Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bond is Bourne. Bourne is Transporter. Transporter is Rubbish.

I love movies but rarely go to the movies. Personal stuff about the dirty seats and creepy employees with flashlights. But, whenever a new Bond film comes out I do go see it. But maybe this too shall pass.

I just saw the newest Bourne. Or was it Bond? Or was it Transporter? Or was it Fast & Furious? They all seem the same.

You see, Quantum of Solace is not a James Bond movie. It is an action movie. Director Marc Forster and the writing triumvirate of Haggis, Purvis & Wade (which sounds like an undertaker firm) have created an action movie. Not Bond. Not even close. They have taken the bait of the flash in the pan confusing direction of Greengrass and his demented Bourne movies and applied it to Bond. While adding in some of the stone stoic ferocity of the Transporter series. 

Here are the reasons why I believe that Quantum of Solace is not a James Bond movie. Or book. Please, read the books and you'll understand the daftness, humor and luxury of the character. All elements lacking from the newest incarnations.

1. In Quantum, Bond actually is asked what he is drinking and he says he does not know. OK, Forster, you are taking it upon yourself to undo over 40 years of history. Play with the icons of the series. I can just hear his audicty, "You see, in every Bond movie people look forward to hearing Bond order his martini. But get this? In this movie, he will not only not order one. He won't even know what he is drinking. Because, now Bond is taking drink as medicine to ease his aching heart." Ugh.

2. Bond did not drop any Bon Mots in this film. The perfect time would have been when he disarmed the three MI6 agents in the elevator. Tossing a clever quip at his vanquished foes is Bond. It is what he does. He should not, on his Ahab like quest to kill his lover's killers unbecome the man he is.

3. No gadgets. I admit in the Moore movies the gadgets went too far. But again, this is Bond. In the opening scene it would have been cool to see close up shots of bullet proof glass in his Aston. Or some sort of listening device in his watch or cuff for the scene at the dock. Something. It does not have to be over the top. Just clever.

I could go on but it would make me mad. I think Forster needs to back off and watch say, On Her Majesty's Secret Service or the original Day of the Jackal(for its realism and pacing) to get back to a solid, realistic film with the Bond ingredients. Just like sweetbreads are not sweet and not bread. Quantum of Solace is not James Bond, 007.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Cars

So, there is a lot of chatter about the next gen Porsche Boxster being a turbo 4cyl of exceedingly light weight. 

Yeah, it may be a turbo 4cyl but I doubt it will be of 'exceedingly light' or Elise-like weight as Motor Authority states.

That is because to most people, not just Americans, light cars are unbearable. Considered unsafe. Spartan. Cheap. Because to get to a light weight the Boxster would need to ditch all the PASM, power top, upgrades stereo systems, ditch the carpeting and cargo liners. So on, so forth. And this will never happen.

As USA today noted, drivers want a small car, but they want all the luxury items they were used to having in a full size car. 

Do not think sports car drivers are immune to options or more willing to go without. There is a reason the current 911 is of the same dimensions and weight of the 928. It is because people wanted all the options that the grand tourer offered in their little sports car. If you want a true 911, buy the Cayman, but it is ugly. So a trade off there.

The above inflated art Porsche is not too off the mark, is it?

I consider myself quite a hardcore sports car fan. I love sportiness. I despise cupholders. But my 1999 Boxster is about as stripped out a car as I would want. It has no PASM, no cupholders, no heated seats, no CD changer, no Nav. Any more barren and it would be like a mobile MUJI store. And if I, as a sample of one, would not desire such an automobile there is no way a large enough portion of fans would.

"i would love a small 4cyl stripped out car." You say? Well, chuck up $5,000 grand and buy a decent 914 and drive it in all weathers then tell me if this is what you still desire. You won't. After a month driving this machine the least quibble on your mind would be the shifty shift linkage. It would be how much you missed power windows and a change bin. Good thing we are struggling to get back to the 914's 29MPG. Me proud American.

Finally, on weights. Many people say how cars used to be huge, heavy beasts and todays cars are lighter. This is patently false. Below is a table that shows some old and new cars and their weights. Interesting. The one thing all the old cars had in common? Not soft handling you jokers. A lack of driver distractions or compensation systems. 

Back then, stability control was the steering wheel.

986 Porsche - 2,750lbs
987 Porsche - 3,100lbs (that is worse than the freshman fifteen!)
2005 350Z - 3,212 lbs
1969 Roadrunner - 3,400lbs
1970 Chevelle 454SS - 3,200lbs
2008 M3 - 3,450lbs (it needs a V8 now)
997 Turbo - 3,200lbs
1980 928 - 3,300lbs
1965 Jeep Wagoneer - 3,700lbs
2007 Jeep Cherokee - 4,200lbs
2007 Ferrari Scaglietti - 4,100lbs
1979 Ferrari 400i - 4,100lbs
1970 Challenger - 3,400lbs
2007 Challenger - 4,100lbs

So, there it is. Lightweight cars are unbearable to drive everyday. Who wants to drive a track car in suit and loafers? 

