Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

Thank the lord the debates and this damnable election are almost over. It’s no secret Bruce and I are from totally different political worlds. I, of course, am reasonable and willing to listen to the other side, if not necessarily capitulate. Bruce, on the other hand, is of the Attila the Hun school and believes in a scorched earth policy in virtually every negotiation. This is not to say he isn’t a warm, lovable, caring person. He is. But if you would try and determine our party affiliation from these descriptions, you would be wrong. Ah, dichotomy!

But as we anticipate the last debate, or if you’re reading this afterwards, there are too many subjects that the moderators (damnable in their own right) have not addressed. Our goal is to address them here because you know damn well no one else will. The gloves are off. Civility is left by the side of the road. Prepare yourselves. This is war.

         

Here are the questions the moderators are just to wussy to ask.

1. Why hasn’t anyone asked Obama the revealing question Clinton was asked: “Boxers or briefs?” We want to know. On the other hand, we already know what Romney favors.

2. Whatever happened to Romney’s dog Seamus?

3. Who decided that both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney wear pink at the last debate? This could be collusion at a very high level.

4. We know Obama loves basketball, but we don’t know anything about Romney’s likes or dislikes when it comes to team sports.

5. In the last campaign, Obama was chided for giving Michelle a “terrorist fist bump.” Why hasn’t anyone looked into his penchant for grabbing the other arm of the person he’s shaking hands with? Is this some secret code he uses?

6. Who dresses these guys? Their clothes look like they’re off the rack. Who ever wins should dress better if they’re going to play a part on the world stage.

7. What kind of cars do they drive? This could be very telling in light of the automotive bailout.

8. What was the first lie you ever told? Yeah, this may be a loaded question, but so what.

9. Shoe preference. Loafer or tie? Could be very revealing about their work ethic. Size could be a side issue.

10. Yankees or Mets? This is NY specific, but hey!

11. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Would be a good indication if they’re willing to take on the more difficult tasks of the job.

12. Peyton or Eli? Trick question. Extra credit: Giants or Jets?

13. St. Barts or Caymans? A revealing question.

14. What is your stance on the proposed pipeline from Elizabeth, NJ to Roanake, VA? What? You haven’t heard of this? Deduct major points on this one!

15. Will you go to Disneyland after you win?

If no one else is willing to ask the tough questions, we are. Always have, always will. Give us a call. Because, let’s face it – these aren’t any better or worse than the ones that will really be asked.

The Bruce and I were driving our vintage 1983 Pignasaurus back from the Concours d’Elegance. We were somewhat disappointed that our much beloved yet widely maligned “Pig” once again won no honors for its design and lineage. The Pignasaurus was an unlicensed, therefore illegitimate (read bastard of a car) version of the illustrious Italian classic Pignatelli.

                                                                                                                                                                                         The real Pignatelli. (autoweek.com)

We believe the Pignasaurus to be one of the finest examples of Romanian racing technology. Most people are unaware of that as it was kept secret under the paranoid Ceaucescu administration. It had its debut and subsequently final race (bursting into flames as the starter button was pushed) at the Bucharest Grand Prix one year after Ceaucescu’s involuntary decision to leave this mortal coil.

Ceaucescu in an early Pignasaurus sedan. (sv.wikipedia.org)

The “Pig” on the few occasions it was viewed by the western press, astounded all who fell under its thrall. Its porcine heritage was obvious by the fuel it consumed: pork fat. That being the primary food source in Romania at the time, there were often fuel shortages that the government played up to it’s own benefit. But when there was fuel, the “Pig” was in its glory, a true hog heaven. There isn’t a middle-aged Romanian who when they smell bacon, isn’t reminded of the fragrant exhaust of a vintage “Pig”.

Powered by the inestimable WildBoar V-3, (a uniquely Romanian design, characterized by the grunting sound upon starting), the “Pig” while not fast on level or inclined roads, more than held its own on most descents. With a unique 75%/18% weight distribution (the missing 7% being claimed as an intentional design feature), the snout-heavy “Pig” once rolling was nearly impossible to stop. This was exacerbated by the questionable design feature of being brakeless. Pignasaurus engineers claim it was to save weight which is also questionable since the frame was made of a state-of-the-art bonded composite consisting of two-ply Charmin and balsa wood. Corporate greed insisted they pursue this questionable design. But, that was not important to us as much as the sheer in-your-face presence it displayed.

An early “Pig” Prototype, not in Romanian racing colors. (clayzmama.com)

Available in only two colors, Romanian Racing Beige and Ceaucescu Fawn, and providing only few options allowed delivery on these wonders quickly. Most automobile archivists have extreme difficulty in discerning between these two colors. Seen in the proper light though, one can detect the early photo-chromic qualities of the Fawn version. Or it could just be the mildew coming through. As examples of these automobiles are increasingly scarce, no one is willing to examine them any closer than necessary for fear of damaging them. Mere exposure to air has been know to incapacitate them for weeks.

