Monday, December 28, 2009

Columbus Weather; Winter is Here

Ahh, nothing like posting the weather. But here it is for when I look back many years from now... just as a reminder.

If you don't want to read it, I'll sum it up real quick... cold in the 20s. Snow. For the next 4 months. I love it. BRING IT!

Mostly cloudy until early morning...then becoming partly cloudy. Very light snow or flurries this evening. Lows 15 to 20. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Chance of measurable snow 50 percent.

Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 20s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday Night
Mostly clear. Lows around 15. North winds around 5 mph...becoming southeast after midnight.

Partly sunny in the morning...then becoming mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 30s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Wednesday Night
Cloudy. Snow likely...mainly after midnight. Light snow accumulation possible. Warmer with lows around 30. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent.

Cloudy. A chance of snow in the morning...then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 30s. Chance of precipitation 50 percent.

Thursday Night
Cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows in the upper 20s.

New Years Day
Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cooler with highs in the upper 20s.

Friday Night and Saturday
Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow showers. Lows around 15. Highs around 20. Wind chill values as low as zero.

Saturday Night through Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy. Lows 10 to 15. Highs in the lower 20s.

Mostly cloudy. A chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Unseasonably cool with highs in the mid 20s. Chance of snow 30 percent.


23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight as it prepared to land in Detroit. This is more then a firm reminder that terrible acts are planned against the United States. It is no secret that there are more people wishing bad things towards us then there are wishing good things.

President Obama made this statement (2 days after the Christmas Day event): "This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face," he said. "It's absolutely critical that we learn from this incident." After that he promptly went back to vacation activities, in this case heading off to the gym.

I'm guessing this sounds like I'm knocking the President for finishing up his vacation before addressing the topic with the American people. In a half hearted way it is because what I've learned in my years is that we don't need a political official to tell us how to feel or comfort us like babies. However, I will also half heartedly state that someone from Hawaii feels differently about America then, say, someone from the industrial side of Ohio. There is a large gap there besides the fact that, well, he is the President.

What happened in Detroit deserves more then what the President gave it, especially coming off the heels of what happened at Fort Hood. Oh, and how did the President act then? Well by lightheartedly giving a "shout out" incorrectly to a Medal of Honor "winner". People win the lottery. You don't "win" that award Mr. President. Also, it was the Medal of Freedom that was given to him... by you. Oh well, details right?

Both the Ft. Hood indecent and Detroit indecent were frighteningly handled in a similar fashion from the President. It's difficult to say what is right way to do things and what is wrong when coming from an ordinary citizen. Alls I'm saying is that it is two serious things treated in the same way. God forbid we get a third.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

George Michael Sports Machine

George Michael of Sports Machine! passed away over the holidays. He was a sportscaster for the local channel 4 news during my childhood years in Northern Virginia. For me he was the voice of the Redskins. I remember the Sports Machine! show he had late nights back then. I always figured it was local until recently. It's amazing how many people from coast to coast remember him fondly. He will be missed.

Friday, December 18, 2009


With the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago you didn't hear much mention of an event that played a major part; Chernobyl.

I am fascinated with this event. In looking around and searching the city you'll find that Infinity Ward did an amazing job recreating this area (Modern Warfare 1). That part of the game, Bloc I think, remains to this day one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had playing video games.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lost and Found

I ran across this today reading up on some Harley Earl history. From the guide/book that lead to the Fisher Body Craftsman Guild.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Avert Your Eyes (and ears)

I don't quite understand. I don't know what to say. I'll let Mr Niedermeyer from The Truth About Cars take it from here.

Volt Birth Watch 179: The Mystery Dance Number
By Edward Niedermeyer on December 14, 2009

Chrysler’s new advertisements may have been replaced by this video as the automotive marketing gaffe of the moment. When asked in a Fastlane webchat why GM had approved this questionable video, Sales and Marketing supremo Susan Docherty managed to come across as even more clueless and incompetent than she would have if she’d been prancing front and center:

"I have to be honest I haven’t yet seen the Chevrolet Volt song and dance but it sounds like I need to spend some time tonight on the web viewing this. Thanks for the heads up. Do you have any suggestions for us?"

