Tag Archives: Life

Land of the Free, Home of the…Oppressed?

It seems like everything we hear about the 2016 presidential campaign is totally negative. Turn on any network news channel and you hear two names, how much support they have, and where they sit in the polls. However, interestingly enough, talk to nearly any person on the street and you will find severe distaste towards the traditional nominees. It is as if your vote only matters if you vote democrat or republican. This, in turn, has caused a third group of people to become even more frustrated. This third group of people believe that your vote still matters, they still believe in democracy.

This post is a departure from my usual content, typically filled with cars, irreverence, and whatever wild blog-schemes I think are hilarious. In fact, I believe so strongly in this post, that it has motivated me to actually update my website. This is not a post endorsing any particular candidate, although a quick visit to my Twitter page will give up that poorly protected secret. This post exists simply to plea to you that you don’t have to choose between two evils! That if enough people believed that their voice could be hear, that it actually could!

I’m obviously talking about voting for a third party. I’m not so obviously inferring that the very term, “third party,” reveals the ignorance that surrounds our country’s political scene. When someone mentions a third party, they are immediately discredited. No one believes that anyone outside of the establishment has the ability to do anything. 2016 can be a turning point, or it can just be another step into the dark path that we have been headed down for so long.

The fact that many believe the majority of populace of the United States of America, the melting pot of the world, can be grouped into just two parties is simply insane. It’s even more insane than the guy who thought the Pontiac Aztec would be a good idea. More insane still than the person who thought Orange Crush flavored Pop Tarts were something that people actually wanted to eat.

Are we that simple minded?

The most beautiful thing about the USA, the one fact that makes the rest of the world envy us, is that you can come here and be whomever you want. This is a country where you can build a name for yourself with hard work!It’s a place where people flocked because they had opportunities to be themselves, and a departure from the repression and tyranny they were used to their whole lives. Can a country built by the hands of many really be well represented by two, extremely outdated and corrupt organizations?

Absolutely not, but how did we fall into this rut? Why do we tell people that when they vote for a non-establishment candidate, they are just throwing away their vote?  Why don’t they see that voting against your own beliefs is the only actual way to throw away your vote.

What we need are political parties that each one of us can endorse. If you feel one way, there’s a great chance someone else does too! Find them, befriend them, join them! Only once we believe in ourselves, can we believe that together we can make an actual difference.

Imagine a 2016 election, where instead of two terrible candidates getting all of the spotlight, there are five or six candidates, one of which you might actually want to vote for! Imagine not having people disregard your opinion because you aren’t a democrat, or a republican. Imagine watching debates where real, valid candidates could discuss issues without all of the nonsense and petty arguments. It could happen, but we have to be willing to make our voices heard.

There are so many questions I wish I could answer, if only to understand how we got to the point, where people in the greatest democracy in the world are brainwashed into thinking we don’t really have a say. If you really, truly, believe in what Donald Trump, or what Hilary Clinton stand for, I don’t want you to think that is wrong. But maybe you don’t, maybe…JUST MAYBE, you want your own voice to be heard. Come November, don’t be afraid to check one of the other boxes on the ballot. You might just help change the world.

 

 

Yes, that is an actual Abraham Lincoln quote. Look it up. 

 

 

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The World’s Best Winter Car

After a beautiful summer, the inevitable has happened. The place I call home, Northern Michigan officially has snow in the forecast. Cue the miserable cold, snow removal, holidays, and everyone’s favorite: slippery roads. Many people in what is affectionately known as the, “Snowbelt,” are probably freaking out. Not me though, I’ve got this “winter” thing all figured out. I have purchased a 4×4 vehicle with plenty of ground clearance, limited-slip differentials, and a huge American V8 that I can use to intentionally make my SUV spin around in an exciting fashion. Do those qualities really make up the perfect winter vehicle though? Would I have been just fine driving my beloved VW throughout the coldest, snowiest portion of the year? Today we will find out what makes the perfect winter vehicle and what you need to do to prepare to tackle the snowy hellscape that shows up every winter.

