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The Good and Bad Aspects of Renting vs Buying a Home

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Owning a home is a dream for most people but for others, it is nothing but a wearisome burden. Buying a home is an important financial decision that needs careful consideration on the benefits and drawbacks of owning a home. Before buying a home you need to deliberate whether homeownership is for you and also if you have enough money saved for making this investment. Your decision to rent or buy a home will depend upon your future plans, personal desires as well as financial stability.

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Why Gas Prices Change So Often

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Gas prices are notoriously fickle. They can spike unexpectedly, or conversely tumble, on multiple occasions during any given year. And over time some real dramatic changes can happen. For example, just over five years ago, the national average for gas was a little over $4 per gallon, yet today prices are close to 50% of that. Have you ever wondered why the price of gas changes so often? There are a variety of factors at play – some season-dependent, some state-specific, some globally significant, and some because of unpredictable weather-related effects. Here are seven main reasons:

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About Autonomous Cars

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It’s among the most interesting automotive news today: driverless, autonomous vehicles have arrived. Thanks to several tech giants and many of the major auto manufacturers, billions of dollars have been put into the research and development of autonomous cars over the last ten years or so. Driverless vehicles are everything that comes to mind when you consider “the future.”

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Eye-Tracking Headlights

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It was in the 1930’s, if not before, that adaptive headlight strategies have been added to vehicles. Opel, General Motors Company’s European subsidiary, has recently developed a new kind of automotive headlight that tracks drivers’ eye movements and shines the headlights in that direction. This new technology is referred to as “adaptive headlights” and will be available in the near future on certain General Motors models.

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Drink of the Week: The Stinger

The Stinger.During my pre-cocktailian days, I’d often get tired of my usual scewdrivers, Bloody Marys, and dirty martinis and ask the barkeep if he or she could think of anything good. The answer was, nearly always, a blank stare. The fact that not a single one ever suggested a Stinger to me is something of a minor crime.

Here is a drink that is about as easy to make as any decent cocktail I’ve ever had and not lacking in some sweet mass appeal. It’s also got some sophistication to it, but it can be delightfully good with the cheap stuff. It is definitely one of the great  mass appeal drinks perfect for the truly lazy or over-stressed bartender, which means you can try ordering this at your local dive or TGIF-type bar and it might even taste good.

The Stinger

2 1/4 ounces brandy
3/4 ounce white creme de menthe

Combine in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and consider what you’ll do with the all the time you’ve saved on this drink.

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Unless you make your own, it seems like there’s not a whole lot of alternatives when it comes to creme de menthe, and the seriously inexpensive DeKuyper product I was using is pretty much the standard. So, with this drink it’s the choice of brandy that can make a big difference, though I have to say I never had a bad Stinger.

Even so, the best brandy seems to yield the best results. So, my best Stinger was made with a reasonably priced bottle of Maison Rouge Cognac. A surprisingly close second was a downright cheap bottle of Pierre Duchene Napolean Brandy from Trader Joe’s, which is actually cheaper than my usual TJ default, Reynal, and most would say less good. I still thought it worked very nicely. A not at all poor third place was E&J VSOP, which I would never consider drinking on its own, but was still fine in a Stinger.

I also had a very nice Stinger (pictured above) when I found myself near my Orange County digs at the pricey but lovable Antonello’s in Santa Ana. I went all Ian Fleming on our waiter, demanding a drink that was 2 parts brandy and a half part creme de menthe. I have no idea whether or not Antonello’s followed my instructions, or what brands they used, but it definitely came out as as a sweetly sophisticated treat, all sweet and winey but with a backbone.

Before I go, I have to add that today’s recipe is pretty much a direct steal from David Wondrich but, in any case, the Stinger is a drink that allows for adjustment to personal taste. For starters, if you find measuring out 2 1/4 ounces too precise and annoying, feel free to just go with 2 ounces of brandy and 1/2 ounce creme de menthe and, if that doesn’t float your boat, feel free to mess around with the proportions. I will say, however, that you should be reasonably sparing of the creme de menthe, whatever you do.

Also, if you’ve only got the green kind of creme de menthe, it’s probably okay to use that. Robert Hess, however, says you should only do that to a Stinger during the holidays. What’s the next holiday?