The Truth About Cars » NPR http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 05 Dec 2014 11:00:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » NPR http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Super Piston Slap: RIP Tom Magliozzi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/super-piston-slap-rip-tom-magliozzi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/super-piston-slap-rip-tom-magliozzi/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:50:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939921   Sajeev writes: I don’t know what Tom Magliozzi thought of our little Piston Slap creation, sadly we never met.  So I write to remember an inspirational person who did great things: Mr. Magliozzi made the undesirable job of fixing a car into an info-tainment legacy. NPR wrote a wonderful article, and one point about this MIT graduate […]

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(photo courtesy: www.usatoday.com and Charles Krupa, AP)

(photo courtesy: www.usatoday.com and Charles Krupa, AP)

Sajeev writes:

I don’t know what Tom Magliozzi thought of our little Piston Slap creation, sadly we never met.  So I write to remember an inspirational person who did great things: Mr. Magliozzi made the undesirable job of fixing a car into an info-tainment legacy.

NPR wrote a wonderful article, and one point about this MIT graduate really hit home…

He was on his way to work when he had a near-fatal accident with a tractor-trailer. He pulled off the road and decided to do something different with his life.

“I quit my job,” he said. “I became a bum. I spent two years sitting in Harvard Square drinking coffee. I invented the concept of the do-it-yourself auto repair shop, and I met my lovely wife.”

His epiphany eventually turned into Car Talk, the show we know and love.  And his situation was mine, I came up with the Autoblogosphere’s Automotive Self Help concept as an unemployed MBA (by choice, I dislike panic attacks) desperately seeking a new mission.  My only income was as a high school drum instructor, laughable since it covered the gas bill on the only functioning vehicle I had. (That’s it.) Good times they were not, but seeds were planted…and damn, I miss that 5.0 Explorer.

Here’s a complete fictionalization of how Piston Slap was created with the help of TTAC’s founder, Robert Farago:

SM: Hey Robert!  ZOMG SON I HAZ an idea to harness the extreme power of automotive message forums, the all knowing presence of Google Search, leverage the knowledge of our Best and Brightest and create something like Car Talk but with TTAC’s signature spizzarkle.  What do you think?

RF: (stops cleaning gun) Sound great dude, but you need to give it a name before we run with it.

SM:  Well it has to be funny, yet crude.  And the more you see it, the less funny and more visceral it gets. (Listing names)…and how about Piston Slap?

RF: Sure, if it works for you. I like it. Okay, write it up and let’s see what happens.

I never considered getting paid for Piston Slap, much less making it the biggest part of my autojourno career.  And yes, the Slap Happy bits that drive you nuts (Panther Love, LS-swap everything, Sanjeev the Jerk) came elsewhere in this series’ five year tenure. So what have I (we?) learned from Mr. Tom Magliozzi?

You will accomplish amazing things with the right people around and no unnecessary boundaries…and hopefully it’ll make you laugh. A LOT.

While Car Talk had no direct influence on me and Piston Slap, the similarities are clear. Most importantly, he had family/friends/customers/fans that supported his epiphany and let it blossom. He had a great brother who supported his love of cars, and I too know that feeling. So enough about why Mr. Magliozzi is important to me, it’s off to you…Best and Brightest.

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Remember Our Fallen Heroes: Was The Bailout Worth It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/remember-our-fallen-heroes-was-the-bailout-worth-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/remember-our-fallen-heroes-was-the-bailout-worth-it/#comments Sun, 29 May 2011 11:08:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=396529 This is the Memorial Day weekend, when we commemorate our fallen heroes and raise our cancer risk by burning chopped beef. Listening to the media, it looks and sounds like the fallen heroes of the year are not the ones who gave and give their lives in ceaseless wars, but the auto industry. It didn’t […]

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This is the Memorial Day weekend, when we commemorate our fallen heroes and raise our cancer risk by burning chopped beef. Listening to the media, it looks and sounds like the fallen heroes of the year are not the ones who gave and give their lives in ceaseless wars, but the auto industry. It didn’t quite die. It was medevaced in a TARP and helped by the PTFOA to get over its PTSD.

Instead of thanking the nation’s heroes (he did so in an afterthought, asking for “single acts of kindness”) VP Biden thanked himself:

“When President and I came into office, we faced an auto industry on the brink of extinction, total collapse. At the time, many people thought the President should just let GM and Chrysler go under. They didn’t think the automobile industry was essential to America’s future. The President disagreed – and, in addition, he wasn’t willing to walk away from the thousands of hardworking UAW members who worked at GM and Chrysler.”

By taking full credit for the bailout, Biden once and for all put the argument to rest that the bailout had been inherited from G.W., and that the heirs had no other choice. Time for another pat on the administration’s shoulders:

“Because of what we did, the automobile industry is rising again. Manufacturing is coming back, and our economy is recovering and it is gaining traction.”

Some (see below) have a different opinion. The video is above and in full length, but don’t let the hamburgers go up in flames while you watch.

Meanwhile, over at the National Public Radio, an organization which is generally not under suspicion of right-of-center leanings, Memorial Day was celebrated by yet another commemoration of the heroic rescue of our auto industry.

That program was headlined “Chrysler Repays Billions, Was Bailout Worth It?” Which signaled some skepticism.

NPR is a fair and balanced station, so they had someone who was pro bailout, and someone who was against.

The pro-bailout-person, Micheline Maynard, senior editor for CHANGING GEARS, the public radio project that looks at reinventing the Rust Belt, offered only lukewarm support for the bailout:

“There a lot of people who said the court system is available. Why don’t we put the auto industry – or at least General Motors and Chrysler – through that same system? But there were also fears because the recession was, I think, at its deepest point a couple of years ago, when this all – the subject came up.

There was also worries about the auto parts part of the industry, because if Chrysler had gone bankrupt, for example, and liquidated, these auto parts suppliers served not only General Motors and Ford, but Toyota and some of the other foreign carmakers. So that was part of the argument, that we can’t let the whole network go down.

But there is this other argument that you have other ways to do this, and this is the cost of doing business. Some companies make it. Other companies don’t.“

The anti-bailout-man, Dan Ikenson of the Cato Institute, generally called “a libertarian think tank,” first said that “I don’t think that we’re really in a position to measure” whether the bailout was worth it. But then he laid into the directors of the rescue operation:

“It should have gone to court. I think that we were in a sort of crisis mode, you know, as Rahm Emanuel, when he was in the White House, as he said: Never let a good crisis go to waste.

Paulson, former Secretary Paulson, told Congress they need to pass this financial bailout right away, or else we’re all doomed. It prevents us from really thinking clearly and with circumspection as to what we’re getting into.

So the costs of the rule of law, property rights were trampled with respect to the Chrysler bondholders, and this competitive process was stymied.

And so I think we need to – and if we look at the economy today, this regime uncertainty, which still persists – you know, we’ve been trying to come out of this recession. We’ve been moving slowly. Business is keeping money on the sidelines.”

We have linked to the full 30 minute program (sorry for the empty box …), but again, don’t forget those hamburgers.

It sure was a memorable Memorial Day. We’ll remember it as the beginning of the Presidential campaign 2012.

Did you check the $3 box on your tax return?

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