That is all for now. I am off to run on the treadmill and eat a SnackWell cookie. If my car can't lose weight, maybe I can.

Images,, porsche

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Secret Faston Horde Additional Pics

These are some pics of the horde of early, long hood 911s that appeared in Total 911 magazine.

The mag can't fit all the pics, so these are ones of a corner that they did not show. My oh my. The colors. The variety. The potential.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The B-Lister

The B-List. Well, at least you are on a list. I guess. These B-List cars are the Old Navy's to The Gap.  The Choice cut to The Prime cut. The vacation to Florida to the trip to the Cote d'Azur. 

Yes, they have some highlights to them. They were the right badge, but inside or outside they are missing something. Yes, I know. They are missing the things that actually made prospective buyers desire these autos in the first place. Whether it is performance, or styling or handling these cars give up something so that they could be built down to a price instead of up to a high standard. 

And there are two types of buyers for the B-list cars. Those that think they got a great deal on a car that is 9/10ths the real thing for 1/5th the price. Well, they are wrong. But because these folks, and they are usually folks, are blinded by a deal ('jimmy, meat is on sale for two bucks a pound') they will never think otherwise. They will be happy with the B-list car. Just like the bad singer is happy to be mocked on American Idol.

The second buyer for these cars are the ones who put on airs. Are trying to fill the garage of the house that they cannot really afford either. And this, is much sadder than the former purchaser. Because these bumbling strivers will never be happy with the purchase. No matter how many doodads or coats of wax they put on these steeds, they will only ever be a reminder that they didn't add up to as much as they hoped, or their parents demanded. 

Mk III MGB. Coupe or GT. Set aside five grand. Sure the MGB was the best selling sports car until the Miata came along but it was not a success because of the Mk III. Sitting higher by an inch, grinning wildly from an added on rubber fascia to satisfy crash standards and motivated by an emissions choked 4-cylinder this B lacks all the handling charm and finesse that made the Mk I and II so sweet to drive on a country road in Connecticut or a B road in the UK. The chrome is missing. The exhaust is muted. The seats are two-high with their headrests. The Mk III B gives you no reason to overlook the many foibles of these cars. Most often seen under tarps, as rusty heaps or on southern college campuses. Because they are so slow they would be a good first car. 

1989 2.8L BiTurbo. This will take $10,000 for one that won't blow up on the drive home to your condo. "Hey, Honey, I'll pick you up in my Maserati." One hour later. "I thought you had a Maserati, not a Nissan Sentra?" Some say they look like E30 BMWs. Nonsense, they look like Sentras. Don't insult the E30. Of all the Italian cars, the Maserati needs to deliver style and performance in an elegant fashion. The BiTurbos do not. The power comes in with an ungainly lag and punch reminiscient of a woman throwing a ball. And the styling was boring, boring, boring. There is not one redeeming quality to it. Even the fabled Maserati grill looks like a fake, like the Rolls Royce grills grafted onto VW bugs in the 70's. Get the 2.8 and while working, the 225HP will have you smiling, until you need to take a turn. Note, no one should buy a Maserati with fake wood trim.

1976 912E. $15,000 will get a show winner. This one year only model is the slowest 911 variant ever built. At least you can bench race that. Because of less power and more weight it was even slower than the well-balanced and actually desirable 1966-1969 912. Built to have an entry level car while the 924 was being developed and the 914 phased out Porsche came up with the idea of just sticking a stock 2.0 liter VW engine in the fabled 911 chassis. At least they didn't ruin the looks. And that is where the unflared 912E shines. It's impact bumpers a very visible smack down of the inept British Engineers who Frankensteined the MGB bumpers. The flat Fuchs wheels. The sweeter handling if you went in for the optional rear roll bar than its more powerful brother. This is a Porsche to drive everyday thanks to a galvanized chassis, good mileage and peppy handling. Just do not go about telling people you have a 911.

pics from, and

Monday, November 10, 2008

Faston Finds a Hoard.

Faston finds missing cars. Even in Wyoming. Remarkable shots as reported in Total 911.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Against the Theology and Geometry of Porsche...

at least that is what Ignatius Reilly would say. 

This gem found on Ebay has me wishing only one thing. That the flames were real and the car was about to melt in a conflagration of plastic, gasoline and bad taste.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Wouldn't Eat A Lobster Tail Shell On...

would you. No. So why do people insist on eating celery with the stringy exoskeleton intact. Laziness. Pure and simple.

It takes only a few minutes to remove the strings from the back of a full bunch of celery with a veggie peeler. Try it. Celery is transformed from an annoyance. To a delight. From accidental dental floss. To bright, clear note. And don't forget to use the leaves of the celery too. Suffice it to say, Peeling celery is never an 'option' in a recipe. It is a 'needed'.

Use peeled celery and leaves with:
Blue cheese and jicama
Tuna fish salad
Added to a BLT

Oh, and although I am a big fan of celery I do not approach the fetishism of Art Frahm who always had his panty dropping girls holding a bag with a loose bunch of celery in it. Odd. But delightful.

Images from and, you can figure out which came from which