Bringing a Vehicle into Canada from the U.S. of A. – A New Level of Terror!

Anyone who is thinking of following the increasing trend to save thousands of $$$ by buying a car from the Big Apple and bringing the car into the Great White North, you should definitely read my hellish experience before you jump in with both feet…

First, my glorious test drive experience:

For the most part, this 2008 CR-V is a lot better than I thought because:

1. Honda has improved significantly on the road noise and cabin vibration. The drive feels a lot quieter than my 1997’s first generation guinea pig from Honda (granted that Honda actually had another SUV before the V- the worth-a-good-spit Isuzu-built Passport that met its demise when report after report showed that the vehicle was not even unreliable, it was worse than sitting next to a 300 pounder in a Greyhound bus all the way throughout a cross-Canada journey!)
2. With 166 horsepower rather than 120 ponies as in my ’97 V, I am sure this gas miser with close to 30 mpg highway fuel efficiency won’t practically grind to a halt during the climb of the West Virginia mountains, like what my ’97 V did to me when I was en route from Toronto to Orlando, Florida last time, and the time before, and also the time before the time before, and….
3. The safety features in this beauty can probably save my ass when God finds my stingy existence too much to bear and wants to surprise me with a lightning bolt, a 2-ton rock rolling down from the rockies, or with a Marilyn Monroe-class knockout wearing the skimpiest dress from Milan and standing at the traffic lights where the corner of my right eye can see while I am making an illegal U-turn at Yonge and Dundas! To put into perspective what my $18,800 has bought me:

  • 2 front and 2 window-mount curtain air bags for the least important occupants in the front, 2 window-mount curtain air bags for the most important passengers in the rear
  • 3-point seat-belt for the rear-centre passenger who happens to survive even being squished in the middle of the rear seats, which isn’t there (or at least I haven’t noticed after driving for 10 long years) on my ’97 V.
  • 225-65R17″ tires to raise the vehicle even higher above the ground – well, at least when this beast rolls over, we’ll get a wilder spin than the the 360-degree roller coaster torture you’d willingly pay to experience at the Ex.
  • 5-star frontal impact collision rating, 5-star side-impact collision rating in the front, 5-star     side-impact collision rating in the rear, and, does it still surprise us, AND 5-star rear impact     rating. If you are too old and confused and just got dizzy by reading these 25 stars, take my advice, PLEASE, don’t sit behind the wheels – or at least not when I am out and about AND have just stepped out of my new 20-grand protective shield!
  • The shift column is now conveniently located at the centre console of the dashboard, NOT right next to my wiper control stick so there is no way any female driving my V would get confused when trying to shift from P to D by fiddling with the wiper control stick – and, that, could be the greatest safety feature ever ah!!!!

4. The Euro-style, top-centre mount antenna is not only stylish to look at, it’s practically bend-proof – unlike my first generation V that most people’s driver-side mount slender antenna has already been bent out of shape and practically flatten, more like the aftermath of taking one of those expired Viagara purchased from some junk mail sender out there
5. Turning radius is expectedly small. Which means I can do all the illegal U-turns without being stuck in the middle of the road, of course, that is whenever an OPP cruiser, Toronto Police cruiser or York Regional Police vehicle is out of my sight.
6. The rear seats flip and hide away in a much more civilized way than my ’97 V, that means I had to lose a few hairs trying to figure out how the mechanism works. After the rear seats are completed flattened, the trunk space can probably fit 2 Rosie O’Donnels + 5 Ellen DeGeneres, and 2 Sumo Wrestlers + 2 pieces of luggage. You may ask, “Why do you want to squeeze all these people and things (please mind the differences in them) into your humungous trunk space?” I’d say, “You have a nice day!”
7. There are: 1 scratch mark on the right rear door, one paint chip on the hood, and several paint chips around the edge of the gas lid and are all easily fixed by my $7 colour-code matched touch-up paint I just got from a dealer here. “WHY IS THE PAINT DAMAGED?” GT mom migh ask, but I can explain two of the three spots because I perfectly understand that driving on highways, you get pieces of stone flying at you that insurance companies love to use as an excuse to jack up your premium next year if you dare to file a claim to fix the damages caused by them. I also understand that the driver(s) of this vehicle probably went berzerk when he saw the price of gas while opening the gas lid and just vented his/her frustration on the gas lid, but I just don’t understand why the lower panel of the rear side door would have a 3-inch scratch like that? A lady in high heels tried to step into the vehicle before she remembered to open the door (like it hasn’t happened before?)? A punk kid with pointy hair attempted to tie his shoe strings and scratched my CR-V with his hair when bending down? That’s something I would definitely file as a mysterious case #90210 under the X-Files.

To be continued so stay tuned…


August 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Everybody Happy?

