Shocked. Awed.

A few odds and ends on a morning when I just can’t think. (In my column-writin’ days, I called this Items in Search of a Column. Blast from the past!) So here goes:

When you pop the cap for the filler pipe on the Chevy Volt, guess what you see:

That’s the plug, if your monitor is lousy. I don’t have high hopes for this car. I think $40,000 is way too high a price for anyone but a tiny niche to take a chance on radical automotive technology; in some ways, I think they’d have had more luck with the Cadillac version of the Volt, unveiled as a fairly daffy concept at the auto show a couple years ago — the Converj. I could see young rich guys looking for a way to one-up their pious Prius-driving friends, and with Cadillac-branded Detroit iron, no less, and the raw numbers reflected in that group are probably about the same as those willing to pay 40 grand for a Chevy compact.

However, when it comes to selling anything to anyone, it’s been widely demonstrated that I don’t know shit. Forty thousand is the bleeding-edge price, and presumably it will fall over time. Everybody I know here leases; in the nearly six years we’ve been here, some of them are driving their third vehicle, while I’m still tooling around in my 2003 Passat wagon. (I got the pink slip, daddy.) Lessees don’t look at sticker prices. The car is very cool, too. This one was parked outside the TED conference and available for a long examination, and I’ll admit I was smitten, but I don’t know how much of that was being charmed by the Volt badge with the little lightning bolt.

The woman from GM said they’ll start rolling out in November in the West and South, but won’t be sold around here until the snow melts. That is an ominous statement, don’t you think? Well, fingers crossed. One question I haven’t see answered: Assuming you use car like it’s designed to be used, for short hops around town, recharging it every night in your garage — how much will it bump your electricity bill? I forgot to ask the spokesbrain.

Today’s OID story, from the police blotter: Two jagoffs steal a Meals on Wheels truck, which they then use as a decoy to assault an elderly couple, and hijack their car. This town. I swear.

OIM (Only in Macomb): Yet another Münchausen-by-proxy lunatic, this one working it for cash. Mom shaves boy’s head, drugs his applesauce and tells everyone he has leukemia. Which, as this cases usually go, works until it doesn’t. Charges pending.

I don’t know how I missed it the first time around. A new phrase for your economical fashion vocabulary: Pop of color. Google returns 21 million hits. Twenty-one million fashionistas can’t be wrong. (Excise fashionista from your toolbox at the same time. Very dumb word that replaced a perfect one — clotheshorse.)

With that, I’m commencing the weekend. My work week starts on Sundays anyway, so today is Nance Day. Enjoy yours. I think I’m headed to the farmer’s market to buy a brussels-sprout sword.

Posted at 8:58 am in Current events |
 

73 responses to “Shocked. Awed.”

  1. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 9:56 am

    The Münchausen-by-proxy woman’s husband died recently, according to the article you linked to Nancy. I wonder if they’re investigating how he died?

    I was at Starbuck’s this morning with Little Bird, she was helping me get a taxi to get to work. We got one to stop when this inappropriately dressed bimbo just ran up and jumped in… and there I was standing with my crutches. Little Bird yelled at her while the taxi was taking off, she wouldn’t look our way. Great way to start the day.

  2. Julie Robinson said on October 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

    “Everybody I know here leases.” Really? Everyone I know who has leased has regretted it, for the high costs. But then, what do I know either, we buy used cars and run them for 10 or more years. DH is obsessive about keeping the records and happily shows how even with the occasional $800 repair you come out ahead.

    Yesterday afternoon I got a panicked call from our daughter who is in Europe. She went to the wrong airport, missed her flight, couldn’t get rebooked, had to take an expensive cab to an expensive hotel, on and on. I was able to talk her down off the ledge and then we got on skype and figured out an alternative path. She was so distraught I didn’t dare probe as to how she went to the WRONG AIRPORT or lament at how much it was costing her. Like Dorothy said yesterday, you can love and support your children without agreeing with what they’ve done. But you hurt for them.

  3. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I was thinking more about the taxi incident that I mentioned before and I realized that the woman was most likely dressed inappropriately for a workday morning because it’s what she wore the night before. She was probably doing what they used to call “the walk of shame”. Her feet must’ve been killing her with those 7″ heels.

    That or she was a hooker in a hurry.

  4. LAMary said on October 1, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Pop of color has been going on for so long. This year’s pop of color is citron, popping with camel and grey. Citron is sort of a bile-ish greeny yellow. Previous year’s pops seemed to be green, fuschia and blue. I haven’t spotted citron on the street yet but camel seems to be coming on strong so it’s only a matter of time before some color pops with it as is color’s wont. This combo looks good on almost nobody, by the way.

