Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's Revenge Time for New Car Buyers!

Well, it’s that time again. My lease on my Infiniti is up—thank God! (Which is why I’ve told everyone I know never to lease a car-I spent $35,000 to drive the vehicle for 39 months, plus they’re hitting me up for $1,100 in so-called “damages” to the car at lease-end—need to know more?)So, I need to buy a car.
Little did I know when I announced that I wanted to purchase a new vehicle that I would be attacked by a pack of starving car salesmen like alligators swarming around a water buffalo who decided to cross the river and got stuck. All I can say is “Wow!” I never imagined that I would be so inundated by car salesmen, seemingly desperate to make a sale. It’s been an avalanche of phone calls, e-mails, postcards –literally hundreds of them. I feel like a high school football star being recruited by all the top colleges!
With car dealerships closing at an alarming rate, and government bailout money flying around like confetti, this is THE time to purchase a car. The deals that I am hearing are literally unfathomable. I don’t think I’m going to truly believe these prices until the day I decide on what car I want to buy and sign on the dotted line. I keep thinking I’m in a car buyers’ fantasy land and that I’ll eventually wake up to find out it was all just a dream.
Huge rebates. 72-months zero percent financing. 30% off sticker. Tax breaks. Every dealer I am talking to is falling over itself trying to capture my business. And since I got so badly stung on my lease (my fault), I am going to work them into a selling frenzy and a bidding war. Am I seeking revenge against the industry in general after my terrible lease experience? Maybe.
Once I have determined which car I want--I am considering five nameplates: Nissan, VW, Chevy, Ford and Mazda--I’m going to call every dealer in Northern California that sells the car I want and have them enter into a bidding war that would make the founder of eBay proud. It should provoke a situation not unlike what you see on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange—a lot of shouting, groveling and flailing arms.
My point is, if you’re like me and currently looking for a new car, work the process big-time and get the best deal you possibly can. Haggle. Play them off each other. Use phrases like, “You need to sharpen your pencil” or “Your competitor seems to want the sale more than you do” –things like that. And don’t settle for 10% off sticker price. Because these dealers HAVE to sell these cars, especially the ‘09’s. Their numbers are down and it’s a do-or-die situation for these people. The end result is that you’ll come away with a real bargain. If you play your cards right, you’ll save a ton on certain models.
I can’t wait for the bidding to begin, because in this case, competition IS very healthy—for me. Anyone who has ever been burned buying a new car (and I know they’re a lot of you out there) it’s payback time!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dads are a Driving Force in ALL Our Lives!

With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, I’m thinking about my dad, whose 80 years old now but still going strong. When I look back at all of the milestones he took me through, I can’t help but recall the patience he exhibited with me over the years, most notably when he taught me how to drive a car.

Although I consider myself a good driver today at age 50, I had a very rocky start in the world of vehicle operation way back in the summer of 1974, when I turned 16. The school I attended didn’t have a driver’s education behind-the-wheel program, so my father tried to teach me himself, in his old Opel Kadett in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

During our first few lessons, I did the following: I hit the only other car in the enormous stadium parking lot, backing up blindly; I turned the key in the ignition while the car was already running on several different occasions; I ran over a curb, causing minor damage to the front end of our vehicle, and last but not least, I nearly struck a jogger and his dog. The only thing I didn’t come in contact with was a passing bird, but only because it was flying just out of reach. And all of this took place in the course of 30 minutes.

To say things got better after that first driving lesson would be revisionist history. The truth is, the more frustrated I got with my complete lack of driving ability, the more mistakes I made. When I went to go take my actual driving test several months later, it was a disaster. As I was pulling out of the DMV parking lot, the tester grabbed the steering wheel out of my hand and jerked it to the left, screaming as he did so. The poor guy was shaking, claiming that I had almost hit a parked car. Over a three-month period, I failed the driving portion of the test a total of three times. I was the only one in my high school class without a license, which was truly one of the great embarrassments of my life. My girlfriend at the time had to drive us to the junior prom, just to give you an idea of how demeaning the whole thing was.

