Monday, December 31, 2007
In between all of this, I had some of the heaviest workloads I had seen in a while. I racked up a lot of overtime, which is good, especially when it's over. Then at the end of the year, business really slowed and I started to stress a little over that. Fortunately, it seemed to have been a temporary lull. While I haven't been putting in long hours, the work has been steady.
Well, most things are in order again. We found all of my Dad's important stuff and my Mom now is living comfortably 20 min. from my home. Goodbye monthly trips to Las Vegas! I won't miss them. I'm wondering what is coming next. One thing I know is that if one ever thinks he or she has a handle on things, it won't last. Something always changes. It's how we adjust that makes all the difference.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Arthur C. Clarke is one a a very select few whom I would call a "hero" of mine. He celebrated his 90'th birthday today (really yesterday to me since he lives on the other side of the planet in Sri Lanka).
Clarke is primarily known as a science fiction writer, but he has been much more than that. He is one of the few sci-fi writers who really knew his subject matter really well. His stories are loaded with authenticity. There is really nothing he ever speculated about in his writings that could ever be considered impossible or even improbable. While many or really most writers conveniently ignore gravity, the speed of light, and other inconveniences of the universe so they can put their Earthbound stories in space, Clarke respects the laws of the universe and his novels and short stories reflect this respect.
Clarke will always be remembered for other things.
- One-Time Head of the British Interplanetary Society: In the 1930's, Clarke and others, would gather in pubs and talk about real spaceflight. No Buck Rogers, but real rockets and what it would take to get to outer space from scientific and engineering viewpoints. Many of their ideas became reality 30 years later.
- Clarke's Belt - Geo synchronized satellites that allow global communications including the Internet. Clarke drew this up in 1945 - 12 years before Sputnik. Clarke is considered the "Father of Global Communications"
- Clarke's Three Laws - Gems that are the basis for all good science fiction.
1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Oscar Nomination for 2001: A Space Odyssey (With Stanley Kubrick)
- Predicting the Internet in the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Calling the Space Shuttle Program "A Disaster waiting to happen" in mid-1985, half a year before the Challenger disaster. Clarke never was a fan of a space shuttle designed beautifully by NASA and destroyed by Congress.
There are Clarke speculations that have yet to come to pass, but I hope they will. These include the Space Elevator from his novel The Fountains of Paradise and energy derived from ordinary air.
Happy Birthday Dr. Clarke. I share in your hope for s space-faring human race.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I've long been skeptical about the heated, heavy anger directed at Karl Dorrell. I've wondered: Where does it come from? " - Kurt Streeter, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30, 2007
There is a very good chance that today will feature Karl Dorrell's last game as UCLA's football coach. This man was probably hired because of his skin color and will most likely, be fired because he is a mediocre coach. Kurt Streeter, in the quote above, doesn't seem to realize that Dorrell's white predecessors who performed similarly, also were fired.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Crazy or Stupid?
I'm not a McCain fan but my initial reaction is that he handled it pretty well. Of course, CNN's Sanchez would like to think this finished the whole campaign but that's what I'd expect from CNN. That's not what I want to discuss, however.
Thinking about it some more brought me to an interesting hypothetical. What if the questioner was an African-American referring to Barack Obama asking:
"How do we beat the n*****?"
I wonder how it would have played had this been the case. I believe McCain would have reacted much more harshly and if he hadn't, then Sanchez would probably be right. McCain would be finished.
Notice how even I will print the "b" word and not the "n" word. The "n" word has certainly become quite the taboo in our society. It's interesting isn't it? How many women would think it's okay to use the "b" word and not the "n" word? Should we react upon hearing the words equally? If not, what makes one okay to use and not the other?
Friday, November 02, 2007
Al Michaels: So Mr Giuliani, you probably are aware that on this coming up Sunday, there will be a battle between two undefeated teams, the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. Who do you like in that one?
Rudolph Giuliani: Well Al, I remember when I was Mayor of New York, I cut down crime on the roads to the Meadowlands Stadium by 45%. I worked hard with our law enfo...
Al Michaels: (To himself) Here we go again
Al Michaels: Rudy, Rudy!, I'm here to talk about sports. I just want your prediction for the game.
Rudolph Giuliani: Oh, the game itself? It's going to be a struggle - kind of like the struggle during 9/11 when our firefighters had to battle the smoke, ash and falling debris to save thousands of lives. I expect the Colts and Patriots to be like my fire-fighting warriors as they battle each other.
Al Michaels: Care to actually make a prediction as to who will win?
Rudolph Giuliani: Oh, I'm rooting for Boston, er New England for sure.
New Yorkers: Boooooooh!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Al Michaels: So Mrs. Clinton, you probably are aware that on this coming up Sunday, there will be a battle between two undefeated teams, the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. Who do you like in that one?
Hillary Clinton: First of all, having two teams undefeated this late in the season indicates a lack of parity in the league. This can clearly be blamed on the current administration for setting up policies where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. When I am President, I am going to change that by increasing the ta...
Al Michaels: Eh, excuse me Hillary, I just want your prediction as to who's going to win the game.
Hillary Clinton: The Patriots are certainly a strong team. They are very democratic in the way they share the ball among so many players. The current administration doesn't play that way! The Patriots' style of play makes them unbeatable.
Al Michaels: So you pick the Patriots, then?
Hillary Clinton: Well, you also have the Colts, who have an African-American coach. Despite the current administration's running the country like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about, the coach has managed to overcome this and because of that, the Colts are unbeatable.
Al Michaels: Now wait a minute, you just said earlier that the Patriots are unbeatable. They both can't be.
Hillary Clinton: No Al, this is one of those situations where my opponents say "gotcha!". Don't misconstrue what I've said. Clearly this confusion can be blamed on the current administration!
Al Michaels: Let me ask this question, again... One more time. Who do you pick to win on Sunday, the Patriots or the Colts?
Hillary Clinton: I believe I've stated my position on this issue clearly.
In no particular order:
Psycho: The definitive work on audience deception. Hitchcock masterfully leads us into a story about a woman trapped in her own web of deception, then without warning, kills her off and reveals a new story about a man in his own trap.
Alien: The ultimate creature movie. This film has such a creepy tone. It doesn't hurt that it takes place in a cramped ship in an alien part of outer space.
The Shining: In the Overlook hotel where the winding endless hallways mimic the surrounding mountains, a family dwells in utter isolation. Does the terror come from outside unnatural forces or does the locale bring out the inner demons of each individual? The Kubrick film is great. The TV movie that is based more on the Stephen King book is weak.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 & 1978), Body Snatchers (1993): A movie so good, they've re-made it three times. I haven't seen the one that came out this year (The Invasion), but the three predecessors are all very good in their own unique way. "They're coming, they're coming! You're next!"
