Friday, March 31, 2006

QT (no, not QuickTime, Quick Tan)

Think Geek has the ultimate gift for prisoners of their desks and for those of us who rarely see daylight.

It's a USB-powered tanning lamp that hooks to the side of your monitor. Genius!

General Hilarity

So General Motors has teamed up with "The Apprentice" this season. I don't watch the show, so forgive me if I'm not quite clear on the particulars. Apparently, though, the apprentice candidates were asked to come up with a novel advertising scheme for Chevrolet's new Tahoe SUVs.

Here's what they came up with. Make your own Tahoe TV commercial.

What they didn't count on, unfortunately, was the creativity of the Internet community. They also apparently didn't put anyone in charge of screening these home-made commercials.

Some are quite funny. You should go quickly. I'm sure someone at GM will wake up and pull the plug soon. But be warned. Many have crude language.

I encourage everyone to create, submit and share their own here. I made one and it's a very easy, quick process.

I'll see if I can come up with a prize for the best of the bunch. How about the winner gets to change a diaper? No? I'll keep thinking.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Anyone who knows me knows I have four serious passions (not counting family, which of course is always #1).
2. Anything automotive related
3. Anything Apple Computer related
4. Hot Wheels
5. Good beer

And these days, that's about the order they're in. And now I will attempt to meld the first two into one! *cue drumroll*

Rumors are swirling all over the Internet and the mainstream press about the imminent departure of General Motors' President Rick Wagoner. Under his leadership the company has lost 10 points of marketshare, closed dozens of plants and cut thousands of workers. That's not good, btw.

On the other hand, Steve Jobs returned to Apple and revitalized the business and made it into a leader of design and innovation once again.

Obviously I'm suggesting Steve Jobs get his resumé ready and apply for Wagoner's job. And if there's anyone who questions this, here's some supporting info. Wired magazine has some quotes from Mr. Jobs that convinced me he is the man to lead GM back to profitability.

GM has been knocked lately (by me too) for its bland, uninspiring products. Here's Steve's take on that problem...

"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
BusinessWeek, May 25 1998

GM is currently udergoing billions of dollars worth of personnel and supply cuts. Steve says...

"The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament."
Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer

(BTW, the quotes were all borrowed from a recent Wired magazine feature on Steve Jobs.)

So I'm imagining a General Motors run by Steve Jobs and seeing beautifully designed, environmentally friendly, super-expensive automobiles that are also super-popular and THE thing to have.

Hey, Rick. Step aside. Let a man show you how to do it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Macintosh Mirth

April 1, Saturday, is Apple's 30th birthday (no fooling). So how will you celebrate the birth of the world's most creative, most respected computer company?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This is only a test...

It was certainly a very interesting Friday, yesterday. I woke up with a 103° fever and Christina awoke with contractions. Yep, it felt like the baby was trying to come out. Of both of us.

So after a brief argument over who was in better shape to drive (I remember such arguments in college, too, but for entirely different reasons.) we decided Christina's vision was less blurry her head spun at slightly fewer RPMs than mine. So she drove.

At the hospital, I'm sure we were a sight. Christina moaning in pain at the contractions every three minutes, and me slumped in a chair seemingly indifferent to the whole thing. Little did the nurses know, my nonchalance had nothing to do with caring. I was just incapable of standing up.

Anyway, we obviously didn't have a baby Friday. Which is just as well because neither of us was wearing green. That just would have been bad luck.

Christina's doctor sent her home and said the contractions would either stop or get worse. Thank goodness they've stopped. I wouldn't want her to go through that for the next two weeks.

So we had a bit of a wakeup call. And we're now making last-minute preparations around the house for the soon-to-arrive little one.

And, thankfully, my fever broke late Friday night and I'll be able to greet my first child with more than an ashen face and a weak moan.

Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Clothing Children

This post is long overdue.

Maggie and Chris Baker along with Vivi Abrams threw us a baby shower a few weeks ago. We had lots of our best Birmingham friends bring us gifts and share mimosas on a Sunday morning.

After gifts were opened, guests were asked to make a personalized onesie for Baby T. I love the fact we have some super-creative friends. James Brown is pictured here with his creation. Go here for more onesies and more pics from the shower.

Thanks everyone who has helped us with gifts and advice during all this. We're going to count on you more and more over the next 21 years.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Imminent Infant

Yes, it's almost time. We have about three weeks until the forecast due date of April 3.

Momma Christina seems to be doing ok, though the extra weight of growing Baby T, the stress of last-minute preparations and some slight diet restrictions seem to be taking a toll on her.

A visit by parents from both sides over the weekend spurred lots of activities, including the erecting of a baby bed and the purchasing of lots of baby related accessories. I'll post pictures of the nursery as soon as Momma says the room is ready for public viewing.

