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A recent poll of old people who didn�t save for retirement reveals that old people who didn�t save for retirement believe that younger people who are trying to save for retirement should prop up Social Security. SS is just like high school. The freshmen are beaten up by the seniors. There�s a promise of �benefits� later on. So when the freshmen become the seniors, they beat up the new freshmen. The cycle of violence continues ad nauseum.

Of the Toyota Prius, Autoweek declared, �driving it is as much fun as is any car with no power and tiny tires; that is, not much.� My Corolla, certainly better than the Prius in every measure of driving dynamics, can actually take a corner with decent speed. In fact, I get a kick out of taking the corner outside of work at at least twice the speed that co-workers in V8s take it. Of course they�ll slam the pedal down on the straightaway (what skill).

Saturn has its first real car coming out next year, the Sky. It�s a wide, low little two-seat roadster. I�m going to another car show in two days, but I don�t think many 2006s will be there.

How about France? I love this. There�s a national LAW preventing anyone from working more than 35 hours per week. No overtime. No choice. Eight weeks of paid vacation is mandatory even for brand new employees. I have heard that some people will get a job and then take their vacation right away, only to quit after it�s over. There�s only one word for all this: LAZY. It�s legislated, institutionalized laziness. On top of all this, France is the labor union and union strike capital of the world. France = chintzola. It�s a wonder things can function at all; two summers ago, things didn�t function, as there weren�t enough people still working in the hospitals to handle a heat wave. They were all on strike or on vacation, and at any rate couldn�t work overtime. �I am le tired.�

Catallarchy has an excellent post up you should READ RIGHT NOW. Turtles all the way down...

NASCAR sucks. I wrote the article on that three years ago. But I just want to reiterate. The Daytona 500 was a close race. Why was it a close race? Because they made sure there was a restart with TWO laps to go, that�s why. Brilliant. I cannot believe how the announcers and even the radio guys the next day proclaim that it was a good, close race. Yes, when you call yellow every five to ten laps, and the cars are virtually identical due to humongous restrictions (not to mention humongous restrictor plates), and the track is a friggin� oval, and the tires look lubricated, that�s going to happen. That doesn�t mean it�s GOOD.

I�m going from fifteen years of puberty straight into the early problems of old age.

Yes, I still plan to get a motorcycle. Problems to deal with include THE GATE (can I get out?); the garage (I�m on a waiting list, the kids around here would destroy my bike if I can�t store it in a garage); insurance (Triumphs and Ducs are one-third as expensive to insure as the Jap bikes, but see below); and my shoulder (it doesn�t hurt too much, but that�s because I don�t do much with it; it�s not necessarily riding that would hurt it so much as just maneuvering the bike with the engine off). I had my heart set on the Triumph Speed Four, but it now appears certain that it is NOT being brought over for 2005. That doesn�t leave many other options. I�m not keen on an overpriced underpowered Ducati Monster with air-cooling (in Texas!) and 4000 mile valve intervals. The Kaw ZZR-600 (the old ZX-6R, brought back and renamed) is good but the insurance is outrageous. The BMW 650 really doesn�t do it for me, as it�s a single cylinder and every review mentions multiple problems. No, the Speed Four was the best of all worlds: light, no plastic + European (equaling reasonable insurance), great riding position, four-cylinder engine, terrific suspension and brakes, quirky good looks�

I like the Honda 599, but it�s overpriced by $1000 and the insurance is three times what they want for the Triumph. The SV650 is okay, nice engine, but crummy suspension and again, the Japanese insurance issue. The FZ6 and DL650 really don�t do it for me. The Guzzi Breva 750 is more of a beginner bike than I want to blow my money on. Argh! If I could shop from the world�s showroom, there would be a number of other bikes to look at, but I�m hitting the wall here�

Meanwhile, Harley has finally seen fit to produce a bike that actually makes ME want it: the Street Rod. They took the VRod, tightened up the steering geometry, gave it excellent Brembo brakes, changed the wheel size and spooned on sport tires, vastly improved the suspension and travel, added even more power to the great Porsche engine, and, most importantly, fixed the really uncomfortable, really asinine, really awkward riding position by pulling the foot pedals and controls back by about THREE FEET and up by at least a half a foot. It�s not a standard, like the ZRX1200R or Bandit, but it is virtually the first of its kind. The handlebar was also flattened and lowered a lot. Now you have a bike that goes, turns, and slows down better than almost any cruiser ever made. The cornering clearance is incredibly improved. Contrary to what the cruiser masses inexplicably believe, comfort is bound to be much much higher. Why? On 98% of cruisers, the high bars and way forward pedals force ALL of your weight on to your butt/back. On a standard or the new Street Rod, you can split your weight between your back, your feet/legs, and your hands/arms. It works, and it makes fighting the wind a lot less tiring as well.

Now, I�m waiting for Yamaha to follow suit with the Warrior, and Kawasaki with the Mean Streak. Actually, all they have to do is pull the pedals back a yard and I�d consider the Kaw (not in reality, but in my dreams).

There�s the steroid controversy in the MLB as well as local high school football programs. WIRED magazine this month brought up the question of elective surgery � if medical science can artificially enhance a pitcher�s arm (totally apart from any injuries), why isn�t this banned? What about eye surgery? They even brought up elective surgery of the near future: increasing the stroke volume of the heart, engineering muscle cells to be stronger, etc. These things are coming. Why is steroid use so looked down upon? In the far future, enhancements will include genetic engineering and cybernetic enhancement. Extropians are looking forward to this. They look for technology to enhance the human condition. Perhaps the sports leagues and media should throw open the floodgates and admit that steroids (and elective surgery, and eventually a number of other technologies) are GOOD for the various sports.

I watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The ether scene, outside the circus casino, reminded me an awful lot of when a friend and I took Flexeril (we were also drunk and stoned) and tried to walk to the store for cigarettes. I was a wet noodle.

I have a project at work. A co-worker and I have three months to become experts in Cash Extension History, Margin, and Day-Trading and then work up a three hour presentation for the rest of the team. It's going to mean a lot of outside work and long nights.

They�re building something BIG across the street from my apartment complex. It could be another recreation center � Keller loves to blow taxpayer money on stuff like this. There are no 24-hour grocery stores in this town (unlike Denton), probably due to some idiotic local ordinance. The Albertson�s here is a cut below the one in Denton. Poor selection, terrible fruits and veggies, messy aisle layout, rude checkout clerks. But there are a few grocery stores relatively close by, so I can�t see it being another grocer. I have no idea.