Talk about being ahead of one’s time, there used to be a hit song in the ‘50s by Bobby Rydell called Rubber Ball. The background singers would sing the words, “Bouncy, bouncy” during the chorus. Where am I going with this, you ask? Just read to the end and you’ll see where my mind was when I wrote this. I think of this song quite often as I drive through the flak-laden “skies” we commonly refer to as our nation’s roads.
I’ve written previously of my disdain for those who have a high-performance car like a Corvette or a Mustang GT and equip it with an automatic transmission. I can’t stress enough the necessity of taking those people to a blacksmith’s shop, tying their hands to an anvil and giving a ball-peen hammer a workout until it becomes too bloody to maintain traction.
It’s not as if the person was using his or her hands to shift gears. A performance car without a manual transmission is like a buffet without Jell-O. What a waste!
With the bad economic times the world has faced for the past too many years it seems there’s a nostalgic feeling about traditions, rituals, habits, what have you. For instance, freshmen attending a university wait the time they can pledge a fraternity that will in some ways be a rite of passage from academia as leaving home was to go to college in the first place.
All these things are fine, but when it comes to auto-related tradition few examples carry more nostalgia than tire chains.
Is there anything that California hasn’t had a hand in uglifying? I swear that all those in power do is sit around sipping lattes and pull suggestions for saving fuel out of the same outlet a rectal thermometer uses. The latest case in point is trailer wind-deflectors.
These wing-like skirting devices are generally found at the bottom of over-the-road 53-foot truck trailers and the premise is that these things save thousands of gallons of fuel per year – not chump change if you have a fleet of tractor-trailers like J.B. Hunt or Schneider Trucking Company.
Pardon the redundancy but I absolutely abhor bureaucrats who have no more idea than the Man (or Woman) in the Moon what’s good for our country’s economy. I’m not talking about the rank and file government worker who goes to work each day and does what he’s told because mostly these people want to do what’s right — even though Bashar al-Assad has a better chance of becoming a Hebraic scholar then they do of getting fired.
The bureaucrats I’m referring to are the political appointees who come in with a new administration and depending on the “boss’s” philosophy, proceed to cause chaos in whatever specific segment of society or industry they’re involved with.
It’s often said that there’s never any uplifting news anymore. I’m here to tell you that premise is wrong…WRONG, I say! A while back I reported on a story about a policeman in Illinois actually stopping someone for not using their turn signals, and in calling in the guy’s license plate it turned out that he was wanted on an outstanding warrant. I don’t recall the charge so for the sake of discussion let’s say it was for premeditated murder.
Attending a lot of automotive press conferences I get the opportunity to listen to many a designer as they go about describing their inspiration for, and what they hoped to accomplish with a particular project. And what I’ve been able to deduce after decades of oral absorption is this: these folks are awfully scary.
It’s been awhile since I last did a rant against people who refuse to use turn signals. It’s not that I’ve lessened my hatred and disgust towards them; it’s just that I wanted to give my last few diatribes some time to see if the idea of actually using a device that’s given free with the purchase of a vehicle (and one whose use is mandated by law) caught on. The truth-be-told I’ve always been thought of as a balloon-headed dreamer and once again that description has been validated.
I don’t know how long I’ve been an automotive journalist but I know it’s been awhile. Probably the first three or four decades are lost because of John Barleycorn (that rotten…!) but however long it has been I’ve been bellyaching about the positioning of the cruise control stalk on Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
It’s been situated above the turn signal arm so unless you really concentrated hard you’d inadvertently engage cruise control when you had meant to put on your right turn signal. This, in turn, created a sudden acceleration that could be catastrophic.
With no exaggeration I’ve probably made the drive between Chicago and Detroit a minimum of 500 times. There aren’t many things about that trek that surprise me. However, this past week may have broken the mold.
We accompanied my beloved twin-grandsons and their parents from Detroit to Chicago to spend a week of sightseeing. I lived in Chicago for 22 years before moving to this third-world atoll so I know my way around the Windy City pretty well.