Category Archives: leben

Bonnie CLAC

Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of helping an awesome non-profit out with their website and marketing. Yesterday, we just launched a substantially revamped website.
Nominally, Bonnie CLAC’s mission is to help lower-income people buy cars. Typically, when many people with shaky credit need a car, they head straight to their local used car lot. You’ve heard their ads on the radio: “WE FINANCE EVERYONE!!!”
And they do — by selling their customers old cars at exorbitant interest rates. The monthly payment is affordable — barely. But when the car inevitably breaks down or a major repair job is needed, they often can’t afford to pay it. Worse, they have no way of getting to work.
So they default on the car loan, and the cycle of a paycheck-to-paycheck existence and bad credit continues.
This is where Bonnie CLAC helps. Their goal is to help their clients buy a new car — usually, a Honda Civic. To qualify, clients have to take financial fitness courses, and sometimes build a payment history for several months on a “bridge” loaner car.
Once the client has qualified, Bonnie CLAC will guarantee a car loan, and negotiate for a new car on behalf of their client.
So a new car is the carrot, but the end result for the clients is often a completely new, longer term and vastly more informed approach to their personal finances.
Right now, they have four offices in New Hampshire: Keene, Lebanon, Manchester and Portsmouth. Longer term, they think this has the potential to get much larger. I agree. It’s one of the rare cases where the incentives for everyone involved are aligned in exactly the right way. Even better, they have a tremendous team and do great work. I’ve been lucky to be able to help them out.
Final note: they provide a no-hassle car buying service for everyone, even for those with good credit. If you’re around New England, and know someone who needs a new car but doesn’t want to haggle with a dealer, send them their way. You’ll be supporting a great cause.

Boylston & Mass Ave, 12am

Last night’s spontaneous celebration of the Red Sox victory was such a special, rare moment of unselfconscious, delirious joy.

more photos

Aside from the whooping, hi-fives with strangers and cars honking, only two sustained chants from the crowd:

“YANKEES SUCK!” (of course)



I may have expected too much, but I had secretly hoped that the sox fans would forget about the yankees for once, and just revel in their own merits.

After a couple hours, Christine and I went home and watched the wrapup on the local news. The Channel 7 reporter, apparently at Fenway, had this to say about the celebration:

So, an efficient performance tonight by the Boston Police department…yak yak 4 arrests yak yak regained control yak yak riot gear

It reminded me a bit of the reporting of the war in Iraq; his commentary was based entirely on helicopter shots, cameras mounted high on buildings and conversations with police officers. Had he even bothered to walk among the crowd, he might have told a different story…

Out Of Whack (part II)

Twice this month, I’ve started a pot of coffee — put in the filter, ground the beans, filled it with water — then turned the machine on without making sure the coffee pot is in place to receive the coffee.

Which leads us to an essential dilemma: You clearly shouldn’t attempt anything before having coffee in the morning. But to have coffee, you must first make coffee. Hmmm…

Out Of Whack (part I)

The joys of living in old housing… Christine and I built some shelves in my our apartment last weekend. They came out quite well, but when we put the first wood plank on the top, we immediately noticed that something looked off:


So which is straight: the shelves, or the ceiling?

Here’s a closeup of the level sitting on the top shelf in the first picture:


Are we moving to Mars?

Robin McKie of the Guardian writes:

Finding life on Mars has proved an elusive dream for decades. But scientists now believe they may be able to do it for themselves – by turning the Red Planet into a blue world with streams, green fields and fresh breezes and filling it with Earthly creatures.

Whither the daylight?

Finally, a great mystery answered… sort of. The semi-annual change of time had always been something of a mystery to me; why, after all, would daylight not be worth saving? Turns out daylight savings time has little to do with farmers, but was an
energy conservation measure taken by many countries during World War I.
It fails to answer why they didn’t just change the whole year, though…
(via Zeldman)