Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Beast of Turin

Hat tip to Sanchez. Now that's an internal combustion engine!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Surprises about my grandfather

I found a great bio of my grandfather on Baidu and I am having it professionally translated. Online translation sites just don't cut it. From what I can piece together, he was quite forward thinking, opening schools and organizing teachers unions. The biggest surprise? That he was a Communist in the 1920s. The book cover above is about a Dutch priest who was killed by Japanese soldiers when he refused to hand over girls who had sought refuge in his church. The priest is in the process of being beatified; his supporters want him to be the patron saint of victims of sex abuse. Apparently, my grandfather chronicled the incident and his writings are being used as documentary evidence in the Vatican application.

American military Taiwan propaganda video

I am discovering some incredible stories about my grandfather, from just an evening on Baidu, with the help of an online translator. More later as I try to confirm the stories. For now,:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Documentary of Cold War Taiwan (and self-discovery)

Some observations:

  • When I was a kid, I remember during the weather segment of newscasts, they would give the weather in Quemoy and Matsu like it was a thousand miles away.
  • I don't remember so many store signs in Japanese when I was growing up in the 1970s.
  • Ironic that stability and prosperity were based partly on land reform, a leftist principle.
  • One of the reasons I moved to the U.S. was because my family didn't want me to serve in the military and risk injury/life.
And for something a bit more sobering. I am trying to find out more about my grandfather's role in the government. He served either in the Legislative Yuan or the National Assembly (or maybe he didn't). It's hard to know without access to primary source materials. It's even tougher when you can't read Chinese. I found a 70-page book put out by the U.S. Embassy in Taiwan in 1961. It is basically a list of all government officials and high ranking Kuomingtang members in Taiwan. Maybe it will shed some light on what he did and who he was.

It's sobering because of his position. It's natural to look up to your grandparents. They can do no wrong. But when you hear someone served in the legislative body of a dictatorship, the figure you conjure in your mind is of a corrupt and sycophantic yes-man. But I'm curious, and I am ready to face reality. I ordered the book from the library and will check it out when it's ready to be viewed. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oakland getting destroyed

The Russian news network RT loves showing images of chaos in America. It had a lot of help yesterday from a bunch of kids and adults who should know better in Oakland.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Truck jumps over F1 car

1996 Maxima restored by Nissan HQ

Seasons Greetings

When prosecutor Robert McCulloch was 12, his police officer father was killed in the line of duty by a black man. That explains things a bit.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The World's Fastest Cars (2): Aston Martin Virage

Going alphabetically, the second car to be featured in my favorite book is this Virage. Call me uncultured, but I did not know that virage is "corner" in French. The model had to have a name that started with the letter V. Other possible names included Vulcan, Valiant, and Vanguard.

The author described Aston's three traits as brawny character, technological simplicity, and road-burning performance. These traits were definitely true in the 1980s, and although they are still probably true today, Astons just don't seem as unique anymore. The commoditization of exotic cars has really cheapened brands like Aston, Maserati, and Bentley, don't you think?

Back to this Virage, The first prototype, built in 1987, was disguised under a short-wheelbased Lagonda sedan. Unfortunately, I can't find a picture of this prototype online anywhere.

Toyota Supra on Motorweek

I clipped a magazine ad of this Supra and it was taped on the wall in my college dorm room. Incredible performance. Incredible car.

Old Merkur review on Motorweek

I still want one, even with the Brazilian Pinto engine. And only if it's got the biplane rear spoiler, please.

Adding machine, exposed

Via Reddit.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A janitor and a cook

This radio story left me a little weepy this morning. It's a local story. A small nursing home was shut down and the owner and staff just abandoned the elderly and ill patients. Well, all of the staff except the janitor and the cook. Here is their 2-1/2 minute story.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The World's Fastest Cars (1): Acura NS-X

I am now going to go over all the cars featured in my favorite book. Looking back, the second ever post on this blog (in 2006) was about the NSX.

What I learned in the write-up in the book about the car:

  • NS-X stands for "New Sports car X". Honda was supposed to give it another name when it appeared in showrooms.
  • One of the goals of the Honda supercar was to create a cabin devoid of "fatigue inducing properties" such as a noisy cockpit or indifferent control layouts.
  • Journalists and enthusiasts were anticipating a V10 or V12. 
As we know, it came with a V6, and everyone was happy. This is a very different reaction to the V6 Jaguar XJ220.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My favorite car book as a teenager

I am so excited. I finally found my favorite car book as a 16 year old. I bought it used for $10 from a bookseller in Maryland and it arrived today. Without question, this book solidified my obsession with cars. I think when you see what's in the book, you'll quickly realize why I love the cars that I love.

Please excuse the quality of the photos I took. Work has been kicking my ass and I am exhausted. But I am so stoked to show you all this book.

So here is the back story. It's the summer of 1991. I had just turned 16 and I spent the summer in Japan to visit my father. The Bubble had not burst yet and everyone was loaded. Virtually every friend of my father's gave me a $100 bill (U.S.) as pocket money. It was nuts.

