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Monday, March 24, 2008

$650 for my old car? OK, do I hear $700? Anyone?

In California, we take the environment very seriously. We take it so seriously, in fact, that I just received a letter from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District offering me $650 for my old car.

$650 is not a bad offer for the 21-year old little piece of sh... I've been driving around for a lot years, so I must say, I'm really considering the offer.

But if you look closely on the letter (double click photograph to enlarge), note the following restrictions:

- Vehicle must be currently registered as operable and must have been registered as operable in the Bay Area for the past 24 months (So, they want to make sure the car is actually being driven, I guess that's OK).

- Vehicle must be in operating condition (same as above?)

- Vehicle must be able to pass their SMOG check if within 60 days or a required SMOG check... (Uh?)

OK, now I just have a question... You want to take my car off the road, that's great; but you also want to make sure it's fully operable, registered and in good condition, AND can pass a SMOG test to boot?

Now, now.. You guys wouldn't by any chance be thinking of reselling it some place else (like in another State?) where the restrictions aren't as stringent as California, now would ya?

Just kidding... Or am I? You gotta admit, these requirements (especially the SMOG one) beg the question. What do they care if it'll pass the SMOG if they really intend to get it off the road and junk it?

Also notice where it says on the letter "This is a partial list of requirements." What, there is more?!! Let me see. Should I have the car detailed inside out? How about a fresh paint job while we're at it? Full tank of gas, too?

Maybe if they'd consider giving me a decent rebate on a cute little SMART instead, I don't know ... oh, wait there is a year-long wait list for these cars...

As to giving up the car completely and getting into one of these
City Car Share program, I find that for the moment, keeping my old car is more economical, believe it or not.

So I don't know. What do you think?

* * * *
A couple of links:

City Car Share program

All the details on the Vehicle Buy- Back Program

More SMART cars photographs

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Good Bye, Henri Salvador!

I've been so busy over the past few weeks that I only found out today that Henri Salvador passed away last month. For those of you who did not know Henri Salvador, here is a little something I found on YouTube to give you an idea.

Dans Mon Isle (1957), influenced by Antonio Carlos Jobim

Henry Salvador was an incredible comedian, musician, guitarist, singer ... in other words, an extraordinary artist. Like all the people of my generation in France, I grew up listening mostly to his funny songs (Juanita Banana, Zorro est arrivé, Minnie Petite Souris, etc.) and did not realize he was an accomplished jazz musician as well (some credit him for inventing the style Bossa Nova).

I probably did not fully appreciate Henri Salvador's talent until only a few years ago, when someone presented me with his most extraordinary album Chambre avec vue released a few years ago in France.

Even if you did not know Henri Salvador's name, perhaps, you've heard this song?

Thank you for all the moments of pleasure you gave us, Mr. Salvador.

Rest in peace!

Links and Resources (in French):

Article du Monde (en Français):
Henri Salvador, Couleur Brésil

Hommage à Henri Salvador (Arte)

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Going up a little and down, down, down ...

Market St., San Francisco

Earlier today, I saw a lady in tears holding a blackberry, in front of the window of Fidelity (an investment center) sur la rue Market. I hope whatever the problem was, she will find resolution very soon. But if she was crying because of the stock market, then I really understand!

Tout à l'heure j'ai vu une dame qui pleurait dans la rue avec son black-berry à la main, debout devant la vitrine de Fidelity (centre d'investissements boursiers), on Market St. J'espère que son problème va s'arranger et qu'elle ne pleurait pas à cause de la bourse. Mais si c'était ça le problème, alors franchement, je la comprends!

In the States, there are many of us with retirement funds (401K, IRA's, etc.) whose performance depends almost entirely on the stock market, and of course, since the beginning of the year [even before that!], we've all taken a pretty good beating ... What to do? I guess there is nothing to do in a bear market except wait for better days, is there? In the meantime, I guess we better hold on real tight, because it looks like it's gonna be a bumpy ride ...

Aux Etats Unis, nous sommes nombreux à avoir des fonds de retraite (401K, IRA's, etc) qui dépendent directement de la bourse, et bien entendu, depuis le début de l'année [meme avant!], on s'est tous pris une claque monumentale... Que faire? Je suppose, il n'y a rien d'autre à faire que d'attendre que ça remonte, non? En attendant, vaut mieux bien s'accrocher pour les secousses et ne pas avoir l'estomac trop fragile ...