  5. susan said on October 1, 2010 at 10:55 am

    So, you pull up to a fast-charge station (if you can find one) to fill up your electric car’s battery. How much is that going to cost ya? Five bucks a pop? Ten bucks? Good for what, 40 miles? Let’s see, gas is around three bucks a gallon right now. Good for whatever mileage your last century technology gets. And the $40,000 price tag. Yes, another winner from GM, our Government Motors Corp.

  6. Dave said on October 1, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Youngest son went to Columbia in August to visit a college friend whose father works in the embassy in Bogota, a trip his mother and I weren’t in agreement with. Columbia? He spent last fall semester in Lima, Peru, wasn’t that good enough. And Columbia?

    On the day he was to leave, despite being at the airport, he somehow missed his plane because he paid no attention to the time, which cost him a good deal of money, a hard lesson but a valuable one, he will no longer scoff when his mother tells him to pay attention to such things. (we hope).

    His rescheduled flight cost, as well as a unplanned stay in a hotel in Fort Lauderdale because of his revised connections, plus a stay in another hotel in Chicagoland because he was too tired after the very late arrival at O’Hare, to make it all the way home.

  7. Sue said on October 1, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “a hard les­son but a valu­able one, he will no longer scoff when his mother tells him to pay atten­tion to such things”
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    Good one.

  8. Catherine said on October 1, 2010 at 11:16 am

    My 13 YO is going to her first school dance tonight. Sweet Jesus. I’m gathering from today’s and yesterday’s comments that the challenges only get more expensive and exciting from here.

  9. Julie Robinson said on October 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Dave, a big part of me wanted to ask just how one goes to the wrong airport, even though she had been staying with friends who presumably could have put her on the right path. Or how maybe a Eurail pass would have been better than the supposedly so cheap but nonrefundable Ryan Air tickets. But she was already too miserable.

    LAMary, the above daughter bought a scarf in Sweden that is grey and citron, so I guess she will pop with color. As for camel and citron, not on my pasty white Irish skin.

  10. Jim said on October 1, 2010 at 11:23 am

    The tricky part isn’t how much an electric fill-up will cost, it’s the time. Short of stations where you can swap out your drained batteries for fresh ones, electric just can’t compete with the speed at which a gas pump can transfer potential energy into a car.

    The Volt is expensive and dull. That’s putting it charitably–the more I look at it, the uglier it gets. I don’t care how enviro-hipppy you are: if you drop $32k on a car (that’s after the $7500 tax credit), you want some sexy.

    Compare it to the (much more expensive) Tesla Roadster. You would not believe the throng of guys that surrounded one that was on display at the Minnesota State Fair. Sleek looks and 0-to-60 in 3.9 seconds will do that. If only it weren’t $100k. Make something even remotely similar that sells for $50k, and you’ll sell them as fast as you can make them, I think.

  11. alex said on October 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Toyota took a loss on the Prius initially, offering the car for much less than the actual cost to produce it. The gambit worked and Prius became a profitable, high-volume care at a lower price point.

    The Volt, on the other hand, looks like a loser from the git-go. It has to be plugged into a wall socket, for Chrissake. The Prius generates its own electricity by braking. The Volt’s a Chevy econobox that will also be available in a gasoline-only version for $17K, pretty much diminishing its prestige. Who’s gonna pay more than double for a cheapo car that’s inconvenient to use? What were those doofuses thinking?

  12. Dorothy said on October 1, 2010 at 11:31 am

    The first 50 years of parenthood are the toughest, Catherine. It’s all downhill from there!

  13. LAMary said on October 1, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Catherine, you have no idea. Just getting a kid a learners permit in CA is pretty pricey. Check out the requirements on the CA DMV web page. And then you insure your little darling. Younger son Pete is going to be 17 in February and he hasn’t gone for his permit yet. The percentage of teenagers in CA who get a license at 16 is actually pretty low these days.

  14. MichaelG said on October 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Yeah, my daughter’s 32 and the difficulties still pop up. I spent two hours on the phone with her the other night.

  15. ROgirl said on October 1, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Is pop of color one of those phrases that they use on Project Runway, like matchy-matchy or I question the taste level or insane crotch?

  16. moe99 said on October 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    speaking of crotch. I saw a young woman yesterday who had pair of very tight pants on that had something like a jewelry item (a pearl on a wire) dropping from the pants’ crotch. Am I missing a new fad here?

  17. Sue said on October 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Hardly a new fad, Moe. Queen Elizabeth I’s gowns sometimes had a pearl placed in that general area, representing her virginity. Perhaps the young lady is a history major making a social statement.

  18. Jolene said on October 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Clotheshorse and fashionista differ in connotation. Clotheshorse suggests someone who buys lots of clothes, but doesn’t convey the idea of stylishness. Fashionista is overused now and sounds affected, but it still conveys a sense the notion of choosing and assembling stylish outfits rather than just collecting clothes.

