Friday, September 29, 2006

Hybrid Update

I filled up my Civic Hybrid's tank for the second time this morning. Since my last fill-up I went 397 miles on 8.8 gallons of gas. That's over 45 miles per gallon, and with barely any highway miles! I'll finally get to see what it does on the highway this weekend.

Of course the ultimate in fuel efficiency would be a Plug-in hybrids (you can't really buy 'em right now, you pretty much have to make 'em yourself or have someone retrofit a Prius or something for you). The gas engine doesn't kick in until after you've gone 40 miles or more, when the battery runs out. Since my last fill-up, I averaged just 28 miles a day. If I had a plug-in hybrid, I might not have used any gas at all these past two weeks!

Don't forget, folks, as we rejoice at "cheap" $2.11 a gallon gasoline. Hybrids are much more than about saving $ on gas. It's about reducing emmissions, and eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. Buy a hybrid today!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pirate Day Walks The Plank For Me


Today was Talk Like A Pirate Day, a "holiday" I've been promoting for the past three years. Avast, me hearties, this will be the last day I participate in the event. The inventors of Talk Like A Pirate Day were on television last night, and I just can't support their endeavors anymore.

The show was WifeSwap, an inane program where the producers find two wacked out families and make them switch moms for a week. Last night an anal-retentive perfectionist family with a daughter who's three years away from a crystal meth habit switched moms with a band of poseur pirates.

You see, the Baurs don't just talk like pirates for one day out of the year as a goof. No, they actually live and dress like pirates every day, all year long. They express their "pirattitude" as a lifestyle choice. And to them, piratitude means living in squalor, not paying the bills, not taking care of the flea infestation in their house, shunning deodorant, and running around with plastic swords. Complete losers.

Aye, Talk Like A Pirate Day is officially off me calendar! Aaargh!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hydrogen Car Update

We just got back from seeing Who Killed The Electric Car. It's an excellent film, and I highly recommend it. Yesterday, I posted that BMW had "raised the green ante" with its new hydrogen fuel-cell zero emission vehicle. Hydrogen fuel cell cars were discussed in Who Killed and issues were raised about them. Along with my own "where do you buy hydrogen?" question, we also learned that hydrogen is produced using non-renewable energy sources, have a limited range, and uh, oh, yeah, they cost about a million dollars. The truth is that these cars are just not practical yet. It seems like they are being pushed right now because they are "cars of the future" that distract us from the more practical cars available right now, like hybrids, and more efficient cars, namely electric, that were never given a fair shot.

The ultimate would be a plug in electric car that you charged in from your house which was powered by solar panels. No foreign oil & no emissions. Check these out!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hybrid Update

I just filled up my new Hybrid Civic for the first time today. I went 400 miles (249,600 to go!) 0n 9.4 gallons, getting 42.6 mpg. And that is almost completely without highway miles! On my last post on the subject, I talked about some of the flaws with the whole hybrid vs. gas argument. Some recent articles have tried to compare conventional cars to hybrids on a cost basis. I said they missed the point. If you buy a hybrid, it's about more than just the price of gas. It's about reducing emmissions and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

The other way Edmunds and others missed the mark when they compared cars was how they drew up the comparison. They compared the hybrid models to their conventional sisters (eg. Hybrid Accords vs. standard Accords) and tried to figure out if the higher sticker price would be made up for in fuel savings. What they failed to consider however, is that most people shop for cars by price, not by model. When I was carshopping, I had a certain price range, and the base model Civic with it's $15,010 SRP simply wasn't on my radar. The Civic Hybrid has a SRP of $22,150, and it caught my eye when I saw it in the same price class of these other new cars I shopped:

Pontiac Solstice ($21,995) mpg 21/29
Mazda RX8 ($26,995) mpg 18/24
Acura RSX Type-S ($23,845) - mpg 23/31
Pontiac G6 Coupe ($22,615) - mpg 20/28

Obviously the Solstice and RX8 would have been more fun to drive, and the RSX might have had a bit more appeal in terms of status, but I chose my car based on my conscience and yes, my wallet. Consider the fuel economy of the civic hybrid (49/51) against these other gas guzzlers and it's really no contest.

By the way, the green ante was raised this week when BMW announced that they will start rolling out zero-emmission hydrogen cars next year. The car's only emmission will be water vapor. Pretty cool. But where the hell do you buy hydrogen?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Arrrrr Ye Ready?

Mookie's ready for Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Are you?
September 19th. This year, and every year.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Aqua Teen Hunger Force Episodes!