While there were few offered options, (door handles, gas and radiator caps, passenger seats to name a few), the after-market was enormous. If a part had a hole for a screw, clever owners found ingenious ways to work it into/onto (they were not very discriminating) the vehicle. One favorite add-on was the fin from a D-Type Jaguar racing car. Since the D-Types themselves were rare, yet another aftermarket arose for counterfeit Jaguar fins. The “Pig’s” design allowed for the curious placement of this only on the front of the already nose heavy car. Claiming it enhanced the aero-dynamics, owners couldn’t buy these fast enough. “Pig” owners are eccentric. Their pride exists as the owners of a rare and broadly perceived undesirable and undistinguished automobile. They are so wrong.

In 1973, during the height of the gas crisis, Tazio Schmitt won the Pike’s Peak Downhill Grand Prix race owing to the “Pig’s” malevolently placed center of gravity. Not for the faint of heart, Schmitt crossed the finish line at an unbelievable speed only to die tragically because of the aforementioned brakeless design of the car. Shortly afterwards, Pignasaurus’s were forever banned from downhill racing.

The Pignasaurus final downhill race. (nextgn.com)

That said, one can occasionally spot a “Pig” driving in a VFW Memorial Day parade followed by a bunch of Shriners on little go-carts – an ignominious declaration on an otherwise overlooked classic.

Even with this history, Bruce and I will never give up our “Pig.” We love it way too much. All our children beg us to get rid of it, but we know they would then fight each other tooth and nail to get their grubby little hands on it. It deserves so much better than that.

Any offers?

People’s behavior never ceases to amaze us. Of course, our behavior is perfect and beyond reproach which gives us the right to comment on theirs and perhaps even yours. Glass houses? Feh!  So, we’re going to muse a little about what you’ve been up to. Not you literally, although you might recognize some abhorrent behavior you’re guilty of, but that of people who you would never consider as friends.

Why in hell do people have vanity license plates? Is it because they want to display what they believe is their cleverness? Doubtful – the plates seldom are clever. Sometimes they approach almost cute, but who needs cute? Is it to put one over on the DMV? Oh, come on now! That’s like shooting fish in a barrel or just going for the low-hanging fruit on a terminally diseased fruit tree. The DMV will never be known for hiring the next Stephen Hawking. The literacy rate there explains why Denny’s is so popular. They can go in, not be able to read a menu, but just point to their food selection. Low hanging fruit indeed!

Of those who cherish the low creativity of license plates prose, the best we can determine is that they were sent to high priced boarding schools,  not hugged enough as children, never got the puppy they wanted, and crave all the undeserved attention they can get. But it is, like puns, the bottom rung of creativity and cheap. Pay your extra fee once a year and the laughs ensue all year long. Come on now, again!

Of course, these enlightened individuals don’t realize how identifiable they’ve become. Cops will notice that plate pretty damn fast. So will your spouse if she sees your car at the Pussycat Lounge. We know why you’re there, but try explaining it to your significant other. She is not going to buy it. You had to be cute with the license plate. Smart move buddy!

Why would you ever answer an ad on Craig’s List? Oh, looking for tools? Riiight – let’s face it, the only tool here is you. Hold it… why are you even looking at Craig’s List? Are you looking for the address of the Pussycat Lounge? Some people never learn!

Why in hell do people watch shows like “American Idol”? To feel superior? Low hanging fruit again, friend! There’s plenty of intellectually and artistically challenged people in the political arena. You probably vote for them too! Now we know who watches that damnable show and its’ demon spawn! Want to know why this country is falling behind in literacy rates? No, no, you don’t have to answer that. The fact that you are reading this is an indication of your towering intellect and impeccable good taste.

See? This is what we’re talking about. Excuse me, is that your car with the GR8LVR license plate? Oh, come on now! Did you really do that?! We’re taking you off our list right now!

The State of New Jersey.

What is it about New Jersey that commands such ridicule? Is it the mob life as depicted in The Sopranos or the lesser and incredibly appalling Mob Wives that fuels the national ridicule? Is it the peculiar cuisine defying description? How about its accent? Yes it’s all that but largely it’s New Jersey! Currently, television with it’s Jersey preoccupation is starting to resemble a Jersey mall with all the options that entails. In no particular order, there is the late, lamented Sopranos; Jerseylicious, Cake Boss, Jersey Shore; Glam Fairy; The Real Housewives of New Jersey; Boardwalk Empire; House; Jersey Couture; and really, many more.

It’s there, in the dark, hanging on only by it’s fingertips to the side of New York for dear life, hoping for some glamor and fame to rub off. It’s girls named Dawn, with outrageously teased hair and large jewelry driving around in their Camaros looking for the latest from Hot Topic or whatever else is being hawked at the one of the countless malls in New Jersey. It’s wife-beater shirts being considered appropriate attire for most anywhere, especially the mall.