But, my dad was great throughout the entire ordeal. He kept telling me things like “Keep it up, you’ll get better,” “Concentration, that’s the key” and “Watch out!” He couldn’t have been more patient and understanding, as I played bumper cars with every tree, car and pedestrian in sight. My dad has and always will be an incredible teacher—he was a successful baseball coach in our community for many years and coached a ton of championship teams.

Now that I have a stepdaughter who turns 16 this week, it’s payback time. Will she be as bad a driver as I was back then? Gosh, I sure hope not. I don’t have enough insurance to cover it!
Thanks for being a great father, dad. I haven’t gotten a ticket or been in an accident for over 30 years, and I credit you, the Rose Bowl parking lot and that old Opel Kadett!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joy Behar is the 2nd Most Annoying Person in the World!

Wisecracking 'View' co-host Joy Behar is getting her own talk show on HLN, a CNN offshoot, and will be bumping Lou Dobbs from his 9 p.m. time slot in the process.

Behar is a bag of hot air--the most annoying, loud, grating, unfunny "comic" who ever lived, and every time she speaks I want to grab a pistol and whip myself with it. The fact that she is getting her own show is one of the real tragedies of our time.

I could sit on my couch lighting farts and doing bad karaoke for an hour and be more entertaining than Behar on her best night. One thing I haven't found out yet--does the fact that she's getting her own show means she's off The View? (Then, this news isn't quite so bad)

CNN, once the home of Glen Beck, is hoping to boost its primetime ratings with 'The Joy Behar Show.' The 65-year-old star told the New York Times that the show will be "topical and fun" and that she'll continue her work on ABC's 'The View.'
To make way for the new program, a repeat of 'Lou Dobbs Tonight' will be nixed.
From my sub-headline, you're probably asking yourself--who does Ed think is the MOST annoying person in the world? (Hint: her initials are J.R.)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Even If You Can't Bend It Like You-Know-Who...

One time, Minnesota Fats lost a pool match to some shmuck, and when they gave the guy a trophy, Fats scowled and said, "If I want a trophy, I'll buy one." And I understand what he was saying--if you want to distinguish yourself in something and give yourself the recognition you deserve--give yourself a trophy; why not? I've always wondered how many soccer trophies Beckham must have. I'm sure it's a lot! Some prefer money over trophies, but there are surely some trophies out there (The Lombardi Trophy, the Stanley Cup and the NBA Championship Basketball trophy, for example.) that are stunning and will always garner major kudos!

You want speed? Think The Flash!

It's amazing how much the comic book The Flash has seeped into our venacular. Now, everything fast is called Flash, like flash animation, compact flash card, flash on the Web, etc. "Do you know someone who can do flash?" people are asking me all the time. Everyone wants flash nowadays, anyway--we want it to be faster and we thrive on speed. People today don't want to wait--for anything. If you don't believe it, go to a busy store where customers are waiting in long lines. You'll see. Speed is the word today and everyone covets the Flash!

We Need Trees Now More than Ever

We need trees, because they produce oxygen and help the environment in so many ways. That's why I have started planting trees. Every year, I go into the hills of Marin and plant saplings. It's my way of keeping the Circle of Life intact. Plus, it's good karma. I suggest you give it a try--get out there and get it done, because when you think about the world and what we're doing to it--you HAVE to get it done. Locate a good tree nursery, talk to their experts and plant a few trees per year. You'll be doing a great thing, because we need trees now more than ever!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

If Fatty Had Only Lived Now..

Poor Fatty Arbuckle really had a tough life. If you don't know who he was, well--I don't have the time to take you through it right now. Google him. Anyway, the man was wrongly accused of a crime he didn't commit, in my opinion, which essentially ruined his career. In many ways, his life parallels a lot of other overweight comic actors, like Jackie Gleason, John Belushi, John Candy and Chris Farley. Fatty fought his demons, and one of the biggest of them was overeating. Let's put it this way--Fatty's eating habits made Babe Ruth look finicky. Maybe if he had lived now, when we have excellent diets and diet pills that work, he might have been able to lose that weight and get out of being typecast the rest of his life in funny guy fat boy roles.

