Poseur alert

This pretty well speaks for itself:

Would it be possible to do a 2003 to 2008 G35 sedan rear end conversion?

I’m looking at getting a 2003 G35 sedan but I want the back to look like a 2008 model. I would just buy a 2008 model but I’m on a budget. Also could I swap the 2003 G35 sedan front end with a 2010 G37? If it’s possible to do either of these conversions what part’s would I need and what would be the estimated price not including labor?

Were I this hard up to impress my friends, I hope someone would have the audacity to tell me to get new friends.

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Blurbese waxing

The Universal Translator is applied to book reviews for the first time:

Ever wonder what editors, publishers and critics mean when they describe books as “lyrical,” “provocative” or “ripped from the headlines”? Let industry veterans explain it to you.

“lyrical” = “not much happens” (Peter Ginna, publisher, Bloomsbury Press)

“provocative” = “about race/religion” (Mark Athitakis, critic)

“ripped from the headlines” = “no original plot line” (Jacqueline Deval, author and publicist)

At least three dozen more await you at the link.

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet.)

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Strike that pose

I may have mentioned once or twice that I browse the fashion mags, sometimes for blogfodder, sometimes for background, and sometimes just to look at the pictures.

And in those pictures, there are women (and occasionally men) contorted into positions that, were you to see actual people in them, you’d find curious or peculiar or perhaps even alarming, as Yolanda Domínguez demonstrates here:

Stills and background (en español) here.

(Via this Carly Rose Jackson tweet.)

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The best-unlaid plans

Some nimrod spammed Roberta X with this tedious example of just-below-the-navel gazing:

I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

Yeah, yeah, we get it. Your anaconda don’t want none. (Little worm’s probably in hibernation due to lack of nourishment.) As you might expect, this was preceded by a URL which I see no reason to mention here, though he’s easy enough to find. (Hint: It’s not GodsGiftToWoman.org.)

There are, I propose, precisely two ways in which he could have reached this conclusion:

  • It corresponds to his own actual dating experience, in which case he should probably wonder how come he’s consistently attracted to all these unworthy individuals; or
  • It does not correspond to his own actual dating experience, in which case the data were presumably obtained via rectal extraction.

More subtle than I’d ever be, Roberta X simply replied: “Boycott away, dood! Please.

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Meanwhile in Arkansas

This story is disturbing for several reasons:

An 18-year-old named Kymberly Wimberly graduated from McGehee Secondary School in Arkansas several weeks ago. Even though she had the highest G.P.A. in her graduating class, she wasn’t allowed to be the sole valedictorian — perhaps because she’s black. The school named a white student with a lower G.P.A. as co-valedictorian. Kymberly is now suing the school district.

This case is formally Wimberly v. McGehee School District et al. Plaintiff’s name is given as Kymberly L. Wimberly; I’m guessing her middle name isn’t “Limberly.” Do not confuse with Kimberly Wimberly or Kimberley Wimberley, or anyone you know named McGehee.

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The desktop is dead

Or maybe it’s just headed for niche status:

There are many who still use typewriters and listen to vinyl (which has even enjoyed a resurgence of late) and just this week a music group released their material on VHS tape (OK that’s just nostalgia for a past they never experienced similar to the rise in small music labels that release music on compact cassette only). These items have moved from the mainstream to the niche. Few are ever truly dead.

So what becomes of the old tower?

The home server for those that prefer not to trust the cloud? The dusty home of digital memories?

I have admittedly little faith in the cloud, which is why I feel compelled to back up this site on a regular basis: the WordPress database (about 52 MB right now) is backed up once a week and right before any version changes, and I have copies of every static page and (I think) every single graphic. (We’re talking a couple of gigabytes, max.) I’m currently revising the backup plan for all my other stuff. For the moment, commodity drive space is cheaper than fancy mobile contraptions.

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For all you speed demons out there

USA Today purports to list the five fastest highways in the States, as determined by INRIX, “a traffic firm that analyzes GPS data.” The second-fastest of the lot is Oklahoma 33 “In both directions Northwest of Oklahoma City,” where 95th-percentile traffic is running at 83 mph and INRIX has recorded a top speed of 87.

