As the title suggests this is a little of this and that, a stew.

Check out this link (http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_19091050?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com) to see my latest Pacifica Tribune article, this time on the Aston Martin Rapide Luxe. The Rapide is without a doubt the most expensive car I have ever driven. I think my enthusiasm shows.

Speaking of enthusiasm, I was told recently that my passion of the industry was appreciated. Cars in all their iterations have been my life. I was born into an automotive world. My dad, after serving in WWII, started his work life as an auto mechanic. From everything I know he was very good (mom and dad split when I was young).

I tried to follow in his footsteps but as many young men learn they must take their own path. I became a mechanic and have the certificates to prove it but it wasn't the life for me. I have worked in a variety of automotive related jobs and finagled my way into writing. I may not be the world's greatest writer, and I doubt that I will ever win a Pulitzer, but I have fun and I hope I inform.

When I worked for Honda Canada I developed a reputation for always being critical. I guess I was but I didn't want to be negative. It's the same here; I am critical but only because I want an industry I love, and their products, to be the best possible.

Which brings me to my latest criticism. As you know I work part-time moving rental cars around McCarran airport in Las Vegas. I notice things that just don't work on cars, or that stand out as "what were they thinking?" Case in point is just about every GM front-wheel-drive derived SUV that has a dead-pedal (you know that little pedal all the way to the left that you rest your left foot on). At the base of the dead-pedal where it attaches to the floor is a threaded stud that is right there, front and center, standing straight up and looking so unfinished. So tell me GM, what were you thinking? Do you really need a product czar to tell you how dumb that looks? Hire me and I promise you I'll point out your obvious errors. Same offer to all auto makers.

GM isn't alone. Anyone who reads my stuff knows I value ease of use. I believe that all the controls a driver uses should be almost intuitive. I realize I'm on the downward slope age-wise and that supposedly those younger than me like techie stuff. Is that any reason to make things complicated? I don't think so. A car's climate control or sound system shouldn't be a damn video game. And if you're going to use voice control, make it simple. I'm all for technology but it damn well better work for me, not vice versa. Are you listening Ford?

Despite my griping I still believe that cars today are the best they've ever been - by a country mile. So please understand I find fault because I love you.


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