Archive | September 2015

Answering the Really Tough Questions

Comedy Club Manager: “Can you do three minutes?”
Me: “Some nights I’m done before the underwear comes off.”
Comedy Club Manager: “So then… Three minutes?”
Me: “Let me slip out of these undies, and I’ll be good for six or seven later on.”
*Blank stare*

Thank you. I’m here all week. Remember to tip your servers…

Facebook Privacy? Oh, Puh-leeze.

Dear Facebook “Friend” who continually posts the “Privacy” thing every time it circulates,

If you are posting some copied and pasted “disclaimer” declaring your “rights” regarding any information that you share on Facebook, and honestly believe that you’ve “protected” anything, you are a fucking moron, and should just remove yourself from my “friends” list here.

 
In the interest of brevity, let’s just roll two key things out for you, genius:
 
1. You are using an online service to post your thoughts and likes and gripes, and of course, more fucking selfies of yourself than anyone really cares to see, quite honestly… and you do this by choice. Believe me, it isn’t MY choice to see you on a bench, and then walking, and the drinking coffee, and then with your comb, and then with your dog, and then with your dog and your lunch… YOU select to share this meaningless bullshit, and I simply ignore it, because quite frankly, I’m not impressed that you managed to make a fucking sandwich. You’re (and for the record, you illiterate, self-important shit-bag, it’s NOT “your”) an adult. You made a conscious decision to post the pics. Should someone else be equally as fucking stupid as you are, and select to republish your sandwich selfie as a part of some ad campaign in Azibukistabishkan to sell roof rat-based luncheon meats, then it’s your fault for supplying the imagery to begin with, you simpleton.
 
2. By signing on in the first place, you agree to the Terms and Conditions (that long read you skip past on everything and click “I Agree” to rush into things, because golly gee, Jeb, you jus’ needs to gets yo’ selfie on) EVERY FUCKING TIME YOU LOG IN OR POST. Yes, it says that, fans of literacy. And posting something written by a thirteen year old legal expert from Santa Fe isn’t going to modify that contract. You don’t own the site. Hell, Facebook doesn’t own the site. It’s publicly traded. Take a few hours away from your meaningless life updates (yes, posting a photo of your new iPhone places you into “meaningless” territory, as does any image of you looking at a moon, a car, a place mat, sitting near the booth at that restaurant where they almost filmed a scene in that movie…) and contact the shareholders and board members, and ask each of them if it’s OK to modify the agreement, because holy shit, Universal Pictures is just dying to get at your feed for a movie based upon your updates. Can you see it?
 
“What’s new in Enterainment News? Let’s check in with Brock Hunkley…”
“Just announced today, the script for ‘Final Moments’, the story of robot uprising and armageddon, based upon the true story of some douchebag’s status updates on Facebook is held up in a legal battle following this loser’s posting of a modification to the Terms of Service on their wall. Braiden McSelfimportant had decided to retroactively claim some ownership of the photos of he and his dog licking an ice cream cone in an undisclosed, poorly-maintained backyard, when someone on his Friends list discovered the image being used to inspire the Vietnam War flashback scene in the forthcoming film.”
 
Seriously, no more about this. EVER. There is an alternative to sharing your life and every waking moment online. It’s called “NOT SHARING EVERY FUCKING WAKING MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE ON FACEBOOK.” In fact, while we’re at it, do you know why I enjoy our friendship remaining so damned “virtual?” Simply because I’d probably kill myself if I were forced to be around you and that ever-present fucking phone. There should be a law requiring your sorry ass to carry an old film-based camera, and limiting you to one roll per month, if for no other reason than to get a clue as to what a really important moment is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all of that considered, become absent. Read a fucking book. Do something constructive for once, and see if it serves to better your vacuous, poorly time-managed life. And then you could display those photos in your own gallery, and retain all of the “rights” you want, you imbecile. Go fuck yourself.

Hugs and kisses as always,

Brian

That One Cool Car

thumbs-up

To this day, the image of one car remains burnt into my brain, and quite possibly my psyche. To say that this one car’s impact had depth would be grossly understating the profound effect it had on me. As the vision of that car passed from my eyes, it left ripples along my optic nerve and slammed into my brain, forming the surface of that surrounding gray matter into some cars-only territory.

