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Listen up, Toyota—relocate the brake pedal!

Listen up, Toyota—relocate the brake pedal to save lives!

This is my suggestion to Toyota and to all the world’s automakers. The first company that accepts my concept and converts its models in accordance with that concept has a unique opportunity to make a quantum leap ahead of every other automaker in the world. There should be no more sticking accelerators, and claims that the accelerator malfunctioned and contributed to an accident should be reduced or completely eliminated. Also it is my sincere belief that my suggestion, if adopted by all the automakers, would significantly reduce the number of rear-end collisions.

Move the brake pedal to the left side of the steering post, just as the gas pedal is to the right side of the steering post, then institute the go, no-no concept for controlling automobiles. Color the pedals red and green, with dashboard lights prominently reflecting the use of each—the brake pedal red for stop and the gas pedal green for go, just as traffic is controlled as directed by red and green traffic light signals.

Simple, huh? Make those dashboard lights prominent enough to alert any driver that the wrong pedal is being used. If you want to stop or slow down an auto and the green light is on, you are using the wrong pedal, and conversely if the red light is on and you want to go, you are using the wrong pedal. And car makers perhaps should consider adding a warning horn system and voice announcements similar to those used on commercial planes to alert the pilots in situations such as landing gear not down and locked, or airspeed is too high for landing.

And on the subject of airplanes, in the absence of an autopilot system the pilots of those conveyances use their hands on the controls to manipulate the ailerons left or right to tilt the plane to one side or the other. They also use their hands on the controls to manipulate the elevators, pushing forward to push the nose of the plane down and pulling back to put the nose of the plane up—can you guess what they use to manipulate the rudder to make a turn, either to the left or the right?

If you guessed that they use their feet to manipulate the plane’s rudder, you win the stuffed teddy bear. Yep, they push in with the left foot to turn left, and push in with the right foot to turn right. I feel that we can equate the functions of foot pedals on a plane to an automobile’s brake and accelerator pedals.

Our government apparently believes at least some of such accidents were caused because the driver confused the accelerator with the brake, and accelerated the car’s forward motion instead of slowing it, a conclusion that in my opinion appears valid.

One needs only to observe the proximity of the accelerator and the brake pedal. In a case of a runaway automobile, the first instinct is to get off the accelerator and hit the brake. In such cases the driver gets off the gas and goes for the brake, but because of the proximity of the brake pedal to the gas pedal, the driver simply hits the accelerator again and thinking that the foot is on the brake, holds it firmly on the accelerator up to the point of impact.

The error is caused by the fact that the right foot is used both for slowing and stopping and for achieving, maintaining and reducing the vehicle’s speed. In a case of a runaway auto, the driver takes the right foot off the gas pedal to change to the brake pedal then, under extreme stress, simply returns the right foot to the accelerator instead of the brake.

And at this point I must note that throughout all this action, the left foot is available but doing nothing to help out—oh, if an accident is imminent the left foot is probably exerting tons of frantic foot-pounds (get it?) of energy against the floorboard but it’s energy wasted, and that pressure will probably result in major damage to that stiffened left foot, leg and hip of the driver if a major accident occurs, plus extra stress on various related internal organs if a major accident occurs.

I am passing my suggestion on to the automakers in an effort to bring the auto industry into the twenty-first century—yes, it’s still in the early twentieth century.

Before I continue let me establish my right to speak on this subject. I began driving at the age of 12 and have been driving motor vehicles of every size, weight, color, horsepower and style including personal cars and trucks, US military and US Civil Service government vehicles for the past 66 years. For the first eight years of that 66 years I used my right foot to accelerate, maintain and reduce speed and to slow and stop vehicles with manual transmissions—the left foot was reserved exclusively for the clutch operation.

For the past 58 years I have used my right foot for go and my left foot for no-go, and I intend to use my feet in like manner for whatever number of years I retain the privilege of driving before being curtailed by old age—or otherwise.

