For Beth

Tamara reminded to me today.

After all my petulant ranting, just like last year, being reminded of her death kind of puts things in perspective.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

BK...wish you were here.

Funny Road Sign - Devil Professor?

Funny Sign - Devil Professor?
Originally uploaded by Badger 23

There are some funny road signs on our roads today and this is just one of them. This one was taken by a flickr user in Taiwan, but what is it? A Devil Professor? It is supposed to be men at work, but you could have fooled me. Just another funny sign.

If you have any funny or interesting road signs where you live, email them to me if you dont mind sharing them. Email them to (chuckpontiac @ yahoo . com)

Wits End Funny Road Sign
Mountain Lion Funny Road Sign
You Will Never Get To Work On Time Road Sign
Stupid Road Sign
Funny Message Road Sign
Devil Professor Road Sign?

Be sure and check out these other Car Salesman Jokes and Car Lot Humor;
Car Salesman Joke; Eyeglasses
Grean Pea (New Car Salesman) Prank
Car Salesman Joke-Flying Cars
Car Salesman Joke-A Little Tail
Service Department Joke
Mexican Joke
Transmission Joke
Car Salesman; Day In The Life!

My Proctologist's Exam!

Sorry. Nothing but mixed-metaphors right here. It's the whine. Er, wine.

Proctor. Illinois State Criterium Championship. Yeah. I wanted this race bad.


I could complain about how the hell did I fall asleep and let him get off, when all week that was practically the only tactic we talked about...

I could complain about how I was just as complacent as everyone else with 5 to go...

I could complain about how strong I felt but didn't really apply myself, HTFU, and sling my own pair around with a counter-attack into that wind...

I could complain about how I worked my way up, probably no more than 5 wheels back with ideal position on the outside with 2 turns to go, just going into my jump, yet had to bail out onto the curb to avoid the flying bodies right in front of the entire race went from a guaranteed top-10 to DFL in the span of about four and half seconds...

But I won't.

Because at least I got to race. Just getting to start is a privilege, and the chance of a finish like that is, frankly, what gets the heart racing and makes it all so fun in the first place, especially for a guy like me who, otherwise, has basically just been banging his head against a brick wall for the last 6 weeks. I consider myself blessed to have even been in that race at all, let alone being the factor that I was up to the bitter end.

Unlike David Jones, who spent 6 hours in the backseat, only to be told he couldn't race at all. And David can race, and deserved to. But it goes to show you can't rely on the USCF site to have to have the most up-to-date results when you really need them. Especially if you've been using day-of licenses this whole time.

So David, get that resume done, and get the annual license. We'll see you at Superweek.

Speaking of Superweek...I will be taking the inside of the turns, since I can hold my line.

Do I Qualify For 0% Financing?

Do I qualify for 0% Financing? This is a question I get asked all the time, especially with GM's 72 Hour 0% Finance Sale.

There are a few things GMAC or other lenders will look at when granting 0% interest on a loan. They will see if you have had a car loan before and how you paid. If you were late 10 out of 20 payments, it may be hard to get 0% interest. They will also look at Mortgage Payments as well to see how you paid. That is the 2 main factors when figuring 0% interest. There are other things to consider as well that are a little more complex.

The Lender will look at how much you are financing compared to how much you make. You will not get a $40,000 car if you make $1500 per month. This is common sense, you must be able to afford the auto.

Even though you are getting 0% interest on your car loan, you can still negotiate the price of the car. The fastest and easiest way to get the VERY BEST PRICE is Get quotes from Yahoo! Autosbecause their service is FREE and will insure you get the best price possible. Local dealers will Fight, I mean Compete, for your business!

The Lender will also look at how much you are financing compared to how much the car costs. If you have major Negative Equity, it may be hard to get 0% financing. If you have $15000 Negitive Equity to roll into the car you are buying, the lender may want you to take the Rebate instead of 0%. Most lenders will finance 115% to 125% of MSRP. On the high end using 125%, a $30,000 car would finance a maximum of $37,500. If you are $10,000 upside down, you would have to pay $2500 down or use the rebate instead of 0%.

The Finance Company will also look at your Credit Score. Usually a Credit Score of 750+ will grant you 0% automatically even if you are carrying a little more negative over to the car you are buying. A credit score above 650 will get you 0% financing if you are not financing too much over MSRP. A score below 650 could get you 0% depending on Down Payment, Past Credit History, etc. The lender is more interested in the structure of the deal. They LOVE to see Money Down. The Finance Company likes to see 10% to 20% down payment on all loans. When there is an initial investment on the car from the buyer, the loans are more secure because the buyer is invested in the car.

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The Phone Car

Photo By Harrod Blank
The Phone Car is also represented by the Art Car Agency

Howard Davis is the creator of the Phone Car a modified a 1975 Volkswagen Beetle. Originally, the car was built to promote his telephone business called Datel Communications. He was featured in Harrod Blank's book Art Cars and recently decided to take time off his job to take phone car on tour to different cities to “put a smile on people’s faces”. Davis car was also recently featured on CBS news, great job and see you at Art Car fest this year.

