Messages From The Lizard People

Five months ago, a space of time which today seems almost paleontological, I found myself explaining the Lizard People to my boss, Mr. Larry Webster. I was driving Larry’s newly-acquired ’94 Mustang Cobra in some rather dicey weather, chatting with him about various personages in the automotive world, and I said something like, “Well, he’s one of the Lizard People.”

“The what?” So I had to break it down for him. Wikipedia will tell you that the Lizard People are part of a very serious conspiracy theory, but Wikipedia has SJW-policed itself into utter irrelevance lately; witness their entry for Boogaloo. Nobody (alright, almost nobody) thinks that interstellar reptiles have taken human form among our country’s leaders. Rather, the Lizard People theory is a hyperbolic way to express something which we all know to be true, namely: virtually everyone in our country’s “one percent” is at least a sociopath and possibly a psychopath.

They don’t think like we do — not even close. The majority of them were blessed with some haystack-needle combination of personal circumstance and professional luck. People who were born on third base, think they hit a triple, then manage to steal home because the catcher has a heart attack. To avoid facing the unpleasant (to them) fact of their lottery-winner existence, they eagerly consume (and produce) countless utterly generic diatribes on meritocratic-sounding skills like “leadership”, “vision”, “success”, and similar topics. Carly Fiorina, known in most circles as the woman who single-handedly destroyed Hewlett-Packard, has written three bestselling motivational books. Chew on that for a minute. This woman literally ran an American institution into the ground, causing tens of thousands of people to lose their jobs and destroying billions of dollars in shareholder value — and she thinks she’s a tremendous success. That’s psychopathic behavior.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about the kind of fellow who grinds through medical school, starts his own practice, and rewards himself with a McLaren Senna GTR at the age of fifty. I’m not talking about Steve Wozniak or even Steve Jobs. I’m not talking about Larry’s boss, McKeel Hagerty, who took a neighborhood insurance agency and built a billion-dollar company through meticulous attention to detail. I’m talking about all those people who earn six or seven figures in ill-defined, completely unproductive jobs. The marketing gurus, the “Silicon Valley wizards” who have never shipped a memorable product, pretty much every MD and above in the finance business (except, ahem, this one chick I know). The people who sit on eight corporate boards and nobody knows why. The CEOs who shipped jobs overseas to make a quarterly earnings call look good, the people at Boeing who managed to trash the world’s best brand in a matter of years. The Lizard People.

Real Lizard People are a lot easier to discern than their sci-fi counterparts. Witness, if you will, the above video.

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Rewind: Rodizio Grill

(Another Rewind from the food reviews, same as this one —JB).

Some time ago, I was driving an ex-girlfriend to dinner when she asked, with studied and entirely inauthentic nonchalance, “Would you like to see a picture of the boy who took my virginity?”

“I could take it or leave it,” was my studied and entirely inauthentic response, but what I was really thinking was: only if it’s a picture of him about to be dropped into a junkyard steel shredder. Whether we like to admit it or not, being the first person to do a particular thing matters in this world.

In the past decade or so, I’ve dined at any number of so-called Brazilian steakhouses, from “Fogo de Chao” to “Texas de Brazil”. If the owners of Rodizio Grill are to be believed, however, these guys are all just playing Kevin Federline to their Justin Timberlake, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (If you don’t: Rodizio Grill was the first Brazilian steakhouse to open in the United States, although the hugely superior Fogo De Chao actually popularized the concept here when it opened a year later to much greater acclaim.) Let’s check it out and see how much being first past the post matters in this Brazilian business.

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Rewind: Firehouse Subs, Reviewed And Rated

(A friend of mine contacted me yesterday looking for this piece — it came from a brief attempt at a car-and-food-review site that I operated with the girlfriend of a friend during 2015. I thought the woman in question was a talented, creative person, and I was right. However, I didn’t realize that she was a bit of a head case who would end up leaving my friend for a nonbinary-looking fellow in his fifties who works in the art department of Abercrombie&Fitch. It goes to show you never can tell. Anyway, enjoy this review. I’ll bring a few more back in the weeks to come — JB).

“FOUNDED BY FIREMEN.” The first time I ever walked in a Firehouse Subs, which was during a break in an SCCA Solo National event outside Atlanta or possibly Topeka, I thought I was about to be the subject of some televised prank show. How, exactly, is fireman-founding any recommendation whatsoever? Is it because professional firemen mostly sit around and do nothing all day, thus making them eminently qualified to ascertain the finer points of sub-sandwich excellence? Perhaps it’s just the fact that they are celebrated members of the blue-collar community — but if you saw a restaurant called “PLUMBERVAN SUBS” with the banner “FOUNDED BY PIPEFITTERS” above the front door, would you feel that they were putting their best foot forwards there?