  19. beb said on October 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Just this morning I read where Jaguar has a concept car similar to the Volt, only instead of a gasolene re-charging engine it will use twin gas turbines — ie, jet engines. It can accelerate like hell and reach a top speed of 200 mph. It will probably sell better than the Volt because it is, after a “Jag-u-ar”

    The Volt isn’t an all-electric car so its range is a lot better than the 40 miles it will get from the battery pack. On board is a small gasoline engine that re-charges the battery once it reaches a set level of discharge. So the car has the same unlimited range as hybrids but better economy because the engine runs as a constant speed. Changing engine speed greatly lowers its efficiency. With the recharger inside the car there won’t be the need for recharging stations except at home. All that said, Nancy has a point that $40,000 is pretty steep for a small eco-car. On the other hand, once the European Smart car was modded for US standards it was neither as cheap or as fuel efficient as its European model, yet I see a number of them about the city. So I imagine that the Volt will do as well.

    What would it cost to recharge a battery powered car? From time to time I’ve come across articles on theoildrum.com which talk about retro-fitting cars to battery power. There are apparently formulas to calculate how much power you can get from a battery and how that compares to gasoline prices. My take0away from this was that per standard unit of energy electricity was cheaper but the cost of the batteries, motor, etc., more than off-sets the relative savings of electricity.

    My wife says she knows that Münchausen-by-proxy lunatic. She sent her kid to the same private school our daughter went to.

    I don’t think “clotheshorse” is the same as “pop of color.” My understanding was that a clotheshorse was someone obsessed with wearing the latest fashions. While ‘pop of color’ describes the role of certain accessories. It’s like wearing a red tie with a grey suit. The tie gives a drab suit a pop of color.

  20. Dave said on October 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Julie, I can no more understand being at the wrong airport with friends than I can understand being at the right airport, sitting with friends drinking coffee, suddenly wondering what time it is, instead of being at the gate area, ready to board a plane. He insisted the airport really didn’t have any clocks in plain site. His cellphone, which he depends on here for the time, has no service in Central America. His friend was of no help whatsoever, by not helping him pay attention to the time. It was a case of thinking he had all the time in the world when he had no time at all.

  21. Judybusy said on October 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Take heart, Dave and Julie: in my mid 30’s (embarassingly old!) I missed a flight because my step-mom and I were putsing around shopping on the way to the airport. Thankfully, not terribly expensive, but many long hours spent reading a John Grisham novel in the Springfield, MO and St. Louis airports. My sister and family drove back to MN and got home sooner than I did. The outcome: an obsession with planning and timeliness when travelling! The upside is that I had a really nice time with my step-mom.

  22. Sue said on October 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    This is really cool, by way of Ezra Klein:
    http://taxes.kareemshaya.com/

  23. rfs said on October 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    There’s a lot of misinformation in this thread about the Volt. It is actually a higher level of tech than the Prius, which is why Toyota is going to introduce a plug-in version of the Prius in a year or so, which will have a whopping 13 mile electric range. The Volt gas motor runs as a generator only (as beb points out), so it is always at the most efficient part of the power band. The Prius gas motor is the primary power source, with its battery pack and electric motor supplimenting it, so it does not run as efficiently. The electricity generated from braking is very tiny compared to what it takes to move a vehicle.

    The Cruz is not a gas-only version of the Volt, they are totally separate vehicle lines.

    Some people just go out of their way to rag on GM, whether they have facts behind them or not. It’s tiresome.

    Personally I like the look of the Volt and the Cruz, and find the Oriental cube cars like the Honda Element extremely ugly.

    I’m biased though, as I work for GM.

  24. brian stouder said on October 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    The price has to come down, but Volt would fit almost all my daily driving needs (I drive 10 miles a day – maybe 15 if I go out for lunch). If they would market it as the 21st century version of an Interurban, or a micro-transit alternative to a mass-transit system that goes where you want, when you want, and with the people you want, it could be a big winner

    edit: btw, I always loved loved loved the Telling Tales “Items in search of a column” Saturday

  25. paddyo' said on October 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Finishing the NYT’s good Tony Curtis obit this morning, I scanned across to the opposite page to see another obit — for the actor who played Ernest Borgnine’s sidekick in “Marty.” But the career gem in this one (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/arts/01mantell.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries) was that Joe Mantell, dead at 94, spoke, in another role, one of the most memorable closing lines in a movie ever, and certainly my favorite:

    “Forget it, Jake — it’s Chinatown.”

  26. alex said on October 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    rfs,

    I stand corrected. I’ve been trying without any luck to find the article where I read what I posted above. It may have been a blog where people were talking out of their asses, for that matter.

