Another one fights the rust

Chances are, if you have a local Suzuki dealer, he sells motorcycles and/or ATVs or maybe marine equipment. If he sells cars, well, he won’t be for very long: American Suzuki Motors is officially throwing in the towel. Yesterday’s announcement on the Web:

Today we announced that we will realign our business to focus on the long-term growth of our Motorcycles/ATV and Marine divisions. Following a thorough review of our current position and future opportunities in the U.S. automotive market, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to wind down and discontinue new automobile sales in the continental U.S. Consistent with our long history of standing by our products, ASMC automobile owners will be protected. All warranties will continue to be fully honored, in accordance with their terms, and automobile parts and service will be provided to consumers without interruption through ASMC’s parts and service dealer network.

From the press release [pdf]:

In evaluating its position in the highly regulated and competitive U.S. automotive industry, ASMC determined that its Automotive division was facing a number of serious challenges. These challenges include low sales volumes, a limited number of models in its line-up, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the high costs associated with growing and maintaining an automotive distribution system in the continental U.S. and the disproportionally high and increasing costs associated with stringent state and federal regulatory requirements unique to the U.S. market.

The yen-dollar ratio was critical, since Suzuki had only one locally-sourced vehicle, the Equator pickup, basically a Nissan Frontier with a fresh set of badges.

Through October, Suzuki has sold only 21,188 cars and trucks this year, about half as many as Mitsubishi, which will likely be the next to go.

And a bit of irony, courtesy of Wikipedia’s article on the Suzuki Kizashi sedan:

Kizashi is a Japanese word which means “something great is coming”, “omen”, “sign”, or “warning”.

Not necessarily in that order, it would appear.

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Linear than thou

There are times when I think we should just appreciate what’s there and not try to analyze it to death.

This is one of those times:

A plastic surgeon claims he has found the formula for the ideal pair of legs, and straight bones are the main ingredient.

Fahd Benslimane spent 12 years analysing photographs of models and athletes as well as a range of other sources, including Greek statues, Barbie dolls and sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, to work out what type of legs were considered the most attractive in the western world.

He concluded that legs with bones that run in a straight line from the top of the thigh through to the knee joint and ankle, with nips and curves at the knee and calf, were the most desirable, because they combine fragility with strength.

Well, you can’t get much straighter than Barbie, who doesn’t even have a knee joint to break up her Blessed Straightness.

And of course we must be mindful of context:

What comes to mind when I say double-jointed therapist

Okay, maybe not that much.

(Highly questionable samples at the Fark thread whence this came.)

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Rinehart unwrapped again

Last time we heard from former County Commissioner, occasional money-grubber and comic-book publisher Brent Rinehart, he was trying to ease his way back into public office. Having failed at that, well, why not try this?

The testy race for Oklahoma County Sheriff took a new twist today, with incumbent Democrat John Whetsel’s campaign manager noting a disgraced former county commissioner has joined those opposing Whetsel.

Former Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart has inserted himself into the campaign, said Pat Hall.

Hall speculates on Rinehart’s motives in signing on to the Darrell Sorrels campaign:

“Brent Rinehart was a guest of Sheriff Whetsel’s at the Oklahoma County Jail,” said Hall. “I’d guess that Rinehart did not enjoy his stay in the Oklahoma County jail when he broke the law and so now he is trying to get even and help elect a new sheriff, one that might look the other way if he tries to break the law again.”

Somehow I can’t imagine Sorrels, an experienced lawman, actually wanting this character on his side.

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Yes, we have no tracking numbers

I imagine this scene is being played out in lots of places:

World Headquarters for my company are just outside of New York City. They are sans power. That means no email. There are no phones. No computers. No shipping. No receiving. Things are akin to Gilligan’s Island (no phones, no lights, no motor cars, it’s as primitive as can be). To quote the classic 1980’s commercial, “We are closed now!”

I have no way to communicate with the folks at corporate. One of the customer service reps calls me on his cell every morning to give me an update. There is no electricity.

And in case you didn’t catch on:

Yes, transportation — trucks etc. — could be a problem. I do not know. We have not tried to call in any trucks because we have no electricity. We cannot ship anything. We have not scheduled your truck for pickup because we do not know when electricity will be restored.

