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Japanese Car Bashing. The New American Pastime.
Feb 3rd, 2010 by JuannyCinco

Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.

Woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?

Narrator: You wouldn’t believe.

Woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?

Narrator: A major one.

This excerpt from Chuck Pahlahniuk’s novel “Fight Club” –  and like any good graduate of American High-School  would,  I heartily recommend the movie over the book – sums up the state of modern marketing to the masses.   For many years the mass populace of the US has looked to Japan as excellence in quality and safety.  Detroit languished with its series of poorly made, shoddily duct-taped together cars.   But what do you know?  Retribution is sweet.  Retribution is the great equalizer and the media is embracing the story full on.

Toyota halts sale

Recall Goes Global

Fact:  I hate Toyota because they make boring looking cars.
Fact: I hate Toyota because they make cars lacking in character.

So Why Do I care about this recall ?

I care because the recall says more about the current state of the USA than many-a-news story.  This isn’t about Toyota.  This is about supporting the necessary resurgence of the great American automobile.  This is about the RECOVERY.  U-S-A…..U-S-A… Actually I think it’s a little of the Morrissey “We hate it when our Friends become Successful” syndrome – that is, we hate success even more for our Asian cousins.

Toyota was KING and Toyota was prime to be taken down and the MEDIA STORM is in full effect:

Have you heard about… the new 2010 GTI? It had a recall because ….well, it liked to arbitrarily slip into neutral I’m thinking that’s not safe.
Have you heard about… the Corvette that wishes it was a CONVERTIBLE?
Have you heard about… the GMC Yukon which has a water seal issue that can…well increase the likelihood of a crash
Have you heard about… the GM Pontiac that shares the Toyota issue… who cares, right ? Pontiac is a hospice brand.
Have you heard about….the Honda that could spontaneously combust?
Have you heard about… the F150 failing airbags?

Have you heard about….Firestone tires tread falling off…oh, you remember that? Me too…that kind of went away didn’t it.
Now before you all tell me that LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST and how gross negligence has become pervasive in the Toyota company and their lack of transparency is an unwanted anachronism in the modern world…

Have a guess at how many people have been killed by runaway floor mats or sticky pedals..1? 10? 16? Now, in truth,  I don’t actually have any idea but I’m sure your guess was too high… I had trouble finding any information on it due to the huge

Toyota cover up…

that isn’t.   I wonder, is it is more or less deaths than those caused by defective seat belts or inherent design flaws in SUVs….

Who cares? No-one really cares about FACTS do they?

That’s right, we’ve been entrapped in the MEDIA CIRCUS.  Toyotas build cars just as crappy as the French now – and THAT’S what is important.   I know it’s news because the scale is huge with over 2 million cars… but it’s a lot of hullaballoo over nothing.  Anyone who has EVER bought a new car has had a warranty recall mailing to their house.
What is it that I find most shockingly absurd about the events? It is the Fox news “interviewees”.  These people claim they will never trust Toyota again, that they are disappointed in the standard of quality being sold.  They claim their safety is at risk!

They rhetorically ask“How DARE THEY show frivolous disregard for our safety -damn candy people1!”.

They claim this shock-and-awe at Japanese fallibility and then get into their unchecked-tire-pressure, no-tread-left, unchecked-oil-level,  late-on-a-scheduled-maintenance car and turn into traffic rolling through the stop sign, failing to yield to pedestrians and totally oblivious to the light that flashes to indicate to other drivers that they are turning proving only that  other cars’ horns work!

If we really cared about safety we wouldn’t allow class action lawsuits where the monies are distributed equally between the lawyers and … well their partners with whatever’s left going to split amongst 2 million drivers.

If we really really cared we’d be forced to buy new tires when they were bald, fix lights that are burnt out, and have to replace old worn out mats.  We’d have to have our lights repointed (yeah, how many of you have ever done that?), oil changed, brakes checked regularly…. but we don’t.  We’re safe UNLESS we happen to be in one of these 0-100mph Toyota death traps.

Perhaps I’m ultra cynical.  Maybe this isn’t a move to promote non-Japanese cars. Maybe this isn’t about giving American cars an opportunity to get in the good graces.  Perhaps… just perhaps this ISN’T about the wonderful legal system (<—follow this link it’s eye opening)…. Maybe it is simply a big giant cover up.  If it is, just remember …

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war…  BUY  SWEDISH!

Conspiratorially Sarcastically Yours,

Juanny

1 I hold nothing against the people of Japan. This derogatory term was meant to illustrate the point.

Un-Roadworthy
Nov 21st, 2009 by JuannyCinco

For a few months I have been crossing vast expanses of land to get to the work office of discontent.   This has reinvigorated my efforts to determine the worst drivers on the road based on vehicle generalizations.  You see, to the observant driver, there is a recognizable correlation that can be drawn between car models and the standard of driving.

