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Guest Kit: Why Can't I Buy a Camaro?

Joel is on his way back from Italy. For today, we give you Vijay Ravindran, a Postie who is fairly new to town and in need of a hot car.

My Futile Effort to Help the American Auto Industry

By Vijay Ravindran

I wanted a Chevy Camaro.

I'd never really liked American sports cars before. But the 2010 Camaro -- a revival Chevrolet has been talking up since 2006 -- is so much more sleek than your typical muscle car. And since my BMW 330 started showing its age (nine) around the same time that the death of the U.S. auto industry hit the headlines, I thought: Why not do a little something to help?

So, after seeing a newspaper ad promoting Camaros at a local Chevy dealer, I called and left a voicemail saying I was interested in a test drive.

I never heard back.

I was shocked. Here I was, ready to buy, while GM was in financial straits. I thought they'd be all over me. Turns out it's not so easy to obtain a piece of the American dream.

The next week, I decided to widen my search. I e-mailed four Chevy dealers in the area. Two never wrote back. One replied that they had no Camaros, and ended the correspondence right there. The fourth said they'd have one soon -- just stay tuned.

Dealer 4 began to check in periodically -- pitching Camaros that I could buy sight unseen. I reminded him of my request for a test drive. Then I reiterated my request for a test drive. Then I absolutely insisted on a test drive. And, eventually, I ended up with an appointment. But after driving 45 minutes to the dealer, I found that the one Camaro they'd gotten in was an automatic (I'd asked for a manual transmission) and that I wouldn't be allowed to drive it, just sit in it on the lot. The sales person tried to get me in a Corvette and to convince me that transmission is the same (it's not). I left the dealership, dejected, but not yet ready to give up.

Three days later, I got an e-mail:

Hello Vijay,

I know that we have been diligent in our follow-up, however, we have not reached an agreeable time for you to come in. Is there something more we can give you?

If not, can we assume that you are no longer in the market to purchase a vehicle and be taken out of our follow-up system?


The last of my dealers had abandoned me. And so I abandoned my effort as well. I still hope that someday I may get a Camaro. I'm just hoping my BMW holds out long enough for supply to catch up to demand.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 20, 2009; 12:00 AM ET
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Next: Who Do You Trust?


This is why I would rather have a root canal than deal with buying a car. I've had a relatively painless root canal, can't say the same for vehicle purchases.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 19, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Vijay. This is why I didn't buy a new car either.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Three bits of news:

(1) The ScienceFamily has returned, triumphantly geeky, from Otakon!

(2) Rocks from space have returned, triumphantly, to Jupiter! More accurately, it seems likely that something obliterated itself on Jupiter recently, in an impact reminiscent of Shoemaker-Levy 9 (15 years and a week ago, as it happens).

(3) I have returned, semi-triumphantly, from the NASM! I got no opportunity to do any hobnobbing, and so our copy of "Full Moon" (look it up on Amazon) has gone unsigned. I saw Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Lance -- I mean, Neil -- Armstrong. Also John Glenn, Chris Kraft, Gene Cernan, and the Atlantis crew from the last Hubble repair mission. A gesture by Collins suggested that Alan Bean also was in the audience (I know that he and Cernan are on the panel at the Newseum tomorrow).

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 20, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Mostly because Geely can't make the engine efficient enough to pass US EPA standards.... Duh.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 20, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Tough stuff, Vijay. I know were you can get a real piece of Americana: an old Beetle. Four on the floor, test driveable and reasonably priced. Baja, if that toots your whistle.

Posted by: -jack- | July 20, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Baseball hotdogs apple pie and Geely Motors,
.. Baseball hotdogs apple pie and Geely ...much?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 20, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Nice Kit Vijay
I always thought it would be cool to have a car rental company with just old muscle cars. Camaro,corvette,GTO,Nova,Mustang,porche etc.....Charge an arm and a leg and maybe an ear and rent them out and have a good mechanic and bodyman to fix the eventual damages.Or maybe I should just look to rent a muscle car someday,cruise around,get a speeding ticket or two and then turn it back in.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 20, 2009 2:47 AM | Report abuse

I know the real reason you wanted the new Camaro was because of the Transformers movies. I have no sympathy for GM and Chrysler because your experience is just the tip of the iceberg of years of neglect to good business practices. too bad now the American taxpayers own 60% of this pathetic company.

Posted by: akschodh | July 20, 2009 3:39 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: | July 20, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, and happy Monday. It's the dog days, so we might as well enjoy them.

Recently I read that the average Toyota dealership sells over 1500 vehicles a year, the average Chrysler dealership only 124. Now that's a recipe for catastrophe.

The worst experience I ever had in purchasing a vehicle was the used Voyager. We bought it at the sister dealership of the one that actually owned it and were charged twice for the downpayment. Then I cancelled the extended warranty and they didn't get the paperwork straight. I had to involve my lawyer to straighten out the mess. It was worth every penny I paid him.

Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

BMW 330 "showing its age?" What does that mean? Don't all cars show their age? And only nine years and you're getting rid of the ultimate driving machine for a new car that is already showing its age (40)? By the way, a Camaro is not a sports car.

Posted by: GaryJean | July 20, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't think its just the car companies (American or otherwise).

I estimate I spend 3 hours a week trying to give money away - and its extremely difficult to get people to return e-mails or phone calls.

Duct cleaners, chimney sweeps, painters, house-keepers, web designers - the list goes on and on. They all seem too busy to take on new business.

And walking into a retail store is hit or miss these days. I was a futon store yesterday buying a mattress and while the lady was professional and helped with the transaction, I couldn't help but feel that I somehow interrupted her day - even though I was the only one in the store.

It is experiences like this when I can't help but think that unemployment - as high as it is - is still too low.

Some people would be better off for the economy as a whole if they just stayed home.

Posted by: Vingold | July 20, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Off kit but to the boodlers from AB's capital hope you made it through the storm without any damage - just read a report now - a wild Saturday night.

Enjoyed the kit.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 20, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: dem4life1 | July 20, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin's speech writer.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. First, loved the previous kit with all the pictures from Rome and the reminder that the boodlers are indeed a cheezy bunch! If anyone has a particular recipe for good herbs on goat cheese, warmed and served on bread/crackers, please put it up here.

Second, (or secondly, or seconded) I had no idea the new camaros were so pricey!

We had a brand new 924 in a nice dark red back in about '79 and kept it until it was too expensive to maintain, at least 10-12 years.

Agree with you Vijay, on the straight must be one with the car and all that joy.

Welcome to the boodle, new folks, am serving fresh cantalope, fresh coffee, homemade potato rolls with lavender honey for the dawn patrol.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 20, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Vijay, I enjoyed that kit tremendously! You touch upon the big problem I always have whenever I try to buy a new car. The dealers seem much less interested in selling me the car I want and much more interested in selling me the car they have.

The last time I wanted to buy a new car, I felt as if I needed to get a tattoo with the requirements on my forearm and hold it out whenever I was shown something different. Heck, I had dealers who pretended to look for the correct car at other dealers and then tell me soberly that there were none to be found in the mid-Atlantic states. Until, of course,I stumbled upon the dealer who actually had one.

So I hope you eventually stumble upon a dealer with your car. In the meantime, there are certainly worse vehicles to own than a BMW 330!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 20, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Dud morning da Boodle!

Dark, dreary, dismaly damp, depressing morning here.

Nice kit Vijay.


Posted by: Braguine | July 20, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Russianthistle: hahahahahahaha, he is so awful he's funny!!! Fits Sara just right.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 20, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Sounds very similar to my last experience in buying a new car. The make/model that I was interested in is sold just down the street from where I work. For two days straight I went down to look at the cars they had on the lot and not a single person came out to see if I needed any help. The second day I actually went inside to look for brochures. Again, not a soul approached me. It wasn't like they appeared that busy. Jeez, there were salesmen outside smoking when I was walking around the first day. I guess if I just been curious, I would have had 3 people jumping me asking me if I needed any help.

My uncle wanted to buy a Honda 2000 when they first came out and the dealer told him that the only way he was going to be able to test drive it was to buy it. I guess if that is your only one and I suppose some sucker will come and just buy it without at least driving it around the block (I did that with a '05 SAAB 9-3 Aero and I'll never do it again) but to play that game when your corporation is so desperately needing sales?? Someone needs to get their head out of the sand.

Posted by: cheez | July 20, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: dem4life1 | July 20, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse
Why not just admit you want GM and Chrysler to fail and Obama to fail?

Posted by: sherardg | July 20, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Pardon anything requiring an SCC -- on painkillers for a resurgent lower back issue (no known cause).


The quik mauve marmot jumps under the hazy frog...

Looks fine, maybe this will work.

Vijay, you'll want to watch your caller ID and let bc's inevitable dissertations on the joys of BMWs go to voicemail. :-)

*Grover-interpretive-dance-motions* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Very early for a Bunker alert, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Camaros are hard to get right now. But if you live here in the Washington area, I would strongly suggest that you rethink your enthusiasm for a manual transmission.

I have been a car enthusiast for a half a century now and for most of that time turned my nose up in scorn at automatic transmissions, deigning them to be crutches for the unskilled. But now, with rush hour here in the Washington area extending from 5:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. or later every day, in conjunction with my advancing age and occasionally painful knees, I find an automatic to be a pleasure and relief.

It seems, however, that Chevrolet has opted to de-tune the engine when mated to the automatic. Now, THIS is how you lose customers! Who wants a Camaro if it isn't rip-snortin'?

Posted by: FergusonFoont | July 20, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I got the same song & dance a few years ago when Toyota first introduced the FJ Cruiser. The dealers couldn't seem less interested. Six months later, after the initial buzz died (and after I'd bought something else), the dealers were all over me.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | July 20, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Front page alert. No duh.

Bunker is open and breakfast is on the ready room table. Thanks, VintageLady!

Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

My 20 year old "vintage" schwinn World Tour bike has a manual transmission.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

If anyone pays 50K for a Camaro....they are crazy. Its a good car, but not worth 50K.

This same thing happened with the S2000, 05 Mustang GT, Evo MR, G8 GT and others when they came out....hard to find, and dealers would not let you test drive, unless you put a deposit down with a credit card. So I said screw them all and now have an Audi S4.

Posted by: nowhine | July 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I have to concur with FergusonFoont on the standard transmission. I drive a 1989 Trans Am, and there's NOTHING worse than getting stuck in traffic on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at 3pm in a Trans Am with a HEAVY clutch.

Posted by: oldbam | July 20, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Purchase of bike took 3 minutes... Mostly, while having Sauvignon Blanc. Very relaxing.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

A Postie fairly new to town? Does a new Camaro really cost between $40,000 to $50,000? How does D.C. compare to, say, Seattle when you made the move back when? But Catalist is in D.C., no? Was my name on that voter database, Vijay? What does a chief digital officer do at the digital Post?

Vijay Ravindran has been named senior vice president and chief digital officer of The Washington Post Co. He assumed his responsibilities in Feb. 2009. ...

As chief technology officer of Catalist LLC, a start-up political technology company that built a national voter database of information on more than 260 million people, Ravindran led all the technology aspects of developing the company’s software products and services. He joined Catalist in 2005. This past election cycle, Catalist worked with 90 political and not-for-profit organizations, including the Obama for America presidential campaign.

