Have You Heard

The personal site of Jack Baruth

They Put A Label On My Table


If the eyes are the window to the soul of the individual, then surely architecture is the window to the soul of a society, and as my bones clattered and clanked from the winter I’d just escaped I felt my own Morlock soul very much under assault by the passive-aggressive corpo-bland Eloi soul of this building. Brand-new, located on a very expensive corner of a relatively cheap city. Nearly a hundred meeting rooms across six floors, each given a completely non-helpful and corporate-oriented name like “Chess” and “Opportunity” and “St. Andrews”.

My meeting room was on one of those floors but it wasn’t immediately apparent which one. The elevators were tiny and stuck in a corner to discourage use; the stairs were a massive four-sided spiral with glass all around like a racquetball court at an expensive club so everybody could see if you were using them. Take the stairs, the architecture suggested, everybody is doing it. As I limped towards the glass door for the stairs and the sign beyond it proclaiming that the stairwell was a “Quiet Safe Space” for the differently abled, I came face-to-furniture with an old friend wearing a new nametag.


Before He Died, Leonard Nimoy Took Naked Pictures Of My OKCupid Date


If there’s one reassuring thing about being a complete failure in life, as I have been, it is that you are not a prisoner of your accomplishments. Consider, if you will, Robert Plant. It’s been about thirty-five years since Led Zeppelin crashed to a halt, and in those years he’s done everything from an Eighties keyboard-rock record (the underrated Now And Zen) to a stint with Official Bluegrass Babe Alison Krauss and playing the ukelele with the Sensational Space Shifters. Problem is, nobody really cares about that shit. What everybody really wants is to see him fronting a perpetual world tour with the O2-Arena Zep lineup. Playing the hits, even if they are two steps down. With Bonzo’s bald kid pounding the drums in suspiciously click-tracky fashion. Visiting your hometown once a year until both he and Pagey have been certified dead by multiple independent coroners.

Plant’s refusal to give the people what they want, in particular his unveiled distaste for singing Stairway To Heaven, is verging on the Salingerian nowadays. It’s also stupid and selfish. A billion people want him to do something and he won’t do it. Yet I have sympathy for him. Imagine that the entire globe defined you entirely by things you did before your thirtieth birthday — and they want you to keep doing the same thing until you’re dead. By contrast, although my BMX Basics website would occasionally get a half-million hits in a month back in the day, I am completely unaware of any widely-held desire for me to give up writing about cars and return to writing about bicycles. Nor am I currently the prisoner of any particular success. If I quit writing about cars tomorrow and wrote about something else entirely, I suspect that seven nines (that’s 99.99999%, just in case you spent more time pulling off panties than you did programming computers as a teenager) of the world would not even notice.

Leonard Nimoy is more like Robert Plant than he is like me. He hated being Spock, the same way Roger Waters hated being the talented part of Pink Floyd, and like Waters he eventually came around to the idea of being his own tribute band when he realized that the alternative — becoming a nonperson like the rest of us — was both depressing and remarkably non-remunerative. Thus you get that Spock-vs.-Spock Web video that all the Audi blogs thought was so nifty. But Nimoy was also passionate about indulging the non-Spock parts of his talent, which is how it came to pass that he saw, and photographed, one of my OKCupid dates naked two years before I got the chance to do it myself.


This Weekend In Aggressive Driving


I have to say that Saturday’s race at the newly-constructed, five-mile “Thunderschliefe” was alternately thrilling, terrifying, and frustrating in equal measure. Rarely have I been so certain that I’d be visiting the hospital before the end of my stint, and rarely have I enjoyed myself so much behind the wheel.


Shine Up The Battle Apple

Yes, I know, I’m on blog-cation. But after *ahem* being asked to say a few words to over a hundred Porsche owners at an exclusive showing of the 918 Spyder and Rothmans 962 as seen in Sam Smith’s R&T article this month this evening *ahem* I was able to convince Patrick to come over and try something very different from D’Angelo.

Patrick didn’t know the song. Had never heard it. How can that be? How it is that everybody does not own the Mobile Fidelity 24k gold CD of Aja from 1988 like I do?

