Thursday, February 27, 2014

Clever parking assist VW ads

These were created by an Australian ad agency. Can the Australians please identify the orange car and the hearse?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Hooniverse article on Yanukovych Sr.


Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea

The Ukrainian story is moving from Kiev to the Crimean Peninsula, where the Black Sea Fleet resides. The area is composed mostly of Russians, some Ukrainians, and Tatars. The Russian military, obviously, wants to keep its base there.

This video of military hardware in action is awesome, if it weren't for the fact that their sole purpose is to maim/kill/vaporize.

Illuminated Mercedes star

To quote the Countess from the Real Housewives of New York, "Money can't buy you class."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Used Volvo V50 review with English subtitles

The search continues, but it's been difficult. In over six months, I found V50s with manual transmissions only in Massachusetts (1), Florida (1), Minnesota (1), and Rhode Island (1). The only one I found in California (in Sacramento) has a salvage title.

I am more and more interested in the E350 wagon. It's more car than I need but I like the look and the power. Reliability and the cost of repair are big issues. Some can be had for less than the newer V50s.

One question has come up. Once these luxury cars go to the used car market and out of warranty...what happens when the car needs a $6,000 repair? Do the owners just shell out the money? Ignore the problem and drive it to the ground? Sell the car to unsuspecting dopes? Take it to the scrap yard? While you ponder that, here is a V50 review in Dutch. Press "CC" for English. I'm envious of all the engine choices you have in Euroland.

Monday, February 24, 2014

International MXT

I'm working on a piece for Hooniverse about the psychology of collecting cars, from the perspective of Yanukovych and his son. Junior has about a dozen vehicles, including this beast. I guess it's supposed to compete with the Unimog?

Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damasacus

This is beyond heartbreaking.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Two sets of twins

Look what I saw today.

On the way to a friend's house to watch the Daytona 500, I saw these two identical Acura TSXs.

And on the way back from the rain-shortened race, I saw two identical Tesla Model Ss next to each other at a red light. You'll have to take my word for it, there is another Tesla right behind the one you see.

Comprehensive video of Yanukovych's car collection


My elementary school song

My mother sent me a picture of my elementary school in Taiwan yesterday. I attended first and second grade there before I moved to the United States. I looked it up online and the school actually has an English webpage. Even more surprisingly, someone posted the school's song, translated into English. We had to sing this song every morning, lined up and in our uniforms, like we were little North Korean soldiers. Ready?

Beside Keelung River, adjacent to Yuanshan, our community features many schools.
Early in the morning, we go to school and listen to teachers attentively.
We follow the mottoes of integrity and filial piety.
Classmates are like our siblings.
Teachers are like our parents.
We shall fight for the honor of Da Zhi one day.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yanukovych's palace and cars

Tarlan, Sanchez, and other Russian speakers: Are there any links to blogs, videos, etc. of the complete car collection? Thanks in advance.

So much is going on right now in Ukraine. Yanukovych's whereabouts are uncertain. The Braided One has been freed. There is talk of splitting the country, and the Crimea wants to go to Mother Russia.

I have been glued to the internet all morning, looking at Yanukovych's vast estate and mountains of...stuff. Some of the highlights of his palace:

  • underground shooting range
  • greenhouse with 20 climate zones
  • 70 cars
  • 18-hole golf course
  • zoo
  • binders of intel on journalists
  • receipts for wire transfers of millions of dollars

Friday, February 21, 2014

Reporters Without Borders 2014 Press Freedom Index

The big news here is that the U.S. has plummeted to 46th due to its handling of informants/sources like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.