Everything, whether we like it or not, is connected to everything else.

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Skip the next forty-nine

This would save so much reading:

Cartoon by Tatsuya Ishida

(Via Dating Fails.)

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Strange search-engine queries (353)

It wouldn’t be a Monday without a romp through the search strings, although for some reason it never occurs to me to not do them and see if Monday goes away.

oscar wilde eating alone:  There weren’t a lot of great dining companions in Reading Gaol.

that are quite unsingable:  According to some, the National Anthem usually are.

gruesome car wrecks photos:  Sorry, Charlie, we don’t do death porn.

I have a letter and apiece of unwrapped gum from the Wrigley company from 1930’s is it worth anything?  Sorry, Charlie, we don’t do questionable vintage foodstuffs.

hungry for love 1965:  And pretty much ever since, not that it’s any of your business.

crossdressing boys corsets busels old dresses fiction:  You hope it’s fiction, anyway.

mrs butterworth rule 34:  Um, that ain’t syrup.

Past (and any subsequent words) was ignored because we limit queries to 32 words:  Most of our political rhetoric of late involved ignoring the past.

j lo advertised a mouthwash, cars and hosiery:  Three things I value highly, by some strange coincidence.

bill clinton penis size 5.5:  Nobody here can attest to that. Or would want to.

“average male shoe size” “size 14”:  Anyone know Bill Clinton’s shoe size?

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None of your falcon business

The Hawks didn’t come here last year, owing to the abbreviated schedule. It wouldn’t have bothered me if they’d waited another year: Atlanta, despite the absence of Josh Smith, took an early lead, fell behind in the second quarter, and just kept on pushing, finishing off the Thunder 104-95 at the ‘Peake.

The major problem was the Thunder’s inability to control the rock. We’re talking twenty-one turnovers, handing the Hawks 31 points. (Atlanta hocked up the ball only ten times.) And offensively, it didn’t seem to matter whether it was the starters or the reserves on the floor: the Hawks’ bench got 47 points. Lou Williams had 19, 13 in the third quarter alone. Then again, Williams shot only 5-14.

Which was still better than Russell Westbrook, who struggled all night and wound up at 5-18, though he did manage nine assists. Kevin Durant, left in for 42 minutes, returned his usual double-double — 22 points, 12 rebounds — Kevin Martin, who scored 22 in the first half, finished with 28, which is pretty good until you consider that the entire bench production was 32. (Nick Collison got the other four.) The Thunder remains difficult to block — Al Horford (23 points, 12 boards) got the only Atlanta swat — but how much did the Hawks have to block when OKC was just giving the ball away?

A 1-2 opening is, as the phrase goes, not optimal. There’s nothing going on that can’t be fixed; but Tuesday the Raptors will be here, and Toronto hasn’t been an actual pushover for OKC in years.

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Indeed the one

The New Petula Clark AlbumSometimes things just don’t go according to plan. After “Downtown” and the very similar “I Know a Place,” Tony Hatch and the rest of Petula Clark’s brain trust decided to move in a different direction. However, the next two singles, the moody “You’d Better Come Home” and the anthemic “Round Every Corner,” were only smallish hits. What to do? Clark herself had cowritten three songs on the I Know a Place LP, which in the UK was curiously titled The New Petula Clark Album, and one of them, “You’re the One,” was selected as the comeback single.

Well, in Europe, anyway. (There’s a lovely French version with the same backing track, called “Un mal pour un bien.”) Warner Bros. was ready for some hot 45 action in the States with this record, but a cover by the Pittsburgh vocal group the Vogues had beaten them to it, and, said Petula, “Let the boys have the hit.” Just the same, it showed up on Greatest Hits Vol. 1, alongside “Call Me,” a Hatch original that brought one-hit wonder Chris Montez his second hit. Judging by her reaction to his follow-up, “The More I See You,” Petula apparently didn’t mind that either.