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Let me explain this very carefully, only the first one is worth the trouble. The sequels are just along the same lines as the Halloweens and Friday the Thirteenth movies. The first one though, is very good as it puts a new twist on the teen slasher. This time, he comes in your dreams. How can you stop him? How can you make anyone believe you?
Count Dracula (1977 TV Movie): This version of the classic story actually follows the novel quite faithfully. It's far superior to the very tame Bela Lugosi flick and the over the top, ridiculous Francis Ford Coppolla version.
Frankenstein (1992 TNT Movie): This is reasonably faithful to the novel and it certainly captures its themes quite well. The more recent Kenneth Branaugh film isn't bad but it's over-acted.
SSSSS: This is a campy B movie all the way but it is very creepy. "Red touch yellow kills a fellow."
Beware, the Blob: Also, a very campy B movie. It is hilarious. The blob devours everything including hippies, priests, and policemen. This is Larry Hagman's one and only movie he directed.
The Howling: This came out almost exactly at the same time as An American Werewolf in London. The Howling is much better, in terror, effects, and campiness.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The headline of the New York Times article above is unbelievably slanted. Nevermind that federal government has no business in the health care business and the veto merely put some limits on the whole bad idea.
How about a headline slanted the other way.
House Sustains Bush's Defense of the Constitution
Sunday, October 14, 2007
In a world gone mad, there is a little sanity. In Great Britain, it was ruled that An Inconvenient Truth, if it is to be shown in schools, must be accompanied by a disclaimer.
Schools must warn of Gore climate film bias
Of course, I already did my own research on this earlier this year.
A Convenient Lie Part 1
I assert that Al Gore created his film for political reasons. I outline his primary arguments.
"The Debate is Over" (A Convenient Lie Part 2)
I point out that there is a huge amount of qualified people who dispute Gore's claims. The debate is hardly over.
The Case for Global Warming (A Convenient Lie Part 3)
I summarize Gore's arguments.
Why It's Wrong (A Convenient Lie Part 4)
There are many holes in Gore's arguments. I go over just a few.
The Truth (A Convenient Lie Part 5)
Global warming is caused by (gasp) the Sun!
Politics vs Science (A Convenient Lie Part 6 - FINAL)
Politicians seem to care more about this issue than scientists. They wouldn't have anything to gain from this fear-mongering, would they?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Rockies over Phillies
Diamondbacks over Cubs
Yankees over Indians
Red Sox over Angels
League Championship Series
Rockies over Diamondbacks
Red Sox over Yankees
Red Sox over Rockies
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Unfortunately, this team is so poorly coached that they appear utterly inept. This position is available immediately. Hurry and apply before it's too late. Bill Cowher and Marty Shottenheimer would make primary choices but anyone who is fiery, and can plan solid game strategies and not be prone to making sorry-ass excuses would be considered.
The Los Angeles Dodgers organization is a proud major league baseball franchise with a rich tradition of success. The position offered here has major benefits including working with some of the finest young talent in the league.
"Player's managers" need not apply. Send your resumes to Sick_and_tired_of_feeble_management@dodgers.com.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
In between all this, he takes the time to condemn a few other things:
- He blasts the United States involvement in an "unjust" war in Iraq.
- He says the United States is in the war based on "blatant lies" by the federal government.
- He essentially says that democracy doesn't work because it breeds greedy corporations.
- He says the United States is destroying the planet by not ratifying the Kyoto accord.
- He blames America's evil on capitalism.
I wonder what political party bin Laden supports? Next month, I suppose he will lay out his platform for national health care.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
...I'm serious, these predictions are dead on.
...Okay, so I wasn't so great last year, but this year will be different.
...I got a really good feeling this time.
...Fine, so don't believe me, you'll be sorry.
This is my biggest surprise. After years of domination, the Patriot bubble will burst. They are due for a disappointing season and this will be it. They won't be bad but they won't be good enough to make the postseason. This division will be a fight between the Bills and Jets with the Bills winning the division and the Jets in the wild card. Just remember, you read it here first.
The Bengals will run away with this with a solid season. The Ravens will be competitive but will fall short. This will be a disappointing season for the Steelers and the Browns will be, well... the Browns.
My pick for this division will be ....(drumroll please)... The Colts! Okay, no surprise there. Some of the problems they had last year will turn up again but no one else in this division is going to compete with them.
This is going to be a close one between the Chargers and Broncos. The Chargers will prevail. The Raiders will improve to respectibility and the Chiefs are in for a sorry season.
Like their AFC counterparts, two teams will slug it out until the end. Eagles get the division, Cowboys get the wild-card. The Redskins and Giants will not be in the race in the second half. For once, this division will not be the 3 or 4 team race it usually is.
The Bears! Was that so hard? No, they're the only good team in this otherwise, sorry division.
The Saints will pick up where they left off last year and dominate this division. Carolina will stick near them for a while but will have to settle for a wild card. The Falcons and Buccaneers are going no where.
This is now the NFL's most competitive division. The Seahawks are a little older but still a good team. The other three all improved. This division will be a mess. All four teams will look good at different times of the season. The division lead will change frequently throughout the season. The team that will end up on top when the dust has settled will be the Rams.
AFC Division Winners = Bills, Bengals, Colts, Chargers
AFC Wild Card = Jets, Broncos
AFC Champion = Chargers
NFC Division Winners = Eagles, Bears, Saints, Rams
NFC Wild Card = Cowboys, Panthers
NFC Champion = Rams
NFL Champion = Chargers
Now you know. Do we need to actually go through the formality of playing the games?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Mr. Elder asserts that although he finds Vick's actions "disgusting" and "reprehensible", he doesn't feel that what he did should be considered illegal. He points out that if one were to take an axe and chop up one's own television set, it would be a stupid act but wouldn't be illegal as the TV was the property of that individual.
This riled up a few of his listeners. Last Friday, one guy called and said that his dogs are not property, but members of his family. Larry asked him if somebody came in to his house and killed his dog, would he treat that the same way as if it were his wife or his child? The man responded "yes", which I could tell just floored Larry. Yesterday, Larry reported that he had been inundated with emails from listeners who felt the same way as the Friday caller did. Larry tried to explain that we eat cows and chickens so what makes dogs and cats so special? Larry mentioned that he owns a cat but does not see the cat as an equal to other members of his family.