The State Car of New Jersey.

You have to understand: as soccer is the largest sport in the world, shopping is its equivalent in New Jersey. And as in any sport, there are different levels of proficiency and ability. There are amateurs and there are pros. The amateurs have only a couple of credit cards and none of them are of the gold/platinum/sapphire/unobtainium variety. No, those are for professionals only. (Do not try these shopping stunts at home. You WILL hurt yourself!)

Pros also have charge cards from all the individual stores they stalk. A hugely fat, bulging card wallet is a sure-fire sign of experience, success, (and impending credit default, but that’s for another entry). Shopping in New Jersey reaches Olympic dimensions and should probably have its own event in the summer games. Winter games though might be better because they would involve Christmas and its myriad sales. We’ll bring this up before the committee.

One of the Olympic size shopping stadiums in NJ.

So what do Jerseyans buy? Anything from Pier One for starters, but that’s probably a tie between them and IKEA; all discount electronic and/or appliance stores on major highways with large signs in the windows; and finally anything from a store in Paramus with a “Going Out Of Business” sign on it; don’t laugh, that accounts for at least 25% of all retail businesses in NJ. Incidentally, “Going Out Of Business” is also a major sport in NJ.

What do Jerseyans sound like? It’s a nasal wannabee NYC dialect that sounds like the speaker is chewing gum whether or not they are. Just watch an episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and you’ll get the idea. You”ll also get a preview of how Jerseyans decorate their homes. It’s like the visual equivalent of a nasal dialect that sounds like the speaker…. well, you get the idea.

New Jersey has so much to offer and so much to write about. Trust us to keep you in the loop for all things Jersey.

Mustangs by Maybelline.

Posted: March 23, 2012 in Cars, Humor
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OK, we know a lot of us like our cars a lot. Some even love them. There are probably innumerable studies on the phenomenon but it’s a car damn it! Get over it.

(Courtesy Autoshopper)

It starts out harmlessly enough. You get a new car and you name it. Oh, that’s harmless and cute you think. If you would believe this then you would be so wrong that immediate help should be found now, if not sooner. Because, you see, you’ve just taken your first step on the very slippery slope of auto-erotic personification disorder or AEPO.

Medical societies will not discuss this, but they realize is a genuine affliction. All too often the physicians themselves suffer from this and like any other junkie, refuse to admit they have a problem. “It’s just a car.” they tell their family, By then it’s too late. The truth of the matter is that this won’t get the attention it requires, much less a foundation or a telethon, until the insurance companies recognize it exists. Don’t expect that to happen. Have you seen the cars THEY drive? It’s an invisible epidemic and one that Detroit hopes goes on forever.

AEPO is characterized by similar and increasingly alarming modes of behavior. Naming the car is the first step. It then increases invisibly and insidiously. Keeping one’s car fastidiously clean is a definite symptom. Talking to it while driving and you may as well check yourself into the foam room at your neighborhood asylum.

There are other manifestations. Some people suffer from seasonal AEPO or S-AEPO. This is usually characterized by the attachment of bows or wreaths to the front of cars around the holidays. It seems to harmlessly abate after the first of the new year, but it is chronic and will return. Even for this, help is necessary. Don’t even overlook the innocuous air fresheners your loved ones use. This is a small but serious cry for help as well.

Added-on adornments such as chrome exhaust tips; decals; horns/antlers (again S-AEPO); roof flags displaying your team preference (grow up already!) are an outward indication of arrested development AEPO or AD-AEPO. So are fat racing stripes as typically seen on street level Mustangs. Possibly the worst manifestation of this, if not the most egregious in bad taste, is the pair of plastic eye-lashes attached to the offending cars headlights. Cute? Think again.

(Kugli) Really? Really?!

Maybelline does not do cars and neither should you! Leave it to the pros like Yugo or Edsel. As this is a somewhat newly diagnosed disorder, there are likely more but undiagnosed variations on this. Keep up your subscription to the New England Journal of Wack-Jobs for updates.

There are treatments for AEPO; they’re not cheap, can be tremendously upsetting to your status quo, and they involve some heavy-duty behavior modification. Often times, this treatment will lead to being socially outcast by those you believed were friends. Hah! You will be forced to, metaphorically and sometimes for real, rub elbows with those who at one time you thought were beneath you. Are you ready because if you’re not, don’t waste our time. We’re only trying to help you.

All treatment begins by admitting there is a problem. This is not a fuzzy-wuzzy, touchy-feely treatment; nor is it a “let’s work through this” 12 step program. This is the real thing – cold as hell turkey.  So, you’ve gotten in front of a mirror and confronted yourself. You can now openly admit you’re screwed up. You’re ready to take the first step.

