February 23, 2019

Used Car Price Confusion

My car strategy has long been to buy a new car and keep it for 10 years.  This time though I decided to buy a used car with low miles (under 25k).  I found one I liked on Carvana at a price I liked.

Out of curiosity I’ve looked at some of the prices for the same exact vehicle on Carvana and CarMax websites but with more miles.  And what I saw surprised me.   There doesn’t seem to be a corresponding decrease in price of the car commensurate with increased miles.

I’d pictured car depreciation as more or less straight-line until the end when the value decrease slows dramatically. 

So I graphed (in blue) my own rough prediction of car value decrease over time (uniform until around 110k miles), and, in green the various real world prices.  The first green one is the car I bought and the only non-outlier. Or it’s possible I got a good deal and it’s the outlier. 

The X-axis is number of miles driven, in thousands. 

February 21, 2019

Biggest News Shocks of Last Quarter Century

Off top of my head, these are the things that most surprised me over the past 25 years:

Resignation of Pope Benedict.  Lesson?: God knows.
9/11.  Lesson: They hate us, they really hate us. Also that modern evil does not always rely on half-assed emotion-based strategies.
O.J. found not guilty.  Lesson: Race relations is, was, and always shall be fraught.
Blue dress with DNA. Lesson: One person's trash is another's souvenir.
Catholic apologist's Bud MacFarlane's marriage. Lesson: religious orthodoxy does not guarantee much.


Episcopal Prevarication: Lesson: Put not your trust in princes (of the Church)
Media Corruption post-Trump: Lesson: Flee to conservative media, fast as you can!

On New Fashion of Socialism and Other Pundit Quotes

From WSJ:
The American left went into decline after World War II, as the U.S. economy rebuilt. One can’t overstate the central role that private-sector labor unions—auto, steel, mines—played in keeping the Democrats centered.

Whatever their tensions with industrial capitalism, American union leaders like George Meany, Lane Kirkland and Leonard Woodcock knew their success depended on the private sector’s success. With the private unions’ decline and the rise of public-sector unions, whose lifeblood is tax revenue, a significant brake on the party’s roll toward socialism disappeared.
NRO's Jim Geraghty:
For those of us who find Trump’s character abysmal, his rhetoric unworthy of the office he holds, and his judgment erratic at best, his defeat by the Democratic nominee in 2020 would end up reversing some serious policy gains and most likely move the country fast and far in the wrong direction. Continuing Trump’s presidency is going to cost conservatives quite a bit in terms of respect for the Constitution; traditional cultural values; our established military alliances; our already seriously degraded standards for public discourse; and expectations of respect for all Americans of all races, creeds and colors. But the price of not continuing the Trump presidency keeps increasing even higher.
NRO's Charlie Cook:
If what McCabe is saying is true [about the flirtation with the 25th Amendment], this is the greatest norm violation of the Trump presidency and it's not coming from Trump. 

February 17, 2019

Four Green Fields and Psalm 45

In the great Tommy Makem Irish song Four Green Fields, there’s a penultimate line that sends chills: “But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers...”.  There’s the tension of the “already and the not yet” given that the testing of the sons of his sons is not yet complete.  

I came across a resonance of that in Scripture today, Psalm 45:16: “Instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee: thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.”   Other renderings: “Instead of ancestors, you shall have sons..”  Or from the more informal The Message: “Set your mind now on sons— don’t dote on father and grandfather. You’ll set your sons up as princes over all the earth.”  

The Venerable Bede in the 7th century ardently referred to this Psalm verse in his exposition on the twelve loaves “bread of offering” in Leviticus: 
And in this way it is brought to pass that the table of the Lord is never left destitute of bread, but as soon as one loaf is taken away another is put in its place, as long as the churches never lack ministers of the word who follow one another in succession. They always manifest the faith of apostolic piety and the purity of apostolic action, continuing as in that most beautiful verse in which it is said in praise of that same holy church: “Instead of your fathers, sons are born to you; you will make them princes over all the earth.” In other words, that is as if it were being said to the tabernacle of the Lord: “Instead of your old loaves, new ones are prepared for you; you will designate them for the refreshment of the spiritual hearts of the faithful in all the world.” (ON THE TABERNACLE 1.7.11)
It seems an example of how something in popular culture can pluck the strings of an ancient longing and truth. 

February 15, 2019

Of Dogs and Gospel

One of the inexplicable things about Max and Maris is how when I’m praying, Max will leave and Maris will enter the room.  And Steph was holding her Christian small group at our house last night when they began to read Scripture.  Max exited, Maris entered. 

I’m going to have to get some holy water and spritz it on Max.  Take him to St. Maggie’s for the St. Francis day blessing.