Jeffro, who sent me this, expressed some doubts. I noted that I’d routinely seen 75-plus on 33. Still, something here doesn’t add up. INRIX cites a corridor of 24 miles. SH 33 runs well over 200 miles, so the trick here is to find a 24-mile section that runs close to OKC. The most likely candidate would be the stretch from I-35 to US 177, Guthrie to south of Stillwater, which isn’t technically northwest of OKC, but perhaps close enough.

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Vicky with a Y

Allow me to present Vassiliki, Baroness von Ruffin, who turns sixty-two today:

Vicky Leandros

A recording artist at sixteen, Vicky Leandros, daughter of Greek composer Leo Leandros, took fourth place in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967, representing Luxembourg, with a song you probably know better in an instrumental version:

She would win five years later with “Après toi.”

From 2006 to 2008, she was deputy mayor of the Greek city of Piraeus. More recently, she appeared in the Euro Friends Song Contest, billed as “a search for the ultimate Eurovision song.”

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Sad news from 34th and Vine

Even if Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had never done anything else besides write “Hound Dog” for Elvis Presley, they’d still be ranked among the top songwriters and producers of the rock era.

This despite the fact that they didn’t actually write it for Elvis; Big Mama Thornton got her hands on it first, back in 1952. Supposedly, Leiber didn’t much like the Presley rearrangement, produced by RCA Victor’s Steve Sholes, but he had no objection to collecting his cut of the songwriter royalties. (Johnny Otis is listed as a third writer on Thornton’s record; Otis produced the session.)

Leiber and Stoller met in Los Angeles in 1950, a couple of white kids with a taste for black music, and decided they had something to contribute to the repertoire. After a couple of years of kicking around, they started getting some hits, and with Lester Sill (later partner to Phil Spector), they set up Spark Records and cut their own sides. Atlantic bought up Spark, ostensibly to obtain the Robins, but also hired L&S as staff producers — while still allowing them to do outside work. (Sill, for his part, wound up as the second syllable of Philles Records, the first being Phil Spector.) The Robins mutated into the Coasters; L&S began working with the reconstituted Drifters, with Ben E. King on lead.

It’s a measure of how close Leiber and Stoller were that Wikipedia gives them a combined entry. Generally, Stoller wrote the music, Leiber the lyrics, though once in a while they threw you a curve: “Stand By Me,” a Ben E. King solo classic, was written, said the label, by King and “Elmo Glick,” which I’d always assumed was a gesture to acknowledge King as the originator of the song, but Glick turns up on several L&S records.

Leiber is gone now, cardiopulmonary failure at 78; Stoller, six weeks older, is still with us. Their songs, of course, will outlast us all.

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Unmentioned in the fine print

This Reuters story, or variations thereof, can be found all over the place:

General Motors Co. is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over a suspension problem on more than 400,000 Chevrolet Impalas from the 2007 and 2008 model years, saying it should not be responsible for repairs because the flaw predated its bankruptcy.

The lawsuit, filed on June 29 by Donna Trusky of Blakely, Pennsylvania, contended that her Impala suffered from faulty rear spindle rods, causing her rear tires to wear out after just 6,000 miles.

Seeking class-action status and alleging breach of warranty, the lawsuit demands that GM fix the rods, saying that it had done so on Impala police vehicles.

But in a recent filing with the U.S. District Court in Detroit, GM noted that the cars were made by its predecessor General Motors Corp, now called Motors Liquidation Co or “Old GM,” before its 2009 bankruptcy and federal bailout.

The current company, called “New GM,” said it did not assume responsibility under the reorganization to fix the Impala problem, but only to make repairs “subject to conditions and limitations” in express written warranties. In essence, the automaker said, Trusky sued the wrong entity.