Whether it was some combination of the right time and place, or perhaps my Dad had reacted and it triggered me to do likewise, I cannot be certain. Yet, I can still vividly picture it in my mind as it drove by, and have never forgotten the scoops on the fender, the way the tail lamps looked, or even the guards on that rear bumper… Knowing what I do today, I realize that the car in question was a ’73 Challenger Rallye, and that blue car set off a chemical reaction like no other. I was hooked. It was an impression that has lasted my entire life, and chances are, will continue to linger.

challenger

Consider the impact of that particular experience on my younger self. I had no real idea of what a cool car was at that age, outside of what I may have liked, be it color or general shape-wise. My brain wasn’t quite ready to form those particular opinions yet, but I certainly knew what kinds of things appealed to me. And that Challenger, well, it had appeal. Examining this a bit deeper, consider, too, how few modes of personal transportation can have the effect of a ‘cool car’. The car is universal. It can spark conversation, and even provide equal ground between strangers. I’ve probably made more friends via the automobile than any other of the interests I have, and some of my life-long friendships began through conversations about cars.

I often wonder if the owner of that blue Challenger had any clue of the effect that his (or hers — I cannot recall the driver no matter how hard I try!) simple act of driving a cool car had on that little kid walking with his Dad. While that car continued on the way to wherever the driver was headed, there was another chance experience with yet another blue Challenger, this time being a Bright Blue Metallic ’70 R/T. I was eleven or twelve years old, and as a friend and I pedaled our bikes into the convenience store parking lot, my jaw dropped. As the driver’s door opened, I managed to squeak out ‘Cool car!’ (or perhaps ‘Rad car!’ — it was, after all, that time), and the owner proceeded to answer all of my questions.

Here was this guy with a cool car, taking time to talk to some wide-eyed kid about it. I was stoked. I became convinced that the Challenger may be the coolest car ever, and that if you owned one, you had a responsibility to be cool about it. Kid logic reigning supreme, I swore that one day I’d have a Challenger of my own, and that I’d make time to talk about it, too. While there was a string of cool cars in my driveway between that Summer day and now, it took me many years to hold the keys to my own blue Challenger. I can say with conviction that I have a pretty good idea of how it feels to be that driver, and while I don’t own a first-generation Rallye or R/T, I did own a Blue Streak Pearl 2012 model for a while… Was my color choice influenced all those years ago? I’d venture to guess that it didn’t hurt… And did that patient driver influence my eagerness to talk with complete strangers in parking lots and stop lights about my car? Oh, you can bet it did. Wherever my wife and I take it, we can almost guarantee meeting at least one new friend along the way, and enjoying their story, memories, or simply answering the ‘So, how do you like it?’ question. Our answer is often multi-layered, but can be neatly summed-up in explaining that we simply love this car.

I hope that one day as I drive through a parking lot, that some kid is looking at my car and having some life-altering moment, and if one day it will be a memory of that brief moment that hangs around and shapes the kind of car fanatic they are to become. I’d like to hope so. After all, I’m fortunate to be able to drive my dream car, and be a part of the Dodge musclecar legacy. And as an independent, self-appointed (by my twelve year-old self that long-since passed Summer day) ambassador of the cool car club, it is my duty to inspire that next generation, so that we’ll always have cars with soul to inspire those who come after.

Apologize? NEIN!

blackface diesel

One of those “from the frying pan into the fire” kinda things. Willing to bet that this isn’t one of those scandals that will just rinse off in the shower for these particular Germans.

Although, you do have to admit that having him sing “Blue Skies” was a brilliant idea.

Fan Fiction: “Fury Load”

Quote out of context that bred a movie idea:

“If you you stop to think about it, there’s probably little more terrifying in the world than a wedge-style, tractor-pulling chassis lumbering at wide-open throttle toward your town… Even more so if it’s covered with the papier mache penis-shaped parade float body that the drivers of said machine stole from you on the last trek down the hill.

We could craft an entire sub-plot centered around the citizens forced to help push it back up the hill following the plundering. This is gold.”

Granted, it’s no remake or live-action version of a seventy year old animated classic… or even a trilogy based on a thirteen page short story, but with a few hundred million in CGI effects, this could be the blockbuster you need, even if you did nothing to deserve it.