I can see the possibilities in a police-founded donut shop, maybe. In much the same way that Judas Priest hired a fan to temporarily replace Rob Halford, I can see elevating a member of the Fat Blue Line from donut connoisseur to purveyor. Firemen and submarine sandwiches, though? Probably not — although if I had not become thoroughly familiar with Firehouse Subs, I wouldn’t have been able to effectively impersonate a fireman at a Pat Metheny concert.

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Weekly Roundup: Frank Sinatra Has Over 300 Confirmed Kills Edition

I suspect that about half of my readers know the “Navy Seals copypasta” by heart. If you don’t, here is a brief introduction — but even that intro requires some grounding in what is called Extremely Online Culture, so hold on for a moment if you’re just a normal person who doesn’t deal in “memes” and “copypasta”.

The above video is the “Navy Seals Copypasta” fed through a computer program which mimics the distinctive style of Frank Sinatra’s rather relaxed late-period vocal performances. Why is this funny? Danger Girl didn’t think it was funny; she’s not wired for Fordite layers of irony. Let me take a shot at explaining the humor.

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eBrougham: Jason’s ’77 Dodge Now Available

My friend in Spokane, Jason, has finally finished work on his ’77 Royal Monaco Brougham (original post here), and she is a stunning example of full-sized, late ’70s Broughaminess. I personally love the color combo. Jason has kept it a while, but the arrival of the ’78 Sedan de Ville has resulted in too many cars, not enough time and insufficient room.

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Enter The Squid’s Locker

I’ve spent the last month periodically working on my overstuffed basement and storage units. Much of what I’ve removed has been treated as trash — in theory, all the vintage car and motorcycle magazines and dealer catalogues down there have value, but in practice I’m not going to separate, photograph, and list them all.

The Spaceman pedals, on the other hand… These were valuable when they were new and they’re now approaching unobtanium status. I’m no longer playing anything like a public gig, so I’ve been slowly converting my guitar-centric collection into basses and bass amps for my son, who is at the beginning of his music career rather than the end.

Thus, we have the Reverb store known as The Squid’s Gear Locker. What’s going to be listed there? Well…

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1982 Ford Mustang GT: Gran Turismo Returns

The Mustang saw a lot of changes during the ’70s. In 1971, the car became much more visually massive, though it still sat upon the earlier chassis, albeit with longer overhangs and a hood you could play pool on. That style lasted to 1973. Then it returned to its sporty compact roots with the Mustang II. That’s the one most Mustang owners pretend never existed, but they sold tons of them, and it carried on the Mustang nameplate while other pony cars like the Javelin, Barracuda and Challenger vaporized.

With the debut of the Fox-body ’79 Mustang, things finally started getting back on track, though the car had next to no traditional Mustang cues. It was an attractive, modern sporty car for the late ’70s, however. Then in 1982, Mustang desirability and performance levels got a healthy bump with the return of the V8-powered GT.

Actually, it wasn’t the first time the 5.0-liter, 302 cu in V8 had been available in the Fox-based Mustang. In 1979, its inaugural year, a 140-hp version had been available as an option; then Gas Crisis II struck, after which it was withdrawn. Its absence left performance-minded Mustang buyers to choose between a turbocharged four-cylinder mill or a smaller 120-horse, 255 CID (or 4.2-liter, if you prefer) V8.

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Weekly Roundup: In Which The Author Seeks A Hoe For His Son Edition

I was born with a profound allergy to community. Don’t want a group, a crowd. Can hardly stand a team, and then only for short periods. The older I get, the worse this tendency becomes. I’d rather clean a toilet than attend a gathering. The latest covid chic trend of having “Zoom gatherings” and “virtual happy hours” confounds me: my first and only thought is why the fuck would I want to sit around and look at other people on a screen when I could be blissfully alone.

There are penalties for feeling this way: personal, financial, possibly criminal. The worst part of it, however, is that my antipathy to groups has caused me to walk away from a lot of great opportunities, great communities, great people. Here’s an example: I’ve been a NASA racer for a decade and a half but I’ve attended exactly one social event: the 2018 banquet where they handed out season championship trophies. I didn’t go because I wanted the trophy; I went because Danger Girl wanted to go. While I was there I saw all these people having a great time but all I could think was: I’m here to race against them, not to be their best friend.

I don’t want my son to feel this way. It’s damaging. Limiting. Yet I can already tell he has the same genetic inclination towards solitude. So we will fight it. We are fighting it. We started, as you might expect, by picking up a hoe.

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