This post is the fruit of my laborious mental note taking – so without further ado, I bring you the TOP TEN WORST DRIVERS LIST.

10 The Gravedigger

One of the great pleasures living in the small hick town of Lutz is that despite its real standing as merely a suburb of Tampa the yokels still believe they live in the rural boondocks.  Those people live in the Twilight zone.  The simple fact is that Lutz now has a Wal-mart (a Super one, no less) built alongside railroad which makes Lutz a – gasp – real town.  Despite its new found metropolis status, you will still find sitting the super truck sitting outside your nearest Winn-Dixie on US-41.   Super trucks can be easily spotted by virtue of the fact that the wheels are bigger than most new  eco-mobiles (aka compact cars).  Whatever creatures drive these things have watched too many monster truck rallies – the roads are not your playground and you may not crush the “opposition”.  So not technically a “model” but easily an easily recognisable type of vehicle.

9 White Conversion Van

Yes. GMC.  Let’s see.  You’re a large vehicle around which I cannot see when I sit in my non-eco compact car.  This means that when you quickly swerve to avoid traffic that is stopped in front of you without the use of your indicator – it leaves me in a state of momentary panic as I realise that the car is parked in the fast lane just ahead of me.  I could have picked any large vehicle but the white conversion van is also just creepy when it parks in inappropriate places – like outside of a school.

8 Cadillac with the V8 Northstar

The Florida mobile.  This is a stalwart American engine.  This is an engine that is under-appreciated by all those foreign-model car drivers.  It’s a quality engine with good pickup, acceleration and a top speed that is more than sufficient to upset the local FHP.  But this is Florida! This car is driven by Generation B, as in Generation Blue Hair…that or a bunch of Canadians share one and drive them around town…slowly.  So what’s the issue? The issue is that the V8 is not utilized at all.  These Canadian transplants get the car to huff and puff to a 0-60 time of ….never get that fast, what are you insane? …who could believe that was even possible! 60mph?

If I didn’t love my car I’d get a sticker “My Karma: When I’m old and senile I’m moving to Canada and driving real slow”

7 Honda Civic with custom Exhaust

Driver is 16 and thinks that delivering pizzas makes him/her hot stuff.  The low rider strip, the white speedo, the nitro switch, the custom rims all on a 1998 car worth about a $1,000.   Driver of these cars seem to experience major under steer and over steer even when traveling in a straight line causing them to constantly change lanes.

Do not confuse this car with late model Honda Civics.  These are driven by middle-of-the-road old guys – that’s an age  and lifestyle statement not a driving style!

6 White Crown Victoria

The Crown Victoria has worst drivers insofar as they NEEDLESSLY slow traffic down around them.   If it’s an ex-cop-mobile like the Blues Brothers then you are number 6 on my list.  Avoid them around malls.

5 Ducati Motorcycle

Controversial pick.  I’m always reading that we, in cars, should pay particular attention to bike riders.  Who is telling bike riders to pay attention to the much bigger, much better protecting objects surrounding the drivers called cars.  Exactly.  Driving between cars, pulling wheelies, and generally proving you can get to 100mph in less than 5 seconds is very cool but also kind of stupid.

4 Lexus Gicanticus

The Lexus Giganticus.  Rich middle aged women believe that the bigger the car the safer they are.  Combine this with the unfortunate societal standard that driving a Lexus makes you significantly cooler than spending a day at driving school means that this monster cross-over, SVU (oops a Law and Order typo) SUV speeds along all roads that are between home and the nearest friendly plastic surgeon.

3 Acura TL

I have not really figured out why Acura drivers are so insane with their passing manoeuvers.   The only satisfactory answer that I could find is that bored, bald, chubby middle aged men have bitter wives who will not entertain their mid-life crisis.   That is to say, that where the drab grey man would like to have a Corvette, his wife reminds him that he is boring and has responsibilities.  Rather than buying the Corvette and being castrated when she finds out, and rather than buying the boring Camry performing a self-castration of sorts, he figures he can split the difference..get an Acura! They’re dependable, safe, reasonably boring but with the ability to let loose and screw up traffic patterns.
Slow down Old Man!

