Leading Dragon-Slayers

My job is not to yell  at people. And make them feel…. I’ll do that,  if  I need to. But that’s not my job. My job is to be the biggest cheerleader of the group.

It’s funny. I think people are more than willing to walk out on a limb, even if they think that limb  might break, if they know that you’re gonna be there to catch ’em. And I think that’s the biggest thing… that’s the freedom. As a leader,  that’s what I try to do. I try to give them the freedom. There’s a lot of smart people. Lot of smart people, held back by their own fears and inhibitions.

And if you allow them to go out on the edge,  hang out a little bit, knowing, that no matter what happens, you will catch them…they will go out on thinnest branches, even though they think that thing’s gonna crack; they’ll go, because they know you’re gonna be there for ’em.

And when they start doing that, when more and more people start doing that…the power that you unleash is unbelievable.

Because when everyone stays reserved and “Well, I’m not gonna do that, because I might, I might fail”, or  “I might get hurt” or whatever, then that the whole team doesn’t progress as far forward as they could. Because when they’re out there slaying dragons, because they know that if the dragon  gets a little unruly, that you’re gonna come in and finish him off, they’ll slay dragons for you all day long for you, man. Right?

– Dave Pericak, Chief Program Engineer, 2015 Mustang.  A Faster Horse (a Mustang documentary)


Why Is Paddle Shift Killing the Manual Transmission, and is it a good thing?

A great read….and a conclusion of which, I must concur w/ the author.

Mind Over Motor

Paddle Shift vs Manual 2015

I am someone who has publicly lamented the decline of the manual transmission. But I’m also someone who has enjoyed the merits of modern paddle shift gearboxes in many different cars.

I find myself very much split on this issue.  So lets take a look at the various reasons why shifter paddles are replacing a gear lever and a third pedal in some of our favorite cars, and consider if it really is a good thing or not.

Note: To clear this up right away, by “paddle shift” I mean cars with automated manual gearboxes, either dual-clutch or single-clutch. I am in no way talking about anything like a Toyota Camry with the “sport package”, which has paddle shifters as a marketing gimmick.

1. More versatile on the road. (Having your cake and eating it too)

If you had something like a Lamborghini Diablo back in the mid 1990s chances…

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Only One Can State It Like This

“Driving fast on the track does not scare me. What scares me is when I drive on the highway I get passed by some idiot who thinks he is Fangio.” 

Juan Manuel Fangio:

The Automotive Ten Commandments

This past Sunday evening, our Pastor concluded the Sunday night sermon series God’s Top Ten, an in-depth look at the Ten Commandments.  Interestingly enough, about the same time we started this series, at least 5-6 other churches, I heard or was informed, were also doing an a sermon series on the Ten Commandments. It truly is amazing how relevant this Top Ten list remains, even more in 21st Century America and across the globe.

While the biblical list is so much more than “do & do not” in light of our relationship with God and fellow-man, breaking the automotive equivalent could certainly result in some de-friending on Facebook, at a minimum. I happened to randomly flip through an old issue of Road & Track magazine, and came across the automotive commandments and figured it was worth posting the opening line (or two) of each “commandment”. Of course, the article comes courtesy of one of my favorite automotive columnists, Peter Egan. This is the list from his writing “Sins”, appearing in the Side Glances column, Road & Track,  March, 1993.

I) Selling a 5.0 Mustang GT and buying a Tercel, just before your kid is old enough to get a driver’s license.

II) Picking up your Grandmother at the airport in a Lotus Seven and Spax adjustable racing shocks set higher than four clicks on the compression damping adjuster. Actually, making any elderly relative climb in and out of a sports car with a roofline lower than your waistline is a sin.

III) Showing any famous racing driver, such as Phil Hill or Dan Gurney, how fast you can drive when you get the opportunity to give him a ride.

IV) Parking a Speedster or a nice old Bugeye Sprite, uncovered, in a field and letting the cockpit fill up with water, snow, twigs and leaves, while refusing to sell your car to anyone else because you “might restore it someday”. In the 19th century this was actually considered horsewhipping and was not widely admired.

V) Ordering any vanity license plate designed to let people know you are a medical doctor.

VI) Parking across two parking spots to avoid door dings is a hazy moral area and demands specific guidelines.  Those who do it in any car with a white vinyl roof or fake wire wheel hubcaps – and have MD vanity plates – should plan on shoveling coal in the afterlife.

VII) Hitting a dog or car – or any other animal – on the highway and not going back to check on its condition because “I’m sure it’s dead” or “I think we just nicked it”. Naturally, judgement is called for… It’s a matter of the Greater Good. And sometimes you just know that squirrel is a goner.

VIII) Enacting automotive regulatory laws (safety, speed limits, fuel mileage, etc) with the hope of remaining personally immune to the law through either economic or executive privilege. (i.e. Congress taking family vacations in Geo Metros after passing tougher Cafe Standards)

IX) Making fun of Yugos. Maybe Yugos weren’t so bad after all. On the other hand, maybe they were.

X) Last but not least. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s totally disassembled 1961 Morgan Plus 4 Super Sport, nor make him a really low-ball offer on it during the same month that his taxes are due, unless you think he really needs the money and his family may suffer some kind of minor financial hardship if you don’t quickly take the car off his hands at a much-reduced price.

K.I.T.T. On Parenting

“When I objected to the water, I was told to go in. Then, when I said I liked the water, I was told to stay out. Isn’t that motherly?” – K.I.T.T., Knight Rider, season 2, episode 6

The Ego Of Anonymity

“In America, we want everyone to know about the good work we are doing, anonymously.” – Jay Leno, Top Gear U.K. Season 12, Episode 7

Car-mentary Part 1.

What’s been stated about the automobiles…*obviously not exhaustive.   True story, though….I googled “quotes from car magazines” and the entire first page results were car insurance quotes.  #fail

From goodreads.com

“Money may not buy happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.”  ― Françoise Sagan

“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.”  ― Colin Powell

“People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black.”  ― Henry Ford

“No, no, no. There’s no such thing as cheap and cheerful. It’s cheap and nasty & expensive and cheerful.”  ― Jeremy Clarkson

*I disagree w/ Clarkson on this, for what it’s worth.

“The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete in the urban compound.”  ― Marshall McLuhan

“[A Bugatti Veyron is] quite the most stunning piece of automotive engineering ever created….At a stroke then, the Veyron has rendered everything I’ve ever said about any other car obsolete. It’s rewritten the rule book, moved the goalposts and in the process, given Mother Nature a bloody nose.”  ― Jeremy Clarkson

“On the freeway of life, Lisa Watson was stuck at the entrance ramp, trapped behind a cautious old lady in a Buick.”  ― Judy Nichols, Caviar Dreams

*It is always a Buick, btw….not sure why.

“No other man-made device since the shields and lances of ancient knights fulfills a man’s ego like an automobile.”  ― Lord Rootes

“The ordinary “horseless carriage” is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle.”  Literary Digest, 1899”  unknown

*Talk about being wrong on a matter.
“We’re far from having too much horsepower…my definition of too much horsepower is when all four wheels are spinning in every gear.”  ― Mark Donohue
“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.”  ― Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns Fifty