Crash.

Had lunch yesterday with two gentlemen infinitely more powerful and plugged-in than I am; of course both had cutting-edge cell phones (Treo, black Razr — I declined to display my stone age candy-bar Nokia). We briefly discussed the pros and cons of each, and one confessed to checking e-mail on a PDA while driving, then having a slam-on-the-brakes moment.

And you thought it was improved performance in automatic transmissions that killed the stick shift.

Maybe they should incorporate this into one of those new VW commercials. Which I think are fantastic, by the way, a feeling not shared by all, it seems:

Marderosian says she’s heard the complaints — about using “shock value” to sell, about the unpleasant reaction that accident victims might have upon suddenly encountering the commercials. But that misses the point, she says: “We’re trying to get people’s attention, yes, but not purely for shock value.” Instead, the ads are pegged to the Jetta’s four-star (frontal) and five-star (side) ratings in NHTSA’s tests.

I’m consistently amazed by the self-image so many Americans have of themselves — flinty, swaggering, cowboy-independent folks who Built This Country, dammit — and yet, we still find room to complain about the honest depiction of an event that happens every day in every city in the country, during an activity (driving) that virtually all adults participate in every day. Around here in SUV-land, one of the stock defenses for driving these behemoths is how “safe” they are, how “protected” the passengers are. And here are these little Jettas getting T-boned, while people walk away. Sacrilege!

Posted at 10:00 am in Same ol' same ol' |
 

30 responses to “Crash.”

  1. brian stouder said on May 10, 2006 at 10:10 am

    I got Pammy a Razr (cool blue rather than pink) yesterday, and she loves it*. She has been busily assigning ringtones to various people who call her (if I call that number, her phone plays Jeremy from Pearl Jam’s marvelous first album Ten; when her mom calls, a soundbyte of Marlon Brando as the Godfather talking about ‘family business’ begins!, etc etc).

    I gotta admit – that phone is cool.

    *old news – woman RULE the consumer electronics marketplace

  2. Connie said on May 10, 2006 at 10:31 am

    Nancy I also have a chunky old Nokia. At least it has a raspberry face plate. When we upgraded our plan to add a line for my soon to graduate teenager we got a free flip phone. I stood there with the slim flip phone in one hand and my chunky old Nokia in the other and thought “which one of us would benefit most from having a cool phone.” It wasn’t me.

  3. Danny said on May 10, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Brian, I am not a big fan of ring-tones, but my wife does have mine programmed to play Jon Anderson of Yes singing Close to the Edge. Which is unique, I think.

    I was in the card shop over the weekend and I heard a funny one. The beginning guitar riff to Bad to the Bone. Cracked me up.

  4. mary said on May 10, 2006 at 11:02 am

    My son and I have low end freebie phones, and we have the least cool ringtones possible. Not even the crappy LG doodley doo sound. I have Happy Birthday, and my fifteen year old son has Here Comes the Bride.

  5. Randy said on May 10, 2006 at 11:09 am

    Has anybody abandoned land line in favor of an all-cell phone household? We are considering that, for the very few times when it might make my life easier to carry a phone outside the house with me. Here where I live, the cost difference of switching would be negligible.

    The VW ad is one of those commericials that only gets you once. I watched it wondering what it was for and what it was trying to sell, then BANG! It was so accurate, the way you’re humming along and then you’re interrupted, for lack of a better word.

    Now the commercial just gives me a sense of doom, so I usually avoid it.

  6. Dorothy said on May 10, 2006 at 11:42 am

    I love hearing ringtones that people have used to personalize their phones (unless I’m at the movies or something.) I had just the theme from Mission:Impossible on mine for everyone. But my husband had “We’re Off to See the Wizard” for me calling from my cell phone, and “A Touch of Gray” when I’d call him from home. He’s way more gray than I am!

    I guess if I’d seen those VW ads yet I’d remember. I’m going to have to start staying in my chair during commercial breaks instead of running to the bathroom or laundry room.

  7. ashley said on May 10, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Am I old school or what? I have a Treo (horrible phone), but my ringtone is Fur Elise.

  8. Rich B said on May 10, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    I’m hoping someone drops their landline and then reports back their expeirences. Something to think about is the cell phones inability to replace landline connections to Tivo and satellite dish feedback lines and no faxing and most importantly no 911 location info in case your uncle jr. shoots you in the gut(although some newer cell phones may have that ability).