“New GM’s warranty obligations for vehicles sold by Old GM are limited to the express terms and conditions in the Old GM written warranties on a going-forward basis,” wrote Benjamin Jeffers, a lawyer for GM. “New GM did not assume responsibility for Old GM’s design choices, conduct, or alleged breaches of liability under the warranty.”

David Fink, Trusky’s lawyer, declined to comment.

Here’s what no one seems to be mentioning: the basic warranty on ’07-’08 Chevrolets was three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Except for a handful of leftovers that hung around while the ’09s were being shipped, all these cars are out of warranty; neither Old GM nor New GM is necessarily required to fix this issue, unless there is a formal recall under the auspices of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As of this writing, no such recall has been announced; there’s not even an investigation going on.

Mrs Trusky, it appears, did bring up the issue before the warranty ran out (February ’11 in her case). From The Detroit News:

[She] bought a new Impala in February 2008 and said the tires wore out within 6,000 miles.

Her GM dealer replaced the tires and provided an alignment, but didn’t disclose the spindle rod issue, she said.

According to the suit, GM issued a service bulletin in 2008 for police versions of the Impala.

Last November, Trusky couldn’t pass an annual inspection without getting another set of rear tires — even though the vehicle had fewer than 25,000 miles.

So the second set of tires lasted three times longer than the first. What can we conclude from that? Not a whole lot, really, considering that police versions of the Impala don’t have the same rear suspension bits as the civilian cars.

Ultimately, though, I have to side with commenter “geeber” at TTAC:

This is one of those “lose-lose” scenarios from a public relations standpoint. In a lawsuit such as this, GM will naturally throw every argument into its brief as to why the lawsuit should be dismissed. One of the arguments, of course, relates to the bankruptcy filing, and, if precedent is followed, it will likely stick.

This does not necessarily mean that GM won’t fix Impalas built before 2009. One would hope that GM would agree to this, to at least promote customer goodwill. Given that most of these cars were sold as either police cars or fleet specials, the exposure to retail customers should be minimal, so going the extra mile to make those customers happy shouldn’t break the bank.

If anything, getting the lawsuit dismissed could ensure that GM’s money is spent actually fixing the problem as opposed to paying plaintiff’s attorneys fees.

Which suggests to me that GM, while it won’t come out of this smelling like a rose, might avoid a more-unpleasant stench by manning up and asking for NHTSA to step in.

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Resistance to Buffetting

Something about Warren Buffett’s plaintive wail for higher taxes doesn’t quite ring true:

As Graybeard points out, the $7mm tax bill Buffett complains was too low for him to be paying was an amount he paid on a “taxable income” of somewhere in the neighborhood of $40mm, when in reality his net worth increased by $3 billion that same year, most of which he shielded from taxes. If you are not swayed by the pure hypocrisy of complaining about not being taxed enough while shielding most of your income from taxes, you might at least scratch your head as to why increasing tax rates is supposed to be a better mechanism of taking more of Warren Buffett’s money for government use than simply not letting him shield so much of his wealth increase from taxation according to the rate schedule already in existence. Similarly, it’s fair to wonder why, if Warren Buffet is as concerned about the government getting enough revenue via taxation as he claims to be, his focus was “increase taxes” rather than “don’t let people like me shelter my wealth as easily”. Why he didn’t mention this option is a matter for speculation, but it is at least relevant to point out that sheltering 98+% of one’s wealth increase from taxation is something that would not even be mathematically available to the middle- or upper-middle-class people who would, I assert, be affected by the higher tax rates Buffett favors.

I wonder if Buffett actually thinks Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein needs to pay higher taxes.

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Semi-serious speed

The Motor Trend New Cars issue (September) notes that “Maserati claims a top speed of 177 mph for the [GranTurismo] Convertible Sport and 185 mph for the MC,” which latter is, says MT, “the fastest Maserati ever sold in North America.”

Joe Walsh, asked for comment, seems to have changed his story of late.