Barack Has Had His Bombers

President Barack Obama will tell you that he hasn't had the best luck with cars in the past. In fact, he claims, he’s had some real clunkers along the way to the White House.
"The car I learned to drive on was my grandfather's Ford Granada," the president told an Indianapolis radio station during the campaign. "It may be the worst car that Detroit ever built. ... This thing was a tin can. They wanted to keep the cars big, so they made them out of tin foil. ... You basically couldn't go over 80 (miles per hour) without the thing getting out of control."
Now, we find out, courtesy of Bloomberg News that Obama drove a Fiat during college. During a meeting on Chrysler's planned tie-up with Fiat SpA, the president "recalled the mechanical problems that plagued his old car."
Better luck may await the President, however. Obama bought a Ford Escape hybrid during the campaign and regularly touts the vehicle including most recently at a White House event where he was surrounded by other auto CEOs and Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally.

Is Jacko Taking Care of Business?

Believe it or not, Michael Jackson and are are almost exactly the same age. He was born one day before me, so we're both 50. The other day when I found out that I have to do a colon cleansing, for some strange reason, I flashed on Michael. As well all know, the poor guy has had his share of problems (why didn't at least just one of his advisors tell him NO! when it came time for his first plastic surgery many years ago?). But, I thought to myself--how is his colon? No, seriously--do you think Michael has taken the proper precautions to make sure his colon is clean? If I could get to him, I'd tell him to do it. Get it done because you have to get it done, Mike!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

TV Stand Smackdown with the Real Big 3!

I'll never forget it. I was five, my brother three. It was 1963. We were watching the Three Stooges. They were doing their patented knuck knucks, eye gouges and face slapping routine when my little bro decides to try out a few of his Stooge-like moves on me. Before I can react, he has me by the neck and is slamming my above average sized head into the TV stand. Mind you, he's only three!

He smacks me into the TV stand to the point where I'm dizzy, so I throw out my legs and send him flying across the room. He slams into the wall and rolls to the ground. The little guy's down for a few seconds, then gets back up, shakes his head like a dog who has just been hit by a car, picks up his security blanket, and joins me back in front of the TV like nothing has happened. Whew! I said. I thought I had killed him. What's my point? Part of the whole Stooges mentality revolved around the fact that they could both give and take a bunch. I love them for that!

Logo water bottles

Never underestimate the power of a good ad specialty. I have been working in the advertising industry in one form or another for a long time now, and I've found that people never tire of things like logo pens, logo water bottles, coffee mugs, baseball caps, etc. Folks flock to this stuff now more than ever, in fact. Why? Because we love little items we can tout around. But, mostly because it's free. If you own a business, putting your logo on stuff and giving it away is a great way to promote yourself. Think about it--how many logo pens do you have right now? How many logo magnets are on your refrigerator door at this very moment? We live for this stuff!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Man, I hate getting old...

This morning I stumbled into the bathroom and for an instant, caught my reflection in the chrome bathroom faucet. I looked like Barney Fife, but older and much more wasted looking. As we age, our facial muscles start to gimp out, our cheeks begin to sag and the rest of the head limps right along behind them. Pushing aside my dismay at being 50, I marveled at the beautiful bathroom faucet for a moment (available through, by the way) and I thought wow-isn't life strange. I never thought something like a bathroom faucet would even interest me. But, today they do.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Poster Child for Background Checks

Okay, here's the scenario. You're looking for a new CEO for your mega-million corporation. You're only interviewing top people; the cream of the crop; the top of the heap; the kings of the hill. Well, after an arduous 3-month search, you've found the best candidate for the job. He's got a resume that would rival Bill Gates, Steve Forbes and Larry Ellison COMBINED. He is articulate, super-skilled, highly intuitive and loaded with leadership qualities. If you had run a background check on him, however, you'd find out that his resume is fiction and his qualifications are bogus. In fact, his name isn't even his. The guy in this photo is Henry Hill, former Mafiosi and the main character of the film Good Fellas. Get the point? If you're renting a house or apartment to someone; hiring somebody or maybe just thinking about dating them, do a background check first!