International Iceberg Lettuce Appreciation Day

Strangely coincidental, two-fer fact of the day:
 
While the Egyptians may have cultivated lettuce in its earliest form (and changing it from an oil-producing weed to a leafy food), and the preparation and serving techniques perfected by the Greeks and Romans, it was Columbus who brought it to America.
 
Strangely enough, what we now refer to as “Iceberg” lettuce was known as “Glasgow Butterleaf” until the horrifying events of April 15, 1912. Stranded for nearly three weeks in the icy, rough seas, and floating in rafts constructed using vintage car parts and draperies salvaged from the wreckage, the victims of the sinking RMS Titanic survived by eating the buoyant foods from the salad bar and burning the contents of a stowaway’s sketch books.
 
Had the trek been reversed, with the mighty ocean liner heading instead from New York to Southampton, the lettuce on board would have been the Americanized “Thick Head” variety, and would have fallen to the ocean floor like a brick. This would have meant makeshift boats loaded with cabbage-farting survivors floating in a sea of asparagus piss, possibly doubling the body count.
 
That said, raise high your Caesar dressing today, on International Iceberg Lettuce Appreciation Day, and sing a few bars of “My Heart Will Go On.”

More Delicately Interconnected Things

lisk challenger

All things are delicately interconnected.

I’ve had this shred of paper hanging over my desk for as long as I can recall, and the words on it have always proven true.

I was but a toddler when Steve Lisk’s brutal ’71 Hemi-powered Challenger (it was originally a 383 car) prowled Woodward Avenue, yet that car carved a place into the foundation of my car guy-ness. My introduction to that car came via a feature in Hot Rod Magazine and a trip to the barber shop. I’d bet that not many people can connect a lifetime fascination with a particular car with a visit to the local barber shop when they were but five years old. If you can, I’d love to shake your hand, as we share an eerily similar past!

For me, it was around August of ’77, and my Dad had taken me to Bob and John’s Barber Shop for my start-of-the-school-year haircut. What was great about that place (beyond the cool guys who ran it, and those who seemed to populate that place, and the foosball and pinball tables upstairs!) were the stacks of cool magazines in the waiting area. They had what seemed like everything! The learning potential in that barber shop was mind-boggling. Whether you were listening to the conversations, or reading about some far off land, or even witnessing the skill of some pool shark, I had a theory that someone raised in that place might be overwhelmingly well-rounded in the art of street smarts.

woodward avenue

Speaking of street smarts, I happened to grab what in hindsight, anyway, was the perfect magazine at the perfect time. For in it, I glanced upon a car that would leave ripples across my brain. I had asked my Dad what this ‘Woodward’ place was, and thus began a series of tales of this amazing street where hundreds of cool cars would drive, and occasionally engage in a grudge match. To my 5 year-old brain, this was a magical land! Had you offered me the choice between a playground made of cake and candy or this Woodward Avenue, you can bet that we’d be stopping to fill the tank. The more I thought about it, the car in that magazine grew on me. It sparked a dream to one day be like the owner of that red Challenger, and cruise Woodward Avenue in a Hemi Challenger. Hell, talk about fate… When the Challenger concept was unveiled back in 2006, it was as though the universe had agreed that I damned-well should have one of my own. So it took me three years deep into the model run to grab my own… But that same universe provided me with an understanding wife who went along with the idea. Talk about delicate interconnections.

It may have been three decades in the making, but a couple of years back, I realized the dream, thanks to Dodge and my great friends over at Ignite Social Media:

I cruised Woodward.

In a Hemi Challenger.

hemi blacktop challenger
All things are delicately interconnected. There it was again. From a simple one-thousand character entry on a whim, to a stop at the NY International Auto Show, to realizing a childhood dream. Weird how things go.

Heck… I walked around and talked cars with Steve Magnante. A magical land? Oh, you only know part of it.

While we’ll get into some of the stops we made at historical plants and places around Detroit in later posts, I have to share the magical interconnections of that half-week. You just know that things are going to go well when you’re scooped-up from the airport in a Challenger Blacktop (Track Pak car, no less!) by one of the great friends you’ve made on this amazing journey (thanks, Eric!), and the first stop you make is Vinsetta Garage. At that point, the cosmic interconnections became even more vivid.

Standing in front of Vinsetta Garage on Woodward, I took a few moments to ponder the history, the incredible iron that cruised that fabled stretch of blacktop, and just smiled. That day in the barber shop came flooding back, and all seemed right in the world, accentuated by the rumble of cars passing, the scent of high octane, and just being back with the friends I was fortunate to make as part of the REDLINE Blog.