Police Lamborghini Gallardo

Police Lamborghini
Originally uploaded by Simon & Vicki

This Lamborghini Gallardo makes me want to join the Police force. I am sure this is not one used on a daily basis. I think this was taken at a charity event, but cool picture. It would make for an exciting Police chase though!

Thursday Funny

The final slide from Rick Santorum's "Slippery Slope" presentation to Congress:

(image courtesy of Drunk Cyclist)

Thursday Common Sense

Last week, both a friend and a teammate of mine were doored (self-explanatory for you non-cyclists - please see below) and received relatively serious and very serious injuries, respectively. One is a blue belt in karate and a daily commuter, and is now on crutches with torn ligaments in her knee. The other is still in the hospital with God-only-knows-what internal injuries. At least she's out of the ICU, finally.

And far more disastrous, a third, Clinton Miceli, was actually killed two weeks ago, on the first day of Bike to Work Week, no less.

It's literally an ounce of prevention...a fraction of an ounce, actually. Bike lane or no bike lane, driver side, or passenger side, just look over your shoulder before opening your car door on the street. It takes one second. If the three drivers responsible for the incidents above had taken that one second to think about somebody other than themselves, Clinton would still be alive, Sophie would be going to karate tonight, and Robin would be racing this weekend.

There are a lot more bicyclists out there than in the past, and we are here to stay. The old "roads are for cars" line carries zero weight now. That school of thought now only is for selfish, thoughtless people whose mommies never taught them to share, and who believe that 200 horsepower between their legs gives them the right to threaten anybody "weaker" in their way.

And not only is sharing the road the right thing to do, it's the only thing to do.

So let's all be patient, let's all be cool, and let's all get home safe.

Learning About GMAC Auto Loans

Learning About GMAC Auto Loans
By Jeffrey Meier

Dont miss GM's 72 Hour Sale!

The process of purchasing a car has become more and more taxing over the years because the economy as a whole has become so expensive. It is almost an impossible prospect to purchase a car with cash, so an auto loan is the primary option for most. If financing a car is your only option of purchase, then why not make your transaction as quick and easy as possible? GMAC tries hard to make your transition to car ownership as simple as possible with GMAC Auto Loans. Want to know more? Read on!

Who is GMAC?

GMAC Financial Services is "a global, diversified financial services company." As a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, GMAC originally functioned as a financial assistance program for auto dealers who wanted a larger selection of automobiles on their lots but did not have the cash to pay for more than just a few. Over time, GMAC's financing options expanded beyond assisting the dealers and moved into customer financing. And today we have a new financing system that assists prospective auto owners in driving a car now that they can pay for conveniently in their own time.

As the years evolve, so does GMAC, and now they provide the widest variety of auto financing options available to the public. While GMAC offers a number of packages for all areas of consumerism, including businesses and brokers, in this article we will focus on personal loans for the everyday consumer.

Personal GMAC Auto Loans

The two types of personal loans we will focus on in this article are GMAC Auto Loans for Vehicle Financing and GMAC Auto Loans for Vehicle Leasing.
Vehicle financing is one of the original ways that GMAC began the "rent to own" process of purchasing a vehicle. Under the umbrella of the vehicle financing process is traditional retail financing and Smart Buy. Traditional retail financing is what most people expect when going to purchase a car. This style of financing is defined as "an installment sale transaction between you and your dealer whereby you agree to pay the amount financed, plus an agreed upon finance charge, over a period of time."

GMAC gives its prospective buyers guidelines to determine if traditional retail financing is the right choice for them. They explain that if you plan to drive your car for more than a few years and you consistently drive well over 15,000 miles a year, or even if you plan to alter the vehicle (change the paint color, add new wheels, change the interior), and most importantly, if the car you're financing is the one you intend to own, then traditional retail financing is probably the right choice for you. Most people in this day and age go directly to GMAC to finance their car; however, you are able to go through your bank or credit union as well.

Smart Buy is the second type of vehicle leasing available through GMAC Auto Loans. Smart Buy is also a program that allows you to eventually own your vehicle, however monthly payments are typically lower than those of traditional retail financing. How is this possible? Because GMAC takes a fraction of each monthly payment and moves them all to the end of the contract, combining them into one lump sum that will be paid in something called a "balloon payment." The benefit of the Smart Buy financing option is that if you don't have or don't want to pay the balloon payment at the end of your contract, you can simply return the vehicle and pay a smaller disposal fee, which includes mileage and excess wear charges. Also, you have the option of selling the vehicle yourself at your own price allowing you to possibly profit if you sell it for enough to cover your outstanding balance. However, you are only allowed a limit of 15,000 miles per year with Smart Buy, so if you're not sure you can manage this; Smart Buy may not be right financing option for you.

While vehicle financing is good for some, leasing may be the best option for others. Auto leasing is defined under GMAC Auto Loans as "an agreement between the owner of the property (lessor) and the user of the property (lessee) for the use, (rental), of property, (leased vehicle), subject to the stated terms and conditions in the lease agreement which detail both the length of time and the agreed upon payment." This means that you are basically participating in a long-term car rental process.