I can only add that I was as close to my dog as I had ever been to any other human being so I can relate to these callers. I know that not everybody feels this way (certainly not Michael Vick) and some people truly view their pets as "property".
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
"Everybody here has looked after me for years, If it wasn't for these folks, I wouldn't be nowhere. ... This is my crew." - Presidential Candidate Barack Obama at Bud Billiken Parade Aug 11, 2007
This gem was said to a primarily black audience that included children. This from the same man who had stressed the importance of education. His own website states "Because education begins at home, parents must set high standards and inspirational examples for their children. "
Is this what he means by high standards?
Monday, August 06, 2007
Dr. Todd Boyd, a professor at the University of Southern California calls Henry Aaron a "hater". Henry "Hank" Aaron has been a class act at least since he started playing Major League Baseball in 1954. In 1974, when he was being lambasted for breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, he never said a word about the hate that was bestowed upon him.
Comparing Ruth and Aaron indicates two different players. Ruth compiled his 714 total home runs in bunches. For a 15 year period, he was a holy terror as he hit 666 home runs over that time. Aaron wasn't quite as dangerous per year or at bat as he took 18 years to hit 673 home runs during his prime. Considering he played 8 more games per year, it took Aaron considerably more at bats to accomplish what Ruth did. What gets lost in that it also means Aaron helped his team with his power over a longer period of time.
Dr. Boyd is clueless. He gets into racism. HELLO! Aaron and Bonds are the same race so why would anyone not want Bonds to break Aaron's record due to race? With the language this professor uses (Ebonics?) in the article, he is just pandering. Why ESPN used this article is beyond me.
What floored me even more was what I heard on KABC radio today. Some idiot called in and said that white people still think that Babe Ruth has the home run record. No one I know, of any skin color thinks that. That includes my wife who knows next to nothing about baseball records.
No, I think most people like myself who hate the fact that Bonds is breaking Aaron's record hate it because Bonds is a steroid-using asshole. I hope Alex Rodriguez breaks Bonds record soon.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
This year is probably not our year. Let's give these guys more games to work together and hopefully make the playoffs. Then look out next year.
We should be addressing real issues, not chasing shadows. Also, note that people talking about global warming as real are politicians, not scientists - political organizations, not scientific ones. The Sierra Club sure believes in it. Check out Scientific American. The most respected public scientific journal/magazine is very neutral about the whole thing.
China Overtakes U.S. as World's Biggest CO2 Emitter
Do you think China, perhaps, has an interest in the U.S. shutting down more industries?
The theory of man-made (anthropogenic) global warming is highly suspect. The whole global warming theory - man-made or not is not even universally accepted as the southern hemisphere of the Earth has actually been cooling. (The alarmists conveniently don't mention this.)
But, even if it was true! Even if the alarmists are right, they are still not telling us everything. Increased CO2 in the air has benefits. In case you didn't know, plants breathe Carbon Dioxide. Increased levels of CO2 means flora, on the whole, thrive. Plankton, the lowest link in the food chain, multiply. This is good news. Global cooling would be a much bigger problem. Witness the little ice age 250 years ago when much of Europe was starving due to low crop yields and a scarcity of fish.
Either way, human beings adapt. Let's get back to real problems like terrorism and real (non CO2) pollution.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
If I had just crawled out of a cave and I was told that temperatures were rising, I'm pretty sure the first thing I would think of is the Sun. Call me crazy, call me hopelessly naive, but I tend to look for straightforward, even obvious answers to problems. Neither the IPCC nor Al Gore seem to want to do this, however. Instead, they came up with a contrived, complicated reason. Now of course, Climate Science is complicated, Gore used this to put on his smoke and mirrors act. To do this, he hardly mentions the Sun at all. The only time he really does is when he talks about how greenhouse gases trap it. The IPCC and Gore treat sunlight as some sort of universal constant.
The Sun has Weather too
Sunshine is not a constant. It varies year to year. One of the ways we track it is by sunspot activity. Essentially, the more sunspots, the more magnetically active the Sun is. The more magnetically active the Sun, the more energy it spews. We've been tracking sunspots since the 1600's - Galileo was the first to discover them in 1610. NASA has been collecting data on them.
I think the chart above speaks for itself.
Still don't believe?
Mars has shrinking ice caps. We've known about them since 1671 (Huygens). Between then and now, there has never been a time where they are so small. In fact, at the rate they are shrinking, they might be completely gone in a few decades - much the same way the northern ice cap on Earth may disappear soon.
Are the Martians burning fossil fuels?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
- -There has been an increase in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere over the past 150 years.
- -Global temperatures have risen over the same period of time.
- -From the two facts listed above, we can conclude that global warming is caused by human beings spewing CO2 since the Industrial Revolution has occurred over approximately the same period of time.
The Carbon Dioxide - Temperature Correlation
Let's look at the CO2 graph. This graph is based on the IPCC argument that CO2 levels are rising and are at record levels.
Notice anything unusual about this graph? One is the gap from 1900 to 1986. Why is there no data for these years?
Also, the data up until 1950 came from ice core samples taken in the Arctic. From 1986 on, the data comes from direct readings from the 13,000 ft Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. That in itself is pretty interesting isn't it? To anyone who's not so eager to just swallow this graph up and accept it as "truth", it leads to the question; Why did they use two different types of data for two different time periods?
Let's look at another graph.
This is a graph showing CO2 levels up until 1960. The difference between this and the previous one is that this data comes from direct sampling from the Pacific. Notice how the CO2 levels are actually much higher in the 1800's. Also notice how some samples are at around 500 parts per million (ppm). In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore specifically states that CO2 levels have never reached above 300 ppm until now.
For a full explanation of these graphs, look at this article.
Now let's take a look at the whole Carbon Dioxide - Global Temperature correlation. Here is a frame taken directly from An Inconvenient Truth:
This is from the part of the film where Gore is comparing global levels of CO2 (red) to global temperatures (white). Gore expects you to see this and immediately see the correlation that in general, when CO2 levels are high, so is the temperature. Now keep in mind that this shot is taken right from the movie. I'm going to show you something I'm sure Gore did not intend for you to see.
I drew in some vertical lines. You may have to click on the image to see my point here. Notice how as the lines show, temperatures change first, CO2 levels change later. In line #1, the white line is bottomed out. Notice the CO2 level has not bottomed out at this point. It's following the same general pattern as the temperature but seems to lag behind it. Line #2 is an example where the temperature has peaked, yet the CO2 is still rising. What does this graph show? It shows that temperature increases and decreases affect CO2 levels, not the other way around. In other words, raise the temperature and eventually, the CO2 level will rise. Al Gore and the IPCC want you to believe that changing the CO2 levels change the temperature. Gore's own graph contradicts this claim. I'll concede that not every single peak and valley indicate this, but look at the chart, most of them do.
