It seems like the car industry has been working really hard to make its cars something people want. (Although they’re still dragging their heels on gas mileage.) I’ve always been somewhat amused that a lot of the ‘hot new cars’ are just really, really old models with a bit of contemporary flair.

I want a ‘new’ car that looks like this one. A rumbleseat in the back. (Although you might have safety issues in 2008, as opposed to 1930.) A spare tire on the side. (Functional.) A giant chrome grille on the front. A soft-top convertible. And windshield wipers that come down from the top of the window. And big bug-eye headlights. (I really don’t care for the massively-crooked style of photography.) Check out the fins on the blue car with people in front of it.

Maybe another car that looks badass and yet is a convertible.

Or how about hyper-round, from the vehicle frame to the windows? Just design some awesome-looking cars that don’t all look the same, give them good gas mileage, make ’em safe, and make ’em cheap.

Do I?

I just did my semi-annual rolling of my accumulated change (not so much this time: $38.50. I’ve been trading a lot of change in for bills at work). Then I logged into my account at my bank to see where I wanted to put it.

And I noticed that they’re having their annual (?) raffle. They sell 5,000 tickets at $20 apiece. The prize is a 2007 Lexus ES350, which is a beautiful car. (Basically a luxury version of the new Camry.) I’m perfectly happy with my car, but, well, who wouldn’t want a 2007 Lexus?

The money goes to benefit charity. (Although really, they’re raising less than $60,000 ‘profit’ via the raffle, which isn’t so impressive?) I can think of the $20 ticket as some of the change I’m bringing in.

I just can’t make up my mind, though. 1/5,000 aren’t great odds, but then again, it’s far better than my odds in the lottery. But $20 to probably win nothing? But it’s for charity. And I have that ‘extra’ $38.50 sitting on my desk. So do I enter or not?

What If I Wanted to Break?

Last night at work, this customer came in. He comes in fairly often. He’s probably my age or a little older. I’ve noticed before that he drives a Porsche, and that he’ll come in even when we’re charging our highest rates, rack up huge bills, and never seem phased by them.

I always wondered what was up. He seemed like a nice guy, so I figured he wasn’t a drug dealer or hit man. But he seemed too young to have made millions. Maybe he was just from a rich family?

Last night he brought his laptop with him. And after a while we got to talking. He was playing online poker. (I should note that there is definitely not WiFi in our center. He has a cellular modem.) That’s where the Porsche came from. And he and his friends suggested that the Porsche was just a fraction of what he’s made.

Of course, I thought online poker had been outlawed. I looked into it a bit online last night out of curiosity, and it seems that, even after Bush signed the bill, it still exists in a gray area. (But many people are trying to pass bills allowing it. And from all over the political spectrum: a Republican from Florida, a Republican from one of the Dakotas, and a Democrat from Massachusetts have each introduced bills to permit it.)

I’m now intrigued. I’ve wanted to learn poker for a long time, just because a lot of people play it and seem to enjoy it. And while I know I’ll probably never get a Porsche out of it (I’d get either a BMW or Lexus first anyway), it’s sort of like playing the lottery: I know I probably won’t win a dime, but that remote possibility that I’ll come out ahead is thrilling and makes it worth playing once a month or so. It does seem to be a game with a high risk of addiction, but if you’re careful to just play for fun, I think it could be, well, fun. And if it ends up paying out, even better.

Of course, first I have to learn how to play poker. The good news is that, in addition to lots of tutorials online, a lot of poker sites have free, no-money versions specifically to let people practice.