Wednesday May 31, 2006
Driving To Church: Tuesday was sunny, so I took the Plymouth for a run to the Church of Lowe's - so named because at 9:30 am on any Sunday morning there are more vehicles parked at Lowe's than at any church in this area.
I don't own a truck, so I often use my '39 business coupe - with its cavernous trunk - as a truck-substitute. The car is, therefore, very familiar with Lowe's parking lot.
Fond Ford Memories: James Lileks has a friend who now drives a 1956 Ford Customline Country Sedan (station wagon). Seeing the photos brought back memories. The first car I ever piloted while learning to drive was my dad's '56 Ford Mainline Tudor sedan.
Car Sighting: Spotted a first-generation Mazda RX-7 last week. This silvery-blue example was in so-so condition but the wear and tear couldn't hide the simple, clean appeal of the design. The RX-7 was first introduced in the U.S. in the Spring of '78 as a 1979 model and was produced through '82.
Other RX-7s followed but style-wise, I think the first generation was the best.
Our Overlords Seek More Power: Ya know, I'm not especially upset about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accepting free boxing tickets. What's unsettling is the idea of creating yet another federal bureaucracy to oversee the "sport" of boxing. And using my tax dollars to do so.
Tuesday May 30, 2006
A Great Weekend: We left on Friday morning on a trek to a Lincoln Club Meet in Central Oregon. We encountered rain, sleet, snow and a gigantic hailstorm along the way but, by the time we got to our destination in Sisters, OR, the sun was shining. We had a good time and even got to see our old '96 Continental, now owned by another club member.
Most people had to drive a fairly long way to get here - either from Portland or Seattle - so I didn't expect to see any really old Lincolns. Instead, we saw a lot of non-Lincolns.
Ten years ago, many of the club members who owned older Lincolns would also own a new or nearly-new example to drive on long trips. This was a good deal for FoMoCo; it gave them a built-in market for new Lincolns. Not any more, though. I think FoMoCo's withdrawal of financial support for the national Lincoln club and their unappealing product offerings of late have driven people to other brands for their daily drivers.
What was the most popular car at our Lincoln event this year? Ummmm ... the Toyota Avalon. We drove our '05 Avalon Limited (and got 29.5 mpg on the trip over the mountains); another member was showing off his brand-spankin' new '06 Avalon XLS.
The club toured the Redmond-Bend-Sisters area, visiting many well-known spots, including the High Desert Museum. I hadn't been there since 1989 and the museum has greatly expanded since then. It is now a very interesting and informative place. If your travels ever take you to Bend, put it on your must-see list.
My wife and I stopped at a wine-tasting establishment in Sisters and ended up buying half a case, including several bottles of 'Velvet Ass Rose' - a dry rosé made in The Dalles, Oregon and supposedly named after a local brothel owner from the 19th Century.
There was a large car event at the nearby Eagle Crest Resort. The Goat Herd GTO Club of Oregon was having its annual Pontiac GTO meet. I saw some very nice examples on the road, many driven - some on trailers. Seeing them brought back memories.
Mike Stevenson, my very good college friend (now deceased), was presented with a new '65 GTO convertible by his parents as a college graduation present. It had a four-speed manual tranny and was painted in a DSO color - that slightly-metallic, British Racing Green color used for the '65 Buick Riviera. The GTO had a light tan top. His girlfriend-of-the-period presented him with Hooker headers for his new Goat. Later in life, he regretted selling that car and, as a wealthy forty-something, hired a restoration company to recreate his dream.
I hope Mike's now driving the original somewhere in the Great Beyond.
On Monday, we left for home under cold but sunny Central Oregon skies. It was so clear that every mountain was visible, including Black Butte, Three Sisters, Three-Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood and even Mount Adams in Washington.
We saw lots of police cars pulling over speeders. Not us, though. I drove at 6 mph over the limit and used the cruise control to control myself. We were getting passed left and right by folks in a big hurry. Some got a big surprise a bit later.
We had a great weekend - swell car people, great conversations about cars, too.
Friday May 26, 2006
I Don't Know Why ... but James Lileks has purchased a Honda Element. In green ... ummmm ... Kiwi Metallic. It's not my choice of vehicle (or color) but, if it works for him, that's fine with me. And Honda makes very reliable machines.
School's Almost Over: Thank God. We live a mile from a bus barn. Well, they call it that but there's no 'barn', actually. Just a fenced asphalt lot where school buses are parked. (Yes, it's better than living near a halfway house for convicted sex offenders. Or a Bessemer converter. Or a hog-rendering plant. But I'm not presently in the mood to "count my blessings", thank you very much.)
We get parades of yellow buses on our roads all day long. I hate them. Especially when they stop at railroad crossings.
Coming home from Portland or Vancouver, I must cross the tracks of the Columbia Basin Railroad at least three times. This small railroad runs one lone train per week; the train travels at 5-10 miles-per-hour. Five years ago, every one of the three crossings had drop gates installed to meet a newly-enacted federal requirement. Yet every #%&* school bus still stops at every #%&* crossing because of some stupid-ass law passed in 1912 or thereabouts. And, empty or not, they remain stopped for 10-20 seconds as traffic piles up and frustrations mount.
It is a waste of time and it is not saving any lives. It just pisses off the poor souls stuck behind those huge, yellow tortoises as they spew out dense clouds of filthy, set-the-earth-on-fire, noxious diesel fumes.
I'm sick and tired of this crap and I'm thinking of running for President in 2008 with one lone item on my platform - the elimination of this moronic school bus law. I think there are enough other people who are angry about the Great Yellow Tyranny that I might actually get elected.
Overpriced Sandwich: Jeremy Clarkson weighs in on the sold-in-Europe-only Cadillac BLS: "You will certainly be more tempted to have a look at the new Cadillac BLS. This does at least look interesting and it does appear to have been named after a sandwich. Don't be fooled, however, because although it's designed and built by Saab, in Europe, it is one of the stupidest cars on the market. The ride is hysterically awful, the steering is preposterous, there's no space and if you do some simple sums with the price, you find it's not that cheap either."
Answer To The Question That No One Has Asked: Yes, I carried a towel around yesterday.