Above is more of the same. This time, we're at the end of the chart (where Gore goes up in a crane to demonstrate the "off the chart" CO2 levels we're going to reach in 50 years or less). Even here, where the temperature and CO2 levels are rising as Gore strongly emphasizes, my point shows again. Look at line 6 where we have the current temperature/CO2 rise, the temperature began rising before the CO2 levels.
Al Gore is lying.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I want to wrap up my Convenient Lie series (I've got 3 more chapters coming) and move on to some other stuff.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
- The Earth is getting warmer and warmer
- This warming is primarily caused by human activity
- The results of global warming are potentially disastrous if we don't change the way we do things now.
Notice how this is slightly different than the politically motivated 4 points that Gore makes (See A Convenient Lie Part 1). Politics aside, these are the arguments that the scientists who believe in global warming are making.
Of course, arguments 2 and 3 are meaningless unless you can demonstrate merit in argument number 1.
Above is the now famous "hockey stick" graph that indicates the correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature levels. The basic idea is: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas (a gas that traps heat). Human-caused pollutants since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have been adding to the CO2 levels of the atmosphere. As a result of more of this heat-trapping gas, the Earth's climate has been getting warmer.
Most major cities have been keeping daily temperature since the 1880's, some have records as far back as the 1860's. It is generally agreed that the United States and Europe have seen an increase in average temperature over this time by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. This can be significant enough to melt ice in northern regions or at high elevations up to a month early. Indeed, it is now believed that the glaciers in the lower 48 states (Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and California all have glaciers) will be completely gone before the end of the 21'st century, possibly by 2050.
In addition, the increase in large hurricanes has been attributed to the global warming effect. As ice melts into the oceans, the salinity goes down and cools the water. This cooler, less salty, ocean water will evaporate quicker and cause larger storms.
The aforementioned increase in large storms is one of many potential disasters increased global warming will cause. Additionally, we will have to concern ourselves with:
- More disease as bacteria and insects that bear dangerous contagions tend to thrive in warmer weather.
- Increased ocean levels that can potentially flood coastal cities.
- Droughts will occur in certain areas, flooding in others as storms will tend to be fewer, but larger.
- More wildfires due to dry lightning and drought.
- Children and the elderly will have problems dealing with the hotter weather.
I want to note that I have read many articles on this subject. Some from other bloggers, others from scientific organizations. Here are some.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
The above statement is convenient, isn't it. Gore has plenty of people believing that most, if not all of the scientists in the world are all in agreement on global warming. I say convenient because that way, anybody who argues his points can easily get labelled as misinformed or being anti-science. That the debate is over is one of the most ridiculous things Gore says.
1n 1997, Frederick Seitz, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences convinced thousands of fellow scientists to sign the Oregon Petition, an act to urge the United States to not join the Kyoto accord. It's been alleged that some of the 19,700 signatures were fudged and duplicated. Point is that not all of them were.
More recently, many verified climatologists, who had at one time believed in global warming, have reconsidered their positions. They really took issue with a recent UN report that wasn't very scientifically-based. Look at the article Once Believers, Now Skeptics.
A November 2006 survey of environmental scientists indicated more evidence that the debate is not over. The poll resulted in the following:
- 34 percent of environmental scientists and practitioners disagree that global warming is a serious problem facing the planet.
- 41 percent disagree that the planet's recent warmth "can be, in large part, attributed to human activity."
- 71 percent disagree that recent hurricane activity is significantly attributable to human activity.
- 33 percent disagree that the U.S. government is not doing enough to address global warming.
- 47 percent disagree that international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol provide a solid framework for combating global climate change.
One thing is sure though, this issue is far from the scientific consensus that Gore mentions - making his statement a convenient lie.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Your Score: Artoo
You scored 62% airiness, 26% squishiness, and 36% edginess!
According to our patented JawamaticTM technology, you are most like Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) in personality.
Artoo, being an astromech droid, favours technical challenges. He's quick-witted and, when called upon, can come up with creative solutions to difficult, complex problems. Artoo is logical, flexible, and ideas-driven.
Artoo is, in a word, eccentric.
(The polar opposite of Artoo-Detoo is See-Threepio.)
The eight profiles are as follows:
Al Gore seems angry. After the election, he needed a way to avenge the people who kept him out of office, if only for his own personal vindication. He did what he felt was the surest way. He took a very speculative and debatable scientific theory, stated it as fact, and blamed it on the Bush administration.
Global warming has turned into a very effective campaign as it undermines Bush and the Republican party in several ways:
- While Bush and Republicans talk about Al Queda, Iraq, North Korea, and Iran as being the primary threats to the United States, global warming dilutes and downplays the significance of the "war on terror" in favor of what is basically, a war against American industry.
- It perpetuates the concept that the Republican party is all about oil and industry, at the expense of public welfare.
- It perpetuates the concept that Republicans are anti-science.
I do not remember Gore ever speaking of global warming in his campaign speeches. Most, if not all of this concern seems to have come after the 2000 election. In the film An Inconvenient Truth, Gore tells us that this has been a long time concern of his. I guess he was too busy inventing the Internet to tell us all about the global warming crisis in the days before he was vice president.I've watched the film An Inconvenient Truth - twice, in fact. Gore throws a lot of evidence about global warming at us. Evidence is one thing but as any real scientist will tell you, it takes more than evidence to draw conclusions. Funny how Gore claims so much scientific knowhow, yet doesn't grasp this principle. For example, look at the "big bang theory" of the creation of the universe. There is tons of evidence that support it, very little that disputes it, and it is generally accepted by most astronomers and astrophysicists. Yet it is still considered "theory" as it has not been proven. In his film, Gore draws conclusions. This makes the whole movie false. Gore concludes that:
- There is no debate amongst the top climate scientists in the world. Global warming is happening.
- Global warming is happening due to the industrial world spewing loads of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere.
- The effects of global warming will be totally catastrophic.
- Global warming catastrophes can be averted if we start taking measures now.
My next posts are going to look into these "conclusions". The first one is the easiest one to debunk. No way are scientists all in agreement on the reality of global warming. My next post later this week will be about an increasing number of the world's climate scientists that do not agree with Gore's conclusions.