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Strange search-engine queries (290)

Somewhere around a third of the traffic to this site comes from search engines, and most of those searches are sensible, understandable, even justifiable. Then there are these:

it’s a beautiful day litigation:  I told you we shouldn’t have sent Mister Rogers to law school.

legalese little red riding hood:  For instance, wolves are a protected species. Mister Rogers could have told you that.

transmission sensor won’t let the car start:  Identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it.

www.teensexyvirgins.com/transsexual-babysitters:  Identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it.

What time was the latest sunrise ever?  Look up “arctic circle” and think again.

how many miles can I expect from a used Ford Contour:  Ask yourself “Why did the previous owner unload this buggy?” and think again.

laurence olivier cereal box:  Forsooth, yon Cocoa Puffs hath vexed me.

divorce changes a man:  Not half as much as marriage does.

too pretty to work:  And perhaps looking for a man to divorce.

flaw in the worlds currency:  Not enough of it is in my pocket.

“beer snobs”:  Your brew is swill; our swill is brew.

yahoo dustbury.com:  Hey, if I’m the yahoo, how come you’re searching for this at Bing?

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In the fall, if at all

September means the BIG Fashion Issues: a mere 500 pages won’t do. So anything and everything is fair game, and inevitably you find something just a hair off-center — and something deeply creepy.

InStyle for September boasts 638 pages, six of which are devoted to the closets of the Kardashian sisters. No, this isn’t the creepy stuff. I was, however, jolted a bit by this revelation by Khloé:

“When I’m buying new shoes I ask myself, ‘Would I look good wearing them naked?'”

I’m trying to imagine one of her fitting sessions, but the visuals won’t quite come to me.

Anyway, the story reports that Khloé owns 235 pairs of shoes, 71 by Christian Louboutin, by far the highest percentage of Louboutins owned by any of the Kardashians.

The creepy stuff involved Marc Jacobs’ new fragrance “Oh, Lola,” which features in its print ad — yes, there’s a fragrance strip, but I was too busy being creeped out — a semi-racy image of Dakota Fanning, who won’t turn 18 until February. (If you must, you can see it here.) This isn’t quite as creepy as, say, the situation with that 15-year-old girl who posed semi-salaciously for Urban Outfitters, but it’s still somewhat disturbing: I have no problems with teenagers looking cute, even vaguely sexy, but anything beyond that pushes my OMG button.

(As for the title: It was a phrase often uttered by one of my uncles on my mother’s side; he’s long gone now, but I’d always admired his capacity for mouthiness.)

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Imagine what it’s like to be #2

Deadspin has puked up its 2011 Hater’s Guide To The Top 25, just in time for the start of college football, which, says author Drew Magary, “is a sport so hopelessly screwed that it makes the United States government look efficient by comparison. Every national title won is just WAITING to be vacated.”

The first target, of course, is the University of Oklahoma, ranked #1 before anyone actually plays a game. “Hopelessly screwed,” as the man said. This is what he said about the Tumor Sooners:

When you go to the official website of the state of Oklahoma, the first option given under the “How Do I?…” menu is “Lookup offenders.” Now, let’s forgive the typo there for a moment. Oklahomans are well known for avoiding spaces between words because spaces could let the Devil sneak out. That’s why the text of your average Oklahoman’s email reads, “JimBob! Git yourass to theCrestFoods and gitme somemore chickenheads to puthere in thishere pillow!” I just like that the state prioritized finding sex offenders, death row prisoners, and parole dockets over the less common needs of its population, such as “find a job,” or “start a new business.” This is Oklahoma, son! You don’t go here to find work! You go here to track down the man who slaughtered six of your cousins and set the barn on fire! DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING?! Oh, and this team will get crushed by an SEC team in the national title game.

Actually, this is somewhat mild compared to the treatment given to some of the next twenty-four.

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Are too!

The bicycle helmet to end all bicycle helmets:

Star Wars bike helmet

Among other things, this is a dramatic demonstration that the “pastry artist” at your local bakery might have higher ambitions than your kid’s birthday cake. Then again, your local bakery may not be like this.

(Via Geekadelphia; the artist has a How I Did It page here.)

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