I've Been Telling People This For 16 Years ... but it takes a philosopher stating it to get people's attention. "The Simpsons is more than a funny cartoon, it reveals truths about human nature that rival the observations of great philosophers from Plato to Kant... while Homer sets his house on fire," says philosopher Julian Baggini in BBC Magazine.
"It is, quite simply, one of the greatest cultural artefacts of our age. So great, in fact, that it not only reflects and plays with philosophical ideas, it actually does real philosophy, and does it well."
Thursday May 25, 2006
Automotive Euthanasia: Jerry Flint looks at all the models FoMoCo has killed off recently - or will soon kill off - and wonders, "Is it any wonder the company's in trouble?"
It's is interesting to me that the Lincoln LS was allowed to wither and die while it's platform soulmate, the S-Type Jaguar has been steadily improved and will receive a substantial style revamp next year.
Flint points out that "the Thunderbird and the Lincoln LS are examples are cars that came out with great fanfare, were hits initially, but faded because of ineptitude at the company level. Ford just failed to improve the cars or correct the problems, and when the going got tough, Ford turned quitter."
Shut Up About Brazil: Politicians, pundits and others have written about Brazil's extensive use of ethanol as a fuel for vehicles. And moaned, "Why can't we do this? We're the most advanced country in the world, etc., etc." ... ad nauseam. Here's why. Brazil has a different climate than we do. It's warmer there. The Equator passes right through the country.
In Brazil, farmlands yield three harvests of sugar cane per year - more sunlight and higher temperatures positively influence growth rates and crop yields. And sugar cane processes more efficiently into ethanol than does the corn we use. Brazil's geographic mass center is about 10 degrees from the Equator; the geographic mass center of the US is about 40 degrees from the Equator. See the difference?
By the way, Iowa is the top corn-producing state in the nation. It's not exactly a Southern state, is it? Iowa supplies 25% of the total U.S. ethanol production.
Conclusion: You want us to be a leader in ethanol? Pray for more global warming.
Movie Reviews: 'Zathura: A Space Adventure' (2005) recently came out on DVD. A kid finds an old board game in the basement of the family home. The game is a tin wind-up contraption and a work of authentically-aged kitsch art. Suddenly, the family of children becomes in the game as the it takes over their universe and their house is transported to outer space. The brothers eventually surmise that the only way to return home is to finish the game. However, with every game move, new dangers and challenges arise. A cool, watchable movie with lots of action and special effects.
'The Man Who Wasn't There' (2001) stars Billy Bob Thornton, James Gandolfini and Frances McDormand. I saw it on television last week. It is one of those quirky Coen Brothers' films. But, unlike 'Miller's Crossing' or 'Fargo', it is banal, very slow-paced, depressing and boring. The story line follows a chain-smoking barber who blackmails his wife's boss (her lover) for money to invest in a dry cleaning business, but his plan goes terribly awry. The story is set Santa Rosa, California in the late 1940s and the entire movie is shot in black and white. There are many attempts to capture the cinematographic effects of 'Citizen Kane' but the exaggerated shadows and odd camera angles quickly become a tedious parody rather than an homage. (permalink)
Telltale Indicator: Small businesses are the canaries in the economic coal mine of any nation. And things are looking up in Iraq. The "level of activity by small and medium size businesses. In the past, he says, whenever things have gone downhill in Iraq, large numbers of such enterprises have simply shut down. Since liberation, however, the private sector is booming. ... the IMF and World Bank have found the Iraqi economy to be outperforming all others in the region."
Quote Of The Day is from James Lileks: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
Tuesday May 23, 2006
Ominous Sign: Robert Farago notes that General Motors has engaged the services of Jay Alix. "Jay Alix of AlixPartners is what Reuters called a 'distressed company financial advisor.' No, he's not an anxious number cruncher; Alix' firm helps companies into, through and, sometimes, out of bankruptcy. We're not talking about your local car dealership, Oriental rug dealer or electronics chain store.
AlixPartners has applied its consultancy skills to some of America's largest corporate meltdowns: Kmart, auto-parts maker Dana, the trading firm Refco and ... Enron. If that last name doesn't trigger some alarm bells, AlixPartners was also hired by WorldCom, whose $11b accounting scandal earned CEO Bernard Ebbers a 25-year jail sentence and his company the title 'world's largest bankruptcy.'"
Chomp: I like the Honda Fit 'Frisky Predator' television commercial where it devours a large SUV. Watch for it; you'll like it too.
Ka-Boom! They blew up the Trojan nuclear plant cooling tower on Sunday - it's about 20 air miles from where we live. I watched it live on television. It only took about 15 seconds.
Ka-Boom! (Part II) On Monday, we blew up our kitchen. It only took about four hours.
Our contractor showed up with a wrecking crew and tore out our old kitchen. We've moved all furniture to other rooms and will be dining off paper plates for the next six weeks or so. And consuming food which is either microwaved or toaster-ovened. Or grilled outdoors. Or we'll dine out. (For the record, we went to Leonardo's in Battle Ground on Monday evening and had a garlic & cheese pizza accompanied by a liter of house Merlot. It was both excellent and numbing.)
We've been planning this for some time. Over the past several months, we've interviewed contractors, selected cabinet wood and countertop materials, picked out sinks, faucets, tile, etc. and done sketches of various configurations. We also visited appliance dealers, purchasing genuine 'Amuricun' products - we don't want to get stuck with any of that low-grade Eastern European dreck - 19-prong, 376-volt units that require adapters, transformers and rectifiers or have exterior cases of rough-hewn asbestos. And offer operating instructions in Cyrillic.
Our old kitchen was nice but getting long in the tooth. Built-in appliances were dying and the great American Appliance Cabal has conspired to only offer replacements in sizes which will not fit in the old holes. (Where the hell is that trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt when you really need him?)
Of course, the real estate experts have said that "you just can't sell a house with an old kitchen." So we're getting a new one. Even though we have no plans to sell our house anytime soon. And, by the time we're ready to sell, our 'new' kitchen will have become 'old' and "you just can't sell a house with an old kitchen", so we'll be screwed. Again.
