"The law in its majesty forbids both the rich and the poor to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal bread," Anatole France famously declared, but he also died in 1924, so he wasn't alive long enough to add, "or live in their cars," which is happening now.
The biggest car market in America is California, and the top-selling car in California is now the Toyota Prius hybrid. Does this mean America has fallen out of love with the pickup truck that has dominated U.S. automobile sales since Reagan first made "living like Southerners who need a pickup truck" the keystone of his domestic policy? Maybe!
The F-series Ford pickup has been the best-selling American "car" since Reagan was president. The sales of Ford pickups even increased by 10% in 2012, because the recovery of the housing market allowed housing industry workers to replace their old pickups. We have a very weird (and completely unsustainable) economy in [...]
Carrie: So Ken, I understand that you recently purchased a Prius and are pleased with your purchase! And I bought one several years ago, and am likewise very happy with it. So my first question would be: What do you think the plural of Prius is: Prius-us? Pri-i?
Ken: Well, did you know that Toyota asked Prius owners to vote for the plural form of Prius, because the actual Latin plural (priora) was already taken by a crappy Lada? I just read this on Wikipedia, so I am pretty much an "automotive journalist" now. Anyway, the plural is officially and legally prii.
Carrie: I did not know that! Very [...]
"[I]n a few years, the government will require electric cars and gasoline-electric hybrids to emit some type of noise at low speeds, when their battery-driven motors usually run silent. The promised rules—aimed at making the vehicles safer for vision-impaired pedestrians and others who rely on aural cues—have launched auto makers on a quest for the perfect sound. Among those considered: noises reminiscent of jet engines, bells, birds, flying saucers and revved-up sports cars." —They probably haven't considered this because it seems so obvious, by why don't they just go with a smug, NPR-type voice that repeats, "Look how virtuous I am" over and over?
Here's another babies die alone in hot cars story, from the New Times chain, regarding which, we are very sorry to bring this topic up. But this supposedly heart-wrenching story, unlike the infamous Story That We Try Not To Mention, in which we learn about how people actually do forget about their babies in cars, is instead about a guy who knew very well that his baby was in a car and, like, went out to check on her and crack the window and then spent a couple hours hanging out with his buddies in the air conditioning at work. So basically you can cool it on [...]
Within a stone's throw* of Ground Zero, Manhattanites are building $50,000 fish tanks so they can watch thousands of dollars worth of fish swim around. This fun 'n' lurid offense against the dignity of hominids and aquatic vertebrate alike is the subject of an adorable story that we should probably designate as When People Have Too Much Inequitably Distributed Wealth Here At The End Of Civilization, Chapter 54. (This is what's often terrific about the Times' "Home & Garden" section, by the way-it adroitly handles rich people topics that Styles too often gets all tangled up in, what with Styles' trademark combination of resentment and lust.) So [...]
Americans have already managed 19 epic highway pile-ups this year, and we've still got nine months to go. Hundreds of drivers in Texas, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan caused death and destruction in the first few months of 2013, with fog and snow and smoke from giant fires often blamed for the chain-reaction disasters.
To be safe, experts advise you not live in any of those states, use public transportation whenever possible, try the very un-American technique of not being right on top of the car in front of you, and also maybe don't drive anywhere if you can't see at all.
Photo by Todd Vision.
11. It's A Small World: Burn it down when it's full of church youth groups.
10. Splash Mountain: Some kind of offensive/idiotic Old South/Slavery thing going on here, very loosely based on the disappeared Disney cartoon feature Song of the South. The set pieces only serve to remind you that this supposed thrill ride is a long, lame experience that's never worth the wait.
9. Autopia: The charming idea of a miniaturized Pasadena freeway from the brief golden age of California car culture is ruined by the gasoline industry propaganda and cancer-spewing go-karts that consistently die on the track. Why aren't the little cars powered by batteries or [...]
Summers are filled with road trips and road trips are about junk food pit stops, managing gas station bathroom filth and also the car itself. For some reason, every time I get a car, I begin to fill it with lots of extra little things that I imagine might come in useful in a pinch a far ways from the safety of home. I suppose that's how I ended up with an old VW Vanagon camper van with a tricked-out electrical system, closets, stove, and two full-sized beds. It's a special feeling of freedom combined with creature comforts when I take my van on a trip across the Western American [...]
"I want to start a family in the next 4ish years. BUT, we aren't engaged (we have been together 5+ years, he knows I want to get married and have a family but he's not ready yet) so it's not like we are going to have kids soon…. My boyfriend is going car shopping with me on Saturday and he has promised to take the back seat as it were and let me make my own decision. I feel like I am being super emotional about this whole thing and I don't want to freak him out by saying BUT WHERE WILL THE BABY GO????? while we are looking [...]
A few days ago, in my professional capacity as a Japanese TV News Producer (read: guy who carries tripod, tells police, “sorry, we’ll leave”), I was dispatched to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show.
The first day began with the Car of the Year awards, and the first of many bad metaphors to come: “Michigan’s film industry is also booming, so to put this in film terms: this is the feel-good movie of the year, and the NAIAS is the theater.” On stage, the CEOs lined up almost Von Trapp-style, except for that one guy on the right. The Chevy Volt beat out the all-electric Nissan [...]
"Bentley Motors is recalling 596 vehicles in the United States because of a rust problem with the flying 'B' hood ornament…. As a result of a part rusting, the 'B' may not retract when struck, causing additional injury to a pedestrian," according to this snarky Times blog report.
"I used to get irked with Toyota Prius owners. These guys are notorious for driving below posted speed limits, slowing to a stop far out from a stop sign or light, taking their sweet time when the light turns green or creeping through parking lots so silently that they startle pedestrians. [...] Now, I'm one of those annoying Prius drivers. 'I can't believe you,' my lovely wife said to me the other day. 'You drive like an old man.'" —Why do Prius drivers drive like that? Because they are basically playing a video game with the mileage.
"A bizarre calendar of men posing in their underpants with classic 1970s cars is proving an unlikely success in Germany."
This new Madonna video, in which M.I.A. appears (and doesn't do much, along with Nicki Minaj), is not as good as M.I.A.'s new video, "Bad Girls." Considering this, and also the great video Jay-Z and Kanye West made for their song "Otis" last summer, it seems that the Bay Area hip-hop subculture known as "hyphy," which peaked four or five years ago, is having its most lasting cultural impact in the phenomena of the dangerous-looking car tricks known as "ghost riding."
It’s that magical time of the year when brand preferences are being lodged in the consumer psyche by any means necessary, be it free online shipping offers or conventional “doorbuster” style shopper stampedes. (Plus, in an admirable show of advance conditioning, there are those sidebar Four Loko-fueled parking lot brawls.)
But the romance of the brand is a notoriously ephemeral thing, as any casual survey of thrift-store Tickle-Me Elmo and Tamagotchi displays will promptly demonstrate. To do the job right, in this as in so many other realms, we would do well to heed the example of the Germans. As Bloomberg’s Chris Reiter reports, Deutschland’s [...]