Saturday, October 24, 2009

Almost a Backseat Driver

If you believe in evolution and the triumph of survival based on innovation in a species, when you look to your left or right around your workspace on any given workday, or when wandering the aisle in a supermarket or (in my case) just looking in the mirror, you have to be getting sweaty palms when you read a local newspaper or check out the evening TV news.

We're watching the world try to break its dependence on fossil fuel as a source of energy (we could quit anytime, we tell one another as we scout for gas stations with the cheapest price) and perfect alternative technologies such as electric cars or hydrogen fuel vehicles. The turmoil this type of challenge produces is evident in the marketplace where familiar names like Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Plymouth have all already gone the way of the dinosaur with more, perhaps, to follow making room for new products from new manufacturers--intentional or not.

Into all of that, comes this. Lest you wonder about NPR's 'brevity is the soul of communications' approach to reporting, check out the only slightly more verbose account from the finest communications asset in all of Fort Lee, New Jersey, MSNBC. I'm wondering how the defense attorney David Keegan framed his arguments in this case that resulted in a (I think) relatively light sentence, considering his client already had a DUI conviction on his record (while operating a hot tub, I was told; but that court record is sealed).

For granularity and a measure of hilarity, it's hard to top the Duluth News Tribune and its account. I especially enjoyed the paragraph where the chair operator claimed a woman (unidentified and seemingly unapprehended) jumped on the motorized chair while he was rocketing home from the bar after getting ossified). Part of that Motorized Lounge Chairs Don't Kill People, Drunks Who DriveThem Do ad campaign that the home furnishings people have been muttering about for most of the last decade, I suspect.

The only things I can't figure out is the top speed of the chair, how many miles per gallon it gets (regular or super) and what the opening bid at the police auction will be for it. You don't suppose the La-Z Boy folks themselves are hoping to snag it for their museum, assuming they have one (and if not, what an incredible first acqusition). And if so, do you think (hope) they'll drive it back to corporate headquarters, maybe in a motorcade of armored ottomans? Assuming such an event is televised what should we be sitting on to watch it?
-bill kenny

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