And then cosmic coincidence turned and winked at me. All things are delicately interconnected.

two challengers

Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge, pulled up in his personal 1971 Challenger. My brain melted a bit. There I was… this lucky guy who wound up in a place he’d dreamed of as a kid, hanging out with people who just ‘get it’, drawn there by chance, having a love for the history surrounding that red ’71 Challenger, and now the CEO of Dodge is pulling up in his ’71 Challenger. Coincidence? Hardly a chance. Add to it that both that red, Wodward-dominating monster mentioned earlier, as well as Mr. Kuniskis’ beautifully restored black R/T began life as 383 cars, and each sported fire-breathing, modified engines, and the list of cosmic oddities was growing by the second. If there were ever a place which, car-related, anyway, I was meant to be, it was right there, right then.

On Friday and Saturday, I lived my dream of cruising Woodward in a Hemi Challenger, and enjoyed every single second of it. Not having found the time to have ever taken my personal car up to Detroit for the event, I did suffer a slight twinge of guilt, as mine sat back home in the garage, a couple of thousand miles away… Yet I digress. As many have said, it’s a thirteen-mile traffic jam you want to be stuck in, and it was nothing shy of amazing. I saw great cars, met some fantastic people (even made friends with a gentleman who, get this, works at the plant where my Challenger was built!), and made another huge batch of memories. It’s been like building this giant layer cake, adding friends, memories, and dreams realized to an already astounding recipe. Yeah… ‘Dream Cruise’ is a fitting name for it. All things being so delicately interconnected, I’m beginning to see just how strong those bonds can become, and can honestly say that I’m stoked to be a part of these many links fitting together so neatly.

cruising woodward

Do you have a Woodward ‘dream’ story? Has there been a series of ‘delicately interconnected’ events or experiences that brought you and your car either together, or to a place where you may have made a friend?

Conspiracy Theory, “The M*A*S*H Defense” Edition

klinger defense

If you enjoy a solid conspiracy theory like I do, then you’ll no doubt dig this. You can just bet that everything leading to the trial has been placed into hedging all bets on another Kardashian family member’s defense technique: The old “tuck something away to avoid prosecution” maneuver. In this case, we’ll call it the “Klinger Defense.”

You have a dude that’s into some weird shit, right? Whatever. But in true Kardashian flavor, there’s money to be made, so you work a deal around this guy’s weirdness, and get another fifteen minutes of fame. You capitalize on the shock of “the dude from the Wheaties box wears dresses!” and nab some air time. All is right in the world of “fame at any cost” once again for these people who thrive on being paid attention to.

And then he gets in a wreck and someone dies. Uh-oh.

Fearing prosecution, they spin the “dude in a dress” to “he’s a woman now”, and it places the prosecution (and jurors) into the uncomfortable position of choosing to send a guy in a gown to a men’s prison, or to a women’s prison… or simply throwing their hands in the air and saying “fuck this… we have no idea what to do!” After all… he looks a lot different than the driver at the scene, and according to the media, he’s not Bruce anymore. He’s Caitlyn. She’s a new person. Haven’t we seen this before on TV cop dramas?

Much as Maxwell Klinger sought Section 8 discharge on the TV show M*A*S*H, this guy has taken the concept far downfield, and is hiding behind a serious issue, using it to avoid punishment. It’s genius, really. Manipulate the people just enough for empathy, utilize the media like a politician to plant the right buzz words, and then once they have what they need, they abandon the bandwagoning supporters (namely those who may suffer from some form of gender dysphoria), and he sashays off into the salon. And if you don’t think for a minute that some writer scripted the whole “But gosh, Bruce, Caitlytn, whatever, you’re a Conservative who is against gay marriage?” thing as the perfect doubt-filling seed to plant, then you may just be a stupid enough motherfucker to serve on the jury. Just a touch of controversy to make his “transition” seem all the more real, and give them that oh-so-typical backup argument should they be confronted. Looks strong on the surface… But if you know me, I love finding the cracks.

KLINGERGATE.

