda peed on those bushes myself. Best reason I can think of to drink a bunch of Coors Light or other such watery beverage.

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  63. susan said on January 17, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Speaking of pickup trucks, I’ve had my Toyota wonder for 30 years, bought it new in 1985. It now has 358,000 miles, with the same engine which has never been worked on. New clutch at 250,000. New timing chain at 310,000. I earned this truck because its predecessor was a Chevy Vega. That piece of shit car managed to go 44,000 miles before I had to have the engine rebuilt. Did I mention it was a piece of shit car? My Toyota just keeps going. I’ve often thought Toyota should run ads showing their little trucks crawling all over the mountains of Afghanistan, driven by Taliban, mounted with rocket launchers on the bed. (Which is true!) Toyotas can take a beating and still climb up those rocks! You can repair them. And still get parts.

    Now I have at least two friends who don’t want to ride with me because they don’t feel safe in my truck, well, because it doesn’t have air bags. And it’s small. And so, I guess I need to drag myself into the 21st C. With great trepidation, I am getting a Forester. But its a stick shift! They still make them! There’s that. I had to order it, because, even though the manual transmission is “standard” on it, they are near impossible to find. It won’t come in until March or April. But all the crap that comes with it! Oy! –and it’s the “base model” ha ha ha ha sure. My truck was a real base model. It did not come with a rear bumper, right side mirror, radio, cigarette lighter, power-steering, air conditioner. It has (still the original) double barrel carb. Just looking at the dash board of this Forester when I test drove it, gave me the vapors. How will I ever cope???

    Of course, I will keep my Toyota. Everyone needs a truck. Some of my family and friends (and the fellow who runs the auto shop where I take my truck for maintenance) wonder if I will even drive the Subaru after I get it. I am thinking that same thing…

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  64. Dexter Friend said on January 17, 2015 at 2:47 am

    susan I love your post. Today on a four-lane street I drove beside a Subaru Forester for about 500 yards. It was red and new, and I glanced at it a few times because I don’t know that if I was to decide to go Subaru, I would get a Forester or an Outback.
    One day last fall a man parked his Outback near my van as I was walking my dogs; he was out for a stroll, and I asked him how his Outback held up over the years, as his vehicle must have been on of the first Outbacks…well, he said. I really like the Foresters. I know…Foresters are the choice of lesbians, that’s the myth…so what? I’d drive one, if my union past didn’t began haunting me. Oh well…it’s true if I had a load of extra cash I would by a Ford F-150. 🙂

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  65. Jerry said on January 17, 2015 at 2:55 am

    LAMary: one of our sons studied in Manchester and worked for a while in Brighton where he still has a flat.

    Bassett: I think Keith Richards went to art school in Sidcup (long since closed) but I’m not sure if he actually lived here. And my brother went to the same school as Mick Jagger, although they probably overlapped by only one year.

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  66. Dorothy said on January 17, 2015 at 7:59 am

    No wonder I love you guys so much. We said the same thing about peeing on her shrubs. My husband makes sure to walk the dogs up there as often as possible, and lingers long enough to be sure at least one of them pees at her yard every day. It was a snotty thing for her to say to me. Little Bird my older brothers were always giving new names to their friends or others they’d see in the neighborhood where we grew up. There was Jackie Beep-Beep who used to wait for the bus across the street from our house, and also the Lady-Who-Messes-In-Her-Purse. “Face”, “Dr. Don”, “Venkman”, “Jocko” , “Edinger”, “Ammon” are some of the names. And of course there are stories behind each one. Sometimes I can’t even remember their real names because they never call each other by them!

    Thanks to all for the congrats on the job. It doesn’t seem real yet but mentally I just feel so relaxed and happy.

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  67. basset said on January 17, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Susan, have you seen Top Gear’s attempt to destroy an old Toyota pickup, similar to yours but with a diesel engine?

    358,000 is impressive. If the timing chain’s been replaced, though, that engine’s definitely been “worked on.”

    There’s an online registry for high-mileage Chrysler products – – that includes a Ram pickup and a Dodge van with over a million miles apiece.

    With my Outback and Mrs. B’s Camry both getting on in age and mileage we’re starting to think about possible replacements… realized recently that among our discussion of Toyotas and Hyundais and so forth we haven’t even considered a Ford or a Chevy or a Dodge. It’s a new world out there.

