The car verdict, by the way, came down to there being some problem with something around the radiator somewhere. I'd give more exact details but I got the original description over the phone, from my extruded office product location, and really I just knew from the way the guy was working his way up slowly to describing what the price would be that it was going to hurt. If you've got a mechanic who generally likes you then you know the sort of easing into the awful news that I'm talking about.
While I had the car up at the nice-but-really-too-distant mechanic's, I also asked them to look at the rear wheels. This was because of the problem I alluded to when driving with bunny_hugger, which was that when the car goes over a bump the car sometimes, not invariably, shudders as if it's been kicked by a giant and is trying to fly off the road. Maybe it's not that great a leap but it is unsettling. I had described it as being the shocks or something, prompting my father to do an odd ritual of pushing on the trunk and showing the car rocked up and down and therefore the shocks were fine. Maybe, but I know what it feels like to drive it. So I asked them to look at that while they had the car, and they did, and that was the other part of what the mechanic was working his way up to describing.
The diagnosis for this was the rear struts, and for something that has to be replaced alongside the struts, and so the estimated cost for parts and labor --- five hours, incidentally, although to be nice to me they were only billing for four and a half --- comes to just shy of $700, which is the sort of neighborhood I'm embarrassed to be around. So while this past year of car ownership has been much more incident-free than the first one, it's come roaring back in expenses in a big way, and what do you know but the home page for the office's web browser but that it's featuring the monthly Cheapest New Cars articles.
Trivia: On 12 February 1946 DuMont broadcast the first live telecast from Washington to New York City since the days of mechanical television in the late 1920s. Source: The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television, David Weinstein.
Currently Reading: 1939: The Lost World Of The Fair, David Gelernter. This seems to be a book precisely designed to irritate me: I want to read about how the fair was organized and run, and more than half the book is spent in the ``viewpoint'' of characters who are fictional. He claims the attitudes and impressions and such come from actual interviews, but then, of who? Particularly when much of the book goes into moderately cranky whining about ways society was better then [ in certain aspects, I should make clear, and Gelernter is careful to say it certainly wasn't better in all; in fact, one theme of the book is the assertion that modern times are in broad sweeps what the utopian visions then were ] what with its rules and customs and hats and now there's all this political correctness and nobody has visions of things that are going to really change lives just silly stuff like this internet hoo-hah and aah you kids why are you on my lawn ... sheesh. If you want to write a novel set at the World's Fair, fine, do that, but don't make it your supposedly nonfiction book.