Yeah, here are some suggestions: first off, it’s not the roaring twenties, Busby Berkeley. Kill the dance numbers. Suggestion number two: if you’re the head of sales and marketing, you should at least be aware of the existence of “promotional” materials like this. Third: if GM doesn’t take the Volt seriously, nobody will. Keep that in mind when approving marketing ideas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not sure about this one

ASHBURN, Va. – The chip-shot miss against the New Orleans Saints has cost Washington Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham his job.

Suisham, the most accurate kicker in franchise history, was cut Tuesday by the Redskins, who replaced him with Graham Gano from the United Football League.
Suisham made his first 13 field goal attempts this season, but he had vital misses from 39 and 50 yards in the 7-6 loss to Dallas three games ago and was wide right Sunday on a 23-yarder that would have sealed a victory over the unbeaten Saints. New Orleans rallied to win 33-30 in overtime.

Suisham made 18 of 21 attempts this season and 81 of 101 since joining the Redskins in 2006. His 80.2 percent success rate is the best career mark for any Redskins kicker with more than a half-dozen attempts.

"We've let a good kicker go down the road," coach Jim Zorn said on his weekly radio show on ESPN980. "Shaun has performed very well. I know he'll just be upset. He should be, but yet there's an accountability there. We'll all end up being accountable for our season, no question about it."
I wish I knew who was making this call. Dropping the kicker, of all people, at this point in the season? Unforgivable. I'm angry, the fans are angry. It shows misdirection of the franchise (if we hadn't seen it already). It's sad. Zorn is talking about it like the end of days at the end of the year. Not just in football terms... more like the rapture.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NFL Coaches

I read THIS a couple years ago and it keeps popping back up in my mind. A lot of the coaches mentioned have moved on or been fired but still funny. The best?

Brian Billick, Baltimore Ravens: washed up action hero who used to ride motorbikes, get chicks, and “be the best,” but now he’s an aging alcoholic living in a houseboat. When the modern action hero needs help, he calls upon Billick for “one last ride.” Billick grabs his sawed-off shotgun and gives glory one more shot.
Other possibilities: executive for a relatively small telecommunications company, but a real hot shot. Thinks he can get away with anything. Major violator of inner-office harassment policy. Tells Judy her “tits look great today” and tries to justify it because he was “giving her a compliment.” Gets slapped with a lawsuit and he’s dumbfounded, as if everyone else is crazy.

Next 10 Years; A Shift

Amazon is making some news today with rumors about a brick and mortar store opening in London. I think that this is a window into the future of retail where established online retailers will be dipping there toes into the shark infested waters of traditional retail.

I think that online retailers have a distinct advantage in inventory and supply. They know how to get things to customers quickly and they know how to forecast what they want - sight unseen. While there may be big advantages traditional retailers have, I think the days of walking into mega stores are over. The Borders business model had a good run but it is clearly done.

While there are thousands of factors to consider in making a move like Amazon is seemingly trying to do, I think one of the biggest things is something overlooked. Shipping. All online companies rely on carriers that they have little control over. If Amazon looks at their customer satisfaction score or NPS (and I'm sure they do) they'll see that most detractors come from delivery and carriers. In the US it can be the USPS in England it can be the national carrier service that recently went on strike and caused major problems. Amazon can deliver to stores for pickup themselves on more items from a regional DC. The more control over carriers the better. It's something that Netflix has mastered.

Looking forward to a very interesting next decade in retail.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Creepy World Cup Mascot

Zakumi, i think.

Anyway, here is the draw for the US and England. Same group this year.

Group C
1 - England
2 - USA
3 - Algeria
4 - Slovenia

Now... the Winter Olympics have a group of mascots. Looks like they might have been designed by the folks that to Fosters Imaginary Friends. On paper. Cool. In reality. Funny.