    BTW those VW have always had decent acting and clever plots.

  9. brian stouder said on May 10, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    “But my husband had “We’re Off to See the Wizard�? for me calling from my cell phone”

    I love that!!

  10. Connie said on May 10, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    My ringtone is “The Entertainer”. I don’t have download capabilities on my antique Nokia, have to select from the list it came with.

    One of my brothers dropped his landline for exclusive cell use, and last time I called him he told me he didn’t have enough minutes left to talk to me. Obviously there are other issues, but even so……..

  11. Danny said on May 10, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    My son and I have low end freebie phones, and we have the least cool ringtones possible. Not even the crappy LG doodley doo sound. I have Happy Birthday, and my fifteen year old son has Here Comes the Bride.

    Man, Mary. You are right, those are the least cool I have ever heard of. Do you have an option to just have something normal (like a beep or ring) or are you locked into those as your standard? Cuz that would really suck. Especially for a fifteen year old boy!

  12. Dorothy said on May 10, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    I’m smiling and smiling at Richard’s reference to The Sopranos!

    Brian – first time after he got that tune on his cell phone and I called him at his new job, he forgot to put the phone on vibrate. It started to play that song very loudly, and guffaws broke out all over the office. What a way to break the ice at your new job, eh?

    Randy my daughter has no landline but she’s next generation (age 23). She got a little panicky a few months ago when her cell phone wasn’t working – it had reached the end of its natural life. She bought a new phone and felt better immediately. But she was a little spooked not having any way to contact anyone in case of emergency. Short of opening the door of her apartment and screaming. If it were me, I’d still have the landline.

  13. mary said on May 10, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Danny
    My son glories in the uncoolness of his ringtone. He’s surrounded by cooler phones and downloaded jazzy ringtones. He’s his own weird person, and that’s fine with me. Both my kids march to their own drummers. Younger son, at age 9, told his soccer coach that his name was Pete, but he was more commonly known as El Suave. The name stuck.

  14. nancy said on May 10, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    The Disappearing Landline is the story all over Europe — the UM Institute for Social Research does a comprehensive report on Europe, and a rep from there told our fellowship group that the whole pollster’s definition of “household” is changing as a result. You call a Dane, he’s likely to pick up in Majorca, and if you want his wife’s info, too, you have to call her cell as well.

    Here, though? Forget it. I can’t get a decent signal in my house unless I stand in the bay window and wave the clouds out of the way. (This may be a function of the stone-age candy bar Nokia, however.) I wouldn’t give up my land line unless I was flat broke or felt like living dangerously.

    A journalist I know who travels internationally told me a story about standing on the deck of a ship in the Mediterranean, entirely out of sight of land and cell towers, talking to someone in Michigan as clearly as if it were next door. Whatever they did when they set up their network, they did it better than we did.

  15. Danny said on May 10, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    A journalist I know who travels internationally told me a story about standing on the deck of a ship in the Mediterranean, entirely out of sight of land and cell towers, talking to someone in Michigan as clearly as if it were next door.

    And it was a cell phone, right? Not a sat phone.

  16. nancy said on May 10, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    Nope, cell phone. And don’t ask me how it works, either. Euro cell phones also work on long train tunnels, I hear. God knows how — mine barely works on I-94.

  17. brian stouder said on May 10, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    betcha the Euros are more unified with BIG PROVIDERS instead of our patchwork of smaller regional providers (for example, have you noticed how Vodafone seems to be a major sponsor for practically every bigtime Euro sport?)

  18. 4dbirds said on May 10, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    I have a black Razr with Cingular service. I LOVE my phone.

  19. Karen said on May 10, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    I’ll report in on not having a land-line. We recently moved to Oregon and are in a rental house until we buy. We decided not to go through the hassle of moving a phone number, so both my husband and use our cell phones as our home phones. It hasn’t been a safety or convenience issue at all for all – we get good coverage and we both charge our phones every night. The biggest issue for me is the swtich from cell as family/friends only to cell as home, work, etc… I used to know who was calling me when my cell rang, now who knows?!? (I also still find myself looking for the answering machine when I walk in my front door.) All that being said, we are going to get a land-line when we move into our purchased house – I like having the anchor of one number for the family, attached to an actual location. Now I just have to pick a phone company – ugh.