An veteran, Ravindran was director, from 2003 to 2005, of the ordering services group, the department that owned the product development and operations for the “Your Account,” “Shopping Cart,” “1-Click” and “Proceed to Checkout” components of all Amazon properties. From 2001 to 2003, he managed the teams that owned the core order-processing and identity services for Amazon and its partners. Ravindran joined Amazon in 1998 as a senior software engineer.

Ravindran graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1996 with a BS in systems engineering. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Indian American Leadership Initiative.

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

So, if you, Vijay, improved the customer interface at, how about giving the Boodle some italics, eh?

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It didn't take them long to turn into government employees.

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 20, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

First, a little music from Tasmin Archer for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the Moon, and Armstrong's Giant Leap:

"I blame you for the moonlit sky
and the dream that died
with the Eagle's flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
when I wonder why
are the seas still dry?
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
Did we fly to the Moon too soon?
Did we squander the chance?
In the rush of the race
in the reason we chase is lost in romance..."

A good song, and I think refelects the conflict a lot of people about the manned Space Programs.

Yes, I know Tasmin herself is Aussie.

More on Camaros momentarily.

You know I couldn't leave *that* alone.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Morning greetings to the boodle. Trying to pry my peepers open to get some productive work done today. Even put in several hours yesterday, so as to make it easier today. We'll see. . ..

Sad about Frank McCourt's death. I've only read Angela's Ashes and I found it a pretty compelling book, although I know of others who hated it. Don't know why. I thought it was well written, even if the subject matter was mostly gruesome. But that's the mirror of many people's lives. Try as we might, we can't really pretend it doesn't exist, regardless of which country we're talking about. I might re-read that book sometime (if I can find it. . ..).

Toodley, Boodley

Posted by: -ftb- | July 20, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Vijay Ravindran and Laura Quinn
Washington, D.C.

The Information Architects

Before joining Catalist -- a progressive, private data-collecting organization cofounded by Laura Quinn, 48, a former Gore aide -- Vijay Ravindran, 34, worked at Amazon.

Ravindran: "At Amazon, I led the group that delivered the Amazon Prime feature. We found that if the wrong people subscribed to it, it was a huge loss leader, but if you found the right set, it could be great for business. We used microtargeting to find the people who wouldn't break the bank. In the political space, I felt it was very important to build a computing architecture that would take in real-time data, get them into a standardized format, and then load them into a place where they could be snapshotted out for particular purposes. That didn't exist before. Now we have an architecture that scales more than 15 terabytes of data while providing an interface for users to work with. We expect to leave this election cycle with a piece of permanent infrastructure that enables groups to do microtargeting more efficiently than ever before. It all boils down to one principle: Leave no data behind."

LL: Again, Vijay, what does a digital officer do at the Washington Post? Am I being microtargeted here?

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Oldbam, what's the acceleration from zero to 5 in your Trans Am? I used to find myself stuck in Wilson Bridge traffic occasionally ... in the old days ...

What a life killer. In many ways, it is better to be poor and not in that traffic. At the end of the day, I have to say that cars have a way to really put a weight on our society.

Not to go on, but you look at the way we live with cars and they are almost a drug. They affect our lives in ways that we can't see. Cars and SUVs make it so easy to drag things home. Now, without a car, I think 2 or 3 times before tossing something into a shopping basket.

There are so many ways that such a lifestyle--without a car--can be so refreshing.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Now now laloomis, don't freak out the newbie just yet. They should be treated sanely until they've done something crazy on their try to jaywalk across K Street during rush hour.

Besides, the kit isn't on his job experience, but his car-buying experience.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 20, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it's sad that McCourt died of metastatic melanoma. Ahh, the fair-skinned...

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

cheez... great handle. You should read yesterday's Achenblog comments from 6:20 pm on. We're honored to have you here today!

I just finished my most recent car-buying experience after totaling my '06 Town & Country. After a month of dealing with traditional dealerships, I ended up very happily purchasing the '08 T&C from Carmax (our 8th Carmax purchase!). I don't think I'll do it any other way from now on.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Loomis, your name is on LOTS of lists!

Posted by: bobsewell | July 20, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

tomtildrum - your comment had me laughing. And I am a government employee..

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 20, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Maybe a digital officer twiddles his thumbs, but then again, maybe he just gives people with irrelevant questions the finger.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 20, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Frank McCourt's second book "Tis" (It is) is like reading music, not just prose, but beautiful, beautiful music. It is also hilarious! " Angela's Ashes" was dark and hard for me to reading in places, especially about his miserable Dad. Miserable Dad is also in the second book, Frank was very very good to him.

RIP, Frank McCourt, a great writer.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 20, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Vijay - Please do not let some of the comments disturb you. I assume you have been briefed.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 20, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

RussianThistle, my Trans Am is a beast. It's a GTA and will definitely put your head back. It has a new exhaust now, and I think it's killing my hearing. Or that could be just advancing age..........

Posted by: oldbam | July 20, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Six. One. Two.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 20, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse


What are you doing? Do you not understand what our guest boodler does? Or, do you just want to demonstrate that you google?

You know, after having my life out there for a while, I have to say that it is nice to use pseudonyms...

For one thing, it holds down micro-targeting ... not that I know what that is.


Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Do automakers tweak the sound of their muscle cars the way that motorcycle manufacturers do? I mean, it's pretty well known that Harley Davidson works hard to make it's bikes sound distinctive. How about cars?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 20, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Frank McCourt had an interesting life. I have special memories of listening to the audiobook of Angela's Ashes--read by the author--with my daughter. I've had the pleasure of hearing McCourt read and talk (and sing) on two occasions, and also have met his brother, Malachy, who although he may not be so good a writer, is a world-class talker.

Here's Dave Barry's reminiscence of Frank McCourt:

Posted by: kbertocci | July 20, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, weed... my minivan has a beautiful hummmmmmm.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse


no doubt! I have been in several racing Porsches, and my favorite little spin ... an original Shelby Cobra. Talk about a "hearing" shock! I think we were doing 55 or 60 in second. Not Wilson Bridge material.

Biggest headback shocker, and bc can probably correct me, was when I sat in a competition go-cart and didn't know what would happen when I hit the gas.

HA HA HA!!!!

I think I left my head in another area code.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Get real. If the guy's been involved in microtargeting voter data, then I'm curious what he's doing at the Post? It'a a fair question in this time of instant data capture, niche marketing, and the news media in severe decline because of plummeting revenues.

Remember it was only a couple of week's ago that private-access parties for certain journalists were proposed for the well-heeled at the home of a certain Post owner. I like the idea that Chris Matthews, IIRC, proposed: that an outfit, such as, pay for access to the party(ies), had the WaPo plan succeeded and gotten off the ground, go in with a hidden camera, and record who was ponying up.

And Joel's introduction of Vijay is really disingenuous.

Lessons learned: A case study using data mining in the newspaper industry

Many organisations across a variety of industries are engaging in the process of data mining as part of an overall strategy for business intelligence, customer relationship management (CRM), including churn prevention. This paper provides an overview of the data mining process and illustrates a case study in which data mining is utilised as a churn prevention tool [doing what needs to be done to keep a customer--less $$$] for a major Midwest USA newspaper. For this case study, a decision tree, a common modelling technique, was the analytical tool of choice. Lessons learned throughout the data mining process are provided to offer insight and to promote the sharing of information. Strategies for getting started in the data mining process are presented to encourage organisations to embrace a data-driven strategy for business intelligence, CRM and churn prevention. Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management (2007)

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Interesting Kit, Vijay.

As you know, the new Camaro's going through the first part of the Hot Car curve now - where demand outstrips supply - and the MSRP as provided to dealers are trying to maximize profit on every unit sold.

That's a fancy way of saying there's lots of price gouging going on out there, and people are pounding their doors wanting B1tchin' Camaros (I'd post a link to the Dead Milkmen song, but the actual music itself is about 30 sec.) If you still want one in a year, you should be able to make a sane deal.

I have a BMW similar to yours, a '99 328i with 210,000 mi. and still on the orginal clutch (knocking wood here). Yes, it needs sensors replaced here and there, and there are the famous doorlock relay issues that are simply maddening, and expensive if you try to get a dealer to fix it. I did it myself with some Internet help for about $100. Much better now. Oh, and if you haven't replaced the front control arm bushings yet, you'll find it the Ultimate Wandering Machine.

As far as manual transmissions, I've been driving though DC traffic -- and the worst of the I-270/495/Conn Ave-Downtown DC/Northern VA Beltway for 30 years with an average distance commute of about 40 miles from 'burbs into the heart of the city (these days it's almost 60 each way) and never had anything but manual transmissions. That BMW clutch - and the one in the worthless beater Dodge Neon with 165,000 mi. on it - have taken darn near every mile in that traffic.

I'm hanging onto my rides for the moment, and dealing with the little stuff.

And in the back of my mind, I'm planning for What Sits in my Parking Space Next.
Research, planning, and rational thought - I'm trying, anyway.

And besides, I want a Dodge Challenger SRT-8, myself.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah, name's on lots of lists, blah, blah, blah...I'm hardly shaking in my boots. Vijay's been briefed...blah, blah, blah. There's something to be said for the dead-tree-version of a newspaper protecting a reader's right to privacy...

April, 2007: Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in the name of online profits. ...

But that's business. Do readers really want data-mining behavior from their newspapers—not just the Times but every other big media outlet? Do they want newspaper databases to store reading histories, minute by minute, until one day the government shows up to examine ordinary citizens' shopping and viewing and chatting habits in detail? If you think it can't happen, ask the librarians who've been told to hand over readers' checkout records under the Patriot Act.

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, agrees that the prospect of a media-compiled reader-habit database is worrisome. ...

Harper notes that the Justice Department has been pushing since last spring for a "data retention" law that would require Internet service providers to warehouse their customers' online activity for the convenience of government investigators.

Ancient Times man Arthur Gelb made this hardly surprising observation to the Observer the other day: "Some day we'll all be reading our papers electronically." But the problem with reading papers electronically is that they can also read you.

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Supply and demand.

One, you need to walk in. And two, I'm not so sure about buying any new model car in its first year. I like to let them work the kinks out on some other person.

Try a different dealer. In my experience, I've walked in and told them what I want and they get it for me.

Posted by: SarahBB | July 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Linda, get off the freakin' bus. Lots of people do similar jobs in very dissimilar industries. Regardless, his job has nothing to do with the kit.

Re-read the introduction. Don't think it was written by JA. And it is fair...he's new in town, looking for a car. What else you need to know? His religion? Number of siblings?

I know the *Tim/Dooley/dinosaur stuff has become a bit worn-out, but find something else to focus on. This one's a non-starter...neither Vijay nor the Washington Post owes you anything.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, very sorry to hear about Frank McCourt. Thanks to Kbertocci, I have all his books. the last one, Teacher Man, made me look at reading differently. He spoke of his kids reading recipes and coming to see the music in it and I found it was the music in the written word that draws me into books, I think. I find the same thing in knitting. He will be missed.

Storms missed us, but this is a lady I met at the store who lives just north of Elk Island Park (I'm right on the south end)Really great shots of the clouds.

My only storm problem was the inability to connect reliably to the internet yesterday. Nary a branch blew down.

Tim, I am just plain dying with envy. You got to be in the same room as those gents. You got to hear them speak. I'll just go have a pity party of my own that I could not be there.

Vijay, buy a Fit. Better car, and way better gas mileage. Good gas mileage should be seen as a patriotic action.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 20, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

weed, I used to race karts back in the day as a tool for keeping sharp in race cars.