2 Minivans

What happens to mothers when you put them behind the wheels of a minivan?  It’s almost as if a time continuum leakage occurred and they are trying to get to everywhere five minutes ago!  That red light? Missed it due to yelling at junior.  Speed limit? What’s  5 miles / – 5 minutes ? That’s -60 mph…. oh that’s so confusing, I’ll just go faster.   Pay particular attention to avoid the “parked in the FIRE LANE minivan” because invariably this just means that an 8 year old is dropping off something while mommy waits – laundry, the Shrek DVD, etc.  Fire Lane? It’s free parking WTF? While they are stationary you are forced into potential oncoming minivan traffic..or having to avoid the pedestrian slave child who seems to have inherited the minivan attention deficit curse…and worse, the driver could take off at any time.  Indicate, check mirror, pull out?  That’s for weenies…. just pull out when the times right. (Perhaps this is a shared reason for the child like accident in the back?)

1 School Buses

They aren’t really vehicles for the road – I believe that they are actually designed for the military but nonetheless…school bus drivers.   I often wonder what Thanksgiving would be like at the home of a school bus driver.  “You know I’m a good driver because I’ve had 20 accidents and not one of  fatality! Those kids are safe with me”  or “One day I’m going to graduate.  I can handle these kids anymore….when do I get promoted to the Prison Run?”.

You see, school bus drivers are just trainees for the bigger prison jobs.  The kids in the back.  They’re all unbuckled safe and sound – don’t sit on the whiplash wheel well seat if you know what’s good for you!

So, congratulations school bus drivers, you are the Number 1 Un-Roadworthy Group!

Some of the honorable mentions are:

Prius

It’s not only the most ugly car on the road after the Honda Element, but it’s also the car that gives drivers a self righteousness that they think translates to the road: “I own a Prius and am therefore entitled more privileges than you”.  These privileges extend to going slow enough so that I have to constantly ride the brakes because I get close enough to see that your child is citizen of the week at some la dee da private school.  In addition, the Prius drivers drift across lanes taking the “as the crow flies” route to conserve gas – they almost kill you but it’s with principles in mind!   The drivers of these cars seem more excited about reading their electric battery readouts than paying attention to the traffic around them.

The Police

You single handedly take smooth flowing traffic and turn it into a bulbous mass of confusion just by your presence.

Drunk/U-I Drivers

You’re not restricted to a type of vehicle or you’d be Numero Uno.  Don’t do it.  It’s not fun.  It’s not clever.  It’s dangerous. If you’re going to drive, save taxpayer money and only kill yourself.

Paying for the Police Christmas Bash
Oct 27th, 2009 by JuannyCinco

My local sheriff’s office has decided to set up a little traffic trap down our little 25mph subdivision.   My feelings in this fact are rather mixed and vary considerably across the following sentiments:

  1. Darwin would have invented a strong exoskeleton if we were supposed to survive being hit by cars.
  2. Like Gary Numan, I’m in my car and therefore I’m safe, so why should I slow down?
  3. Great! It’s about time we pulled over those damn speeding school buses.
  4. Stupid cops with nothing better to do than pull everyone over.
  5. I don’t speed in the neighbourhood, I cruise….with the control
  6. Stupid speeders

I’ve heard and participated in many conversations with people and there is one fact that amazes me:  I have yet to talk to anyone who actually speeds on these roads, and moreover, all of the people I speak to are glad that speeders are being given tickets.  I did find out that it’s $150 for a rolling stop so a comparable fine for speeding makes it an expensive exercise in law breaking.  I have also talked to the security guards (yes, I live a tremendously boring suburban American Beauty life where we pay for patrols that I chat to) who have informed me that they have so far caught one speeder doing 60 mph, a school bus doing 47 mph (and they didn’t actually have a stop in the subdivision), and have previously had helicopters take 3 teenagers to hospital and recovered 3 cars from ponds.

All this activity on 25 mph roads near where I walk my dog.

The less shocking thing is that the security guards receive endless complaints from people who have been ticketed.  Let me explain the absurdity of the complaints.  The patrol car is here very regularly. He (it is a he, remember I live a tremendously boring American Beauty life where I talk to people including cops) comes in, parks, pulls over 10-20 cars.  I assume after writing double digits he goes to Dunkin’ Donuts to recover from the hand cramp he no doubt gets.    Anyway, back to facts.  He is here in the morning about 8 a.m.  and he is here in the evening about 5.00 p.m.   ALL people have to do is go 30 mph.  That’s it.  All cars come with cruise control – set it at 30 mph. Done.  Before you say “not all cars have cruise control” let me tell you that I live in a tremendously boring suburban American Beauty environment where most cars are boring, boring Lexus’;  flashy dashy Bentleys; or the ubiquitous BMW.

Once they leave the area and get on bigger roads…pedal to the metal for all I care…just as long as they move over for me :)

So anyway.  I just wanted to tell you how much I hate this stupid American Beauty life where the police have to sit outside pulling over cars all morning because people are too fucking stupid to drive slow enough so that I won’t die if someone were to hit me when I walk twice a day.

Asshats live in my neighborhood.   Mr Rogers would be mortified.

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