Thursday, March 11, 2010

I really hate being right all the time.

Never doubt the power of my B.S. detector. As we read here on Tuesday, the so-called runaway Prius driver is a big lying sack of crap.
James Sikes, the San Diego runaway Toyota Prius driver, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and now has over $700,000 in debt. According to one anonymous tipster, we're also told he hasn't been making payments on his Prius.
Sikes and his wife Patty found themselves, like many in the California real estate business, on the bursting side of the real estate bubble last year. The two declared bankruptcy in June of 2008 and have a combined liability of over $700,000 in debt.
Among the list of creditors holding secured claims is none other than Toyota Financial Services for a lease on a 2008 Toyota Prius with 7,200 miles on the odometer. Total value of the lease at the time of bankruptcy was $20,494.
According to this web site's research, Sikes has "a history of items in his possession being stolen and filing insurance claims."
You can listen to the 911 tape of the lying sack of crap. It's 24 minutes long, so grab a sandwich and enjoy the show.
What should have tipped you off is that the Prius isn't on the list of recalled Toyota's. They have a minor problem with the accelerator getting stuck under the floor mat, but Sykes said that wasn't the case. And who am I to doubt his word? That, and the number of so-called runaway Toyota stories that have come out since the recall announcement. Are we really that desperate for attention? I guess we are. I blame reality TV.
It's a strange world, folks.
Meanwhile ...
Thanks to Firestarter5 for giving me the heads up!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


In spite of (or perhaps because of)plus-60 degree temperatures this week, one particular patch of month-old snow refuses to die. I'm looking to borrow a flame thrower so that I can go out and put this nonsense to an end once and for all. I don't think I would be convicted by any court in the country. Snow be tough.
My latest "toy" is a Samsung Impression. It's called a phone, but it's really something more. When it becomes available, I'm subscribing to MLB Gameday Audio so I can listen to games on my "phone" during the day (while I am at "work.")
Although I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse for not going full-bore and getting the iPhone, so far, the Impression has been a nice addition to my addiction to texting and goofing around. I can get to my Facebook page (ugh) Twitter and my e-mail, and if the MLB thing works like it is supposed to (does anything work like it's supposed to?) I'll be happy with this for a couple of years - until Apple comes out with the next generation of iPhone's and the hordes of whores who went for the iPhone start queuing up for the new one. I'll be behind the curve for a while.
Baseball season is a major life improvement around here. I have partial season tickets for the Phillies with a friend, and I go to Wilmington Blue Rocks games on Saturdays to watch the kids. You have to be a baseball fan to enjoy minor league ball, but it's competitive, cheap and entertaining. Plus, I get to sit in the third row, so I get to hear the "chatter" and I can yell encouraging comments to the Blue Rocks players, which I'm sure make a big difference in their development.
I'm such a baseball geek that I'm hurrying this post so that I can watch the Orioles play the Pirates on the MLB Network tonight. That's a strange thing for anyone, including an Orioles fan to be doing, but it's March and we're Jonesing for baseball. It's coming. Brad Bergesen is pitching tonight, and I won't bore you with the details of the importance of that particular event.
Baseball season is the cure for snow laying around on the lawn, cold dark nights and the incessant drone of wind and snow in the darkness of the cold night.
Even if you're an Orioles fan.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Braking News