In those 58 years I have never had an accident involving an attempt to occupy the same space as another object, whether the object was mobile or immobile. Conversely, in the first 20 years and in my first automobile, I had a head-on collision with an immovable object, namely the corner of a concrete retaining wall on a beach in Jacksonville, Florida.

I was alone and the hour was late and the night was dark and I was in strange surroundings, and I missed a turn and found myself on the beach. And on that dark night and at that late hour on a beach I learned an immutable truth of physics, namely that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. I had a head-on collision with the corner of a concrete retaining wall on a beach in Jacksonville, Florida.

Traveling along beside the high concrete retaining wall that overlooked the beach, I saw a break in the wall ahead and I started a right turn in order to leave the beach and return to the highway. In retrospect, I don’t believe I reduced my speed before beginning the turn, and I saw the 10-foot high wall rushing toward me at a high rate of speed. As I went into the turn my lightweight high-center-of gravity 1948 Chevrolet coupe raised up on its two left wheels, so I spun the wheel left to get all four tires on the ground, intending to stay on the beach instead of turning over or hitting the wall. Yes, spun—my steering wheel boasted a suicide knob, an add-on that enabled young punks such as I to spin the wheel swiftly with one hand. Read on, and you’ll learn why it was labeled a suicide knob.

I was partially successful with my spinning the wheel to the left. I managed to avoid rolling over, but I hit that wall right at the 90-degree point. Whatever my right foot did, whether it hit the brake, stayed on the accelerator, or left the brake and returned to the accelerator was not enough to avert significant structural damage to the auto and to me—the  retaining wall suffered only minor scratches.

I struck the wall at the corner point where it came down to the beach from the highway, and there the wall made a 90-degree turn to the right. I would have been satisfied—nay, happy even—with side-scraping it, either to the left or to the right but preferably to the left, so the contact with the wall would be on the opposite side from where I sat.

The only other part of my anatomy that could possibly have been instrumental in preventing the accident or reducing the damage wrought was my left foot, and I have no recollection of any helpful action taken by that worthy. I had a habit of resting my left foot on the clutch pedal and may have been doing that just before I hit the wall, so the only action the left foot could have taken would have been to push the clutch pedal to the floor, thereby disengaging the gears, decreasing the drag of the transmission and thus increasing the speed of the car en route to the retaining wall.

My 1948 Chevrolet business coupe with a vacuum-shift manual transmission survived the collision. Both the coupe and I suffered front-end damage, major damage to the coupe but relatively minor to me. I unwittingly— and unwillingly—used the bridge of my nose against the steering wheel to slow my forward motion, and managed to break both the wheel and my nose on impact. I suspect that chest impalement and other significant—perhaps fatal—injuries were prevented by my habit of leaning to the left while driving—when everything stopped moving my body was wedged between the left door and the steering column with its broken steering wheel.

A few weeks after eliminating my paltry accumulated savings to recover the Chevrolet coupe from the body shop, I immediately traded it for a sky-blue 1951 Ford convertible with an automatic transmission, and a whole new world opened up for me. I quickly learned that rather than using the time-honored and time-wasting two-part action of lifting the right foot off the accelerator and placing the same foot on the brake to slow or stop the car, I could use my left foot on the brake and needed only to reduce the weight of my right foot on the gas.

Yep, that’s my suggestion. Simply move the brake pedal to the left and teach drivers to use the left foot for braking and the right foot to control speed. As Sophia of Golden Girls fame would say, picture this:

When an accident is apparently imminent the driver must lift the right foot off the gas, move it over to the brake pedal and push hard, and perhaps avoid an accident. But what if the foot when lifted is not lifted high enough and moved far enough to the left, and the sole of the shoe hooks on the side of the accelerator, or the sole of the shoe is not placed squarely on the brake pedal and slips off to the right and back on the accelerator? Disaster is imminent, and even milliseconds saved could mean the difference between life and death.

In summary the crux of my suggestion, and this rambling post in support of it, is that the left leg and foot do nothing to assist a driver in operating a motor vehicle. It remains idle while the right foot is constantly at work, moving from gas pedal to brake, and from brake to gas pedal, ad nauseam.

