Random car names on the way to work

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On the bus to the subway this morning.  Looking out the window I started saying the names of cars we passed.  The little Toyota Echo that echoes no longer once a Tercel now a Yaris; what is a Yaris – a mountain climbing pack animal?  Is it like a Yak?  Look, a Dodge Intrepid – you’d have to be fearless to drive one – wasn’t it a ship, the Intrepid, the boxy thing looks like one and should be in the water, not on the road.  A Ford “lunar” Probe,  discontinued and parts not available – a collector’s item.  Hey, a Dodge Dart (just kidding, I didn’t actually see one, but it came to mind) and there’s a 2 mile per gallon Mountaineer and an Escalade – what is an escalade anyway?  Is it even a word? Last stop, a Honda Odyssey, what’s next, the Honda Iliad?

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Umbrellas in the Outfield

Why is it that in baseball there are rain delays and postponements, but not in football?  Doesn’t make any sense to me.  Don’t say lighting has anything to do with it.   Are football players less at risk for lightening strikes?  And look at the San Diego Chargers – they say bring on the lightening bolts.

If baseball players with their guaranteed contracts are worried about getting wet,  MLB should outfit them with ponchos.  The guys could also wear those plastic slip on shoe covers over their cleats. Oh, and some umbrellas for the outfielders.

GM CEO Ed Whitacre’s Tall Claim

Take a look at this recent GM commercial where new CEO Ed Whitacre introduces himself and the 60 day money back guarantee on all GM cars.  He says “before I started this job, I admit I had some doubts, probably a lot like you but I like what I found”  He goes on to say, “I know that if you get into one of our cars you’re going to like what you see…car for car, compared to the competition, we win”.  That is a tall claim by the 6’4″ Texan.

Consumer Reports recently completed a car for car comparison and could only recommend the $28,000 Chevy Malibu, the $38,000 Buick Lucerne, and the $48,000 Cadillac DTS, none of which earned best in class designation.

Speaking of the Chevy Malibu, you can buy a ’09 which gets 33 MPG HWY starting at $21,000 or the $25,000 hybrid version which gets 34 MPG HWY.  4 grand more  for 1 extra MPG. What a great deal!

Mr. Whitacre likes what he found, but I wonder if he has driven any of the cars.  At 6’4″ could he even get into the new Chevy Spark, Chevy Sparkwhich will be available in the U.S. in 2011?  By the way, Consumer Reports labels the Spark a standout in its new car preview section.  That said, if he could get into the Spark, Whitacre might find that his head hits the roof and his knees touch the steering wheel.  I think a little spark would go off in his brain and he’d say, “dang, this ain’t no Cadillac.”  I hear he’s a Cadillac man.  Good thang!

60 day $ back for GM – why not 60 weeks?

Chevy Camaro

I like Chevy’s.  I grew up with Chevys.  My parents bought Impalas in the 60’s and 70’s.  And in 78, my dad bought a Camaro, which became mine, and in 1981, my mom bought a 4 speed manual Chevy Vega.  The shifter was a little cranky and we had to practically stand up to get the clutch down, but I liked driving it.

Unfortunately, Chevy has gone downhill since the 80’s.  The only car in their lineup I would even consider buying today is a Malibu, but for the same price, I could drive home a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry.

So desperate is GM for new car sales, they are now offering a 60 day no questions asked money-back guarantee on new 2009 or 2010 cars.   If you don’t like your new car purchase within 60 days, bring it back for a full refund.

Here’s the problem.  60 days is not enough time for much to go wrong with a new car. If something were to go wrong, the car would be under warranty.  Instead of 60 days, GM should offer a 60 week guarantee.  Don’t like your car after a year or so, take it back for a full refund.   If you decide to keep it, get free routine maintenance for an additional year.  That would drum up sales… and probably sink the company.  What do I know?  I work for a non-profit.

McCurry wins epic battle over McDonald’s

McDonald’s sued McCurry, a fast food restaurant in Malaysia, for trademark infringement.   McCurry features Indian food and Malaysian staples such as  fish head curry in its one and only outlet in Kuala Lumpur.  A judge ruled that McDonald’s had no monopoly over the prefix Mc.  This reminds me of  McDowell’s in Eddie Murphy’s comic masterpiece, Coming to America.

