Yesterday, I took the bus to work.  While standing at the bus stop in the morning, forty-four vehicles passed by me.  Seven of the forty-four had more than one occupant (I decided that the car with one lady and one very large dog did not fall into the multi-occupant category).  None of the seven multi-occupant vehicles had more than two occupants.  There were thirty-seven people on the bus at one point.  So, in a space no longer than that of three cars set bumper to bumper, thirty-seven people managed to get where they were going for no more than $37.  On the other hand, it took a bumper-to-bumper line of cars several blocks long and forty-four parking spaces (which the city of Madison estimates to cost $20,000 per space downtown) to get the other fifty-one people where they were going. The new GMC Yukon XL has a gas tank that holds over thirty-six gallons of gasoline.  Gasoline costs over $2/gallon right now in San Francisco (thanks, Bush/Cheney energy policy, or lack thereof).  It probably takes three minutes to put nine gallons of gasoline in the the gas tank of Sarah’s Saturn.  So, if one owned a 2003 GMC Yukon XL, it would take no less than twelve minutes and $72 to fill up the tank of one’s vehicle.  Should I mention that the GMC Yukon XL is supposed to get 13.1 miles per gallon in the city?  Since that estimate is always high, let’s assume that the Yukon XL gets less than that figure.  But, let’s also be generous and give the, um, truck the benefit of the doubt by assuming 12 mpg in the city.  When I owned a Chevy Corsica, and when I drove it to work for two months in San Francisco, I put gas into the tank once a week.  If memory serves me, that car had a fifteen gallon tank.  I got somewhere around twenty-four miles to the gallon during that commute.  So, I was driving about 360 miles per week.  The Yukon XL would require thirty gallons of gas a week (360 / 12) to perform the same duties.  At today’s prices, it would cost a Yukon XL owner $60 week(!) just to get to work and back.  Don’t forget the fact that the truck lists (bare-bones) for over $37,000.  So, put down $5,000 to buy the car.  Then, finance the remaining $32,000.  If you could get a 0% interest loan, you would still be paying $533.33 a month in car payments for five years.  So, the monthly costs of owning a GMC Yukon XL and driving it to work and back each week in the Bay Area would be on the order of $773 per month!  Here in Madison, gasoline is only(!) $1.69 (thanks, GeeDubya!) so the equivalent scenario would only cost $735 month.  Of course, all of these calculations discount insurance and on-going maintenance costs.  How anyone afford to own and operate an SUV while remaining financially sound is beyond me. Graffitti seen on the UW campus:  "Dick Cheney before he dicks you."  Good stuff. A fairly sizable subset of Wisconsin’s population firmly holds to the belief that bratwurst should only be cooked in both beer and butter.  Cooking brats in beer is something I wholeheartedly endorse.  But butter?!?  This is sausage we’re discussing here.  Does sausage as a general rule need more fat added to it during the cooking process?  Who decided that there just wasn’t enough fat in a brat, and that using a whole stick of butter for six-twelve brats (a common ratio, from what I’ve seen on-line) was the only civilized thing to do about the situation?  I thought that creaking noise I can hear from our house was the trees blowing in the wind.  As it turns out, that noise is the arteries of our neighbors hardening under another onslaught of brats cooked in butter.