As always, we’ve got a bumper crop to choose from… And some we don’t even get to choose, being “free range” turkeys that come crashing in during their fitful attempts at flight. Now you’d think the producers of this years bumper crop of turkeys would quit glutting the market with cruiser motorcycles and monster pickups, but by some strange logic CEOs figure that if it sold like hotcakes a decade ago, it will again. So gather ’round the fire, and let’s get these turkeys properly incinerated!
the ugliest turkey… Ferguson Police Department:
Now turkeys are naturally ugly critters, but this one is especially ugly. The Ferguson PD probably would have escaped the headlines if they’d stuck to their normal business plan of overzealous traffic and parking enforcement. But a few months back one of their inept officers decided to respond to an alleged shoplifting with guns blazing, and he managed to literally execute his suspect, a geeky overweight teen, for what in Ferguson is apparently the capital felony crime of suspected shoplifting. This naturally got the neighborhood, many of whom have paid all too many tickets for 2 MPH over the limit at 3 am and such, rather riled up. Tripling down on the stupid, Ferguson and every other police force and even the Guard dumb enough to answer their mutual aid call put on their armor and played army against a rag tag bunch of kids that thoroughly out maneuvered them. Now I suspect that Ferguson and their PD will escape the oven this year, but their zero tolerance parking and traffic enforcement that provides a quarter of the city’s revenue has now been exposed, and Ferguson’s armed Keystone Cops are too busy defending their city hall to write tickets nowadays. Add in the cost of replacing all those torched squads, the newly acquired “tactical gear”, and endless police overtime… And the turkey that is Ferguson and it’s police will probably get roasted and carved up in bankruptcy court to satisfy the debtors.
An old gobbler makes a comeback: GM
The more I look at the “new” GM, the more I see the old GM that just managed to dump a bunch of liabilities in bankruptcy court and go right back to their old stupid ways. Always wanting to be the biggest if not the best, GM has now managed to eclipse Toyota’s massive unintended acceleration recall with a defective ignition switch that in the usual GM manner, they bought and installed by the millions. And then as turkeys tend to do, GM multiplied the stupidity by delaying a response, even telling a vendor to take their sweet time making replacement switches. Of course, for GM, a membership club that specializes in mediocre cars and the financing thereof, it’s part of the “business plan”… Why build a competitive product when millions will buy their tasteless turkey cars and trucks just because GM gave them an “employee”, “supplier”, or “fleet” discount and everyone else used to buy them? Granted, once in a while GM screws up and builds a decent car like the new Impala… But more often turkeys like that exercise in throttle delay, the diesel Cruze. That was fortunately a small volume screw up, but the vertically enhanced ’64 Chevy remix without a trunk lid, the new full size pickup they spent a billion to bring to market, is already having trouble competing with MoPar’s air suspended and diesel powered offering and is about to be totally eclipsed by the new aluminum F-150. GM is another turkey that will probably survive a few more thanksgivings, but with a stock trading for less than when they came out of bankruptcy, they’re probably going to get roasted in another bankruptcy.
One would think that by now that the captains of industry, powersports sector, would figure out that the cruiser’s core market, aging boomers, isn’t going to be around forever. Like a cornfed barn raised turkey suddenly turned loose, HOG(NYSE) is standing around waiting for the customary feed and water bins to be refilled, ignoring the nearby pond and the bounty of food around it. Yup, HOG(NYSE) could have leveraged their products into a full line of powersports toys and exported them worldwide, making Milwaukee an industrial powerhouse. Instead, they clumsily triked their baggers and gave us an unridable shrunken water-cooled “revolution” twin and a battery powered PR exercise. Proving just as inept, Polaris slavishly rushed into the same shrinking market with not one but two “Indian” cruisers. While both companies will live on at least a few years and maybe even survive cruiser addiction, let’s get all these turkey “cruisers” into the oven ASAP, even if the scrap iron prices are down!
Borg Trucks Worldwide, AKA Volvo:
I used to admire Volvo- Back in the days when ‘Merican trucks were dumb and crude, Volvo made a real drivers truck that was easy on the fuel budget too. Then Volvo bought and killed off White and Autocar, and a few years later added Renault and Mack to their haul. And while Volvo saved White Motor from bankruptcy, they ended up killing off most everything White made and replacing it with a Volvo design, for better and oftentimes worse. So here we are a decade after Volvo took custody of the Bulldog, and while Volvo hasn’t been quite able to kill Mack, the bulldog is on life support. It is still possible to buy one of the legendary Mack trucks with the torquey Maxidyne engine, indestructible Maxitorque transmission, and the legendary Mack rear axles and suspension. But surf the Mack website or Mack’s brochures and you’ll be lucky to find any mention of those options; Instead Volvo is pimping their automated manual transmission uncreatively rebadged as “M-Drive and a Volvo “T Ride” rear suspension renamed “M ride”, Said transmission has a generous warranty, but after that runs out there’s no parts available, and the cost of a factory rebuild from Volvo may exceed the trucks value… Deeply cutting into the “value proposition” of these Volvo trucks with the legacy Mack cab and bulldog hood ornament. And it get’s worse… Rumor has it that the legacy Mack cab is soon to be replaced with a Volvo one. Yup, Volvo has bought one of the world’s most recognized and revered brands, so they can slowly kill it and replace it with their own. Meanwhile, Volvo’s own truck has become a generic product, a rapidly depreciated fleet truck interchangeable with the similar offerings from Daimler, DAF, Iveco, ad nauseum. With a stock price that’s going nowhere, the turkey that is Volvo trucks today should be expedited to the oven and replaced with real Macks.
the petroleum prohibitionists, AKA Sierra Club et al:
Now I’m no lover of big oil, and all too tired of paying a buck a gallon premium for diesel fuel when it’s cheaper to produce than gasoline. But dang, we need the stuff, and no complete replacement for dinosaur derived fuels is on the horizon. But the environmental extremists of the Sierra Club and their ilk has adopted a tactic of opposing carbon based fuels at every turn… They oppose pipelines, oil trains, oil tankers, oil drilling… There’s no pleasing them. Same with coal, though given that coal is dying a natural death of financial causes anyway, they’re wasting their time. Yup, like the prohibitionists of a century ago, these holier than though moralists are aiming to cut us off, cold turkey, just like the prohibitionists did near a century ago. And that worked so well… NOT! As we learned from the error of prohibition, reducing consumption and more safely producing, refining, and transporting oil will accomplish more than trying to make the world go “cold turkey” without oil… So lets take this, the environmental extremist’s idealogical turkey, and boil it in oil!
the polar vortex, again:
One of the paradoxical things about global warming is that it’s uneven, and sometimes it ain’t getting’ any warmer! Thus we have arctic ice melting, hurricanes hitting New England as well as Nor’Easters, lake effect snow measured in feet instead of inches, and another polar vortex in north america bringing the ridin’ season to an early end. We may not be able to strangle and roast this frozen turkey… But damn it, throw some more logs on the fire so we can at least warm up!