The major difference between vehicle financing and vehicle leasing is that you won't have the option of owning your car. Typically vehicle leasing monthly payments are cheaper than those of vehicle financing because you are committing to give your car back at the end of your leasing term - which provides the option to drive a very nice car for the same monthly payment as an "okay" car that you would be financing to own. For those who are not interested in driving the same car for more than 2 years and don't plan to make any alterations, then leasing is probably the best option for them - but again, you must do your research before making such a monetary commitment.

Through GMAC Auto Loans you have available three different leasing options: SmartLease, SmartLease Plus and Low Mileage Lease. SmartLease is the standard leasing option from GMAC where you have monthly payments to cover the car's value, plus a rent charge, taxes and fees. SmartLease Plus expands the lease to help you avoid monthly payments (contact GMAC for more information). And the Low Mileage Lease benefits those who drive under 12,000 miles per year with lower lease payments. However, before choosing this option you must make sure that you won't go over your 12,000 miles to avoid being charged for excess mileage.

On the GMAC website you will find a wonderful FAQ section that offers plenty of advice on the best financing or leasing options for you when considering GMAC Auto Loans. Also, you should speak directly with a dealership representative to get all of the facts about the perfect car and perfect loan before making any commitments. If you can do all of the appropriate research necessary on GMAC Auto Loans, then you'll be moving in the right direction and will be only months, weeks, or even days away from the car of your dreams.

The Button King - Art Car Covered in Buttons

Photo By Harrod Blank
Button Hearse is also represented by the Art Car Agency

Dalton Stevens also known as The Button King, got his start as a result of suffering from insomnia. It got really bad in 1983 and he stayed up all night sewing buttons to his denim suit. He finished nearly three years later with 16,333 buttons that weighted 16 pounds. He then went on to glue 3,005 buttons to his guitar, 517 buttons to his shoes. He also covered a Hearse, a Chevrolet Chevette, a casket and a toilet as seen in the picture. He also wrote Insomniac Shuffle and Poppin' Buttons and recently opened The Button King museum for anyone interested in seeing his complete button covered works.
For more detailed bio and photos see link

Lakefront Pathos

I set a new personal best at the fitness check time trial this morning...finally cracked the 25 minute barrier. 2nd PB in a row, too. Whoot. But now they’re going to be harder to come by.

Some anecdotes from today’s workout:

I was moseying along, headed downtown from Logan Square along Milwaukee Avenue (The Hipster Highway), when around Western I hear the telltale sound of rusty chain and bike lock hitting a frame. It stays there for a bit, so I figured now’s the time to get at least one effort, and I hate the sound of a poorly maintained bike, so up I go.

Big ring: still there.

Shift: still there.

Shift: squeak-squeak-squeak

25 mph: still there.


I slow for the red light at the Noble intersection and around me shoots this guy in basketball shorts and a sneakers, on an ancient downtuber, didn’t get a look at the make. But he does have shaved legs. So I say to myself, down boy. Don’t give in.

I hate commuter racing. What is it about Freds that makes them try to race anyone in kit? Or even worse, sucking a stranger’s wheel? Introduce yourself. Nothing pisses me off more than to check behind me as I’m about take the lane to pass a double-parked car and be greeted by somebody drafting on. If I don’t know you and it’s not a race, it’s personal space. Maybe this guy isn’t a Fred, so even more shame on him...I guess I did start it, but, not to “race,” only to get away from the annoying sound of his chain.

For God’s sake.

So I pass him on the overpass, and sure enough he’s stuck to my wheel again. And this is where it got funny: as I was passing over the Ohio feeder ramp…he “attacks” on the overpass. Except as he tries to come around to my left, he plateaus, and then falls back.

Not to be outdone however, he blows the light at Grand, after nearly getting hit while doing one of those glacial creep “trackstands” and shoots away up towards Jefferson.

Good for him.

On the return leg of the time trial, just past the path construction where the route jets out towards the breakwater, I come upon a dude with the exact same bike as mine…same model, color-scheme, everything.


“Nice bike!” I say as I come by.

Fuck you, asshole!

Oh man, there was way too much loaded into that one to really get into it, other than this:

I remember when I first started biking on the path, I’d be pretty self-satisfied with my speed, and then, as a racer on a training ride would come flying past, I’d completely deflate and spend the rest of the ride embarrassed and grumbling under my breath something derogatory about shaved legs or spandex. Long story short, I confronted my perceived shortcomings and decided to do something about them.

So, sorry Bike-twin. I meant nothing by it. But, since you brought it up…

Ha ha. Now go do something about it.

Spotlight: ED Sufferer of the Week

Two days a week, I commute to my job in the northwest suburbs; Northbrook to be exact. It’s a great route, a safe route, and a very convenient way to get my base endurance training in during the week, instead of sacrificing 2 extra hours of the day to devote to a separate ride; or losing quality riding by commuting on stop and go urban streets…as much as I miss that…

The route generally takes me up Kimball from Logan Square where I take Elston to the North Branch Trail head, at the intersection of Milwaukee and Devon. The world-famous Superdawg is here, a 1940’s era drive-in that serves a very unique dog, with friendly car-hop service. There are outdoor order intercoms you can use without a car so it makes a great pit stop on the way home from work…

From there I ride the North Branch Trail (empty and quiet at 6:30 am with the sunrise peeking through the trees) to Dempster. From here, it’s back to street-level, and I ride Leheigh north to Beckwith and go west (this is where the Chicago Cycling Club comes through on their weeknight training rides). A few blocks, and then north on Shermer, and I head past Golf, Central, and Glenview and then head west on Lake.

