Thursday, January 28, 2010

28 JAN 10: Test No-Drive

"Chances of winning a Toyota Camry: 1:20,000." So said the paper on the desk Wednesday, inside one of the Jay Auto Mall dealers. When the dealership is Jay Mazda and not Jay Toyota, that's the first clue something suspicious could be underway....

Several Toyota models are NOT being sold for a while, due to concerns about gas pedals potentially locking. They include "select Camrys" sold since 2007. Hopefully the sales staff did not select the wrong one, and make it a grand prize in a giveaway.

I'm hearing there were questions Wednesday about whether the Jay Auto Group would have to cancel a promotion in the used car department. The grand prize: a Toyota Camry - perhaps with a revised government rating of 25 miles per HOUR in the city, instead of gallon.

But never fear, sweepstakes fans -- the general manager of Jay Auto Group's used car department assured me the Toyota Camry being given away is NOT among the suspended models. "I wouldn't do something like that," David Sasser said. OK, if you say so - but some of us still have a case of Bill Heard on the brain.

David Sasser was stumped when we asked for details about the car being given away. Yes, it's a Toyota Camry - but he couldn't remember if it's a 2007, 2008 or 2009 model. Huh? Not a 2010? Well, this contest IS from the used car department....

David Sasser added only two or three cars on the Jay used car lot are affected by the big Toyota recall. That probably means he's overstocked with Pontiacs and Saturns, which you'll never see again.

The Jay Auto Group actually has two giveaways underway right now. I took advantage of a mail promotion Wednesday to visit Jay Mazda, in hopes of winning a new car. I wound up taking home a five-dollar Wal-Mart gift card - but compared with Bill Heard Chevrolet a few years ago, I didn't have to spend six dollars on certified mail to get it.

A Jay Toyota manager told WTVM Wednesday night no customers have returned their cars so far, because of the big recall. Of course, they could be waiting for Saturday morning when they're less likely to coast their way into crashes.

For some reason, WRBL only talked with Carl Gregory Honda about the Jay Toyota recall. That's a little bit like calling Georgia pecan growers, to see if they're still celebrating last year's problems at Peanut Corporation of America.

By the way -- Instant Message to Randy Lajoie: When did you move from Gateway Lincoln-Mercury to Legacy Chevrolet? Did Emanuel Jones hire you to babysit his little girl, while the Georgia Senate is in session?

-> Why are we taking a small bottle of hand soap to our poker nights these days? Read the surprising answer at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: Were you impressed by a baseball legend endorsing a candidate for Columbus Council? I'm not sure one reader was....

Dear Richard;

Suber has Aaron, and Aaron has the town hall screamer!

You noted that Nathan Suber had Hank Aaron batting for him ...

Did you know that Hank Aaron is the Campaign Chair for the guy who made national headlines screaming at a transportation Town Hall?

Hank Aaron is Campaign Chair for Rep. David Scott who represents the area south and west of Atlanta. We attended some of the town halls and the one in which David Scott did the screaming should make anyone think twice before approaching him.

Additionally, one with Hank Johnson looked to have panthers patrolling outside the building with tons of fake grass roots support. They had thousands of "your pants fall down" types. It was hel**d just near Cynthia McKinney Blvd. east of Atl.

Yep, Suber has Aaron, and Aaron has the town hall screamer.

The video clip has "screams" in the headline -- but after watching it, Rep. David Scott sounded more loud and firm to me. That was NOT a Howard Dean holler, which for some reason automatically disqualifies you from ever holding political office again.

So is Hank Aaron endorsing screamers across the board? If anyone hears Nathan Suber shouting at the top of his lungs about Jerry Barnes, please let us know -- it might be ear-Pop-ping.

Some might call Rep. David Scott a screaming Democrat - but I want to know who is the "howling Democrat." The Courier claims this is a local woman, who plans to unseat every "black incumbent Democrat" who refuses to support Zeph Baker for Mayor. The newspaper doesn't seem to know who she is - but maybe we should follow the noise at next month's Madea performance.

Now we'll attempt a quieter tone of voice, in reviewing other Wednesday news:

+ Part of the Riverwalk was covered with water downtown, for the seventh time in ten months. City workers told WRBL each flooding of the walkway costs $6,000 for repairs - which makes me even more thankful the sewage spills have been happening at Oxbow Meadows.

+ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported State Senator Ed Harbison never took five required state furlough days last year. Harbison says he asked to take the days, but legislative staff members apparently never processed them. Do you think Harbison asked on a day when the staff members were on furlough themselves?

(I thought state lawmakers had part-time government jobs in the first place. Why don't they take care of "furlough days" by reducing the length of the legislative session? Oh wait, I should have known the answer - lawmakers would have to give shorter speeches in an election year.)

+ GPB Radio revealed Exide Technologies has plans to add 200 jobs at its Columbus battery plant. It all depends on a new research lab near Atlanta, which is developing batteries for hybrid cars. I've wondered why they don't focus on solar-powered batteries - but of course, then all the rain started falling.

+ Administrators told THE 5:00 News Muscogee County Schools have a six-percent truancy rate. There's an easy way to reduce this number to zero - by skipping over those missing children during the census.

+ The Ledger-Enquirer covered the final day of use for the old downtown Columbus YMCA on 11th Street. A new building on First Avenue opens next Monday - and I sincerely hope the grand opening does NOT include a line of middle-aged men doing the "Y-M-C-A" dance.

+ Roundball Night in Dixieland (tm) saw Florida fly past Georgia's men 87-71. If I heard the radio broadcast correctly, Mark Fox picked up his first technical foul as Georgia head coach in the second half -- so that works about as well as putting black helmets on the football team.

TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/28 JAN 00: Two minutes into Thursday night's speech, [President] Clinton declared: "The State of our Union is the strongest it has ever been." So why did he speak for 87 MORE minutes after that?

Then it was time for the Republican response. Thankfully, it did NOT last 89 minutes. They realized the "hard working American people" that politicians love so much have to get some SLEEP before working on Friday!

(Of course, the Republicans weren't stopped about 120 times for APPLAUSE, either....)

Senator Susan Collins of Maine said one Republican goal is to "let people create what they can dream." Just think: next season there could be about 15 Super Bowls....

COMING SOON: A form of "urban renewal" comes to my block....

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