Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Auto Classifieds Glossary 

If you haven't caught on by reading the title, I'm still looking at auto classifieds. And I'm starting to notice common elements in them. Crazy, stupid things. Clues to the buyer's potential screwing hidden behind catchy, smartassed buzzwords and oft-repeated but little-understood terminology. But fear not! In my many (well, around 20) years as a car enthusiast, I have caught on to the true meanings of these terms, and have decided to compile them here. If ever you are in the market for a used car, refer to this handy little glossary to find out exactly what those unscrupulous guys with no scruples are REALLY saying.

Original with only 28k miles
What it's supposed to mean: It's barely been used, and will be in good shape.

What it really means: It's owned by some old lady and has never been driven over 20 miles and never faster than 40 mph, so you can be sure there will be lots of cold-running stress on the mechanical components.

Many new parts
What it's supposed to mean: We've replaced nearly everything, so it's practically a new car.

What it really means: We abuse the hell out of it, which is exactly why we've had to replace everything on it.

Can't replace for this price
What it's supposed to mean: You won't be able to restore a car like this one for the amount of money we're asking for it.

What it really means: We're hoping you don't know that people hardly ever get their money back out of a restoration, so you'll think $20,000 for a car that's had $30,000 invested in it will be a good deal, even if the book value is only $10,000.

Stored since 1975
What it's supposed to mean: It's like a time capsule! Fresh as a the day we put it in storage.

What it really means: We forgot to drain the fluids, so there's been plenty of time for calcium deposits to build up in the cooling system, the oil to gunk up, the engine to seize from lack of use, the gasoline to crystallize, and the battery to leak acid and eat through the inner fender. We also forgot to mention it's been stored outdoors for thirty years.

Valued at $10,000, asking only $8500
What it's supposed to mean: It's a great deal. We're asking far less than it's worth.

What it really means: The fickle market currently isn't interested in this car, and despite what the NADA book says, no one will offer me more than $5,000 for it.

Numbers matching
What it's supposed to mean: Hell if I know. Seriously. Everyone has their own definition for this one. This phrase is really supposed to mean every part is the same that came on the car, but this almost never applies to the car being advertised.

What it really means: The seller saw someone else selling a car that had that phrase in the ad, and it sounds really professional and stuff. And I mean, sure it has aftermarket wheels and a Bosch alternator, but it still has the original engine. I think. I mean, it's the right kind, anyway...so that means it worth like, five grand more than all the others like it.

No joy rides
What it's supposed to mean: I won't let you drive it for a long distance without supervision prior to the purchase.

What it really means: I won't let you test drive it at all, and if I'm lucky, you'll pay me the money and sign the title before you realize the lower control arms are severely bent.

No tire kickers
What it's supposed to mean: Don't stand around idly and pretend to go over the car even though you don't know what you're doing. That's a waste of my time.

What it really means: I won't let you examine the car closely at all, and if I'm lucky, you'll pay me the money and sign the title before you realize there are rust holes in the trunk floor and frame rails.

80% restored
What it's supposed to mean: I've done most of the restoration on this car, now you can finish the final details.

What it really means: I restored the interior and had the car painted, now you just need to rebuild the transmission and replace the floorboards.

My loss, your gain
What it's supposed to mean: I'm selling the car for less than its book value and less than I've invested.

What it really means: I'm losing a money pit, you're gaining one.

Needs TLC
What it's supposed to mean: Basically solid, just needs to minor repairs.

What it really means: If you want to get it home, you'd better bring a flatbed.

Runs and drives
What it's supposed to mean: It's a usable car in its current condition.

What it really means: We didn't say how well it runs and drives. The valves clatter, the pistons slap, it burns oil, and the transmission slips, but yes, technically, it does run and drive.

Nice driver
What it's supposed to mean: It won't win any shows, but it'll look good driving down the road.

What it really means: It looks great from thirty feet away, it's not until you get close that you realize half the chrome is missing.

Complete car
What it's supposed to mean: The car needs work, but no parts are missing.

What it really means: Half the parts need to be replaced, but yes, they are still on the car.

Adult owned
What it's supposed to mean: It's been owned by a responsible individual, not someone who abused it.

What it really means: The seller is 35 and has driven the shit out of the car, but is hoping the buyer will buy the stereotype that only teenagers do that.

Paint your color
What it's supposed to mean: We've primered the car for you, to save you time and money.

What it really means: We've primered the car to cover up the rust, and the fact that we fabricated the right quarter panel out of Liquid Nails, a street sign, and five gallons of Bondo.

Just remember, if you ever think you're being screwed when buying a used car, just check to see if the seller has ever used these terms. Then you'll know for sure what's wrong with it. And you'll probably want to kiss me.