And yeah, those things are fast, fast, fast and pull some serious g's when the tires get up to temp. 20 laps at the local short track road course (since shut down) on a Thursday night practice, and I was glad for the big collar to help hold my helmeted head up. Good thing the sprint races were only about 12 laps.

And RD, yes auto maufacturers spend lots of time and money to tune the sound of their cars for maximum aural pleasure. And they even make the exhausts adjustable to change sound and power characteristics over the engine's operating rev range.

If you ever pull up behind a C6 Corvette (the newest model), look into the 4 exhaust tips. You'll see the center two pipes closed with a butterfly valve. Under normal operating conditions driving around town, those valves stay closed to keep it quiet and relatively fuel efficient. Punch the throttle -- those butterfiles open up, and you hear the mighty Chevy V-8 engine roar like an unleashed animal.

Not as cool to me as the sweet rip of a Ferrari engine at full chat, but satisfying nonetheless.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Thanks for opening the bunker, slyness. Good call. Vijay certainly got himself a dual baptism of fire this morning, didn't he?

Todau in Nautical and Aviation History

July 20, 1866: The world’s first fleet action of armored ships takes place at the Second Battle of Lissa, as Austrians under Rear Adm. Wilhelm Tegetthof defeat an Italian fleet under Count Carlo di Persano in the Adriatic Sea.
1969: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” are the words of astronaut Neil Armstrong as he steps off the ladder of the lunar module Eagle at 10:56 p.m. EDT, becoming the first man to walk on the moon; moments later Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin joins him as command pilot Michael Collins flies the Apollo 11 spacecraft Columbia in lunar orbit.
1985: After a 16-year search that cost him the lives of his son and daughter-in-law, treasure hunter Mel Fisher makes history’s largest treasure haul when his divers bring up the first silver ingots from the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, sunk in a hurricane 40 miles from Key West, Fla., in 1622. The treasure was estimated between $260 million to $400 million, and took Fisher another eight years, $1.5 million in legal fees and 111 hearings to keep 40-plus tons of loot from the federal government.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

As bc said, they sure do RD Padouk.
But the underlying technology also contributes with its distinct tone, from the low rumble of the carburated low-compression huge v-eight of oldbam's Trans Am to the high pitch of the highly turbo-compressed high-revving pushed-to-the-limit 4 in-line cylinders found in some sporty imports. The sound of the Porsche boxer engines is pretty hard to reproduce with any other type of motor. Ditto for Ferrari's roaring aluminium V-12s, it's music to the ear that no other instrument can produce.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse


Get real? HA HA HA!!!!

Having founded one of the nation's leading data mining companies in the country well over two decades ago, I chortle in your general direction.

And, just so you know, the Post has several businesses that continue to rely heavily on data analysis for their continued growth and profitability.

In most businesses, wild growth is easy... it's when you try to maintain a razor thin edge in a mature business that data and bright people really comes into play.

As they say, you can give the house file to any moron and they should make a bit of money, but to prospect in today's environment, it takes skill and creativity.

The Post pays good money for such talents, like many large enterprises. Politics is a burnout business... like a continual series of Jolt Colas.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm a kit behind, but if you want water nymphs, here's one:

Also from the Neptune fountain, but my background isn't as beautifully sunlit.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 20, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

There is this mountain nearby that someone went and vandalized and now they shine lights on it every night as a cautionary tale.

Today I am off to the set of that mashed potato movie. Maybe the aliens will still be there.

I still don't have any takers for my Shell, WY BPH offer. I'm beginning to feel neglected and unloved that nobody will drive 3,000 miles to watch me eat lunch.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 20, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I love water nymphs.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'd join you jkt, but, at 20 miles a day on my bike, I don't have enough leave.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

bc, you're the man to answer this question: why are Camaros in short supply?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

And now's the perfect time to say it: Asiago.

Posted by: -dbG- | July 20, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, you've knocked open the lid on old box-o-memories with your post about Mel Fisher. I was the marine casualty investigator in the case of the death of his son, et al. A BPH sea story, if you are interested.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | July 20, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Howdy, Vijay, and fine Kit. I'd welcome you to DC but I'm in Oklahoma, so I'll welcome you to the Boodle instead. Your story is exactly why I avoid car buying. The last time I did, I knew precisely what I wanted and how much I would spend; I found a local dealer with that car, went in and said "This." Even then, it took hours and hours, and they tried to convince me on the test drive that a V-4 engine was really exactly the same as the V-6. I don't know why; (a) it's patently not true in highway driving, which is most of what I do, and (b) the V-6 cost more. No sense at all.

Sorry, Vijay, for Loomis. She's easily distracted and consumed by tangents which she believes may affect her personally, and has very little sense of boundaries. Thus her belief that this particular forum is the appropriate one to question what you do for the Post, and why.

Welcome to all the other car posters. It is always nice to hear from someone with a special interest or expertise.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 20, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

A Camaro? Why in the world would you want a camaro when you own a classic 330? A camaro is so 20th century. 17MPG and so needs a 19 gal fuel tank to hold that $3/gal fuel. About the same efficiency as your 330, which by the way *may* qualify for the cash-for-clunkers program. Why buy a car with 2001 specs that brand new is considered a clunker? And there isn't even a convertible option for crying out loud.

Now, if you want a 21st century car that really is a sports car, pony up the $100K for a Tesla! Seriously though, if I were you, I would take your 330 to a good BMW mechanic and ask them what it would cost to get it in tip-top shape, detailed, maybe a new engine or at least most parts replaced, all the door dings removed, new paint, etc. I'll bet it would cost 1/3 the cost of a new Camaro and you'll have a better car.

Posted by: bevjims1 | July 20, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Boodle,
It looked like bunker call there for awhile, but it seems safe right now.

It just became official: I have my new job in Chicago sewed up. Three more weeks at the madhouse, then a nice 700 mile move and a brief vacation to refresh me for the transition. Hurrah!

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, there are punky (according to ScienceKid #1) sauropods in Shell, Wyoming, then there's the Newsosaur Allen Mutter, who's honing his edge in data mining newspapers.

From Froomkin's Harvard media watchdog outlet:

Mutter and his business partner, Ridgely Evers, are pitching a targeted-advertising and e-commerce system that, in an intriguing twist, would be owned by the newspaper industry. ...

He described the core of their venture as an online advertising solution in which newspaper companies and other publishers would share data on the demographics and reading habits of individual users to serve highly targeted ads based on that information.

LL: I can't tell you how much I hate the ads to my inbox from after I make the occasional purchase. Here are the latest in science and history books, informs me. They can no sooner figure out what I'm truly interested in than the man in the moon. Nor do they have a clue about books that they recommend that I already own from other booksellers--including the wonderful Half Price Book outlets in town. As far as I'm concerned, Jeff Bezos can go to you know where. Just process my damn occasional order and stop the constant marketing. It's a real turn-off, I tell ya! More junkola in my inbox. Should I tell the Express-News that each Sunday after retrieving the paper from out lawn, we sort out ALL the glossy Sunday ad inserts before even opening the paper for the news?

Posted by: laloomis | July 20, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey SW'er!!! Great news. May it be a solid move. (I am sure)... so many folks move on to a new job that vaporizes. I get the yips whenever I see a story like yours.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The tought of paying more than $3,000 for a car makes my skin crawl. Then again, the sight of what I bring home for that much makes my familiy's skin crawl.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | July 20, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Well done, Sou'wester!! *applause*

I really do think I smell a not-really-farewell BPH coming up... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, wimpy putting a child in front of you like a shield. Leave her alone. She's not yours to quote. Besides, you wouldn't want anyone to think you'be got stalker tendencies, especially when it comes to a minor.

You can opt-out of the emails. Should you so choose.

And no one can figure out what you're truly interested in. You're all over the map.

Why not assume the best of people? Maybe start with an hour a day. Don't even need to leave your house.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

On-Kit: Vijay, keep the Bimmer. I drive an '86 325 (258K and climbing) and it runs like a dream. I do all my own work, of course, and I'm careful to keep it well maintained, but it's still on its original engine and tranny and a very fun car to drive.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

bc, meet SW

SW, meet bc...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

s'wester, congrats on the new job! and getting out of the madhouse.

Posted by: LALurker | July 20, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Southwester! How does the Southwestress feel about the move to Chicago?

When's the best night to schedule a BPH?

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

bevjims, I think the Tesla's an interesting car, but the vehicle's operating range isn't great, and I'm not sure if I'd call it a sports car. How many significant automotive sporting events have Teslas won, 'zackly?

I would also add that a well-driven car of any kind - especially with a manual transmission (worth about 3-5 mpg typically) - will typically exceed the EPA estimates. My BMW averages nearly 32 MPG hwy and city combined, but, um, pretty good abous such things.

Having said that, I think the new Camaro's a *very* nice iteration of the classic muscle car, and the dash/gauge treatment made me smile from the minute I sat down behind the wheel of a Hugger Orange SS.

Have you driven both, and if so, what did you find in your experiences that made you come to the conclusion that a 9 year old BMW is better than the new Camaro?

I want a Camaro SS, too.

But don't make mine yellow. I don't need a car that Transforms into a 25-foot tall sentient robot. Or worse, a Michael Bay film.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

bc's an excellent driver.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Wapner at 4

Posted by: LostInThought | July 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

More tidbits:

I know certain Boodlers are major fans of the slingshot kinda weapon called a trebuchet, and so today we lead off with a minor historic event I’d ordinarily omit were it not for the presence of a trebuchet. And not just any trebuchet but…


So here we go:
1304: The Fall of Stirling Castle in Wars of Scottish Independence, when King Edward I of England takes the castle using the War Wolf. Paraphrasing Wikipedia gives us: “The Warwolf, or War Wolf or Ludgar (Loup de Guerre), is believed to be the largest trebuchet ever made. It was created in Scotland by order of Edward I of England during the siege of the Stirling Castle in the 13th century. When disassembled, the weapon would fill 30 wagons. It took 5 master carpenters and 49 other labourers at least three months to complete… Even before construction could be completed, the sight of the giant engine so intimidated the Scots that they tried to surrender. Edward, declaring, "You don't deserve any grace, but must surrender to my will," decided to carry on with the siege and witness for himself the power of the masterful weapon. The Warwolf accurately hurled missiles weighing as much as 300 pounds and leveled a large section of the curtain wall.”
1871: British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada.
1881: Sioux Chief Sitting Bull leads the last of his fugitive people in surrender to Army troops at Fort Buford, North Dakota.
1921: Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson became the first woman to preside over the US House of Representatives.
1944 – World War II: Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt (known as the July 20 plot) led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who looked nothing like Tom Cruise.
1954: At Geneva, Switzerland, an armistice is signed that ends fighting in Vietnam and divides the country along the 17th parallel. You woulda thought that’d be the end of it…but no…
1960: The Polaris missile is successfully launched from a submarine, the USS George Washington, for the first time.
1973: I know this one will just shock you: In testimony by Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry Friedheim to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the Defense Department admits it lied to Congress about bombing Cambodia . Hard to believe.
1976: The Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars.
1976: Hank Aaron hits his 755th home run, the final home run of his career.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Happy Birthday:
356 BC: Alexander the Great, Macedonian-Greek king and military leader (d. 323 BC) (no, I wasn’t present at the baby shower).
1893: George Llewelyn-Davies, the model for Peter Pan character model (d. 1915 in combat in WWI)
1926: Lola Albright, the actress who played Edie Hart, Peter Gunn’s love interest. And yeah, she's still around.
1936: Barbara Mikulski, one of my two senators.
1938: Mrs. Peel: Dame Diana Rigg, and also Natalia Zacharenko, better known as Natalie Wood, who played Deanie Loomis (perhaps the only Loomis not related to anyone we know) in “Splendor in the Grass.” I mean, two of world’s most terrific babes, both on the same day. Wow. Just plain wow.
1971: Canucko-Korean actress Sandra Oh

1923: Francisco "Pancho" Villa. (Some day I’ll tell you about the time I rode with Villa into Torreon, sitting in the shade at the corrida, drinking tequila, and watching the old torero stand alone.)
2005: “Scotty”: James Doohan (b. 1920) (yet another Star Trek Canucki. I think everybody on that damned show was Canadian, including Ricardo Montelban.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Why in the world would you want a camaro when you own a classic 330?"

