Monday, April 19, 2010

La Fin

So after many years of shouting into the abyss, I have decided to pack up shop here at TR. It's been a great run (if a bit sporadic of late), and I'd like to thank all (3) of you for following along. I'll probably keep everything up, at least for now.

But but but! After getting some adverse employment news, I decided to finally start a blog that my gf and I talked about doing over a year ago; chronicling peoples' reading choices on public transit in San Francisco. For those of you from areas without any sort of bus or subway system, this might seem like an odd idea, but here in SF, keeping an eye on what people are reading on the bus has been a hobby of mine since I moved here. And I'm a bit of a book worm, when time permits.

So if any of that sounds interesting, come check us out at:

We'll also be doing guest posts at another great blog for the commuter, Muni Diaries!

Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Dad and Toyota

Image from the movie Gung Hu, available here at IMDB.
My father only bought American cars. He thought imports, primarily the asian ones, were not as safe or reliable. He used to tell stories that I have never attempted to verify about people suffering from kidney failure because the shocks on their Toyota trucks were so bad.

But at the time, the Asian auto industry, especially Toyota, was in full upswing. When it seemed everyone around us was buying Honda minivans, and those Toyota 4Runner and those boxy Tercels were all but ubiquitous, my family always had GMC trucks. To his credit, we did live in the snow, and the one we bought in 1985 still gets my mom around town.

But I remember thinking at the time that my dad was behind the times. It seemed to be the general consensus that the US auto industry that was having quality-control problems, and that you actually got more for your money if you bought an import. I couldn't really tell if my dad was just afraid at the time that the Japanese would take over the auto industry, or if he really thought American cars were better. Despite my father, the ascent of the Asian auto industry, and especially the Japanese car maker Toyota, seemed unstoppable.

Between last year's bailout of the US auto industry and now the abrupt decline of Toyota, I am just baffled at what has happened to car makers.

I watched the beginning of the testimony this morning, and it was awkward, but I saw our congress members not really realizing (as many Americans didn't in the 1980s) that the Japanese culture is significantly different from our own. In one exchange some representative seemed to berate Mr. Toyoda for not seeming to show adequate remorse for those who had lost their lives in Toyota vehicles. The Japanese though, are known to show little emotion, especially in formal situations. If anything though, I thought the fact that this congressman, who didn't know any of the victims personally, was being a bit brazen by judging the adequacy of someone else's remorse for his own political shots.

I don't really have any interesting insight so much, but as I watched this testimony this morning, while on the treadmill, I just felt that this whole thing keeps going around in cycles.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Believe it or Not!! Gitmo Guard and Detainee Voluntarily Reunited

Gitmo continues to become more and more surreal. I thought ethnic Uighurs in Bermuda was weird. How about this bit?

Gitmo Guard and Detainee Bury Differences on Facebook

Image from Jeff Overs, via NYT, and Gawker.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Convenience Is the Not So New Handling

Don't you just love it when you go to buy two $25 concert tickets, and somehow the total is $80? Not even considering why they charge you for the transaction/shipping/handling when you print out your own fricking tickets from automated software, why do they charge you for a "convenience" fee?

We are supposed to pay an extra $8 a ticket for the convenience of buying them online? I thought that online purchases were supposed to make prices come down because it was more convenient for the supplier since they no longer had to depend on brick and mortar businesses to have employees to sell the actual paper tickets.

Maybe I just misread all of those econ textbooks, scholarly articles, newspaper and magazine articles. For like, years.

I bet these fees are only going to get more "convenient" now that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are going to merge. It only makes sense, now that the concert promoters are merging with the ticket sellers. Unless the DOJ comes in to save us from this incredible convenience (please?).

As long as we're on the subject, I never understood what the hell "handling" was anyway. "Shipping" I get. It costs money to send things, and shipping could depend on where the purchaser is located. But "handling"? Is that like the cost of picking the Slap Chop up and putting it in a box? That's not covered by "shipping"? Maybe I should shut it, otherwise they might start charging us for pre-purchase storage, dusting, and cigarettes for warehouse employees. Maybe next will be a "looking" charge, because they need to see the product before they can "handle" it and then "ship" it.


Oh yeah, Happy belated Holidays all.