atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2846: Those Wendy's doubles do not hold me like they used to.

I'm kidding. I had a double combo at 4-ish, fell asleep around 6 PM, and woke up hungry at 11.

Current mood: ham and cheese sandwich.

It's nice and cool outside, and I'm debating the wisdom of doing some Fiero work while it is. The problem is, it's going on midnight, and if I thoughtlessly begin something noisy, it might disturb people.

Oh well.

* * *

We're already more than halfway to the new debt limit and to be as charitable as possible it's been two days. (Really, it's barely been one.)

Debt limit before: $14,294 billion

Debt limit now: $14,694 billion

Current debt: $14,532 billion (and change)

Remaining pad: $162 billion

...

If I'm understanding the situation, it means we get to go through the past week again in about two months if we're lucky.

Incidentally, the magical "debt to GDP ratio" has hit unity. That's right! The United States government now owes an entire year's economic output of the entire country.

Hey, we could pay off the debt right now simply by taxing everyone and every business at 100% of income for one year. I wonder why the Democrats aren't talking about a plan like that? (Yet?)

* * *

Every once in a while I think about how WW2 went for the Japanese, particularly after Midway. I wonder what it must have been like to be Japanese, listening to the guys on the radio talking about glorious victories against America which nonetheless occur ever closer to home, until one day the bombs start falling.

This kind of evokes the same sort of feeling, I think.

GM is selling a couple hundred Volts per month, and they're "increasing production to 5,000 per month" in order to "keep up with demand".

Let me quote some of the same bit that Vodkapundit quotes:
...[T]he reason the Volt isn’t selling is that they can’t keep enough cars on the lot. A GM spokeswoman recently claimed that they are "virtually sold out." Which is virtually true. Mark Modica called around his local Chevy dealers and found plenty of Volts waiting for an environmentally conscious driver to bring them home.
You see, that's the nice thing about the word "virtually": it takes a false statement and turns it into an almost true one.

Example: "I'm a millionaire!" FALSE. I don't have a million dollars; I have much less than that. I do have money in the bank and my bills are getting paid despite the fact that I'm unemployed, though. So I can say, "I'm virtually a millionaire!" and not be lying. It all comes down to how much distance there is between being a virtual millionaire and an actual one.

The distance turns out to be approximately identical to the distance between Volts being "sold out" and "virtually sold out". Which is quite a piece, I'm afraid.

The problem with the Chevy Volt is that it's the answer to a question nobody asked. There's a reason no one is selling a car like it; and for the most part the market for hybrid cars is saturated by the Prius and whatever Honda is building these days. And those cars cost a lot less than the Volt does, to boot.

If you have even $35,000 to spend on a new car (subtracting the federal $7,500 tax credit from the Volt's $42,000 list price) are you going to buy a subcompact with anemic acceleration, or are you going to buy something nice? $35,000 will buy you a Mustang GT or a Camaro SS or something else that moves like a cheetah on speed; it'll buy you a pretty fair dinkum SUV if that's your bag.

The Volt ends up being a vanity purchase, something rich poofs buy to impress other rich poofs. "Oh, see how environmentally conscious I am? I bought this car for the nanny to use."

...bit hyperbolic there, but you get the idea, I think. It's a second or third car, not a primary car.

Meanwhile, GM is increasing production of the things to 5,000 per month. Why? Because the Nissan Leaf is outselling the Volt!

...by 3,875 to 2,745. Yeah.

Let me see, this is August--no, August just began, so we can't really count it; and the model year begins in September. So let's say ten months of sales, just to make the math easy.

Leaf: 379 per month.
Volt: 275 per month.
GM will quickly expand output as its pushes toward a goal of selling 10,000 Volts in the U.S. this year, [Tony Posawatz, the director of the vehicle line] said. GM plans to assemble 60,000 next year at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, with 45,000 of them earmarked for U.S. buyers.
What is this guy smoking? In ten months they haven't even sold one month's production of the cars at their 5,000-per-month production rate. If we assume that they held production down to their stated goal of 10,000 units--833 per month--then they've only sold about four months' worth of units.

How do you justify increasing production by 500%--more--when you're not selling the stuff you're making now?
GM and Nissan should be able to sell every Volt and Leaf they make through at least 2013, said Chris Hopson, an IHS analyst. IHS predicts that Nissan will sell 35,000 Leafs in the U.S. next year and 54,000 the next year. Chevy will sell 35,000 to 50,000 of the Volt in 2012, Hopson said, and 67,000 in 2013.
Why? Who says? How can you say they'll sell even 35,000 of the things when they haven't sold 3,500 in the first year?