When I returned home, I went with my friend Paul in his purple Starion turbo to South Coast Plaza, the local mall near my home in Orange County. I spent like MC Hammer. I remember buying a leather jacket, Ralph Lauren cologne (the green bottle), a pocket computer, and this car book.

Even today, as I flip through the pages, I remember every picture. The book even has the same familiar smell. I am in heaven.

Ken Block in LA

In all seriousness, this is why the Islamo-fascist terrorists will never win.

Monday, November 17, 2014

F1 car fires up after 12 years

It's a 1997 Arrows-Yamaha driven by Damon Hill.

Via Flavio Gomes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mitsuoka Le Seyde

Superlucent identified the mystery car! And Alan hates it!

It's based on an S13 Nissan Silvia. 500 were made. Wasn't there a GoBot that looked like this?

Bush, Putin, and Iraq

Just wait!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What is this car?!

Spotted in Hong Kong.

Cool Acura Legend spotted

Hat tip to Motoring Con Brio ("mtc" here) who spotted this example in the Big Apple.

And thank you all for your thoughts on my Acura blog post idea. Am I a complete dumb-dumb for assuming all these years that the Legend was RWD?!

Syrian boy rescuing girl video was fake

Jerks! They filmed it on the Gladiator movie set in Malta.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hongqi H7 photos

Our resident automotive analyst Ed had the following to say about the H7:

The back seat was indeed dope. Although I can't say it was any better than the back seat in, say, an Infiniti Q70 LWB.

The best feature, which is common in Asian executive cars anyways, is the power front passenger seat controls for the right side rear passenger, who can max his/her legroom by moving the front passenger seat out of the way.

Also, the materials and build quality were as good as any Lexus - not surprising as the car is heavily based on the Crown. 

Here are pics!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Your thoughts on Acura

I am thinking about writing a long piece for The Truth About Cars on the topic of Acura. Specifically, I want to argue that Acura was doomed from the start because the Legend was not offered with a V8 (unlike fellow upstarts Lexus and Infiniti). I also want to end the piece with my belief that the first gen TSX was the last great Acura.

What are your thoughts about the brand?

Callaway Supernatural 400

Run flat 1993!

A couple of thoughts. As the only car show growing up, old Motorweek episodes give me the warm and fuzzies. I just can't imagine a teenager today being enamored with a contemporary Motorweek episode.

This car reminds me of a book I bought in high school, which featured the fastest production cars in the world. I just found a used copy online and it should arrive any day now. I plan to go over every car listed in the book on this blog, whether you like it or not!

Uganda deaf teen learns sign language

I dare you not to get choked up.

Jeep YJ Wrangler review on Motorweek

I had the 1993 4 cylinder, which probably had a 0-60 time of 17+ seconds. That car had the most comprehensive gauge set of any car I've ever owned. Good times.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Syrian boy fakes death to save girl

Who the hell shoots at little kids?!

Hongqi H7 R&D

I asked my mom to scour the Chinese video sites for videos of Hongqis at the APEC Summit. She found this instead. The H7 is based on the Toyota Crown and is supposed to compete with the Audi A6L.

207 mph in a rocket-powered bicycle

This guy wins the internet today.

H/t to Chester.

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 Bonelli Park VW meet

Photos taken by slirt. Note the Mexican Audi A1 and SEAT.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Martini stripe is on

Assad's 31 forms of torture

From this Amnesty International report.

 Beatings on all parts of the body, involving punching, slapping and/or kicking,
administered with fists, feet, sticks, truncheons, braided cables, whips or butts of
Kalashnikov-type weapons
 Hair being pulled or pulled out
 Cigarettes stubbed out on the body
 Flesh gouged by pincers
 Dulab (tyre), whereby the victim is forced into a vehicle tyre which is often then hoisted
up and the individual is beaten
 Falaqa, beating on the soles of the feet
 Bisat al-rih (flying carpet), whereby the victim is strapped face-up onto a foldable
wooden board, the two ends of which are moved towards each other causing significant pain
to the lower back; during the process, the victim is beaten17
 Shabeh whereby the victim is hung by manacled wrists, or from a hook or over a door, or
occasionally by the feet, often for long periods and usually beaten; sometimes in a stress
position where the detainee must keep his toes on the floor
 Crucifixion – another form of suspension torture where the victim is tied to a wall or
frame with the arms outstretched in a crucifixion position
 Stress positions, such as being forced to stand for hours on tip-toe
 Exposure to excessive cold, such as being kept outside often only in underwear overnight
or for other long periods
 Being subjected to sexual violence
 Being forced to watch the rape of another detainee
 Being subjected to sights and sounds of torture being inflicted on others, including of
friends and family members, and being exposed to killings of torture victims
 Electric shocks to parts of the body via an electric prod or other hand instrument
 Electric shocks via an electric charge applied to a wet floor
 Electric chair: a metal chair with a kind of metal helmet into which the victim is
strapped and then an electric current is switched on
 “German chair” (al-kursi al-almani): the victim is strapped into a metal chair, the back
of which is moved backwards, causing acute stress on the spine and severe pressure on the
neck and limbs
 Threatening the victim with rape
 Threatening the victim that their relatives will be detained, raped or otherwise tortured
 Threat of execution
 Denigrating the victim’s religious beliefs
 Degrading the victim by using obscene language or insults or forcing them to undress in
front of others
 Being stabbed or cut
 Having unpleasant matter, such as salt, forced into the mouth
 Being denied adequate medical care
 Depriving the victim of fresh air, toilet or washing facilities
 Being detained in excessively cramped and overcrowded conditions
 Being held in prolonged solitary confinement
 Sharing the cell with a detainee dying – and who then dies – due to denial of medical
 Sharing a solitary confinement cell with what seemed to be a human corpse.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Modern day Dukes of Hazzard ad

