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Touchy, or Is It Touche?



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Okay, Jonah. No fluffy pink bunnies for you.

My first car was a 7-seater minivan because, the first time I needed a car, I was a city transplant in the ‘burbs with three kids. Cool was never an option.

Rock on, man.

Joining In



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Jonah, Susan, I know nothing about cars. However, I do know that when I used to visit Nashville back in the late 1980s I used to drive one of these. Pretty glamorous, eh?

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Wow



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I’ve hit a nerve with the Minivan men and the women who love them. So far, the argument from readers — and Tim & Susan — seems to be that men who knock minivans are implicitly knocking marriage. This seems to be as silly as saying that women who knock minivans are in reality slighting motherhood. After all, moms who drive minivans usually do so to drop of their kids at soccer practice etc.

Sorry, I don’t buy it. I love my family and I’m happy to be married. But, yes I think minivans are uncool. They might not be emasculating in the sense that being a good father and husband is the best definition of being a man, but I’m sorry I just don’t want a minivan for the same reason I wouldn’t want to paint my car pink with fluffy bunnies on it — even if that would make my daughter happy. This isn’t to say I will never, ever, own a minivan but the needle on the uncoolness to necessity ratio-meter is still pointing deep into uncool territory. And frankly, I think those who are trying to shame me into a minivan are playing the masculinity-questioning game in reverse. And I’m not falling for it.

Web Briefing: July 30, 2014

Tv Gipper



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James Brolin, Ms. Streisand’s husband, is playing Ronald Reagan in an upcoming TV movie. After Mr. Sterling all Brolins might be best banned from political roles.

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We Are Legion!



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Yikes



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You mean there’s more of you?!?

Needlepoint & Star Trek



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Goodness. The war of the sexes is about to break out in The Corner over cars.

Release The Hounds!



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Oh Susan, Susan, Susan…. I will leave you to the e-backlash from the Trek-loving dog-men among our readership.

Re: Farewell, Then, Idi Amin



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Apologies to fans of the Big Man. I mis-remembered the words of his
signature song. Should have been: “Idi! Idi! Idi Amin! Moost amazin
mon de world ebber seen!” Some discussion of his illness at this morning’s
NR editorial meeting. The general opinion was that it must have been
someone he ate…

Re: Jewels & Minivans



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Ouch. Methinks clever remarks about family jewels and minivans usually come from single guys — the same kind who crack endlessly about “the ball and chain” — not fathers of children. Sticking to one or two offspring, are we, to avoid apparently less manly forms of transportation?

PS: Of course, I have two kids…and also a nice red 2002 Dodge Caravan in the driveway. (At least the wife drives it.) But I want to see Jonah pack up the spouse, Lucy, Cosmo, and maybe K-Lo avoiding a plane trip in a macho car. Perhaps an El Camino with Astroturf?

I Don’t Follow



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Is there a need for a car to project one’s masculinity? Because as a man who stays home and talks to his dog and watches Star Trek marathons, I thought you were cool with all that.

Saving Money On a Minivan



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From a reader:

When I broached the possibility of buying a minivan, my 15-year-old son exclaimed, “What?!? A minivan??!! Why don’t we all just have “dork” tattooed on our foreheads and save $25,000″?

An Alternative For Terry



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Terry, I don’t really see the connection between roller coasters and airplanes. And Andrew’s point about carnival maintenance folk is a good one.

Coincidentally, we happen to be having our church festival this week and it has a tiny roller coaster that looks like a green dragon. It’s small but it goes around 14 times and kind of whips your neck at every turn. That might do the trick.

We also have a regulation-size ferris wheel that I think is more effective for height and flying fears. Especially when the operator leaves you up there while your kids try to see what’s in back of the seat and they get it swinging precariously.

I used to love this stuff but I think something chemical kicks in midway through life (particularly for parents) where common sense and an intimate knowledge of gravity trump fun and adventure.

Who Knew?



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The Minivan



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Yes, yes, yes. They are wonderful, safe, economical cars. They have ample legroom, many drink holders and safety belts. I even here that many of then come with a special compartment in the dash for storing the family jewels — which must be removed before purchase.

Gee, Thanks, Guys



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I think I want to thank everybody who wrote with advice regarding my fear-of-flying problem, especially those who (A) warned me not to ride this particular roller coaster and (B) those who warned me not to ride any roller coaster, ever. All this helpful input will doubtless ease my mind no end come tomorrow morning….

Incidentally, fear of flying often (as in my case) has nothing to do with flying per se, and thus is completely inaccessible to lectures about how flying-is-safer-than-driving, etc. I love helicopters, for example, but am severely rattled by airliners. Like I said, this is not rational. I do, however, plan to try out the flight simulator at the National Air and Space Museum the first chance I get. I hear it has a panic button.

My anxiety level has now ascended to 5, thanks in part to the fellow who sent me the URL of a Web site containing photos of the Rye Playland roller coaster, shot from inside a car. In the immortal words of Daffy Duck, thanks for the sour persimmons, buster. (Just kidding–I actually found it kind of reassuring, sort of.)

Caught



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Rats–there goes my excuse for getting lost en route. Now I’ve got to go through with it. Anxiety level: 6.

Ahem



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And what exactly is the problem with a minivan, Jonah? The Konigs travel in a very stylish Ford Winstar. It has an excellent crash test rating. And, as a mom friend who drove a Volvo station wagon pointed out, “With a minivan, you don’t have to have your rear end hanging out in the rain while you are buckling the car seat.” You can get in, stand up and move around.

Food for thought.

Consumer Corner



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As part of our broad-based service to readers, here is a notice for
consumers. One of my son’s birthday presents was a radio-controlled truck
made by Tyco R/C, which is apparently a large toy company–at any rate, I
have seen their products all over. Not until opening the box did we learn
that this $40 toy need a special Tyco battery pack before it can be used.
After 3 unsuccessful expeditions, we finally tracked down one of these
battery packs at a local Toys-R-Us. It comes packaged with its own
recharger, and the whole thing costs $22. It is a unique battery; nothing
else fits in the toy. Later I found out how lucky we had been to find this
battery. Tyco has discontinued them! If you go to Tyco’s battery page, the 6.0V
battery pack–the only one this toy will work with–is no longer listed.
Yet they are still marketing the toys! Hunting around the internet, I found
seething rage about these disgraceful practices–see here for example. Tyco are selling
toys–in the stores right now, I checked over the weekend–for which only
their own peculiar battery pack will work, and they have discontinued the
battery!
I hope someone has a big fat lawsuit against Tyco. In any case,
I urge Corner readers NOT TO BUY TYCO TOYS.

Bleg Response



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Thanks so much for the guidance. I’m still wading through it all. But some results/conclusions are emerging. First, many people have very strong opinions about Fords — pro and con. Second, I was very smart to ask you folks for advice on cars. Third, the Honda Pilot and Subaru Forrester are emerging as favorites given my criteria. I will keep you informed.

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