Tag Archives: Ugly

Teen Car Safety: Not An Oxymoron After All

Keeping your teen dude safe while behind the wheel is a matter of more than just the car’s specs. It’s also a matter of your teen’s mental outlook.

By which I mean that if you put your teen behind the wheel of a fire-engine-red muscle car that roars and spits even in neutral, well, you shouldn’t be surprised when your teen dude takes the car up on its implicit challenge to drive it like the beast it most truly is.

Put your teen dude behind the wheel of a car belonging to an old grandmother with a weakness for boxy, slow and drably painted automobiles, however?

“Big, slow and ugly.” That’s what parents should keep in mind when considering what car to give or buy a new teen driver, says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


This came from a recent article put out by the Detroit Free-Press, although considering that Detroit the city recently filed for bankruptcy protection, not really sure we should be listening to anything that comes out of there these days. Still, this at least sounds like good advice, so let’s just keep listening.

Another thing to consider when looking at a car you consider safer for your teen driver to use, you might want to consider that most cars older than about five years might not have the safety features mostly considered essential in keeping alive the sort of driver most likely to crash. That is, a teen dude behind the wheel.

The safety features you most want to see in a car driven by a teenager are electronic stability control, side airbags and front-collision warning or mitigation.

However, you also should keep in mind Lund’s admonition about finding cars that are big, slow and ugly.

Most people look for cars that get good gas mileage, which usually means smaller cars. That might not be a good idea when looking for a teen driver.

Compact and smaller cars “just offer less protection to their occupants,” says Lund. “It gets worse pretty quickly as you go smaller.”

While most cars offer at least 200 horsepower, you mostly want to consider cars that don’t have excessively high levels of horses under the hood. You also don’t want to buy anything that looks even vaguely sports-car-like.

“Parents have to realize the kind of car you’re driving tends to elicit certain driving behavior,” says Lund. “If it can go faster, it tends to be driven faster.”

Of course, all this depends on whether or not you’re considering getting a car for your teen to drive. For a lot of folks, this just isn’t an option, but you might want to consider it when you’re looking at your car. If your teen dude is going to drive your car, why not try and make it as safe as possible. Which might mean that you’re the one driving a car that looks ugly and slow.

Not that I have to worry about that. I mean, I’m driving an outstanding 2007 Honda Odyssey mini van. And mini vans are cool.

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Sunday Sensation: Bambi Meets Godzilla

Created in 1969, the animated short called Bambi Meets Godzilla still was shown at midnight movie showings for many decades after.

Which was where I first came across this modern masterpiece. It’s been a staple of animation festivals and other movie festivals ever since it first was released.

It’s a marvelous example of the mash-up culture, taking two disparate things and mashing them together to form something completely distinct from its origins. The animator had permission neither from the makers of Bambi nor the creators of Godzilla. He just had a good idea and ran with it.

If you were a lucky dude, as when I was growing up and seeing this for the first time, you were able to watch a scratchy, ugly copy of a copy of a copy. Now, though, through the magic of the internet, a fan of the original animated short went back and painstakingly restored the movie, frame by frame.

And, so, I present to you dudes Bambi Meets Godzilla: The Restoration. It’s awesome. Enjoy.

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Blood Tales: Sticking My Nose Where It Doesn’t Belong

by Richard

It’s fitting that this part of the story gets to be told on Friday the 13th. It’s a bit ugly, dudes, so hold on.

I was in the cabin, trying to rest and recover, while the rest of the family had debarked the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship to enjoy the wonders of Cozumel, Mexico. When suddenly. . . I really, really, really had to go to the bathroom. It was No. 2 so you know I had to go.

Using the small amount of feral cunning most dudes possess, I figured that standing up and walking to the bathroom would be an invitation to me passing out again and I wanted to avoid that. Especially since I had to  void something else. Trust me, there’s a reason I have to talk about that.

Anyway, I sort of hunched my way to the bathroom and was able to do that movement that was so necessary. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for figuring that one out.

And then I woke up on the floor, half in the bathroom and half in the cabin itself, shivering like I was in the midst of a fever and bleeding from my nose. Yeah, I’d managed to really hit something hard enough that I — it turned out — broke my nose. (Non-displaced fracture in the distal end of the nose, for those of you with a medical bent.)

So, dripping blood onto the carpet, I got up on all fours and crawled to the bed. Only to repeat the process again a couple of hours later. Up. Pass through. Pass out. Wake. Shiver. Blood. You know the drill by now.

By the time my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting At Least The Tinniest Bit Concerned By Now, returned, I was a mess. She helped me clean up the blood and got some ice for my nose. Still, though, we were thinking virus. We figured the best thing to do was wait until after 7 pm, when we put out to sea, and then head to the infirmary. Otherwise, we were worried, we’d be put off the ship in Mexico and then we’d miss the last days of our cruise. Oh, yeah, we were smart.

Having made that decision, she took Hyper Lad up to enjoy some time on the Flow Rider, which is this continuous wave machine on which you can boogie board and surf, that’s located on the back of the ship.

It wasn’t so much the meddling kids that foiled that plan as it was housekeeping. Bruce, our cabin dude, walked in, saw the blood on the floor and my face and decided to rat me out to medical. They came for me in a wheelchair, which was probably a good idea, considering that I was then too weak to stand. And off I headed to the ship’s infirmary.

And off we head in into the weekend. I’ll be back with more of the story on Monday. The weekend’s for fun stuff.

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