VoiceOver: Sign o’ the times?

Ranting about chili dogs and sunroofs since 2009!

We're down with this, so we're going to break open the piggy bank and see if we can get our gas tank up to quarter-full for a change.

By Summit Voice

Good morning and welcome to VoiceOver, the world’s only column that’s really starting to appreciate the benefits of a sunroof. We’ve often heard people speak of this particular automotive accouterment, but until recently, just brushed it off as yet another silly accessory that’s reserved for people who never get into their car without a pair of Vuarnets, a silk driving scarf and doeskin driving gloves.

But yesterday, en route to Denver to watch a soccer game, we were grooving to the scenery, side windows open, when we noticed this warm sensation on our right arm. Looking at the dash, we saw the heater was off … Hmmm … and all of a sudden, that lightbulb moment — we have a sunroof. And the sun is shining through it! Wow, what a concept. We slid that puppy wide open to enjoy fresh air streaming down around us without that annoying side blast that gives us an earache, and now we’re sold on sunroofs, for sure …

We’ve actually had this vehicle for several months now, but as those of you who share a Summit County zip code know, it hasn’t exactly been sunny of late, so we had been starting to think of that sunroof as a snowroof, which was also cool, kind of like being in a snow cave.

So whilst driving back and enjoying the sunroof, we noticed this sign, which is pictured somewhere on this page, offering a hefty discount for the cash purchase of gas. We think this is a great deal, but realistically, with the price of gas what it is, even with that cash discount, we’d have to probably go pretty near our daily ATM limit to fill it up.

But it did get us thinking about the politics of oil prices, which we know aren’t based on supply and demand — let’s put it this way; Adam Smith‘s invisible hand is REALLY invisible when it comes to pricing fuel. We all know we’re being ripped off and the most frustrating thing is, there’s nothing we can do about it.

But our good Senator Mark Udall thinks otherwise, and in late March, announced that he is asking the Obama administration to investigate international oil price collusion, and whether “oil exporters may be restricting production and manipulating international markets.”

DUH!

Don’t get us wrong. We love Sen. Udall. He’s outdoorsy, and an all-around good guy, and he wears cool cowboy boots when he comes to visit Summit County. But we think it’s pretty safe to assume that there’s all sorts of collusion going on, not just with oil producing and exporting companies, but at the wholesale, refining and retail level. Why else would all the gas stations in the country be selling gas  priced just a few cents apart? We’re really gonna get our rant on and say, that’s what happens when you allow huge oil companies to gain a near-monopoly — that’s the real root of the problem. If you want the free market to work, you gotta have some competition.

Plus, even if an investigation were to show such collusion, what could we possibly do about it? Is there some sort of international court where could sue these guys? We don’t think so, and some of those hoity-toity Euro countries, well, they’d be laughing, seeing as how they’re already paying four times as much per gallon as we do. Gasoline is still cheap in this country, waaaay cheaper than in most other places.

And all that got us thinking about the Mid-East and Osama bin Laden. We were watching the wall-to-wall coverage and noticed there were some folks who didn’t want to say his name out loud because — and we’re paraphrasing — they didn’t want to acknowledge his existence.

We’re OK with that and we figure it’s a personal choice kind of thing, but we’ll go on the record as saying that we’re with Harry Potter on this one. He faced the same issue. We don’t remember all the details or any exact quotes or anything, but we recall that many of Harry’s wizarding compadres didn’t want to say Voldemort’s name, to which Harry would say something like, how can you confront evil if you can’t speak its name? That’s kind of our feeling, too. Plus, he was just one gnarly dude, and the fertile field of Islamic extremism remains, something we all have to acknowledge.

And, we get to use Harry Potter, Voldemort, Big Gulp AND Osama bin Laden in the key words for this post, which we’re hoping will send traffic through the roof. Yep, leave it to us to shamelessly exploit current events and popular fiction characters for our own nefarious ends!

OK, that was a bit heavy, so we’re moving on to another sign, this one at the local 7-11, right here on our own little ‘hood in Frisco. These nice folks are putting in some new fuel tanks, and while the pumps are closed, they were trying to lure people in with an offer of free coffee and Big Gulps. Yes!

If you blinked, you might've missed this promotion. Maybe next time.

We actually scored one of those Big Gulps (rootbeer!) on Friday, but then when we strolled over early Saturday morning for some free coffee, the banner was down, and the clerk told us that the promotion was over, because too many people came in and got free stuff.

Umm, wasn’t that the idea? Otherwise, they could’ve done a “Buy a bag of chips and get a free Big Gulp” promotion. But whatever, we knew it was too good to last.

And right across the street is Wal-Mart, where they’ve been rolling back prices ever since we can remember. We can’t figure this out, so maybe some smart readers can help. They’ve been rolling back prices for so long, we think some of the stuff should be free, and some of it, well, according to our math, they should be paying us to take that shoddy merchandise out of the store. Like these three-ring binders we’ve been buying for the kid. You’d think that a three-ring binder could last for a school year, but no … we’re on our third one, which just doesn’t seem right. We kind of feel like we should have gotten the third one for free, or received some kind of rebate.

Get some spiritual inspiration along with your chili-cheese fries at A&W.

And finally, the A&W sign, one of Frisco’s oddities. We’re not going to say much, except that we have always loved a little Isaiah with our chili dogs. And, where’s our renegade cassocked street preacher, Brother Nate, these days? Anyone seen him lately?

Osama, bo-bama, banana … we out!

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