Friday, April 27, 2007
There's a myriad of reasons for this. As in anything in life, staying at the top is about the hardest thing there is to do. This behemoth company had decaying factories, couldn't keep up with the fast pace of technology, was too slow to adjust to current trends, used typical American short-term planning, had no global strategy, and couldn't keep up with quality standards of it's foreign competition. It's amazing that GM was perched where they were for as long as they were.
It was also recently revealed that due to being tied to the UAW, GM is paying pensions to hundreds of thousands of ex-employees. Approximately $3000 of every GM car sold goes just into paying these pensions. Chrysler and Ford are in similar boats but the rest of the auto world is not. Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, and BMW are building cars and trucks in the Southern United States to avoid the unions. The big three aren't able to do this.
Don't shed tears for GM, though. They should have seen this coming years ago. Instead, they maintained a state of corporate denial until a few years ago. Believe it or not, GM seems to be coming back. Many of their latest offerings have been top or near the top rated by the auto magazines. Cadillac, suddenly has become one of the most desirable brands around. It's hip and trendy to own a Cadillac again after years of being perceived as stodgy boats for people over 70. The Corvette is now considered to be a world-class performance car, as good, if not better than many Porsches. Saturn is grabbing attention with its very good Aura. GM may be on the way to being a top brand again. It's hard to be that optimistic about Ford and Chrysler. Ford has had a decent showing this year sales-wise, but they have a long way to go to be profitable again. Chrysler, with no help from it's parent company Daimler, is only worth around $5 billion. 10 years ago, it was worth $39 billion.
As for Toyota, it's not as rosy as it would seem. Quality problems, particularly in the transmissions, have been reported lately. Most of these problems have been in the latest version of the Camry sedan, which is their bread and butter.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I am insisting on placing a disclaimer in-between though, unless the overdue apology comes.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
In this writer’s opinion, if the Left in America could re-write our language, the way they continually try to re-write their political and philosophical failings, the term “conservative” would emerge as a four letter word! Liberals have repeatedly tried to label Conservatives as heartless, narrow-minded, money hording, tax evading, bigoted exploiters of the poor and the environment … a misrepresentation which, it appears, the Media willingly perpetuates. Well, this is one Conservative who’s not afraid to stand up and … set the record straight! (Read on, you may be more of a Conservative than you think!)
Who we are … are people who believe that the true measure of an individual is determined by his or her values ... not their color, ethnicity and/or political affiliations;
Who we are … are fathers, husbands, mothers, sons and daughters who understand that America is at war with an enemy that will employ any and all opportunities … and exploit any perceived weaknesses … political and psychological … to kill Americans, whenever and wherever they find them… and destroy those very principles, freedoms and ideals which protect us … and upon which this great nation was founded; These enemies seek sympathy from us, and then exploit that sympathy. Just ask Israel.
Who we are … are citizens, tired and disgusted with the political left’s, “Blame America First” crowd, who eagerly rush to judgment (and the nearest camera) to blame this country and her people for all the world’s ills, from … Global Warming to International Terrorism;
Who we are … are Americans who are grateful for a President who understands that National Security must come before Political Correctness; Personally, I am not all that grateful as I don't feel Bush adheres to this policy very well. As for the left's "Blame America First" assessment, Mr. Esseff is right on.
Who we are … are parents who recognize that our children are America’s most precious asset. That’s why we are so vocal against the Media’s obsession with Hollywood’s perversities … and the morally corrupt, socially inept “Pop Culture Icons” it incessantly creates for our youth. Why is it okay for children (or anybody else) to call women "bitches" and "hoes" or call police officers "pigs" and "murderers" as long as it is done to rap music?
Who we are … are political voices, many of whom are former Liberals, who now recognize our actions must be based on realities … unlike today’s Liberals who seem content to act on “feelings” and speak only in platitudes;
Who we are … are the sons and daughters of immigrants, many of whom came to America themselves to escape tyranny and discrimination in their own homeland … but they came here legally! As Conservatives, we demand our lawmakers take any and all steps necessary to immediately enforce our laws, secure our borders and protect our nation; Again, the Bush administration has failed here. The first act of anti-terrorism after 9/11 should have been to shore up the borders. Also, our forefathers and mothers entered this country to work and create a better future for their children, not to take advantage of free money and health care and spit on the very nation that provides this for them.
Who we are … are voters who demand that far-reaching governmental policies must be based on fact … not feelings … and debated on the merits of science and pragmatism … not political correctness … nor expediency; ...nor made up science or re-focusing the issue on the wrong thing.
Who we are … are people of faith who believe in the sanctity of life, the blessedness of marriage and the preservation of the family. We also hold that abortion is immoral … and partial birth abortion is nothing short of legislative genocide;
Who we are … are constituents disgusted by the posturing of liberal politicians who seek only to exploit the horrors of war through the debating of defeatist Resolutions. Resolutions proposed by Liberals for no purpose other than to embellish themselves with the far left, while embarrassing the country and our military … without any care nor regard as to how their actions may demoralize our troops … and encourage our enemies! Talk about demoralizing...how about Nancy Pelosi entering the Lion's den in the cowardly, submissive fashion she did?-Utterly disgusting and embarrassing.
Who we are … are concerned individuals who recognize that the Left’s mantra “I support the troops but not the war” is an oxymoron perpetuated by those whose only intent is to weaken the war effort and demoralize our fighting forces. It’s impossible to separate “the warrior from the war” and if you don’t understand that fact, then re-think your position, because the fastest and most effective method of defeating an army is to destroy its morale by questioning its mission … just ask our enemies!! This is especially true when you realize our military is completely voluntary. Telling them what they are doing is wrong is not supporting them. It is utter disrespect for choices they have made.
Who we are … are Americans who sadly recognize with War comes casualties. But we also recognize day, after day, after day, that to only report the deaths of America’s bravest … while completely ignoring the successes, achievements and objectives for which they died … is a disgrace of such proportion that it makes us wonder …. On whose side is the Media? On the side that gets them the most attention and ratings. US soldiers getting killed sells newspapers and puts people in front of the TV. Not only that, the media knows such coverage will anger people and get them out to protest, more ratings to them. Showing people in true support of the troops and the mission isn't nearly as newsworthy. With today's media, we probably would have lost World War II had they shown the carnage. People would have been convinced we don't belong in "Europe's war".
