Diatribe

It’s snowing! The world is coming to an end!

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour           
 
This is the time of year when peoples’ spirits are perhaps at their best — that period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. For all the hustle and bustle there still doesn’t seem to be the angst there usually is when times are just ordinarily busy.
 
However, for all the frivolity that’s prevalent during these too-few weeks there’s also a period of stress, when one little thing could rotate the earth on a different axis and we’re liable to find ourselves headed towards Uranus. I’m of course referring to the infamous first snow of the season, and the resultant breakout of steering wheel Alzheimer’s.

Subjecting us to a thumb tax

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour     

One of the better ideas in the auto industry has been the advent of what I refer to as “intelligent steering wheels.” Defined it means steering wheels with controls for the audio system, cruise control, vehicle information, etc. The concept is to put needed adjustments to the aforementioned goodies in the hands of the driver who doesn’t have to go on a treasure hunt to find them somewhere else in the vehicle cockpit while taking his or her eyes off the road.

No more 'dashing' to the nearest forehead

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  

I’m always looking for things that might be fodder for my next column. Generally it’s some jackass weaving in and out of traffic like sewing machine operators at a sweat shop in downtown Bangladesh. Other times its apparent amputees who don’t have a free hand to operate their turn signals.

Nickeling and diming the customer

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour

Since I generally drive a different car every week, I get the opportunity to peruse a lot of Monroney labels. (For those from rural Vermont, Monroney labels are the price sheets you have to scrape off the rear side window when you purchase a new vehicle.) Lately, I’ve witnessed a phenomenon that I do not care for whatsoever. A lot of manufacturers are listing charges for such items as “paint.” You heard me right…charging for paint!

Tire tread equals money — who knew?

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   

When I was younger and I used to have to clean brontosaurus crap off my shoes before I came into the house, how cool you were depended on what kind of “ride” you had. If your parents drove you everywhere you went, including dates (if you were ever able to buy any) you were nothing.

What did I do to make you hate me, Lord?

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  


I’ve written before about how no matter what lane of traffic I’m driving in it seems that those somewhere in front of me want to make a turn, causing me and the conga line trailing the turning vehicle to have to stop or slow down to a turtle’s pace. Meanwhile, the other lane looks like Turn 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

What's your size?

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  

As usually happens during the summer months there have been bunch of car shows ranging from high-performance models to classics. Generally the only time I pay attention to things like that is to find out where the shows are being held so I can make sure I don’t go that way. I hate crowds. But when there are literally thousands of classic and antique cars that show up in a city for an event as world-famous as Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise then it’s hard to avoid seeing these vehicles up close and personal.

Move it, Move it, Move it

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour      

Some time ago I wrote a rant about people who die at stoplights. Not literally, but by that I mean when the light turns green their reactions turn catatonic. At the time I wished sick, depraved and quite frankly, disturbing forms of punishment for those sitting there unmoving, thus taking away a few precious and possibly productive seconds of my life.

A steering wheel is not a clock

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   

It’s been decades since I noticed the logo of a Dr. Pepper bottle. I say “bottle” because the last time I did notice one they were actually bottled in glass. On the logo were the numbers 10-2-4, laid out in a triangular pattern (an “equilateral” triangle as this sea hag I had for high school geometry — the only subject I ever failed — would describe).

Steady as she goes, captain

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   

I have this dear friend whom I’ll call Jim (because to be honest, that’s his name) who I’m concerned may have a spastic foot. I say this because I drive with him often at the multitude of auto and truck reviewing programs we go to throughout the country, the world and even once, my beloved home state of Indiana, and seldom has he ever driven in a smooth fashion without having to resort to cruise control to make it happen.