So far, so good…just a couple miles more…when…

I hear the shrieking of tires to the left me, and then honking cars. I of course completely freak out thinking I’m about to be the innocent victim of a 3 car pile-up. Then it becomes apparent no crash is imminent when I realize that the driver next to me, of the screeching tires, is yelling at me.

The passenger window of his blue minivan is down and he’s looking over his shoulder, calling out to me, over the irritated horns behind him:

Yew must not lahk livin’, huh?!

Having made his “point,” he then hit the gas and drove off.

I’ve been taking this route since March. I stay to the right, averaging about 23mph on this stretch, and every single car passing me up to this morning has given me at least a token of the required three feet. In short, we all just get along.

Until this guy, with his sense of self-worth(lessness) masked by self-entitlement, brought on by an obvious case of being unable to satisfy his wife’s even modest sexual needs, comes along and feels the need to create a traffic situation far more dangerous than the present one in order to inadvertently show just how innocuous can be one solitary bicyclist.

GM 72 Hour Sale 0% Financing 72 Months 2008

It is time for GM's 72 Hour Sales event starting Wednesday June 24th. It will include most All GM products. There are some excluded like GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, Pontiac G8 and some other GM products in other brands such as Chevy, etc.

There will NOT be a better time to buy this Year! Also remember to make sure you get the best price on your new car at Yahoo! Autos You can get the best financing possible and pay too much.

Yahoo! Autos is geared up and ready to supply you with your New Car Quotes! Pick which vehicle you are pricing, your contact info, and be sure to check all dealers in the last box to make sure your New Car Quote is the best possible. They will fight for the next 72 Hours to earn your business!

Art Car Covered in Dentures - ChewBaru

Art Car Covered in Dentures - ChewBaru
More photos link

This 1995 Subaru called "ChewBaru" is covered in approximately 70 pounds of dentures, 60 pounds of dental impressions, photos and illustrations from old dental school books, empty toothpaste tubes, and other items related to dentistry. It was created by artist and motorcycle rider Rex Rosenberg from Kansas. This car reminded me when my grandfather would pop his dentures in and out of his mouth during dinner just to gross mom out. That and all the other cool things he showed me, is what made him my favorite grandfathers. Thanks Rex for bringing back all those good times to mind:)

VW BugWing Art Car
He is also the creator of the "BugWing" art bike, a VW shell cut in half, mounted on a 1981 Gold Wing and turned into a three wheeled vehicle.
For the complete story see link.

Happy Birthday to You

That night you laid it out there on the stoop
I sat there, stared and smiled without reply.
So when you showed it threw me for a loop,
Until I stuck my thumb into your pie.
Yet even though it seemed it might not last,
For I knew better and to bide my time…
In Fall those Summer flings are long since past,
Our sleepless night together was sublime.
And as you told me stories of Down Under,
The bees flew ‘round and told me “she’s the one…”
She’s come to you like lightning comes with thunder.
That she’ll be there forever, like the sun.
In humid darkness appeared that ray of light
Your smile, prophesy, on the stoop that night.

Bon Voyage baby...two weeks is gonna seem like an eternity.

George Carlin RIP

I first heard of George Carlin when I saw one of his specials on HBO when I was in 6th grade. I've never laughed harder. For all the people I never met who shaped my outlook on life, his influence easily carried the most weight. George Carlin loved words, and loved exposing the hypocrisy and pathos that lay beneath them in our culture and society. He probed their meaning, and skewered any and all attempts to soften, or lessen, the affects that real speech had on us.

He railed against phrases such as, "pre-boarding" ("to get on before you get on?"). He lamented as toilet paper became "bathroom tissue" and partly cloudy was now, "partly sunny." And, then seemingly much crasser, why handicapped people still weren't called "cripples." But, under that crassness there was truth behind his questions and tirades.

I was never more affected than his chronicle of the term "Shell-shock" to it's present-day form of "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." "Still eight syllables, folks...but we've added a hyphen!" He remarked that if we'd still been using "shell-shock" instead of watering the term down for our own psychological benefit, maybe those veterans would be receiving the treatment they actually deserved.

And of course, while he was most famous for his "7 Words You Can't Say On Television," but I also loved him for his outright silliness blended with his profanity - a juxtaposition of childlike and adult. This skit below, from that HBO Special I first saw, (Carlin on Campus, 1984), was my very first impression of him, and will stay with me forever:

Go well, George. Great work.

The Kiss n Ride Years

From 2000 through 2005, I was the bassist in a band called Kiss n Ride, a Chicago pop rock act from Norwood Park that had actually been around since 1994 in some form or another.

Our influences ranged from Fats Domino to Sam Cooke to Rolling Stones to the Prodigy, but our primary sound was that of Brit Pop. The lilting, dancable beats of the Stone Roses and Blur were always clearly evident in our music.