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Trade secrets

I am reasonably certain nobody out there is particularly interested in how I put this stuff together. (Besides, I’ve already revealed the Deepest, Darkest Secret.) However, I am always interested in how everyone else does it, so I pass along to you Roger’s modus blogendi:

I find it easier to write when I know what I’m going to write about, which I suppose is obvious. For instance, if I know for an ABC Wednesday post X is for X-Rays (it won’t be, at least not this time around), it puts me to mind to think about all the X-rays I’ve had. The brain will percolate in the background while I’m doing something else, such as showering or bicycling, then, suddenly, a theme emerges.

After I have written it, I might change it, but it’s easier to change something than nothing. If it isn’t tied to a specific date, I might even move it to another day because I need to say THIS more right now. THIS is usually for some national or world event, or perhaps a noteworthy death.

I can relate to that percolation process. I am not a multitasker by any strict definition of the word, but I can devote CPU slices, so to speak, to pondering what’s going to be written and when. And I have moved pieces up or down in the queue as priorities seem to shift: for instance, that piece on the HondaJet appearing yesterday morning was actually written Thursday afternoon, having been deemed to have a lower priority than some other stuff in the can.

There are, of course, regular features: strange search-engine queries (Mondays), the Rebecca Black news (Fridays), the Review of Fabulous Babes (usually twice a week), and Thunder recaps (82, or more, times a year). Beyond that, there are irregular features. But that still leaves me about a hundred slots a month to fill, and I’d just as soon not fill it all up with news or shoes or pony.

Which is why I’m always writing, even when I’m not writing: I come up with ideas while doing chores, or while sitting in traffic, or sometimes while I’m doing something dull and repetitious at work. (I don’t actually type this stuff during work hours, unless something utterly compelling has come up that demands an immediate post.)

Someone once asked if I ever did a post just because I had a title for it. Now really, what do you think?

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Quote of the week

Daily Pundit’s nemo paradise, expressing gratitude to the perpetrators of the DDOS attack waged against that site last week:

First, it means that someone fears DP enough to literally attempt to kill it. I had no idea that we could sting that hard. Now I do. Thank you.

Second, it means that someone put a lot of their time, effort and money into doing it. What could be more gratifying than to know this, and demonstrate to them that they have … failed. Here we are. What we experienced was the internet version of someone interrupting someone else by shouting nyah nyah nyah. Sooner or later they run out of breath. The message gets out anyway.

Finally, nothing reveals poverty of principle, nor proves more thoroughly the childish thuggery of the vandals who took down the site, than this hooligan attack on our right to speak. Confronted by ideas that they cannot negotiate with rebuttal, they instead yell “Shut up!” Do you remember those people from high school? They were the ones with the protruding brows and the scrape marks on their knuckles.

And in fact they’re still in high school, emotionally if not physically.

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Time unwasted

With the NHL still in Lockout Hell, you have to wonder if the next league down, the American Hockey League, will gain any extra prominence. Stuff like this will surely help:

The Abbotsford Heat set an American Hockey League record for the fastest two goals scored by one team, finding the net twice in three seconds during a 3-0 win over the Toronto Marlies at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Thursday night.

Steve McCarthy scored at 4:28 of the third period to break a scoreless tie, and on the ensuing faceoff, Ben Street shot the puck from center ice and beat Marlies goalie Ben Scrivens to make it 2-0.

Twice in three seconds! (The NHL record, shared by several, is four.) In fact, the TV crew was busy showing the replay of that first goal and never even picked up the second one. And believe it or not, there’s a punchline beyond even that:

Both goals were shorthanded.

Remember this when the children ask “What’s the opposite of a power play?”

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French neoclassical

Evgenia Peretz writes in the December Vanity Fair:

In [François] Hollande’s quest for the presidency, a certain woman would come into his life who would prove very useful: one Valérie Trierweiler, a young, drop-dead gorgeous reporter from Paris Match who had been assigned to cover the Socialists… Her icy, Hitchcock-heroine looks were useful currency.

V.F. provided one photo in which Trierweiler did not look much like a Hitchcock heroine to me, so I Binged my way through a stack of news photos and came up with this Reuters picture:

Valérie Trierweiler

Joan Fontaine in Suspicion, maybe.

