First let me say this: If you’re lost on the road, drive like you’re not.  I realize the temptation to slow down, to turn erratically when you see your actual road, and to want to get back to that turn you missed is very high.  But don’t do that.  All you do is make the roads less safe for other people.

Look, we know you’re lost.  The stops, starts, excessive waits, half turns, swerves, the slow driving, all of it.  But the way to deal with that is to pull off somewhere and find out where you are.  Not look at maps and stuff while you’re driving, not swivel your head around and around, not paying attention to the road.  Not stop on a 2-lane road.  And if you are in a situation like that, just keep going.  How much more lost are you going to get going further down a two-lane road?  Zero, you just come back down that same road.

This comes up because in the past week, I’ve had encounters with two people who are obviously lost.   And while I can sympathize with someone not knowing where they are, that sympathy evaporates when they forget the number one thing they should be doing: driving.  So accept that you’re lost, look for a parking lot, and get in it to figure out where you’re going.

And NEVER stop in a traffic circle to make your turn.  Just go around again!

If you’ve never heard of Radley Balko, now’s your chance.  He’s a libertarian-minded writer who’s spent time at the Cato Institute and now writes for Reason magazine, with columns also appearing on Foxnews.com.

His site, The Agitator is early with a lot of stories that you just don’t want to ever see, but you really should.  Particularly, he has a lot of stories about malfeasance of police, prosecutors, and governments.  The kind of things that just burn you up, and sometimes make you despair for the country and the world, but also that make you have the hope that these things will be exposed and people will see them.

I got plenty ticked off when I read about this thing yesterday: The Chevy Tahoe Hybrid

The fact that ANYONE can think they’re doing the environment any favors when they drive a giant SUV unless they’re carrying around more than 2 people all the time drives me up a wall. And then there are the design choices for this vehicle, that really just burn me up.

First of all, the cheapest regular 2WD Tahoe comes with a 4.8l V8. The upgraded 4WD ones come with a 5.3l V8. So you’d think “Hey, we’re putting the electric motors on, we can go with less engine so combined power is the same.” Well, I’d think that, cause I’m not an idiot. But Chevy, they’re geniuses: they put in a 6.0L V8 that produces more power than either of the other engines. What a great idea!

And the net effect of the hybrid powertrain? It boosts gas mileage up to a whopping 21 mpg average. Wow! Thanks a lot, guys. You made your $50k vehicle get less mileage than I see on my decade old Civic with the world’s worst commute for economy (3 miles of stop and go).

I’ll admit it. I’m not a big fan of SUV’s in the first place. Especially leather-appointed living-rooms-on-wheels. These things NEVER go off-road. They rarely carry more than 1 person. They rarely tow anything. Most often, they’re driven around by moms who like to have a giant vehicle, for whatever stupid reason. And if you want to drive one, sure, you can, and I’ll continue to call you a freakin’ idiot. But the idea that they put out THIS as a hybrid, and it qualifies for tax breaks just cheeses me off. It’s not an ‘economy’ vehicle by any stretch of the imagination. And anyone who thinks they’re doing the environment a favor by driving one of these is a complete and utter idiot. You should be ashamed.

And Chevy should be ashamed for thinking that they’re producing something that’s ‘green’. The only thing green about it is the 50,000 dollars you’re spending, up to 15,000 more than a regular Tahoe. Chevy’s commercials about how environmentally friendly they are already tick me off (hydrogen isn’t environmentally friendly, Ethanol isn’t environmentally friendly, and giant ‘hybrids’ with 6L, 338 HP gas engines are NOT! environmentally friendly). If you want to help the environment, do something that would actually make a difference. A giant truck that gets 21 mpg is making a difference the wrong way.

*edit*

Oh, I had to add: If you buy this thing, you can get a tax credit.  Thanks a bunch.  Stupid government.

Ok, I’ve got a thing about American cars: I think they pretty much suck.  There are a lot of good people who work at building them, but there are always design elements that just… suck.

The last American car I bought was a Dodge Neon.  After that, I got a Honda Civic, and decided to never ever buy another American car.  There are just always things that you wonder if anyone even bothered to think about.

For today’s post, we’ll look at the Chevy Equinox.  I’ve driven this a couple times, and each time I notice something that’s just not right about it.  Here’s just a couple of things.

Power Window Controls – On the center console.  This is always an annoying choice.  They are never in a configuration that makes it easy to figure out which window is which, and it’s counter-intuitive to open the window away from the door.  And of course they were rocker switches, but at least they were mounted so that up was above down.