Kevin Flynn was Kiss n Ride from it's inception to the end in 2005, and I worked and collaborated with him closely for the 5 years I was in the band. Early on, through the recording of the My Vanity EP, Patrick O'Malley played guitar, and Doug James was drums. One other recording from before my time exists, Joyrider, but I do not have access to this.

Brad Wdowiak was the guitarist from 2003-05, and we also worked with several drummers before finding Mat Thies in 2004.

Below are links to two EPs, My Vanity and Someone Killed My Generation, as well as a third with 3 singles (one of which is a cover from a Jim Ellison/Material Issue tribute Album) and a couple of live tracks from a 2005 show at Schuba's.


My Vanity

Someone Killed My Generation


GM Falling Into The Shadows?

Originally uploaded by Lawrence Whittemore

Ford Motor Company has sparked sales with Employee Pricing and Huge Rebates, but where is the General?

General Motors has gone from taking the lead, to wait and see. In this business climate that may not be a bad idea. General Motors is offering special sales on New Cars at strategic times of the year. They will most likely have a 4th of July sale soon that will last a specific amount of time. I guess this is a good plan because when you tell a customer a sale will end at such and such date, it does. On the other hand, customers wait on these dates to purchase New Cars.

Value Pricing is GM's Moto! It is similar to the Saturn way of doing business. The margins for dealers have gone down to be competitive in the new Internet age of doing business. A customer that purchased a GM car a couple years ago does not believe you when you tell them there is no mark up in the New Cars. A few years ago, you could give $2000-$3000 discount off certain vehicles where it is now $400-$500. It is a better system for customers because they are getting a better deal out of the gate, but convincing of that fact proves to be difficult.

A Car Salesman is made out to be a liar and a cheat when in all reality most are honest family men and women providing a service to make a living. Most customers will lie to a salesman more than a salesman will lie. Lets be honest with each other. A salesman will help you get a Great deal if you will just be honest. Tell them where you need help. Whether it be in your trade, financing, payment, or whatever. Tip your Car salesman to help you out. Remember this, an average salesman sales 10 cars per month and the commission on most New Cars is $100. Would you stand in the heat, cold, rain for $1000 a month.

Components Of Car Insurance

The Components of Car Insurance
By Rakesh Gaikwad

Car Insurance is a necessity in today's world if you drive and own a car. Driving on the roads even one day without car insurance is taking a risky chance and can put your finances in serious jeopardy. Car insurance is a premium you pay an insurer to cover you, the damages to your car and third parties in the event of an accident. Car insurance protects you if the other party does not have insurance or cannot pay for the damages in full.

Liability insurance policies cover the damages and injuries to others involved in an accident if you are to blame. This is generally the basic policy the law requires you to acquire to be legally allowed to drive. Liability coverage consists of bodily injury coverage per person, bodily injury coverage per accident and property damage coverage per accident. The drawback of liability insurance is that it does not cover you or the damages and repairs to your vehicle. It is recommended that you should get more than just liability coverage when looking for an ideal car insurance policy for yourself.

Collision policies for car insurance cover your repair bills in the event of a road accident. This is the most expensive policy for car insurance. Insurance companies do not want to pay for the repairs if the costs exceed more than the actual value of the car. In such cases insurers deem the car a total loss and will cover instead the value of the car since it turns out to be the cheaper option. Comprehensive car insurance policies cover damages besides accidents such as fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters. It is essential to figure out the different aspects of the policy you're signing such as the conditions of the policy, the supplemental payments, deductibles, coverage, declarations, rating, liability, premium and the exclusions.

In order to obtain a cost effective car insurance policy its best to check out a number of different quotes to figure out what is available in the market and where you're getting the best deal. Do your homework and check out the reputation of the insurer by asking family and friends and who they choose to get insured by. It is also recommended to sustain a sound driving history. If the insurance company is able to see the evidence that you're not likely to get into an accident, they will provide you with some sort of discount. Most insurers require a standard of no accidents or speeding tickets in the past five years to obtain such a discount. If you already have one car insured by a company or have other insurance policies such as home insurance then it is a good idea to inquire with that insurer to get a good multi policy deal. If you tend to use fewer miles per year you may be able to qualify for an insurer's low mileage discount.

If you own an expensive car, it is much more difficult to get a good deal on a car insurance policy. Insurance companies know it will be expensive to cover an extravagant car if it is written off or damaged in an accident. Insurers also do regular research on statistics for the most frequently stolen vehicles and the cars that attract the most thefts. If your car is listed as such a risk, it will be hard to obtain a discount in this case. Buying a low profile and low maintenance car which will ensure you a deduction of premium. Enhancing your vehicle with safety and security features such as air bags, anti-theft details, automatic seatbelts, and anti-lock breaks, will also help you save money when determining the premium for your car insurance policy. Where you live also determines the amount you will be paying for car insurance. If you live in a small rural safe community your car is not likely to be stolen as opposed to living in a big metropolitan city.

