Friday Car Blogging

Because there’s nothing on the iPod, and the cats are all out hunting the escaped bubonic plague mice tonight.

No really, you go down South Orange Avenue past Seton Hall, and there’s a Kennedy Fried Chicken on the left, and the UMDNJ lab is a few more blocks down that way. Yes, that’s where the mice disappeared from. No, I’m fine with that. No, really: I’ve always liked the idea of bubonic plague. I think it would totally spice things up around here.

“Yersinia pestis, ya-ha-deedle-deedle, daidle-daidle-deedle-deedle-dum!”

I don’t know about you, but all day long I plan to biddle-biddle-bum.

Bubonic plague. While we’re at it, how about some cattarh, dropsy, grippe, and other pre-Victorian diseases? How about the ague? It rhymes with plague. Give me a case of that with a side of the chillblains, while my Y. pestis is on order.

[Update: Tigrismus notes that ‘ague’ is pronounced like ‘agh-you.’ I’ll take the croup then, please.]

This is the most public-health excitement I’ve had since the Night the Rabid Raccoon Got Into the House, and the subsequent Week In Which the Cats Were Acting All Weird.

Hi, Mark Morford!

God Loves The 1974 VW Dasher
Why my mom’s old yellow econobox still beats the crap out of any new car on the road
by Mark Morford


Let’s be honest: This gas mileage is abominable. So is, I guarantee you, the mpg your car gets. In fact, when adjusted for overall technological advancement and where we should be with engine efficiency, every car produced in the past two decades gets worse mileage than my mom’s 30-year-old Dasher and that includes the Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid, because the appalling fact is, gas mileage has remained essentially constant for over 30 years, if not worsened, across the board, despite astounding technological progress in nearly every other category of life.

Saably, No!

99 Turbo 4 small.gif
1978 Saab 99 Turbo plague-escape vehicle (in attractive burgundy): 30+ mpg highway.

I see your Dasher, Morford, and raise you 20 quirk-points.

The trick with Saabs is to get the oldest one you can, because once they reach 15 or 20 years old, you know they’re pretty much going to be around for the rest of the life of the universe. It’s apparently still possible to damage them in crashes or maintain them poorly, but I don’t know anything about that. Sometimes they get rusty around the wheel arches or on the door sills. But when you get one, you have to imagine that in several billion years, after the sun has gone nova and all those things, your car will be floating around in trackless space, perfectly driveable except for the lack of oxygen and a flat, gravitated surface.

People say that about Volvos too, but those are weird people who ought to be avoided. Saab enthusiasts and Volvo enthusiasts don’t generally get along, due to the fact of Volvos being sucky breadboxes that no decent person would be caught dead in.

A typical Volvo, sucking. Note the Swedish inscription: “Souping-up a Volvo is like putting makeup on a pig.” Ha ha! It’s funny because it’s true!

Also, those new Saabs they’re making now totally don’t have the funk, if you ask me — but that’s a different topic altogether. I test drove one of those 9-5s not long ago, and don’t even get me started. Why even make new ones? The old ones aren’t going anywhere! Just make some extra wheel arches and door sills.

Remind me to talk about this again, at length and in great detail. Oh wait, no — I’ll be dead from the plague. Well, I’m glad we had this time together.


Comments: 18


Wow, it beats the Honda Insight’s 75 MPG does it? Overall technological advancemently-speaking, of course.


It’s an attractive burgundy color! And it gets 30+ MPG with really nice acceleration, despite being 27 years old!

Truly, I’ve resisted cat blogging. Maybe the fatal note is about to strike.


Morford is a joke making humor columnist sort of guy, right?

It’s also extremely economical for such a performer, and in this sort of driving the Dasher or Fox owner should get at least 25 mpg.


Will the sun go nova? Sadly, No! Our lovable ball of hot gas (the one in the sky, not Rush) will become first a red giant and then a white dwarf. And then a winsome elf!


Oh, sure. There’s a lab here that last I looked was planning to dick around with the 1918 Flu virus in conditions the CDC felt were sub-par.
Maybe it’ll kill your mice before they spread.

Just for the record, the occasional set of pensioned -off lab mice that reside in my home are entirely non-contagious. Sometimes they have leftovers, you see, and it’s either kill ’em or find some sucker to take them in.
I am a sucker. But they’re cute.


I thought ague was pronounced more along the lines of argue. Yipe?


SAAB’s dead, man.

GM bought ’em. What ain’t (20% GM-owned) Subaru Imprezas or Chevy Trailblazers with different grilles is Opels with the ignition lock moved the the floor to try to fool ya. They aren’t Erik Carlsson’s SAABs anymore.


Forget the plague man, if avian flu breaks out and goes pandemic, 1 billion people die. It kills 55% of those infected and we have no natural resistance to it. *spooooooooky fish*


How many miles G? The odo flipped yet?

I can’t wait for the Bush bird-flu press conference. “Everybody may be dead but those of us not living need to look and reflect deeply. We have been tested by Cookie Jesus to examine ourselves and we shall not be found wanting. Up from the muck come we, and tax cuts for dead rich people, of course. May God continue to bless dead America.”


Dude, you live in the Bricks? You’ve an even badder-ass mofo than I thought.


No, Tigrismus, the ‘u’ in ‘ague’ is mute.Pinko, you have got me started on meaningless rhetoric through the ages, now: “Surely, in all the annals of Man, there exists no experiment more noble than ours, which has pitted the forces of Freedom against Reality itself.”(If you think this sounds too far fetched, allow me to inform you that no less a figure than David Ben Gurion once defined Zionism as a “Revolution against Destiny itself.”)


I love the Important use of Capital Letters. It is what separates Rhetoric from bullshit, even from Bullshit.


Who you gonna believe, Tigrismus, me or that damn machine? p.s. how did you get your name?


Hey, man, can’t we all just get along?

It’s the latinization of a RL nickname, based on me sometimes being bold, and sometimes a big ol’ chickenshit. How’d you get yours? I keed, I keed!


Well… I guess I can consider myself lucky that my Northern and Central European genes give me a fair shot at being immune to the plague (and a form of AIDS!) in the unlikely event that America suddenly gets a rush of the stuff.
I wouldn’t like to find out how I did on that part of the genetic lottery, however.


I prefer the Charlie Brown pronunciation for ague myself.


Nice Volvo. I see the very, very, work you put into it emanates. The only concerns I’d have a bout driving it is explaining to the police officers that pull me over every few blocks, how I kept the motivation to complete the project and bring it to fruition. Many of them can’t keep the little kid from coming out when it come to special cars and will pull you just to talk about it.


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