Friday, July 4, 2008

Mental meanderings

We saw Wall-E this afternoon. It was really enjoyable. Fascinating how a movie with minimal dialog can keep your attention, but it does. There is something about art or literature that is equally appealing to adults and children that I enjoy. It would be simplistic to say I am just a kid at heart, and probably not even particularly true.
No matter what the reason, I love books like Huckleberry Finn, Johnny Tremain, or The Yearling, which, while ostensibly kids' books, can be fully enjoyed by adults, perhaps even on more and deeper levels. I am not sure that I realized that Huck Finn, the book, spoke to the essential dignity and worth of human beings the first time I read it.

That was Friday. On Saturday we went to see Get Smart, with absolutely no expectations. given that caveat, we thought it was very funny, particularly for those who loved the old TV show. I can't picture anyone but Steve Carell playing Don Adams, and Anne Hathaway was perfect as the 2008 Agent 99. I'm not saying it is ART, but it was funny. Just by the way, it costs us just under $23 to go to a matinee, with a medium popcorn and a large frozen coke. Not to say we can't afford to go, but that must be keeping some people away from first run movies. I'm really wondering what the spell checker has against matinee. I am spelling that right aren't I? Wonderful as they are, I have a thing about spell checking programs, which I might go into later.

In other news, I have quite recently become very irritated with one dollar bills, almost as much as I am with pennies. That this country sticks with these virtually useless forms of currency is as much an indictment of our mass stupidity than the re-election of George Bush/Dick Cheney in 2004. Pennies cost more than one cent to produce, so every one we mint adds to our deficit. Some congressman from Arizona regularly introduces bills to abolish pennies, but he gets little support.
Now, dollar bills are new to my list, but it just seems that Europe and Australia are so far ahead of us, using not only one dollar, but also two dollar(or euro) coins.
The bills aren't worth much anymore; even a 20 ounce coke costs well over a dollar.
If you have to pay, assuming anybody besides me is still using cash, anything ending in a one's digit of 6, 7, or 8, does anyone grab several ones? No, so you end up with a walletful of ones you do not need, and do not want. Maybe I should just catch up with the times and start using plastic. I do have and know how to use a debit card; I just don't do so very often.

While I stand by everything said, except maybe the part about the hooker's pants, in the previous post about the economy, I do want to weigh in on the whole deal about gas prices. OK, so the high cost of gas creates problems for lower income folks who spend a disproportionate amount of their income for gas to get to work. That is too bad.
I still feel that gas is by no means "too expensive". Frankly, if gas had been $4 a gallon for the last several years, many good things would have happened. We would have a much larger choice of better mileage vehicles to choose from. We could have banked trillions of dollars, cushioning our hard landing. We could have adjusted to this gradually, had there been leaders who could make hard choices. we would have had companies using the profit motive to improve the vehicles we have available to choose from.
Another reason I do not feel gas is too expensive is that virtually no one is slowing down. This is the real test. If you feel gas is too expensive you can drastically improve your gas mileage, and not just by driving a Prius, but by driving slower and more sensibly.
But you can commute to work all the while watching one person, in a huge truck he does not need for his work, weave in and out of traffic, racing from stoplight to stoplight. Many of Lincoln's streets have quite accurately synchronized lights, so that as long as it isn't afternoon rush hour, once you stop, you can get the next several lights green, just by driving the speed limit. So what do any number of drivers do? Of course, they jackrabbit away from the recently changed light, and race to the next one, which will be changing in about four seconds. but they have to screech to a stop, all to start the process over again.
I don't care if it is Nebraska, Iowa, or Missouri, the states in which I most often drive. The average driver is going slightly in excess of whatever the posted limit is.
That driver's gas mileage would remarkably increase were she/he to knock about 10% off his/her speed, even more if the limit were 55 mph.
Were it a crime to complain about gas prices and to drive at speeds that reduce your mileage, our prisons would be much more full than they are now.
And the next time I hear a commercial, or public service announcement about TV becoming all digital, I might throw something at the TV. Maybe I just want to get a new TV. Does anybody know anybody who uses an antenna on the roof to get a signal?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly we have a decent population in San Joaquin Valley that use antennas, all lower income, mostly farm workers. And while a good portion of them may be illegals, they are doing a job that not many others will do here...especially in our 100+ degree heat.

It does work to slow down and drive more sensible, but I think most of that has come with my age. Just a nice bonus that I can get a tank of gas (15 gal) to last me almost 4 weeks. Even with that I have seriously considered taking the bus, much cheaper and not much longer than driving my 5 miles to and from work.