An accident can happen any time and when you least expect it. So be prepared by maintaining insurance records and current up to date photographs of your vehicle, which you will need for making a claim. It is also beneficial to plan ahead when investing in a car and get your money's worth.

Article Source:

25 ways to spot a fake General Lee

I grew up watching "The Dukes of Hazzard" and the famous General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger muscle car driven by Bo and Luke, that somehow evaded damage after every jump. I happened to see an article about a fake General Lee and decided to expound on the subject. The question is: how do you spot a fake general lee? To answer the question, I selected 25 signs in determining the authenticity of the "Real" General Lee.

Things to look for in a fake:

1) Rear spoiler

2) No rims, and other stuff

3) Too long

4) The 01 is not the right font
5) The wrong shade of orange

6) Steering on the wrong side of the car

7) It's in for repairs

8) Wrong name on the car

9) No roll bar

10) Wrong era

11) Guy wearing a helmet

12) Wrong age group
13) Too many zeros

13) Bo and Luke always used a compound bow

14) Not fast enough to clear jumps

15) Flag was on the roof of the car

16) Doors open and close

17) Pink outfit

18) Too high to jump in through the window

19) Too corporate

20) Way too short

21) Checkered flag on top

22) Has a roof rack

24) Way to many modifications

25) Totally unsafe at high speeds

This is the only way to spot the real deal.

The Hidden Side of Chicago's Bike Routes: Essanay Studios

A major thoroughfare for Chicago cyclists to and from the Northside is Clark Street. Affording a direct route to downtown or easy access to the Lake Front Trail, more bikers use this route than almost any other route in the city.

Built over an existing Native-American trail (as were many streets in Chicago, such as Milwaukee Avenue and Broadway), Clark Street runs the gamut of Windy City Existence. From gritty Howard Street at the Evanston border, it meanders diagonally down through the emergent neighborhoods of Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown, becomes clogged with cargo-shorts, summer dresses and spilt beer in the arrested-development paradise of Wrigleyville, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park, then straightens out to soak in the ritzy and well-established glamour that is The Gold Coast, before hulking up and heading down past City Hall and the Man On Five, through Southloop, and finally ending back in the grit and dust of the public housing and warehouses just east of Chinatown.

Obviously, there is quite a bit of history to be found on Clark Street’s trajectory. From former speakeasies to mob hits, landmark buildings to famous homeruns, Clark is a time-capsule of Chicago’s life.

As I mentioned in the last installment, Edgewater, in particular, attracted its fair share of celebrity during the far-Northside’s early years, and not-at-all due entirely to the aforementioned Edgewater Beach Hotel. Amazingly, one the most prodigious movie producers during the Silent Era was set right in nearby Uptown, just east of Clark Street, at 1333-45 W. Argyle Street.

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Essanay Studios is probably most famous for making the films that turned Charlie Chaplin into a star, including “The Tramp,” “Shanghaied,” and “Police.” It also, however, produced the first American “Sherlock Holmes” and the first-ever film version of “A Christmas Carol.”

Essanay is formed out of the two letters, S and A, after the company’s founders, the George K Spoor and Brocho Billy Anderson. These two men lured Chaplin away from the Keystone Studios and gave him the boost that launched his career. In addition to the 14 movies Chaplin made with Essanay in 1915, the studio made over 1400 movies from 1907 to 1917. This included almost 300 Broncho Billy Westerns, and the usage of addition studios in Niles, Colorado, and California.

Chaplin left Essanay after only one year for a larger contract on the back of his newfound fame, and the emptiness left by his departure caused a rift between Spoor and Anderson that eventually led to the studio’s closure in 1917.

Today, the building is home to St. Augustine College.

Sources: wikipedia, IMDb,

Thursday Hate


"Sounds good, Dave. Why don't you engage Geena, as discussed, and move forward with that action item? She's definitely got the bandwitdth. Then we can circle back and revisit our core competencies for the mission statement so we can move forward with our deliverables in order that we have the clients' buy in at the end of the day."

"Fuck you Diane. How about instead: I'll give Geena the work - she ain't busy - then we'll meet again tomorrow to talk about what we're presenting to the client? Is that good? Great. I'm going to the toilet."


These new offshore drilling proposals. Banned for years, exploratory drilling, even moving to full production, will do nothing to alleviate high gas prices. As with ANWR, what will come out of the ground will amount to a drop in terms of world demand. Especially when you realize that those first drops - if oil were discovered today - wouldn't be on the market as refined product for another 10 years or so. And we all know demand world-wide is going to go nowhere but up and who knows what other variables will be effecting the price of oil by then.

There's no more room for this kind of leadership. There has never been a more urgent time for real, proactive action on Energy. The oil economy will be dead in ten years. So will John McCain. You know what to do.

Hump Day

Who knew thongs could carry liability beyond Hershey stains? PROFITS!


What do you need to be come a superstar playing Wii? A nice ass, apparently. PROFITS!


Becks gets even MORE money. PROFITS!


No Profits.




Owe Too Much On Trade - Negative Equity - Upside Down

Everyone that has ever purchased a car and traded another that there was a balance on has heard one of these phrases. "You are Upside Down," "You have Negative Equity," "You owe more on your Trade than it is worth."

