Philly Auto Show 2008

The following is what you get when someone who has no interest in automobiles (other than their help in getting from point A to point B) goes to an auto show.


me_in_fortwo

 

This first one is just silly, but so unique that it deserved a looksee. The Smart Fortwo is touted as an übereconomical city car. It lacks back seats, and has only a motorcycle engine or something silly like that. If I want a motorcycle engine with barely any room, I’ll get me a damn motorcycle.

I really just skipped through most of the exhibits since, again, I had no particular interest in most of the same old shiny plastic crap on display.

orange_oldie

 

But even my blasé self couldn’t resist the classics. For example, why aren’t manly metal road tanks with pumalike curves and couchy seats made anymore? The guy who owned this beast was there buffing it and he said he got the original with only 5000 miles on it, then replaced & rebuilt much of it, and now he drives it every day. Cool beans.

million_dollar_car

 

The pimped out oddities like this so called “Million Dollar Car” also caught my attention, since I enjoy seeing what people with way too much time and money can do with automobiles. I don’t know what specifically made this one so special, since we couldn’t get close to it, but it does look like a spaceship, which counts for something.

me_in_porche

Wandering through another room, some more bright yellow caught my ADHD eye, and, well, who could resist getting inside a Porsche? Frankly though, I don’t see the appeal. Where can you go to actually enjoy this car? Not the mention the fact that your view is incredible constrained by the minuteness of the interior combined with its sporty frame. The rear window is like a badly placed porthole. I like wide fields of view.

If I was to go for a mantoy car, I think I’d have to go convertible….

me_in_mb-sl55-amg

 

…Speaking of which, this $130,000 Mercedes-Benz definitely caught my eye (my sociopathic eye that was overshadowed by my huge neanderthalic brow—jeez convention center lighting is scary).

Anywho, the sexy curves and sexier “capri blue metallic” color drew me in, but I came to a realization: I don’t like luge. What I mean is, why do fast cars have you sitting so far back that you’re almost lying down? If I was going to be in a fast and powerful vehicle, I’d want the sensation of Supermanlike flight—lean me forwards like a good white boy driver should be positioned!

me_in_fitAh, finally, the only car that I really wanted to see—the Honda Fit. I never really cared an iota about cars until recently, when my ancient ’88 Accord started to betray its mortality. Even then, at first I had no idea what I was even looking for in a new car.

I wouldn’t want to get a Civic, despite my love of Honda reliability, handling, and build quality, since everyone has a Civic already. Then my dad told me about the Fit. Talk about love at first sight. This car has everything I didn’t even know I wanted in a car—great mileage, super-compact for city driving, yet with reconfigurable seats that can fit an entire surfboard or even a bike standing up.

Actually, what I really want is the “Sport” model [now, the EX] out later this year, which is more powerful, roomier, gets a purported 46(!) mpg on the highway, has a nice 6 speaker w/mp3 player setup, has an optional “moonroof”, and it looks sleeker than the 2008 version to boot. Oh, and it’s cheap!

So there you have it.

The Paradox of the Burqa

When I first decided to repost a number of my old Blogspot posts on this newer blog, I passed this one over, since I was frankly embarrassed by how I opened it, and concerned how people might take some of my statements. I’ve grown more than I thought I had since originally writing this post, and my current views are much more inclusive, more nuanced, and less…hormonal…than depicted here. But after much thought, I opted to nevertheless port this post here (with minor style edits), since I still largely agree with my own older conclusions. ~2014-11-06


I am not a Muslim. I have never read the Koran [I since have]. I have never been to an Islamic nation. So feel free to take what follows with as much salt as you desire.

However, I feel quite strongly that what I have to say has a fair amount of validity.

So I was doing my usual daily checking of news outlets, and on the BBC News front page, a small photo from this article caught my eye. My first thought was “Wow, the amazingly attractive woman in this mini profile portrait looks like Angelina Jolie.” Then I read the caption, “Iran’s best woman racing driver hailed as new ‘Schumacher'” and was immediately intrigued, thinking “But how often does one get to see pictures of any Iranian women?”

Despite the apparent (“apparent” only because the picture is really small) stunning beauty of this woman drawing my eye enough to click on a link, I was about to pass over the article and move on with my life, until I read that she was Iranian.

Herein lies the problem: Humans shall ever want what they cannot have. I’ll expand on that….

Well, the article was actually pretty interesting, [here’s a more recent one] and it even included another small profile image of the woman in question, name of Laleh Seddigh, but it soon got me thinking about the whole issue of the burqa, and from there it was only a hop, skip, and jump to ponderances on fundamentalism, beauty, sexism, sexuality, hormones, religion, freedom, oppression, and more (you get the drift—I’m in college, after all, and supposed to be thinking deep thoughts).

Based on my own immediate personal reaction to the minute image of the face of Laleh Seddigh, Iranian Racecar Driver, I must say that the basic idea behind the burqa is sound—males and their pesky hormones and evolved mammalian behaviors are easily affected by the aesthetically pleasing and generally beautiful female face and form. By removing the female face and form from view, as the burqa is intended to do, the idea is that males will be less inclined to covet their neighbors’ wives and females would be protected from males’ aggressive advances. This does make sense, on some level.

Unfortunately, it’s also a crock of shit based on fundamentalist religiosity and wishful thinking. Fact is, males [and actually people in general] are gonna have their hormones raging in any case, the face or body in view or not, and in fact, sexual aggression and repression would be even worse for all parties due to the clearly unnatural and confining arrangement that the whole burqa idea creates. If anything, the suggestivity of the burqa, by hiding simple and not-necessarily-at-all-sexual natural beauty from view, allows imaginations to roam free, and hormones could be ratcheted up even further. This is what unconsciously and immediately happened to me with Ms. Seddigh’s picture, and for that matter what the entire luxury lingerie industry is based on—the suggestion of something can be more powerful than the thing itself.

I don’t know how many of you have ever been to a nude beach or nudist resort, but I have to say, it’s remotely as sexual and suggestive as people imagine. Modesty is a good virtue and trait, but one can be modest whether in a burqa or a thong—it’s the intent behind the clothing along with the behavior of the wearer that are more important than the outfit itself (usually, that is—assless chaps and inflatable bras are another ball game). However shocking and, sadly enough, repulsive the nude human form may be to some people, we are born that way, and how are we to return to the Garden of Eden if we don’t make the conscious effort to evolve ourselves beyond the fleeting conventions we have created for ourselves; to come full circle to our pre-Knowledge-of-Good-&-Evil innocence while maintaining the wisdom humanity has gained while traveling the circle.

People always (should) have the right to wear whatever they wish to, but however you look at it—burqas could be seen as protection from the outside world as much as protection from one’s own urges and thoughts—hiding from our fears allows our fears to continue unabated. Burqas could be seen as covering up a temptation—but covering something up and confining it is smothering, and again, when we don’t face our fears, we inevitably augment them.

I am personally on the more progressive end of this particular debate, and I will gladly support the right of people to cover themselves completely as much as I’ll support groups like RAWA. Ultimately, general human rights and freedoms are the most important, overarching issues at stake.