Here is how some countries placed.
1. Finland
2. Netherlands
3. Norway
14. Germany
15. Switzerland
18. Canada
19. Poland
23. Belgium
26. Uruguay
28. Australia
33. UK
35. Spain
39. France
45. Romania
46. USA
47. Haiti
50. Taiwan
55. Argentina
58. Chile
59. Japan
64. Hungary
96. Israel
97. Kyrgyzstan
111. Brazil
115. Tajikistan
116. Venezuela
118. UAE
128. Afghanistan
132. Indonesia
137. Libya
140. India
148. Russia
150. Singapore
154. Turkey
158. Pakistan
159. Egypt
160. Azerbaijan
161. Kazakhstan
163. Bahrain
164. Saudi Arabia
166. Uzbekistan
170. Cuba
173. Iran
175. China
177. Syria
178. Turkmenistan
179. North Korea
180. Eritrea

Details of the report here.

Video of old Arctic ice melting

Grosjean and Maldonado

It doesn't look good for Renault-powered cars.

Norwegian ad for Syrian children

Waking up and looking at the news is depressing. Violent protests in Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Instability throughout the Middle East. And Syria. Here is an ad that will warm your heart. Click on the CC function to see English subtitles.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

W211 wagons, your thoughts

The Volvo V50 search is futile. I found this E350 wagon for sale. Do any of you have any opinions/experience with the W211 E-Class? What should I look out for? Room for my dog in the cargo area is a must.

Gurgel G-15L

More info about this Brazilian car company here. Do you know anything about these, F1O?

Intense Kiev videos

Baton v. Stick

APC v. Molotov Cocktails

Sniper v. Unarmed Protestors

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kiev protest livecam

Obama's political picks for ambassadors

This is embarrassing. At least study up a bit before your Senate confirmation hearing, people. And poor McCain.

The first 2+ minutes is all you really need to watch.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Matteo Renzi drives an Alfa Romeo Giulietta

The new Italian leader drives an Alfa. Cool.

He's 39. I'm 39. I've already come to terms with the fact that I probably won't have a career in professional baseball or F1 in front of me. But with the soon-to-be Italian PM younger than me,...I give up.

Exile Destinations, Part 12

(Preface for new readers: I look at leaders who fled their countries from 1975 to the present, ten countries at a time. As you can see, France, America, and the Soviet Union are popular places for deposed leaders.)

Amazing. In this installment, not a single exile.

111. Mongolia-- 0
112. Montenegro-- 0
113. Morocco-- 0
114. Mozambique-- 0
115. Myanmar-- 0
116. Namibia-- 0
117. Nauru-- 0
118. Nepal-- 0
119. Netherlands-- 0
120. New Zealand-- 0

Tally thus far:
6x = France

3x = Panama, U.K., U.S., U.S.S.R./Russia

2x = Brazil, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Venezuela

1x = Australia, Austria, Belarus, Benin, Costa Rica, Egypt, Italy, Libya, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, unknown, unknown, unknown

1978 LeMans pace car-- Porsche 928


Liquid nitrogen ice cream

We went on a food tour of the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco yesterday. The first stop was Smitten Ice Cream. It's a fascinating study of technology, food science, and marketing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Upholstery glue

I went to get the Civic washed today and noticed that our backseat passenger did this.

The suspect is the third one from the left. Do I use a special glue to fix this?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NASCAR driver search: Martin Truex, Jr.

I just decided to follow the 2014 Nascar season, beginning with the Daytona 500. It will be tough, as there are 36 races in a season. My first job is to pick a driver to root for. I asked my friend Bob, who is a rabid F1 and Nascar fan, to suggest someone who is like Nick Heidfeld-- quiet, journeyman, quick, drives for a second-tier team. His first suggestion was Martin Truex.

Truex is 33 and drives a Chevy SS for Furniture Row Racing. Most teams are based in North Carolina, but Furniture Row is based in Colorado. The team has competed in 163 races since 2005 and has won one race and clinched the pole twice. It sounds kind of like Sauber-BMW (which was based in Switzerland rather than England).

Truex has been racing full time in the Sprint Cup Series (the top Nascar series) since 2006. He has won just two races-- once in 2007 and once last year, in Sonoma. That's a 218-race winless streak. Sounds very Heidfeld-esque. Sonoma and Watkins Glen, by the way, are the only two road courses on the calendar. The 34 other races are on ovals.

