What Are They Thinking At GM?

October 8, 2009 at 2:16 am (Cars & Trucks, Damn funny, Die Rat Bastard, The Economy) (, , , , , , , )

Holy Zarquon’s Singing Fish. I just saw a commercial for the new 2010 Chevy Equinox SUV, and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.  Whatever they are smoking in the styling department at Chevrolet, it must be pretty righteous shizzle.  Take a look:

2010_Chevy_Equinox_front

And now, take a look at the 2002 Pontiac Aztek, widely considered to be one of the ugliest cars ever made:

2002-05_pontiac_aztek

Wow.  Wow, wow, wow.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Can you imagine a more clear example that people don’t learn from history, and are therefore doomed to repeat it Is it any wonder that GM is about to pass into history like the Studebaker and the DeSoto?

There.  I feel a little better now.  See you all in a few days.

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Wave “Bye-Bye”, John. (You too, Sarah.)

November 5, 2008 at 12:44 am (Damn funny, Die Rat Bastard, General, Politics) (, , , , , , )

goodbye_mccain

Boy, it’s good to see the results of this election. Barack Obama is our President Elect, and the cheering of the crowds at his victory speech was deafening. The report above (screen capture from CNN) filled me with glee.

And the projections are that the Democrats have also gained control of the House and the Senate. I haven’t smiled so much since my divorce was final. And that prompted me to wonder what this election really means for the Republicans. And I think it boils down to this:

Dear Republican Party;

We, the American People, want a divorce.

We’re sick to death of your shit. You spent a whole lot of money we don’t have, and got us into hock up to our eyeballs. Your friends are a whole bunch of self-aggrandizing, unsavory, scandalous bastards who helped you rack up all this debt we can’t pay, and you still want to give them more money? Are you on crack? And when we busted your sorry ass on all your lies, you just kept sticking to your lame story. You think we’re stupid? You think we don’t know you’re lying?

You’ve got until January 20th to pack your crap, and get out. You’re lucky we don’t call the cops and have them throw your lying, evil ass in jail.

Trouble is, the Democrats are just the flip side of the two-party coin. We have to stay on top of them, and make sure they don’t pull the same crap that Dubya pulled. And who did I vote for? Ralph Nader. See, if third parties get a minimum percentage of the popular vote, they can qualify for federal matching funds. This way, instead of piling my vote on top of the Obama landslide, I used it to try and help fund an alternative to the two-party system. Don’t know if it’ll ever work, but I figured it was better than being a “me too”.

Anyhow, I’m still smiling. And Inauguration Day can’t come soon enough for me.

(By the way, I’d still totally do Sarah Palin ’til she squeaks. Just don’t let her run anything outside of Alaska. Hey, I can see Mt. Hood from my house.  Does this mean I’m a qualified mountaineer, skier, and vulcanologist?)

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McCain picks running mate, asks “What was that bang, and why does my foot hurt?”

August 29, 2008 at 6:49 pm (Die Rat Bastard, General, Politics, The Economy, The Environment, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

McCain = IdiotUnexpectedly good news from the political front today. Sen. John “Duffer” McCain chose freshman Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

What a wonderfully stupid move. He would have been better off choosing Michael Palin. At least then he could have sewn up the votes of all the Monty Python fans.

Ms. Palin, whose lack of political experience makes Barack Obama look like a rugged, callused, seasoned elder-statesman by comparison, has made an impression nonetheless with her wretched environmental record in Alaska, and apparent willingness and desire to drill for oil anywhere and everywhere, wolves and polar bears be damned (and shot, and drowned). Yeah, okay, she’s hot – for a Republican chick. I hear she’s a former Alaska beauty queen. Anyhow, she’s way hotter than Ann Coulter.

Do we really want or need Ms. Palin, who is apparently somewhere to the right politically of even George Bush, sitting in D.C. literally a heart-beat away from the presidency? Yikes. I’d say – big, huge, echoing “no”. Considering McCain’s age and health, this is not a world-class idea. Well, like even electing McCain in the first place is anything remotely like a good idea.

The reason that I believe this is good news, is that the choice of Ms. Palin as candidate for VP will sink the GOP in November like an elephant wearing a concrete overcoat, cast-iron top hat, and lead galoshes. We clearly do not need another 4 or 8 more years of failed Republican “leadership”, and this bonehead move by McCain will essentially hand the election to Obama.

Finally. The Republicans have well and thoroughly shot themselves in the foot, and now they’ll be standing around wondering where all the blood is coming from. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again – idiot.