Who we are … are people proud that under the Bush Administration, despite numerous attempts, not one single terrorist attack has occurred on our soil in over 5 ½ years; our economy has climbed to an all time high; taxes and inflation are at twenty year lows; Federal tax revenues are the highest in our nation’s history and the deficit is down by almost 50% (as predicted by the President). Yet, despite all this, the liberal leadership in Congress is threatening to “take America in a new direction”! Additionally, home ownership is at an all time high. The percentage of minority-owned businesses is at an all-time high. Unemployment is at extremely low levels. All this is going on despite the media's seemingly constant warnings that "the housing market bubble is about to burst", "a recession looms", "jobs are being exported to China and India", and of course..."George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Who we are … are freedom loving individuals who are opposed to activist Judges who seem determined to impose upon us their failed, liberal policies through judicial edicts … rather than our legislative processes;
Who we are … are compassionate people who have always practiced what Arthur Brooks’ book “WHO REALLY CARES”, recently confirmed. Namely, when it comes to helping the poor … across the board … Conservatives, from the working poor to the wealthy … consistently give more of their money … and their time … than liberals do! Not surprising, these studies confirm what many of us have known for decades … namely, that liberals are quick to give away other people’s money but reluctant to part with any of their own! Liberals don't want to help those less fortunate, they want more legislation set for the "rich" to do it for them and then want to bash them for not doing enough.
Who we are … are historians who recognize that the Liberals’ plans for “appeasement” and “cut and run” are not new ones! Britain and France did it in 1914 and their “success” resulted in World War I; Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did it in 1939 and his “plan” ignited World War II. Because of today’s high tech weaponry, our world is a far more dangerous place; consequently, victory is our only option! What many don't seem to understand is we are at war, not just against Iraq, but against the entire anti-western philosophy that is radical Islam. This war is being fought throughout the world and within our own country. When Muslim taxi drivers refuse Jews for fares - When Muslims demand that supermarkets stop selling pork products because it is against their religion - These are acts against the American way of life and it is only the beginning. Muslims are burning thousands of automobiles and other property every year in Europe. Unfortunately, that's probably going to start happening here. The front for this war is in Iraq and Afghanistan, it needs to stay there.
Who we are … are people to whom every life is precious, but we also recognize that freedom is fragile. In a world where the Media’s “perception” becomes the public’s “reality”, it’s easy to forget that in America’s last great struggle, 407,300 of our fighting forces gave their lives … so we could have ours. Our losses averaged 298 a day … for each and every day of World War II. In comparison, our Iraqi losses have averaged fewer than 3 a day… and as tragic as that is… it’s up to each and every one of us to make sure none of them shall have died in vain.
Who we are … are a population grateful to this nation’s men and women (and the families they left behind) who sacrifice their blood, sweat and tears to defend America … her people … and her way of life. To you, we say “thank you” ... and to God, we pray for your blessings … protection … and safe return.
Who we are … are people firmly committed to Jefferson’s belief … “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press…” (Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786). But when the press abused the public’s trust, he also wrote, “A truth now and then, projecting into an ocean of newspaper lies, serves like headlands to correct our course” (Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1815).
I have paid for this ad with my own money, in hopes that this too will serve as a “truth” to those needing a course correction.
George J. Esseff, Sr GEsseff@LetsSetTheRecordStraight.org
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all I got is a photograph and I realize you're not coming back anymore.
-Ringo Starr and George Harrison
It's ironic, maybe even a little bit tragic, that most of my fondest memories of my father are when I was very young. At that age, I was my Dad's pride and joy. I remember him carrying me upside down over his shoulders, calling me his "sack of potatoes". I remember him taking me to all sorts of places, my favorite being Santa's Village, a now closed amusement park in the San Bernardino mountains. I remember him taking a lot of interest in me, what I thought, and what I did.
I was recently listening to a Frank Sinatra CD I had given him years ago and I remembered something I hadn't thought about in many, many years;
I was 4 years old and in nursery school. I remember some kid calling another kid "stupid". That night, I mentioned it to my dad. He told me that calling someone "stupid" was a terrible thing to do and he never wanted to hear me ever do that. So, as a young impressionable kid, I had my first "forbidden" word. Of course, it didn't take me long to use it against my mother, which of course, resulted in a not too pleasant punishment. Some time shortly after that, I was with my Dad in the car. He had the radio set to his favorite radio station - KGIL 1260 AM. I heard a song I had never heard before, it was Frank Sinatra and he was singing a song that had the word "stupid" in it. I misheard the lyrics and thought the song went like this:
...And then I go and spoil it all by saying that you're stupid when I love you.
I thought this song was hysterically funny. My dad was amused that I found this song so amusing. For a while, whenever that song came on, my dad would point it out and say something like "they're playing your song". Finally, he bought the album. I remember him showing it to me in the store pointing out that Something Stupid was there.
As I grew older, it got harder and harder to amuse or please my father. He grew cynical and very critical of everything I did or said. We grew farther and farther apart and the older I got, the more I felt I had disappointed him. As an adult, I rarely spoke to him knowing that anything I said could spark his fury.
As he aged into his late 70's and early 80's, he got sick and became feeble. In the past few years, he wasn't the man I had known all my life. In many ways, I lost my father before March 15th this year. I refuse to remember him as the helpless old man he had become. Instead, I'll remember him as the stern, unyielding, son of a bitch that I both hated and loved.
And Dad, as you left this world and went on to the next, I hope that even though we rarely said anything pleasant to each other, that you felt you raised a son who is at least, somewhat worthy of your expectations.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I - so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."
-Ann Coulter at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington
A lot of people are upset at Coulter's above remark. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the way people are grossly misinterpreting her remark. The misinterpretation is, that Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot". It's amazing that so many people didn't get the joke - Democrats and Republicans alike.
For those of you under the misconception that Coulter thinks John Edwards is gay or bisexual, you need a translator. You need someone who knows how to translate political satire into common, straightforward speech. I guess I'll be that person today.
Plain and simply, Ann Coulter did not call John Edwards gay or question his sexuality in any way. She was referring to Isaiah Washington, the star of TV's Grey's Anatomy. He did actually call someone a "faggot". He was subsequently condemned by his Hollywood peers and forced to make a public apology. He was also coerced into seeking counselling for his words.
Now see if you can follow this (I know it's hard for some of you): Ann Coulter was referencing Isaiah Washington's words as an example of why she did not want to say what she truly felt about John Edwards. I'm sure Coulter knew that Edwards is married, has children, and is not accustomed to having people question his sexual preferences. In other words, she mockingly pretended to want to say bad things, in her own words, about Edwards, but didn't because she didn't want to receive the same scorn as Washington. Had she spoken her mind, would she have made gay references? It's very doubtful when I'm sure, she would have so many more factually-based choice things to say.
