January 4, 2007


Onstar and Bush

We got a new van. Well, we're borrowing it for the next four years. We lease. Punch the Power Shift tab to read about the adventure later today. The new van comes with this thing called 'Onstar'. You've probably seen ads for it, or satirical videos about people like Britney Spears calling it after getting locked in her car. That's right - IN her car.

Anyway, it's a very cool, in a big-brotherish way, phone system. It has an emergency button that will summon police or rescue automatically. It uses satellite technology to know exactly where you are. You can use it like a phone, just by yelling out the number. Well, I was later told you don't actually have to yell.

You have to activate this system, and I am notorious for never getting around to things like that. Mailing in rebates, making appointments, I am weak at all of the think-ahead things. Finally, last night, we activated it in the driveway.

As a young man walked me through all the procedures, I became increasingly spooked. When I pushed the button, he said 'good evening, Ms. Sommerfeld'. He even spelled it right. I could tell. He told me I was in the driveway and named my address. I stuck my tongue out at the console and half-expected to be reprimanded.

I asked where he was, since he knew where I was. He told me North Carolina. I asked his name. I felt a little more even now. As he patiently went through the process, he eventually came to the end of his spiel. He asked me if I had any questions. I told him I did.

"What the hell is up with your President, anyway?" I asked him.
"Don't even get me started," he replied. I like Onstar.

In yesterday's Salon, Garrison Keillor has some wise words for the president, who apparently could also use something like Onstar to bail him out of bad spots and answer important questions for him.

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