Trierweiler’s detractors call her “Rottweiler,” perhaps a nod to her perceived ferocity. She was apparently seeing Hollande in early 2006, while she was still married and while Hollande was still living with Ségolène Royal. Royal managed to keep her split with Hollande under wraps until after the 2007 presidential election, which she lost to Nicolas Sarkozy. (Royal would run again in 2011, but she finished fourth in the Socialist primary, far behind Hollande.) Trierweiler didn’t make a public announcement of the relationship until after her divorce became final in 2010, presumably for legal reasons. She and Hollande have announced no plans to wed, and she’s kept her Paris Match gig.

Feel free to complain about that word “young.” At forty-seven, she’s young compared to me, anyway. (And in case you wondered, Hollande is about nine months younger than I.)

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Here stay the judge

If you looked at my Ballot Picks in Vent #795, you will note that four judges of the state Supreme Court, running on a retention ballot, are conspicuous by their absence. This is consistent with my practice of long standing:

Once in a while an interest group will try to stir up opposition to a judge who has issued a ruling unfavorable to them, but seldom does it make any difference: judges are routinely returned to office with about a 2-1 majority. Before I took up the mantle of Sort of Political Blogger, my own rule of thumb was to vote against anyone I’d ever heard of, on the basis that if the judge had somehow gotten into the news, it likely wouldn’t have been good news.

Meanwhile, there’s no State Question 761 this year, as I explained already:

SQ 761 … “would define ‘person’ under the Constitution as any human being from the beginning of the biological development to natural death.” An initiative promoted by Daniel Skirbitz, head of the group Personhood Oklahoma, it was rejected by the state Supreme Court for conflict with Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey.

Comes now a robocall in which an individual identifying himself as a pastor notes said rejection, points out that the wicked ACLU is pleased by that rejection, and recommends that those four judges, as punishment, not be retained. He didn’t have time in those thirty seconds to mention the fact that SCOTUS declined to hear an appeal.

This is only the second mention of the retention ballot I’ve encountered this year, the first being a half-page ad for retention that ran in The City Sentinel and presumably other papers, paid for by a group called “Yes for Fair and Impartial Judges,” with an office in the Oil Center building on the Northwest Distressway. Patrick McGuigan has seen more, including a clumsy effort by John Miley of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission — and by “clumsy,” I mean that he was enough of a klutz to use his state-assigned email address — to drum up support for the four judges, presumably because he’s married to one of them. Miley argued that it’s a nonpartisan ballot, therefore his actions were nonpolitical. If anyone deserves to be denied retention, it’s Miley, but of course he’s not on a ballot.

For the record, the judges seeking retention: Noma Gurich, Yvonne Kauger. Doug Combs and James Edmondson.

And if you’re not in Oklahoma but in Indiana, you might consider this.

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From both sides now, as it were

Sony was quick to assure its UK customers that this French ad for the new PS Vita would not be running in sanitary British media:

Ad for Sony PS Vita featuring woman with four breasts

“Twice the tactile faces, twice the sensations,” indeed. And you can be absolutely certain this won’t run in the States either. Me, I’m just thinking about the possibilities for slow dancing.

Meanwhile, Eccentrica Gallumbits was not available for comment.

(Via Fark.)

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Refusing information

I have always been a big advocate of RTFM. However, there are entirely too many instances of TM not being worth an F, and this is one of them. Vehicle in question: Volkswagen Passat. Information sought: location of fuse panel. Result:

Due to ongoing development of the vehicle, configuration-dependent allocation of fuses and the combined fuse protection of multiple loads with one fuse, an up-to-date overview of the fuse location per load is not possible at the time of printing.

They do tell you to find out “why the fuse blew and correct the problem before replacing a blown fuse,” but obviously you’re not going to replace that fuse if you don’t know where the heck it is. Is this a ploy to get you into a VW dealership? What do you think?

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Still not a flying car, though

It was five years ago that Honda started taking orders for the HondaJet plane, and after a protracted period of gestation, the production line has now been started at Honda Aircraft in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The HondaJet has two GE/Honda HF120 turbofan engines, mounted on top of the wings. Cruising and top speed are 483 mph; fuel range exceeds 1600 miles. The one thing we don’t know is the delivery date, which has obviously slipped a bit. Anticipated sales: 70-100 per year.

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