So go ahead and object to her remark for making questionable references. Just don't misinterpret her message.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
- Racism is where one treats an individual or group as "special" and deserving of special treatment that they would not otherwise receive. This special treatment is bestowed purely because of the color of their skin or of their different country of origin.
Let me add one more quote:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." - Dr. Martin Luther King
Please remember this when I make my next statements concerning what I believe is the most blatant and harmful example of racism in America. It is the quota system. This asinine idea was given the name "affirmative action". The idea of forcing educational institutions and employers to be mindful of the color of their applicants clearly violates my own definition as well, as those immortal words of Dr. King. In fact, both Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy expressed that quota systems would do more harm than good to the civil rights movement.
This is not reverse racism, it is in fact, treating minorities like second-class citizens who are otherwise, incapable of finding the jobs or getting accepted on their own. It is not only insulting to truly capable individuals, it attaches a stigma of self-doubt. Some may and do wonder if they were truly deserving of the fruits of their accomplishments. What's more, individuals are getting into positions they wouldn't have gotten to without the quota system. Statistics indicate that a much higher rate of college dropouts are minorities who got into the college due to the quota system and not by being exemplary students.
It is ironic that it was Richard Nixon, in trying to boost the Republican party's appeal to minorities, who incorporated the quota system as law. Yet, whenever the subject of removing the system comes up, it is the Democrats who can be counted on to vehemently defend the system.
If you want examples of individual liberals making remarks that can be thought of as racist, you can look up Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Louis Farrakan. Nothing these individuals, or anybody else, for that matter can be anywhere near as damaging as the every day double standard that goes on.
- Quarterback Matt Leinart has a baby out of wedlock. Even though this was announced after he had left the school, USC was inundated with calls from alumni and others who wanted to express their disapointment. A few months earlier, basketball player LeBron James was announced to have a baby out of wedlock. Guess how many people called the Cleveland Cavaliers? I'll bet it was less than 1. Why? Because people judge these two athletes subconsciously by the color of their skin. Blacks, being inferior, can slide past these rule of morality but a fine upstanding white man cannot.
- David Howard, an assistant to Washington D.C.'s black mayor, Anthony Williams, used the word "niggardly" in a private staff meeting. This raised national attention. Why? The word sounds racist even though it has no such implications, whatsoever in it's definition. Howard was forced to apologize and resign for using the word. Why does nobody get upset when a black man uses the word "caucus"?
- From the LA Weekly: "Last Halloween in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, where neighbors put on a lavish fright fest each year, three young women left a haunted house and found themselves caught in a street brawl with a crowd of teenagers. By melee’s end, one woman’s face was fractured in 12 spots, her teeth were broken and she’d suffered partial loss of sight in one eye. Two of the women suffered brain concussions and assorted broken bones after being kicked, punched and even struck by a skateboard wielded as a weapon. " The attackers were black teenagers. In the trial, the judge ruled against DNA evidence and slapped the attackers with house arrest. Even with this slap on the wrist, the black community went up in arms and many were calling the ruling "unjust". I wonder what the extent of the damage due to the inevitable riots would have been had the skin colors been reversed and the same result had happened. How much of Jesse Jackson's face would we be seeing right now?
- Do I even have to bring up OJ?
Monday, February 26, 2007
Since the Academy of Motion Pictures has changed the definition of what "documentary" means, I think we need to re-visit some older films. Since films that are mostly fictitious now qualify as a "documentary", there are many past films that I feel should get retroactive Oscars for being excellent documentary films.
The Godfather: This is an excellent "documentary" on immigration to America, particularly from the Italian point of view.
Jaws: Who can forget this fascinating "documentary" on marine biology?
Star Wars: This is a very in-depth look at the American Space Program. Many NASA scientists give their points of view. I particularly appreciate the disagreement among scientists as to the nature of the force. This "documentary" gives you a lot to ponder.
Sideways: Alexander Payne's fascinating "documentary" that explores Southern California's coastal wine region and delves into how wine characteristics reflect on those who drink them.
Cinderella: This "documentary" examines the conflict between the ruling class, the middle class, and the lower class. It's particularly effective at the end where it shows it is truly possible for someone in the lowest class (a slave) can actually rise up to the ruling class with a little luck.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Yes, this short month really opens my eyes. You see, this is because, as I have been told, that the other 11 months of the year are "White History Months". Therefore, the rest of the year is where we only think and talk about George Washington, Christopher Columbus, et. al. From March to January, black slavery never existed and every individual of any historical importance was white.
Sounds okay, to me as a white person although, I do ponder about Latinos, Asians, and American Indians and why they apparently are not a part of history. Some radically-thinking people believe that history is history, and not specific to any one particular race. I wonder if there is any truth in this.
Monday, February 12, 2007
We all have our opinions on this matter. I am going to give you my definition of racism. Feel free to comment, criticize, and give your own definition.
My definition of racism is in three parts:
- Racism is where one believes that another person or group of people are inferior due to the color of their skin or their different country of origin.
- Racism is where one believes that another person or group of people are not deserving of rights or materials due to the color of their skin or their different country of origin. I don't think too many people would take issue with my above statements. It's my third form of racism that I suspect many might disagree with.
- Racism is where one treats an individual or group as "special" and deserving of special treatment that they would not otherwise receive. This special treatment is bestowed purely because of the color of their skin or of their different country of origin.
When one witnesses one or more of the above actions, one might be inclined to privately or publicly call the individual a "racist". I disagree with this assumption. Only the person who exhibited the behavior really knows in his or her heart, whether or not it's really due to racism.
A good example is the case of Michael Richards. Recently, at a comedy club, some individuals, who happened to be black, heckled him, apparently very strongly. Richards rebuked with a stream of foul language and racial epithets (including the 'n' word). Richards was obviously really pissed off. He knew nothing about his verbal attackers, personally, but the one thing he could see was the color of their skin. He wanted to get back at these hecklers. Now the questions are: Did Michael Richards spew out hateful stuff because he knew saying things like the 'n' word would offend his attackers or was there a deeper purpose? Did Michael Richards, in fact, hate them specifically because they were black? The answer to these questions is Only Michael Richards knows. The rest of us can endlessly speculate, debate, and accuse but that won't answer the question.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
The Colts have the better quarterback, the better offensive line, and the better receivers. The Colts have the better defensive line and they are probably about equal at the linebacker position. The Colts have the most consistent place kicker in the game. The game will not be played in sub-freezing temperatures.
Anything can happen but I have to go with the favorite here. I predict it to be a close, tough defensive battle in the first half, but the Colts offense will prevail in the second half and win easily. Final score: Colts 34 Bears 13.
