Saturday, October 31, 2015

Shinzo Abe visits the -Stans

Japan's leader just went on my dream vacation. 

This article talks about Japan ignoring human rights (and doling out money) in the hopes of garnering support for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Oct. 22-24, Turkmenistan: Will help build gas processing plants. 

Oct. 24, Tajikistan: Grants for agriculture and infrastructure.

Oct. 24-26, Uzbekistan: Loans and grants for upgrade of power facilities.

Oct. 26, Kyrgyzstan: Will repair major road and equip airport.

Oct. 26-28, Kazakhstan: Will support building nuclear plants.

Honest Trailer-- Skyfall

Renault Clio Williams test drive and review

Here are a couple of ads for the car.

And here's the one I spotted outside Retromobile on the street.

Happy Halloween

Baby Pope in Popemobile.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Nationalities of remaining Guantanamo detainees

With the last British detainee released, there are just 112 people left. I scanned through the roster and counted their nationalities.

Yemen 70
Afghanistan 8
Saudi Arabia 7
Pakistan 6
Libya 4
Algeria 2
Malaysia 2
Egypt/Bosnia (one person) 1
Indonesia 1
Iraq 1
Kenya 1
Kuwait 1
Mauritania 1
Morocco 1
Palestine 1
Russia 1
Somalia 1
Tajikistan 1
Tunisia 1

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chinese propaganda: 5-year plan

This is just odd. Do the Westerners who wrote, performed, and produced this video have any idea what they are promoting?

Also, a PR piece on Chinese Big Brothers helping American Little Brothers. I love the cake at the end.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Renault 5 Turbo 2 review

I can't get enough of this guy.

Overhead shot of aircraft carrier

Turkey G20 presidency ad

I saw a version similar to this one this morning on CNN. The only difference was all the actors were women.

Blog reader m4ff3w poses with Hamilton and Rosberg

I don't know what his secret is, but m4ff3w, with his two kids in tow, met Rosberg and Hamilton after the race yesterday. More photos here and here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015 Oktoberfest Cruise In

More pics via Slirt here.

Chris Rock Top Five movie

Saw this last night. It's a low budget independent-style movie. It's worth watching if you are a Chris Rock fan. On a sad note, it was during the shooting of this movie that Rock left his wife of almost 20 years to date his co-star, Rosario Dawson.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I think I "fixed" my rear fog light issue

A week or two after the driver's side LED taillight assembly was replaced, I started getting a message on my dashboard that said something like "REAR FOGLIGHT FAILURE". The message appeared some time between one to 30 minutes after I started the engine. But without fail, on every trip, I would get the message along with a ding-dong chime.

After looking on the Saab boards, it appears the rear fog light is just on the driver's side. This may be obvious to you Europeans, but we Americans do not use rear fog lights.

I'm taking the car in on Monday for an oil change and wanted my Saab guy to check the light issue. But I tried something simple today. I checked the owner's manual to see where the rear foglight button was, turned the light on and off, and the message has not appeared since. I think I "fixed" it!

Before the rain

Thankfully, Hurricane Patricia ended up being relatively benign. Next week, a big storm is coming this way. The ocean water has been extremely warm. All sorts of fish from Mexico are showing up here. This El Nino is going to be crazy. I am sort of glad I'm not doing my South America (Pacific Coast) bus trip next month.

We took Cooper for a little hike today before everything turns into mud and mush. It has been too dry for too long.

Maserati Biturbo review

I love this guy's videos!

The story behind the Bugatti EB110

Alfa Romeo SZ review

Sanchez sent me a photo of an RZ spotted in Belarus. Naturally, I went down a Saturday morning wormhole of Alfa Romeo SZ/RZ googling. I found this review. It's excellent. I'm afraid I'm going to be watching all of this Davide guy's reviews on YouTube for the rest of the weekend. Thank goodness for the subtitles.

2 mentions of my blog this week

This week, my abandoned ZIL factory post and California Toyota museum post got mentioned by Barnfinds and the Hemmings Blog, respectively. I always appreciate new visitors, so I am very happy.

I'd be lying to you if I said I've never daydreamed about fame and a small fortune from millions of devoted fans. However, the one thing I enjoy about this blog's low profile is that all of the readers and commenters are civil and sane. I mean, just look at one of the comments to that Barnfinds' post about the Russian factory. Good lord.

Saab 900 Smokey and the Bandit

Source. Hat tip to Antti. Many more drawings here.

Wonderful 28 minute glimpse into modern Tibet

Tibet is virtually impossible for the non-Chinese press to see. But NHK was allowed in and made this wonderful documentary. It's not necessarily what was said that's interesting, but the "progress" that can be seen.

Here is the link to the video.

One of the people highlighted is this Han Chinese businessman from Fujian who is supposedly making a fortune as a commercial real estate developer. I can't tell if it's his haircut, his suit, his Jaguar XJ L, or his accent (I know, I'm terrible), but I feel like he's just a small town huckster.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Under Fire movie trailer

Saw this last night. It's about 1979 Nicaragua. Was so-so, but it's interesting to see what was judged in the 1980s as a good political/love drama.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mercury Marauder in Oakland

I was walking in Oakland yesterday when I passed by a 55ish year old guy checking the engine bay of his street parked car. I assumed it was an ordinary Crown Victoria, but the engine looked funny. And when I saw the tiny trunk lid spoiler, I circled back and asked if it was a Marauder. I guess what really got me confused was that it wasn't black.

The enthusiastic owner told me that it was indeed a Marauder. It's his second one, in fact. His first one had died. He described it as a street legal Nascar.

As for colors:
2003 – Total: 7838 (328 Dark Pearl Blue, 417 Silver Birch, 7093 Black)
2004 – Total: 3214 (980 Dark Toreador Red, 997 Silver Birch, 1237 Black)
After my appointment, I went back to the car but the owner was gone. I left my card on his windshield, asking him for an interview.
Here is a Motorweek review. I had always thought that it was supercharged. Wrong.

Toyota Mirai Back to the Future ad

Everyone is getting a piece of the action today.

New Honda Accord ad

Justin Trudeau nice hair ad

Well, that didn't work.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dog on a kitchen counter

Our Cocker Spaniel Cooper does the exact same thing every single day.

Toyota Museum in Torrance, California

The overriding theme here is that although the cars on display are mundane, ordinary, and ever-present, they all played a part in our lives.

My friend Andy had a truck like the mustard yellow one in the foreground and he taught me how to drive a stickshift in it one cool evening.


A lady I went out with in college had a gray Camry like this one. I probably put 10,000 miles on it.

Remember the FX16 commercials?

This Crown was one of the first Toyotas sold in America.

This old fuel cell powered Highlander leased for $10,000 a month.

The highlights for me were these all-original old Lexuses.

Evolution of the Celica bumper.

Mister Two.

Other than the period correct chrome wheels, this Supra is perfect.

1975 Long Beach Grand Prix (Formula 5000) pace car.

A Southern California tradition is the annual celebrity race at Long Beach. The stars du jour competed with each other for charity. Here is Tony Danza's Celica.

Group C racer.

IMSA GTO Celica.

Twiggy's 2000GT in the background.

2000GT engine.

I rented an Echo to see my grandmother on Maui in the hospital just before she died.


Stout engine bay.

SC400 prototype.

130 mph Prius Bonneville record holder.