Up until now, I've been stoicly saying I wasn't nervous, that I was prepared. But I must admit some trepidation now that the hour draws near. I'd like to say I'm nervous about college tuition, first car, first date, first grade, etc., I have to admit I fear the day of delivery more.

I don't want to see my wife uncomfortable or in pain. I don't want her to have even one moment of discomfort ever. And, until now, I've had some small amount of control over that. But when that delivery day comes (I'm personally hoping for April Fools), my role as comforter and provider are shoved aside for a few hours. I'll let the doctors and nurses administer their epidurals and analgesics as they see fit and trust their years of experience will suffice.

Then I'll worry about college tuition.

Imperial Impressions

OK. Not exactly glowing comments on the Chrylser Imperial. I think Lain got closest to my thoughts. In my opinion, tt truly is an overdone cartoonish version of a Rolls Royce. Chrysler is rumored to be considering it for production. I hope they decide against it.

Thanks for your comments!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Imperial Cruiser

OK. Informal opinion poll.

Chrysler is rumored to be putting this car into production. Based on looks alone, whatdya think?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Japanese Gems

Consumer Reports has been naming their Top Picks for I think seven years now. And until this year there has always been at least one American company represented.

Until this year.

CR chose 10 Japanese brand vehicles this year, totally snubbing American, German and Korean-branded cars. No big suprise, but kind of a disappointment.

At the top of CR's list (and many many other people's) is the Honda Civic. And I can't disagree. The Civic is racking up honors left and right this year and is a great deal for as little as $14,000. I owned a 1997 model several years ago and can attest to their reliability, frugality and all-around fun.

Honda took three more spots and Acura (made my Honda) took one. Toyota, however, only took one honor and it wasn't for the seemingly bulletproof Camry. It was for the Prius. What a suprise!

I think the second most suprising vehicle on the list is the Honda Ridgeline. Honda's first attempt at making trucks beat out Chevy, Ford, Dodge and even Toyota. Way to go Honda.

So what does this mean? In the short term, it means GM, Daimler-Chrysler and Ford are all gonna lose even more market share. Long term is iffier, but not much different. As a car nut, I still can't recommend any American car over most Japanese-branded cars, and I drive a Chrysler! This latest Consumer Reports list only reaffirms what I've been saying for years. Car buyers are no different than condom buyers. They may try a brand once, but if it doesn't work, they'll never go back.


Trying something new this week. Advertising. I don't expect it to earn me much money, but I think it might be fun to see what might happen.

Cheap Choices

Christina (my beautiful and pregnant wife, for those very few readers who don't know her) said the other day, "It's hard to keep up with the cars you do and don't like." And, you know, I have to agree.

So I've decided to embark on a project I've been thinking about for a while. I'm going to actually put on electronic paper the cars I do and don't like.

I'll start at the low end. They very low end. If you wake up one morning to find your 1982 Ford Escort in the driveway on its back with wheels slightly twitching and your checking account balance shows only $10,000, you haven't much of a choice in new cars.

So, what do you do? If you're dead-set on getting a brand new car in which noone's butt has already sat, you're going Korean.

Three choices await the super-budget car shopper. The least expensive new car sold in the United States is the $9,000 Chevrolet Aveo. But don't let that Chevy bowtie on the hood fool you. That four-seater tin can is made in South Korea.

And so are the next cheapest cars sold in the U.S. Kia's Rio is $10,570 and Hyundai's Accent has a list price of $12,455. Yes, I know, it's over the $10k limit. I throw it into this category because despite its generous 10-year warranty, it's not worth sticker. If the savvy car buyer can't get it nearer $10k, call me. I have a 1965 Mustang I'll sell ya for $20,000. Suuuuurrre it runs.

So which is my pick? Uh. That's a tough one.

Chevrolet Aveo

The Aveo is just right out. It's truly a cheap car. With that just-under-$10k price you get a manual transmission, a tiny engine with only 103 hp, no CD player, no air conditioner, no power door locks, and 14-inch wheels. On top of all that, fuel economy ain't that great: 27 city, 35 hwy. Better than a Hummer, but the Hyundai accent gets 32/35 and the Kia Rio gets 29/38.

Hyundai Accent

Kia Rio
So it's between the Kia and the Hyundai. Good lord, what a choice. They both offer 10-year warranties. But you're gonna need every second of it. They both have pretty good fuel mileage, which you'll remind yourself everytime you have to drive them. But the Hyundai at least gives you a choice (for more cash, of course) of air conditioning and includes power steering, tilt steering, and lighted vanity mirrors.

My vote is for the Hyundai if you just gotta have a new car. Add a few options and make it livable.

Were it my money, though, I'd take that $10,000 and buy a well-loved 2002 Honda Civic. What you give up in warranty, you'll make up in civility and driving fun.

Next time I'll delve into the $20,000 slot where things start getting crowded.