1. Thursday, October 16, 2008

    you might have heard about the former LA Times employees who are suing the owner 

    along with them in the suit is one current Times employee, mr. dan neil.

    you might ask yourself, how does a guy get away with suing his boss, basically, while keeping his job. i’ll give you one clue – write like this:

    from “Corvette ZR1: Gas guzzler of the gods”

    By DAN NEIL, RUMBLE SEAT
    October 17, 2008

    Dear Future: We’re really, really sorry. Kinda got carried away, what with all the petroleum and all. You’re probably wishing that we had saved a few barrels of oil for you, for airline travel and making fertilizer. And those little plastic swim fins would come in handy, now that Greenland has melted.

    I know, “sorry” doesn’t feed the bulldog. What’s that? You’ve eaten your bulldog? OK, you’re just making this harder.

    If gas is our combustible heroin, cars like the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 are our big needles. This 638-hp, 205-mph, $105,000 affront to all that is good and decent and respectable, this angry strake of carbon fiber and aluminum turns gasoline directly into moments of teary bliss. Let me tell you, it’s one thing to mouth the pieties of alternatively fueled transportation — hybrids, diesels, electrics. It’s quite another to feel the arch-adrenaline of dinosaur-fueled horsepower and say, “Never again.”

    With 320 pound-feet of torque at the flywheel at a breath off idle (1,000 rpm), the ZR1’s engine is supremely tractable, quiet and refined around town. The close-ratio six-speed gearbox is slicker than a Glock soaked in KY jelly. The net of it is, then, that the ZR1 sacrifices very little to the war gods, not even fuel economy. You can stick the gearshift in sixth and get 20 mpg at highway speeds.

    But you wouldn’t do that, Future, oh no. And neither would we.

    What you would do is line up the ZR1 on some empty straight of tarmac and nail the throttle. To do so is to throw yourself on a horsepower grenade. Even with traction control engaged, the wheel spin is enough to cause the ZR1 to sidestep in a cloud of Michelin-flavored smoke and thunder. A half-second later, the tires hook up and you’re drowning in your own spit and hallucinating speed. In less than four heartbeats (3.4 seconds), you’ve gone through 60 mph and you’re grabbing second gear.

    Now the four-lobe Eaton supercharger is fully angered, the gas is pouring down the V8 gullet, and the exhaust flaps are wide open. Can you hear me now? In 8 seconds — long, loud, delirious seconds with a soundtrack from every NASCAR movie ever made — you’re in three-digit territory.

    It’s around here I discovered a fascinating thing. If you punch the throttle at the top of third gear, around 6,500 rpm, where all 638 supercharged horses live, you can well and truly break the rear tires loose. Oh. My. God.

    read the rest here, from the Pulitzer-winning writer in the best newspaper in town