Oh snap...classic 330..RIGHT every 24 to 35 year old something boring policy wonk or wonkette hill staffer or non-profit whatever drives them...

ITS CALLED 460 HP and 400 FT-pounds or torque...thats why you drive a muscle snaps your head back, does burnouts, and is fun.

Posted by: nowhine | July 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the trebuchet tidbit, Mudge. I recently read a great contemporary account of the siege of Stirling castle. That must have been truly terrifying, and exciting, to witness.

Alice Mary Robertson, Congresswoman from Oklahoma, presided over the House.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 20, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@TBG: Southwestress is thrilled. She grew up in Chicago, more or less (actually she grew up in Russia, but she moved to Chicago with her dad at 12 and lived there through college and marriage until we moved here in 2004), so for her it's like going home. We already did one move to my hometown, so I s'pose it's only fair.

I'll be game for a BPH after next Tuesday. We don't officially leave until August 14th, but this coming weekend, S'Westress and lil' SW are going on ahead to make arrangements for our new place and visit with granddad so the rest of this week will be busy with making preparations for their scouting mission.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I like my little Honda Fit. I think it is very nice.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 20, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

$40-50,000 for a chevy camaro? HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! Always and forever a piece of crap. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Posted by: dem4life1 | July 20, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse
Why not just admit you want GM and Chrysler to fail and Obama to fail?

What say I?

I am not responsible for the original post, but I agree with it.

I can't answer for the original author on the challenge to admit I want Grizler and Gumint Motors to fail along with Obama, but I most certainly do!

The sooner the better. Taxpayers own 60%! 60% of what, exactly? This UNHOLY alliance is doomed to failure. I'll wager the UAW dumps its portion for cash as soon as the court lets it. Pity the poor sucker that buys it! (Probably US again.)

I control a portion of a large fleet of vehicles for a corporation. Yes, we use them to help us make money for our shareholders and ourselves.

I have already told my people that GM and Grizler will not be an option open to them when their current vehicles need to be replaced.

Posted by: Rjames2 | July 20, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

SWester, congrats. And good on ya for keeping that old bird flying.

Oh, and Mudge - there's more than one reason why Camaros are in short supply, but the long and short of it is that people are buying them faster than they're producing them. Now, availability may be controlled (perhaps they're not running the prod lines at maximum capacity, or they're holding deliveries back a bit) in order to maximize dealer and manufacturer profit per unit by inciting bidding wars and allowing dealers to add markups.

If a product is hard to get, people will pay more.

Again, in a year, things will be different.

I-mom, I think that the 4 cyl you're taliking about isn't arranged in a V, but in an inline configuration. Haven't seen a V-4 in a new car since those Saabs about 30 years ago. And you're right, not the same at all.

LiT, thanks for saying that.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I wish you well on the next BPH. I shan't be able to join this one, either, as I will be gallivanting about, visiting continental and non-continental landmasses.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 20, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Do I know my trebuchet audience or what?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@bc: While I'm quite confident that it'll serve me well through at least 300K, I'm actually getting a lot of pressure to switch up to a roomier vehicle. Things get pretty cramped when the whole fam goes out (at least, if you include the Gigantic Dog) and if we have any more additions to the clan we just won't fit. Fortunately, we're all in agreement as to what the next car will be: a 15-20 year old Volvo station wagon.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to poke the bear, nor scritch its fuzzy head either. I am interested to know about the writer's background in relation to the Camaro desire. It does speak to the power of advertising in the writer's mind. Although I suspect he really wanted to TEST DRIVE it more than buy the Camaro. But then again, I'm no car dealer. Although they fancy they can read the potential customer's mind. They really believe that!

Targeted web is a failure on me. Even if it identifies categories I am interested in, it totally fails to connect. Much like the car dealer who has been hypnotized into believing I'm looking for gasoline-powered Enzyte. But if you say, "No, Buddy, that's YOUR problem" they get hostile and stomp away.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 20, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, bc. Even as I typed "V-4" I was thinking this was a placeholder for whatever it actually was. Four-cylinder would have been more accurate. And nobody can convince me that, among two well-maintained cars, the 4-cylinder performs as well at a highway on-ramp, or other situations requiring sudden speed, as its sister 6-cylinder. [Ideally of course one uses the on-ramp to get up carefully to highway speed, where one stays comfortably thoughout the drive. Sometimes circumstances, particularly other drivers, can disturb ideal conditions.]

My congratulations as well to Southwester. Don't y'all change your handle, now. You can always merely transfer the imagery to storm rather than location - don't forget the hooded yellow rain slicker. Or if you want to preserve complete accuracy, you could let your Boodle handle determine your choice of new residence and look for something in southwest Chicago (I have no idea what that's like). Some people might say this was going too far.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 20, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I had a similar experience recently. I needed to purchase 2 trucks for my company. I posted a inquiry on thre Ford website and within 24 hours has recieved 4 emails, all of themm wrong as to what I was looking for. I ended up working with one dealer that fired the salesman just as we were about to close the deal. The two people who took over the deal promptly lost our credit app and then made excuse after excuse as to why it was being held up. All the while, I was still being contacted by other dealers who insisted that I purchase what they had instead of what we needed. I finally walked away from the first dealer (rhymes with meehy) when the sales manager told me that we would have everything in place the next morning, knowing that he wasn't going to be workng that day. Ended up with another dealer out of the DC area but got it all done in 48 hours

Posted by: ECo34 | July 20, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: Don't worry, the handle and the slicker will make the move. Actually, we knew before I even started looking for a new job that we wanted to live in Hyde Park, our favorite neighborhood in the world. However, the place we're probably going to take will be in SW Hyde Park, so I'd say it still applies. Sorta.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Did they fetchez la vache for that trebuchet, 'Mudge?

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@mudge: Sounds like Longshanks was using the Scots as a field test. While that still happens today, it is universally decried. Ordinarily, I would say that is a good thing, but trebuchets are just so cool.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

This has been exactly my experience. I've been trying to buy a new truck for 4 months. I spent 45 minutes wandering around the lot of a Ford dealer and not one salesperson approached me, so I went to the Mazda dealer down the street, went into the showroom, stood there for 3 or 4 minutes while salesmen chatted among themselves. Finally I loudly announced that I was interested in buying a vehicle, that stirred one salesman who put down his lunch begrudgingly and asked me what I was looking for. I said I'd like to see a B3000. The response was "we don't have any". Then I decided that if Ford/Mazda doesn't want me I'd try Toyota. Emailed them with my specifications and the response was "we don't have that". No follow up, no "let me see if I can find what you want", nothing. I have the cash people! I was going to write you a $35K check for the right vehicle. You might have even up-sold me a bit. Why won't you talk to me?

I've decided to sink the money into repairing my current truck.

Posted by: CannonFodder | July 20, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Great news, Southwester! You have our permission to move home, but you must keep your handle.

Such a busy morning here! I'm struggling to keep up as I try to rewrite a chapter on organizing and deploying fire department resources. It's a snooze, even for me.


Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Southwester! You do understand that you have not only improved your own situations, but given many of us hope that even in this economy there are new better jobs to be found?

I hear tell some pretty cool people have chosen to live in Hyde Park.

Hey Boodle, send me some mojo today, please. Need to have a CT scan this afternoon. I'm not exactly worried, not precisely, but still.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Southwester, I just donated my 1986 volvo wagon to Melwood, I am so sorry, you could have had it. Four cylinders, four in the floor, it was valued at $0. for personal property taxes in FFXCO, but we found it to be a most rewarding vehicle, right up to the end when they came for it. Original transmission, 250,000 miles on it, metallic blue, but the inspection was coming up and we knew it would never pass, needed fan, new muffler, tires,a/c, etc. but it was still running and we used it to haul stuff. 30mpg. Never burned oil.

I hope you find one that serves your family as well as ours did.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 20, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Je suis dunno, Monsieur le Scottee. I was n'est la attention paying at le temps. Although it is certainment le possible, as I was otherwise engaged with la trayeuse in le barn at le temps.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

*maximum mojo-osity fax headed Yoki's way*

*and some HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSS for good measure* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

*faxing tres le mojo to la Countess of Calgary*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all that good info on the aural characteristics of cars. I figured they wouldn't leave such a primal part of the driving experience unexamined.

Funny you should mention trebuchets. Over the weekend, when I was cleaning out the shed, I encountered a concrete counterweight from a trebuchet my son and I built long ago. The weight is a chunk of concrete the size of an office wastebasket with a large eye bolt sticking out of it. I would get rid of it, but, well, you never know when such a thing might come in handy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 20, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Sending long distance hugs to Yoki and a daisy chain to decorate the scanner, merlot for you and the technician when all is done done....

Posted by: VintageLady | July 20, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Vijay's problem sounds almost identical to the problems our family had in trying to buy a Honda Accord in 1978. (I know, it's a very different car from a Camaro.) We ended up buying it in my college town. I rode my bicycle out to the dealership to pick up the car, so I had it for the first couple of months before I drove it back home after the end of the quarter.

Posted by: -pj- | July 20, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

And Detroit wonders why people won't buy their cars.

I live in a fairly rural area of western Oklahoma. Last year one of my co-workers wanted to buy a new Jeep. He found the one he wanted in a major Oklahoma city but wanted to buy locally from the area Jeep dealer. He told the Jeep store owner what he could buy the vehicle for in the big city and asked if the local dealer could get close to the big city price.

The dealer said no and walked away.

Posted by: stephenrhymer | July 20, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

gee, you all are fast!

I think I'll just spend the rest of the day here, couldn't hurt.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sending my best thoughts to you as well, Yoki.

Posted by: -pj- | July 20, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

*Aiming Mojo Cannon north*
Let 'er rip! Good luck, Yoki, but I'm sure you won't need it!

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Somebody want to tell me why anything (especially anything utterly predictable) Michael Steele might have to say about anything is worthy of being the lede story on the WaPo home page?

(Spoiler alert: Steele doesn't like Obama's health plan. I know how shocked you'll all be at hearing this really, really surprising, unexpected and unpredictable news.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

OK, I grant ya, it's a slow news day. But even so...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I wish genetic engineering could come up with a way I could grow more than two thumbs to point up at you Yoki.
p.s. don't call bc

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 20, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Hi, stephenrhymer. I'm in OKC. Stick around! Chat! We do science and gardening and food and books and politics and lots of stuff in addition to cars here. I bet I know someone where you live, or close to it - there's just not that many folks out there. Alas, I'm not surprised by your Jeep dealer story. Had the tables been turned, the city dealer probably wouldn't match the country price either, even if it meant losing a sale. We often say hereabouts that the real split in OK isn't conservative/liberal, it is urban/rural (pronounced "rool").

