Saturday, May 30, 2009

Operation Rolling Summer ...

Dear America: Are you as psyched as I am for Summer 2009?

If not, you should be, because this is the summer of cheap cars and cheap destinations and gas that shouldn't be much over $3.50 a gallon, according to a Saudi oil minister I don't know.

It's also the summer of smart phones -- BlackBerries and Apples that put everything you haven't been able to leave town without in one palm-sized handset that connects practically anywhere so long as you're not using AT&T.

This means that for the first time in the two decades we've been enslaved by personal computers, we Americans can leave home and go somewhere else on the cheap without nagging questions about how we're going to access our e-mail, office network, and E*Trade accounts. It means that we don't have to take time off during a time when no one has time to take time off ... and that we can do it in deeply-discounted new automobiles that reliably take us to deeply-discounted resorts and four-star hotels.

Summer 09 means a new era of Time Away ... which isn't "away" so much as it's Time Somewhere Else ... which isn't so much "somewhere else" as simply time spent in a better place for us to do what we do best.

(I had a staffer read the above paragraph for clarity and purpose and am happy to say it checked out fine).

This may be the summer of No Time Off Work, but if you're lucky enough not to be stuck mowing lawns for a living you can probably leave town without getting the least bit behind in your work.

Just the other day I was out playing nine at an exclusive country club (exclusive country clubs let anybody in these days, and you can usually use your frequent flyer miles or Domino's Pizza coupons for greens fee discounts) when I noticed one guy in the foursome ahead of us taking a Burger King drive-through window order on his iPhone.

If that guy can get out of the dumps (Philly I'm guessing -- since he said, "Welcome ta Buhga King," just like a drive-through guy in Philly would) and still work his way through this whole economic malaise, I'll bet you can too.

Remember: cheap cars, cheap hotels, smart phones, and pink slips around every corner. Put it all together and you can work through the 2009's Summer of Somber in style, or at least someplace else.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Condition Fuschia

Now that GWB is quietly hanging out munching pretzel sticks in Texas and Rush Limbaugh has been filed under "Might Make Us Laughingstocks After All," the only go-to guy for America's disenfranchised Angry Old White Guys is Mr. Scowl himself, Dick Cheney.

My office – through painstaking telephone surveying and pure make-believe – has learned that Mr. Scowl is very much this week's made-man for old white guys who used to be in charge and still can't believe some black guy who's smarter, wiser, and tougher than all of them combined has taken the Oval Office.

Scowl's words don't matter: the "What is torture?" and "We didn't torture" and "But the torture worked" haiku is kind of like train wheels clacking along the train track in the distance late at night ... a comfortable hum of inscrutable inevitability.

What matters is Mr. Scowl's scowl.

It's a scowl that says, "I've been there, I've done that, and I know better than some young idealistic punk who happens to be the flavor of the month with America's misguided youth."

It's a scowl that says, "Yeah, I meant to do all that, and I'll be dead before you can prosecute."

America's AWOGs are currently feeling so pallid and limp that seeing a fiery, steely-eyed guy like Scowl scowling on television is Polemic Viagra for their shared shriveled soul. And just as when the literal git-er-up pill came out, these same fellows have gone off the deep end celebrating their new-found sense of vigor.

Ask America's aged sweethearts all about their Elmers and Harrys running off to get it on with young fifty-something fillies back in the early days of the magic blue pill and you've got a good idea of the challenges this country faces in today's Bushless political landscape where so many false-start right-wing saviors have fallen by the wayside so quickly that but one lone Dick remains standing.

Working in conjunction with The Office of Management and GoogleTrends, my office today has issued a Fuscia Threat Level considering the above activity among domestic AWOGs, allowing that many will probably still be alive by the next election, and that one Mr. Scowl will in all likelihood be found in the same condition.

There is a real possibility we will see Scowl on the presidential ticket in 2012, sort of like when Bob Dole, an actual spokesman for Viagra, showed up halfway through the Clinton Dynasty as the voice of all vigorous men old and righteous.

Remember: Scowl has been there and done that. He was the Bush Doctrine. He's not going to get tripped up on foreign policy issues, and he can be counted on to bite the head off Tucker Bounds if the smirky little simp so much as opens his mouth during the campaign.

Scowl is furthermore an expert at self-administered CPR, and ... again ... he's got the scowl.

Citizens are advised to live their lives as usual; to get out and partake of this nation's great destinations using car, rail, and airline, but to keep an eye on their surroundings. Please report any increased scowling activity among AWOG friends, relatives, acquaintances, and strangers via the e-mail links provided in this blog and we will be certain to exaggerate their nature and number and report on the result at a later date.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

No, she's not pregnant. She just wants to join the U.S. Army

On your Unhumble Car Czar's to-do list this week: putting an end to those bashful U.S. Army recruiting ads with the earnest, expressive-eyed teens just drowning in anxiety over the prospect of telling their parents they'd like to, um ... ah ... oh, gosh ... here goes ... join the U.S. Army.

