Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hillary, Voices, RVs, and More

The obligatory political post (brief as it is): Hillary endorses a return to the 55 mph speed limit.
"The 55 mile speed limit really does lower gas usage, and wherever it can be required and that people will accept it, we ought to do it," Clinton said.
Key words: “…that people will accept it…” OK, Hill, you’re on the record. Now please be quiet about that ridiculous idea. Two words: Sammy Hagar. Beltway insiders and denizens of the Upper West Side (who probably don’t even own a car) may think this is a spiffy idea, but those of us who live in Fly-Over Country don’t. And, I’m late to the party on this one…Morgan was all over Hillary yesterday on 55, and more.
Here’s an amusing l’il article in the WaPo that takes all of about 90 seconds to read: The World's Snappiest Comebacks. No article on this subject would be complete without a mention of Winston Churchill or Dorothy Parker, probably the two most devastating masters of the snappy comeback the western world has ever known; they are both quoted. Churchill’s comeback to “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your coffee” is included, but my favorite Churchill comeback is not, to wit:
One night in the House of Commons, Churchill, after imbibing a few drinks, stumbled into Bessie Braddock, a corpulent Labourite member from Liverpool. An angry Bessie straightened her clothes and addressed the British statesman.

"Winston," she roared. "You are drunk, and what’s more, you are disgustingly drunk."

Churchill, surveying Bessie, replied, "And might I say, Mrs. Braddock, you are ugly, and what’s more, disgustingly ugly.

But tomorrow," Churchill added, "I shall be sober."
Supposedly true. I’d like to think so.
I was watching Washington Journal this morning and it struck me that one can easily and immediately recognize elderly callers, simply by their voice. And I wondered just how and why this happens, of course. Well, The Aging Voice is a highly technical article that explains just why this is.
There is acoustic evidence of age-related changes in vocal resonance patterns in both men and women. Lowering of formant frequencies (more pronounced in women) suggests lengthening of the vocal tract. Altered vowel formant frequency patterns (more pronounced in men) suggests centralization of tongue position during vowel production. Altered resonance patterns in elderly speakers may result from growth of the craniofacial skeleton, lowering of the larynx in the neck and/or degenerative changes in oral structures that reduce articulatory precision.
I told you it was technical. It’s also fascinating.
Yahoo News, via the AP, has an article this morning titled “RV Ownership at Record High.” Well, of course that caught my eye, and I went right to the article. Here’s the lede:
ORLANDO, Fla. - Russ and Jean Glines have picked the theme music to herald their transition from living in a 3,000-square foot country club home to full-time roadies in a 400-square foot recreational vehicle.
The Glines, 43-year-old mortgage brokers, are among a growing number of Baby Boomers who have pushed the number of RV owners to record levels, including some who hit the road full time while continuing to pursue their careers.
Thanks to Wi-Fi, satellite Internet hookups, e-mail and cell phones, the Glines will continue to run their California-based mortgage company from their Country Coach Intrigue.
"We're looking forward to sitting in the Keys in Florida with our satellite dish hooked up and working like we were in our office in San Jose and going out for walks on the beach at night," Russ said.
Ah. A Country Coach Intrigue…top of the line, diesel-pusher, big-ass Class-A motorhome. I mean BIG, as in the smallest version (there are three) of this RV is 40-foot, the largest is a 45-footer. Think “Greyhound Bus.” And these things are expensive. Expensive to buy, expensive to operate. Imagine filling that 135 gallon tank with diesel at $2.89 a gallon for the first time: $390.00. And with mileage averaging between 7.9 and 8.2 mpg…well, you get the picture. How expensive are they to buy?
The base price of the 2006 Intrigue 530 Jubilee is $451,165. The as-tested price of the coach I reviewed came to $541,710…(ed note: with a LOT of options)
More of a “If I won the lottery…” fantasy than a lifestyle option for most folks, eh? It’s interesting that the AP would choose to profile people who spend half a million bucks on an RV to illustrate “record high” RV ownership levels. You see a few of these things in RV parks (more than one would expect, actually), but these RVs are hardly typical. It’s sort of like saying “automobile ownership is at a record high” and then profiling a Bentley owner. Still, if I won the lottery…
Here’s a picture of my lil rig, car-hauling trailer not included. As the title indicates, the picture was taken in the Oakland Hills above... strangely enough... Oakland, although the East Bay might be more appropriate and descriptive. The pic was taken in December of 2002, in a beautiful little (and largely unknown) RV park operated by the State of California.

1 comment:

  1. And this would be the same Hillary who ran over an airport security guard because she thought the rules shouldn't apply to her. Politicians and Hollywood elite just don't want us "little people" using up all their gas so they can continue cruising the skies in their private jets. Those things use up a whole lot more fuel than my SUV.


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