Bill Cosby used to do a bit about UFOs. He was curious as to why they always landed in rural areas and met backwoods types who had fewer teeth than fingers. Why didn't they land in the middle of New York City or in a football stadium? What logic would conclude from such events is that they are made up because there are few witnesses and as such, it became one person's word against ... well, nobody.
The opposite could also be true. Yesterday, so we are told...
EL CAJON, Calif. The government sent investigators Tuesday to examine a Prius that sped out of control on a California freeway, and Toyota said it wanted to interview the driver as the besieged automaker dealt with a high-profile new headache that raised questions about the safety of its beloved hybrid.
A day after state troopers helped the car slow to a stop and its driver to emerge unharmed, Toyota could shed no new light on what might have gone wrong. The Prius is not part of Toyota's vast recall of gas pedals that can become stuck, but it is covered by an earlier recall of floor mats that can catch the accelerator.
If you wanted to perpetrate a fraud on a major corporation, you wouldn't do it on a rural interstate highway where you could go for hours without running into anything. You would do it on a highway in California where there is helicopter surveillance and Highway Patrol cars cruising the interstate. Otherwise, how could you make people believe that something that we are told happens a lot (a stuck Toyota accelerator) happened? You'd need video proof and a bunch of police officers to back up your story. Genius, I say. Even better than the UFO sightings.
James Sikes, 61, was identified in a 2006 newspaper story as a real estate executive and longtime lottery player who won $55,000 and was selected to appear on a California Lottery TV game show. He appeared at a news conference quickly after the freeway incident Monday and also spoke to reporters Tuesday at his Toyota dealership, where his car was towed.
Of course he appeared at a news conference. How else to convince us that his story was not made up? If it's on TV, it must be real. Congratulations to Mr. Sikes for figuring out how to cash in on the latest consumer scare. He's 61 years old, and probably needs one big payoff in order to retire comfortably to Florida or someplace where UFOs routinely land. The Toyota Lottery.
He said he called 911 about 1:30 p.m. Monday after accelerating to pass another car on Interstate 8 near La Posta.
"I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny. ... It jumped and it just stuck there," he said. A patrol car pulled alongside the Prius and the officer told Sikes over a loudspeaker to push the brake pedal to the floor and apply the emergency brake.
The braking, coupled with a steep incline on the freeway, slowed the car to about 50 mph. Sikes said he then shut off the engine and the car coasted to a stop. CHP Officer Todd Neibert then moved his car in front of the Prius to block it.
Of course, it did something kind of funny - that's what Toyota's are supposed to do, right? Just like they told us. Pretty nifty trick to dial 911 while your car is careening out of control on the highway, too. And, nobody ever would have thought to take the key out. Don't be ridiculous. Wait until the highway patrol shows up and have them yell it to you through a loudspeaker. After all, he must have been in a Hell of a panic, what with having to dial the phone and all. I guess he could have only taken the key out once the car got below 60mph.
The runaway Prius only makes matters worse for Toyota's image problem, said Larry L. Smith, president of the Institute for Crisis Management in Louisville, Ky. — even if video only showed the aftermath, with Prius resting behind the patrol car.
"People are going to see this video and assume they've seen the car out of control," he said. "They really haven't seen the car out of control. It doesn't matter if they think they did. It's planted in their heads. That part of the damage is done."
The Sikes family received a recall notice and took the Prius to Toyota of El Cajon about two weeks ago, but the dealership refused to examine the car, saying it was not on the recall list, Patty Sikes said.
Uh-huh. Won't recall my car, eh? I'll show you!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent two investigators to examine the car, a government spokeswoman said. Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman Brian Lyons said the automaker is sending three of its own technicians to investigate.
I hope they bring their bullshit detectors.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hollywood pats itself on the back.

I don't know why we (people) get so worked up over awards shows.
The Grammy's, the Emmy's and the Academy Awards get a lot of attention while most of us have to get up and go to work tomorrow.
Maybe it's because we like to see that a movie or song that we like gets an award for being a movie or song that a lot of people like? We like to think that our tastes reflect what society thinks. Some of us (me) don't give a crap what society thinks, and as a matter of fact, if I like something that society likes I start to wonder why I like it, because the masses of people are clueless.
They will give out the Oscars tonight, and the biggest change (other than saying "the Oscar goes to" instead of "the winner is") is that there are now 10 films nominated instead of the customary five. It's the Little League version of award shows, but mostly it is so that the nominated films can reap the profits from being nominated. It's always about money.
I have only seen one of the nominated films, "Avatar," so based on what I have seen, "Avatar" will win the Best Picture Oscar.
Can you tell me why we care who wins an award for "best costume design" or "best art direction?" And why it is part of a four-hour telecast? You humans are strange.
Some of you will stay awake until after midnight to see the award given out, and I say, "Enjoy yourselves" because I couldn't care less which film gets the award. It doesn't change the way I live or make a dime for me. Whomever wins best actor, actress or the strangely named "supporting" roles doesn't alter the way I lead my life or go about my daily business. It's the same dopey outlook that makes you care who wins on "Dancing With the Stars" or any of those other stupid so-called 'reality' shows.
You just like being popular.