Friday, December 4, 2009

2011 CTS Coupe

Not bad. Impressive even. Now we are getting somewhere. Looks like they are looking back a bit to the 1970 AMC AMX. Good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

GM's Volt (woops)

I know that this is just a showcase for the new Volt. But watch around 50 seconds in for the test driver to brake. The stupid taillight is out. I dunno, it just bothers me, especially when you see it working later in the video.
Looking past this we also see that Lordstown, Ohio is pinning it's hopes on the Cruze. GM's next little car similar to the long lived Cavalier and short lived Cobalt. Want to know a little history on Lordstown? I know you do...

This is from the Detroit News Online:

Taking Exit 215 off the Ohio Turnpike, you can't miss the GM plant. At 5 million square feet, it overshadows the community, and at times has had more employees than Lordstown has residents.

The city has a couple of convenience stores, a gas station and a small business strip with a dollar store and a Subway shop. At Lordstown High School, where the graduating class this year had 28 students, there's no football field or outdoor track. American cars sit in the driveways. More than 70 percent of the town's tax revenue comes from workers at the plant, and the town has been forced to cut some of its part-time employees.
"It causes a lot of strain," said Chaffee, the mayor. "Three times more houses are for sale in our community (since 2008), and what used to be a number in the teens is now 75. It's kind of a slow-drip death for our whole area. Hardly a week goes by that you don't find out someone in the area is cutting 60, 70, 80 jobs. In the old days, they would always say the cuts were temporary."

California Pizza and Things pizzeria and convenience store, about a mile from the plant, gleans more than half of its business from factory workers, owner Mark McGrail said. To cope with declining income, McGrail and his wife, Rita, have cut costs: They have laid off all but one employee, picked up their goods instead of having them delivered, kept most of the lights turned off and turned the heat down in the winter. Conversation over the register is almost always the same.
"It just seems like everyone is laid off, or someone in their family is laid off, and it's not just those who work in the plant," Rita McGrail said.
The hopes of Lordstown.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fritz Is Out

Here is a great old picture of GM designers and engineers at work. Continue on Gentlemen.

Frederick Henderson is out at GM. He helped lead them through bankruptcy but unfortunately for him the board decided it was time to move on. I don't think that is was very pretty over at GM. Henderson's daughter posted at GM's Facebook page (of which I follow). Sarah Henderson's statement is vulgar and gross. I understand that she may be upset but this is a reflection of him and how all this went down. Here is the post (read at your own risk, she hit the caps lock and unleashed the FURY):


Maybe I should apologize for adding that but it puts some of the pieces together about the state of GM because also on the GM Facebook page you can find many GM employees finding out ON the page about the firing of their boss. I know that it is a huge company but it goes to show you that this was hastily done.

Outing Fritz I think was do to a couple things. First, I think he has failed at unloading Saturn and Saab. These two companies were thought to be worth something but as it turns out GM got greedy. They are also having a hard time unloading Hummer to the Chinese. I'll believe that when it happens. He was successful in unloading Pontiac to, well, nobody. It is just being liquidated.

Ed Whitacre is taking over temporarily and serving as Chairman and CEO. I believe his is the right guy to be making these decisions, at least from my limited perspective. Bob Lutz is also still there too, pulling some strings behind the scenes. Bub Lutz is what the call "a car guy" and has been there since forever.

My writing here may be in futility though. GM has a long way to go before they really stabilize (if they can even achieve that). They are still spending way to much to advertise and there cars look like they were designed by a fourth grader playing with construction paper and scissors. Nap time!

Anyway, to lighten the mood, here is a response to Sarah's comment that I thought funny:


Good luck with that goal, Sarah. I had similar aspirations, but you wouldn't believe the number of times I've accidentally bought a GM vehicle, even though I had no intention to.

Also, I need to find a situation where I can properly use the phrase "every again." I like the way that sounds.