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  68. basset said on January 17, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Replacements for her Camry, I should say.

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  69. alex said on January 17, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Basset, I think you can’t go wrong with a Toyota truck. People don’t want to part with them so they tend to be pricy when you find the rare used one available, so it’s well worth it to bite the bullet and purchase one new. I think it’s one of the few vehicles you can buy new that won’t depreciate the second you drive it off the lot. Consider it an investment in something you might keep for the rest of your life.

    I saw that show where they tried to destroy an old Toyota truck and that was nothing short of amazing. Imagine the use you’ll get out of it if you treat it gently.

    I’ve been wanting a newer, fresher, smaller second car — commuter transportation with a manual transmission, but something you can schlep passengers around in without embarrassment. I was considering the Mazda 6, which is one of the few mid-range sedans available with a stick that dealers actually keep in stock. I’ve also thought about Subaru. But the more I think about it, the more I’m leaning toward getting a crew cab Toyota Tacoma. Besides, after hitting a deer last year with my Tundra I feel safer in a truck. I just read a local news story about a woman who ended up with a deer in her lap when a truck coming in the opposite direction socked it right through the windshield of her Camry. Fortunately it was already dead and didn’t kick her in the face in its death throes.

    I read a review of that Hyundai concept pickup and it certainly does look sharp, but the article cautioned that Hyundai thinks it’s going to market it to millennials, which would be a mistake because millennials resist anything that is advertised as a thing for millennials. Witness Toyota’s Scion brand, a budget-friendly line of vehicles with offbeat designs that is marketed as a car for millennials. They seem to be very popular with the elderly.

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  70. Charlotte said on January 17, 2015 at 11:24 am

    My Outback is at about 120,000 — a 2004 model I bought right after my brother died wrecking his Bronco. I was a little panicky about safety at that point. It’s been a trouper — with good snow tires I can go anywhere in the winter — although the mileage isn’t great because you can’t turn the AWD off like you could in the older Subarus. Biggest issues with it are that the seats are cripplingly uncomfortable on long drives, and since we tend to sleep in it while camping in bear country, more headroom would be a good thing.
    Some friends of mine just bought a new Outback, and I drove past their house where the new Outback was parked next to their 15 year old Ford Explorer and the Outback is as big as the Explorer! I don’t understand the bloat on all these vehicles. If I got another Subaru I’d probably try to find one of the 2010 Foresters — the version before they put all the bells and whistles on them.
    I’d love a Honda Fit — but they don’t have 4WD and I couldn’t get to the cabin in winter. We’ve been looking at vehicles because Chuck needs something soon — his Ford Taurus station wagon (known as the Tortoise, since it’s green) while valiant, is dying. My neighbors got a Ford Transit van which looks fabulous — but again, no 4WD. And I’d kill for a small pickup again — I had a 1985 Toyota 4×4 that was a valiant little beast — but you can’t even get one of the smaller Tacoma’s anymore. They’re all so big.
    So I keep driving my Subaru because I own it, and in 120k I’ve put maybe $1000 total into maintentence and fixing stuff.

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  71. susan said on January 17, 2015 at 11:35 am

    bassett @67- OMdog! The TopGear guys actually realized my thoughts about the Taliban/Toyota! Those videos are hilarious. (It’s a three-part youtoob try-to-destroy-a 70s- ’80s pu-documentation.) I’ve thought the thing that might do in my truck would be body rust at spot-weld areas, but maybe not.

    And I suppose replacing the timing-chain is working on the engine, but the engine itself hasn’t been torn apart to replace valves, pistons, rocker-arms, and so on. I’m not a mechanic, and I don’t play one on teevee. I just kind of know about these parts from people who ask me about them. What do I know? I know my truck keeps going, and I cannot part with it.

    I change the oil every 3,000 miles. Religiously. And stay on top of maintenance. That surely helps. Although that did not sway the piece-of-shit Vega from self-destructing at 44,000.

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  72. coozledad said on January 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Bifurcated justice system.

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  73. susan said on January 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Dexter Friend @64- I’ve heard people call the car Lezbarus. So it must be true. Don’t forget sensible shoes.

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  74. susan said on January 17, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    coozledad @72– It’s a legal system, not a justice system.

