Monthly Archives: November 2011

Jay Leno’s Garage

I am a car guy and I love to learn about the cars of yesterday and today. My favorite television show is BBC’s Top Gear for its information and its wit. However, sometimes the presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, fail to provide enough information about the car. Luckily, there are other places that review cars of today, such as the auto magazines, but there are not really any television shows that review the cars from the past and provide history.

For the past several years, Tonight Show host Jay Leno has provided a place for the ultimate car enthusiast to learn about cars. Jay Leno’s Garage is not only a website, but an actual garage where Leno’s car collection is housed in California. The website offers a great deal of information for car lovers such as car reviews (of cars young and old), book review, interviews, and much more. One thing that Leno offers that Top Gear does not is in depth information on each car, and often, interviews with the car’s designers or an auto company exectuive. This provides a well rounded review of the car coming from both the executives and Leno. He completes the majority of his reviews by attempting to get the car to do a burnout!

I high recommend Jay Leno’s Garage to anyone who is interested in cars. I find it difficult not to spend hours watching reviews of Leno’s 1965 Shelby GT 350 Mustang, his super car collection (pictured above), or his reviews of the newest Aston Martins (my favorite modern car company). Jay Leno’s Garage offers entertainment for all types of auto enthusiasts and should become a part of everyone’s bookmark collection.

Here is one of Leno’s reviews for example. In this video he reviews his McLaren F1.

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Joplin Tornado: 6 Months Later

Joplin held a memorial service this past Tuesday, the six month anniversary of the May 22 deadly tornado, to honor those who died. The tornado destroyed one third of the city and killed 161 people. The memorial service dedicated a plaque, listing all those killed, and a memorial fountain in Cunningham Park. Speakers for the event included Joplin Mayer Mike Woolston and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Both speakers praised Joplin’s ability to overcome the tragedy and move forward with the rebuilding process.

The city is well on its way to recovery. Many of the business effected by the storm have either relocated, rebuilt, or are in the process of rebuilding. Families effected have also began the rebuilding process. Homes have been rebuilt, including ten homes by Habitat for Humanity and seven homes by ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Joplin has benefited from the services of many volunteers who have cleanup the city and helped in the construction of these seventeen homes. The city is a shining of example of what a community can accomplish when it works together. I will be going home to Missouri over Christmas break and plan to spend a day in Joplin and visit the memorials erected in Cunningham Park. I spent many years in Joplin at Missouri Southern State University and have family there. My ties to Joplin are strong and I am looking forward to returning, if only for a brief visit.

Source: Springfield News Leader

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Veteran’s Day

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Happy 100th Chevrolet

There have only been a few automakers who can say they have been around for a century.  Chevrolet has added itself to that list.  Or has it…When new GM was formed in 2009, old GM ceased to exist.  Should a 2 year old GM be allowed to celebrate 100 years of Chevrolet, which technically is only two years old as well?  It is an interesting question.  Nevertheless, they have released this video to celebrate:

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Book Review: Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson.  Steve Jobs.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.  630 pp. Hardcover $35.00 ISBN 978-1451648539.

There have been several books written about Steve Jobs over the years, but only Isaacson’s can claim the title “Authorized Biography.”  As Isaacson explains in the introduction, the book came about due to Steve’s persistence and was created following over forty interviews with Steve.  In addition, Isaacson interviewed about one hundred other people including family, friends, foes, and rivals.  This combination provides for one of the most complete biographies of Steve Jobs, an extremely private man, ever produced.

Everyone is familiar with the story of Apple’s creation, but what Isaacson is able to provide is some insight into Steve’s thinking.  From the book we learn that Steve was rebellious from childhood, experimented with a wide variety of drugs, and was a devout Buddhist.  There are other concerning aspects of Steve’s life including his bizarre diets and cruelty to those he deemed inferior.

One aspect of Steve’s personality that Isaacson focuses on his Steve’s “reality distortion field.”  Steve applied this distortion field rather liberally throughout his life.  Whether he was convincing others to meet impossible deadlines or denying that he was the father of his oldest daughter, his reality distortion field could be easy for others to buy into.  At times it did prove correct, however, and those around him were able to pull off the impossible.  However, the reality distortion field did fail him on several occasions, most notably his decision not to receive an operation to remove a tumor from his pancreas in 2003.

Isaacson’s book provides great tales from Steve’s experiences at Apple, NeXT, and Pixar.  The book feels taught and complete.  Perhaps the most difficult chapters to read are those that describe Steve’s cancer and how much he suffered the last year of his life.  Amazingly, despite is suffering; he was able to appear on stage twice in 2011, although, as the book describes, Steve had to prepare himself for these appearances.  The cancer was extremely aggressive and created a cycle that destroyed his appetite and caused him great pain and depression.  He never stopped working with Apple engineers, however, and was even designing a yacht for himself and his family when he died.

Steve has been compared to many other giants of industry and design, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Steve was not perfect, and neither were any of these men.  Often their work took precedence over everything else, including their families.  Steve was no different.  His children, three of them were interviewed for the book, understood that their father was doing great work and did not blame him for his, at times, neglect.  Neither did his wife, Laurene Powell.

Isaacson’s book reads quickly and is high recommended for anyone interested in Apple, technology, or learning about a giant of our time.  There are occasions when stories are repeated, and the reader questions whether or not Isaacson himself falls under the spell of Steve’s reality distortion field, but this is likely due to the speed at which this book was released.  Nevertheless, Steve Jobs is a masterpiece about a guy who, could be an asshole at times, but vastly changed the way we use technology….and was taken from the world far too soon.

Isaacson’s book reveals one glimmer of hope, however.  Steve’s oldest son, Reed, developed an interest in cancer research and is currently studying at Stanford University, the same institution that treated his father.  The type of cancer that claimed Steve has been studied intensely thanks to Steve and his willingness to allow Stanford to study him and his tumor.  There are drugs today to slow the growth of the cancer to allow those suffering from it to enjoy a long and healthy life.  Steve hoped that he would be one of the last to die from his cancer, and he very well could be.

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