If the left legs and feet of drivers could speak, they would probably say that they would like to be involved in the vehicle’s operation, and would probably claim that they could do a better job than the right, much as the political left in our nation feels about the political right.

And furthermore, I’ll bet that an atrophy study of the legs and feet of drivers would show that the left is far more susceptible to the disease than the right caused by lack of use, simply because it is allowed to stagnate while the right does all the work—and there again it appears that a parallel can be seen in our political parties.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: There’s more to the story, including my involvement with a sheriff’s deputy, the US Navy’s Shore Patrol, the people that returned my 1948 Chevrolet coupe to service, and what happened in Jacksonville the night I recovered my car and entered the city over a high bridge and lost my brakes on the way down to street level, and I’m even less proud of that than I am of my bout with the retaining wall. However, I’ve rambled on too long already, so I’ll save the rest of the story for a later post—stay tuned.

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Redux—Thoughts on adultery . . .

This is a re-post of the original posting. Since it has garnered only five votes since its posting—all excellent, of course—I can legitimately surmise that very few have read it. It’s reproduced here, en toto, for the benefit of those that have not read  it. I am vain enough to believe that it’s well worth the time and effort a viewer may spend in reading it. I hasten to acknowledge the fact that vanity in one is frowned on by others, but please know that vanity is my only fault—except for that I would be perfect.

The original posting follows—enjoy!

In the interests of full disclosure, I must stress the fact that I’m never wrong—about anything. I thought I was wrong recently, but I later learned that I was right. I was chastised by a blogger for misspelling adultery. I was told that the correct spelling is adultry.

Wrong.

I don’t spell by rote—I spell by instinct. That statement is copyrighted, but all are free to use it. Check out this definition of adultery at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery. It’s worth the read.

Adultery: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Adultery is referred to as extramarital sex, philandery, or infidelity, but does not include fornication. The term adultery for many people carries a moral or religious association, while the term extramarital sex is morally or judgmentally neutral.”

Say whut??!! I’ve read the above definition hump-teen (so to speak) times and I still don’t understand it. Adultery does not include fornication? Wikipedia defines fornication as consensual sexual intercourse between persons not married to each other. If Decartes’ statement that cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) is true, then in the context of Wikipedia’s definition of adultery, even if one only thinks it one might as well do it because it follows that the thought is as bad as the deed. Or as good, perhaps, but not likely.

Permit me to quote—and then corrupt—some words from a poem by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832):

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead
that never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!”

I know. You’re wondering about the pertinence of the above quote. Trust me—it’s pertinent. One needs only to replace the third line as follows:

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead
that never to himself hath said,”
“Wow! I wish I could . . . . . .”

Or perhaps thusly:

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead
that never to himself hath said,”
“Oh, boy! I’d like to . . . . . .”

The possible variations of substitutions for the third line are infinite—one is bounded only by one’s imagination. Of course Sir Walter is referring to a man’s fealty (fidelity) to his native land. He probably never considered the possibility that his words might, some two centuries after his death, open a wide window of opportunity to the feckless (and reckless) among the world’s population when faced with a desirable person of the opposite sex.

Special note: In compliance with our Equality Opportunity laws and in fairness to the fairer sex (females), it must be noted that the corruption of these words in Sir Walter’s poem requires replacing the words man and himself by the words woman and herself.

One more thought, completed unrelated to the original posting: Does anyone remember the wealth of little moron jokes that made the rounds several decades ago? We aren’t allowed to use them now because they are not politically correct. Such jokes would disparage anyone of those among us that may be outside the intellectual norms established by our society. My use of the word instinct brought back one of those jokes, and I humbly apologize (but not too seriously) in advance to anyone that may be offended by my adding it to this post.

I believe the question Are ya’ll ready for dis? which introduces the joke is copy-righted and used by the San Antonio Spurs NBA team at the start of their games. I acknowledge that right and give them full credit for its origin and its use (the voice is that of a former player named Johnson).

Are ya’ll ready for dis?