This is the kind of news that makes me smile. Hell, I’ve been giggling all day.

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What is the market for this?

July 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm (Die Rat Bastard, General, Media, Politics) (, , , , , , , , , , )

WTF? Who thought this was a good idea?

I mean seriously. A Blu-Ray disc of Alvin and the Chipmunks? If you’re old enough to know / discern the difference between standard and hi-def, you’re too old (or perhaps too intelligent) to enjoy appreciate willingly view the frickin’ Chipmunks movie… hopefully.

This is yet another example of poorly-thought products that are a shocking, sad waste of time, effort, money, and materials.

There are people like that, too. People who are simply a waste of skin. I have decided to call them pinata people. Pinata People would serve society best if they were hit with sticks until something useful falls out.

Sure seem to be a lot of Pinata People about these days. Lindsay Lohan, Carl Rove, Paris Hilton, George W. Bush, The Hills, Britney Spears…

Who would you nominate to the Pinata People list?

The nitwit that gave the green light to a Blu-Ray of the Chipmunks movie gets my vote. And anyone who bought the disc. Sure would be nice if people used their brains for something besides keeping their skulls from caving in.

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Well, I sure am shocked.

June 3, 2007 at 11:28 pm (Cars & Trucks, Die Rat Bastard, Politics, Rent Me, The Economy, The Environment)

Smokestacks in ChinaYou could knock me over with a feather off the butt of a Peking (Beijing?) duck. Turns out the Chinese intend to put economic development ahead of controlling their emissions of greenhouse gases. Can’t say as I’m a bit surprised. The G8 nations did exactly the same thing during the first 100 years of the Industrial Revolution. We didn’t begin to take note of the stinking air and dying lakes until the 1960’s. And now, just because we are aware of the damage that is being caused, we want the developing nations like China and India to make (apparent) sacrifices that we never did. To quote the BBC News article:

“In explaining the plan, the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Ma Kai, said rich counties who have already industrialized would instead have to do more to tackle climate change.

“Mr Ma said they (emphasis added) were responsible for most of the greenhouse gases produced over the past century and had the money to tackle the problem.

“Mandatory emission caps ‘would hinder the development of developing countries and hamper their industrialization’, he added.”

Dammit, he’s got us red-handed. This is mostly our problem. (You hear that, Dubya?) The Chinese are going to feel like they are being punished for trying to create their own version of the American Dream. No matter that they are crapping in their own backyards to do it. They want the consumer society, no matter the cost to their air, water, land, and children.

Look into it, dear reader. The cost of oil, steel, concrete, and other raw materials has gone up since China (and the rest of Asia) entered the industrial economy. There’s only so much oil and steel to go around, and if more people are bidding for the same commodity, the price goes up. Econ 101.

So. The genie is out of the bottle, and the toothpaste is out of the tube and running down our collective wrist. What’s there to do about it? For one, we can stop competing for scarce resources, and use something else. Something local, like wind, geothermal, natural gas, solar… does this make any sense? Maybe stop shipping all our scrap to China, and recycle it here – cleanly?

Windmill SunriseI suppose I also ought to explain my parenthetical “apparent” above, when speaking about sacrifices. There is some recent data to indicate that being “green” is actually good for business, and may be more profitable, short and long term, than being a polluter.

We in the west have got a lot of work to do. We need to put our own economies back in shape, and not trash the air & water all over again in the process. Plus, we need to finish cleaning up the mess we’ve made, and show some leadership to the developing world. We as Americans must demand that our leaders actually lead in this direction, or get the hell out of the way.

UPDATE: January 26th, 2008

Here is the first of four videos from the UK’s Channel 5, entitled “Big Ideas That Changed The World – Consumerism“. It’s a wonderful and sobering look at the changes human need & greed have wrought upon the world.

Part two:

Part three:

And finally, part four:

Click here to see all the videos posted by this YouTube user. There are some excellent BBC documentaries here.

UPDATE: April 9th, 2008

I couldn’t resist this. The Urban Dictionary has selected “consumerican” as their Urban Word of the Day today. (Be advised – much of the content on UrbanDictionary.com is NOT safe for work.) “Consumerican” is defined as:

An individual suffering from the particularly American brand of consumerism.

You’d have to be a real consumerican to always think you need the newest, most expensive computer every two years.

I couldn’t agree more. Yes, it takes some time, effort, and a bit of knowledge to deal with today’s tools and technology, but it’s worth the effort to keep perfectly serviceable appliances, computers, and other manufactured goods out of the landfills. We throw away so much that is still usable. And yes, that’s been said before, by people more intelligent and notable than I.

