Thursday, September 17, 2009

Big-Dollar Big Butts

How can cars with no trunks have so much junk in the trunk?

The spore of the 1976 AMC Pacer has not only survived, it has multiplied to give birth to nearly one-third of 2010's new car line-up.

Some manufacturers of the season's new bustlebutts are taking pains to minimize the enormous derrieres of their debutantes, and major automotive magazines that want to be assured of at least securing a test car have been kindly insisting that somehow the best photographers and camera equipment of the day can't quite catch the handsomeness of these new designs. (The same photogs and cameras no doubt had difficulty documenting clothes on an emperor, once upon a time).

Acura's Flash movie for its new ZDX crossover shows a fast-paced montage of sexy concept car iterations, hoping to burn them into your retinas before briefly showing the pre-Subway-Jared rear of the actual production car.

Porsche has used desperate camera angles to hide the Rerun-from-70s-TV-sized bubblebehind on its new four-place, six-figure, full-figured Panamera.

But BMW has made no secret of the Beyonce-inspired gianorma-rump on its new 70k 5-series Gran Turismo. Munich's proud exhibition of this two-and-a-quarter-ton beast seems oddly the automotive equivalent of some proud Spandex-clad Wal-Mart-shopping babe rockin' the very tiny midriff-baring spaghetti top and the very large obesity problem. It's as if someone at BMW bet someone else at BMW that the blue and white propeller is so cool that the middle-manager masses will pony-up Porsche money for a decent-driving update of the 1982 Chevrolet Citation.

Two early scouts for this lard-assed scourge on the automotive landscape include the Pontiac Aztek and the BMW X6, both unibody trucks that preferred not to be thought of as lumbering sport utilities, lopping-off useful roof space in favor of sportback hatches but forgetting entirely about not weighing two tons.

As in none of the sport of a sports car with all of the weight of a sport utility with none of the utility.

To recap: No sport. No utility.

Neither the Aztek nor X6 lit up the sales charts, and the Aztek's claim to fame will not be sinking General Motors – rather letting the Edsel finally rest in peace.

This recent bold escalation of the Sport Rump is probably the penance we have to pay for rejecting large hatchbacks like the Saab 9000 back in the 80s when they were sporty, practical, and didn't weigh well north of two tons.

Make no mistake. The sedan is dead.

Even mobsters can go about their business without a trunk nowadays thanks to cargo covers ... and providing Sammy da Squealer doesn't spend more than 16 hours in the hatch during the summer months.

The three-box sedan, by all accounts, should be floating at da bottom of da rivah with Sammy.

For those who truly need one sensible vehicle with sport and utility in 2010, look no further than the iconic vehicles that have defined low-cost no-compromise sport and utility: the new VW GTI if you want to sit low and the new 3.0 liter Ford Escape if you want to sit high. Both of these cars haul butt and haul cargo without asking too much at the pump, and neither try to stuff too-big booties in the too-small jeans of a "fastback" design.

But for everyone else, especially every non-foreclosed McMansion owner with a three-car garage, consider that for the price of one insanely expensive and ungainly 2010+ Big Butt you could own two reasonably-priced purpose-built cars of classic proportion and never for a moment risk looking like a conflicted dork on the nation's highways.

Say, a Mustang GT and a 3.0 Ford Escape (why not cheat here?).

Or a Mini Cooper S and a VW GTI (let's cheat some more).

Or a Camaro SS and a Silverado Extra Cab if you must be bipolar. (And if you can find a stripped SS at list).

Once upon a time, like about a year ago, one might have felt guilty about owning, say, a hot rod and a pickup truck to satisfy two distinct transportation requirements.

But do the math.

Look at the future.

The Big-Dollar Big Butts are coming, and the only way a new car consumer can fight this threat is by ignoring these penny-unwise, pound-foolish new threats to automotive chic and buying two really cool vehicles that accomplish "sport" and "utility" for less money.

If you have a dubious spouse who thinks that for some reason just one practical car is enough for any one person, just show 'em this very convincing blog.

(And if they're still dubious, you can always mention Mesothelioma).


Friday, September 4, 2009

Obama and The Outraged American

Can't help notice the boss has been criticized lately for being too slow to respond to outraged citizens.

First it was Health Care Town Hall Pitchfork Folk, and this week it's the "You're not letting that Muslim Negro Socialist Speak to My Children" People, who are treating a speech from the president of the United States to U.S. school children like a school assembly featuring David Duke (where the first 500 through the gymnasium doors get free white hoodies).

Pundits are scratching their heads, wondering why the man who effectively shut down the political opposition's smear machine during the election, forcing those poor folks into the increasingly-snowballing Hail Mary that is Sarah Palin, has been caught flat-footed.

