Yearly Archives: 2007

Ron Paul doesn’t believe in evolution

Recently Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been garnering a lot of grass roots attention. Even as an unrepentant liberal, a lot of what Paul says appeals to me because of his unequivocal stand on the Bill of Rights and ending this absurd war on terror. This anti-war/anti-police state stance is the main issue that seems to attract a lot of younger supporters who might otherwise consider themselves to be more left-leaning. Unfortunately, there are no Democrats aside from Dennis Kucinich who are so strident on these issues.
Unfortunately, as appealing as Paul’s stand is on these issues, he has some equally disturbing positions on other issues that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Paul has made it clear that in spite of his belief that the government should stay out of people’s private beliefs, that doesn’t apply to a woman’s right to decide whether to have a baby. Paul want’s the supreme court to repeal Roe v Wade and thinks abortion should be outlawed by states. Perhaps even more disturbing, when he was asked at a recent event about his response to a debate question on whether he believed in evolution, he made it clear that he does not. Any potential president who can simply disregard scientific evidence in this way has absolutely no business even being considered for the position. In an increasingly technological world with a lot of problems that we must address, it is critical that we have a president who has basic scientific literacy. On this count Ron Paul along with several of his GOP colleagues fails and should be dismissed from the race immediately.

Racoon for lunch 3

On the way home today from my last day at the old job, as I was passing the Hyundai Tech Center I noticed a red-tailed hawk having lunch so I pulled into the driveway and grabbed my camera. I approached raptor slowly, snapping pics as I went. Eventually, the hawk decided I was close enough and headed off for the nearby trees.

More clarity

It’s come to my attention that my previous post on opportunity left some readers confused as to what I was talking about.  So let me make this perfectly clear.  I got a new job and today was my last day at the old place.  After 16 years the time has come to move on.  Not being one to torch bridges, I’ll just say that I worked with a lot of great people over my years at Kelsey-Hayes and it’s subsequent corporate incarnations.  As for the company itself, well enough has been said about that.

On Monday I begin my tenure at ICON Creative Technologies and I’m looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship.   I’m shifting from engineering to being a full-time automotive journalist, a role in which I hope to inform and educate readers on the latest automotive technologies and advancements.  And I’ll be doing it from an office in downtown Ann Arbor!

Taking shots at some deer

Not with a gun or a bow, with my camera. I was out in my latest test car, a Dodge Caliber SRT-4 near Matthaei Botanical Garden yesterday when a doe came up to the edge of the road. I stopped to let it decide when to do when I glanced over and saw several more nearby. I managed to snap off a few shots before the doe by the road moved off and I moved on.

Opportunity knocks… 4

There’s a tap on the door, the phone rings, a message in your in-box, you bump into someone you haven’t seen for a while. Who knows how it will happen, it just does. For whatever reason sometimes you don’t feel like getting out your comfy chair, other times you respond. Sometimes you’re looking for it, other times it looks for you. In the fall of 1991, I called about a job that I wasn’t sure I really wanted, sixteen years later I’m still there, but not for much longer. In the fall of 1993 I responded to a message and ended up meeting the love of my life.

Over the years I’ve gotten many, many calls from recruiters and none ever felt right. When the company that I worked for decided to unilaterally cut the pay and benefits of many of their best people while at the same time continually increasing the compensation of those at the top, I began to express my thoughts here on this forum. This place became my soap-box, a place to just spout off on whatever I felt like, the good, the bad, the obscene. This little corner that I carved out for myself allowed me to find another part of myself, to use the knowledge I had gathered over the years and to find my voice.

As it happens it also allowed others who otherwise wouldn’t to hear that same voice. Some liked what they heard, others carried on about their lives. After the incident that prompted my set up corner here, another opportunity arose that I meant to pursue, but my response to the message somehow fell through the cracks. A few months later it thankfully popped up again in a slightly different form and I went after it with a vengeance. It worked and my name began to appear on another nascent site related to cars. I began to make some contacts and not long after that opportunity presented itself yet again. My colleague Alex was busy and I was on vacation from the day job. A quick day trip to New York and back introduced me to a remarkable new car and a lot of very interesting people. That quickly ballooned as I talked to those people on a regular basis.