Maximo: The judicious use of camera angles appears to intentionally help avoid the Confederate flag issue.

Martini stripe goes on wagon tomorrow

First, I gotta wash the car...

F1 champs and pole positions

I am resigned to the inevitable fact that Rosberg won't win the championship this season. But he will end up with more pole positions this season than Hamilton. Since 2000, this has only happened twice (in 2007, 2012), when the eventual champ did not score the most poles.

Edit: Ugh, I meant to say poles, not podiums, in the table below. Apologies.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Raphael Orlove writes about the Vantage

This well researched article is why I love the dude's work and passion for oddball cars. And it got me thinking about my favorite car book from my high school days, which I just found and bought online.

Marten quality control, Audi style

H/t to Peter.

I am a Communist Multilateralist Humanist Progressive

Quick test here.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Beale Air Force Base U2s

Would love to visit this place.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Left hand drive utes available for sale in US

Via rchen, who was at SEMA this week and saw a bunch of cool stuff. Article here.

Forbes most powerful people list (2014)

To me, the most noteworthy fact is how many Koreans are on the list.

1. Putin
2. Obama
3. Xi Jinping
4. Pope Francis
5. Merkel
6. Janet Yellen
7. Bill Gates
8. Mario Draghi (head of European central bank)
9. Sergey Brin and Larry Page
10. David Cameron
11. Head of Saudi Arabia
12. Warren Buffet
13. Li Keqiang (Chinese Premier)
14. Carlos Slim
15. Narendra Modi
16. Jeff Bezos
17. Francois Hollande
18. Jamie Dimon
19. Ali Hoseini-Khamenei
20. Head of Exxon Mobil
21. Head of GE
22. Mark Zuckerberg
23. Bloomberg
24. Koch Brothers
25. Tim Cook
26. Netanyahu
27. Lloyd Blankfein
28. Li Ka-shing (Hong Kong billionaire)
29. Doug McMillon (Wal-Mart)
30. Jack Ma (Alibaba)
31. Dilma Rousseff
32. Rupert Murdoch
33. Christine Lagarde
34. Akio Toyoda
35. Samsung guys
36. Head of Reliance Industries (Indian conglomerate)
37. Head of UAE
38. Head of Softbank
39. Head of Black Rock
40. Ban Ki-Moon
41. Baidu guy
42. Head of Russian oil company Rosneft
43. Guy in charge of one of China's sovereign wealth funds
44. Bill Clinton
45. Jim Yong Kim (World Bank)
46. South Korean President
47. Head of Gazprom
48. Head of Bank of Japan
49. Kim Jong-Un
50. Saudi Oil Minister
51. Abdel el-Sisi
52. Elon Musk
53. Ma Huateng (Chinese internet guy)
54. Head of ISIS
55. Head of IBM
56. Len Blavatnik (Ukrainian-American investor)
57. Indian steel magnate
58. VW head
59. Head of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesey
60. Enrique Pena Nieto
61. Alisher Usmanov (Uzbek-Russian oligarch)
62. Mary Barra
63. Shinzo Abe
64. Head of Microsoft
65. John Roberts
66. Australian mining heiress
67. Head of WHO
68. Nigerian magnate
69. DoubleLine investment guy
70. FIFA guy
71. Foxconn guy
72. Norwegian banker guy

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Turned 40 today!

Looking back, I have accomplished a lot in my 30s. But I have much more to do. My goal in my 40s? To write a book about that bus trip and get interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Acura TLX and my final resting place

Just saw this TLX ad. It was filmed on the road to the place where I want my ashes spread.

You can see it in the background at the 0:12 mark. Sorry for sounding so morbid.

Meeting Grosjean, Ricciardo, and Rosberg

Commenter and fellow Impulse owner m4ff3w hit the jackpot yesterday at COTA. He and his kids wandered around where they weren't supposed to and bumped into a few fellas.

More pictures (and story) here.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Chinese Christian missionaries going abroad

I read an article in The Economist about Christians in China. At its current growth rate, there will be 250,000,000 Christians (mostly evangelical Protestants) there by 2030. Chinese Christians are already traveling abroad, spreading The Good News(tm).

I tried to find numbers for Chinese missionaries, but was unsuccessful. I did find this chart, which is derived from a very comprehensive study about Christian missionaries worldwide.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

E30 BMW factory promo

20th anniversary Mac

Saw this contraption on Seinfeld last night. Had no idea what it was.