    Still, you won’t catch me buying a Volt or anything else from GM. I gave the General another chance in 2007 after long ago swearing I’d never buy another one of their cars. And now I have a car that has me swearing again.

  27. moe99 said on October 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Meg Whitman gets hoist by her own petard.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/01/3070933/meg-whitmans-campaign-surprised.html

  28. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Paddyo’ I’m with you on that favorite movie line. “For­get it, Jake — it’s Chi­na­town.” is one that my husband and I use all the time when we are somewhere where a clusterfuck is going on. That’s a movie I can watch again and again.

  29. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Moe, I’ve not heard of a crotch jewelry fad. Maybe she sat on a stray earring that clung to her pants. Ouch.

  30. Catherine said on October 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    New nickname: Meg “I-think-Latinos-are-really-smart” Whitman. Nice link, moe.

  31. MichaelG said on October 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I see something like the Volt as a niche car. I understand that the battery may be partially charged by the engine but I am not certain if it can be fully charged by the engine. Further, it is apparently charged in its plug in mode by a standard 110 volt outlet and power cord. How many hours does this take? Is there a three phase adaptor to plug into your dryer or other 220 outlet? This would halve the charging time. How do you charge one if you don’t have a garage? Many people park their cars on the street. They will not be Volt buyers. What about apartment buildings? If mgmt doesn’t provide outlets for all, these folks won’t be Volt buyers. I see some limited applications for these kinds of vehicles and for full on electric cars but not as general usage vehicles. Not yet.

    The Cruz may be built on a different platform than the Volt but it’s the same class of vehicle. For the difference in price you can buy a hell of a lot of gas, even at $4 per gallon. I also don’t approve of the federal subsidy. As noted above, only some people will be able to even consider a Volt. Why should those of us who can’t pay for those who can?

    Maybe I should pay more attention to fashion issues.

  32. Rana said on October 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I can sort of see the wrong airport happening if you’re in a foreign country, there’s one airport for international flights and one for regional ones, and you’re not clear enough when you get in the taxi. (I think, for example, that this happened a few times on The Amazing Race.)

    One more reason to get to the airport early if possible, so that you can deal with such problems.

  33. brian stouder said on October 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Rana – I absolutely LOVE The Amazing Race!!

    Pam gets me to watch Survivor as often as not, and it’s entertaining enough – but it seems that Survivor actively casts many more crazy people; whereas (it seems to me) that Amazing Race casts a more interesting (read “sane”) set of people to participate in their (altogether wonderful) competition.

    Plus, who doesn’t like Phil?

  34. Sue said on October 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I’ve been away for a few days. Did you know Mr. O’Keefe is back, in all his creepy glory? Sorry if you’ve already discussed.
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/29/okeefe.cnn.prank/

  35. Pam said on October 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Deborah, where do you live? That’s terribly nasty to jump in your cab with you on crutches. You should have yelled, FYYFF! How old is Little BIrd? That might be inappropriate.

  36. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Pam, I live in Chicago, this happened on Delaware and State, so in the city. And Little Bird is an adult who often uses very colorful language, she probably did yell FYYFF.

  37. moe99 said on October 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Deborah, this was on a long wire and was pointing out the back end. I didn’t have the guts to ask her as I was walking around Greenlake w/ the two dachshunds last night.

    btw looks like the MI AAG is on leave:
    http://www.detnews.com/article/20101001/METRO/10010422/1361/Assistant-AG-takes-leave-amid-gay-bashing-controversy

  38. Bob (not Greene) said on October 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Moe, A day after Mike Cox says his hands are tied, I think we’re all going to find out how easy it is to get rid of a complete tool after all. I mean, the fact that the guy is subject to a stalking investigation and has been barred from a university campus because he’s such a weirdo, I think you can make a case you don’t want a guy like that prosecuting anyone on behalf of the state.

  39. Joe Kobiela said on October 1, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Ok totally off topic, but if anyone has any guts, try and catch family guy this Sunday. The guest star is non other than Rush Limbaugh, caught a short preview and interview with Seth Mcfarlin, and it looks to be a good one. Rush says you need to laugh at yourself.
    Pilot Joe

  40. LAMary said on October 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Off topic too:
    A fascinating way to waste ten minutes, at least for me.

    http://tomandlorenzo2.blogspot.com/2010/06/princess-victoria-wedding-guests.html

  41. nancy said on October 1, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I always figured Prince Albert was gay, but he isn’t attractive enough. Paunchy, bald, unmarried — I guess the line dies with him.