The new season of Aqua Teen Hunger Force will air on Comedy Central's Adult Swim on October 22nd! Word on the scene is that this season includes 10 new episodes. If you haven't been indoctrinated into the world of Master Shake and Meatwad, be sure to set your TiVo to record the show the next time it's on, or you can now download the fifteen minute episodes for $1.99 each on iTunes and watch them on your computer or iPod.

Now is the time to get on board with this hilarious show. The movie, which will be an action-oriented origin epic, comes out in February!

Go here to read the lyrics of the Theme Song.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11: 5 year and 1 Day Later

I was very fortunate on 9/11 that I didn't have any loved ones die that day. Of course it is impossible to have lived in the area at the time without knowing someone who lost someone. I had a co-worker lose his mom, and another friend whose dad was there but got out. It was so crazy that day. A good friend had to walk across the 59th street bridge to get home from work. My wife and I could still see the smoke plume at 7 o'clock that night when we drove to our friend's house. All the major highways were closed so rescue vehicles could get back and forth. We heard sirens all day. And for weeks and weeks afterwards there were so many funerals. It was such a scary day. It angers me so much how much it's been politicized by both parties at this point. Bush can't answer a question about Iraq without mentioning 9/11, and both parties want us to believe it was the other side's president's fault. If we really want to honor the victims of 9/11, we should start acting like America again.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Food Find: Pretzel Crisps!

There few things in life better than a well made pretzel. As I think about the foods I have a passion for, the word "pretzel" comes back again and again.

My favorite ballpark fare? The hot, soft pretzel. Even though I am constantly disappointed by cold, slimy, and tiny soft pretzels, or the mediocrity of the mass-produced, not-so-super "Superpretzel," when a soft pretzel is made right, nothing beats it. The best ones are barbecued over charcoal briquets, and for some reason the entreprenuers found in stadium parking lots roasting pretzels out of a shopping cart that has been converted into a mobile grill beats anything found within the stadium at thrice the price.

My favorite casual dining entree? Bennigan's Turkey O' Toole. This is a hot turkey sandwich served on a pretzel roll. Yummmmm.... There are no Bennigan's where I live, and I believe the chain's restaurant total may be dwindling nationwide, but it would be a sad day if the Turkey O'Toole met its demise. Live on, Bennigan's! Slainte!

And of course, I love a good, old-fashioned hard pretzel. Purists will tell you a pretzel must be twisted to be a true pretzel, but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the pretzel nugget. The best ones are made by UTZ. Utz is a brand out of Pennsylvania, and if your local supermarket doesn't carry Utz pretzels you should do yourself a favor and order some online! Trust me, there is a difference.

The pretzels don't need to be twisted theory is taken to the extreme by USAirways though. On filghts they give out these tiny bags of snacks that stretch the definition of pretzel to the extreme with an abomination they call Pretzel Minis or something like that. These are basically pretzel crumbs, and are not unlike the shards of pretzel you usually would find at the bottom of a bag of pretzels.

Enough about air fare though. The purpose of this posting is to tell you about a new food find that we discovered at Harris Teeter supermarket yesterday. They are a new development in pretzel technology! They are called Pretzel Crisps, and basically the best way to describe them is to picture your basic bite sized pretzel, remove the white middle, leaving only the tasty brown exterior. Then flatten the pretzel, so it's like a pretzel shaped cracker! The company boasts these treats as the world's first spreadable pretzel, easily accomodating your favorite cheese for example, but these little gems are delicious all on their own. Check them out!!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

New Ride For Mike V

This weekend I replaced my trusty Hyundai with a civic Hybrid. Here she is:

It will allegedly get 49mpg in the city, and 51 on the highway. I'll let you know.

I know there has been some press lately that even though I'll spend less money in gas, the extra money that I paid to buy a hybrid vs. a conventional car is too much to make it worth it. I'm not sure about that, and I wonder who is doing the math, or pushing that story, and I wonder how expensive they are projecting gas prices to get to. What if gas goes up to $5.00 a gallon? Would I still have saved money by buying a conventional car? My plan is to keep this car for a long time. In fact, my goal is 250,000 miles. I'm up to 50. 249,950 to go.

Howver, if you're considering a hybrid, it really is not about money. It's about using less gas (and less oil). Unless you like giving your money to Exxon/Mobil? Oh, and it's also really about creating fewer emissions. We only have one Earth, people.

Also, the hybrid is just really cool. Gotta figure in the cool factor.

Official Honda Civic Hybrid website