The whole thing smacks of the OJ/Robert Kardashian hidden murder weapon controversy, as well as the glove fiasco. Double-down on that with support from the President (speaking of media-manipulated gain) and coincidentally-timed awards for “courage” and such nonsense, and the picture of the “tragic hero” is painted with wonderful colors… Look at the under-painting, though, and it’s an ugly mess of the same bland technique we’ve seen time and again from those who think they’ve earned some station in life that is above the law. It leaves me with some concern for all of the “transgender community” supporters, wondering just how many of them are prepared to be run down by this self-serving use of their plight? You’d have to imagine that, should the truth come out looking as described here, that their cause would be set back decades… But much as Hillary would throw around the phrase “champion of women’s rights” and step on the carcasses of feminists everywhere to reach her goals, you can’t escape the feeling that this guy is no different, and has entered a world of ambiguity on so many levels that finding any way back to normalcy is a futile escapade in even the simplest sense.

Am I totally on board with this conspiracy theory? My personal jury is still out on that. I’m just waiting for the trial, and hoping they’ll present the argument that “Caitlyn here couldn’t possibly be the same persona as the driver of that Escalade… That is clearly a man, and she’s, uh, sort of woman-ish,” and then they present the wardrobe of the driver from that fatal day.

The lawyers, beaming with self-satisfaction will go on to explain that “with her breasts, there is no way that shirt could button around the breasts. If the shirt doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Roll credits.

Builder VS Accessory Installer

patina squarebody
I was recently asked an interesting, if not loaded question:
 
“Why do you hate patina builds?”
 
And that had the effect of pissing me off, because it proves that very few of these motherfuckers read anything beyond a word or two. I don’t “hate” patina. That would be a logical impossibility, or at the very last a psychotic reaction to something meaningless on any scale of importance, no matter how pathetic or sheltered your life may be. It simply wouldn’t make its way onto my list of things I truly give a shit about if I had to carry that list deep into the ten thousandth power.
 
“A better way to phrase this,” I responded, “would be to ask why I hold little respect for calling them ‘builds’ in the first place. And I say ‘little’ because with anything, there may always be an exception. I like to leave room for that, just in case.”
 
There is no design. There is no requirement of planning, beyond shopping in a catalog for what parts to replace with new bolt-in’s. It is an act of pure accessorizing, with apologies to that word for lessening its meaning in this respect. Unless you are creating an entirely new chassis, engineering fresh parts and whatnot to make this particular “barn find” (and for fuck’s sake, enough applying that word to every damned vehicle that has oxidized paint – if you literally discover a barn lost to the ages, and there is a mystery vehicle inside of that building, then yes, you have a barn FIND. We have been over this ad nauseam.) into something far outside of anything seen before in functionality, then you’re simply cloning the last 600 features from that magazine, you half-wit. To say that you “designed” a patina “build” is tantamount to saying that you “invented” a new dish for dinner, because you accidentally spilled canned chili on the spaghetti. Your reference to yourself as a “builder” or “designer” are what I’d refer to as “a real head-scratcher”, or maybe something closer to “obscenely over-optimistic”. What you do is truly something that anyone with some hand tools and general knowledge could pull off. It’s the color-by-number of the hot rod world. If it weren’t, there would be some variety. Think about it.
 
I view this “barn find, patina truck” scene as the dope-addled cousin of the “rat rod” movement: It’s a cliched caricature of anything it set out to be. These guys thought that a crusty exterior, set on a stance that looks broken at best was a way to be unique… a rebellion against a “sea of red ’32 Fords.” Now we have a sea of rusty C-10’s on smoothie wheels that look like the suspension just gave up. Sweet turn radius, pal. Almost as cool as that flat-brimmed hat holding your ears in. Can never be too safe.

I work my days away trying to help clients get the most of their vision into a build. I enjoy the guys who have PASSION and drive. That willingness to dive in and create something unique… an expression of an emotion in a mechanical object. These are the clients and the sort of car guys I want to be around, and enjoy the company of. On the other hand, I see the “patina” guys as looking for the quickest buy-in, and can’t jump that hurdle.

 
In fact, when you consider it, calling yourself a “builder” if all you do is slap a few parts, smoothie wheels and some airbags from a catalog under a rusty vehicle, that’s like playing the video game Rock Band, and calling yourself a “musician”. I certainly wouldn’t sign you on. Besides, I’ve heard that song played correctly a million times before. Even your best note-for-note rendition brings on a yawn no matter how ironic that retro script is across the face of your late-model amp.
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