Therefore, we'll work hard to beat-the-hell out of this new kitchen - senselessly melting candles and cheap polyethylene toys in the new-and-improved microwave, roasting unspeakable things in our new built-in oven, working our new stainless-steel refrigerator - now with an automatic icemaker - to an early death by banging out ice cubes night and day to hurl at golfers who set foot on our property in search of errant balls. (I've run out of D-cell batteries.) And pouring Mazola oil on our new seam-free 'Nottingham' Cambria quartz countertop so we can play Slip-n-Slide naked every evening.
Ka-Boom! (Part III) Workers at a British factory making French fries were evacuated two days running last week after bomb parts turned up in potatoes imported from France and Belgium, the site of battles in World War I & II. The Scarborough plant, owned by Canada's McCain Foods - the world's largest producer of frozen fries, was emptied after a worker spotted a shell tip among the potatoes as they were being cleaned for slicing.
Later, an entire hand grenade was discovered in the potatoes and the plant in northern England was evacuated again. "The army took the device away and blew it up in a controlled explosion in a field nearby," a police spokeswoman said.
Illegal Immigration - A Simple Solution: My five-step program:
1. Build a tall, thick concrete wall along the U.S./Mexico border. Get the blueprints from the Israelis. Or some old drawings from aging East German Bolsheviks. Use those captured illegal aliens as laborers for the project.
2. Patrol the newly-walled border with flying robot drones equipped with death lasers.
3. Since we don't have the technology to produce the most cost-effective laser-equipped robot drones, have them made in Japan. To help stabilize our balance of trade, pay the Japanese with American-made Chevrolet Cobalts rather than dollars. The Cobalt is assembled in Lordstown, OH where the Vega and Cavalier models were produced.
Since Japanese still have bad memories of those right-hand drive Chevy Cavaliers we sold them ten years ago, give the export version of the Cobalt a new model name. I suggest using whatever the Japanese word is for 'So Sorry About Previous Crap'.
4. Hired unemployed teenage slacker gamers to operate the drones from remote locations throughout the U.S. This will lower our unemployment rate in numerous locations. And operating a game console is a job Americans are still willing to do.
5. If we catch anyone trying to sneak into America a second time, immediately ship them on a container vessel headed to China. What the hell, those things are going back mostly empty anyway, so it probably won't cost much and the Chinese are always on the lookout for cheap labor to make more crap for Wal-Mart.
Have the Chinese remit to the U.S. government the standard 'snakehead' finder's fee of $7,000 per person. This will help our trade deficit and reduce the national debt. If the Chinese balk, threaten them with tariffs. That's something we should do more often anyway ... 'most favored nation', my ass. By the way, I call this part of my program 'Two Strikes And You're In Guangdong'.
I-Heart-Mexicans: The above is not meant to be anti-Mexican. It's anti-Illegals, which is a completely different issue. Legal Mexican immigrants are a welcome addition to this country. They offer a rich culture, good work ethic and beautiful, curvaceous women who add sparkle to our breeding pool. (If you don't believe this, watch Univision for an hour.) Mexico offers much better and more flavorful foods than most of the Northern Europeans - you haven't seen anyone create a chain of Irish-themed 'Boxty Bell' fast food restaurants, have you?
And, most Mexicans quickly learn English and teach their children to speak it flawlessly. They readily assimilate and contribute much to the great country that is America. (permalink)
The Da Vinci Toad: (I shamelessly stole this title from Doug Giles.) Rolling Stone says the 'Da Vinci Code' is a dud - "a dreary, droning, dull-witted adaptation." The Cannes Film Festival Eurotrash hated it. Some called the movie slow and grim, while others laughed at what is supposed to be a dramatic climax.
Meanwhile, the much-maligned Opus Dei folks are praying for souls of the participants. Hmmmm. How come the Muslims didn't pray for those cartoonists last month?
I don't want to spend any more time on this DVC subject. Every time the word 'Gnostic' comes to my mind, I think 'Gnocchi' and start to salivate.
Joke Of The Day: A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, he had to take an eyesight test. The optician showed him a card with the letters: 'C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.'
"Can you read this?" the optician asked. "Read it?!" the applicant replied, "Hell, I know that guy!"
Friday May 19, 2006
Car Clubs: Jeremy Clarkson writes, "I loathe, with a furious passion, all car clubs. The notion that you're going to get on with someone because he also has a Mini is preposterous. Clubs are for people who can't get friends in the conventional way. They're for bores and murderers."
The problem with Clarkson is he's nuts. Politically nuts. Nuts as a social commentator and nuts in many other ways. But sometimes he's entertaining.
For instance, in a recent Top Gear episode he raced a Chevy Corvette Z06 against a strip of flaming gasoline - the 'Vette won - and left a metric tonne of rubber on the racetrack. Very clever. And humorous. And nutty.
But he's wrong and unfunny when he disses car clubs. In my lifetime, I've belonged to five different car clubs. I've met a lot of nice people in these clubs. And the occasional jerk. But, far more nice people - statistically - than you'd meet on the street. Or at a mall. Or at work.
Lest you think that the British are somehow different, I once met some folks who were having a Ford Cortina Mark II meet. My wife and I were at the Tram Museum at Crich - a very nice but obscure and off-the-beaten-path museum in Derbyshire - when we saw a bunch of very shiny cars on a hill in the picnic area. And a large banner which read 'Mark II Motoring Club'. The car owners were very gracious to us and patiently explained details of the various models of Ford Marks.
The Cortina was what we Americans called an English Ford. These cars were considered full-sized family models in their homeland but they were smaller than an American Ford Falcon of the period. Cortinas were imported to the U.S. and sold by selected Ford dealers in the 1960s. The Mark II model was produced from 1966 through 1970. A Lotus performance version was offered; this is the most collectable vehicle of the bunch.
The Mark II car club was taken aback when I mentioned that I owned a Mark II made by Ford. Of course, I was referring a Continental Mark II which weighed two-and-a-half times as much as a Cortina. Most of the club members were unfamiliar with the car. I showed them a lapel pin in the shape of a Mark II and described the car as a custom-bodied Lincoln and they seemed to "get it" and asked me a lot of questions. They were very curious about American Ford products. Nice, friendly chaps.
