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Think About This:

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Think about this:
1.  Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments

     Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

      They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq … Why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we’re not using it anymore.


The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Congress is this –you cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ and ‘Thou Shall Not Lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians …. It creates a hostile work environment.

———————————————————————– -

Also, think about this … if you don’t want to forward  this for fear of offending someone — YOU ARE PART OF THE  PROBLEM! It is time for America to speak up!

Thanks to Don Shepherd for passing this along!

Time Gets Better With Age

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing “Silent Night”.
Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either.
Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.
Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.
Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents are strict with me.
Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.
Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great pleasures.
Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there.
Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it.
Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make some one’s day by simply sending them a little note.
Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.
Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.
Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours.
Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone.
Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.
Age 52

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.
Age 53

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
Age 58

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.
Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.
Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer.
Age 72

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
Age 82

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
Age 90

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Age 92

I’ve learned that you should pass this on to someone you care about. Sometimes they just need a little something to make them smile.

Little Boy Was Swearing…

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

The little boy was caught swearing by his teacher.


“Jeffrey Alan!” she said, “you shouldn’t use that kind of language. Where did you hear it?”


“My daddy said it,” he responded.


“Well, that doesn’t matter,” she explained, “You don’t know what it means.”


“I do, too,” Jeffrey corrected. “It means the car won’t start.”

On Innovation

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

According to INSEAD, a Paris based business school, the U.S. economy is the most innovative in the world and is a better position to face future economic challenges than any other country. 


But you knew that, right?  


Some thoughts on innovation:


“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” 

                  Peter Drucker


“Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.”

      Rosabeth Moss Kanter 


“I believe in being an innovator.”            

                         Walt Disney


“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity-not a threat”.                              Unknown

“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.”

                     Michael Porter

“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.”

                W. Arthur Porter

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

                       Steve Jobs


“If you’re not failing every now and then, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Woody Allen


Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

1) Any time you see an E-Mail that says forward this on to ‘10′ of your friends, sign this petition, or you’ll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever, it almost always has an E-Mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and E-Mails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get list s of ‘activeE-Mails addresses to use in SPAM E-Mails, or sell to other spammers.

2) Almost all E-Mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to t he little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of E-Mail is, is a way to get names and ‘cookie’ tracking information for telemarketers and spammers - - to validate active E-Mail accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your friend s and family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them; you will be providing a service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam E-Mails in the future!

If you have been sending out (FORWARDING) the above kinds of E-Mail, now you know why you get so much SPAM!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listings regardless how inviting they might sound!

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT in the long run. Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later! Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich! Let’s don’t make it easy for them!

Also: E-Mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other organization.
To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address of the person signing the petition.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude at Work

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

If you want to become or remain a positive force in the workplace, you need a strategy. Follow the suggestions below to get yourself on the way:

  • Ask three people you consider positive forces how they maintain their attitudes
  • Survey your use of language, and change it when necessary. This includes inner talk and outer talk. Change your negative words and thoughts into positive ones.
  • Surround yourself with as many positive people as possible.
  • Appreciate yourself. Accept yourself for who you are, not who you ought to be.
  • Don’t worry about something that has already happened. If there is a lesson to be learned, learn it and move on.
  • Accept that you are going to make mistakes.
  • For one entire day, commit yourself to using all of your energy to be positive.
  • Realize that how you feel about something is your choice.
  • Take charge of your life, and give yourself credit when you do.

 Adapted from The 6 Success Strategies for Winning at Life, Love & Business by Wolf J. Rinke 


Extended Warranties - Are they worth it?

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

I will admit, every time that I am offered an extended warranty, I always wonder if I should buy it.

Well, it is only for a fleeting second that I wonder.

I do not ever recall having purchased an extended warranty for anything except for the one time that I returned my second water heater for my home within less than two years The warranty contract promised to pay for the labor to replace the water heater (should it go out again).

On the subject of extended warranties for your car, I have yet to find one that is as good as we hope for it to be.

Most warranty companies provide coverage for things that usually don’t break and provide no coverage for the things that do break. Or if they have coverage, there are exclusions and exceptions that allow the warranty company to deny coverage.

This past week we had a client’s vehicle in that had died while driving.

No big deal (so we thought), we sent a tow truck and got it in the shop. Our technician diagnosed the car and the client was called. Our client let us know that he had an extended warranty and asked if we would call them for him.

The warranty company asked us to get the repair and maintenance history.  They said that they should cover the repair as long as the timing belt did not break, causing the internal engine damage. They sent out an inspector who agreed that the timing belt was intact and wondered why he had been called out to look at the vehicle, especially since it was here at The Auto Shop. The warranty company knew us and our reputation. Usually inspectors don’t get sent here.

The warranty company stated the next day: that since there was no proof that the timing belt had been replaced at the manufacturers recommended interval of 80,000 miles and the vehicle now has 87,000 miles on the odometer, that the vehicle was not maintained according to the manufacturers recommendations. They had no responsibility for these repairs.