Speaking of dogs, local priest Fr Charles on the “dogs” gospel (Mark 7:24) where the woman asking for a healing said even the dogs get scraps from beneath their master’s table:
“This is the only time I can think of in the gospels where Jesus is bested in an argument. And it comes not from a learned professor of the law or Pharisee but a simple Gentile woman.   We can say the woman won the argument but in a way Jesus won too, won from her a deeper level of faith, trust and humility.  If we’ve felt insulted by God’s silence to our prayers, this gospel is for us. We’ll know we’re on the right track if our response is change within like this gentile woman, to realize we’re not “owed” anything by God in terms of his justice. God plays hide and seek with us, like all lovers. We must not be too proud to play it with him. We must not be too “rational” to play.  Jesus loses the argument and wins our hearts. We win the argument by losing our hearts.”

February 14, 2019

Continuing Where Billy Joel's Song Left Off

I've always liked the non-sequitor nature of the catchy old song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (example: “Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson,…), but alas it ends in the 1980s.

So let's take it through the '90s and beyond, using the last verse as the starting off place:
"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning…

Wall falls, blue dress, Y2K, Tyson’s best
O.J., Princess Di, Columbia in the sky
George Bush, Taliban, 9/11, Afghanistan
Donald Rumsfeld known unknowns, diary of Bridget Jones!

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning…

Facebook, Harry Potter, nipplegate, selfie fodder
Netflix, Kardashian, Lady Gaga's instagram
Barack Obama, Tea Party, you can keep your doctor see
gender neutral bathrooms, gay weddings hookah fumes!

Ref: We didn't start the fire
It was always burning…

Hamilton! Amazon, Lock her up, Bernie conned
Hand size, Hillary, server gone, low energy,
Russian probe, deep state, wall no built, Princess Kate,
AOC, Donald Trump, save us Justice Kavanaugh!

Ref: We didn't start the fire
It was always burning…

February 06, 2019


Surprisingly stirring State of the Union last night. Trump’s gut instincts on what appeals to average people are pretty impressive. Said a lot of things that ring true and that “needed saying”. Reaganesque in a way, since Reagan had that same quality of just telling it like it is, consequences and media hissy fits be damned.

I feel like Bush 41 and Bush 43 State of the Unions were always ducking hard truths and trying to “bring everybody together”. Which is a fool’s errand - none of these speeches bring anyone together really. Bush 41 didn’t even win a second term and Bush 43 was Hitler for the Left no matter what he said.

The only purpose, I think, of these speeches is to inspire those who voted for them. Unfortunately it’d been so long since I heard a Republican president inspire me that I couldn’t understand the appeal of them or why anyone watched. Until last night. Now I get it and understand why Obama’s tedious lectures were so charismatic for his minions. Now it’s our turn, with Trump, to explain our world view, or closer to it. It’s a beautiful thing when Trump talked about the value of human life. He took the Dems to the woodshed on abortion, as well he should. Confronted the Sanders crowd with the evils of socialism in context with Venezuela. He made a bunch of smirking women in white jackets look like jackasses.

February 05, 2019

A New Bishop

Probably only of interest to Central Ohio readers, but we got a new bishop in town, straight out of Long Island (say like "Compton").  Has what sounds to my ears a very authentic New Yawk accent.

Mentions of Bishop Brennan on the web are few and far-flung.  He got a mention when he led a group of Latino pilgrims on very involved Way of the Cross:
"In the Latino cultures, it's a strong custom to have an elaborate procession through the streets," Brennan said. "I've read about it, but I've never seen it before. Right now I'm so impressed by the people's hard work and devotion. They've put a lot of time and effort to make this happen."

He gave a lecture on "The Gospel of Mercy":
Description: Looking at Reconciliation through the lens of the Joy of the Gospel.
Suggested for: Catechetical leaders, catechists, pastoral associates, youth ministers

Cardinal Edward M. Egan, retired archbishop of New York, recalled Bishop Brennan's days as secretary to his good friend, the late Rockville Centre Bishop James T. McHugh. "I would come to see him, and the door was always answered by a young and wonderful priest (Bishop Brennan) who could not have served that bishop any better than if it was his own father."
"He's going to make an excellent bishop," said Joyce Costigan of Bishop Brennan. A parishioner of St. Mary of the Isle in Long Beach, where Bishop Brennan has been pastor since 2010, she said, "He makes you feel at ease no matter what crisis you are having."

A former student of the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., [at Fordham] Brennan has been appointed auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island.

The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants by accepting applications only from the CBA. The objective of the CBA is to promote academic study in the Scriptures...
Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Center and member of the Liaison Committee between CCD and CBA commented: "It is encouraging to see the renewed interest in biblical literacy at all levels of formation and life of the Church. I'm glad that CCD and CBA grants encourage practical responses to this interest. "

And for the canonization of St Oscar Romero:
Come celebrate this wonderful occasion here at St. Anne’s Church....This will be a Spanish Language Mass but all the community is invited. BISHOP ROBERT BRENNAN—MAIN CELEBRANT Diocese of Rockville Centre Lite refreshments to follow in the lower church. CANONIZACION EN ROMA DEL SANTO MONSENOR OSCAR ROMERO EN OCTUBRE 14, 20