Console controls – Yay! Pictograms!  I guess they wanted to be able to sell in different languages, but there were some things that I was afraid to touch without looking in the manual.  Oh! They’re computer readout controls!  Plus the radio has way more buttons than readouts.  There are only 4 digits on the whole readout!  For an 8 inch wide panel.  You keep wondering what the point of the big readout is.

Turning radius – This is really the worst turning vehicle I think I’ve ever driven.  It never goes into the parking spot you think you’re gonna get in, unless you back up and straighten it out.  I couldn’t make a u-turn in 2 lanes and a 10 foot median.  Just really terrible.

Outside design – One of the times I drove the vehicle was in the sleet and snow.  Cleaning it off, I realized there’s a 2 inch lip on the sides of the windshield.  You can’t just push the snow off the sides.  You have to pick it up to get it off.  Just bad, and unnecessary.

Seatbelt latches – just cheap feeling.  A loose fit, a loose spring, hard to get the belt into.

Overall, the vehicle’s not that bad.  It runs good, it’s not rattly, it’s not too noisy.  But when you’re facing these bad design elements for the little things, it’s just making you think “Why can’t they do this right?  Didn’t anyone even try this?”

I’ve got a couple other vehicles I’ve driven, and will hopefully add to this  series.

The racing season’s already begun (yay!).  As noted in the comments to the post from last year, Ryan Newman won the Daytona 500, and amazingly did it without shoving other people out of the way like he usually does.

I was disappointed that Stewart didn’t win, and thought he kinda gave it away, moving down to Kyle Busch, instead of staying high with the Penske cars.  It really seemed like Stewart was the ONLY person who could pass another car on his own at the end of the race, but unfortunately, he just didn’t get the break he needed.

Looks like a pretty good season coming up.  I was hoping Dario would do better, but it looked like Ganassi was just totally at-sea with their cars.  They performed badly all through Speedweeks, unlike their DP cars.

And now less than a month before the start of F1!  Hopefully the early testing Ferrari speed will continue through the season, and we won’t see McLaren at the front for the whole year.  I think they’re really going to be hurt, testing wise, losing Alonso, and I don’t think that Renault will have enough time with Alonso to have the car competitive enough at the beginning.  I also don’t think that Renault can be nearly the force at the front of the field without the Michelin tire advantage they had for their last two championships.  It was pretty obvious that Bridgestone let Ferrari down those two years, and now they’re letting everyone down equally!

I was going to repsond with a comment to Jay Jardine’s post about the end of the NASCAR Cup season, but figured I’d expand on it some and put it here (and hey, who doesn’t like putting content on their blog?).

Basically, I’m with him, I don’t know if anyone can get past the 1-2 of the senior Hendrick pair.  One thing they could do is ban Chad Knaus for life, tho.  How many times does he have to be suspended for rules infractions before they realize that he’s a serial cheater?  I’m sure that his car is out of spec in every race, and he just doesn’t get caught.

But other than that, you just have to admit that Gordon, and Johnson, are just so good.  They both have their head in the game, they both have teams clicking behind them.  I really don’t know if anyone’s gonna be able to sustain the performance it will take to overcome them, and really don’t know if either one will have that horrible day or two they’d need to come back to the field.

Jay mentions a couple other drivers.  Newman’s just a thug.  Either his car is great, and he is competitive, or he just sucks.  Hard.  And his preferred method of passing is ‘get out of my way’.  It takes a special talent to make Kurt Busch look like he’s got finesse, but his teammate manages it.  The Biff is going through that ‘Roush is too big to give good resources to all teams’ thing, like Jeff Burton did, like MacMurray is, like Kenseth did last year.

I’m a big Tony Stewart fan, and always spend the money to get him in a fantasy draft, but I just don’t think he can overcome Gordon and his clonebot.   I can hope, but it probably won’t happen.  Bowyer’s doing well with no pressure, and Hamlin’s getting used to it.

We’ll see how next year goes when everyone is focusing on the COT more.  But this year, I think they’re all gonna be watching #24 hoisting the trophy.

I like to switch radio stations, as soon as I hear a song or topic I don’t like, or a commercial, or whatever. One of the stations I like to switch through is the local ‘Jack FM’ station. Their claim to fame, in case you don’t know, is that they have a bigger playlist than normal FM pop stations. I like it because they 1) have no talk portions of the day, 2) seem to have a good attitude, and 3) play interesting songs that I like.

Sometimes, their transitions really crack me up, tho. Today I heard this one:

Takin Care of Business to “Yo, VIP… Let’s kick it!

If you got a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.  Check out the hook while DJ revolves it!

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