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Don't Be That Guy. . .

2014 Nissan Rogue

Monkey Paw

Don't Be That Guy. . .

You know – Clover. It’s actually pretty easy. The Don’t Do’s: * Don’t pull out in front of people –…

2014 Nissan Rogue

Pretty much every major automaker sells a compact crossover SUV. Some are front-wheel-drive, some all-wheel-drive, a few are rear-wheel-drive. You can…

Monkey Paw

Since we’ve been discussing things simian (per my latest rant) I figured now would be as good a time as…

New Car Reviews

2014 Nissan Rogue

'14 Rogue lead

Pretty much every major automaker sells a compact crossover SUV. Some are front-wheel-drive, some all-wheel-drive, a few are rear-wheel-drive. You can get fours – and turbo fours. Diesels – and V-6s. A few even have manual transmissions. Some are “bread and butter” – others prestige-branded. But one thing there’s not a lot of in this segment is room for more than four or five people. Two rows of seats is the norm. Nissan’s just-updated…

2014 Toyota RAV4

'14 RAV 1

Toyota’s got these TV commercials featuring the Muppets, who assert the vehicles aren’t boring. But is boring bad? What if boring works? I’ve owned (and driven) a lot of vehicles that didn’t work – which can be exciting, in good ways and bad – depending on when and how they stop working. Toyotas hardly ever stop working. They are relentlessly reliable (ask anyone), pleasant to drive, unobjectionable to look at and rarely surprise…

2015 Cadillac Escalade

'15 Escalade lead

Cadillac may be having trouble selling its ELR electric car (see here) but no such worries selling its anti-matter opposite, the Escalade. It’s not hard to understand why. The ELR is very expensive (over $75k to start) but very slow. It realistically seats only two. And it doesn’t go very far on its batteries. The Escalade, on the other hand, costs less ($71,695 to start) is very quick (6.3 seconds to 60, epic…

2014 Buick Regal GS

'14 Regal road 2

When the Regal GS came out back in 2011 as a new 2012 model, it had two very un-Buick (but extremely cool for a Buick) features: A screamin’ mimi turbocharged 270 horsepower 2.0 four (shared with the Saab 9-3, RIP) and – wait for it – a six speed manual transmission to go with it. Yes, in a Buick. A Buick sedan. The last time Buick went off the reservation like this was way…

2015 Audi A3

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Mercedes started it with the sub-$30k (just barely) CLA sedan – putting the three-pointed star within reach of an entirely new demographic. Now Audi’s joined the fray with the 2015 A3. Like the Benz CLA, the A3 is base-priced under $30k (again, just barely) and so within the same orbit, price-wise, of an optioned-out Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. But it’s a big step up from such cars in terms of prestige and driving…

2014 Mercedes S550

'14 S550 last

We live in a world defined, alas, by compromises – even in the ethereal realm of high-end luxury cars. Except for one gloriously no-compromises car. The 2014 S Class Mercedes. Behold…. While its rivals – the Audi A8 and the BMW 7, chiefly – bend knee to pedestrian concerns such as cost of acquisition and fuel economy (both offer smallish engines and diesel engines) the Benz proudly says to hell with that. The magnificently…

2014 Mercedes-Benz E250

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Small engines can do big things . . . in not-little cars. If they’re turbo-diesels. And if the car is a new Mercedes E-Class sedan. The 2014 E250 sedan, to be precise. It’s a 4,200 pound luxury sled propelled by a teensy (2.1 liter) turbo-diesel four. The only such – and smallest such – engine in this class. It makes Brobdingnagian power: 369 ft.-lbs. of torque - more than many V-8s twice its size - and delivers untouchable fuel efficiency (EPA says…

Politics

Gorillas, Humans . . . and the NAP

ape pic 1

Sometimes I entertain the thought that those who have awakened to the NAP are the leading cohort of what might be called a fifth turning – or more profoundly, perhaps they are an evolutionary great leap forward, analogous to the transition from Homo Erectus to Homo Sapiens. The conscious – and reasoned – rejection of aggressive violence is arguably that epochal, that profound. Aggressive violence is ape-like, primitive. It is un-reason. The negation of reason. It is an animalistic outpouring. Those who deal with others this way are…

Dancing With Clovers

clover lead

Kevin Costner danced with wolves. It is my fate – and yours – to drive with Clovers. They are everywhere – and increasingly unavoidable. Like a virulent bacillus, ineptitude and passive aggressive behavior  behind the wheel spreads across the land. It’s possible to escape Clovers - temporarily – by moving far, far away from their hives in urban suburban areas. But inevitably, they follow you – and before you can blink, you find yourself  surrounded and immersed . . . by “drivers” such as these: * The 50 yard gap Clover – Maintaining a…

Motorcycles Afflicted by The Car Sickness

bike air bag pic

Have you gone shopping for a new sport bike lately? Try and find one that’s not encrusted with layers of electronics . . . just like any new car. ABS and linked brakes; traction (and launch/wheelie) control. Adjustable power delivery curves via “maps.” Naturlich, electronic fuel injection. Some of them even have air bags. Throw it in the woods! Yes, yes – I know. They’re more predictable, easier to control – and harder to wreck. Quicker, more consistent lap times. Crap, sez me. You may disagree, of course – and…

What Libertarianism isn’t . . .

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Just when you think you’ve heard (and read) it all, something like this falls into your lap. It’s a Bloomberg News critique of Libertarianism that equates it with – of all things! – communism. It dances on – at great length – without ever once mentioning the defining ethical principle of Libertarianism, the non-aggression principle (NAP for short). The idea that it’s never right to use force first. The reason for not mentioning the NAP, of course, is that the article – and its ridiculous assertions – falls on…

Uncomfortable Independence Day Questions

Farce of July

Here comes another Fourth of July - a good time to ask some serious questions – and ponder just how “free” we really are:    * Why is it ok to celebrate violent resistance to a government by our wig-wearing ancestors, but “extremist” to say anything negative about government today? * If people can’t be trusted to govern themselves, how is it that some people can be trusted to govern others? * What’s so great about taxation with representation? * Has anyone ever showed you the “social contract”? * If we’re so “free,”…

What Made The Light Go On?

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The “light” goes on for different reasons – and at different times. I entered young adulthood a “small government” conservative, probably because it appeared to jibe with my instinctive dislike of being told what to do (and not do) by various authority figures. I even did volunteer work while a college student for the second presidential campaign of the ur god of conservatism, Rrrrrrrrronald Rrrrrrreagan. But there were aspects of this patchwork utilitarian outlook that nagged at me, even as a college kid. One of the obvious problems with “small…