Faxing many hugs and a song to Yoki - something soothing. No alarums here.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 20, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Mojo from me, too, Yoki.

This kit and the parallel boodle comments give me some concern, since we're sorta kinda in the market for a car. We've been making do as a one-car family all year, which has been generally fine, what with the small town and both working at the same campus. But there are times when not having another vehicle is quite inconvenient. Here's hoping our car-buying luck is better than these stories.

Posted by: -bia- | July 20, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Al. You are the best imaginary friends a woman could ask for.

Hey Jumper. Years and years ago the (relatively) famous former geneticist David Susuki said that if he could manipulate genes with precision, he'd grow a finger out of his upper lip so he could pick his nose without having to stop what he was doing.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It's happened:

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Enjoying my lunch with Asiago Cheese ... thinking about water nymphs.

Speaking of which, good luck Yoki!

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Not a single mention of the Pontiac G8? The thing seems to be the closest GM has come to a bargain-basement BMW, thanks to Holden, their Australian subsidiary.

Best wishes to Vijay.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 20, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

In my mind, I still see Camaros and Trans Ams in their early 80s models.

Great to be able to have our Northern BPH on Friday. That porch is getting bigger and bigger. Yoki, good thoughts are all boxed up and on their way to you on the Red Arrow.

Posted by: engelmann | July 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... the trebuchet is aimed at Calgary loaded with a wastebasket-sized hunk of Mojo with a large eye-bolt attached.

Watch out for that eye-bolt.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse


So, silly question and I could probably Google this... Do dealership employees work for the car manufacturers? What is the exact connection?

I will Google it, and I will display commendable digital citizenship by NOT SMEARING MY FINDS IN PEOPLE'S FACES!!!

Whew...Had to get that out.

Happy Colombian independence day, everyone. We didn't have a tea party, we attempted to borrow a flower vase instead.

Posted by: abeac1 | July 20, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I am glad you are finally getting some use out of your trebuchet! I haven't forgotten how much work it was to scrape and glue that sinew.

At least your word was good and you granted me my freedom.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 20, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

May I just say I have a very boring ceiling? Been staring at it most of the day now... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I too was very interested in the new Camaro. I figure this will probably be the last of the muscle cars. I couldn't find one to look at. I knew dealers had to have them because people had actually seen them on the street. I walked into a dealership the first week of June and the exchange went a bit like this (by the way a Saturday morning and the place was empty)
I'm interested in a Camaro. I'd like to see one, a brochure maybe? No can do we sold the demo a few weeks ago, there are no brochures, go online. I have 11 coming in this week but they are all sold. I can take a deposit and hold one for you but I can't tell you when it will be in....... and so it went. This car could be a huge hit for Chevy but they are blowing it much the way Chrysler did with the car I currently drive, a Crossfire, which is basically a Mercedes SLK in a different skin. Chrysler did a horrible job of marketing that car as well. I don't put a deposit on a car I can't at least see in the flesh and drive. So I finally did see one up close and in person. Its a beautiful car but I think I'll keep my Crossfire. It looked great on paper but in the end I remember how GM treated me on the last 3 or 4 cars, one of which was a new Corvette and the response I got from the sales rep on the Camaro and I figured I'm better off staying put. Sorry GM I tried.

Posted by: patpurcell | July 20, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, sending much mojo off to you and some virtual hugs.

"Wapner at 4" made my day thanks Lit.

Linda - pay cash for all items, do not use the internet, or loyalty cards, perhaps even vote etc and you should be safe from datamining.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 20, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Major breaking news!!!!!!!!! Paula Abdul's been FIRED!!!!

(Bwahahahahaha. Jeez, what a sad commentary.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - Unfortunately, your remark about highway on-ramps illustrates perfectly the problem with the great American car hype. Since we're accustomed to purchasing vehicles which can accelerate from nothing to over 100 kph in no time at all, there's been little emphasis on training drivers to leave safe amounts of merging or following room. Who cares, when you've got plenty of power to get into and out of tight spots. Gas is cheap, and if a few thousand people per year die, that's just the cost of freedom, you know?

Posted by: bobsewell | July 20, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

'zactly, Bob... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, are we gonna have to load you onto the golf cart and take you off the field of battle and get you to a chiropractor?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Plant question - today I was clearing a garden planted on the edge of a wooded area.

I was asked to clear what the owner thought was poison hemlock - I do not believe it was - but it is quite similar looking - growing to 6' tall, with oblong leaves - the flowers are similar to hemlock or queen anne's lace but slightly lavender in colour and the flowers are highly fragrant - a scent I would consider close to licorice.

Nice wildflower but really spreads. Needs to be something that would exists in a US Zone 5b garden.

Any idea what it might be? Good think I took my allergy medication this morning.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 20, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

My old grocery barcode thing wore out so I picked up the spare from my bureau. Using it the first or second time, the cashier said "how are you, Mister Torrence" which is not my name. I was surprised. I had no memory of acquiring the fake identity. I must have found it and squirreled it away long ago. Of course if they wanted to put two and two together they will link it to my (genuine, real) credit card anyway. One supposes soon the banks will sell a list of currency serial numbers they dispense to me from the cash machine to the same grocery store, and they will begin tracking those also. If they don't already.

Once I told the cashier I didn't like those barcodes / identifiers. She asked why. I looked both ways, leaned closer, and said in a low voice, "I don't want the Black Helicopters to know I drink Pepsi Cola."

The bagboy lost control.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 20, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

So my wife was looking for a used car to buy 2 years ago. I sent her to do the shopping and test driving. She pulled up in our driveway an hour later with the "perfect" car, and left it running while i found my way to the passenger seat for my part of the test drive.

To impress upon her that I wasn't automatically going to agree to buy the first car she came across, I knocked on the hood, kicked the tires, and told her in a strong voice of confidence, "This tin can sure runs rough, sounds like a main bearing knock, sure could use a tune-up."

As I approached the passenger side door, I bumped into somebody that I wasn't aware was there.

At which point my wife replied, "Oh, that's Jim, the salesman"

Tee hee!

I'm still wundering though, was it rude to kick the tires in front of the salesman?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@bobsewell: That makes a lot of sense. Nevertheless, what irks me to no end is when people treat yield signs at short merges like stop signs. If the cars in the adjacent lane are traveling at 60+ MPH, it's a lot easier to get up to speed and safely join traffic when rolling along at 20-30 MPH than it is to go from a complete stop.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, it's just a flesh wound, 'Mudge... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

It'd be ruder to kick the salesman's shoes, WW... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

kb, thanks for the link to Dave Barry's remembrance of Frank McCourt. It was a treat seeing him at the Book Fair, and what a surprise that he was part of the Rock Bottom Remainders. I had forgotten that he sang Don't Fence Me In. I loved all his books, and loved hearing him tell stories.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

DotC, I've been a fan of Aussie Chryslers, Fords, and GM products for awhile (OK, let's forget the Capri convertible for a minute) and glad to see them here in the US. I thought the GTO was a pretty neat piece, and I like the G8, too.

I'd also point out that the Caddy CTS is a nice piece, and I've had some serious jones for a CTS-V for about five years now. The new ones make me dizzy - a vehicle dynamics engineer I know (working for a competing manufacturer), calls the new CTS-V the all-around best car he's ever driven.

Heck, I'd drive a manual-trans V-6 CTS with the FE3 package in a heartbeat.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Is the 1 series Beemer a chick car now? I think thats what it has become....

Figures GM, finally has a car people want...but they don't make enough of them nor do they market them correctly....

I gave up on finding one, and put money into my Audi with new suspension and sway bars....

Posted by: nowhine | July 20, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I may be a bit late but my best mojo and any other luck going out to Yoki. Scotty, hope your back improves. Mine took a couple months to be more or less normal and I now have an inflatable lumbar support pillow that traveled to NS with me and sits behind me right now.

I am having the worst time getting out of my vacation brain. Five loads of laundry, trips to get groceries and stuff and I’m still not really ‘here.’

Good Kit Vijay. I am amazed by the car buying stories here. I have never had a dealer ignore me or not try to get me the car I wanted. Of course I haven’t bought a car in four years so maybe things are different. I find that the car buying websites were helpful for getting the best price as that was the part that always scared me. As I get older, I get tougher too as I just won’t take carp from a salesperson anymore, life’s too short.

Back to ironing and putting stuff away.

Posted by: badsneakers | July 20, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

nowhine, drive a 1-series with the twin turbos and manual trans and tell me that's a "chick car." (A phrase I dislike, FWIW.)

Boost that sweet straight six up through the gears and then power it out of a corner (with a hint of oppostie lock) on that nice fat torque curve, and tell me what you think.

Maybe a "Chick car," but one you might want to have a long-term relationship with.

I like Audis, too, BTW. I won't bother telling my Audi stories here at the moment.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

But bc... you are a "chick guy" so having a "chick car" is good for the image.

(I define "chick guy" as a guy that chick's like--and like to be seen with.)

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@TBG: I like your definition, but that sure wasn't we thought a "chick guy" was back in boarding school.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The answer to the car salesman's pitch, "I have several interested people looking at this car, it may not be available tomorrow." used to be, "Good, if you knock $1250 off your original offer, maybe I'll think about buying it today."

From reading this kit though, it seems like things are different nowadays. Perhaps the pay structure for car salesman now favors quotas over commission.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I have a manual camaro you can drive. Black with orange stripes and orange and black interior. Camaro is tough to get right now and most dealers don't have one to drive. It's not GM, this happens everytime there is a new hot item. And a fully loaded 2LT RS is only $33,500. Call joey at Criswell Chevrolet and tell him you want to drive my Black & Orange camaro...he knows who I am. They will get you one and you can get rid of that Bimmer.

Posted by: nkopit | July 20, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Have we entered Achenblog's List now?? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes! And the jousting shall begin presently.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

HA! Well, SWer... it stands to reason that if a chick car is a car chicks like to drive, then a chick guy is... well... you know.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@TBG: As I said I do like your version, but part of the whole chick car thing is, I think, some just below the surface misogyny. The idea is that a chick car is a car women like but that would be emasculating for a man to drive, and that a man should not be driving a car women want to drive, but rather a car women want to be driven in. On the bright side, guys who like to use such labels are easily freaked out when you tell them theirs is a chick car. I did that once to a particular jerk I worked with several years ago. The next Monday he showed up in giant SUV, which he managed to back into a trash dumpster in a parking lot by the afternoon.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Our tax dollars at work! That is just the kind of customer service the "new" GM needs and demands. Another reason to keep all those dealers open.

Posted by: floucka | July 20, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"nowhine, drive a 1-series with the twin turbos and manual trans and tell me that's a "chick car." (A phrase I dislike, FWIW.)"

Its a chick car....through and through...all I ever see driving them are 20 something grad school obsessed WASP women....I drive back roads alot FOR FUN (but I live and work in the city..driving for me is just a fun weekend pastime, I digress)...they are never out spooling up the twin turbos having fun...all they do is clog up the exit/on ramps of the highways while chatting on the iPhone driving the Beemers listening to Moby or some other lame music...just like their middle aged WASP moms driving the M or AMG cars putting around in the left lane on the why do women even BOTHER to own a fast car when all they ever do is putt around and clog up ramps anyhow?? Its amazing to spend 40K on a fast car and drive it like a Yugo...why oh why?? Just give me the cash, and I'll have fun with it...