Of course, I've been mostly wrong this entire postseason.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Sunday, February 4 is a big day. It is, after all, Superbowl Sunday, arguably the most important Sunday to Americans with Easter coming in at a distant second. The weeks preceding a Super Bowl are always filled with inside stories and such. Sports magazines and Sports sections in newspapers will inevitably give us stories concerning past Superbowls, team histories, more information about the host city, player stories about what it took for them to get to this point, and other human interest stories. One of the leading stories this year, is of the two coaches - Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts.
One of the interesting stories about Dungy is that he proved to the football world that he is not afflicted by Shottenheimer Syndrome (or maybe Knox Syndrome. You pick.). This syndrome, in case you don't know, is when an NFL coach completely loses his ability to effectively coach in the month of January. Dungy certainly seemed to have it. Year after year with the Buccaneers and then, Colts would inexplicably fail after successful regular seasons.
Lovie Smith, only in his third year as a head coach, was selected as a defensive coach by Dungy for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith made a big impact as the Rams defensive coordinator and helped them get to the 2002 Superbowl. When he took over a fledgling Bears team, they improved immediately.
These, and other stories have come come out. I am a bit dismayed, however, at why such a big deal has to be made that both of these successful coaches are black. This isn't the 1940's. It's not the '60s. When do we just congratulate these coaches and not pay so much attention to the color of their skin? The media didn't point out that two of the first head coaches to be fired after the regular season ended just happened to be black. Blacks are and have been successful in virtually every aspect of business. We've been at the point where they, as much as anybody else, are judged on their abilities. Those who succeed are rewarded.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
In case you don't know, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have been the two best selling automobiles in the United States for the past 12 years. At any given time during this period, one of those two cars has been number one and the other number two. Before that, Ford owned that honor with the Taurus from the mid '80s to the mid '90s.
It's a cold Saturday morning in Fontana at the California Speedway on the parking lot. About 30 of us are sitting on cold metal chairs slurping down coffee as we wait for the late-comers to sign up and file in. Finally, a guy gives us some basic instructions and breaks us into groups. He reminds us that we need to drive safely, be objective, and be thorough in our evaluation of these cars. We all are given clipboards with evaluation sheets where we are to comment on what we liked and didn't like about different aspects of the 3 cars.
Here is my evaluation summary of the three cars in the order I drove them. All three were the top of the line versions with leather and navigation systems and V6 engines:
Toyota Camry: If I can sum this vehicle up in one word, that word is "pleasant". The seats were made of soft, very comfortable leather. The carpeting was plush. The knobs and dials were all large and in reach. The displays were clear. Everything I touched had a solid feel to it - switches clicked, seats smoothly adjusted, and knobs turned easily. In driving it through the pylon cone track that was set up, it was very quiet and the ride was smooth. However, when it came to hard cornering, the tires protested easily. The Camry was easy to control but it had a low threshold in tight turns. All three of us in my driving group agreed on this. The Camry is a great family car, but not a great driver's car.
Ford Fusion: This was almost the anti-Camry. In another age, this would have been considered a luxury sports sedan. In today's hotly competitive world, however, it comes up short next to the Camry. The interior was black, first of all, which is not my color of choice (The Camry and Accord were a more pleasing tan color inside). The seats were firm to the point of being hard. The carpet was cheap. The insides of the doors were primarily plastic. Overall, it just didn't feel as good as the Camry inside. The gauges were sportier, but not necessarily better. The radio had too many buttons, which were tiny. On the other hand, when I was behind the wheel, it was much more fun than the Camry. The Fusion gripped, the steering gave excellent feedback and the seats, although they were too hard, had side supports which really helped when screeching around the tight turns on the track. The Fusion felt like it had more power than the Camry, even though, in actuality, it had 40 less horsepower. The only negative in driving it was that the engine made a loud roar when accelerating hard. As a passenger, I would rather be in a Camry. As a driver on a straight interstate highway, I'd rather be in a Camry also. However, on a curvy mountain road, I'll take the Fusion.
Honda Accord: Funny how things go. This one, I would put right in between the other two. The Honda had a nice feel to it . It was the roomiest, especially in the back seat. It was the only car where my head didn't graze the ceiling. I found no fault with the Accord's interior but it didn't quite feel as luxurious as the Camry. It did have great steering, right up there with the Fusion. I found it's limits sooner, though so it did not quite have the handling dynamics of the Ford.
After all this was done. It was obvious to me that this whole event was really about the Ford Fusion. I spoke with one of the professional drivers who was with us on our test drives. She confirmed that this was a Ford sponsored event but we weren't supposed to know that going in. To tell the truth, I already knew it as I had seen the TV commercials where ordinary folks who had just participated in the event were giving glowing praise of the Ford Fusion. I had even been pre-interviewed by a man with a camera crew. Unfortunately, I gave my truthful opinions as I stated above so don't look for me to be on TV anytime soon.
I don't mind having gone to this event under a somewhat false pretense. I did have a little problem at the end of my time there. After submitting my clipboard containing my opinions, I was directed to a new covered area which turned out to nothing less than a Ford Fusion showroom. There were several Fusions on display and commercials running on monitors. A Ford spokesman then told us that Ford was out to show that an American car can compete and beat the Japanese imports.
That's the real kicker to me. I am well aware of the fact that the Fusion is made in Mexico, the Toyota Camry is made in Kentucky, and the Honda Accord is made in Ohio. I wrote about this last July in What is an American Car? Not only that, the Fusion is really a Mazda 6 underneath while the Camry and Accord were actually specifically designed by Americans for the American market. I pointed this out to the spokesperson. When I did, one of the drivers, who happened to be nearby and heard me, chuckled knowing that I was right. The spokesman pointed out that even though the Fusion is made in Mexico, the profits go to Dearborn Michigan (Ford's headquarters). I told him I would rather my car-buying dollars supported the people who built and worked in the plants. I am much more sympathetic to the welders, machinists, and assembly workers than to a few suits in some corporate office. Honda and Toyota invested in American workers while Ford is obviously getting out of the United States in terms of actual production of their product.
Interestingly enough, Ford has reported this week that they lost 12.7 billion dollars in 2006. The company is in real trouble and will diminish in the market significantly if it survives at all. This saddens me as my family has mostly been a "Ford family". My father said they were the best cars he ever owned and I've always loved Mustangs and Thunderbirds and I still do. However, if Ford is going to build Japanese-designed cars in Mexico and attempt to pass them off as American cars, I'll have little sympathy for them as the company fades into oblivion.