If you ever visit the Derbyshire area, check out that tram museum - it's pretty cool. The place has operational trackage and overhead wires, so you can ride the trolley cars during your visit. Maybe you'll get lucky and run into a car club function there.
In any case, don't believe everything you read by Mr. Clarkson. (permalink)
Damning Statistics: This is from an article in the Detroit Free Press: "Sheldon Sandler, founder of Bel Air Partners, a New Jersey financial consulting firm specializing in auto retailing, said the priciest of the major dealerships to acquire now is Lexus, which commands a premium of six to 10 times annual profits, in addition to its property. BMW and Mercedes come next, followed by Honda and Toyota, at multiples of four times profits.
Cadillac, Chevrolet and Chrysler stores command premiums of two to 3 1/2 times annual earnings, but Pontiac, Ford, Buick and Lincoln Mercury dealers are sometimes worth no more than the value of the real estate they occupy, Sandler said."
Let The Drilling Begin: Frank H. Murkowski, the governor of Alaska, writes: "Based on federal government estimates, we believe there is sufficient oil at ANWR to provide an additional million barrels per day to the TAPS pipeline - and to the West Coast - for up to 30 years.
It is clearly in the best interest of the nation, and particularly for the energy security of the West Coast, that ANWR be opened to exploration and development as Congress intended."
A Century Of Progress: This comes courtesy of Walter E. Williams: "Over the course of the 20th century, life expectancy increased by 30 years; annual deaths from major killer diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, typhoid, whooping cough and pneumonia fell from 700 to fewer than 50 per 100,000 of the population; agricultural workers fell from 41 to 2.5% of the workforce; household auto ownership rose from one to 91%; household electrification rose from 8 to 99%; controlling for inflation, household assets rose from $6 trillion to $41 trillion between 1945 and 1998."
Everything Is Deadly: John Stossel writes: "For years, reporters have been alerting America to one scare after another. Chemicals, cell phones, SARS - everything is going to kill us. You would think by now we'd be doing nothing but digging graves.
Instead, Americans are living longer than ever. Not that you'd ever know that from the mainstream media."
Several months ago, I took a sip of bottled water while in a meeting. The water was in the original container made of the same clear PET plastic that is used for all such beverage bottles. This attracted the attention of a middle-aged know-it-all woman who exclaimed, "Surely you're aware that those plastic water bottles leach toxic chemicals that cause cancer?" I asked, "Based on what data?" The reply: "Well, everybody knows ..." I responded with, "Will all those in the room with 30-plus years experience in the plastics industry please raise their hands?" - as I lifted mine skyward.
"And will everyone else shut up." And she did.
Travel Tip: When making reservations for hotel accommodations and they ask, "Two Queens?", just answer, "Actually, we're a heterosexual couple."
Quote Of The Day is from The Simpsons' Professor Frink: "Elementary chaos theory tells us that all robots will eventually turn against their masters and run amok in an orgy of blood and kicking and the biting with the metal teeth and the hurting and shoving."
Thursday May 18, 2006
Sunshine ... always brings out the coolest cars. It's been sunny and in the 80s all week. Except for Monday, when the temperature hit 94 degrees.
Saw a 1953 Packard Clipper Deluxe sedan on the road in Brush Prairie, WA. It was a handsome black beauty. A young man was piloting it - maybe there's still hope for the old car hobby. Spotted a sweet tomato red '40 Ford coupe exiting I-5 in North Portland.
Speaking of North Portland, the old 'Eat Now At Waddles' sign and clock now reads 'Eat Now At Hooters'. Orange-covered jiggly tits have arrived in the Pacific Northwest. I also saw a 1937 Chevrolet coupe in an unflattering brown color trundling down the road toward me in Ridgefield, WA.
Today is the 26th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. You wouldn't know it by looking, though. The mountain is beautiful, snow-covered and peacefully silent - as I type this. There's not even a steam cloud over it. (I just looked.)
The Freedom Car - Another example of Your Tax Dollars At Waste. Excerpt: "The coalition of the then Big Three automakers (USCAR), 7 government agencies and 19 national laboratories was set up to, "Build a car with up to 80 miles per gallon at the level of performance, utility and cost of ownership that today's consumers demand." Easy, like peeling a turtle.
The program started in 1993 during the Clinton administration. Prototypes were to be developed by 2004 and be in consumers' driveways a few years later. If you are making plans to order your new wonder car, you might want to hold off."
Ethanol Is Corny ... but it's not an answer to America's oil crisis. In gasoline, it causes as many problems as it solves.
Excerpt: "With the government forcing Americans to use ethanol and eliminating its only real rival (MBTE), prices for ethanol, of course, went up - to the point that it now costs more than gasoline."
Democrats And Republicans Should Read This: Paul Johnson wonders about organized political parties: "How badly do we need political parties? Because certainly the moral cost of having them is high - and rising. ...
George Washington addressed the problem of political parties 200 years ago in his Farewell Address. He conceded, grudgingly, that it is "probably true" that, "within certain limits" political "parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty." But he added that party spirit was "not to be encouraged." He thought "there will always be enough of [it] for every salutary purpose." As there was "constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it.""
Both parties - Democrats and Republicans - are losing constituents. Conservatives are angry with the GOP; liberal Democrats aren't happy with the Democratic Party. Maybe it's time to gut both and start over. Whigs, anyone?
Persian Pen Pal: David Frum writes: "The Wall Street Journal compares the letter from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an epistle from the Unabomber. Not so! The Unabomber was more intelligent and philosophically sophisticated by far."
Meanwhile, James Lileks offers a hilarious translation. It begins, "Dear Infidel Crusader Zionist sock-puppet Saudi-lackey despoiler of Mesopotamia woman-touching pigdog fiendish (293 words excised) Shah-licking son of a toad's offal ...."
Best Commentary Of The Week is from the Horsefeathers blog.
Excerpt: "Horsefeathers finds Liberal aversion to religion - with the politically correct exception of Islam - amusing. This is because we regard contemporary Liberalism as itself a primitive faith, having much in common with Islam. True believers in each are impervious to rational argumentation and become enraged and belligerent when their beliefs are challenged. Their shared craving for power over the lives of their fellow human beings is palpable, as is their fascination with and yearning to submit to tyrants (see Jimmy Carter) or to the will of Allah. Since the true believers in the Church of Liberalism are weak and immature, they enjoy vicarious participation in the power and control wielded by tyrants, hence their affection for Stalin, Mao, Che, Fidel, et. al."