The first step is harsh matched only in severity by the second step. The first step is to get rid of your car. That’s right – lose it! The sooner you relieve yourself of the offending entity, the sooner you start on the long rough road to recovery. You may slip back and rent or borrow a car for that imagined fix of “freedom”. It happens, don’t distress, Stay strong because the next step is the hardest.

The second step is public transportation. Inconvenient? Possibly but think of the alternatives. We admit there may be times one has to sit near an undesirable passenger, but mercy and grace should be shown. Why? This is the dirty little secret: everyone of them, without exception is recovering from AEPO – just like you!

Alcohol can make you do things you would never consider when sober or at least not under the influence of some mid-altering substance and that includes love.

However, and this is a very big however, is that when under the influence (UTI for this discussion, although in looking at it, that is the same acronym for urinary tract infection – an equally uncomfortable state of being) country music starts to make sense. All the heartbreak, the missing dogs,  stolen guns, and blown-up pickup trucks are real. The wife/girlfriend/lover/best friend/partner, whatever are all real as well.

This is what heartbreak looks like.

This is something with which we can all identify. C’mon – you know you agree. The music even sounds good and meaningful. Ehh, maybe there was too much to drink after all.

The truth, however distorted by alcohol (or love for that matter) is there. Through the substance induced haze, one can find real meaning in this music. We’re on the road to hell now! All that remains now is to start using chewing tobacco (“just a little pinch between the cheek and the gums” the ad says)… a thought that at this stage is not without some charms, but none that be explained without any amount of lucidity.

Heartbreak, deceit, perfidy, (Class, today is being brought to you by the word perfidy), all have meaning and truth at this time. If a child were to be born tonight, it undoubtedly would be named Garth or Shania.

What then when sober, is the attraction of country music? Twanging steel guitars (perfected when young on back porches and pickup truck beds ); nasally singers (not from the Bronx); and rampant testosterone, flowing from amplifiers pleading, begging for some sort of low-rent salvation, and finally the love of a good “NASCAR” woman are just a few of the many the elements of this “art-form.” And don’t forget, there is also a don’t-get-in-my-face attitude as well. Independence is important here.

Don’t get in my face, y’hear? (Courtesy Guanabee)

“In vino veritas.” In Drambuie veritas! In beer veritas, we say! Drink enough and the truth shall appear. And it will set you free. Or some such semblance thereof. But, is this behavior true? Only to the extent it removes whatever moral boundaries we set to prevent us from acting like total fools. Karaoke is an example of this. Do not drink and think you sound like Billy Joel. Oh, you’ll drive like him alright, but you will not sound like him. Ever. And Christie Brinkley will never, ever go out with you. Hell, the Dixie Chicks won’t go out with you either!

So, sober up and be grateful that you couldn’t order anything from Amazon while in this state. The last thing you need is the Greatest Hits of the Oak Ridge Boys. Because quite frankly, they won’t go out with you either!

They really won’t go out with you. (Courtesy The Boot)

In 1988, Oldsmobile, the late and properly unlamented automobile, introduced the tagline “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile” thus sealing their fate indelibly as your father’s Oldsmobile.

They could usually be found gathering (sort of like pack animals) at potluck dinners everywhere; Kiwanis meetings; VFW parades; bowling alleys; urology clinics; all the places where fathers could be found while hiding from Mom or the kids. Too late to that party came Olds’ realization. They were toast. Remember, if you can, they say the mind is the first thing to go. Then the driver’s license.

But Olds is gone. One might think that now without such an automobile still slowly oozing down the highways, such as the aforementioned Kiwanian parades, traffic would finally move more efficiently.

No, no, no, no, no! It has been replaced by, drumroll please…the Buick, usually of the LeSabre or Electra 225 persuasion. True that. Try this test. When in a slowly moving clump of traffic, find a way to get through and spot the culprit. Aha! It is a Buick. Probably driven by a disgruntled former Oldsmobile owner who misses their dear Rocket 88.

Pull up next to one at a traffic light and see what happens when it changes. You and like-minded traffic will proceed accordingly, but the Buick driver will still be wondering whether or not they took their Metamucil this morning. Certainly their driving will reflect that indeed they did not.

And in a reverse version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray, while all those imported cars are still holding their looks and value, the Buicks in somewhat of a testament to their peculiar longevity (in a psychic attic all their own) seem to be aging before our eyes yet they gamely soldier on.

So your father’s Oldsmobile is no longer. Fear not, it’s been replaced by your mother’s Buick. I can see it now, the new advertising campaign for Buick: “This is not your mother’s Buick.” And were it not for Buick’s amazing popularity in China, it too would probably follow the Oldsmobile into the great car crusher in the sky only to be returned to us in the form of some useless metal tschotke from… China.