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  75. alex said on January 17, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Susan, those early ’70s four-cylinder cars were notorious for conking out at around 40K miles. Our family had one that did that — a Toyota Corona. Even those weren’t immune. If you think about it, though, the eight-cylinder GM cars in those days were good for about 100K before they bit the big one.

    Amazed you let the timing belt go that long. The manual says 90K. I postponed mine to about 140K because I stopped servicing it at the dealer, where they keep you apprised of the milestones. Love the truck but hate the dealership service department. The only time anything ever went wrong was immediately after having it serviced there. Like the broken tensioner pulley at 40K, a typical sort of service department mishap they wouldn’t own up to. Those things never break except at the hands of incompetent mechanics. Not long after that, when my tires were showing some wear, they offered me a deal on a new set of rubber that they claimed had never been driven on. They said a customer wanted different tires on a brand-new truck, so these never-used tires were available for a very good price. A month or two later, I noticed a plug working its way out of the sidewall of one of the tires. (You never plug a sidewall.) I went back and pointed this out to them and they accused me of trying to pull some sort of skullduggery on them though they had to have known as they would have seen the insides of the tires before they put them on my truck. Needless to say, I am never going back to Evans Toyota in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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  76. MichaelG said on January 17, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    So Susan, I was just curious. What did you think of your Vega?

    Dexter, the VA has already started sending me money. I got my lump sum back pay on Tuesday and will get my first regular check on Feb 1. Why are they holding out on you?

    I’m not quite sure I understand this pickup stuff. I bought one when I moved to Auburn because I lived in the country and I needed a truck but what’s the point of having a pickup just to drive around in? I also wanted a big one. How much plywood can you carry in a little truck? Where would you put it? I could stack many sheets of plywood, or greenboard or a load of sand or topsoil in that thing. Its weight and cube capacity was amazing. But now that I live in Sacramento, I have no earthly use for a truck.

    So why do so many people buy trucks? They’re all around me here and I never see anybody put anything in the back at all for years on end.

    And that Hyundai concept. All you could put in the back of that is your lunch . I’m sure there will be plenty of buyers.

    Not all dealers are bad. I like my Honda dealer. My element suffered a dead battery a couple of times last summer so I took the car in. When I returned to pick it up the service guy told me they couldn’t find anything wrong but he said that he had seen a couple of cases of faulty air conditioner relays that would click on and let the compressor run until the battery died. So he had the relay replaced and told me to call immediately if the thing died again and sorry for the inconvenience. No charge. That was six months ago and no problems since. You gotta like a guy who keeps tidbits like that a/c relay thing in the back of his mind. He could have easily gotten me for a battery or an alternator.

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  77. David C. said on January 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I gave up on the 3,000 oil change. The Car Talk boys finally persuaded me that it was unnecessary and wasteful. It now gets changed with a synthetic oil at 5000 miles or once a year, which are usually the same thing. I love my short 4 mile commute.

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  78. Dexter Friend said on January 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    MichaelG…as you know the VA is so big and complicated, so who knows? I read the VFW magazine and I remember a few years ago the big story was that the wait for filed cases to be addressed was two years. I have a feeling that since you were designated the 100% disabled classification, you jumped above everyone else. If you have a Purple Heart or Bronze Star or any of the medals, your stock increases and you get “more stuff”, like totally free dental care, which I am going to have to pay for as soon as the policy becomes available. Also, I am being denied travel expenses because of the classification I was assigned, and today I received a large bill from V A for the ‘scripts I got in December…first I was told “everything’s free”. Yeah, right…until the bill comes in the mail! Hey…it’s MUCH less expensive than having no insurance, so I ain’t bitching one bit.
    We had to ditch my retiree insurance from my former company and hit the marketplace. Since my wife injects insulin, she has been denied insurance. back to the drawing board. Damn, what a struggle it has been to get this insurance straightened out…I never expected Medicare and all these supplements to be as expensive as what I would have been paying all along if I had had no company insurance, if that makes sense, and believe me, no, I do NOT know what I am talking about! Shee-it!

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  79. MichaelG said on January 17, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Oh, jeez, Dexter. I’m sorry. I had no idea. I really assumed you would be getting the whole thing. Can you get a reevaluation or something?

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