They denied the claim. And they denied it because of a lack of paperwork.

Please bring your car or truck in for an inspection along with your warranty contract so that we can make sure that this does not happen to you.



Plano Auto Service Provider Warns About GPS Units and Mobile Phones

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago a client came into the shop and told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football game.Their car was parked in the stadium parking lot.

Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the windshield.

When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.

The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.

The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.

I never thought of this…….
This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen.

Her handbag contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, keys (think about everything that women carry in their purses).

Twenty minutes later when she called her husband, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, he said ‘I got your text asking about our PIN number and I’ve replied a little while ago. How did you forget it?’

When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Moral of the lesson:
Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your Contact list.
Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc….

And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM the request by calling not sending it via a text.

Also, when you’re being text by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet ‘family and friends’ who text you.

At The Auto Shop, we are always working to help to keep you safe even if it has nothing to do with your car. :-) Safe motoring,


Lease or Buy?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008


Car leasing is a lot like renting an apartment; you pay a monthly fee to use it but don’t own it — and aren’t making payments toward ownership. The leased vehicle remains the property of the lessor — the company that issued the lease.

As with an apartment rental contract, car leasing will have a fixed period — typically two or three years. You’re obliged to make monthly payments for the length of the contract. While you can get out of the lease before then if you want to, there will typically be extra costs — for example, an “early termination charge” — typically spelled out in the car leasing contract you sign. And as is often the case with renting an apartment, you’ll likely have to put down some cash as “security deposit” at the lease inception. This money will be used to pay for any damages to the vehicle — such as door dings, stains on the seats, any needed service work, etc. — when you return it at the end of the car leasing term.A big advantage of car leasing is flexibility. You aren’t making a long-term commitment. Typically, car leasing is for a relatively short period, 2-3 years being the norm. The average new car loan, on the other hand, is five years. When the lease period is up, you can simply bring the car back and walk away. Or you can buy it if you like by paying off the remaining balance — called the “residual value” — which you’ll negotiate in advance at the time of lease inception.Or go shopping for a new car — or no car at all.

You have many choices.

Also, since you are only renting the car, your total cash outlay should be less. You won’t have to make as large a down payment (a security deposit and the first month’s payment are the typical initial out-of-pocket fees associate with car leasing) as you would if you were buying. And monthly lease payments are almost always less than payments would be if you bought the car. That means you’ll have more money left over to spend on other things.Or, if you prefer, you can “afford” to drive a more expensive car when you lease, since the monthly payments will be comparatively lower. This is one of the biggest single attractions of car leasing for many people. A car (or truck) that might cost you $500-$600 per month to buy might cost $100 per month less with car leasing.Another nice thing about car leasing is that you’re always driving a new or nearly new vehicle. And of course you don’t have to worry about the potentially expensive repair and/or maintenance problems that inevitably crop up as a car ages — and gets out of warranty. The leased car will typically be under factory warranty for the duration of the lease — and car leasing contracts often have add-on provisos that cover routine maintenance, such as oil changes, etc.

Car leasing may also have tax advantages for you — but this is something you’ll have to ask your accountant about. In the past, most people who did car leasing were those who used their vehicle for business, such as realtors — and who therefore could claim deductions for car leasing not available to those who purchased them outright.

Car leasing had the additional attraction of freeing up assets for investments and so on that would otherwise be locked into a depreciating asset — the person’s car or truck.There are downsides to car leasing, of course. Since you’re only making what amount to rental payments each month, you won’t have anything tangible to show for your money at the end of the lease. If you spend, say, $12,000 on car leasing payments (about $450 per month) over two years, that money is gone forever.A person who buys his vehicle, on the other hand, has the comfort of knowing that one day, it will be “paid for” and — assuming it is still in good shape at that point — will provide “free transportation” until it breaks down or the owner decides to get rid of it.

In addition, a person who owns his car has equity (cash value) in the car or truck. Even though it will continue to depreciate with each passing year, so long as it’s still serviceable transportation, it will always be worth something. That value can be used as a trade-in; or the vehicle can be sold privately to help raise money to pay for a new one — or for some other need.

The person who opts for car leasing must start from scratch every time.There’s also the mileage issue. If you decide on car leasing, your contract will typically stipulate the maximum number of miles you’re allowed before the end of the lease. If you exceed that figure, it can get expensive. Per-mile charges over the stated maximum listed in the car leasing contract are often exorbitant — so if you drive more than the allowed miles in the contract annually, leasing could turn out to be more expensive then you thought.The person who owns his car, meanwhile, can drive it as much as he wants, and do pretty much whatever he feels like with it, too. He can swap out the stereo, add different wheels and tires, change the exhaust system — whatever. Do this with a leased car and you’ll have to pay whatever if takes to put the car back the way it was. If you own your vehicle, the inevitable door dings and dents — as well as coffee stains on the seat — can also be shrugged off.

People who lease their vehicles, on the other hand, can expect to be charged for every nick, tear or spill at the end of the lease. The cost of these repairs will be deducted from the security deposit.