The imperialistic McDonald’s corporation with 185 joints in Malaysia apparently feels threatened by a little competition from the locals.  Instead of bullying the competition I suggest McDonald’s look to adapt its menu to meet the local tastes.  Let’s see, for starters, how about curried french fries? And a filet-o-fish head sandwich with peanut sauce.  I might also suggest a 6 piece McNuggets variety pack – of  chicken, lamb, duck, goose, mutton and squid with a choice of sauces including peanut, chutney, mint, shrimp or chili paste.

The new slogan should be, “have it your way at…” no wait, that’s Burger King.  My bad.  Talk about fast food imperialism.  The British based junk food conglomerate no doubt would like to reclaim its empire.

9/11 coincidences twice in a day

Twin Towers in Blue

This date and those numbers haunt me.   At least once a week for the last 8 years, when I look at the clock, it reads 9:11.  And today, a guy at the subway station asked me for the time.  I don’t wear a watch, so I pulled out my cell phone, and it read 9:11.  I told him the time was 9:11, but almost said 9:12 because it spooked me so.  He looked stunned.  Twelve hours later, I looked at the time on my coffee maker – 9:11.  Only fitting that on 9/11, I experienced this coincidence, if that’s what it was, twice in one day. I don’t know what any of this means, but I do know that 9/11 has affected me in a deep way psychologically.

Today, I mourned the lives of those lost.  And I pray that we never see a day like it again, that the coincidence is just that, or a sign that by not forgetting the past, better days are to come.

Peace.

Twin Towers in 1984

Cell Phones are smart, but not solid

I might have been the last person of my age to adopt a cell phone.  Must have been 1998 or so.  I remember my wife insisted I have one, not to keep track of me, but so that I could call the authorities in case of an emergency.  I used to walk alone at night from the subway station home .  I thought it was reasonably safe to do so, but my wife kept reading reports of armed bandits on bicycles terrorizing the neighborhood.  I never saw them, but I had a cell phone just in case.

That phone was solid as a brick.  Actually, I could have protected myself better by using it as a weapon than by calling 911. I think my minutes came from a phone card – like 40 minutes a month for 10 bucks or something.

A few years later, I upgraded to a Sanyo.  Another solid phone that I clipped onto my belt as if it were a tape measure or cordless drill.   The pull out antennae came in handy as a pointer, a feature a teacher like me used to teach the finer points of English…and you could poke someone’s eye out with that thing.

After the Sanyo, came the LG flip, which was quite a trip.  That it flipped open was about the smartest feature on the phone, that and speed dial.   I could wear it on my belt, and flip it open with a quick Elvis snap of my hip like something you might see on Letterman’s stupid human tricks.

My cell phones

My cell phones

My current phone is the Samsung Instinct.  I’ve come to like it, but it’s fast becoming old school as smart phones go.  I’m in the market for another.   We have Sprint, so I’m looking for the smartest phone in their lineup.  Looks like it’ll be the PalmPre.  I’ve heard good things about it, but I checked it out at Best Buy and the thing is tiny, and made of cheap lightweight plastic.  Though I could probably buy a little holtser for it, it is definitely not a weapon.

Honolulu Would Ban Stinky Riders

In Honolulu, the city council will be voting on a bill to ban riders who stink.  Wait, how can they enforce this? Who are the odor police?  The bus drivers?  What if the bus driver forgets to apply deodorant.  Who drives the bus?  The scary thing is that there would be some wacko passenger who’d drive the bus if given the chance and probably do it about as well as the driver with BO.  I’ve often seen idling public buses in my city and have wondered what it would feel like to hop in and just drive the route as if I were an employee of the transit system.  I wonder if any of the regulars on the route would recognize me. Would they say anything?  The funny thing about riding regularly on an urban bus is that I see the same people on it everyday and I know a lot about them just by observation, though I have rarely spoken a word to any of them.  We are a community of riders who observe one another but pretend we don’t notice.  One kid passed some gas once whose mother asked him, “was that you?”, and he burst out in laughter.   What would have happened to him in Honolulu.

And what counts as malodorous?  What about cheap perfume and knockoff cologne?  That stuff reeks.  And certain sweetened hand creams suck the air right out of my lungs as if I’ve been attacked by a death eater from the world of Harry Potter.

And the fast food sack of burgers with supersized fries – that poison is seductively evil – pleasant to some, addictive to others but deadly to all.  Ban the burgs. Ban them along with their trans-fatty fried potato friends.

And ban the bad smelling buses.  There’s nothing like the faint smell of diesel in the morning.  Ironically, the low emission hybrid buses running on CNG smell horrible.  Hey Honolulu, ban green buses because they pass natural gas.

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Get on the Bus Honolulu…and ban the bastages.