Let me first explain what Negative Equity is and how to help reduce this Upside Down aspect of a car deal. Negative Equity is simply owing more on your Trade than it is worth. When you trade with Negative Equity, you are obviously going to have Negative on the next Trade In. It is a ripple affect that keeps following you. You had $3000 negative on your trade, now you have $8000 negative the next time, etc...
Also, let me say, you are NOT alone! We are in an age when nobody wants to put money down, and wants the lowest payment possible--stretching their contract out to 72 months and even 84 months with some banks.

The VERY FIRST thing to make sure you eliminate some negative is to MAKE SURE you get the best deal possible on the car you are buying. You have to visit Yahoo! Autos and get a FREE CAR QUOTE on your car of choice. It is a FREE service so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You fill out a short form with the vehicle of your choice, some contact info, and choose all the dealers in your local area to give you a quote on this vehicle. They will fight for your business and you will not believe what prices you will receive. This is by far the best advice because the lower the price you buy for, the less negative you will take with the car.

Next, You want to put money down if at all possible. Customers have this illusion that money down goes in the dealers pockets. NOT! This is your initial investment that will lower your amount financed and lessen the negative right out of the gate. Also, pick a shorter term of financing. If the payment is too high, pick a cheaper vehicle! Do not finance for 72 months--do 60 months MAX! If you have already done a 72 month contract, pay extra every month. Pay $50, $100, even $200 extra per month. You will eventually get your vehicle down to what it is actually worth.

Remember, Cars Depreciate! If you choose long term financing, do not put money down, they will Depreciate faster than you can pay for the car.

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I want some of that Evil.
To be a spiteful mystic.
I want to see a Devil
Twisted up and slick.

Should I kill my Angel?
Lock her down in chains?
Ignore the cries from down in her cell,
And wield, like a knife, her pains?

Heaven and hell at sunrise.
Revelations at dawn.
Inconsequential demons prize
My tiny Armageddon.

I’ll keep to the dark, alone
To try and keep control.
For all that you have ever known
Is only one half of my soul.

Sherman Park Weekend

Up before dawn for the second time this week, I sat out in front of my front door, looking at my spread of equipment, pondering the day ahead as I wanted for Bob and Gigi to arrive.

It was going to be a long one, for sure, with work to be done from dawn to dusk with barely a break in between; if you could call actually racing a break. The truck was just beginning to be unloaded as we arrived at Sherman Park, and most of the early crew was already hard at work. There was much to be done.

The start finish area needed barriers, the stage, sound system, and canopies, just for starters. We set up 12 marshalling stations around the course, and marked the (much fewer than last year) potholes with spraypaint, while still others swept the remaining debris from the course the city’s streetsweepers had missed. It was my first race setup, and I truly realized it’s the individual work ethic that means the most to the group.

Photo by Luke Seemann

Soon the registration area was packed and Newt had the tunes issuing forth from the PA. I was then strictly Marshal Sergeant. It was going to be full-time job. We had great coverage committed to the early races – but people had other obligations later in the day, and the later, higher category races were a huge concern.

Many people didn’t understand why we needed so many volunteers to marshal for this race. Southside Sherman Park is a unique venue for a bike race, to say the least. By late morning, the park was in full use by the area’s bemused residents who were not quite sure what to make of all these strangers telling them where they could and could not go in their neighborhood’s own park.

But I had my list of volunteers, even though half of them were names I didn’t recognize, and a few were names who weren’t yet at the race. So, anyone who approached with outstretched arms received a bright green vest, a whistle, and instructions.

My sincere and heartfelt thanks go out for all those who gave up their free time for marshaling. The race simply could not have gone on without your diligence and commitment.

The Cat 5s were then underway and I made a pass around the park to make sure my posts were covered. XXX thoroughly dominated the race – as they should have, with over 50% of the field in black – and put four into the top 5.

Photo by Luke Seemann

The team got more rewards from team work and smart, hard racing in the women’s Master’s race with a win by Tamara Frasier.

Next up was my first race of the day, the Men’s Master 4/5, 30+/40+.

No warm up. In fact, the race was going to be my warm up, so I decided to just have my fun with it. The race stayed together, sloppily, by lots of attacking, chasing, and counters.

Obviously, not much to tell here, from my vantage point, other than a few inconsequential flyers, until the end of the race. About 200 meters from Turn 2, there was a incursion of mulch onto the course, laid down by the city to soak up the mud and rain water from the week’s earlier storms. It was always a little dicey there as people moved avoid it, and with the speed ramping up on the last lap, I suddenly found my handlebars locked with another rider.

He started to panic a bit, and I just kept it steady and increased my speed and we came apart without incident. But the box-in kept me behind the initial move, and once I was free I had to swing all the way to the right approaching Turn 4 to try to catch up. While I was effectively protected, and I did make up several places in the last hundred yards or so in the headwind, it was way too late and the best I could manage 12th overall, 7th in the 30+, just out of the points and the money. XXX did get the win, however, with Newton getting the benefit of a monster leadout by 5's winner Kyle Wyberg.