Car leasing is also more complex than buying so always closely read — and be sure you understand — every proviso of the lease contract before you sign. If you’re unclear about anything, get expert advice — or walk away.

Is ‘The General’ on the Move?

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Former giant GM uses product to get back in car battle.By Lawrence Ulrich

View pictures

Cadillac’s new CTS, a great improvement over the past generation, is one of several impressive new products from General Motors.Economically speaking, you could call this the winter of our discontent, especially if you’re a

Detroit automaker. Yearly sales are down, and 2008 is looking worse. It’s hard for Americans to dream about a new car when they’re struggling to make the mortgage payment.After chipping away at Motown’s foundation business for four decades, import automakers in 2007 sold nearly half the new cars in the

U.S., their highest share in history. For Toyota, it was business as usual — another year, another step toward world domination.But one

Detroit carmaker can see some bright spots through the blizzard of bad news: General Motors. What’s that, you say? Is this the same GM that lost a net $10 billion in 2005, and $2 billion more last year? Yep, that’s them.Discuss:  Can GM stay competitive with the import brands?From the way they design and build cars, to the way they run their global business, GM is making the necessary moves to ensure its survival — maybe even its long-term success. Those moves may also give GM a competitive edge against its hometown rivals Ford and Chrysler.GM has been steadily shoring up its financial house, including a $30-billion primer to start a voluntary employee benefit plan (think of it as a massive IRA), that will leave retirees largely responsible for their own health care. This allows GM to largely shed the benefit burden that was killing it versus foreign rivals, whose governments generously pick up the tab for employees’ medical bills.GM was spending more than $1,500 on employee health care for every car and truck it makes, compared to $300 for

Toyota. It’s hard enough to compete against the Japanese juggernaut without such a back-breaking cost disadvantage.But as ever, the only thing that really sparks and sustains a turnaround is the product. And in recent months, GM has delivered three new models that constitute a serious winning streak (actually five, but I’m counting its largely similar crossover SUVs from Saturn, GMC and Buick as one).First is the Cadillac CTS sport sedan. This past summer I tested the CTS at

Germany’s legendary Nürburgring race and development track, where virtually every top German model goes to earn its wings. Later, on a no-limit stretch of the Autobahn, I zinged the Caddy to a steady 130-mph cruise without it breaking a sweat.The CTS was impressive for more than its gutsy looks and handling. The new interior is genuinely luxurious, miles better than the bargain-bin look of the previous version. The Caddy isn’t perfect, but it is a deserving winner of Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award.Read:  First Drive: 2008 Cadillac CTSGM’s company-wide effort to improve interior design — long a sore spot with critics and consumers — also shows up in the new Chevrolet Malibu. It’s quite simply the best GM family sedan in decades, a straight-up competitor to the Honda Accord. In fact, “the General” had four models among six finalists (four of six!) for the prestigious North American Car/Truck of the Year awards in

Detroit. Guess who came out on top in the car segment — the Chevy Malibu.Read:  First Drive: 2008 Chevrolet MalibuAnother of those finalists was the Buick Enclave, the most deluxe version of GM’s hot new crossover SUVs, including the GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook. And where Buick has long struggled to draw new buyers — especially folks who don’t remember the Eisenhower years — fully 45 percent of Enclave buyers are new to GM.Let’s not forget the redesigned Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, GM’s bread-and-butter profit machines that have been widely acclaimed. And this isn’t about cheerleading for GM. I’ve long documented the company’s missteps and product misfires. The company still faces enormous challenges, not the least of which is its ever-dwindling market share.Frederick “Fritz” Henderson, GM’s chief financial officer, told me at the company’s annual holiday party in

New York that GM is pleased with its recent run. But the company isn’t ready to start popping the champagne at its downtown

Detroit headquarters. “Job not done,”

Henderson tersely summed up. “Job part done.”As

Henderson noted, huge critical acclaim and huge sales aren’t the same thing. Let’s not forget that 2007’s North American Car of the Year, the Saturn Aura, has been a sales disappointment so far. And there are plenty of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes owners who won’t look twice at a Cadillac, no matter how good it is.Same for the

Malibu. When you’ve owned a half-dozen Accords or Toyota Camrys, and you’re perfectly satisfied, it’s that much harder for Chevy to convince you to give them a look. GM is still struggling to shed the baggage they piled up for decades, and its reputation will take years of great cars to rebuild.Watch Video:  2008 Chevrolet MalibuFor GM’s public image, the real make-or-break project may be the Chevy Volt, the plug-in hybrid that it plans to bring to market after 2011. That car has raised the hopes of every greenie and anti-GM meanie on the planet. If GM can make the technology work, it could steal the environmental spotlight from

Toyota — and convince even non-hybrid buyers that the General is on the move.

Lawrence Ulrich lives in

Brooklyn and writes about cars. His reviews and features appear regularly in The New York Times, Popular Science, Men’s Vogue and Travel + Leisure Golf.

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