29 November, 2006

Gas gobbler

Whilst we have no current information on whether The city of Plano, Texas, is twinned with anywhere, Glasgow would have to be a contender.

Until recently I was blissfully unaware of the culinary treat that is a deep-fried turkey, but apparently it's all the rage in the south.

A turkey fryer is just like any other type of deep fryer but bigger. It can fit a 40-pound turkey. It's filled with peanut oil and heated with propane, and after the turkey is finished the cook calls a city hotline to have the oil collected. Eventually it's used for biodiesel - a fuel derived from biodegradable sources that can be used by most diesel engines.

"This is our busiest time, the week after Thanksgiving. We collect about 500 gallons of turkey fat during that time," said Lois Woolf, a Plano City worker, as she hoisted a plastic container of oil left outside someone's home for collection.

In 2005, Plano collected 1,200 gallons of cooking oil, the vast majority turkey fryer fat. The bulk of it is picked up during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays

"The City of Plano has a rolling stock of 700-800 vehicles and 59 of these are using hybrid or alternative fuels," said Melinda Sweney, the Sustainability Communications Coordinator for Plano.

She was unable to confirm whether any of the 59 vehicles were reinforced ambulances or hearses.

27 November, 2006

Song of the Sausage Creature

The good doctor reviews a Ducati for Cycle World magazine. Read it in full here

"Some people will tell you that slow is good - and it may be, on some days - but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba....

So when I got back from New York and found a fiery red rocket-style bike in my garage, I realized I was back in the road-testing business."

23 November, 2006

Empty vessels

Dictum meum pactum, the motto of the London Stock Exchange since 1801. They understood better than most that when you deal in nothing more substantial than a construct, an abstract idea, the real currency being traded is trust. "My word is my bond".

Perhaps apt when they end up spunking the bonus on a posh FIAT.

It always springs to mind when I see a hard won reputation exchanged for a mess of pottage. The temptation must be overwhelming, a well dressed gent with a sharp suit and an easy smile opens a briefcase full of readies, all yours and not a stroke of work to be done except to place your logo on his wares.

Created by David Weiner, approved and licensed in partnership with Ferrari the ART .ENGINE features 16 high-potency speakers no less. It can hook up to a wireless network a CD or an iPod. A snip at $20,000.

Anyway, if Ferrari products appeal to you can head to the Ferrari Online Store and check out other stuff. You will find Ferrari sunglasses ($300), Ferrari watches ($200), Ferrari belts ($100), Ferrari digital camera ($750) and more.

I fear that most people have too much of a life to join me in a Guinness fueled debate over whether a NACA duct has any acoustic properties.

Those of you reading this who have daughters might want to reflect on them craving pencil cases, tote bags and various gee-gaws emblazoned with the Playboy Bunny. Are they really that interested in Norman Mailer-penned essays on the perfect martini?

22 November, 2006

How do you spell insecure?

Bloody Porsches, they're everywhere these days aren't they? If only there was a way to make mine more, what's the word I'm looking for, unique? No that's not it, more... crass.

Well now thanks to the good folk at Name Your Porsche you can have a personalised badge crafted for your favourite "Ass-engined Nazi slot car" in the imortal words of P.J. O'Rourke.

The website has some suggestions - probably a good idea as any potential customer surely wears their lack of imagination quite literally as a badge of honour. Why not make a subtle reference to your yacht, or your favourite make of shotgun? How about 'my third', or 'thanks daddy'?

Proof positive that whilst they are the pinnacle of refined sportscar design, for some people a Porsche will remain the ultimate phallic symbol. The penis after all, just like a Porsche Cayenne is ultimately driven by a cunt.

20 November, 2006


In an announcement that will be heralded by the socially inept and ignored by the demographic typified as "having a life", General Motors' Pontiac brand has announced it's opening a virtual dealership in Second Life, an on-line virtual world.

Pontiac Spokesman Jim Hopson reckons it's a perfect position for their brand. "We're opening up the Pontiac experience to a whole new range of Second Life losers, uh, sorry that should say users. You're getting a genuine Pontiac experience."

Purchasing a Pontiac in the online game will cost actual dollars, and leave you with a vehicle that lacks substance and is worth nothing, whilst harking back to an obsolete technology. And you won't be able to get parts or repairs either.

"It's a sign that these kind of environments are the future, and it's time people started taking us seriously" says Second Life user UnicornBow Galady3

19 November, 2006

Greased lightning

Homer Simpson lives, and he's pitching ideas for car accessories.

A lot of people like to have an air freshener in their car, perhaps to mask unpleasant odours, maybe they enjoy the eyeball searing faux-vanilla chemicals, or it might just be that the A-pillar isn't enough of a blind spot.

