5.6 times around the world
Driving home from work today my odometer rolled over 140,000 miles. That's 5.6 times around the world (The earth's circumfrence is roughly 24,855 miles), and over 21 coast-to-coast round-trips across the United States (assuming Elfboy's estimate of the width of the United States at about 3,300 miles is correct). That's a lot of miles! The car had about 35,000 miles when I bought it, and I put that many more on it myself in the first nine months of possession. It's taken me eight years to drive the remaining 70,000 miles. Although it's served me well, it's time to go shopping for a new car.
I'd like to get a hybrid -- even test drove a Honda Civic Hybrid -- because I'm all environmentally conscious, right? For about the same amount of money I could get the swanky new Honda Element, or even a Toyota Matrix. Both appeal to me because they're not quite so obnoxious as full-bore SUVs, but they offer increased carrying capacity over your standard sedan. With a family of four, that's a serious draw.
Why is everyone so up in arms about tonight's "scripted" California gubernatorial debate? Everyone's complaining that this debate unfairly favors Arnold because he has experience memorizing lines, and that this debate won't reveal how well Arnold can think on his feet.
When did we as a nation become so duped as to think that any of our elected officials can think on their feet, and moreover, who's so gullible as to think that actually matters? Very few elected officials (save maybe municipal leaders) have a need to think and act quickly, and they almost all have a full compliment of advisors and minders coaching and guiding their every step. Sure, I'm ignorant of the actual mechanics of being an elected official, but it seems to me that I've yet to hear an elected official offer a candid, off-the-cuff response to anything. It's always sanitized and run past the spin-doctors to make sure that the output is the least-offensive, most-politically-advantageous comment possible.
Who cares if Arnold can't think on his feet? When will he -- or any other State Governor -- ever have to? Sure, you need to be able to glad-hand the constituents at the State Fair, and you need to have your policy spin clearly in mind before you ever open your mouth, but quick-witted as a job requirement? C'mon!
Note, of course, that I'm not advocating for Arnold. I think everyone in California should go out and vote NO on the recall ballot. If people are unhappy with Gray Davis they only have themselves to blame for electing him, and whipping up a recall frenzy is a mockery of the Democratic process. Of course, if Gray Davis does get outsted, I hope Georgy wins because she ... uh ... reads Slashdot. Or something.