My very own Jeep.
My very own Jeep.

If you asked random people what they would want to traverse the roads during the winter months, many would just say what they have always been told and blurt out, “four wheel drive, duh!” And out of those people, some would require a real 4×4 powertrain, while others would be content with all-wheel drive. The first group of these people, the 4×4 fanboys, are terrified of modern engineering. They think that if you don’t have to pull a lever or turn a knob to engage 4×4 you aren’t going to have a chance driving through the half inch of snow many city commuters have to traverse to get to their workplaces. Friends, I’m here to tell you that if you insist your engine drives all four of your wheels you most likely don’t actually need to have a transfer-case (and if you don’t know what a transfer case is, you definitely don’t need one). True four wheel drive trucks and SUVs are best suited for those planning on doing some moderate to extreme off-roading, and don’t even pretend that you will ever do anything that even comes close. For the rest of us, an awd or even fwd setup will be just fine to help us find traction.

Are these so-called “people” correct though? Is 4×4 what you need to survive a winter in a place like northern Michigan?

A so-called, "person."
A so-called, “person.”

Absolutely not.

If you are wondering why you are still reading this, you are about to get a bomb of knowledge dropped right onto the screen of whatever it is the kids these days are using the access the internet.

The perfect winter car, is literally any car.

winter Beetle

I’ll save you some time by writing out some comments that I expect readers of this article will be saying.

“You idiot, the Bugatti Veyron is a terrible winter car.”

“You suck, SUBARU FOR LIFE, BRO.”

“I have a FWD/RWD car with cheap discount tires and I go in the ditch all the time, you know nothing.”

First, the Bugatti Veyron is a terrible winter car, for a climate that gets cold. But it’s the perfect winter car for a drug lord in Miami.

Second, tell me about the times you’ve had to replace the head gaskets in your Subaru, bro. AWD means nothing when your car is overheating in -25 degree weather, and third…

Proper winter or all-season tires will turn any two wheel drive vehicle into a snow conquering chariot.

The last two winters have been the two worst I have ever seen. It felt like the small mid-Michigan college town of Big Rapids was moved to a location right off the ice road highlighted in the History Channel show, “Ice Road Truckers.” So I definitely had a 4×4 SUV or truck because I never missed a day of class, right? Absolutely not, the car that got me through many blizzards, and whiteouts was a simple Volkswagen Beetle riding on some nice all-season rubber. I vividly remember driving around many-a-stuck SUV in my underpowered hatchback. With a set of winter tires, I could have probably driven to the North Pole. Tires are the only part of your car that touch the road, and a set of snow tires give you the traction you need to get moving. Want to go one step further and go from extremely capable to truly unstoppable? Put a set of snow tires on an AWD or 4WD SUV and tell me how many feet of snow you effortlessly drove though.

So friends, if you have no reason other than snow to purchase something with 4×4 or AWD, don’t! Get the car that you really want, and don’t get too bent out of shape over four months of the year. If an awkwardly tall guy in a VW Beetle can get where he needs to go, so can you in a Ford Fusion with snow tires.

As a little bit of inspiration, I will include many photographs of unlikely vehicles partaking in fun winter activities.

c4-vette-with-plow-1
Photo Cred: Stingrayforums.com
Ferrari-FF_2012_1600x1200_wallpaper_5e.980x0
Photo Cred: carsvibe.com
miata
A Miata, crushing winter.
Photo Cred: Mohammed Alibrahim
Photo Cred: Mohammed Alibrahim

The Case For Minivans

The first friend that I made at Ferris, my former roommate, is engaged, to be married! What a joyous occasion. Two people beginning their new lives as a married couple. Many things will change in the lives of Caleb and Alyssa (Leb & Slaw). They will move in together, their lives will intertwine even more than they already have, and Slaw will have to put up with Leb’s love of 80s hair bands. One thing will eventually lead to another and in a few years, our friends Caleb and Alyssa will be expecting a small child. At that time neither Caleb’s Volvo, nor Alyssa’s Pontiac will be able to handle the massive amount of nonsense that comes with parenthood and children. Luckily, our friend Caleb is a sensible young man, and he will purchase a minivan.

