Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kashgar under martial law

More than a dozen people have died in the last day as a result of bombings and knife attacks.  Here is what can be pieced together:

Saturday night: A minivan with explosives blew up.  Almost simultaneously, another explosion occurred on a street lined with food stalls.  An hour later, two knife-wielding men carjacked a large truck along the food stall-lined street, killing the driver.  They then proceeded to mow down dozens of pedestrians with the truck.  The carjackers jumped out of the truck and started stabbing people.  The crowd fought back, killed one of the duo, and detained the other.

Sunday: Police shot and killed four suspects and arrested approximately 100.  Another attack (either by bombing or stabbing) in the afternoon killed three.

Witnesses throughout the city have been hearing gunshots and explosions sporadically since the initial attacks.

Here is a video the government just released on Friday, showing SWAT teams drilling in Xinjiang.

Koran By Heart trailer

This should be good.  The documentary premieres tomorrow on HBO.  It follows three kids-- a Tajik boy, a girl from the Maldives, and a Senegalese boy-- as they compete in a Koran memorization competition in Cairo.  Despite their brilliance, the Tajik boy is illiterate in his native language and the girl's father insists that she become a housewife.

Heidfeld Hungary fire photo

Introducing, the 2011 Lotus Renault Pinto!

That, my friends, is Herr Heidfeld's F1 career going up in flames.  Hopefully, BMW will hire him for the DTM series next year.

From Top Secret:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Young Rubens Barrichello

John Gimlette on Paraguay and the Guyanas

Years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed Gimlette's At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, which humorously and in detail described the places, people, and history of Paraguay.  Gimlette just came out with a new book, Wild Coast.  This time, he focuses on Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, three South American countries that are more Caribbean than Latin American.

I'm almost halfway through and can highly recommend it, if you're into travelogues of obscure and dangerous places.  This is also my first book on our new Kindle e-book reader.  I am a traditionalist and fought hard for paper books, but I may have just been converted.

Gimlette's homepage.

2012 Olympics is using London Calling as its anthem

Do people in marketing ever listen to the lyrics?

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

[Chorus 1:]
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, you can go it alone
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out, and draw another breath
London calling, and I don't wanna shout
But while we were talking, I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

[Chorus 2: x2]
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Engines stop running, the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river

Now get this

London calling, yes, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?
London calling

I never felt so much alike [fading] alike alike alike

Friday, July 29, 2011

Carspotting: Greece edition-- Yugo, Fiat, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Damaged Taxi

Yugo (This looks fancier than the Yugos we got in America.):

Fiat (Really dig the bumper-less look):

Land Rover:

Alfa Romeo:

This taxi cab dared to cross the picket line to pick up my wife at the hotel.  It had a tire slashed, a window shattered, and the driver ended up in a fist fight with the strikers.

How about a round of applause for my wife?  She braved 100 plus degree weather to take these pictures during her much-deserved vacation.

Rob Brydon does small man trapped in a box video

Saw The Trip yesterday at the theater.  It's about two entertainers who go on a road trip in northern England.  It has its moments, but is probably not worth seeing in a theater.  The man-trapped-in-a-box routine is pretty amusing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Carspotting: Greece edition-- Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Citroen

Meteora: Shooting location for Bond film For Your Eyes Only

Notice lack of taxis due to strike. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Carspotting: Greece edition-- Citroen, Citroen, Mitsubishi, Opel, Toyota

We now move from Athens to Delphi.

Citroen C1 (Very cool looking subcompact.):

Citroen Xantia:

Mitsubishi L300 panel van (Very utilitarian.):

Opel Kadett (One of my favorites out of the bunch.):

Toyota Corolla (Again, different from the American version.):

VW cheapens the North American Passat

* This post is taken, mostly, from the July 2011 issue of Automobile magazine.

In 2010, VW sold 260,000 vehicles in the U.S.  By 2018, it wants to sell 800,000.  How do they plan to do it?  By making cheap cars that attract the lowest common denominator.  This is going to piss off every American VW fan.  So how does VW plan to sell more Passats?  (Keep in mind that a 2010 model has a base price of $27,000.  The 2012 will start at $20,000.)

  • Uninspired design so as to not offend anyone (and thereby offending many).
  • Climate control knob no longer spins fluidly.
  • Glove box no longer lined with soft material.
  • Hood has prop rod instead of gas struts.
  • Turbo 2.0 liter replaced with less powerful 2.5 liter 5 cylinder.
  • Wider seats for bigger butts.
  • Softer ride.
Essentially, we have a VW Camry.  

Carspotting: Greece edition-- Peugeot, Audi, Toyota, Peugeot, Toyota

She's back!  My other half just returned from her Greek odyssey and took quite a few pictures of cars she thought we might find interesting.

Peugeot 206 CC:

That's an in-door Shell gas station.

Audi 100 (A modern classic.):

Toyota Corolla (Did Europe get a different Corolla than Americans?  Or is it just the lights that are different?):

Peugeot 205:

Toyota Celica (Remember when every rally video game featured this car?):

There are more pictures to come.