Posted by: nowhine | July 20, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Guys can talk specs and all, but I think most muscle cars are sold on their sex appeal alone.

And the purchase of a minivan symbolizes the death of a young man's dreams.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, yeah, I started to write a comment about how the "chick car" term is patently offensive, then stopped. Especially since my eyes glaze over when cars are the subject of conversation, but I do appreciate a cool-looking or smooth-riding car. I've never liked Camaros, though, FWIW.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 20, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, SWer... I most definitely agree about the misogyny. Fortunately, in my mind, the most-masculine men don't mind seeming "feminine." Smart men take it as a compliment. :-)

And my son takes pride in the fact that he drives a crappy little Ford Focus (it is a manual, at least). He figures it shows he has nothing to prove.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I think that calls for the Haxian "Wow."

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

And stereotyping is oh so attractive, isn't it?

Posted by: seasea1 | July 20, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse


"Got to Get You Into My Life"

Beatles or EW&F?


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Cars? You guys have cars? Why, we were so poor we had to use little red wagons to get to work, and we painted the word "car" on the sides, to make us feel better.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@TBG: Good for him! My father-in-law drives a Honda Fit and he's the manliest man I've ever met (of course he's not the sort to care what people think of him if they judge him by the car he drives).

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"Got to Get You Into My Life"??

Carmen McRae, no question.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... you had paint?

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh those wacky wimmen drivers with their grad school degrees!

nowhine, I do so completely enjoy meeting little jerks such as yourself at intersection when the light's about to turn green. Most people I leave well enough alone, but the ones like you who think they're superior to everyone else on the road? Oh no. The stricken look on their faces when I roar by in my ten-year-old car is always so satisfying. It's even better now that I know it must bother them that I'm a GURL.

Posted by: tx_bluebonnet | July 20, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Beatles. I love EW&F, but the original is just so hilariously manic. I imagine Paul tearing his hair out, screaming and smashing things.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

We hadda use our own blood, TBG.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Little red wagons? You had wheels? We couldn't afford wheels. We had to use sleds - and let me tell you, those were long, slow trips across the flat prairie in the summertime.

Nowhine seems to have more issues with women than he does with cars. Maybe he'd feel better if the girls just wouldn't drive, or perhaps weren't white, or perhaps didn't go to school, and certainly didn't talk on the phone or listen to music. In fact, maybe all the girls and their middle-aged moms should just stay home. Then nowhine could stop whining.

I agree about the minivan, WhackyWeasel, but the death of dreams is not bounded by gender. This is why Ivansdad drives a CRV - I couldn't stand the minivan symbolism.

Oh, and howdy to txbluebonnet.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 20, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The age-old question still remains. Does cubic inches make a difference?

I doubt Guys will ever get a strait answer on that one. LOL!

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"I know it must bother them that I'm a GURL."

GURL.....I'll stay away from a comment on THAT.

Posted by: nowhine | July 20, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Beatles? Yeah, sure, I remember them FCOL! Now, um, EW&F (*clearing cobwebs and **still** not coming up with the name*).

Help, pleeeeeze.

Hey Yoki!

Posted by: -ftb- | July 20, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh jeez, Ivansmom, I had a minivan for 19 years and loved it. My first one even had a manual transmission. However, I downsized into a RAV4 with the 269 hp V6. Let me just say that if I don't want you to pass me, you won't.

Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Here, ftb

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 20, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Now, now, I think you folks are being unfair to poor nowhine. I mean, you're making assumptions -- try to be a little self-critical. For instance, it seems (from the attempted plays on words) that all of you are just ASSUMING that the pronunciation is "no whine." But what if it's "now hine"? Ever think of that? A COMPLETELY different interpretation, a subtle cue that he (I am deducing gender -- but I might be wrong!) is releasing "his" inner hiney (sp?) for satirical and ironic purposes. Venting, you might say. Did any of you ever consider that possibility? Nooooooo, your limp-wristed lefty sensibilities make you all into such an unfeeling and dogmatic bunch of know-it-all jerks who always think they know the only right way to do things, oh, it all just makes me want to cry!

Think of the children! Please, won't anybody think of the children? AIEEEEEEEEE!

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 20, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I know, slyness. I wasn't implying minivans are wimpy or don't have good engines or power or aren't reliable or anything else. They're very versatile, practical vehicles and most have a lot more bells & whistles than my Accord.

I just don't want to drive one, and had Ivansdad acquired one I might have been doomed to that at some point.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 20, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Earth Wind & Fire... :)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 20, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I hope that the medicos didn't fry yur gizzard.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | July 20, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@SciTim: Maybe "he" hails from Nowhi, Nebraska.

Posted by: Southwester | July 20, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Cars are boring and that's that.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 20, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Our minivan gets a whopping 13 mpg in the city, a little more with the ac off.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, the reason I was able to acquire the RAV4 was that I gave the minivan to Elderdottir, who had to return the company car when she got a new job and would have been vehicleless. She has driven it for three years and refers to it as the party van. She would love to have a Camry but plans to drive the van till it will go no further. Which may be any day, though I hope not.

Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

bc wrote: "bevjims, I think the Tesla's an interesting car, but the vehicle's operating range isn't great, and I'm not sure if I'd call it a sports car. How many significant automotive sporting events have Teslas won, 'zackly?"

Well, to win automotive sporting events with an electric car you'd need pit stops that can last 12-24 hours. But here are some specs:
*0-60 in four seconds
*top speed of 130mph (ok not race material, but who is going to go faster eh, especially on the beltway?.
*Engine can hit 13,500rpm before it even gets close to the redline.
*It looks so much cooler than the Camero.

bc wrote: "Having said that, I think the new Camaro's a *very* nice iteration of the classic muscle car, and the dash/gauge treatment made me smile from the minute I sat down behind the wheel of a Hugger Orange SS."

We saw one yesterday on I95 traveling to DC from Baltimore, a black one. My wife saw it first and said "What's that thing!". My 16 year old daughter said it looked like s "Dick Tracy car". And as someone who drove a Camaro in the early 70s, it doesn't look much like one. Needs to be lower to the ground. Reminded me of a tank.

bc wrote: "Have you driven both, and if so, what did you find in your experiences that made you come to the conclusion that a 9 year old BMW is better than the new Camaro?"

I love BMW's. I can't figure out why no America car dealer has tried to copy them. I mean, the closest thing to a 330 is the Mustang. And no, I haven't driven the Camero. Yesterday was the first time I saw one. Sorry but I like low and sleek, not a tank.

bc wrote: "But don't make mine yellow. I don't need a car that Transforms into a 25-foot tall sentient robot. Or worse, a Michael Bay film."

I use to have a Nissan 240SX, no real power but handled like a dream. I could do 80 on an exit ramp. In the early 90s after I bought it a guy in an old GTO came along side of me on the beltway gunning his engine. I'm thinking, no way, I only have 140HP under the hood. The guy wouldn't stop, so I decided to lose him on an exit ramp. I was doing 80 as was the GTO. I hit the ramp at 80 and went around hugging the road. I came off the ramp and looked in my rearview mirrow. A quarter mile behind me he came off the ramp. What fun.

Posted by: bevjims1 | July 20, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Sleds? You had sleds? We had only shank's mare.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | July 20, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@ Vingold (early on in the posting):

"I don't think its just the car companies (American or otherwise).

I estimate I spend 3 hours a week trying to give money away - and its extremely difficult to get people to return e-mails or phone calls.

Duct cleaners, chimney sweeps, painters, house-keepers, web designers - the list goes on and on. They all seem too busy to take on new business."

Amen, brother. I'm not so sure that they're all too busy, what with the economy, but it sure seems as if they couldn't care less whether they get your business or not.

Posted by: jlessl | July 20, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

You had shank's mare? We dreamed of shank's mare. We had to travel in my Chevrolet.

One more Camaro thing. While I’m indifferent on the extra “u” we and the Brits add to some words, I do have to say that I think “Zed” 28 sounds better than “Zee” 28.

Posted by: engelmann | July 20, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

bevjims and nowhine, a confession: I've been racing and writing for car mags for a long time.

Built race cars from scratch and won plenty of trophies with 'em (autocrosses, drag races, and road races); been to a lot of races and interviewed a lot of people, know some engineers and marketing folks in Detroit and other places. Been an instructor for several driving/racing schools, too.

One day maybe I'll write a book, and tell more stories about what a great guy Dan Gurney is and how gracious Jacques Villeneuve is in person, and to keep an eye open in AJ Foyt's presence in case he starts throwing things (and never ever put your arm around him).

I'm pretty familar with the Tesla and the Lotus platform on which it's based. Know some folks who worked there and at Aptera, too.

I'd disagree with you a bit that the Mustang's the closest thing to a BMW - the Ford's cool, and has that great V8, but I find the live axle in the rear's a little nervous for my taste, though the newer ones are a lot better than the old Fox-chassis beasts.

If you want a domestic BMW-like experience, try the Cadillac CTS with the FE3 and manual trans. Really. The Pontiac G8's pretty good too, though as mentioned previously, it's a Holden.

A 240 SX with the SE options was a pretty cool car, IMO. Nice ride.

I love BMWs too (hey, I own one), but they're not the only game in town.

I'd get into the "chick car" thing again, but folks here have it covered. To me, there's no such thing. Give me a nice Miata, a sunny day, and a good road, and I'm a happy man in double clutch heel-toe heaven.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Poor, poor Vijay. Your 2000 330i is showing it's age? So sorry to hear. Astronomical costs for proprietary BMW maintenance starting to get to you? Tell you what. I'll take it off your hands. No charge. You won't have to worry about spending $46K on a car again....until you buy that Camaro.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | July 20, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Don. I have emerged unscathed, though you would have laughed.

I remembered, about 17 minutes before the test, that I was to have no metal jewelry. Well, many of you know that my ears are multiply pierced? I could not for the life of me remove two of the heavy-gauge piercings, and was relieved to remember that there is a tattoo studio just around the corner from the clinic. I made a flying visit and they did an emergency piercingectomy for me, with only moments to spare.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Earth Wind & Fire -- OF COURSE!!! Well, it's a Monday, yanno!

The back started with a huge, unwelcome spasm just as I was preparing breakfast, so I called my massage therapist and she was good enough to get me in tomorrow afternoon. I am so giddy -- can hardly wait. Plus she and her husband have a now 5-year old Harlequin Great Dane who as absolutely gorgeous and a real sweetie. She's about the size of a Shetland Pony and still tries to be a lap dog. I remember when they first brought her home and she actually *could* get into my lap!

Looks a little soupy out, without the rain. I think it's supposed to be like this for the entire week. Ah, well. It's July. The year is going entirely too fast for us oldsters.

*Trying to pull on the reins while hoping nothing dislocates*

Posted by: -ftb- | July 20, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, ftb! You really need to look after yourself, you know?

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

But if I do that, Yoki, something might dislocate (yuk, yuk). No, I'm fine and in very fine health despite the skeletal issues, which - according to my orthopod - are predictable in "someone my age".

Besides, I haven't had a massage in so long, my body is literally crying out for one.

But, thanks for your concerns. Now, about you -- what's with the CT Scan you had today? Care to share?

(BTW -- to the rest of you guys -- this is called The Organ Recital)

Posted by: -ftb- | July 20, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Won't have word until the end of the week. You know radiologists.

I'm truly not worried; this is baseline stuff. For someone my age.