Read the whole thing.
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "Many of the same people who claim that mental tests are not valid for college admissions decisions, or for employment decisions, nevertheless consider these tests valid for deciding that a murderer cannot be executed when he scores low on such tests - even though he has no incentive to score high."
Wednesday May 17, 2006
Right Out Of The Dealership: Saw a brand-new Cadillac STS with gold package, chrome wheels with gold caddy wreathed emblem and Gold Line Whitewall tires, leaving a dealer lot in Portland. It turned onto Interstate 84 and eventually positioned itself behind a red "new" Thunderbird with top down.
The Caddy was piloted by a white-haired old geezer with Mrs. Geezer firmly planted in the passenger seat. I hate to admit this, but the whitewalls actually looked cool on this car.
Not Hemi-Powered: A man has developed an 8,000 mile-per-gallon three-wheeled, single-passenger vehicle. It has a single-cylinder 35 cc - ummm ... that would be 2 cubic-inch (!!!) - engine.
Can The National Guard Stop Illegals? John Derbyshire does the math: "Let's see: 6,000 National Guardsmen on the southern border, which is 1,952 miles long. Supposing the Guardsmen work 8-hour shifts, there will be 2,000 of them on duty at any one time. If I divide 1,952 miles by 2,000 I get 0.976 miles, which is a tad short of 1,718 yards ... per Guardsman. Lotsa luck, guys." Are these guys authorized to shoot people if they don't halt?
I heard on the radio that Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is taking a dim view of President Bush's plan to deploy National Guard troops to the Mexican border. He wants the Guard home to help put out fires during the upcoming fire season. "I need our remaining National Guard soldiers to stay in Oregon to protect our forests," said he. Hey, Ted, it's just as wrong to use the Guard for seasonal firefighting as it is for patrolling the borders.
Yes, Bush said that the Guard thing was "temporary". But temporary has a different meaning to the gum-mint than it does to the rest of us. The Federal income tax was passed as a "temporary" tax - in 1913.
Illegal Immigration: Gah, I hate to write about this ... but everyone else seems to be weighing in on it, so I might as well add my two cents. This is not a thoughtful, finely-crafted essay. It's more like a rambling collection of barstool musings.
Yeah, I know, we are "a nation of immigrants." Yadda. Yadda.
But we came from legal immigrants. The happenstance of a shared border doesn't somehow create an entitlement for massive northbound illegal migration.
I didn't like Bush's speech Monday night. It was 20 years too late. It should have made by Reagan about a week after he shot up Kadaffi's tent. He could have titled it: ''You're Next."
The White House says it's "impossible to deport 12 million people." How do they know? Have they tried it? What if they only managed to deport 2 million? But scared the crap out of the other 10 million so that many of them fled as well. And told their cousins back home not to come over.
Then there's 'amnesty'. I don't like it but maybe you should be able to buy amnesty just like you can buy first-class upgrades on some airlines. After all, 'free' amnesty doesn't seem fair to all the folks who jumped through the hoops to get here legally. So, being a nation of capitalists, we should charge for amnesty. In 2005, Mexicans in the United States remitted some $20 billion home. That's 3% of Mexico's entire national income. Maybe the Mexican government will offer some student-loan-like program help their people pay for an upgrade to Amnesty Class.
So, let's offer those illegal aliens amnesty. Cost? Only $25,000 per person. Cash, Visa or MC. That's the Mexican price. Middle Easterners - $250,000 per person. Just because.
Proposed slogan: "If you love America, show us the money."
Finally, there should be some kind of Attitude Check. Let us not forget the words offered by Teddy Roosevelt: "In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
And ... speaking of barstool musings ....
I've Been Dying To Write About This: Thomas Sowell gives his take on the death penalty: "There was a time when murderers were hanged or electrocuted without any of these emotional tabloid TV scenes in the courtroom - and without years, or even decades, of delay while all sorts of legal hand-wringing and nit-picking goes on in the appellate courts.
With our courts often so overcrowded that criminals are out on bail, walking the streets and committing new crimes, while awaiting trial on old charges, do we have the luxury of using up court time emotionalizing the obvious?
Are sentences supposed to fit the crime or to depend on what kind of show is put on in the courtroom?"
And: "There is no such thing as life imprisonment without the possibility of a liberal president being elected and issuing a pardon or an amnesty.
There is no such thing as life imprisonment without the possibility of escape - or of killing a fellow prisoner or a guard. For members of international terrorist networks, there is no such thing as life imprisonment without the possibility of fellow terrorists taking dozens of hostages and killing them if their guy is not set free."
My death penalty stance is this - we're not killing enough bad people. Everyone is entitled to one fair trial - with a public defender if you can't afford your own. After that, you pay for the cost of an appeal, posting a large, non-refundable performance bond to guarantee that you can pay. If you can't post a bond within 15 days, execution is carried out. (If you can't persuade friends and associates to raise the money for your appeal bond, you obviously haven't made enough friends in your life. Or the right kind of friends. Too bad.)
All terrorists should receive a closed-to-the-public-and-media military trial. They are wartime saboteurs and should get the same, well-established treatment as those in WW II.
The great thing about the death penalty is it offers a zero-percent rate of recidivism. Guaranteed.
Musical What-the-Hell Moment: In 'The Seeger Sessions', is Bruce Springsteen morphing into a Zydeco Leon Redbone? Or what?
Quote Of The Day is from Robert Farago: "The (Toyota) Yaris Liftback looks like a demonically-possessed doorstop."
Tuesday May 16, 2006
As Language Evolves: Courtesy of the blog, Formula-s, here are some important new words you should learn:
• Accordionated (ah kor' de on ay tid) - adj. Being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time.
• Aeropalmics (ayr o palm' iks) - n. The study of wind resistance conducted by holding a cupped hand out the car window.
• Aqualibrium (ak wa lib' re um) - n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself/herself in the eye.
• Carcreak (kar' kreek) - n. Those crackling, tinkling, creaky noises your car makes after you park and turn it off.
