May 2008


The Huge Hybrid – Few Takers for a New S.U.V. Twist – NYTimes.com

General Motors and Chrysler are betting that their 5,500-pound, eight-seat S.U.V.’s — long the scourge of environmentalists — can be reformed as hybrid models, albeit ones getting 20 miles to the gallon.

Consumers have been slow to embrace the first two models from G.M., which are relatively new to the market.

G.M. has sold about 1,100 of its Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids since their introduction in January, according to company sales briefings. That pace is well behind its goal of 12,000 sales a year, and a fraction of the more than 100,000 hybrids sold so far in the United States this year.

“To this point, the G.M. hybrids aren’t getting any traction at all,” said Mike Omotoso, a senior manager with the research firm J. D. Power & Associates.

Giving a four-wheel drive Tahoe a gas-electric hybrid engine raises fuel economy for city driving to 20 miles a gallon from 14.

Okay—am I the only one who thinks this is stupid? Can someone just give the Detroit automakers a kick in the head and a boot in the ass? It’s a hybrid and it gets 20 MPG instead of 14MPG. What a waste of $53,000!

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Mel Brooks Blazes Wacky Trail : NPR
Yeah – Another great NPR podcast. This one is an interview with one of the funniest people on the planet — Mel Brooks. The link has a tiny amount of text but listen to the 13-minute podcast audio – it’s well worth your time.

I would like to comment on the passing of Sydney Pollack, too. What a great director and actor! He was only 73 – the same age as my dad when he died in 1999. NPR has a 2005 interview with him for the release of his film The Interpreter. Here is the link.

Sydney Pollack in Tootsie

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Some People Would Die To Wind Up at This Museum – washingtonpost.com

Normally I would shamelessly plug my own museum (and I need to do that soon) but this one caught my eye today. It’s right in the same neighborhood and I didn’t realize that it was happening. The National Museum of Crime & Punishment opens today on 7th Street NW here in DC – just a 1/2 block from my museum. Here’s a bit from the Washington Post review in today’s paper:

You know the names: Jesse James, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger . . .

And the men who chased them. Wild Bill Hickok. Wyatt Earp. Eliot Ness. J. Edgar Hoover.

The prisons where their kind were locked up: Rikers. Attica. Leavenworth. Alcatraz.

And the ways they died: Bullets. Ropes. Firing squad. Electric chair. Gas chamber. Lethal injection.

These are the stories at the heart of the District’s newest tourist attraction, the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, which opens today on Seventh Street NW in Gallery Place. The for-profit museum — admission is $17.95 — gives an eerie gloss to these true-life tales of cops and robbers, almost as if you’re walking through a high-toned coffee-table book.

Throughout the three-story building, the museum presents a number of interactive displays. You can learn how to crack a safe, watch clips of famous movies such as “The French Connection” and take an electronic quiz to see if the movie squared with reality. In a simulator, you can learn how to drive police vehicles. Then you can stand in a police station lineup or step into an Old West jail cell.

That’s where the simulated experience stops. There are no pretend executions.

That’s right — $17.95 per head. YIKES! I find the price just a scary as the content.

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Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82 – New York Times

I know, why do I keep blogging obituaries? I only pick people I think are interesting or important to me. Rauschenberg is important — to me. His work has always fascinated and intrigued me and sometimes repelled me. Painter, printmaker, sculptor, and photographer – he did it all and combined it all. He broke rules right and left and I loved him for it. Break the boundries, blur the lines and accept accidents and inspirations.

“I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop,” he said in an interview in the giant studio on Captiva in 2000. “At the time that I am bored or understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.”

He added: “Anything you do will be an abuse of somebody else’s aesthetics. I think you’re born an artist or not. I couldn’t have learned it. And I hope I never do because knowing more only encourages your limitations.

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