Palate cleanser after EW&F.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The Organ Recital - Love it, ftb, LOVE it!

I'll have to remember that one!

Finished organizational structures in fire departments and Deployment concepts. That's five sections down, three to go. This "light revision" of a chapter is wearing me out! Of course, I did a good thing: used my own words to discuss fire station location. They were MUCH better than what was there. Copy/paste is a great timesaver.

Yoki, glad to know you're unscathed, hope you get all the earrings back in.

ftb, take care of yourself, indeed, and enjoy the massage.

Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, abundant CT mojo.

SW'er, congratulations! Dying to follow in your footsteps (new job, not Chicago, not that there's anything wrong with Chicago). I did receive a request for interview e-mail today, which made my day.

I received a lot of attention from the salesman when I bought the Subaru, not so much now that it's just being serviced.

Posted by: -dbG- | July 20, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Yay dbG!

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Yay back, Yoki.

Removing jewelry! Horrifying thought! :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | July 20, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

dbG.... you go girl! Knock 'em dead and all that. You've got Boodle Mojo Galore on your side.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 20, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

now you know one of the reason's GM is broke--They advertise something then the dealers don't have the car you want and some don't have the courtesy to contact you.Want a hot,hot car try the Nissan 350Z that will out peform any camero and they are going to stay in business. I don't think GM will make it.I'm not a Nissan salesman or dealer

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | July 20, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

bc wrote: "I'd get into the "chick car" thing again, but folks here have it covered. To me, there's no such thing. Give me a nice Miata, a sunny day, and a good road, and I'm a happy man in double clutch heel-toe heaven."

Gotta agree, no such thing as a chick car. Its what's inside the car that attracts the women. If you're a 30 year old guy in a porche 911, that's a chick magnet. A car is like clothes to a woman, a nice expensive car makes the guy look better like a nice expensive suit.

I like the Miata too though I never drove one. Looks like fun. Few fun cars around at a reasonable price it seems. I was surprised that Nissan canceled the 240SX. Good gas mileage, handling that compared at the time to a porche, rear-wheel drive, fun fun fun. Its like there is a conspiracy to make driving as bland as possible, at least driving affordable cars.

As for the Mustang, well, I had a bad experience that turned me off to them forever. I had a beautiful 1978 Mustang Mach 2 with T-tops and luxury interior. It was between that and a Lancia Scorpian. The Mustang was sweet but I got the V6 thinking that engine would last longer than the V8 and I needed a reliable car (thus no to the Scorpian). At 50K miles the timing GEAR stripped. Yea, timing GEAR! A *plastic* gear that it seems was KNOWN by Ford to strip at 50K miles but of course no recall. I was stranded 400 miles from home for a week while parts were flown in and the engine torn apart and repaired. 15K miles later the engine started knocking, the roof leaked, the body started rusting, shocks needed replacing all the time. I traded it in. Just 70K miles.

I know the Mustang of today is completely different, but I just cannot bring myself to even look at one. Today I own a 2001 Acura TL that I plan to keep forever. Just a nice ride for the older guy I am.

Posted by: Fate1 | July 20, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

This kit's comics pick of the week:

And-- car sinfest!

Forget the fancy car and ask the girl out, IMO.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 20, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

40 years ago this very night, at this very time, I was watching Neil Armstrong step off of the Eagle's footpad onto the lunar surface.

Neil was on the Sea of Tranquility, I on my grandparents' couch, Neil wore a space suit, I footie pajamas.

America had Walter Cronkite, I had my Grandpa.

Salut, everyone.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

i was just thinking, and maybe i'll get some flack for it, but i just can't imagine this total neglect of communicating with customers if more women worked at auto dealerships.

Posted by: LALurker | July 20, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

salut, bc.

wasn't born just yet, but have enjoyed anniversary coverage.

Posted by: LALurker | July 20, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with you on that one, LALurker. The salesperson from whom we bought the RAV was a woman, and the experience was tolerable. My first contact with the dealership was by email, and I'm sure they tasked her to get back to me because of my gender. She knew her stuff; I'd buy a car from her again.

Salut, bc. I was 16 that July night, and we got up to gather 'round the old black and white to watch the walk and listen to Unka Walter narrate the event.

Posted by: slyness | July 20, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"I've been racing and writing for car mags for a long time."

Wow, every thing I read on the internet is true....

1 series is a chick car, just like the VW Cabirio, Eclipse, and the RX-300 (for middle aged white women)....

Posted by: nowhine | July 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, a rusted-out jalopy without emissions control, lewd bumper stickers, scuzzy takeout cartons, piled-up p0rn mags, and an engine that splutters and roars worse than the loudest muscle car, and doesn't even have enough room to make out in... is most certainly NOT a chick car!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 20, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I’ve been editing vacation photos all night (there are over 400 of them-why did I take so many pictures!!) and I’m loopy. We put over 2000 miles on “S”’s Subaru on vacation. The check engine light came on twice. He had a friend look at it today and besides the fact that the air filter had never been changed - even tho’ he takes it to the dealer every 3000 miles for oil etc., he need spark plugs. These should have been changed at 60k but the dealer never mentioned it and the car has over 100k. Good thing it’s a great car or we could have been stranded on some dirt road near Meat Cove, which was just beautiful by the way, but not somewhere you want to be without transportation (long dirt road with hairpin turns and plenty of hills).

Congrats to SW and to dbG. I hope these are signs of things improving.

Posted by: badsneakers | July 20, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

dbG, great news about the interview.

SW congrats!

Posted by: dmd3 | July 20, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

This troll grows tedious.

Posted by: Yoki | July 20, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

nowhine, I appreciate your open-mindedness and charming, thoughtful, well-reasoned and well-researched explanations in defending your position, sir.

I salute you.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

bc, I read your 10:16 with the voice of the butler from Arthur - it was just right for that post.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 20, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

CNN had Buzz Aldrin on today with Wolf Blitzer - at the exact time the LEM touched down 40 years ago! I was glad to see Buzz set Wolf straight when Wolf said stupid things - like, "you had no idea what to expect!" Buzz calmly explained that they pretty much did know what to expect, and would have made different plans if they really believed, for instance, that the moon dust was miles deep. I'd like to hear from Neil Armstrong or Michael Collins once in awhile, but I guess that's their decision. Paul Farhi wrote a good article about (not with) Armstrong.

One thing I didn't remember was when Aldrin stepped out of the LEM - he told Armstrong that he made sure not to lock the door. Ha!

Posted by: seasea1 | July 20, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Car: a painted box;
gets me from point a to b,
yet, I read bc.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | July 20, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I must say riding in my girlfriend's caddy convertable was the Ritz. Cleverly, I said, "Baby, I'm the man, I should drive." Ensuring she'd insist on driving and letting me relax in the passenger seat, just as I planned secretly.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 20, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

dmd, you may be the first and only person to compare me to Sir John Gielgud (how scary is it that I knew his name without looking it up).


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

It was a comparison ment with the highest of praise.

Posted by: dmd3 | July 20, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

DNA girl, thanks for that.

Ya made me smile more than replacing an exhaust cam sensor.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I didn't take it as anything but.


Posted by: -bc- | July 20, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I can report an interesting rhetorical quirk in Armstrong's brief talk on "Goddard, Governance, and Geophysics" on Sunday evening: not once did he refer to Apollo 11 or ever mention that he was a member of the crew. With reference to the mission while it was in progress, he named the crew every time as "the Americans", while reporting the mission's progress in comparison to the Soviet Luna 15 robotic mission that launched 3 days earlier and was to land and return lunar samples. It crashed on landing. Apollo 11's Eagle, piloted by a human, did not. We have lunar samples. They still do not.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 20, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, you heard Armstrong? I'm jealous.

IIRC, if the Eagle had flown all the way to the surface on the autopilot, it would have landed in a rocky crater and very possibly crashed.

Armstrong and Aldrin shut down the automated descent and landed manually, avoiding the crater and setting down in a safe location.


Posted by: -bc- | July 21, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Admittedly, the robots of 1969 were a tad less sophisticated than the robots that we are capable of building today. Still, the first robotic spacecraft capable of modifying its flight for a safe landing has yet to actually fly: the Sky Crane landing system for Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will have the ability to hover and to modify its flight to counter sway as it lowers the MSL to the surface on cable. Presumably, and I am just guessing here, part of its programming will enable it to modify its position slightly to avoid obstacles.

I heard all three of them. Aldrin is "fire and brimstone, get out into space and do great things!" Collins is a happy and comfortable man who has had at least three successive and successful careers (military pilot, astronaut, founding administrator of the National Air and Space Museum), and Armstrong is a bit odd and clearly not comfortable with the adulation that comes his way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 21, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

The best part is that they maintained absolutely professional demeanor and flew that bug to a landing with seconds to spare on the fuel. I recall reading that Aldrin had his hand ready to go for the abort and fire the ascent stage for a return to lunar orbit.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 21, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

You guys are so silly.

Yoki, may they find absolutely nothing there...if you know what I mean.

SciTim, I've been watching some of the stuff on Discover over the last few days. Its interesting, nay downright fascinating, watching anything with astronaut interviews. It might be entirely inappropriate, but sitting here listening to them, it wrong to say that these guys are still pretty darn hot.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 21, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Today I twice passed a bright yellow late model Mustang towing a mini-Airstream type camper in authentic 50s aluminum styling with yellow trim that perfectly matched the factory lemon of the Mustang. Serious points for style.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 21, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

One of the interesting things last night was how healthy all those old guys looked. Collins looks like he's maybe 60, Aldrin maybe 65, Armstrong is a cheerful and slightly paunchy late 60's. John Glenn looked like maybe 65, and he's 10 years older than the Apollo 11 guys, who are each 78. It seems like they're the kind of guys who are either healthy or dead. No fading away.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 21, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

My apologies to anyone planning to ambush me at Dirty Annie's tomorrow. We were making such good time today that we decided to press on from Sheridan to Cody with a dinner stop in Shell. Proof:

My wife and I both had the lamb-burgers. We considered it revenge for the herd that was blocking 14 on our way in. Tasty, tasty revenge. My son and I also bought souvenir DA tee-shirts. He gets the black one.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 21, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, heck, yello, that's some fine Photoshop fakery. It almost looks like you were there! (I don't, y'know, believe most of the stuff I read on the the internet, after all. I'm no sucker.)

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 21, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm reading astronaut bio's and honestly, I'm getting goosebumps just reading them. In so many ways the space program filled the imagination of my youth.

I need to go to bed or have another beverage. But I really do need to go to bed.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 21, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

You ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until I post my Mt Rushmore pictures with me hanging off Teddy's glasses.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 21, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | July 21, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

I am absolutely "green with envy" over your road trip yello and can't wait for the Rushmore photo.

Working late as usual and the it is boring so I am back boodling.I guess the front page alert is over and just the beloved crazies are left.

bc, footie jammies? How does that work with your gladiator outfit?

Congrats to Dbg and SW

I am working with a security gaurd who is quite convinced the moon landings were staged,also how many people shot JFK and 9/11.So I keep saying unhuh and ok.I am sure he thinks that flouridation is destroying america too,like the general in Dr. Strangelove.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 21, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

I just watched Moonshot, which was pretty interesting, I thought. And I was thinking how remarkable it is that all 3 Apollo 11 astronauts are still alive, at 78 or so. Will have to get Aldrin's books, and the biography of Armstrong, and Rocket Men, and see what there is about Collins.