At this point I just abandoned my list of volunteers altogether, and relied on a system of badgering as many people as possible to marshal, as well as standing on the start/finish line and yelling while I waved the green vests over my head. I would periodically cruise the course to make sure all 12 posts were covered, and finally 20 minutes before my second race - the straight 4’s - I got on the trainer for a brief warm up.

I was late getting my lap to the line, and should’ve just gone straight there, because as I rolled back up, Alderman Joan Thompson was already blowing the whistle and away we went. Aaack!!!

Or I should say, away they went; for as I was at the back, not even clipped in, Peter and several others were already breaking away. It didn’t concern me, but it should have. Several strong riders, Calvin, Sean, plus Henry and Chris of Pegasus, stayed back with me while two more XXXers – Newt and Chris – bridged up early. We just thought at first it wasn’t going to stay off, but we realized too late that suddenly there 12 riders in that break, including a pro-triathlete, the winner of the Master's 4/5s, and a sandbagger who’d just submitted his upgrade that very morning. Now it wasn’t so much of a break as it was a field split, and all of us wanted to be up…there

Desperation dictated dynamics in the back from then on out. Yet, with surrealism I calmly noted the several open marshal posts along the course. I was going to have to really stay on that after the race.

Twice I tried to bridge up with larger groups, both on the back of Pegasus' Chris Padfield's monster efforts. And later, as I was outsprinted for a prime and still going while the winner sat up, Jon flew past me with, “let’s go! We got a gap!” Sure enough we had 50 meters and growing, and away we went for two laps on our own. The best we could manage was 25mph - smiling through the pain at Debi and Katy cheering as we passed them - while the lead group was surely doing much faster that with far more opportunities for recovery. We were back in soon enough and nothing more got off.

Photo by some friend of Chris Reikert that he didn't give credit to

They were announcing primes for our group however, and with two to go I heard a suicide call and bell. “Screw this” I thought. I’m going home with something other than a 13th place finish, at best. And between Turns 3 and 4, I jumped hard, and crossed the line well ahead of our pack. Having won my prize, I sat up as the final lap move passed after Turn 1 and I cruised in well behind the sprint.

Imagine my dismay upon being told my number was not on any prime list, although others said there was definitely bell with 2 to go.

Who knows where my head was in that race…on more important things, to be sure. Keeping these little ankle-biters off the course.

Photo by Chris Reikert.

Helping the race director make sure everyone had a safe race.

And we did.

Competent, effective marshalling was at no time more needed than in the Women’s and Men’s Pro/1/2/3 races at the end of the day. Soccer games, pool parties, and a wedding were in full swing, and everywhere, neighborhood residents needed to cross the course. At one point, Bob Willems let a woman with a grocery cart attempt to cross, only to have her immediately turn against the flow as the Men’s Pros came screaming toward him. No fault of his own, as he thought she’d go straight across, but it goes to show how difficult it was to control the safety of the race. It was like a leaky dyke with 100 holes and only 12 fingers.

In my case, I was situated south of turn 4, by a car access point, and with 5 laps to go, a white Dodge Charger starts driving around the barrier. I run up, waving my hands, and they tell me that they need to pick up the DJ from the wedding and to move. I tell them that if they drive on that course, they’re going to have a lot more trouble than from just me, and I pointed to the three police officers standing with their bikes just the last turn.

With some convincing they abided, and even waited for the pros to complete their warmdown before, cautiously even, proceeding on to the course. Ed had nearly pulled it off. Jumping from just past turn 3, and holding a big, yet closing gap as he passed me. The winner eventually grabbed hold of his wheel maybe 300 meters out and came around for a nailbiter finish.

The breakdown was relaxed and happy. Nobody could stop talking about the events of the day. We were amazingly packed within an hour, and I was home in Logan Square enjoying the sunset, along with a plate of ribs and a beer, with Katy at Dunlay’s. Sleep came hard and fast.

And believe it or not, I was up by 5 the next morning, out the door at 6, trying to find my way down Ogden to Palos Hills to meet Ed and Heidi. I caught up with them at LaGrange, and we rode south together, as the sunlight of the once beautiful morning gave way to the black, rumbling, end-of-world that was roiling in from the west.

Just as we reached the 7-Eleven at Willow Springs and Archer, the sky opened up and we took shelter within. And who did we meet inside but none other than Dave Foulkes, of USCF. The Chicago Time Trial Series was having an event right there on Willow Springs, and they were waiting out the rain. It came down in buckets outside, and we waited, drinking coffee and bullshitting.

Eventually we relocated to the Dunkin Donuts up the road, and waited until 9:30 to finally decide to just call it a day. I needed to pick up the keg for the party at my place that afternoon. We rolled through Oak Park and it was a near disaster area of downed trees and power outages, the sounds of chainsaws drowning out the morning birds.

I finally had a chance to wind down at my place with beer and friends, and reflect on an weekend the likes of which I’ve never experienced. It was hard to get to sleep that night, knowing everything would get back to normal. Until I began to think about all the great racing, the hot summer days and nights, all the potential and fun that lie ahead.

I finally drifted off to the soft breathing next me, and in my dreams, it sounded like the pleasant whisper of pavement rolling by.

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