Monday, December 06, 2004

CRAP Alert 

I've spent quite a bit of my time lately in a hospital waiting room. It's really amazing the lengths one will go to for entertainment in these things. While you sit in the clinical, brightly lit chamber listening to children screaming and Fox news anchors droning, you start looking for a better pan to fry your brain in. Magazines are deemed unworthy early on, unless you want to read Good Housekeeping or Newsweek. So you just have to sit staring into your lap, sometimes for hours on end. I was in such a situation at about 3:30 AM, when the only other lost souls of the waiting room were asleep and my corner of the room was the only lit one. That's when I discovered the pamphlets.

Every waiting room I've ever been in has had these: Small, colorful pamphlets donated from some local church, in a white box behind the desk lamp marked "Free Spiritual Tracts", or some crap like that. I had always noticed them, but had never picked one up before. But this bleak morning I did just that, and my spirits were immediately lifted by the most marvelous load of horse shit I've ever had the pleasure of stumbling across. I immediately started stuffing them into the inside pocket of my jacket.

I didn't just pick up anything...those with titles like "The Path to Salvation" were overlooked. After all, I make fun of "normal" religion all the time. No, I wanted the outrageous stuff. And I found about four winners, which I've decided to review here.

How To Get Out Of Prison: Is "of" normally capitalized in titles? I'm not really sure, but it is here. Anyway, this is the first title that caught my eye. This yellow pamphlet has below the title a picture of an illuminated cross bursting through a brick wall, and the bible quote "'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.' - John 8:36". Prison-breaking with Jesus? Faking a relationship with Jesus to prove you're reformed in front of the parole board? Whatever this was, I had to grab it.

Unfortunately it's nothing so spectacular: it turns out "prison" is metaphorical. They're referring to the state of "spiritual bondage" when one has sinned and not accepted Hey-Soose. Still, it has its moments.

Best Moment: "Bondage to sin is universal and everyone is born in sin. The Bible tells us, 'For al have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,' and "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?' (Romans 3:23, 6:16)"

Everyone is born in sin? Doesn't that contradict 1 John 2:1, which says "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous"?

The Television Set - The World in Your Home: This one was too good to pass up. Fundies ranting about TV? Darn that diversity! This little green piece of paper is pretty plain looking...the text starts on the front, and apart from the outline of a television surrounding the title, it's totally devoid of decoration. But the material contained is priceless. It turns out television is a "dark force" invading our homes and corrupting children. Why do they think children are so corruptible, anyway? When I was five, if someone tried to corrupt me, I would have told him to go fuck himself. But I digress.

The concept is censoring children from life is stupid enough, but even if they insist on it, where are the parents? If they don't want their kids to see "filth", why don't they get the mop, or if you can't stand my needless metaphor, reach for the remote? Oh, wait, I forgot: Fundamentalists don't just want to control their lives, they want to control yours too.

Best Moment: "Regular TV fare includes bloody scenes of holdups, fights, murder, drinking, smoking, dancing, and scantily clad men and women."

I'm sorry, did they just say dancing? What the hell? And the way it's phrased, it seems like they're saying bloody scenes of drinking, smoking and dancing. And how about those bloody scenes of scantily clad men and women? Yeah!

Alcohol - Have You Counted the Cost?: I love when these morons start ranting about alcohol. Not only is their hatred of it not backed by a single verse of the bible, but almost all of these people drink. So naturally I had to throw this one in with the others. A sparse yellow pamphlet with brown text makes it stand out from the others a bit...it's by the far the ugliest, if only in appearance. The thing basically says turn to Jesus and not to alcohol, because drinking alcohol will automatically turn a man into a drunkard. Funny, I drink nearly every day, but I've never been drunk in my life, nor do I ever plan to be. And I have overcome the "horrors of alcohol" without any help from Jesus. Praise Me!

Best Moment: "Many respectable people have become degraded through the use of alcohol. It has brought about the abusing of their families, stealing, murdering, and unfaithfulness to marriage vows."

Brilliant. Don't take responsibility for your own shit, blame it on drink. And if you do any of the things listed above (we'll except the last one in the case of swingers), drunk or sober, you are not a respectable person.

The Christian's Manner of Dress: The last one I grabbed was just too good to let go. Before even reading it, I could picture in my head rants about "Satan's evil invention of dungarees". The fact that it's by far the plainest looking of the four pamphlets - dark pink text over white, with no decoration - only reinforced this idea. Now that I've read it, it's not really that crazy. Just stupid. It basically says not to wear tight or revealing clothing, because it could make someone cheat on his/her spouse with you. You loose tramp.

Best moment: "The words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 lay a scriptural foundation for humility in dress. 'What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.' Notice the apostle does not say that a Christian may glorify his body. Rather, he is to glorify God in his body and in his spirit."

Okay, whoa. If God created our bodies, wouldn't walking around naked be glorifying God? After all, we're showing off his creation (fuck you, I don't capitalize "his" unless it's the beginning of a sentence). What is it with these uptight assholes thinking that nudity is unnatural?

Well, enough of this contretemps. I think I'm going to walk over to the corner of my spiritual prison in my casual clothing, turn on the TV, and watch some sex and violence while enjoying some vodka. Enjoy your day. I know I will mine.

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