Now you can overpower the greasy stink of your MacMeal with the great smell of bacon.

What an age we live in.

16 November, 2006

This baby's not for turning

Once again hard-working families must take matters into their own hands. Until governments wake up and see the scale of potential laxity on the part of auto-makers and legislate we must all remain alert.

In a report to congress on Monday the US government said sensor technologies used on vehicles to help prevent children from being reversed over face limitations and need further study.

Camera systems may offer drivers "reliable assistance in identifying people in the path of the vehicle when backing," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report said.

But tests conducted on sensor-based parking aids used to detect children behind the vehicle were "typically poor, sporadic and limited in range," according to the report, required under a highway bill approved by Congress last year.

The government said back-over accidents cause an estimated 183 deaths and about 7,400 injuries a year. NHTSA tested several systems available in vehicles and as aftermarket products.

NHTSA says vehicle safety sensors need refinement.

Anybody who tells you that this technology was developed to complement rather than replace a driver's responsibility is obviously a communist, or possibly Al Quaeda. It's every patriots right to sit perched, out of breath, in a large vehicle with poor visibility. He should be able to depend on somebody or something else to take responsibilty for his actions. However oafish.

Until such a time as Detriot sees fit to design a better sensor we recommend all parents intensify their child's high calorie intake to give those sensors a better chance. It's their patriotic duty. And if they can include some heavy isotopes in that diet, so much the better.

13 November, 2006


Long admired by designers and fans of clear communication, the London Underground map is an exemplar of smart thinking. You could say it's popularity means it's really gone overground!


Ahem. Mention it's great design and someone is bound to pipe up, that the cleverness lies in it not conforming to geographical reality. "Yeah cheers for that. I hadn't sussed that out for myself twatface, I was waiting for Clarkson to do a piece to camera about it whilst he masturbates into a Union Jack with a picture of a tank on it."

More soul destroying still, everybody then proceeds to think about and interact with information using the same old cliches. Whilst we wait for the next clever bod to think about information slightly sideways - create something clever - then drown in a wave of voices saying "I could have done that", here's a map of the UK motorway system in an underground styley.

A luvverly pdf is available from www.motorwaymap.co.uk

09 November, 2006

Ach! Das facken phone ist ein... nuisance phone!

06 November, 2006

"cos I'm a cowboy

So you've always fantasised about a raked out chop. And as a true blue patriot it's gotta be American Iron. Only problem is that you're a white-bread suburban middle class schmuck who doesn't know which end of a swingarm is up.

Wealthy Futures traders and celebrities just commission OCC to make their every stupid fantasy come true. Joe Schmo can now go to Big Dog Motorcycles. Big Dog occupy the tortuous knife edge that is mass producing 'custom choppers'. No I don't know how they manage to work it out either.

According to the LA Times "If the Wichita manufacturer's growth is any indication, the rebel spirit is alive and well. This year, the company's on track to build 5,000 motorcycles"

Hmmm, that must be the same rebel spirit Heinz feel when they make another tin of beans.

I fantasise about the owner having shelled out $32,000 making a wrong turn and bumping into Sonny Barger and a few pals. Because as Jarvis Cocker so correctly put it...

"everybody hates a tourist"

01 November, 2006

White devils

I think it was Malcolm X who said he had more respect for the South African Apartheid leaders than the white ruling class in America - both believed in segragation but at least one had the guts to admit it. They may be dead wrong but at least they've got the balls to say "Yes I'm a racist, fuck you!"

Old Mr X knew that it's several million times more hateful to have some slick oleaginous prick tell you all the great things he believes in and then fuck you over in the same old way. Is there anything more infuriating than seeing lip-service being paid to a decent principle? Well yes, if some sucker swallows it.

In the Saturn Vue Green Line, GM have managed to produce on of the most cynically conceived vehicles of all time. They've found the smallest loophole possible and crammed their fat asses through it.

It doesn't have an efficient modern Atkinson cycle engine, a specially designed CVT, modern battery design or many of the other clever things that make a modern car efficient.

No. It has a heavier starter motor that charges a measly 10kW battery under braking. Other than that it's as old fashioned as wife beating.

It's enough however is enough to give it the status of a "Hybrid Vehicle" and all the school run bragging rights that go with it. Not to mention the $650 tax credit for hybrid buyers.

I've got more respect for someone running a vintage muscle car - at least they aren't trying to convince everybody including themselves of their eco-friendly credentials whilst doing as little as humanly possible. And when you consider the energy and materials required to make a brand new piece of crap like a Saturn Vue Green Line, running an old Hemi is greener.