Have a look at this article about the issue.
A search of cars.com site showed nearly 500 Chevy Volts listed for sale. I had originally assumed that GM dealers were advertising vehicles that were not actually available for sale, since GM has stated that there were only a "few" Volts available. I decided to call a few dealers within 75 miles of my location to determine what the true situation was. I stopped my research after finding that five of the first six dealers I called had Volts in inventory available for immediate sale. Two of the five dealers even had two each in stock. I can now safely assume that GM is, once again, not being entirely honest with its facts. The demand for the Chevy Volt is not as strong as GM would have us believe.
Do tell! 125 units sold in July in the model's first year of availability (when it's got novelty going for it) is not exactly in line with this "next year we'll be selling 3,000 per month!" tripe.

And I'm not the only person baffled by the announcements of victory that are ever closer to home, either:
The Chevy Volt will not be a big seller for GM; the car just doesn't offer enough value to get a large part of the population to purchase one. The few consumers that choose to purchase seem to be satisfied with their decision, that's great. That doesn't mean that sales are going to take off just because GM will build them at a faster pace. I have to believe that GM knows this. I just can't figure out why they continue to play out the hoax that the Volt is going to be a blockbuster for the company.
You can talk the numbers up all you want but that doesn't translate well to actual sales; and planning your production schedule with marketing hype is always a very bad idea.

* * *

The usual problem with ants has surfaced. I guess I should add "ant killer" to the shopping list, then go and soak the perimeter of the foundation with it.

The thing is, they're all over my desk, and I don't know why. The desk has no food on it that's not in sealed containers. Considering how dry it's been I'd wager the ants are looking for water; and there at least I've got 'em covered, since I've got a coaster next to the keyboard for the inevitable drink I must have to hand at all times: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Eeney Ooney Wanah, what have you; usually cold, sugary, and fizzy, with caffiene. And "cold", in summer, means "condensation" and the coaster captures the stuff that runs down the sides of the container.

I have these nice coasters made of sandstone and backed with cork. They're printed with a nice blue agate pattern. I've had 'em for years, and they work really well; the sandstone can be soaked with moisture yet none will drip onto the furniture.

Ah, they have now found one of the two bait traps I just set out. This is different from the usual self-contained type; it's a small bottle of liquid and you put a few drops on a piece of cardboard, and leave it where the ants can find it. I see one ant standing at the side of the thing; I bet it's licking up poison even as I type this. And once full, it'll carry it back to the nest where the queen will get it! Hehehhehhehehheh!

I find ants to be extemely interesting insects, but I don't want them in my home.

* * *

Og mentioned a "whistlepig" in his yard which--somehow--mysteriously got a few extra holes drilled in it; and last night at Bible study there was a conversation among two members about what citizens of Crete may do when beset by raccoons.

It's against the law to discharge a firearm within town limits, except under certain circumstances--like if someone is about to stab you, you can shoot him and not be held accountable to that law. Okay, you don't want people shooting firearms in their back yards; I get that.

But then there's the little problem of raccoons. Generally I think they're okay critters so long as they keep to themselves, but they have this tendency to get infected with rabies and parvo, both of which are pretty bad for you if you happen to get bitten by an infected 'coon.

One gentleman was asking the guy who helped me with my window last week, "What do I do?" He had a 'coon trying to get into his house in daylight and acting aggressive; that's usually a sign that the animal is diseased.

But if you call 911 in Crete for a raccoon rampage, the police won't come; they apparently have better things to do. Animal control--we used to have an animal control officer in Crete but we no longer do, so that means calling Will County animal control...and there are two (count them, two) animal control officers for the entirety of Will County.

So this guy locked the 'coon in his garage, and by the time he had figured out what he was going to do about it, the thing had died.

The guy who helped me last week--a village trustee who is involved with the police department and such--said that what you do is to call 911 and say something like this: "I've got a raccoon which is trying to get into my house. It looks diseased and I am going to shoot it. Please send a police officer to observe."

IF YOU DO THIS AND GET PUT IN JAIL DO NOT BLAME ME. I AM REPEATING WHAT I HEARD.

...but apparently rabies and parvo are running rampant in the local 'coon population, and just seeing a raccoon in daylight is enough justification for destroying the animal.

Me, I don't have that option (right now) because I don't have a FOID card, so I'll have to rely instead on the old Louisville Slugger approach, should it become necessary. *sigh*

At any rate, I have no idea what a "whistlepig" is.

* * *

Ah, more ants have found the bait. Hopefully this will keep them off my arms.
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