I've been traveling for business part of this week and last week, interrupted only by a single full day here in Houston, that being this past Saturday, 48 hours ago. And we put that day to good use - I bought us a 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan.
Now, being acutely pressed for time, I didn't have an opportunity to comment on this latest consumer manoeuvre here in the blog, but I DID squeeze out an email commenting on the price - only 4% higher than the Sienna I bought 12 years ago, despite this new one being a larger car with more bells 'n' whistles. Where is the annual 2.5% inflation rate about which government and business issue continual dire warnings?? Where is the eroding American purchasing power?? If that propaganda is generally true, this car should have cost at least $9,000 more than its predecessor.
Following this email, one of you replied that I have once again managed to take an ordinary daily event (making a purchase) and turn it into something worthy of commentary. I'll take that as a compliment.
Two others of you informed me that the first and second recalls have already been announced. Thanks - no worries. I expect they'll have at least TEN recalls before I'm done with this one. After having driven a Sienna for 12 years and 145,000 miles with no acute failures, I'll not lose sleep over this recall hype.
And another of you wondered how the gas mileage might be on such a big-ass car. Answer: 23 mpg for my first tank and a half of gas. This included city driving in both Houston and Austin, and (Bless me, Father, for I have sinned - it has been 36 years since my last Confession) I admit to setting the cruise control above 70 mph for most of the return trip between the two cities. So yeah... I didn't maximize my eco-friendliness there.
Yet another of you wondered if I'd actually gotten screwed on purchase price of the van 12 years ago, suggesting that the resulting apparent lack of price differential might be somewhat of an artifact of the transactions. This is a distinct possibility!
Not surprisingly, all of these commenters were male. But really, the size of this comment collection was mostly an abberation - nobody pays any attention to me most of the time. It's only when I say a phrase like "new car" that there's significant feedback. That's a male trigger - a Pavlovian effect.
OK, now to the part about which I really wanted to comment today: I took my VERY FIRST photo of the new minivan on the way home from Aus-tin, and it's an Aus-picious one! Here it is, the inaugural image:
SiriusXM satellite radio (which comes free with the car for the first X days whether you like it or not) was playing a song called "Detachable Penis".
Now, I am perfectly content - overjoyed, in fact - to drive a 12-year-old car (especially OUR 12-year-old car as we are so strongly attached to it). I don't yearn for luxury or status. But I had NO IDEA that I was missing out on this kind of cultural content by not having access to this technology. I have never heard this song before (incidentally, the F-word emanates from satellite radio more frequently than it does from my own mouth, if you can believe that).
It turns out that "Detachable Penis" has such a cult following that it even has its own Wikipedia page:
I woke up this morning with a bad hangover and my penis was missing again. This happens all the time; it's detachable. This comes in handy a lot of the time; I can leave it home when it think it's gonna get me in trouble, or I can rent it out when I don't need it. But now and then I go to a party, get drunk, and the next morning, I can't, for the life of me, remember what I did with it. First I looked around my apartment, and I couldn't find it, so I called up the place where the party was, they hadn't seen it either. I asked them to check the medicine cabinet, 'cause for some reason, I leave it there sometimes, but not this time. So I told them if it pops up to let me know. I called a few people who were at the party, but they were no help either.
I was starting to get desperate I really don't like being without my penis for too long, It makes me feel like less of a man, and I really hate having to sit down every time I take a leak.
After a few hours of searching the house, and calling everyone I could think of, I was starting to get very depressed, so I went to the Kiev and ate breakfast. Then as I walked down Second Avenue, toward's St. Mark's Place, where all those people sell used books and other junk on the street, I saw my penis lying on a blanket next to a broken toaster oven - some guy was selling it! I had to buy it off him. He wanted 22 bucks, but I talked him down to 17. I took it home, washed it off, and put it back on. I was happy again: complete. People sometimes tell me I should get it permanently attached, but I don't know. Even though sometimes it's a pain in the ass, I like having a detachable penis.
Credit where credit is due: