Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Acura TSX Wagon - Daddy Likes

How awesome is this - at the New York Auto Show, Acura showed off the new TSX wagon. In Europe it's the Accord Touring. 200 hp, 2.4 liter inline four or a 280 hp, 3.5 liter V6 are the engine choices - same as the TSX sedan. LOVE IT!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nine teens charged in school bullying suicide of Phoebe Prince | Irish News | IrishCentral

Nine teens charged in school bullying suicide of Phoebe Prince Irish News IrishCentral

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ABC News blows chunks - again

Toyota is asking ABC News for a retraction of its story titled "Electronic Design Flaw Linked to Runaway Toyotas." That's the LEAST they owe Toyota. Here's the full story on Autoblog. Toyota says the circumstances that were electronically created by an expert for the ABC show are "virtually impossible to occur in real-world conditions."

Stupid suits ought to be ashamed. They're not of course, news programs are simply entertainment designed to sell advertising and that's it. News isn't a public service remeber that when you watch.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cool Citroen TV ad from UK

Wish I could drive a C3 or C6 here in the US

Scammer Alert - SIKEd you out!

Automotive web site Jalopnik ran this story that may not bode well for the James Sikes. Shock, horror, a former business partner says the guy is a "scammer." His next gig, automotive writer.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Rules

Here are the new automotive rules for 2010:

Frequent garage sale shoppers must drive a Ford Aerostar or Chevy Astro van. Acceptable substitues include the Chevy Lumina APV, 90s Honda Accord with mismatched wheels and any Toyota Pickup sold before 1988.

Attractive college girls will drive a Jetta, formerly attractive college girls now women trying to prove youthful sassiness and continued attractiveness will drive a VW Beetle.

Creepers who hang out at 7-11 still have to drive full size vans including old, clapped out van conversions, former ambulances purchased at auction or and van with curtains in the back window and a Bud Man bumper sticker. This year, the Chevy HHR is added to the list.

Short guys must still drive lifted Silverados although an F-150 will work too. Bonus knob points for custom mud flaps, super spooky skull grill ornament and flames of any kind. Anyone driver under 5' 6" must have rubber nuts hanging from the tow hitch. Don't have a tow hitch? Then you're probably taller than 5' 6"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't Believe the TV!

There's something fishy going on - the San Diego dude who says his Prius had a stuck accelerator must not have realized that his 2008 Prius has only a VOLUNTARY recall by Toyota (November 2009) for a floor mat problem that MAY trap the gas pedal. The Prius braking issue was only a software fix that caused a slightly odd FEEL in the brakes (not failure) and that was for Prius models NEWER than James Sikes' 2008 Toyota Prius.

Bad News
Also, at least one local news station reported that Sikes' Prius had to be stopped by a CHP officer using his patrol car "as a brake" in front of the Toyota. That is not true, the CHP officer told the Prius driver what to do over his patrol car's loudspeaker system. When Sikes applied the parking brake and the regular brakes the Prius stopped. Despite this, many So Cal TV news outlets worded their stories in such a way that it IMPLIED the Prius had to be stopped with the cop car and they showed video of the patrol stopped IN FRONT of the Prius furthering the mis-information. So the dude could spend 23 min on a 911 call but couldn't figure out to shift the car into neutral or apply the parking brake? C'mon.

And another thing - why haven't we heard about any Corollas or RAV4s or Highlanders taking off by themselves? Those cars ARE included in the unintended accleration recall. So far over 37 Million Corollas have been sold worldwide so where are all the news stories about those cars taking off by themselves. Matrix, Avalon and Sequoia are under a recall too. Hear that? It's crickets.

You Too WSJ?
The Wall Street Journal mistakenly claimed that a new Toyota recall had bee issued and every other lazy news organization with $9 an hour producers/interns ran with it prompting Toyota to issue this: "Media reports, citing a Wall Street Journal article, have incorrectly reported that Toyota plans to announce a new recall for the 2004-2009 Prius to address the potential risk for floor mat entrapment of accelerator pedals." You can see the whole thing on Toyota's Media Site
Oh, and ABC News most likely "Manipulated faults" in an unrealistic manner just to get a specific result during a televised "Unintended Acceleration" segment with Brian Ross on Feb 22. Check out this page for the whole science-y breakdown according to Toyota engineers.

This isn't really new though - In 1992, NBC's Dateline rigged GM trucks to explode on impact in the segment titled "Waiting to Explode" Wow! Good one NBC news dudes, great title. Sadly, they did not tell viewers about the little 'splodin devices they installed. And in the late 80, CBS New program 60 Minutes had someone rig an Audi 5000 to move on its own and distorted interview responses from customers making it seem like the cars just took off by themseleves. has the whole run down. News programs are designed to get ratings and sell advertising just like Survivor and Big Brother. It's just a TV show, don't believe what you see.

Friday, March 12, 2010

10 Best Modern Rock Songs

Sister Havana - Urge Overkill

There is a Light that Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Would? - Alice in Chains

My Name is Jonas - Weezer

Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz

Panic Switch - Silversun Pickups

Kids - MGMT

Snow (hey oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Unbreakable - Fireflight

No Cars Go - Arcade Fire

Double Check that Mirror

It seems unfair to change the type of car the police use. I mean, I'm already used to checking my mirrors for the familar boxy shape and wrap around lights of a Ford Crown Victoria. I'm still not used to Dodge Charger cop cars and now this? Ford says the Police interceptor will be a purpose built cop car available just before the current fleet Crown Vic goes out of production late next year. Me + Interstate 5 + unfamiliar new cop car + borrowed press car then subtract kids = more traffic school. It just doesn't seem fair.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 reports: James Sikes, the San Diego runaway Toyota Prius driver, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and now has over $700,000 in debt. According to one anonymous tipster, they're also told he hasn't been making payments on his Prius.
Hmmm.... Even I'm not this cynical. Stranger things have happened I guess.

Rock n Roll is not for Children

As I watched Michael Lynche belt out the song This Woman's Work on American Idol, it occured to me that the true meaning of the song would be lost on about 60% of the home audience and the entire tweeny-bop front row at the live show. When I say Rock n Roll is not for Children, I don't mean b/c of the content. You could make a strong case against the morality of many rock songs but even a casual listener knows that for every song that's overly sexual or violent, there are at least 5 more that offer well thought out questions and sometimes answers for life's many complexities - Is It Any Wonder by Keane and I'd Love to Change the World by Ten Years After are just two examples.

In many respects pop/rock and rap music lyrics are essentially modern poetry. The National's Mistaken for Strangers and Brainy are great examples. And it's at this point that it seems clear to me that the depths at which most artists are writing is well above the heads of most kids. OK, it's not too hard to figure out lyrics like "run this town tonight" or "I'm hot for teacher" but for every simplistic, meaningless rhyme I say there are 100 or more songs that no kid can truly understand.

Even the ostensibly low brow metal genre isn't immune - painting every metal band with a broad brush would miss real thinkers like System of a Down, OTEP, Fireflight and Look What I Did . Even Some Metallica lyrics are thoughtful. Or take a sort of forgotten band like Y&T - a big deal in the 80s. The song Mean Streak on the surface is about nothing more than a bitchy woman. However, lines like "big better best tell me where does it end, keeping up with the Joneses is tough" the song is obviously getting at the problems money brings to a marriage or (adult) relationship - even when you have it.

The popular British band The Beautiful South's song Big Coin is about the worries of taking on the Euro, a monetary system that seems as if it's been invented out of thin air - "it ain't gold, it ain't silver" and "the coin has no North or no South." Here are others pop/rock songs no high school kid could REALLY get: Easier than love by Switchfoot, Rubber Ring by The Smiths, Fame by Bowie, The Stroke by Billy Squier, Alive by Pearl Jam, Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac, Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin, London Calling by The Clash and Born to Run by Springsteen.

There are many others - what do you think, did I miss some or am I just wrong wrong wrong?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Prius Suddenly Accelerates?

Suddenly Prius' have started accelerating on their own? There have been two or three recent news stories about this problem but how did this start happening to everyone at the same time? Maybe Toyota has a timer, after a certain number of miles, the cars just start failing - the same people who conspired to kill General Motors' EV-1 are likely behind it.

A stealth group of industrial/eco-terrorists has been plotting to keep us free from cancer causing electromagnetic fields and polluted water from improperly dumped lead acide batteries. And now they've turned their ire toward the popular Prius. What else could it be? A little driver error combined with extra scrutiny from ratings hungry local news stations - no, that's too easy. It's clearly a stealth group of industrial/eco-terrorists.

Not so Smart

I'd rather ride this kids toy (called the Plasma Car) than drive a Smart Car. The Smart is too jerky, slow and the ride is terrible. Why not just get a Kia Forte or Honda Fit - it's about the same price. Who's buying these horrible cars?

How Much??

Wait a second! I just spent the past week driving a $70,000 Mercedes Benz GL350 diesel. Nice? Sure, what else would you expect for 70k? But then I check into the Toyota Land Cruiser. Base price $65,000. With similar options and features to the Benz, the Toyota is $74,000 and a some change. Why would I want to pay MORE for a Toyota, and the Toyota didn't even have real wood inside. Benz is the bargain? What's this world coming to?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hybrids are Pointless

Here's the 2010 Mercedes Benz GL350 BlueTEC. BlueTEC means it's a diesel. It gets roughly the same fuel economy as a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. The complexity of a hybrid isn't needed. The VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI is another great example - 42 mpg highway, again nearly as good as a hybrid like the Honda Insight. Why get a hybrid, diesel is better.

Diesels make sense in fire engines and Ford F-450s but a luxury SUV? Yep, 400 lb-ft of torque means the GL350 BlueTEC is not slow and at the same time the V6 is smooth and only a little noisy. Benz's gas engines are quieter but with 23 mpg on the highway you'll hardly have room for complaint. The interior is exactly what you'd expect from a Benz - lots of leather and plenty of gadgets. Too expensive, right? Maybe but the base price of a diesel powered GL350 is about $59,900 - add some features and the price can hit $70,000 or roughly $5k cheaper than a Toyota Land Cruiser. I'll take the diesel Benz.

-Brian Moody