van

At this point you might be scratching your head. Why would two twenty-somethings purchase a minivan over the sea of crossovers and small SUVs? Apparently, the rest of the U.S. is asking themselves the same question, according to sales tracking website, www.goodcarbadcar.net, minivan sales were down 14.1% year-over-year last month. I see it every day, people come in looking at new and used crossovers (which are perfectly fine vehicles) because they would “never buy a minivan.” But why not? Why not purchase something that will transport you in comfort, while making your life just a little bit easier. There are three big benefits to owning a minivan, and today I will show you why you should aspire to own one of the least desirable types of vehicles on sale in the United States.

  1. The space and layout that you find in a minivan is unmatched by other types of vehicles.

Show me another vehicle like the 2015 Chrysler Town and Country in which you can fold five seats into the floor in less than five minutes, creating enough room to transport a large male alligator. Their boxy shapes are great for stowing things and the amount of seating space that comes with it will be something that will be hard to pass up.

  1. Modern minivans are basically living rooms on wheels.

Notice this photo, two human adult males enjoying a break from the North American International Auto Show in the middle row of a 2015 Kia Sedona. Notice how the humans are smiling, reclined, and even have their feet up! This kind of transportation luxury is seldom found outside of the confines of a first-class seat on Delta Airlines. Vans today are loaded up with everything from Blu-ray players to backseat charging stations to keep those jabronis you call children from actually making intelligent conversation.

Two guys just enjoying a great van.
Two guys just enjoying a great van.
  1. If James Bond was real, and in the CIA, a minivan is what he would drive.

We all like to think that there really is a Sauvé agent 007 driving around in an Aston Martin DB9 taking down criminal masterminds, but what spies really do is blend in and not get noticed. That is exactly what will happen if you drive a van. You will just be some other person driving their kids to soccer practice, only your “kids” are sniper rifles, and “soccer practice” is the assassination of an African dictator.  These traits actually also makes the minivan the perfect vehicle for organized crime, you’re welcome members of the Algerian Mafia.

The key to purchasing a minivan is acceptance. Chances are you would rather have a sports car, but you should have thought about that when you opted to have a second child. For those normal people who just want a comfortable ride and need to transport the future heirs of their estates a minivan is the only logical choice. Fear not though; as your children will eventually go on to have children of their own. You will be able to downsize to that automatic Corvette you’ve always wanted, and you’ll have never look better arriving to the early bird special at your favorite local buffet.

"A man and his van."
“A man and his van.”

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Full Disclosure: This article was written by a jagaloon who thinks he is starting to figure things out. Read at your own risk.

Mo Money Mo problems

Michael Scott, former regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton said it best. What most people don’t realize is that mo problems isn’t always a bad thing.

The college lifestyle is so simple. You pick your schedule, you have no real commitments, you do whatever you want, and you never realize that you will won’t experience that feeling again until you retire. In college, you typically have limited to no money, and you either realize something, or you remember it: that people and experience are what it’s all about, and having some extra cash to spice things up is just a bonus. I miss college, I would go back and do it all over in a heartbeat. Fortunately though, I’m no time-traveler. I’m forced to be an adult now and deal with adult issues. Which actually sounds about as fun as licking a wet dog, but it’s actually an opportunity to make the most out of what you learned, both in and out of the classroom.

It’s been three month since I graduated from Ferris State University. In those three months I’ve moved into my own house, started my career, and I’ve made many adult decisions (many of which I documented with my innovative Twitter hashtag, #adulting). The common thread amongst all of these things is that they all come from or with my newly found cash flow. For me, and many of my classmates, that simple lifestyle we enjoyed in school is over.

Reality check to anyone who is still in school: Someday you will have to figure out your own healthcare plan.

Spoiler Alert: It’s not as fun as it sounds. 

