Monday, February 01, 2010

Various Miscellany

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the Goodwill has announced a new promotion:  Dump your ex's stuff.  What better way to get into the spirit of the "holiday".  Nothing will make you feel better than knowing that even though your ex hates you, Goodwill still loves you.  Also, if you are in the market for a future ex, you can pick up a wedding ring from their web site.  Nothing says I love you like a ring from the Goodwill with the stench of a failed relationship still on it. 

Today I find myself intrigued by all the news of a Tesla Motors IPO.  Thus far, the company has failed to make any money, and by their own admission are still several years away from profitability, however they appear to be the first company to possibly have the technology to mass produce a somewhat affordable electric car.  Their Model S sedan, which I believe will be available next year, will set you back $50,000.  Out of my price range, but comparable to other luxury sedans on the market.  And unlike other attempted electric vehicles, Tesla's vehicles will feature high performance.  The Model S will accelerate 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, have a top speed of 120 mph, and a range of up to 300 miles on a charge.  Tesla estimates that a charge will cost you $4 in electricity at current rates.  The primary concern for me would be that the battery packs are expected to last 7 years, or 100,000 miles.  I haven't been able to find what they cost, but you can be sure that it isn't cheap.

It remains to be seen whether Tesla can scale up production to become profitable, but they do have some encouraging backing.  Daimler has contracted with them to suppled power trains and batteries for vehicles to be used in Europe, and the company has been given long term loans by both the US Department of Energy and the California Department of Energy in order to develop alternative fuel vehicles.  This is significant since the government denied similar loans to both GM and Chrysler because they are not seen as viable companies.  I see a lot of promise in Tesla and hope that they can help to revive the US auto industry.  I am anxiously awaiting the reception that Wall Street has for the IPO.

I also feel like this is an appropriate time to voice my objection to people who wait until the bus gets to their stop before fishing around in their pockets for the correct fare.  If you are on the bus for the 40 or so minutes it takes to get from downtown to the east side during rush hour and can't find the time to get out your fare so as not to keep a bus full of people waiting for the 2 minutes it takes to count your change, then you sir or madam are rude.  It may be time to implement mob rule to insure that common courtesy is once again common. 

Finally, I have been looking at 30 year fixed mortgages recently in the hopes of procuring financing to buy a condo and have entered some numbers on a few bank web sites.  What I've found from the few I've looked at is that there are exorbitant fees associated with a mortgage.  Bank of America was far and away the leader with more than $8,000 in loan origination fees, points, appraisal fees, and half a page of miscellaneous 'screw you' fees.  But my question at this point is, what should I expect to pay in fees on a loan?  Admittedly I haven't done a great deal of research online, primarily since the information I have found is a little spotty.  Anyway, I would appreciate any informed advice from someone who may have been through the process recently.
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