Category Archives: cars

Cadillacs invade Barton, Vermont to set world record

Oh boy! It’s not every day that history is made right outside your combination laundry room/office window. Or mine either! That’s why I was so excited to find this monumental event reported on YouTube, because I don’t think I could have done it justice without video support. Many thanks to Lorie Seadale, The Orleans County Fair, The Guinness Book of World Records, Steve Glazier, CNN, zaqura1001, Doug Leland and all the nice Cadillac people who made it happen by joining the parade! And let’s not forget all the folks in the enthusiastic crowd, standing by in the hot sun with plenty of appreciation and cheery waves.

Why hold such a big event in little Barton, VT? You will probably not be surprised to learn that it’s not because Mother lives here, but because Henry Leland, the creator of Cadillac did. Here’s Mr. Leland himself, portrayed by one of his younger relatives, to explain…

Too bad Springsteen didn’t show up, but it was a great day for Cadillac and Barton anyway! Hurray!!

And just for this one special ceremonial occasion, Mother won’t fuss about seat belts. 

Creepy spider news for some Mazda owners


Mother is NOT scared of spiders. Really. Well, as long as they don’t bite her. But she doesn’t want them in her car either. And neither should Mazda6 owners, so Mazda is recalling 65,000 of them (the cars, not the spiders; who knows how many spiders?) to be inspected, and any unwelcome residents evicted. According to this alarming report in the Los Angeles Times (Spiders may have entered Mazda cars before assembly, expert says), the little buggers have been found hiding in a tiny hose near the fuel tank, and if they get out of hand could cause fuel leaks and even fires. Yikes! Thank goodness my Mazda is a truck! But before you Mazda6 owners freak out totally, I hasten to add that there have been no reports of spider bites, cracked gas tanks, or related accidents or injuries as a result of this problem. So if the little stowaways aren’t causing any trouble, why all the fuss? How were they found in the first place? Did they leave a mess? Or make too much noise? Did their mothers report them missing? The article doesn’t say. Sorry.

Would you like to see a picture? Here’s the illustration from the LA Times:

Oh, did you mean the spider?

Here you go, courtesy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which also has the complete spider scoop on its website, for those who need to know more: Spider Bites? Look for a Sac Spider.

Thanks, Huskers! Go Big Red!!

Better be careful out there!

So were you worried about where we would get our silly driving videos now that Keith Olbermann’s gone? Yeah, me too. But for now, a nice fellow from Georgia is taking care of us, bless his little pointed head, with this surprising video. Remember that still photo of the scary black helicopter behind the Speed Enforced by Aircraft sign? Well, this takes it to a whole new level. Check it out…

Are you scared yet? No? Then maybe you should check out Nicholas Kristof’s attack vehicle alternative universe from last Sunday’s New York Times, with bumper bayonets and private tanks…

 Watch Out! The Assault Vehicle is Loose!

Too bad we don’t have a video of this! And no, I’m sorry, you can’t have one. A tank I mean. Or a video either, unless that nice man in Georgia maybe? Let’s keep an eye on him.


What’s the safest car color?

Oh boy, when I am wrong I am REALLY, REALLY wrong. Well just this once anyway. You may recall my uncomplimentary comments about vehicles of a certain color, as in these excerpts from Riders on the Road: How to Laugh More and Rage Less with The Rider Method:

Are you as alarmed as I am about the disturbing frequency with which we’re seeing those horrid bright yellow cars on the road lately? At least so far there’s none of the equally hideous green that went along with the yellows last time, I think it was during our Vega period.

Or there was the time when I made fun of the cars in this photo (I think it was something along the lines of double ugly):

Well, I’m sorry! I take it all back. Because you folks in the yellow vehicles are driving around in the safest color there is, or close to it. According to a White Paper called Car Color and Safety that I found on the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety website:

Optometrists note that, for its high visibility, lime yellow should be used by fire and rescue teams, as well as favored by trucks and car buyers.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that, and for more on this multi-faceted topic you can check out the full white paper (Car Color and Safety) or one of the sources cited (Color Matters), where you’ll find that this isn’t exactly a recent discovery, since the paper was written in 2004. If only Mother Rider’s crack research staff were paying attention she might have been prevented from making this little oops.

She might also have been clued in a few paragraphs ago that there are several studies out there that come to different conclusions. Silver is a popular choice, for example, which makes very little sense given its ability to blend into rainy, snowy or foggy conditions. And white or pink have been the winners in other studies. Seriously? I think I’d better stop looking.

Oh well, as tempting as it is to pretend that this changes everything and I wasn’t wrong after all, I will own up to this one anyway. Because it never hurts to have an excuse to share one more excerpt from Riders, this time to pass on some smart advice from the father of salubrious driving about learning from our mistakes, so here you go:

Dad was always a proponent of using mistakes as valuable learning experiences. Of course to reap the benefits, first we need to admit to them. This can be the trickiest part. Do the best you can.

Thanks, Dad! And thanks, AAAFTS, for all your great research on this and many other safe driving topics.

Not so Smart Car

Don’t you just love it when your friends send you those incredible email photos? Me too! Oh sure, some of them are photoshop fakes, but who cares? Here’s one from my friend Tom that’s both amazing and legit (you know I always check Snopes) …

See the mangled clump of gray metal squished between the green dump truck and the red dump truck? Yup, that’s a car. Or was a car. It’s a little tough to see, isn’t it? How about a closer look…

I know it was fun to pretend it was one of those Smart Cars, so we could say hahahaha, not so smart, huh? (and feel all smarty pants ourselves about hanging on to our trucks and SUVs) But actually it was a Ford. So once again, reality interferes with a good story. Drat!

It was a small Ford though (an Escape), if that’s any consolation. Still, the guy on Snopes was very definite that any other vehicle (short of another dump truck) would have been just as smashed. So you can go on ahead and get yourself one of those tiny cars if that’s what you want. Don’t be scared. And honestly, I’m still good with hanging on to my truck, smarty pants excuse or not.

But whatever you drive, do try to stay away from dump trucks.
And Toyotas.

Thanks, Tom!

PS In case you were worried, the driver is NOT dead. Phew!