During one of those events I encountered a pair of gentlemen who would soon reappear. In the fall of 2007, barely a year after I stumbled into automotive journalism, the message appeared in my in-box. I called back. We talked and eventually the deal was struck. A new phase of my life and career would begin. I wish to express my gratitude to the clumsy, ham-handed HR department without whose bumbling, this may not have happened. Thanks to Sebastian and John for plugging in the amplifier that allowed my voice to spread to a wider audience. I look forward to continuing to work with you guys for a long time to come. To John, Rob and Scott for giving me a chance to make a left turn against the prevailing traffic. And most of all to Jules, Sofia and Max for supporting me so much as I make this momentous non-trivial change. Sometimes when opportunity knocks you need to respond in the affirmative.

Jewish and/or Gay and meeting Brenda Priddy 2

As we were leaving the media center the other day, I had the opportunity to finally meet the legendary Brenda Priddy in person.  For those unfamiliar with her work, many of the photographs that appear in automotive magazines and newspapers of cars where bizzaro tape jobs or big clumps of black camouflage are the work of Brenda and her colleagues at KGP photography.  They have an uncanny knack for being in places where engineers are testing future cars.  These days in the business of automotive journalism Brenda is held in the same high regard as Jim Dunne and Hans Lehman.

At any rate Brenda made a remark in jest that after all her years in the business, she had come to the conclusion that all automotive journalists were either Jewish, gay or both.  Unfortunately my mental energy level at that point was at  low ebb at that moment and I found myself unable to respond with the same degree of eloquence and wit that I am told I exhibited during a verbal joust with our colleague Ray the preceding day.  For the record Ray (even though I doubt you will ever read this) Nothing personal, I’ve been stuck at the corner table many times myself over the years.  It just wasn’t your turn.

Anyway, back to my belated response to Brenda.  Keep in mind that printed word lacks much of the nuance of the spoken word, especially in person and none of the following is meant to offend, insult or denigrate anyone (except perhaps hypocrites like Larry Craig).  I have friends and colleagues are fall into either or both categories and many others and I appreciate and respect all of them.  Disclaimers aside, henceforth is what I might said to Brenda (who herself is Jewish, although I cannot attest to her other preferences) had I been more quick witted during our encounter.

Being at least partially of Middle Eastern descent, I’m certain that following my lineage back far enough would yield ancestors who were members of the tribes of Israel.  However, in recent decades, to my knowledge none of the members of my family have partaken in Yom Kippur, Passover or hanukkah as an active member of the faith.  I myself having been raised Catholic and becoming persuaded early on as to the futility of all religion am an unrepentant athiest.  As to the other half of the generalization, I am not nor have I ever been gay, although I’m sure when it comes time choose what color to paint the walls my wife would likely appreciate me a little more if I did have some tendencies in that general direction.

Alas these words did not emerge from my sometimes scattered mind until some hours after the fact.  Fortunately I have this little corner in which to record them anyway and perhaps she will someday see them.  Pleasure to finally meet you Brenda!

Zingerman’s must be drinking their own Kool-aid 4

Jules and I stopped by Zingerman’s Roadhouse today with the intention of grabbing some lunch. The food is generally really good at the Roadhouse but it can be erratic at times. Fortunately we had to wait about ten minutes for a table so we perused the menu while waiting. Their prices have really gotten out of line. $9.95 for a burger and $2.50 extra for cheese? Please it’s not that great a burger. Frankly the Sidetrack burgers are better. $19.00 for a sampler plate of five mini-burgers or brisket? After a couple of minutes of pondering these prices we got up and decided to try the Quarter Bistro a few hundred yards away. It was an excellent decision. The food was really good, the service was excellent and the prices were much more reasonable. Franky I have the feeling the Ari and Paul and the team might be reading a little bit too much of their own press. If the quality of the food at the Roadhouse could always be counted on to be outstanding, the prices might justifiable. The reality is that they are not.