Mutual funds are a real thing, you have to schedule your own dentist appointments, and getting up before 7am is something you stop complaining about. Buying a new car becomes a viable option, and you learn that there is actually some joy in buying furniture and visiting home improvement stores.

Everyday in your adult life, you are bombarded with problems. How do you best minimize the risk in your stock portfolio? Can you get away with not ironing that shirt for work? How much dental coverage should you have through your workplace’s insurance policy? Is it okay to keep ordering pizza for dinner every other night? Why don’t all of your friends live two seconds from you anymore? What is your favorite mircobrew? Luckily, you have been preparing for all of these questions and more for the last four (or more) years.

The thing about having no money and a simple lifestyle is that you find out very quickly what is important to you, and where your priorities lie. Life may seem like it’s nothing but questions, problems, and issues, but you just have to remember that even though your income has changed, you haven’t. Every hard decision you have to make only helps prepare you even more for the next one.

There’s an old African proverb that goes, ” calms seas do not make skilled sailors.” Every time you have to make a tough choice, like deciding between a blue Porsche and a red one, you learn something. Life would be boring if you never had to make a tough choice, and many times those tough choices will result in great decisions. The important thing to remember is that no matter how much money, how many problems, or how many Porsches you have, you are still that person who somehow lived on Taco Bell and Natty.

In the last episode of the last season of the greatest show ever, The Office, Andy Bernard is reminiscing on his time with Dunder Mifflin. Throughout the series he goes through a roller coaster of situations (many very very unfortunate), but at the end of the day, all of the problems and issues that he when through lead to his dream job.

andy

I’ll finish with a second spoiler alert:

Someday when you look back at your life, you will think about all the great times you’ve had, and if you can just remember that you are always in the good old days you will get to enjoy them to the fullest, twice. 

My car has ruined my life.

Ahh, I am finally doing what all good marketing, advertising, and PR professionals have been doing for years, starting a personal website/blog. I will be periodically updating this site to provide insight into marketing, the automotive industry, and whatever other interesting things happen to consume my time.

I thought I would start my first post with something that has been troubling me. If you knew me at all over the last three years you’ve probably heard about my prized possession, my mint 1998 VW Beetle.

IMG_1001

For three years I have loved this car, as quirky, as slow, and as impractical as it may be. As of recently though my new job and the fact that I have more than $83 in my bank account have handed me the opportunity to purchase a new(er) car. Great news, right!?

wrong.

I have ruined my life by owning an interesting car.

Let me refresh your memory in case you haven’t been car shopping in awhile. A normal person drives into a car dealership in their tan Chevrolet Impala. They go to the salesperson and say “hello, I need a new car. I just want navigation, a sunroof, and four doors.” The sales person then says, “great news, I have just the car.” They would show them basically any new cookie-cutter sedan (cough cough Toyota Camry cough cough), they would love it and drive off happily for the next 3-5 years.

That however, is not how it works for a person who drives an interesting car. When I car shop, I think about my options. I determine that nothing I see is fun enough, or unique enough to replace the car that I love. Then someone likes me either ends up not buying anything, or they buy something like a Mazda Miata, a Porsche 944, or a some old Volvo station wagon that some rapscallion swapped a supercharged LS1 into between taking lines of cocaine.

You see, people like me, people who have owned interesting cars think differently than our friend who traded in their tan Impala. People like me think that they could buy one new, practical sedan…or they could buy three used Mazda Miatas. People like me don’t think of cars as a means of transportation, but an opportunity to enjoy the time you spend between points A and B.

I’ve ruined my life, owning a retro-styled, slow, Mexican-built, manual European hatchback. But at the same time, I’ve made my life substantially better. I’m not insane though, I know that most people should not buy a 25 year old Japanese sports car. Luckily, car makers like Ford understand this concept and they have been building us interesting cars that you could buy brand new tomorrow! (hint hint, I work at a car dealership!)

So instead of buying that Toyota Camry, come see me. I’ll show you a Ford Focus ST, a turbocharged Mustang, or a 365 hp station wagon. You’ll be thanking me everyday when your commute involves wild burnouts and huge smiles.