Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Money Is Slip-Sliding Away – But My Car Isn’t

Last winter Northeast Ohio featured some of the most hazardous driving conditions I have ever encountered.  Now some in the media have reported that last winter wasn’t that bad because the total snowfall was about “average”.  This proves the old saying that “there are lies, damn lies and statistics”.  We had three ice storms last year.  We typically have an ice storm about every four years.  In addition, some of this “average” snow fell very heavily during rush (call it slush) hours.

Unfortunately last year I found out my new car performed very poorly in heavy snow.  One night I had to be towed home several hours after the snow had stopped.  I was very late for work on two days because I could not make it out of my hilly allotment until the snow plow arrived.  This did not amuse my new boss in the least.  It seems my “all-weather” radials would truly be “all weather” if I lived in say, Florida.  But they do not go in heavy snow.
To prevent this from happening again, I purchased new snow tires for my car.  And not just any snow tires, I got Bridgestone Blizzaks.  These tires hate snow.  They grind it up, spit it out and send it crying home to its mother.  In the Blizzak television commercial, some helpless guy slides all over the place because he has wimpy tires.  You don’t want to be that guy and last year I was definitely that guy.  Now I’m the guy with the Blizzaks who proudly drives by (and waves to) these sliding losers while in complete control of his vehicle.

The Blizzaks are the very best snow tires money can buy.  Of course I needed a new set of snazzy rims to pimp my ride. Add in the mounting and balancing and I have almost $1000 of snow crunching power on my vehicle.  And I am happy to say that the tires have been highly effective.  I have not slid even once this winter.
And if you live in the north, you get the joke. This may be the least snowy winter in recorded history.  Ohio has only had a few inches of snow. The Canadian city of “Moose Jaw” has only had 7.7 inches.   It seems something called the “Greenland Cap” has not showed up this year to push the cold air down from the Artic.  So Greenland is capless (it probably has something to do with the poor economy) and we have no snow.
Of course my friends are all making fun of me for buying my expensive snow tires this year.  Even my all-weather radials sitting in my garage mock me.  “Hey Blizzak boy, what’s the weather like today?  Oh, 45 degrees and sunny again?  Just checking.”
Ah sweet mysteries of life.  I could just write this one off to bad luck, but it does seem to be a pattern with me.
Last fall I upgraded my football season tickets at my college alma mater.  This decision was questionable because the team had a pitiful 1 and 11 season in 2010.  My friend Bob said “Are you nuts?  The team stinks.  What makes you think they are going to be better this season?”  I assured Bob that the team would be better and would surely win more than one game.  Hell, the coach even guaranteed they would.  Well, they went 1 and 11 again.  So I paid more money to watch bad football from better seats.  Worse yet, many of the games were blowouts so those seats weren’t occupied very much in the fourth quarter.
And as readers of my economic blog may remember, in May 2010 I bought a new, 46” LED high-definition television for the express purpose of watching Le Bron James lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA championship. That didn’t work out so well either. Sure, it is still great for watching “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, but it just isn’t the same.
My smart-ass friend Bob believes that my purchasing decisions are a good predictor of the future.  Therefore I will share with all of you what I am planning on purchasing soon.  I am about to pay my lawn treatment bill for this year (come to think of it, last year I bought this for the first time and it wasn’t really needed since we had our second rainiest year ever) and I am also planning to purchase a new lawn tractor.  This is perverse when you think about it.  I am paying someone to make my grass grow and then I am paying for a machine to make it short again.  If you combine these two purchasing decisions together, you should expect the “Great Drought of 2012”.   


  1. As always, your insight always makes me laugh. I am hoping that your Blizzaks made it easy for you to get to work this morning. My pretty new Coopers on my 7 year old Ford Focus did just fine - no slipping or sliding (and they were made in Ohio.) Do wish my pool boy, Pablo, had come out of the condo and scraped off the ice and snow. Oh wait, he's in Florida until they open the pool on Memorial Day!

  2. Winter and snow usually puts our tires to the test, and it’s nice to know that you stayed safe during such a hard time on the road. Good job on replacing your tires right away after noticing that the traction couldn't perform well anymore. Stay safe on the road, Don. Good day!

    Rita McCall