Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An emergancy call to action...

I have historically avoided doing the fund raising thing on this blog, Facebook, MySpace, etc… but I have just been made aware of a situation that compels me to ask anyone who will listen to consider lending a hand even in these economically trying times. A national treasure needs our help. On January 15th of this year, American singer/songwriter Peter Case was sent to the hospital for emergency open heart surgery. I’ve written and posted about how special Peter’s music is to me here on this blog a couple times in the past (here, here, and here). The good news, according to the website, is that the prognosis is for a full recovery. Unfortunately, as is the case for many uncompromising artists of our day, Peter has no health insurance and is facing an epic personal financial crisis as the hospital bills are already beginning to pile up.

As the website states, we need Peter to “get back and focus on what he does best – writing and performing his songs” as quickly as we can. I’m hoping that at least one person will have been touched enough by his music to perhaps go out to the Hidden Love Medical Relief site and make a small donation to help Peter and his family out, or as an alternative hit Amazon, iTunes, or his website and pick up a couple of his albums. You will NOT be disappointed.

Everybody has that one special artist whose songs have guided them through the best and worst of times, whose music never fails to inspire introspection, whose storytelling sounds fresh no matter how many times you've spun the record. Peter Case writes this kind of music. We need Peter Case around, especially right now. Please help if you can.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This has to be a hoax...

Reminds me of this equally strange night...

Note to self... Hallucinogenics AFTER national television appearances. After, not before.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Q: What’s the difference between a porcupine and Porsche?

A: The porcupine has the pricks on the outside.

How many times have I heard that joke?

Since everything’s been so gloom and doom around the blogonets as of late (with the exception of Jackson’s kickass hard rock record retrospective), I thought I’d partake in a little self indulgence (that, plus the fact that nobody reads this blog anyway).

Last Friday while the wife did her GNO thing (that’s Girls Night Out for the Miley Cirus impaired), I finally got around to scanning some tasty photos from my vast archives. Some will end up on the ol' Facebook page, but these I felt worthy of a post.

Let me start by saying that I am a car nut of sorts. No, I don’t fix or tinker with them mechanically, I just like ones that look cool and go fast. With the exception of a 1972 Ford Pinto (worthy of a post of it’s own), a 1965 VW Beatle, and 1977 Ford Econoline Van, I’ve driven sports cars all my life. Before the cries of rich spoiled brat are hurled, understand that I bought and paid for every one of my cars with my own hard earned cash. Most were not expensive only requiring steely eyed negotiation and an ability to strike while the iron is hot. I'm a fiend for the art of a deal. Probably why I do contract and sourcing work for a living.

My first choice ride was a 1976 Datsun 280Z. I had to commute to school after parting ways over 'artistic differences' with the University of Maryland. My dad collected every pay check I earned that summer with the specific purpose of me buying a car to go to school in. At the end of the summer the search began in earnest and I selected this one. Dad would have none of it. "Why not a Chevy Chevette?" We almost came to blows over it, but in the end it was hard for him to argue with my “It’s my money!” posit. Okay, I just wore him out.

The Z was a great car. I shoved everything from mixing boards to fellow students into the hatch and many of my fellow dorm dwellers benefited from my loan out policy (give me a twelver and have it back by midnight). I did 110 MPH on the N.J. Turnpike with five people and as many cases of beer in it on our way to an Army/Navy football game. The thing drove like butter.

Upon graduation, my father offered to co-sign new cars loan for each of his five budding graduates in order to ensure we could all get to our new fabulous jobs we were going to find soon and NOT have to move back in with him and mom. While search for said fab job, I worked in a graveyard and in a rare moment of maturity elected to NOT spend money I didn’t have. I asked instead to have him co-sign a loan for this baby, a 1977 Porsche 924S.

This time I got the “Nobody who works in a cemetery can afford to drive a car like that” (didn't matter that it priced at a fraction of the new Chevy Barretta he wanted me to buy). I ended up getting the loan on my own. I. Was. A. Happy. Young. Man. That was until the following Christmas Eve when Jackson and I were driving home late on the Palisades Parkway, hit a sheet of ice, and crashed it head on into a tree.

After a period of morning and waiting for insurance to pay off, a check finally came and I bought this one, another 1977 Porsche 924S.

I drove this until my girlfriend and I were at the local Toyota dealer one day buying her a new Tercel and this little 1985 MR-2 came in on trade in.

The guy working the Tercel deal quoted some ridiculously low price when I inquired, so I dove on it. The next week had the dealership calling me to bring it back since the salesmen had “not been authorized” to sell it at that price and he was no longer working there anymore. I ended up giving them $200 more and got a three year bumper to bumper warranty that would pay off in spades over the time in which I owned it. I drove this car to my new life in Georgia in 1991 and made many round trips back to New York in it.

Once I had planted roots and found myself in better comfort job wise, I traded in the MR-2 and picked this baby up, a 1984 Porsche 944.

This was a great car. My girlfriend/now wife, loved this car too having just bought a Nissan 240SX and learning to drive stick shift.

During the dot com boom and stock option glory days at Nextel, I sold the 944 and struck gold with what would be the best deal I’ve ever made on a sports car. I searched far and wide for seven months and found this 1988 911 Carrera two hours south of Atlanta in Macon GA.

While I had to replace little minor cosmetic things, this car was tippy top. It NEVER broke down, and if not for the fact that the targa top began to leak in the seventh year of ownership (common with the Porsche targa tops), I’d probably still have it.

When doctors told us that we weren’t going to be able to have kids, I did what most guys would do to console the broken heart of their Mrs., I went out and bought her a Mercedes C280. GREAT little car, but did little to assuage the grief.

Then, the miracle beyond our wildest dreams happened and Mrs. Alva got pregnant. We were going to need a baby friendly car. No, not a minivan, prohibitive language in our pre-nup forbids ever owning a minivan. I decided to sell the Merc and the 911 and focus a search on a proper baby carrying machine. As luck would have it, I got uber bucks for the 911 more than covering the cost of Mama’s Jeep and plenty left over to make this affordable, a 1998 Porsche Boxster.

It was nice owning a ‘newer’ car, one with airbags, and all kinds of cool digital features and such. Oh, and did you notice it was a convertible? Fairly trouble free, but expensive to tune up once a year.

And that brings us to my current sad state oh my brothers. You know what happened not long ago. The high price of high test gas and my long commute had my beloved Boxster sitting idle in the garage for months on end and that simply was not fair to the car. I did find it a good home (my VP at work) and fetched a good price for it to. I’m now tooling around in my little 1994 Honda Civic DX wagon like any regular sucker.

But rest assured I’ll be back behind the wheel of something sexy in due time. With the downturn in the economy there are PLENTY of good deals to be had out there. What will it be? Will it be another Porsche, or something different say, a nice late 90’s Acura NSX? Beamer? Merc?

Any suggestions?