But that’s because it’s true.

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They call this a Jeep?

May 22, 2007 at 10:48 pm (Cars & Trucks, Die Rat Bastard) (, , , , , , , )

Somehow or another, this vehicle got completely under my radar until I saw one in a local parking lot. The Jeep Compass.

Jeep Compass

Ugh. One horrified glance at this pompous rig and it becomes apparent why Daimler-Benz wants to sell their interest in Chrysler. Styled (if the word can be tortured into applying here) as if it were some sort of Transformers action toy, it has every chance to become a complete embarrassment to the Jeep heritage.

The original (Willys) Jeep has an honest charm that derives from its utilitarian design. It was made specifically to go anywhere, as a workhorse for the infantry of WWII.

Willys Jeep - WWII Era - and no damn cupholders

The Compass can make no such claim – it’s dishonestly ugly.

Jeep Compass

It looks as if it’s smuggling acorns in its cheeks, and was obviously engineered to appeal to suburban posers who will never take this atrocity more than a hundred feet off-road. And I mean the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

It’s really sad. Chrysler has shown that they can do chunky and retro properly, if they put their minds to it. Just look at the Chrysler 300. Nice. Oh, nice. Want one. Want it baaaaad.

300C

But the Compass? It looks as though, instead of making a clay model of the design, they carved it from a bar of soap. Bah. It’s bad enough that Chrysler is selling a damn ugly car, but to call it a Jeep is an affront to the intellect.

Yes, it looks like people will not quit designing ugly crap, and other people will not stop buying ugly crap, at least not within my lifetime. But I can speak out. And I can dream. I can dream.

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It continues to be a long strange trip.

May 9, 2007 at 12:50 am (Cars & Trucks, Die Rat Bastard, General, Politics)

Sorry to be so long to post, what with one thing and a few dozen others. Briefly:

  • Major leak in the water line to my house
  • Resultant digging in the yard (a lot)
  • Long time friendship disintegrated
  • Raiding the 401k
  • Lots of work and final deployment of ThoughtOffice web site
  • And many more little damn things too numerous to mention

Other than that, it’s been pretty good. My life is coming together in wonderful new ways, and I don’t regret walking away from Charter one tiny bit. Screw those incompetent corporate chimpanzees.ENRON DVD

Speaking of which, I finally watched ENRON: The Smartest Guys In The Room. Wow. This movie is a huge eye-opener. I keep saying the suits really don’t give a crap about any of us. This film backs up my contention with solid documentation. Everyone should watch it. Especially if you work for a large corporation. When the MBAs and accountants take charge at your company, run. Very fast.

It’s just a shame we can’t pry the gold out of Kenneth Lay’s teeth, or take away the assets he left behind. See, he died just after the verdict came in, but before sentencing. Because of his demise, the conviction was “vacated”. In other words, it’s just like he had never been convicted of the massive fraud that was perpetrated, and therefore his family gets to keep all the money that he stole from ENRON, which ENRON, in turn, had looted from its employees, shareholders, and customers. Keep your eyes open. It will happen again.

Minimum-Maximum [LIVE]Whew. Kind of grim, huh? Here’s something that may bring you pleasure, instead of dread. I have really been enjoying Kraftwerk’s Minimum-Maximum. The set was a gift last year from my Scottish buddy, Paul. The last several days, I have been playing the CDs in my 1986 Merkur XR4ti whilst I have been tooling about the area on my various errands. Sigh… listening to a live version of Autobahn while slinging my German-built Ford around corners. It’s the closest to heaven that I have been in quite some time. Even better since I found a cheap way to replace the rear speakers.

The OEM rear deck speakers in the Merkur were about 5″ round, and were – to be blunt – toast. I got the idea to raid the local Goodwill for a cheap boom box. I found a dusty old Sony unit (AM-FM-CD-cassette) for five bucks! I added some connectors from my junk box, and some Velcro (to hold the speakers in place) for $3. The sound is amazing, considering the price.

There was even an unexpected bonus to that trip to the Goodwill. I fell into conversation with a couple of other geezers like myself. The subject was – Portland radio. We had a great time talking about history, all the changes, the consolidation of the industry since deregulation… Is it just me, or does it also seem to you, dear reader, that whenever a lot of money gets involved in anything, it begins to seriously suck?

Go check out the movie, maybe some Kraftwerk, and enjoy your week, everyone. I’ll be back.

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Senator McCain, you are an idiot.