I know! I know!

(As a vicarious blogging insider to the Obama Administration, I just know ... kay?).

See, when your primary goal is winning an election, it's easy enough to focus all of your efforts on the path to victory and your best guesses at the ambushes and land mines along the way. But once you're in office and you have a job to do ... say, executing the duties of the office of the president of the United States ... you're very much at risk of being too busy to anticipate every nutty accusation that blossoms into a full-fledged national mania overnight.

Every U.S, president has had to deal with wacko malcontents, but it turns out the same everywhere-all-the-time media that President O. used to help take the Oval Office can be used for any kind of mania, from convincing paranoid old boogers that The Beast from the Book of Revelation is fixing to put them out of their misery early to making a couple of guys who spend their spare time filming fat people shopping at Wal-Mart instant international celebrities.

Shutting down the mass hysteria of Obama-bashing among this nation's self-absorbed, self-defined "Real Americans" is as easy as shutting down the mass hysteria of U.S.-bashing among Al Qaida's self-absorbed, self-defined "Martyrs for Allah."

You can't.

(Someday I'll treat the issue of how changing the minds of zealots is like getting dogs to stop sniffing other dogs' butts).

So your Unhumble Car Czar, being the O. Administration's unapproved utility infielder, has the fix for both the Al Qaida-fueled Outrage Against Islam propaganda and conservative talk show host-fueled Outrage Against The American Way propaganda that's been bothering the world lately:

  1. We keep disrupting Al Qaida with Predator strikes until Al Qaida repurposes itself as nothing more than a fraternal secret-handshake society that connects members with high-paying jobs.
  2. We keep making fun of "Real Americans" until all "Real Americans" run down to Texas, which is the Alec Baldwin of whiny conservative states: a state always ready to bolt from the republic at the first hint of a guy who doesn't own a pickup truck getting the keys to the Oval Office. We let those "Real Americans" secede from the Union so as to enjoy self-indulgent bigotry among like-minded folk; let them try to hold their former nation hostage over oil prices, and then let them find out how tough and self-sufficient they really are when they've got nothing but a bunch of oil fields and the protection of a rinky-dink military in their vast expanse of dirt.

(I apologize for being so hard on Texans. I know most of you folks are good people – not the mouthy, "Hey Everybody! I'm a Cowboy" posers who keep showing up on radio, TV, and the internet ... oh ... and in Washington for two recent presidential terms. I really admire Lance Armstrong).

If that doesn't work, and it won't, we're going to wait until President Obama has graciously served his two terms in office in the face of a non-stop barrage of ever-more-audacious sore-loser claptrap.

Then we will simply give the pathetic wretches who have sold their own souls out to vainglorious self-deception the chance to atone for themselves when we do ... like we nearly always do ... elect an entirely NEW president and the country isn't in shambles after all.

Of course, most older birther/beast accusers will be dead at the hands of the president's elite health care death panels by then, but the younger ignoramuses, many of whom have spent years documenting their mean-spirited simple-mindedness on the internet, will be left hanging out to dry, ideological pants down around their ankles and stumbling through the parking lot at Gander Mountain.

Will they act like nothing happened, just like the buttoned-down money-grubbing yuppies of the 80s who spent the 60s getting laid at groovy share-and-share-alike communes did?

Will they spiral ever-deeper into denial?

Or will they take a hard, painful look at themselves and self-administer a scathing turn-of-the-millennium "Whoops! My bad ..."?

None of the above.

They will live on to fight another day in the battle to wipe out Mesothelioma in our lifetime.

(I can get away with this ending because I'm convinced these folks are all ADD. They've completely forgotten that the economy went down the crapper under their guy, and haven't retained other important information, like that one-third of this administration's massive government spending pays for the War-on-No-Terror-in-Iraq tab run up by their guy over the past six years; one-third is to clean up the economic mess left by a decade of Cheap Mortgages for Everybody, and only the last third is socialist spending that will surely doom our nation. The word, "Mesothelioma" has magical, transcendental qualities to it. Saying "Mesothelioma" cleanses the neural palate of the ADD-afflicted reading this blog just as it does when those asbestos attorneys use it while fishing for business between Outraged America segments on Fox News. A.C.O.R.N. started the housing meltdown. Mesothelioma. Will Barack Obama's Hitler's Youth answer the call to service? Mesothelioma. See? The real answer to the above non-rhetoricals is, "They will spiral ever-deeper into denial but feel exceedingly good about the progress their church missionary outreach is making in Namibia, Africa." There is no sense telling these people these hard truths, nor any good to come of them reading the prognosis here).

Mesothelioma. Ask your doctor if a prescription is right for you.