This was going pretty well when the G and B strings of my American Deluxe Strat just crapped out during practice. You’d think I would have another guitar, but we didn’t have time for me to find another Strat in my basement and tune it and make sure that its strings were crapped out. So I’m not in tune for this. Also, I don’t know the solo and it’s obvious I’m just trying to figure out how it goes on the fly.

Also, Patrick says to listen to this on a system with proper EQ so you can hear him.


With all the momentum that this blog has acquired over the past few months, now is the perfect time to completely sabotage it.

I’ll be out of time and out of touch for a week or so as I focus on an out-of-state race and some preparation for the event after that, which I’ll be publicizing on TTAC.

So feel free to come back a week from today or so to hear all about a bunch of ridiculous stuff, including the completely unwanted long-awaited comparison test between a Japanese Seiko SNZH57J1 and a Malaysian Seiko SNZH57 converted to “Fifty-Five Fathoms” specification.

In the meantime, I’d like you to turn your attention to the new blog from my friend and partner in autowriting crime, CameronAubernon.com. You recognize Cameron’s byline from TTAC and from 33 Avenue Miquelon. I know there are great things about to happen for Cameron!

Comment Of The Year, And It’s Only February


I’ve been told by people who earn a lot more money than I do on the web that having a “Comment Of The Day” is a great way to get your readers involved with topics and to build a community. I’m sure that’s true but from what I saw on Jalopnik it often encouraged fawning behavior, excessive attempts at meme creation, and a polar vortex of thoroughly unfunny inside-baseball jokey comments.

Nevertheless, the comment by fellow smooth-jazz stalwart kvndoom deserves recognition. To emphasize the unique wisdom of his post, and to discourage even the mildest impulse on the part of any of my friends — and I think of all of you as my friends — to go COTD-hunting, I’ve struck preemptively and have named this Comment Of The Year, 2015. It’s brilliant because, like the best philosophical allegories, it works on two levels.


The Critics Respond, Part Twenty — Special “Lulu” Edition


A few weeks ago, I got an email telling me that my reviews on “Lulu” would be deleted unless I joined the site and gave them my consent. I knew what Lulu was, of course. It’s an app that allows your former pump-and-dumps dating partners to review you after the fact. As Forbes noted at the time, the fact that Apple even allowed it on the App Store was a form of soft sexism; can you imagine the company promoting, or even permitting, an app that allowed men to name-and-shame their one-night-stands?

Turns out that some people really didn’t like being rated on Lulu, and some of those people had law degrees. So Lulu announced recently that it will only show ratings for men who consent to be rated. Thus the email, and thus my decision to see what Lulu had to say about me. In this blogpost, I will respond point-by-point to the anonymous woman who had the fucking nerve to give me a “4.0” in “Looks and Style”.




When I brought Alex to this blog last year it was part of an effort to address the various political issues at TTAC that had resulted in his departure. Those issues have been satisfactorily addressed, and Alex is now back where he belongs. He and I have always been on sort of the opposite sides of the car-reviewing continuum, but I believe he provides a very solid service to his viewers/readers and I’m glad he’s returned to the roster. Welcome back, Alex!

This Philip Michael Thomas Album Really Ties The Room Together


Just like R&T‘s John Krewson, I lived and breathed Miami Vice as a child. So much so that at the age of fourteen I convinced my father to buy me a white Armani-style (note that I wrote style there; the old man would occasionally cough up a “MANI”-labeled item for me but he kept the good stuff for himself) suit and a couple of single-button T-shirts, one aqua and one pink. I wore this ensemble to my high school where I was promptly acclaimed as the coolest kid by everybody and easily seduced the pretty girl in my Latin class.

Just kidding. As I recall, I was actually thrown down the stairs by the football team’s middle linebacker, possibly twice, the head injury I sustained at the time makes remembering difficult.


Hey, Remember When I Drove That Radical Last Year?


It’s been a while since I drove a Radical SR3 Supersport, but after a bit of fussing and fiddling my article on the car has finally seen the light of day, just in time for you to decide what trackday car you want to buy this year.


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