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Friday
Apr102015

Tamp Down Your Own Asphalt!

By Al Vinikour  

It was a big day for the Kozlowski Family. Linda and her husband Kenn (his grandparents put an extra “N” in a trust fund for him when he was born). They had saved for four years to buy a brand new Ford Focus. Even though they’d purchased the base model it felt to them like they had the keys to a Rolls Royce. The car was painted a bright white, and as they drove it off the lot they couldn’t have been happier. But then their world collapsed. They decided to take the freeway home and, as they turned right to enter the ramp, they came upon a departing Department of Highways truck whose patching crew had just left after dumping what had to be a ton of fresh asphalt.

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Friday
Mar272015

Who Sets Speed Limits, Beavis & Butthead?

By Al Vinikour  

I live in a state where drivers show little if any regard for speed limits. Speed limit signs are like figuring tips on restaurant checks take the number and add 15%-20%. Why does this nation have one flag, one national anthem and even a self-proscribed national pastime, but yet we seem to have 50 different plans for speed limits? Whatever happened to consistency? In the 1970s, the United States was in the midst of a fuel shortage that put the entire country in panic mode. As part of this national hysteria Congress set a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour. That’s a speed that some scuff-shoed, tweed-jacketed eggheads determined was the ideal number to squeeze out the most miles per gallon and “end our dependence on foreign oil.” (I’ve heard that phrase more than I ever heard my parents tell me to quit popping my knuckles or I’d eventually have hands like claws.)

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Friday
Mar132015

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Two Gripes Full

By Al Vinikour 

This badge hides the reason for Al's second gripe.This week you folks are getting a double-header. I have two equally-related gripes that need addressing… and I’m just the man to do it. Let’s begin, shall we? 

I haven’t spent a lot of time driving vast distances in any of our western states. However, a driving event put on by Volvo Cars North America to experience what they called “The XC Lifestyle” filled in this gap. Our group congregated in Los Angeles (as in California) and for the next two days we were on our own to stay and eat where we chose on the way to join up with our colleagues in Gateway, Colorado — the better part of a thousand miles to the east. All I can tell you is that now I am so damned spoiled by the freeway freedom we encountered that it increases my hatred of crowded conditions and A-Hole Drivers. I’ll explain, lest you suspect me of dissing your family. 

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Friday
Feb272015

Bogie at Nine O’clock!

By Al Vinikour  

How many times have you been driving on a freeway coming up to a construction zone where one or more lanes are being temporarily shut down? You’re paying your dues, sticking to the lane you’re supposed to be in, when all of the sudden you’re “strafed” at your nine o’clock position, not by a Messerschmitt or a MiG — but by a Volvo! Rather than wait for an opportunity to safely ease into traffic, this insensitive dolt goes as far as he can in the lane that’s about to end — because it’s moving faster — and is counting on some candy-ass to let him merge. “Mission Accomplished,” as far as the miscreant is concerned. And you don’t have to be a geneticist to deduce from his actions that his parents were brother and sister. 

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Friday
Feb132015

Legalized Theft: Destination and Delivery Charges

By Al Vinikour

What Destination charge? I can drive it home from here!There are many ways to disguise legalized theft, running the gamut from “restocking fee” to “plus shipping and handling.” The most blatant one, however, is a charge that car buyers seem to take in stride – “Destination & Delivery Charges.” 

Let me use a hypothetical example of a car customer we’ll call Cyril Heaps. Cyril owns a CB radio repair shop. As might be expected, business is not good and he has to husband his money to purchase necessities. Buying a new car became one after his 1985 Ford Crown Victoria with 210,756 miles on it crapped out just east of Blytheville, Arkansas. He had begun saving for a new vehicle for about 11 years and decided it was time. 

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