  42. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I just read another good post over at Sweet Juniper, this new one about men’s fashion, sort of, http://www.sweet-juniper.com. What I don’t get at all is the young men who walk around looking like overgrown toddlers. I thought it was an American thing but last summer when we were in Scandinavia there were a lot of guys dressing like that there too. In fact it was worse, because their pale skin, ruddy cheeks and blond hair made them look even more like giant babies. I can’t imagine that it’s sexy to young women, maybe it makes them feel safe? Or maybe they want to feel like a mom to that kind of looking guy? Can someone explain to me what the attraction is? I don’t get it.

  43. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Oh my LAMary, that was quite a link. I always thought Prince Albert was gay too Nancy. For my money the best looking outfit was the one his girlfriend was wearing, she had a little too much eye make-up on for my taste though. By comparison Prince Albert looks like an old frump.

    I’m stuck at home with my foot this evening. My husband is out of town on business in So Cal till Weds so any entertaining links you all can post is greatly appreciated. I think I’ll pass on the Family Guy on Sunday though Pilot Joe.

  44. coozledad said on October 1, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I’m going to use “Tord Magnussen” for a chicken name.

  45. Kirk said on October 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    King and queen of Bulgaria? Give me a break.

  46. prospero said on October 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Pop of color? Bag that Paris fashion week froufrou that no normal woman would ever wear. The fashion news this weekend comes from Wales and what will those Ryder Cup players be wearing? I’ve got no idea about how fashions come about anthropologically, but shouldn’t the Europeans have to come up with something other than the Union Jack colors? Irish players alright with that sort of colonialism? The golfing attire is just as connived and plotted as any fashion show.

    I actually watched at 4am and the whole thing was hilarious. Rain was both torrential and horizontal. How in the world does anybody play? I know most of y’all have no idea what I’m talking about, and don’t care, but when you have a live feed that gets intermittently rained out, when the athletes are technicians left with no clue by the elements, and Curtris Strange explains for West Coast viewers, that the underwater camera millieu is not likely to be attributable to alcohol consumption, that’s great TV. And then they find out the fashion mavens that picked out the US water-proof gear leaks, and they have to send gofers to buy something that works from a concessions stand, this is surreal.

    If any of you find golf remotely interesting, and I deny anybody that likes sports at all to claim you don’t marvel at seeing a tiny ball hit from hundreds of feet away with a blunt object to within a few feet of an impossibly small target I say baloney, this is the world vs. the USA, played by gentlemen that will disqualify themselves from winning big cash for what seem to be idiotically nitpicking trepasses, I don’t know, you probably watch The Apprentice.

    Look y’all, I am sorry for going overboard about politics. But, good grief. That sanctimonious John Anderson elected Ronald Raygun. Nader made it possible for the most despicably activist judge in the history of the Supreme Court, and, look, somebody claims Scalia isn’t a revolting partisan that doesn’t believe in denying civil and human rights, well you’re a moron, and you do not deserve a vote.

    I don’t claim to be any sort of Constitutional expert. I eould isist thatm ifmthey thet sqie q 4wrll intentioned a well intentionedm But how do teabaggers claim the the introductory clause,dn’t actually mean that. How it is it that no representative of the so-called mainstream media ever brought this up? The founding fathers wrote in that qualifier. They didn’t mean that, they actually meant open fire. This sadnot supposedto shutw em up. It is not what anybody what aanybody ever meant, And I sure didnt. I am sure on thesw peoples side.. Please be how we say.

    You don’t consider me, My sisters a little strange, You’d be decent baatars and leave her alone Who are thee assholeles that wont leave us tje fuck alone?

  47. Deborah said on October 1, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    “I eould isist thatm ifmthey thet sqie q 4wrll i” calm down prospero. I appreciate your apology about maybe sometimes going overboard about politics especially when you’re preaching to the choir to us at NN.C. Believe me I get riled up about this too. It’s extremely important stuff, people’s lives are effected (affected?) by it, often profoundly. But sometimes you have to step back, take deep breaths and relax, life goes on, we survive. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stay home and not vote for the Democrat. We will, I promise.

  48. beb said on October 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    MichaelG. The Volt is designed to be completely recharged by the gasoline engine. The decision to set the plug-in to 110 V currant stems from the lack of 220 outlets in most houses. We have gas dryers and stove, for example. While it may be cheaper to buy a low price car with a high mileage, but some regions, California comes to mind, have such stringent environment requirements that a low-emissions car like the Volt becomes desirable. Which I suppose why there’s a federal incentive. As for the argument that you shouldn’t be taxes for things you disagree with, does that mean I can demand a refund from the feds for all the taxes spent in Iraq? A war I never approved of?

