Letter From Iraq

Letter From Iraq.

A good read.

Remind me again why we’re there?

Oh well. I have a few friends over there. Guys *my age* if you can believe it. People pulled back into the military long after they’d left for civilian life. Either due to Guard commitments (two weeks a year and one weekend a month!… yeah… right. This Guard is not the same Guard that G.W. Bush used to escape duty in Vietnam. Thanks to… G.W. Bush!) or they retired as Officers and got “the call.”

Remind me again why they are there?

I think about these guys every day. I think about their families. I cringe everytime I hear about another US soldier getting killed, wondering when I’ll recognize the face in the newspaper, or on the TV screen.

Remind me again why we’re there?

Our “leaders” keep saying “stay the course”, but it seems to me like they don’t know what course they’re on! Like a kid taking apart mom’s toaster to see how it works, and now they have no idea how to put it back together again.


Odd week.

It was an odd week, this first week of October, 2006. At work, our “we have power” message is finally starting to see some traction in the marketplace. I celebrated my forty-third birthday. The NHL opened their season. My car was voted “Reader Ride of the Week”. My friend Peter Lalor (see blogroll) passed away.

A lot to digest.

A new breed of clean diesel cars leave hybrids in the dust.

A new breed of clean diesel cars leave hybrids in the dust.

I guess I am one of those “fringe Volkswagen fanatics.”

I will admit that my primary motivation for running a Diesel has always been thrift. I can’t help it, I’m cheap. When I bought my VW Jetta TDI in 2002 I chose it because:

  • it was a Diesel powered car
  • it was priced low because it had been languishing on the dealer lot for 8 months

The latter issue we pushed even further by bargaining down. In the end, we paid about $17,000 for the car… INCLUDING Tax, Lic, etc. Nobody wanted Diesels back then. Except me I guess. I recall reading that VW sales people would bring people on test drives of TDIs and never mention that they were fueled with Diesel. The “D-word” was never used. Other than at idle, with the windows down, you can’t really tell anyway. They have wrapped the engine in so much sound dampening material that the usual Diesel (high compression) clatter is negligible.

Now, it seems everyone wants one. Demand has literally DOUBLED the prices. Check out this list from an email to the Seattle Bio-Diesel users mailing list from a VW Dealer:

Selling price: $31,144 plus tax (8.3%) and license.

Selling price: $31,623 plus tax (8.3%) and license.

Selling price: $31,994 plus tax (8.3%) and license.

Thankfully we have our small (two) fleet of Diesel powered daily drivers, and won’t be looking for replacements until the supply/demand curve flattens out a little. But if anything, this little exercise in economics should pique the interest of the car makers, who have been dragging their feet on selling Diesels in the USA for the past 20 years while the Euopean driver has the Diesel choice in EVERY CAR THEY BUY. yep, even from the US-based brands such as Ford & GM. Go figure.

65E picked for Autoblog “RR of the week”!

Well, the week came to an end, and they put it up for a vote, and The 65E won. I’m truly flattered.

I really liked both the ’68 BMW 1500 & the FrankenMidget.

The BMW owner did a great job of photographing his car. The composition and choice of background did the car justice. Plus it is a really cool car. If he ever drives it to the west coast I’d gladly swap a drive in my Jaguar for a drive in his BMW. I’d love to take it for a spin.

The FrankenMidget is just lunacy. While I’m not a big fan of “lumping” (engine swapping) cars, especially vintage British iron… but a rubber bumpered MG of the latter years is almost fair game. Plus, he dropped a bizarro mill (a Mazda Wankel) into it. Stripping the bumpers off gets Kudos as well. Go ahead Roger, gasp in horror!