These re-dubbed feminine hygiene commercials serve as clear warning that our military recruiting machine has totally lost it.

This nation's most recent patriotically-pure surge of new military recruits came in the days after September 11 – men and women who signed up to fight a real war against a real-if-elusive enemy.

But after "The War on Terror" was grandly repurposed, some of this nation's best and brightest reevaluated. Military recruiting has been a tough sell since, and even recently-lowered recruiting standards can get an army only so far before the heinous war crimes and intra-troop felonies just get in the way of the endgame objectives of war.

Just as our military readiness did not profit from handing out headbands and T-shirts in the recruitment drought of the 80s, neither will it benefit in this pre-post-Iraqi quagmire from millions of dollars in television advertising that tries to make joining the U.S. Army look as angsty-trendy as coming out of the closet on prom night.

What are you guys thinking over in that five-sided building?

If you've underestimated your next recruiting class this badly, just what kind of job have you done sizing up this nation's enemy combatants?

It's time to ditch these glorified Massingill ads, gentlemen.

Put those sweaty, dirty, battle-worn faces back on TV.

Bring back that 15-second spot featuring the Hell-fire roar of a nighttime F-14 carrier launch.

Bring back the one-eared Marine.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

On the Hidden Costs of Martyrdom

More non-car affairs of The Car Czar (because automotive production was down in May and unsolicited opinions sharply up)

Just a quick note to those people who are up-in-arms over Martin Luther King Jr.'s family's ongoing campaign to charge royalties for the use of their ancestor's image and words:

If the not-so-late Dr. King had been a government official of some sort, you folks might have an issue.

You could argue that U.S. taxpayers made him what he was, or at least allowed him to reach his place in history through his work as a taxpayer-funded public servant.

But Martin Luther King was a private sector minister.

Not only was Dr. King's work not funded by taxpayer money, lots of taxpayer money was put to work trying to lock him away in jail, um, after really large sums of taxpayer money were spent for centuries trying to smother his eventual "dream."

Plus, one of our citizens shot him dead.

So the United States of America is entitled to wrap itself up in this man's words and imagery without monetary consideration to anybody why?

Because we had to spend all that taxpayer money for security during those civil rights marches?

Recover costs associated FBI tails?

Rent on the jail cells?

Morgue fees?

Maybe now I see where you're going with this.

Alas, this great nation is entitled to celebrate and live Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream for free, but that's it.

If Dr. King's progeny choose to spend their lives attempting to cash-in all-the-more on the specifics of their famous ancestor's legacy, that's their cosmic burden to bear.


All references to Martin Luther King Jr., dreams, and being shot are purely fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or (probably) dead as well as all historically related and/or unrelated events depicted or insinuated herein are purely coincidental. And if you think that sounds like total BS, too bad. I've got a disclaimer.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pontiac Dead? Great Spirits will be The Judge

Rest in Peace, Tin Indian. Those pure of automotive heart will remember you not for your plastic-clad atrocities of the 1980s on (we turned away sadly and bought Chevys and Buicks) but for the wild wheels cooked up by John, Bunkie, and DED.

The GTO gets all the press, and while it was never the car Car and Driver had us believe (0-60 in 4.6 in 1964 on bias ply tires ... no. Not even with a 421 stuffed in there "on-accident") it was all about the hype in those days, and no one did hype better than you, Chief Thunder.

Chrysler eventually out-jazzed your three-deuces-and-a-four-speed and T-topped flaming chicken with even wilder 440 six-packs and Hemi Road Runners in purples, oranges, and yellows that could be seen from the moon, but if you guys hadn't gotten the party started we'd probably still be driving boring 8-sec-to-60 sedans.

You were the only car guys who never gave up on the muscle car, sending haul-ass Trans Ams off the line in proud black and gold even in those dark, confused give-up-and-be-serenaded-off-to-death's-door-by-The-Bee-Gees days of the 70s.

There was a year or two in there when a Trans Am could clean a Corvette's (analog) clock.

When the beanmen-on-high tried to kill muscle again in this century and streamlined you into their corporate abyss you still figured out how to get it done, going below the equator to poach a corporate-cousin super sedan to blast the Pontiac Nation forward once more.

But most importantly you were there for me, this great nation's future Car Czar, when I bought my first car, which wasn't the fastest, but was definitely the baddest car you ever produced.

It was a 1969, the best year of anything to drive. It had a six-foot-long hood and a radio antenna buried in the windshield. It was quick up to 60 but screamed like a banshee as it rocketed past 90 and on to a hood-fluttering 130.

I never should have sold it when it failed me cruising at 35.

No despair here.

Indian spirits live forever.