Source: http://ca.lifestyle.yahoo.com/family-relationships/blog/anndouglas/330/is-everybody-happy

Forget the stereotype about the crotchety old man or miserable old woman. New research from the University of Chicago indicates that people in their latter years are the happiest people around. More than 50 per cent of men and women over 85 involved in this particular study described themselves as “very happy.”

So this begs the question: who’s the least happy? This one’s easy. Think about who’s most likely to be swearing into a cell phone if there’s any sort of delay at the auto repair place (or the hospital emergency room). You guessed it! The most discontented generation of people also happens to be the most mammoth generation of people in recent memory: the famous (and infamous) Baby Boomers. (Just for the record, I am one of the infamous Baby Boomer malcontents myself, although I seem to be bursting with happiness these days. Maybe I’ve just succumbed to the notorious spring fever virus or something.)

Here’s the scoop on Baby Boomer happiness — or, rather, the lack thereof.

“Boomers have experienced less happiness on average than both earlier and more recent cohorts,” reports University of Chicago assistant professor of sociology Yang Yang, author of the study, which appears in this month’s issue of the American Sociological Review.

According to Yang, fierce competition for spots in the best colleges and universities and for job offers from the best firms in early adulthood may have led the Boomers (who now range in age from their mid-40s to their mid-60s) to expect that all their hard work would be rewarded by picture-perfect happy endings. They’d land that perfect job, buy that perfect house with that perfect someone, and raise that perfect family of 1.5 kids (or 1.5 dogs). All they had to do was play by the rules and wait for happiness to arrive on their doorstep.

But then happiness lost their address. (Or so the story goes so far.)

If mid-life hasn’t exactly lived up to the Boomers’ expectations, Boomers can at least take heart in one of Yang’s other key findings — that we tend to become happier as we grow older. “With age comes happiness. Overall levels of happiness increase with age, [regardless] of other factors.”

If we want members of the next generation to experience greater happiness as they pass through life, the takeaway message from Yang’s research is unmistakable. Resist the temptation to promise your kids that they’ll get everything they want out of life if they simply work hard(er). The recipe for happiness is both a lot simpler and a lot more complicated than that.

Instead, encourage them to diversify their happiness portfolio: to cultivate hobbies and interests outside of work; to invest in people and relationships; to champion causes they believe in; and to use their unique abilities and interests to change the world. Not only is this advice more likely to inspire a young person than the traditional “work hard” mantra; it’s advice that’s is less likely to leave a 40-something running on empty in the happiness department by the time he or she reaches age 45 — a decidedly unhappy state of affairs.

Now, over to you:  What’s your take on this happiness research? Who are the happiest people you know? What makes them happy?  If you’re a naturally happy person, what are your secrets?

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Texas district will let teachers carry guns

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HARROLD, Texas (AP) — A tiny Texas school district will allow teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting employees follow certain requirements.

The small community of Harrold in north Texas is a 30-minute drive from the Wilbarger County Sheriff’s Office, leaving students and teachers without protection, said David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District. The lone campus of the 110-student district sits near a heavily traveled highway, which could make it a target, he argued.

“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog,” Thweatt said in a story published Friday on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Web site.

Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization did not know of another district with such a policy. Ken Trump, a Cleveland, Ohio-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, said Harrold is the first district with such a policy.

Trustees approved the policy change last year, and it takes effect when classes begin this month. For employees to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, must be authorized to carry by the district, must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and must use ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricocheting bullets.

Officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change, Thweatt said. The district also has other measures in place to prevent a school shooting, he said.

“The naysayers think [a shooting] won’t happen here. If something were to happen here, I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them,” Thweatt said.

Texas law outlaws firearms at schools unless specific institutions allow them.

It isn’t clear how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall, because Thweatt did not disclose that information, to keep it from students or potential attackers.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Current Events | Leave a comment

What’s worse than the death penalty?


PORTLAND–A New York man who pleaded guilty to murder in Oregon in exchange for buckets of fried chicken will get calzones and pizza to go with his life sentence.

Tremayne Durham, 33, of New York City, admitted last month that he fatally shot Adam Calbreath, 39, of Gresham, in June 2006.

Durham agreed to plead guilty, but only if he could get a break from jail food.

The judge agreed and granted Durham a feast of KFC chicken, Popeye’s chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, carrot cake and ice cream.

After Wednesday’s sentencing, Durham’s attorney confirmed that he will get the rest of the deal – calzones, lasagna, pizza and ice cream.

It may be awhile before Durham can dine in such style again – he’s not eligible for parole for another 30 years.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Mood Lifters | Leave a comment

CNN.com “The Daily Top 10” Email – DON’T OPEN THE EMAIL

If you received an email saying “CNN.COM The Daily Top 10” , DELETE THE EMAIL RIGHT AWAY WITHOUT CLICKING ANYTHING IN IT.

Your computer might very likely be infected with spyware and/or viruses if you click on any of the links in the email. For details of this threat, see:


August 7, 2008 Posted by | Current Events | Leave a comment