February 4, 2007 at 11:55 am (Die Rat Bastard, Politics)

McCain = IdiotArizonans have something new to be embarrassed about today. Their senator, John McCain, (R-Ariz.) shared his poorly considered thoughts today about the Congressional non-binding resolution against the escalation in Iraq. He claims that “this is a vote of no confidence in both the mission and the troops who are going over there”, because it apparently doesn’t go far enough.

The Arizona senator apparently feels that anyone in Congress who opposes the troop buildup should be willing to “take the action necessary to prevent it”, such as cutting off the money for the troops. Oh, yeah, great idea. Republicans would have a field day with that one. In 2008, they could point fingers at the people who cut funding, and blame them for the failure in Iraq. Instead, let’s place the blame where it really lies, smack in the lap of our Commander in Chief.

With that in mind, I sent an e-mail to the senator. The text of that message is reproduced below.

Senator, you don’t get it. What you call a “vote of no confidence in both the mission and the troops who are going over there” is nothing of the kind.

Bush = SatanIt is a “vote of no confidence” in the commander in chief, whose mind-meltingly stupid idea it was to send our troops over to Iraq in the first place, on specious grounds. He lied to the American public about WMD, about ties to Al Quaeda, and about the danger posed by Iraq to the United States.

It’s time to end our forced occupation of Iraq, and quit killing Americans and Iraqis over rights to 10% of the world’s crude oil supplies.

Enough with the grandstanding, political posturing, and unthinking support for a chief executive who is clearly out of control. It’s time to rein in George W. Bush, using any means necessary and available under the Constitution of the United States of America. Remember that document? The system of checks and balances it incorporates? Let’s get busy and use them! Quit kissing George Bush’s rosy little bottom, and bring some sanity to Washington DC, or else 2008 will make the 2006 elections look like a tea party.

I don't have to listen, I'm John McCain!I hope I made the point, but the reality is that our so-called leaders in Washington D.C. don’t seem to be overly concerned with what We The People think or want. They just go ahead and do whatever they want. I also hope they wise the hell up, before a whole lot more people have to be killed or maimed for the sake of oil.

You can voice your feelings to Senator McCain, too. Click here to go to his e-mail contact web page. Give ‘im hell. He’s got to be used to it by now.

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Tom Cruise = Jesus Christ?

January 26, 2007 at 12:54 am (Die Rat Bastard, Media)

Imagine my goggle-eyed horror upon hearing that Scientologist David Miscavige apparently believes that Tom Cruise will one day be hailed as Scientology’s Chosen One, its Jesus Christ, in fact. Wow. How wonderfully loony and delusional! And what a splendidly incorrect metaphor.

Tom Cruise = Jesus Christ?Jesus Christ = Tom Cruise?

Scientology’s “Christ” would be, more accurately, L. Ron Hubbard, its founder. Old L. Ron is renowned for fabricating a glamorous past for himself, and being quoted as saying that the best way to make a lot of money would be to found a religion. He also wrote some science fiction novels & stories of average quality.

So what does this make our Tommy Boy? Perhaps he would be better likened to Paul of Tarsus, who is credited with singlehandedly spreading Christianity from the Middle East all the way to Rome.

However, if Tom Cruise really were the Christ figure of Scientology, it begs the obvious question: do we get to nail him to anything?

Let me hold the hammer. Please.

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Are you sure?

January 12, 2007 at 12:09 pm (Cool Tech, Die Rat Bastard, The Economy)

AMD64-64-bit-microprocessor-chipAre you really sure you want to buy an Intel processor for your next computer? I must begin by saying that I have a bias here. #1: I have been buying only AMD processors for my personal PCs since 1998. The bang-for-the-buck has always been better with AMD, in the class of processor I buy. #2: I am willing to put my money where my mouth is, and support competition. #3: Since the early ’90s, international companies have been moving jobs that I could do from America to Asia. This pisses me off, because it makes it harder for me to earn a living. End of disclaimer.

On to my reasons to think twice about Intel. The big I is going to invest a total of another 2 billion dollars in Vietnam and China. This is about 4 months after Intel laid off more than 10,000 employees in America and elsewhere. To quote another source, “Intel said that the restructuring will help save $2 billion in 2007“. Huh. Wonder where Intel is getting the capital to invest in Asia? Gee.

Processor dieSo this is how international corporations repay brand loyalty. Nice. Thanks, Intel! American workers will really appreciate being able to buy an Intel processor for a few bucks less, now that we have to work at Wal-Mart.

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