• Essoasso (ess' so ass' so) - n. any person who drives through a corner gas station to avoid stopping at the intersection.
• Kawashock (kah wah shahk') - n. Pulling into the last remaining parking spot only to discover a motorcycle there.
• Laminites (lam' in itz) - n. Those strange people who show up in the photo section of brand-new wallets.
• Phistel (fis' tul) - n. The brake pedal on the passenger side of the car that you wish existed when you're riding with a lunatic. (Personally, I think a better name would be Puckerpedal.)
• Traficulous - the condition that exists while driving, when you are trying to pull out through an intersection where it is clear to the right but not to the left, then it is clear to the left but not the right then the same over and over again.
• Uclipse (yew' klips) - n. The dangerous arc into another lane made by drivers just before executing a turn.
There are many more posted here.
Monday May 15, 2006
Happy Birthday: This blog is now 2 years old. It is still around, unlike many fine blogs which I've read and admired - notably Sursum Corda, Daily Demarche and New Sisyphus. RIP.
Over the past year, monthly word count has dropped by about 15%. I think that's because I no longer feel compelled to post something every day. I have a very good life outside of the blogosphere. and am taking more time to enjoy it. (A heart attack will change one's perspective. And priorities.)
Another reason for decreased content is that I haven't been doing book or movie reviews lately. Recently, all my book selections seem to be forgettable, trashy 'action' paperback fiction. And I haven't been inside a movie theater in many months.
Visitor traffic is up over 70% from this time last year but sales of books, toy cars and note cards have not increased up at all. So, this blog is offering me no additional financial remuneration. That's another reason to blog less.
The content of my blog is still primarily about cars. I continue to mix in a dollop of political and social content but there are fewer references/links to Instapundit, Power Line Michelle Malkin and Andrew Sullivan. I read the first three far less frequently and Sullivan not at all these days. I get very jacked up about politics around election time but afterwards - meh. I am now reading less online because I am trying to spend less time in front of a computer screen.
I have no plans to add RSS feeds, podcasts, video clips or any other bells and whistles. Unless someone can present me with a compelling business case for doing so. "Show me the money."
As some readers have figured out, the blog sits on my business site. But it was never intended to be a business-builder for my consulting firm. Business postings on my blog have been few and far between. And I'm slowly winding down my consulting practice. I am now semi-retired and am taking on new clients only under special circumstances.
Speaking of work, I began cutting grass to get extra pocket money in 1955. And I've been working ever since. No post-college treks to Europe to "find myself" in the 1960s. In fact, I began working at my first post-college engineering job a couple of weeks before I my degree was issued. When I sold my manufacturing business in the late 1980s, I was setting up another new business within four months. Now that I'm in my 60s, it feels good to work less. Many of my friends are retiring or already retired. So I have lots of company.
My wife and I have decided to travel more. See old friends. Check out places we've not yet seen. Take long weekends. So, there will be times when this blog will go on hiatus - anywhere from several days to two weeks. I've done this in the past. I'm going to do so more often. (This blog is created on a desktop iMac. I don't own a laptop; I've never needed one for my business and have not felt the need to "stay connected" when traveling.)
There are no plans, at present, to cease publication of 'The View Through The Windshield.' Nor do I plan lower the quality of it. It will be everything it's always been - just a bit less of it.
So, here's to another year - Cheers!
Friday May 12, 2006
How I Know I'm Feeling Better: I thoroughly washed two cars this week, dressed the tires, trim and rubber gaskets and cleaned up the engine compartments, too.
Car Sighting: I spotted a white, early-80s Cadillac Eldorado sailing down the road the other day. Sporting a red leather interior, it was the Barritz model with the brushed stainless steel roof. Gorgeous. It appeared to be in excellent condition.
I almost bought one of these beauties new - in that same color combo. The Eldo was the perfect Eighties car. It went well with ladies' big hair and guys in sport coats with the sleeves pushed up to their elbows. Bold, in-you-face lines. Tailored but flashy - like a navy blazer with almost too many brass buttons. This Caddy was much crisper than the bloated mid-70s model it replaced. Big, chromey front end with a nice Caddy-mesh grille.
I didn't buy it because I drove a three year-old example and found that the thing rattled, had bad cowl-shake and the leather was falling apart. I decided that I wasn't going to pay twenty grand for a machine that appeared to deteriorate so quickly.
I don't care what purists would say about the lines. The '79-'85 Eldorado may never get a MOMA design award, but I still think it's a great-looking machine.
Drive: I took my Plymouth to a client meeting yesterday. Drove with the windows down and listened to the rumble of the Glasspacks.
What's 'American' These Days? Only 65% of the content of a Ford Mustang comes from the U.S. or Canada. Ford buys the rest of the Mustang's parts abroad. The Toyota Sienna is assembled in Indiana with 90% local components.
Freedom Of Speech ... also sometimes means freedom to be a complete loon. For instance: "It is a proven fact that U.S. Coast Guard ships on orders from President Bush were seen crashing into the New Orleans levees during Hurricane Katrina. Bush did it to kill black people living in government housing projects." Mike Adams offers this and nine other nutso myths.
Speaking Of A Complete Loon: Tom Cruise has only a 35% approval rating. George Bush is at 31%. I don't believe either figure. I have never - in my entire life - been contacted for an opinion poll. Nor have any of my friends. So I put little stock in them. I hope that Bush and Cruise feel the same way as I do.
By the way, John McCain is only at 31%. Hillary Rodham Clinton - 34%, John Kerry - 26% and Al Gore - 28%. Apparently, people surveyed disliked everybody.
Make Us A Slogan We Can't Refuse (Part II): New Jersey has jettisoned "Come See For Yourself," its second attempt at a tagline in less than a year. It was the product of a statewide contest set up last fall, after the governor rejected a consultant's offering: "We'll Win You Over."
State tourism officials said legal issues led them to scrap the latest slogan, explaining that West Virginia and other states previously used "Come See For Yourself."
The state once used "New Jersey and You: Perfect Together." A push to come up with a new slogan for the Garden State has become an excuse to crack New Jersey jokes, including: "New Jersey: You Got a Problem With That?" "NJ: How You Doin'?!" And "Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted."