  20. Dorothy said on May 10, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Mary our sons might be related. He’s known as Rico (Suave) to those who know is reputation!

  21. Danny said on May 10, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    I have a Chrome Razor. With three blades. Neener-neener-neener!

  22. mary said on May 10, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Dorothy
    I hope my son doesn’t have much of a reputation yet. He’s twelve. The fifteen year old is known among the Latino tagger kids at his school as Dooooooood, Hanson. This is because he looks like one of the brothers from that blond band from a few years back. And he’s a Dude.

  23. Dorothy said on May 10, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    Well we really just tease our Josh with that nickname. He’s had a bunch of girlfriends, only one serious. And he is 21. Mike will call him “BM” sometimes, which stands for Babe Magnet. The girls do seem to like him – plus he’s very funny, which is always a good thing to be when attracting the girls!

    I remember Hanson. I think my daughter was enamored of them for about a week several years ago. They were pretty cute.

  24. Ricardo said on May 10, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    I’ll take my chances with my ’84 Buick Estate Wagon over any VW.
    You would have to ride in it to know what I mean. SUVs get out of the way, those cars are too shiney to want entanglement.

    I don’t hit it with a sledge hammer to make it look ‘mean’ like they do to the bus in the “Slapshot”, but it looked a lot meaner after I peeled off the fake wood.

    Good thing I only have to drive 8mi. per day.

  25. Beth said on May 11, 2006 at 9:32 am

    I owned a 2002 Jetta and traded it in for a Honda CR-V last year. That Jetta was the worst car I’ve ever owned. Within the first two years I had to have both front window regulators replaced (the power window mechanisms), along with engine coils and the radio/CD player. The spring in the arm-rest console broke, so everything I’d keep in there was in peril of falling out anytime I raised it up. All of the plastic on the interior door pull peeled off and the check engine light came on all the time. I had a difficult time fitting anything into the trunk and the manufacturer insists that you use premium gas.

    I think the TV spots are good — but everytime I see them I think to myself, “I guess that if something is in that car is going to be dependable, I suppose it should be the airbags.”

  26. alex said on May 11, 2006 at 10:28 am

    I ditched my land line in favor of Vonage, and very glad I got in on it when it only cost $14.99 a month. I see new customers have to pay ten bucks more. I wouldn’t have bothered with it at all if it weren’t for the fact that my cell phone can barely get a signal inside the house.

    I have a Motorola flip phone of some sort or another, a coupla years old, and use the standard ringtone when it’s not on vibrate, and it’s on vibrate most of the time. There’s a lengthy list of songs stored inside but frankly I find them all annoying and would never presume to inflict them on others.

  27. Danny said on May 11, 2006 at 10:55 am

    I don’t hit it with a sledge hammer to make it look ‘mean’ like they do to the bus in the “Slapshot�?, but it looked a lot meaner after I peeled off the fake wood.

    Holy smokes. That does sound mean looking. You might even be able to get away with never locking the doors on that baby.

  28. Danny said on May 11, 2006 at 11:00 am

    There’s a lengthy list of songs stored inside but frankly I find them all annoying and would never presume to inflict them on others.

    Good for you, Alex. I should probably so the same with my phone, but I get so few calls on it and every time I think about removing Yes’ wonderful song, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

    I guess I think that someone may hear it and ask me about it and I will get to chat with them ad naseum about Yes and Steve Howe. Because, you see, those subjects are strictly verbotten at home. Robin doesn’t want to talk about it at all. LOL!

  29. joodyb said on May 12, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Karen, I guess that, only just today, your choices for phone company are clearer. I may be ditching Verizon after a long and happy relationship…
    Dorothy, i had to read back for that sopranos ref, but thanks, it was worth it! as for VW ads, generally commercials are the best thing on television. (nn nailed that one.)
    u.s. automakers will never get it now, and it’s coming home to roost: they have turned a blind eye to market and econ trends (what else explains such fugly, derivative design)? 10 years late to every game, heads in sand re alternative propulsion; plants closing to the tune of a job drain that will kick My Sisters’ President’s economy in the ass — eventually, but not on his dime.

  30. Ricardo said on May 13, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    The fake wood sure didn’t look mean. Ugly, maybe. And I don’t always lock the doors. The only thing worth stealing is the cushy, crushed velvet seats, but they are much too heavy to steal.