10 Gadgets That Help You Survive in Old, Beater Cars

Eh, it runs


fat_of_the_land_smallThis is like something out of the Onion, by way of Fight Club.

Fill ‘Er Up with Human Fat
Peter C. Beller, 12.22.08, 05:00 AM EST

How a Beverly Hills doctor powered his SUV using his patients’ spare tires.

Liposuctioning unwanted blubber out of pampered Los Angelenos may not seem like a dream job, but it has its perks. Free fuel is one of them.
For a time, Beverly Hills doctor Craig Alan Bittner turned the fat he removed from patients into biodiesel that fueled his Ford SUV and his girlfriend’s Lincoln Navigator.


On my way to work, I turned onto a side street and found a Cadillac sitting behind a garbage truck while the garbage guy brought the pails to the truck.  The woman in the Cadillac looked like she was just waiting patiently.

There was plenty of room to pull around the truck, so I did.  I looked back, and she had pulled around the truck too, following me.  I wonder if she thought there was a law against passing a stopped garbage truck?  Like a school bus? 

I had an image of little garbage children getting out of the truck and skipping across the road, linking their decaying little hands and dropping bits of rubbish as they went.

Maybe she just hadn’t had her coffee yet.

So.  We have a kaput microwave oven and two defunct TV’s.  The only kind of e-waste the city takes is computers and cell phones.  How to dispose?

Upon investigation, it appears we have 3 options:

1. Put them out on the curb.  They will be taken to a landfill, there to leach toxic substances into the groundwater.  (The average CRT TV has 10 pounds of lead.)

2. Take them to a special drop-off event or scrap dealer.  Odds are, the junk will then be dismantled under unsafe working conditions by prisoners or workers in developing nations. 

3. Pay a “responsible recycler” – a qualification that, apparently, is achieved merely by signing a pledge – to take them off our hands.   It’s an “honor system.”  Are there any controls?  Audits?  Nope.  Sorry, no.  I’m not going to pay a company to “responsibly recycle” my hazardous waste, if there’s no assurance they’re not simply going to turn around and do option #1 or 2.

All of these options SUCK.  I want to do the right thing, and am willing to put some effort and money into it – but there doesn’t seem to be a right thing.

It’s funny.  Yesterday, after writing about the high heel race, I was at the mall clothes-shopping.  I overheard the following snippet of conversation between two twenty-somethings –

Woman: Wait, wait.  What?
Man: You race through this mall, and everybody’s wearing high heels.  The winner gets 1500 bucks.
Woman (thoughtfully): Can you sabotage other people?

What an odd dig:

On the Web page is a recording of what she describes as her latest track, “What We Want,” a hip-hop-inflected rhythm-and-blues tune that asks, “Can you handle me, boy?” and uses some dated slang, calling someone her “boo.”

Dated?  In what circles?  She’s 22 and she’s a call girl.  That automatically makes her hipper than anyone writing for the NYT.  Do they track what terms are used in hip-hop songs, and extrapolate to make guesses about what’s used in the real world? 

“Oh snap!” caught on in the white mainstream, what, 2 years ago?  I remember it from 1983.  I’m still waiting on “chilly-wack.”


I read this article (with video) about a “high heel race” and I don’t understand how these women can sprint in high heels.  I can barely walk in them.  I’m sure it gets easier with practice, but still, sprinting?

I remembered reading that Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner Kersee said she grew up running in high heels.  I was looking for a link about that, and I found all these other videos of high heel races in European cities.  All sponsored by Glamour.  Just … odd.

Then I found this awesome video of the D.C. Annual High Heel Race.  There’s something about drag queens that makes me feel incredibly freaking happy to be a woman.  I wish I had a tenth the sassiness of a drag queen.  They should run workshops.

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