In an earlier post, I suggested: "Joisy - It Ain't So Bad." Or: "Officer, I Swear - It Fell Off Da Truck." Hey, I'm qualified - I lived in New Jersey for ten years.
Best Sentence Of The Week: James Lileks took his dog to the vet. Afterwards ... "We went outside, and he peed on the building, the equivalent of an old man stepping outside the clinic and firing up a Lucky."
Yeah, I know. It's neither great literature nor profound, but I'm easily amused.
Bad Pun Of The Day: Deja Moo - the feeling that you've heard this bull before.
Wednesday May 10, 2006
Car Sightings: Spotted a red '34 Ford street rod parked in NE Portland Tuesday. And a red '62 Thunderbird with a 'For Sale' sign in Brush Prairie, WA.
Also saw a black motorcycle and sidecar with skinny tires. I think it was a Russian-made Ural Patrol - the first one I've ever seen. It looked antique and British.
Nice Old Car Photos: Last Sunday, Thomas Hawk shot 'em at the 50th Annual Hillsborough Concours d' Elegance in Northern California. Have a look.
"Hawaii Ends Gas Caps": When I spotted this headline, my first thought was, "Won't there be a big jump in car fires?" Then I read the first sentence: "A short-lived experiment with caps on the price of gas in the state of Hawaii is over." Oh. Never mind.
Maserati Misery: Warren Bell finally got his Quattroporte back from the repair shop. Warren writes, "After a month and a king's ransom, all the things that were broken are fixed. And, predictably, a few things that were fixed are now broken. There is a hideous noise coming from underneath at about 1200 rpm, and some of the electronics are funky. I don't know anymore. I recently watched Jaws again, and I found myself very drawn to Chief Brody's mid-seventies Chevy K5 Blazer."
Something Else To Worry About: I'm not happy with $3.00+ per gallon gas but at least it's plentiful. If the oil supply were drastically cut, gas lines, panic and a genuine disruption of the U.S. economy would occur.
Austin Bay points out that Iran "is once again threatening to disrupt oil tanker traffic in the Strait of Hormuz."
Between 15 and 16.5 million barrels of oil transit the Strait of Hormuz each day, roughly 20% of the world's daily oil production, according to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration.
He continues: "Hormuz is definitely a strategic choke point. Anti-ship mines and anti-ship missiles fired from camouflaged (and possibly hardened) firing points are Iran's most useful weapons. The Iranians could also scuttle three or four large ships to create an obstacle in other words, sink four of their own empty tankers and see how the U.S. responds. This move creates a marine hazard, but is something of a "gray area" act of war, even if committed in the Strait (which is an international transit point). Farfetched? Possibly. But what's farfetched for the mullahs?"
And: "Just threatening to close the Straits spikes oil prices and raises marine insurance rates - which are diplomatic victories of a sort for Tehran's mullahs."
Not Busy Today? Go look at this collection of airline spoons from around the world. Over 400 photos for you to peruse. (hat tip - Boing Boing)
Quote Of The Day is from Lenny Bruce: "Miami Beach is where neon goes to die."
Tuesday May 9, 2006
Medical Miracles: Thanks to technology, they're an everyday occurrence. Here's a before-and-after look at my heart, showing arterial blood flow:
What a difference.
Monday May 8, 2006
Wait For '08: I think that a hybrid version of the Honda Fit will sell like hotcakes.
Carnival: Every week, Mark Tapscott posts the Carnival of Cars. I highly recommend that you give it a look. It's usually up by Friday afternoon. Mark is recovering from tendon surgery and I'm happy to learn that he is progressing nicely.
Speaking of which, I'm off to the cardiologist this morning for a post-op check-up. I'm feeling much better and hope I get the green light to resume my normal activities.
Mission Implausible: James Pinkerton cleverly deconstructs Tom Cruise, in an article titled, 'Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It, Is to Convince People That You Are Normal'. Reports are that MI-3 is doing less well than expected at the box office and there is speculation that Cruise's general weirdness is to blame.
Just What We Need ... More Government Interference: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said that, with gas prices above $3 a gallon in many places, Congress should pass legislation by Memorial Day to make price-gouging a federal crime.
What an idiot. And this woman used to own a large tech business? Where the hell is her business sense?
Given the number of gas stations and gasoline refiners, price gouging is easily solved. Let the market work. People will make their own decisions - buy elsewhere, drive less, carpool, etc. Or stay home.
If Cantwell is serious about getting lower gas prices for consumers, she should concentrate things which will increase supply. Make it easier to build refineries, for instance. Or permit ANWR drilling.
It's sad that she represents my state but don't blame me - I didn't vote for her.
The Rest Of The Story: The local paper carried a lead article in its Sunday Business Section about a 54 year-old guy who, after a successful career as a high-powered executive, bought a business which produces eco-friendly furniture.
The fact that this 'success-story' is living in a rented house and "tools around in a 20-year-old Toyota Land Cruiser with an engine that has logged more than 200,000 miles" set off my bullshit detector. I mean, where's his business fortune gone? Not into a manufacturing facility - he contracts out all production to a nearby cabinet shop. Not to the former owners of the little company - part of the buy-out payment "is based on future earnings."
This article was supposed to be complimentary but - reading between the lines - the guy came off (to me) as a superficial, self-centered jerk. So, I contacted a good friend, who once worked at the same company as Mr. Success, to get his take.
He knew him and remarked that "calling him a superficial, self-centered jerk is, arguably the kindest thing you could say about him." He went on to dispute many of the statements made by Mr. Success in the article.
Proving - once again - that there are two sides to every story. I'm strongly inclined to believe my friend's version. Particularly, since I had some personal knowledge about one of the events chronicled. And my recollection is quite different from that of Mr. Success.
The article contained the sentence, "Last summer, (Mr. Success) found himself in shorts, his iPod rotating between bands like 'Death Cab for Cutie' and 'Cat Power'." It reminded me of the scene in 'Sunset Blvd.,' where Joe Gillis tells Norma Desmond, "There's nothing tragic about being 50. Not unless you're trying to be 25."
The Next Fad: James Lileks opines on "sea salt": "I know they're just softening us up for "Land Salt," which will be all the rage in '09."
