Top Gear – More Than Just a Car Show

01.06.2009

In case you’ve never heard of it, Top Gear is a BBC automotive television show featuring the perfectly complimentary personalities or Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. What’s great about the show, is not necessarily the car reviews but the interactions between the show’s hosts. Jeremy, a tall sarcasm-filled, wiseass with an equally tall ego, is the guy everyone in your group of friends love to complain about. Richard Hammond, a short boyish speed-loving car junkie is your scrappy little brother that your friends like tagging along, because he doesn’t take any of their crap. James is well, James – your stuffy older brother who thinks everything is stupid unless it’s “dignified”, bland, and super-practical. Each one of the hosts checks and balances each other, and the friendship between them as depicted on the show really makes for some entertaining television.

Another impressive aspect of the show that’s rarely mentioned is its production quality. Whoever the director of photography is for the on-location footage needs an award. The landscape shots are simply gorgeous. The editor needs some recognition as well because the editing of all the driving and on-location footage is just excellent.

Even if you’re not a car guy, the adventures of these 3 TV hosts, along with excellent production value makes this show well worth the watch.

Cellphones, Driving, and the Law

11.14.2007

As a motorcycle rider, I obviously hate people driving and talking on their cell phones at the same time. I’m always afraid that they’re not paying attention and are going to plow into me. On the other hand, I also have a libertarian streak in me and feel that the government shouldn’t be telling me what I’m allowed to do in my own car. Now before you get all huffy about how talking on the cell phone is dangerous and that you’re endangering the people around you, let me just say “I get it.” Well, I used to anyway. There are several states now that don’t allow you to talk on your cell phone while driving. Studies have shown that talking on the phone is a distraction from doing what you’re supposed to be doing, piloting your vehicle. My argument against these laws is that there’s already laws on the books that allow a police officer to pull you over if you’re driving poorly. Ever heard of Reckless Driving? If you’re being reckless, a cop can already site you with a moving violation. The cause of reckless driving isn’t important, it’s that you’re BEING reckless. Many of the states with “no cell phone” laws make an exception as long as you’re using a hands-free device. That doesn’t make much sense. The studies didn’t find that HOLDING a phone causes a distraction, TALKING on the phone is the distraction. Those same studies showed that whether you’re holding a phone to your ear, talking into a speaker phone, or using a wireless headset, the chance of you being distracted from your driving is the same. So, if the only issue is DISTRACTION, how can we legislate that? If we can make laws banning cell phones because of the distraction we’d need to outlaw food, music, coffee, maps, screaming kids, and pets to be consistent. Everything you do in a car other than driving is a distraction. The cellphone is just the latest scapegoat for the real issue out on the road – PEOPLE NOT PAYING ATTENTION. Our law enforcement should spend more time enforcing the laws we already have (like reckless driving) instead of adding more laws to our already complicated law books.

Dodge Caravan Dead, Santa Fe Takes Its Place

03.05.2007

A couple weeks ago, our 1998 Dodge Caravan died thanks to a blown head gasket. Instead of fixing the car, we decided to go look for a new one for Chrissy. We considered a bunch of options : the Kia Rondo, Honda Pilot, Nissan Xterra, Nissan Pathfinder, and the Subaru Outback, but in the end we decided on a user 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. (We brought it home today.) It’s a silver V-6 AWD GLS model, with all the options except leather, and sunroof. (Just like my Sonata.) Chrissy’s really excited since she’s been wanting one of these cars since 2003. We almost purchased one instead of my Sonata back in 2004. Anyway, the price was right, the mileage was low, and the dealership was nice. (I recommend checking out Crossroads Ford at Wakefield if you’re ever in need of a Ford, or a used car. They were up front with me in regard to pricing and fast.) This car’s perfect for Chrissy, and is one I’ll enjoy driving with the family on the weekends.

Car? Divorce? Car? Divorce?

04.19.2006

If my wife wouldn’t divorce me, I would SO buy this 1992 Toyota MR2 with only 38K miles. 😉

Click Here for Details

It’s at a dealership across the street from where I live, and is valued at around $5,100. It’s not a particularly fast car, but handles like a dream and is Uber reliable. It looks like it is in really good shape too. Man I’d love to take that thing to VIR once a year for Holiday Laps. I’ve been wanting one of these ever since the 80s MKI models.