  49. Catherine said on October 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Oh Mary, that was delicious, especially of a Friday evening. What an unbelievable parade of entitled (literally) white people. First, where the heck is Asturias? Second, get Maxima an endorsement deal with Spanx. Third, interesting that overall I spotted less plastic surgery, fillers and Botox than I would have expected. Whose jewels did you like the best? I think I’m going with the Brits. Sadly for those with titles, I think the Prime Minister’s wife (in the grey dress) was Best in Show.

  50. brian stouder said on October 1, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Mary – that was great; and I’d say your shockingly awesome post about threads wins the items in search of a column thread, with no hemming or hawing.

    Scrolling through the pictures, it seemed to me that Crown Prince Katherine of Yugoslavia has a Yugo of a dress. The thing looks distinctly droopy.

    Mostly all the Swedish/Nordic female royalty is hot; Crown Princess Maxima looks positively aquatic (and indeed, she has the proper curves to pull it off); Queen Margarita of Bulgaria looks just like Mrs Olson, no doubt in a quest for a blast of Folger’s (“Mountain grown; the richest kind of coffee”); can’t decide whether my eye is more drawn to Princess Sophia of Liechtenstein’s Statue of Liberty crown, or her apparently unraveling dress; the lines on the dress of Princess Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, make her appear to have just escaped from a lathe (I’ve heard of “a well-turned leg”, but she’s gone beyond that); and I never noticed before that Jordan’s King Abdullah looks like Frank Sinatra.

    When I was done enjoying that site’s pictures (and apparently laughing too loudly), Pam came over to see, and the process repeated!

  51. Kirk said on October 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I vote for Princess Madeleine.

  52. Denice said on October 2, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Yes, I knew that woman who faked her child’s cancer. She’s messed up. Her first husband died of cancer (yes, I knew him and that is true). She had given birth to twins, but one of them died. He died soon after. And she ripped off people at the church I used to attend when I was still hoping there was a god. She even worked at my nursing home for a while. She seemed to have a lot of bad breaks. But endangering a child and stealing money isn’t a bad break, it’s a bad choice. Very bad. But they will find some form of mental illness I’m sure.

  53. prospero said on October 2, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Jackson Browne wrote and recorded heinous crap like “the junkman pounds his fender”? to make a rhyme. Tonio K. had this guy nailed, “Yes I wish I was as mellow
    As for instance Jackson Browne
    But ‘fountains of sorrow’ my a** m*th*r f*ck*r
    I hope you wind up in the ground.

    Cee-Lo? Crazy is quite, but this is better. whatever.

  54. ROgirl said on October 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Mary, Tom and Lorenzo are fab. All that European “royalty.” All that inbreeding. Looks like Princess Martha Louise of Norway nabbed herself a real outsider, a Jew, making her the ultimate shiksa princess. I wonder how her parents took the news when she told them. Did she convert? Do they keep Kosher? What about the children?

  55. basset said on October 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Showed Mrs. B. the royal wedding pictures… we had to go through all of them with individual commentary, then Google some more. Women and weddings… suppose I would have been just as interested if it’d been action pictures of the groom’s bachelor-party stag shoot or something.

    Prospero at 9:58 was particularly interesting, you can see the level of whatever’s in his bloodstream rise as the post progresses. Kicks in pretty quickly, looks like.

  56. nancy said on October 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I’m a little puzzled by all the sashes, especially on the women. I assume these indicate rank? Whatever, but it TOtally wrecks the line of the Jordanian queen’s dress, and whatever the hell that is she has pinned to her bodice just wrecks it. Satin matchy-matchy pumps! Is she a bridesmaid?

    From the looks of Princess Rosario’s collarbone, there’s not much to eat in Bulgaria. And I’m sorry, but crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia was parachuted in from Detroit. I swear I saw her carrying her string bag through the Eastern Market last week.

  57. baldheadeddork said on October 2, 2010 at 10:07 am

    @ Susan – I know this doesn’t matter much, but the Volt was designed and approved for production before the bailout. Not that it’s going to kill this zombie lie, but there is zero evidence that anyone in the Bush or Obama administrations made product-level decisions about either GM or Chrysler.

    @rfs – The Cruze and Volt are different cars, but they are are both built from the Delta II platform. If you look at a picture of each from a 3/4 view, you’ll see that the hard points (i.e. door mountings, location of the firewall) are identical. It doesn’t mean the Volt is bad, the Delta II is one of the best platforms GM has made in a long time and it’s big enough to swing between midsize on the Volt and compact (technically) with the Cruze.

    As a couple others have noted, the Volt is a plug-in hybrid so range and recharge times aren’t going to be the issue it is with the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, if it ever goes into production. (Magic 8-Ball says “Doubtful”.)

    When gas does go to $5 a gallon and more, a plug-in hybrid is going to be the most attractive way to lower fuel costs. If the owner remembers to plug in at night they can fill up for a fraction of the price for gasoline now, but they’re still going to be able to drive in the morning if they do forget. Even the gasoline engine will be more fuel efficient than a regular car because it won’t have to operate at a wide range of engine speeds.

    I think GM has a better idea with the Volt than Nissan or Tesla do with their pure electrics. But I’m still skeptical about GM’s prospects for pulling it off.

    The first problem is that this is a huge rush job. GM came up with the Volt concept in 2006 only as a sop to critics of its SUV-dominated lineups. The concept car shown at the 2007 Detroit show was a total show car. GM said it used an engine and electric drivetrain that didn’t exist, the chassis was custom built – it was total lip service to the Hummer critics. Over a year later gas spiked above $4 and GM was really under fire at the same time they could see their company spinning down the drain thanks to their journey into the mortgage business. They needed to show the investment community and the American people that they weren’t totally oblivious, so they resurrected the Volt and made it the face of the new GM.

    But three years from announcement to showroom is a hurry-up job when you’re dealing with known technologies. GM isn’t. They were among the least involved in hybrid technology in the last decade. Lutz hated hybrids, so GM only made a minimum effort. Now they’re going from that to next-generation hybrid technology, on a car that’s being rushed into production. There are things that can go wrong that they’re not even aware of. They didn’t know what questions they should be asking when they designed this.

    If you’re of a certain age, this is exactly how GM screwed up their first generation of front wheel drive cars (the infamous X-cars) in the early 80’s. Hurried design by engineers that didn’t have a lot of experience in that area, and rushed into production before it could be thoroughly tested. I look at the Volt now and I think it will be a miracle if it doesn’t turn out to be a lemon.

    That would be a crime because, unlike the 80’s, GM is making a lot of great cars right now. The quality is finally ready to compete with anyone, and they’re going to bet all of that on the Volt.

  58. coozledad said on October 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I like the guys wandering around with more medals than Audie Murphy or Eisenhower. What did they do to get them? From the looks of it they’ve each saved the earth from communism several times.
    Some of them look like they had to be dragged feet first out of the potting shed and vigorously scrubbed before they put them in Duke of Wellington drag.

  59. coozledad said on October 2, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Another unforeseen result of climate change: people going apeshit over nothing.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/sns-black-widow-spiders,0,6832147.story
    The south is paved with black widow spiders. They’re an extremely useful biological control for weevils and other garden pests. In my experience, it takes a very determined effort to get one to bite you.
    In that respect, they may encourage positive evolutionary development.

  60. brian stouder said on October 2, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I like the guys wan­der­ing around with more medals than Audie Mur­phy or Eisen­hower. What did they do to get them?

    Cooz – exactly.

    All that European royalty turning out in their finery, with the men strutting their feathers like peacocks, and the women with their crowns and tiaras and sashes – just too good!

    It is almost like watching a big steam locomotive, all shined up and brassy, and with a head of steam, rumbling ponderously down the track; genuinely obsolete (and rightly so), but still worth occasionally trotting out, and considering.

  61. Jeff Borden said on October 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Regarding the display of medals, it seems like American military leaders these day are emulating the Soviets, who sometimes looked as if they would fall on their face with all their dangling medals and citations. I’m sure these folks have earned them and take pride in displaying them, but I prefer my military leaders more like Ike and Omar Bradley, than Patton. When you see photos of Ike from WWII, he’s invariably in that half-jacket with virtually no ornamentation despite being the supreme commander of the ETO. Ditto for Bradley. Even “American Caesar” himself, Douglas MacArthur, was usually photographed in open-necked shirtsleeves. Then again, he was in the hot and fetid Pacific, so maybe that’s the reason.

  62. MichaelG said on October 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Beb, ease up a tad. I wasn’t attacking the Volt, merely pointing out that it is a niche car. It is. I’m fully aware that many people don’t have electric driers or stoves but many do and I only asked if the car came with a 220 volt adaptor. That’s all. The rest stands. Many people, myself included, in fact, have no practical way to plug in a car. The Volt is expensive. Many people may feel it is too much so to justify their dollars. Many people will buy one and California environmental laws do not preclude the sale of any of the small high mileage cars that are on the market.

    I have no idea what the Iraqi war and the Volt have to do with each other. I too, opposed the war there and the war in A-stan and still do. That doesn’t mean I can’t also dislike those federal subsidies for selected automobiles. You are fully welcome to love ’em to death.

    I agree, Jeff B, that less is more in the medal dept. Those US generals and the inbreeds on the tomandlorenzo site have no idea how self-parodying they are.

    I’ll pick Princess Madeleine. She’s kind of cute, has a twinkle in her eye and looks ready to party. Her escort, Carl Phillip looks a little shaggy around the edges. Grooming standards must not be too tight in the Swedish Navy. Maybe he’s a hotel doorman, not in the navy at all.

  63. Jeff Borden said on October 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    MichaelG,

    I always find myself in a dilemma regarding automobiles. I was born in 1951 and grew up in the era of cheap gas and big engines. At my most impressionable age, the muscle and pony cars were all the rage and, of course, as the son of a thoroughly sensible husband and wife, was denied the thrill of ever driving one. So, I’ve always had a level of unrequited lust about cars that go fast. Our current vehicle has a 6-cylinder engine developing 225-h.p. –it’s an 11-year-old Acura– and while it gets decent mileage on the interstate (up to 27 mpg) it is ghastly in-town.

    So, I know I drive a car that is not efficient. Intellectually, I know I’d be better off with a Honda Fit or maybe a Civic. I know I am part of the problem, not the solution, but damn, I do like my car, old though it is.

  64. brian stouder said on October 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    You know, one publication that I have subscribed to for many years now, and which regularly makes me aware of things well before I hear of them elsewhere, is the United States Naval Institute’s monthly Proceedings.

    The newest issue has a photo of a state-of-the-art Eurofighter Typhoon on the cover; the UK has a squadron of them stationed on the Falkland Islands, on constant alert.

    An Argentinian frigate recently trespassed well into an exclusionary zone near the Falkland Islands, and in general, tensions are high, and rising.

    Do you remember when that somewhat anachronistic war erupted, in 1982? It was so odd – an Argentinian generlissimo unleashed an amphibious assault and took the rocky, sheep-filled islands, upon the quick surrender of the local governor (something like 3000 people lived there, and almost all of them were descended from British colonial settlers, and fiercely loyal to the UK).

    And then a month ticks by as tensions rise and the fairly new US president (and everyone else) works to avert war, as the British fleet assembles and sails toward the South Atlantic.

    And then – war. It all seemed such a throwback, at the time. Argentina had historical claims on the islands, as did the British – and indeed, the residents there were happy with the non-Argentinian status quo. It seemed so avoidable – yet it exploded anyway, seemingly more because of airy concpets of national pride (on both sides).

    And now, almost thirty years later, serious tension is rising in that region, again.

    Why? Because exploratory deep-water wells and seismic tests indicate that there may be as much as 60 billion barrels of oil in that region, and as it stands now, it is all British.

  65. LAMary said on October 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Princess Maxima is from Argentina, I think. She’s a princess of the Netherlands. Princess Madeline’s escort is very good looking too. They win for looking most like the actors who would play their parts.
    Tord Magnusson is an excellent name for a chicken. Also, the guy from Lichtenstein is named Henn. Maybe his parents named him after a chicken.
    Asturias is a part of Spain. I liked the Spanish princess’s jacket with the matador touches. Very cool.

  66. Jeff Borden said on October 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I recall the Falkland Islands war pretty well as an introduction to the new economics of warfare, which Osama bin Laden and his ilk have exploited to the hilt.

    The Argentinians used a French-built Exocet missile (cost: $250,000) to sink the H.M.S. Sheffield (cost: 29 million pounds). If the British and the Argentinians were willing to fight over a bunch of sheep on some remote islands, you can only guess what each nation would do for access to all that oil.

    Sometimes, I wonder if the premise of “The Road Warrior” was really that far off the mark, and we won’t all be done in by our insatiable thirst for the black gold.

  67. ROgirl said on October 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Best. Headline. Ever.

    http://www.bradenton.com/2010/10/01/2619858/police-man-claims-cocaine-found.html

  68. coozledad said on October 3, 2010 at 9:52 am

    ROgirl: Sounds like an idea for a business. Rent-a-crack self-storage.

  69. ROgirl said on October 3, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Gives crack cocaine a whole new lease on life.

  70. Dorothy said on October 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I thought Prince Albert was engaged to said girlfriend? And I also thought he is the acknowledged father of at least two out-of-wedlock children. Hmph. Which does not necessarily mean he is gay but still . . . I recall hearing he was quite the ladies man back in the day.

  71. moe99 said on October 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Prince Albert makes it to “The Social Network” as well.

  72. brian stouder said on October 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Speaking of Social Network, I hereby pledge to have no comment on the growing wave of publicity for Sorkin’s movie based on Mezrich’s book based on the story of Facebook’s origins; God knows it will get all the free word-of-mouth anything ever possibly could.

    Since I declared my independence from that particular bit of internet kudzu, I think seeing that movie would be backsliding

  73. jcburns said on October 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I downloaded the screenplay of Ye Social Network (just google for it) and read it…I’m a fan of much of Sorkin’s screenwriting. And the tales it spun well made me more and more glad that Facebook has been and will remain outside my internet world.