Quote Of The Day is from Eric Hoffer: "People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."
Friday May 5, 2006
Surprising Outcome: Paul and Anita Lienert pitted the Ford Fusion against the new Toyota Camry. The Ford won. Excerpt: "... we were startled, and disappointed, by the less-than-sterling assembly quality on our test Camry, which was actually built in Japan, and not in Toyota's huge assembly plant in Georgetown, Ky. Regardless of location, there is no excuse for the poor trim fits we encountered inside our test vehicle - especially not in a segment that's as competitive as this, and certainly not with the golden reputation for quality that Toyota has enjoyed for so many years."
I did not realize that some Camrys were still imported from Japan. And who would have ever thought that a Mexican-built Ford would have better fit-and-finish than a Japanese-built Toyota?
I like the looks of the Fusion much more than the new Camry. Except the Fusion's taillights - they appear to have been designed by a Crayola-toting, half-blind preschooler.
Overpriced? Last week, MotorWeek tested the new Lexus ES350. The base price is just over $33,000 but, by the time you option it up decently, the tab rises quickly to $40,000+. That's a lot of money for a car that looks and acts an awful lot like the Toyota Camry on which it's based.
'The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From...' Dept.: Why does the headline "Kennedy Car Accident" seem so hauntingly familiar? And how come didn't he have to take a Breathalyzer test like the rest of us?
Update: Oh, wait ... it all was due to legitimate prescription drugs (aka - The Elvis Defense). Paging Doctor Nick. Mini-update: Oops, no it wasn't just pills. Witnesses report that Kennedy was drinking at a Capitol Hill bar before the crash. And the bar's hostess said he's a frequent customer.
Update II: Oops. Now Patrick Kennedy is going into drug rehab at the Mayo Clinic. Say "Hi" to Liza and Whitney for us, will ya?
Update III: I finally saw his car on television. It's a last-gen (pre-'05), green Mustang GT convertible with a white top.
Post-Op Depression: I just found out that for an extra $140, I could have gotten seven LED stents that light up. Damn.
Post-Op Depression II: I just found out that for an additional $300, I could have had the stents wired-up as chaser lights and relived the '80s. Double Damn.
Post-Op Depression III: I got a call Thursday from a CNN producer in New York. She was interested in having me appear on a program tomorrow, commenting about the future of the automobile industry. I wasn't feeling well enough to travel to a Portland studio, so I had to decline. Triple Damn.
Rest In Peace: Louis Rukeyser, the financial guru, whose show I watched from the early '70s until it ended, has died.
He was a true capitalist and optimist. I loved his weekly quips and witticisms. He will be missed.
CNBC did a nice tribute to Lou.
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees."
Thursday May 4, 2006
Additional Reinforcements: I'm home from the hospital after another angioplasty. I now have seven stents in me. I'm fine but am still sleepy from the various drugs. The surgery went well and my doctors expect a complete recovery.
Tuesday May 2, 2006
Choco-Cycle: Food sculptor Jim Victor has created a life-sized chocolate 1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster. Photos here - scroll down. (The rest of the photos are fascinating, too.)
Why Almost Nothing Is Made In America Anymore: John Walker from Oxford Economic Forecasting lists hourly compensation costs for workers (including welfare/social costs) in manufacturing industries. Germany was top of the list at almost $33. The U.S. was $25. Brazil was $3; Poland was $5. China was at the bottom of the list at $1.
Best Comment So Far ... on the mega-hyped DaVinci Code movie: "People who liked the book will go and people who like Tom Hanks will go and dumb people will think that Jesus got married and others will join Opus Dei to become super secret Catholic ninjas and it will all be Bush's fault anyway."
How Now Dow: The Christian Science Monitor opines: "Without much fanfare, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is closing in on its all-time high, set at the beginning of 2000 before Americans became disenchanted with stocks and turned to real estate.
Despite soaring oil prices, the Dow, watched as a barometer of the economy and Main Street, has regained more than 4,000 points that slipped away after the dotcom bust and the 2001 recession. Now, the average is closer than it's ever been to its Jan. 14, 2000, high of 11,723."
Yeah, but when I look at my investments, I feel that I'm running six years behind where I should be.
Bovine Surveillance: A friend sent me this: "Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate the almost 12 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.
Maybe we should give each of them a cow."
Bad Pun Of The Day: A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
Monday May 1, 2006
Gas Pains: Charles Krauthammer offers a short op-ed on why gasoline prices are rising. Excerpt: "China has come from nowhere to pass Japan as the number No. 2 oil consumer in the world. China and India - between them home to eight times the U.S. population - are industrializing and gobbling huge amounts of energy."
Charles also mentions those "idiotic new regulations. Last year's energy bill mandates arbitrary increases in blended ethanol use that so exceed current ethanol production that it is causing gasoline shortages and therefore huge price spikes. Why don't we import the missing ethanol? Brazil makes a ton of it and very cheaply. Answer: The Iowa caucuses. Iowa grows corn and chooses presidents. So we have a ridiculously high 54-cent ethanol tariff and ethanol shortages."
Sampling The Product: The director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission abruptly resigned after she was charged with drunken driving. Police said officers responded to a two-car crash on the west end of Portland's Sellwood Bridge and smelled "a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage" from inside Teresa Kaiser's vehicle.
Kaiser's blood-alcohol level was 0.16%, twice the legal limit. "She just weaved and swung way wide into the left-hand oncoming lane," said a witness. "It was a direct head-on."
Another Reason To Fix The Illegal Immigrant Problem: Washington state's Medicaid program made nearly $1 billion in questionable payments last year and may have to refund millions of dollars for improperly paying illegal immigrants' medical bills.
C-Span Follies: Watched the White House Press Corps dinner Saturday evening. Stephen Colbert was (surprisingly) execrable - poor material and bad delivery.
His 'job interview' video was funny in spots but waaaay too long. On the other hand, the president and his "alter ego" were hilarious.
Word Play: Boffins, strumpets, puffins, muppets - they all sound like things you might have for breakfast.
Exchange Of The Day ... is from the old Hollywood Squares. Peter Marshall: "If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?"
Paul Lynde: "Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark."