So Long, 2016

2016 was a year where a lot of bad things happened.

Like, a LOT of bad things. A lot of really, really bad things.

Some of it consumed us. Some of it flew under the radar, avoiding the headlines.

Many things had never happened to us before and we didn’t know how to deal with them. Many things did happen that we should have remembered from history, but somehow we forgot, and we repeated our great mistakes.

It’s hard to find someone who’d disagree that 2016 was, on the whole, a terrible, terrible year.

But many good things happened. Most of them happened at an individual level, and the country or the world would never know, but YOU know, because they happened to YOU.

Robin Williams once said, “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

My hope for next year is not that we forget the bad things.

My hope is that we remember the good things as well — and in remembering the good with the bad, we learn to take a more mature, balanced view of the big round world.

Caitlyn Jenner: a Different Kind of Brave

Caitlyn Jenner Drawing

Immediately after Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover came out, my Facebook feed was filled to the brim with happiness and hope and support and all kinds of wonderful, positive things, among them kudos on the bravery of doing something like that.

Then, shortly after that, I saw half a dozen of those wounded vet memes that throws the word bravery back in our faces. And it disturbed me. So I whipped up a Facebook status update and gave it back to Facebook, and it started a conversation that ended up going in a completely different direction. Continue reading

Ex Cops vs. McDonald’s

Here’s an excellent story:
McDonald’s Asks Indie Band to Play For Free During SXSW. Read Their Fantastic Reply.

The gist:

Not-yet-super-famous indie band Ex Cops was asked to play SXSW for FREE. By McDonald’s. McDonald’s is a multi-billion dollar company. If they “don’t have the budget” to pay artists, then fuck that company.

Ex Cops vs. McDonald's
Continue reading

Bland Car Enthusiast: The 2016 Chrysler 300, At Last

Redesigned 2016 Chrysler 300Redesigns get revealed earlier and earlier, it seems, especially with Chrysler’s brands, and the 2016 Chrysler 300 is no exception. The 2016 model was revealed in 2014, which left two years’ models in between looking somewhat unstreamlined by comparison. I’ve always been confused as to how revealing the new redesign could possibly boost sales for the older models — unless, of course, the redesign is much uglier than the outgoing model, in which case, yes, you’d want to buy the better looking one before it goes away.

But whatever. Continue reading

Bland Car Enthusiast: The SMP Corp Parts App #sponsored

Image - SMP App IconDisclosure: This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here are my own, I have received compensation from Standard Motor Products, Inc., to review information.

Making my own fixes to my car is not something I do very often, but when I do, I feel super-manly. I like feeling manly. I also like feeling smart. So – when a mobile app comes around that helps me do both, well, naturally I’m inclined to love it. Continue reading

Bland Car Enthusiast: The Buick Avenir Concept

Buick Avenir Concept - Bland Car Enthusiast

If you haven’t heard about the Buick Avenir concept vehicle, that’s not really surprising. Concept vehicles are for the truly enthused. Everyday citizens generally have little to no idea what concept vehicles come and go, but those who pay attention are regularly rewarded with something they like.

Me, I like sedans. Especially big ones. Especially Buicks. Continue reading