Original British House of Cards intro

Who's excited about Season 2?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

C4 Corvette promo video

By now, you must have heard about the sinkhole at the Corvette museum. This got me to think about the C4 Corvette, which was the Corvette of my childhood. My best friend Eric's dad was an aerospace engineer. He was the sternest man I have ever met. And he had some cool cars, including:

I never got to ride in that Corvette. In fact, I don't think my friend Eric even got to ride in it. But we ogled. A lot. 

Here is a great dealer video. It's not only chock full of neat information, but the audio and video quality are spectacular for a VHS tape.

Porsche 993 buyer's guide


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Damn, Hollande rode in a Cadillac

I was hoping a Citroen-Renault-Peugeot was going to roll up to the White House today. Nope. Boring.

West Virginia water

A month after a chemical spill, the West Virginian government still will not guarantee the safety of the drinking water for 300,000 residents.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tank Brake Test

I'll just stand over here, to the very left.

Via Flavio Gomes.

Cold Noodles

Yokohama, Japan. Last weekend.

Mitterrand in San Francisco

Hollande is coming to California! Here is the last French Head of State (to visit) with then-San Francisco mayor, now-California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Cadillac ELR ad

This ad played during the Olympic opening ceremony. Apparently, we're now putting down Europe's generous job benefits. For the record, 23% of American workers get zero paid time off. Because, you know, we're exceptional.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Bank Imperial Tamerlane ad

Thanks all for your loyalty and curiosity. 2,000,000 page views on this blog!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Techno Classica auto show in Essen, Germany

Hat tip to Ed from Belgium. This seems like a more well-rounded/diverse show than Retromobile.

Official site here.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Lada sportswear

Snipers shot at California power plant

This happened almost a year ago but just got reported on. A bit disturbing.

Nostalgia: Intellivision games

In the '80s, my friends had Ataris and Commodores, but I had a weird game console. It was an Intellivision. Did you know that it's short for "intelligent television"? Isn't that fascinating and clever? It had the strangest joysticks. They were like telephones. I don't remember ever using the number pad. Instead, there were two buttons on each side and a round disc.

We only had four games. I found three of them on Youtube. The fourth one was like an Indiana Jones game, where you swung on vines to avoid crocodiles.

Here are the other games.

Armor Battle. I don't know how I spent so many hours playing this game. It was so boring.

Astrosmash. This was pretty popular. Even my mom played it.

Donkey Kong. I would compare this with the arcade version, and even my 9 year old self knew that the Intellivision version was a bit off.

Retromobile 2014

I keep forgetting that this takes place in February. I'm going to try to make it next year, unless I forget again.

Have any of you been?

German dog toy that poops

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

All eyes on Putin

My prediction-- the Olympics will go fine, just like Beijing 2008.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The $29,000 Aston Martin

What a deal! Funny that Jeremy Clarkson first mentions the faults of the car (it's incredibly fragile) at the very end of the piece.

Dodge van in North Korea

This was supposedly parked in the parking lot of the U.S.S. Pueblo exhibit.


Monday, February 03, 2014

Kia K9 promo

This is essentially the huge K900 that will be sold in America. The video is in Korean, but the options are so ubiquitous now on luxury cars, no translation is necessary.

Cadillac ELR review

What is up with Cadillac and their new car pricing? This should sell for $60,000, not $75,000.

Maserati Super Bowl ad

This is what everyone is talking about. What do you think? Legitimate entry into a broader luxury car market to increase sales figures? Or a cynical attempt to offload leased vehicles to aspirational yuppies?

Sunday, February 02, 2014

House of Cards intro

Sorry for the dirth dearth of posts. Work has been kicking my ass lately. When I do unwind, I end up binge watching House of Cards. I'll try to post more next week.