Frenvious of yello's trip too, looking forward to more pictures. gwe, be patient with your colleague. My high school best friend's grandparents thought the moon landing was staged, and many years later I found out my friend's mother, whom I loved and respected for her quick wit and good sense, believed that too. Sigh.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 21, 2009 2:30 AM | Report abuse

I saw a real neat sports car passed my house a couple of times. Couldn’t tell what the make is, but it’s not a Porsche. I think it belongs to someone who lives 2 houses from mine. Don’t know who lives in that house but it looks like a mini palace. Probably some royalty. I also saw a black Bentley. Real nice.

The thing about this place is, there isn’t a specific area where rich people live. These people’s houses are dotted all over the place. The big guy’s daughter’s mini palace is built next to an old wooden stilt house that belongs to a fisherman.

Posted by: rainforest1 | July 21, 2009 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Here's the most viewed story this morning on our site, about mild mannered Skip Gates (Harvard professor, one of leading African American scholars in the country) getting arrested for breaking into his own house when he got home from vacation.

Posted by: joelache | July 21, 2009 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey, hey! Joel has joined the Dawn Patrol!! Welcome home, Big Guy. You know how to find the Ready Room? Go out the front door and hang a right; third quonset hut down on your right. It's Tuesday, so it's scrapple day, if you are so inclined. Otherwise there's the usual bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, OJ, etc., all laid out. Help yourself. Coffee's hot, tho' not your bitter, burnt Starbucks kind. Briefing's at 0700. Bring a pencil.

'Morning, Boodle.

I'm guessing "Skip" Gates would be Henry Louis Gates Jr., no?

I've always been a Michael Collins fan ever since I read his book "Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journey" back when it was published in the 70s.

Today in Aviation and Nautical History

July 21, 1588: The first shots are fired by the Spanish Armada off Eddystone, England. In the ensuing chase around Great Britain over the next few months, bad weather and British fleets commanded by Lord Howard of Effingham and Lord Henry Seymour pick away at Medina Sidonia’s fleet of 138 ships and 30,000 men; only 67 ships and 10,000 men survived.
1921: Army Col. Billy Mitchell sinks the captured German battleship Ostfriesland by aircraft bombing off the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in order to prove his theories. Increasingly frustrated by refusal of his superiors and Navy brass to understand the value of aviation, Mitchell accuses them of “criminal negligence” in the crash of the dirigible Shenandoah. For these and similar remarks he undergoes his now-famous court-martial, where he is convicted and is dismissed from the military. Of course, he was right and the brass were wrong.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | July 21, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Back Home Joel

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 21, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, seriously great to be home -- woke up very early as you can imagine and already made a starbucks run.

On the Gates story: In the very same newspaper this morning we read a story about a black police officer in Boston who got beaten to within an inch of his life by fellow officers when he was mistaken for a fleeing criminal (he was actually giving chase):

Posted by: joelache | July 21, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Welcome home, boss! I hope you don't have jet lag. As Mudge, says, help yourself to the comestibles in the ready room.

I read my dad's copy of Carrying the Fire and loved it. What a great adventure story - and all true!

Mr. T heard on one of the programs that Armstrong and Aldrin had 17 seconds of fuel left when they landed. They cut it close, fur sure.

Posted by: slyness | July 21, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

One last comment about fast cars and chick magnets:

Sure, a guy mmay think he's impressing his girlfriend by hitting the accelerater and laying a patch every time he takes off at a stop sign or green light....

However, I can't imagine that a guy who leaves skid marks everywhere is much of a turn on for girls, nor is a guy whose hard on tires.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 21, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

'morning all, Joel. Third sunny day in a row. I'll mark my calender.

I have very little good things to say about GM. The make some good cars (CTS, Corvette, Impala, etc) but the company overall is carrp. They have alienated so many of their customers.
GM still has 1400 executives in the company, a lot more than when they were dominating the North American market. Strangely, the company needed more and more vice-presidents and general managers as the plants were closing and the workforce reduced. The upper management guys are now collectively wringing their hands and fretting about getting rid of 400 of themselves. I think they have their numbers wrong; they should pick at most the 400 that will stay and let at least a 1000 go. I'm really sorry that the Canadian federal government gave all that money to GM. I think it will be for naught.

Armstrong may have been the first man on the moon but he is not likely to be the forst in today's leg of the Tour de France. The program today is very simple, climb a first hill (2000m over 40 km), roll down that hill at very high speed for 40 km without killing yourself, climb second hill (1500 over 50km) and then roll down that second hill at breakneck speed for 30 km. Simple yet difficult.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 21, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Welcome home Joel! I hate jet lag. Disruptions of my circadian rhythm always makes me feel hung over for a few days.

Or, um, rather, what I *imagine* it must be like to be hung over.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 21, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Welcome home Joel. Our vacations more or less coincided which helps me feel that I didn’t miss too much of your wit and wisdom ;-)

Back to work today and not sure what to expect after a week and a half off. I’m sure I’ll be busy. Need to ask one of our geologists about some rocks we picked up while ‘fossil hunting’ - not that we’d know a fossil if we saw one but the rocks are interesting just the same.

We saw the Ron Howard documentary on TV about the moon landing while on vacation. It was very interesting to listen to two of the three Apollo 11 astronauts talking about the trip.

Posted by: badsneakers | July 21, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

My ceiling is still boring... *SIGH*

Welcome back, JA! Saw that Gates item in the Boston Globe. Sad commentary, really, and one would hope police wouldn't be so cynical to treat people that way. Then again, they probably hear about cases such as the one in NJ where a perp ambushed cops on a stakeout and they get overanxious. *SIGHHHH*

*limited-range-of-motion Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 21, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The story on Henry Louis Gates being arrested at his own front door seems to have been picked up quickly and effectively by the Post. Didn't spot it at Brand X. Maybe at one of the London newspapers?

Joel's photos reminded me, after a while, that people must do Tosca tourism in Rome. Hopefully without emulating the Big Jump. If there's Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, could there be Tosca & Illuminati? There must still be life in that anti-Napoleon melodrama.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 21, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Welcome back, Joel.

That Gates item is distressing, isn't it? Sheesh.

On Car Personness - I don't think that I've ever bought a car for my own use concerned about what others thought of it, good or bad. I believe *real* car people think that way = that cars should be appreciated on their own merits and substance, not accoriding to sterotypes or one-dimensional perceptions.

Cars and maybe people, too.


Posted by: -bc- | July 21, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Joel. I am not going to wade that racial Rorschach test that will be the Gates case except to say that those uppity elderly college professors usually have it coming to them.

Up here in Big Sky country where my family is used to the far more diverse crowds of HoCo and DC, we have noticed the conspicuous absence of fellow tourists with skin tones darker than my half-Asian son. Some enterprising tourism bureau director has a very untapped demographic to market to.

And if WaPo is hiring internet geniuses, could they find one that makes the Comments widget for news stories work?

Posted by: yellojkt | July 21, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Psst, lets go paint Scotty's ceiling.

I can contribute some yellow paint. Anybody have some red? Blue? Drop sheet? Now we just need somebody with some talent...

Ok, how about we go and paper the celing with cartoon pages, the colour section? Glue anyone?

Posted by: --dr-- | July 21, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I've got a bunch of those stick-on glow-in-the-dark stars we can stick to his ceiling, dr. They were left over from my child rearing days, when several of my kids thought it was just the coolest thing since sliced bread to look up at night and see stars on their ceilings.

Ah, to be that young and easy-to-please again.

Perhaps instead of using them to make constellations, we can put them up on Scotty's ceiling to spell out the words "Oak Ridge" or maybe "Deuterium" or some such. Or maybe the face of fellow New Englander Titus Moody -- whatever Scotty wants.

Or we could just do a Kinkade mural.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 21, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Welcome home, Joel. Hope you had a great time. We're glad to have you back.

Yello... you KNOW I'm jealous of your road trip. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Dr. G and I are taking off this weekend for northern parts. Just a silly road trip to take advantage of our empty nest. We'll be taking our passports and having diner with a certain Boodler across the Falls.

He's going to Vancouver next month for a conference. Any suggestions on what he should see or do (or where to eat) while he's there?

Posted by: -TBG- | July 21, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry - I can conjure a Jackson Pollock, proto.


Posted by: -bc- | July 21, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, again, all.

Heading to the beach with the girls for a few days, but I'll be able to check in to the Boodle here and there.

You know *I* will.


Posted by: -bc- | July 21, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: -TBG- | July 21, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Dr. G should visit Stanley Park, TBG, love that place. All I recall about restaurants is that it's hard to go wrong...

Posted by: slyness | July 21, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I've gat a big table of the elements we can stick up there. scotty will be able to brush up on those darn trans-uranides.

Today's leg of the TdF started in Switzerland, is currently riding in Italy and will finish in France without staopping once. Some people in the DHS wake up at night in a cold sweat after dreaming stuff like that.
They went through the Grand St-Bernard pass already and will go through the Petit St-Bernard later. I'll bet large furry dogs were in attendance.
One note for Mudge: the petit St-Bernard was the scene of fierce combats at the beginning and end of WWII. 40 Frenchmen held a fortified position high in the mountain against thousands of Italiens in 1941. They surrendered only when the armistice was signed. By that point 9 Frenchman and 600 Italians had died in that pass. War is a nasty business.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 21, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Dude, you really need to read the print version of the WaPo because they have cited so many cases where those poor, poor dealers are getting bent over by GM and Chrysler.

The dealer is a relic, a throwback to a different era. Thanks to their money, and lobbying efforts they have ensured that you cannot directly purchase a Camaro from a web site like Amazon.

Too bad the mouth breathers who write for the WaPo print edition have not talked to you.

As a society, we would be so much better if all dealers folded up and went away.

Posted by: milevin | July 21, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

This story is *epidemic*: Chevrolet dealers are attracting people like me who've never bought American before and what happens? They treated me and thousands of others (posting online) like absolute DIRT.

I'll NEVER, EVER buy a Chevrolet (much less a Camaro) after the week of humiliation I just endured trying to give them my money. And all the stories I keep reading on all the forums is the exact same: Rude, treated like garbage, given the run-around...

Honestly, I don't know what fool is running those dealerships but it turned me off American for good.

Posted by: thecheddar | July 21, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Attention local BMW dealership: uhhhhh, are you paying attention? What an opportunity to impress upon Vijay the multitude of reasons he should stay with BMW rather than commit a huge error. Here's a thought, show up at Vijay's office with a shiny new 335i Coupe (manual tranny, of course), toss him the keys, and let him take it for a spin. Not that it's difficult to out-do the low-expectation-setting imbeciles at the GM dealerships, but I'm pretty sure this would do it.

Posted by: simon_hustle | July 22, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Screw the Camaro. It has a host of problems and the interior is horrible. There is a list of 69 issues on Autoblog talking about reoccuring issues with the car.

Instead of the Camaro, go pick up a Pontiac G8 GXP with a M6 transmission. 415 hp and a 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. There are only 5 or 6 left in the DC area and a much better build quality than the Camaro using the same frame architecture.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | July 22, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This story is absurd on so many levels. Small wonder General Motors is hurting when the obvious lack of attitude and training does not give someone even a chance to buy a car. Sorry Dad, we know you retired from GM...but the culture should have declared bankruptcy with the rest of the company. How about a new attitude from top to bottom please.

Posted by: oksailing | July 23, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

ReBrand YOUR Ride!

Posted by: Ex-XO | July 23, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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