First little moron: It’s going to rain.
Second little moron: How do you know?
First little moron: My instincts.
Second little moron: My end stinks too, but it doesn’t tell me it’s going to rain.

I realize the two speakers could just as well have been Bert & Nan (the Bobbsey twins), Pat & Mike (Irish friends), Dagwood & Blondie, Mutt & Jeff, Donnie & Marie, Pelosi & Reid, Barack  & Hillary,Dodd & Barney, Stanley & Livingston, O’Reilly & Beck, Paula & Simon, ad infinitum (or ad nauseam, perhaps). And the joke could also feature two people of any nationality, race, sex or sexual preference, political affiliation, ideological bent, region, occupation, body build or marital status (two old maids, for example, or two grumpy old bachelors).

I used the original speakers (two little morons) as I remember them—one should never try to rewrite history.

And one more special note:

I really like the combination of Pelosi & Reid! They were overwhelmingly voted into first place in a recent poll as the most logical team to replace the little morons in all the old jokes, and in any that may be created in the future. In the interest of full disclosure, I must state that the poll was limited to one person—can you guess who won?

My vote guaranteed first place for Pelosi & Reid.
The team of Dodd & Barney qualified as first runner-up.
Barack & Hillary were relegated to third place.

And a rather lengthy final note:

Lighten up! It’s all in fun, and if this posting elicits at least one chuckle from any readers, regardless of their age, religion, sexual orientation, political preference or affiliation, education, profession, location, marital status, economic status, race, nationality, place of birth, height, weight, intelligence quotient, hair style, eye color or shoe size, then I have accomplished my objective—I’ve lightened their load for a moment, however brief, as they laboriously trudge along the road of life.

I will conclude this posting by echoing the words of Brother Dave Gardner (1926-1983), an old-time comic whose career flowered and flourished in various entertainment venues in the years between 1950 and 1970, and included the production and sale of millions of LPs (long-playing vinyl record albums). Brother Dave would not be accepted today because of his politically incorrect repertoire, one that depended heavily on the use of regional and racial dialect. His career nose-dived in adverse proportion to the rise of political correctness in our republic. Were Brother Dave privileged to read this posting, he would analyze it and express his thoughts with his trademark expression—he would say, Ain’t that weird!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: In my search for photos to add to this redux, I learned that Kate Moss and Dave Gardner were an involved couple, and I found this image of Kate and thought it might be of interest to my readers. I realized later that this is a completely different Dave Gardner with whom Kate is involved, but I decided to let the image remain for the same reason work crews are instructed to let the wildflowers bloom and flourish when they cut the grass along Texas highways—most motorists in the Lone Star state find those fields of flowers pleasing to the eye, visually stimulating and gratifying.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2010 in Family, Humor, marriage, Writing

 

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Thoughts on adultery . . .

In the interests of full disclosure, I must stress the fact that I’m never wrong—about anything. I thought I was wrong recently, but I later learned that I was right. I was chastised by a blogger for misspelling “adultery.” I was told that the correct spelling is “adultry.” I don’t spell by rote—I spell by instinct. That statement is copyrighted, but all are free to use it. Check out this definition of adultery at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery. It’s worth the read.

Adultery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Adultery” is referred to as extramarital sex, philandery, or infidelity, but does not include fornication (Italics are mine). The term “adultery” for many people carries a moral or religious association, while the term “extramarital sex” is morally or judgmentally neutral.”

Say whut??!!

I’ve read that definition humpteen times, so to speak, and I still don’t understand it.

Adultery does not include fornication?

Wikipedia defines fornication separately as “consensual sexual intercourse between persons not married to each other.”

If this is true, that in the context of Wikipedia’s definition of adultery that fornication is not adultery and given the time-worn adage that the thought is as bad as the deed—or as good, perhaps, but not likely—one may as well do it. Perhaps most of us will deny it, but most of us are guilty of such thoughts, even the illustrious among us. Jimmie Carter, for example, a former president of the United States and married to the same woman for more than sixty years, was quoted in his interview for an article published in Playboy magazine as saying that he lusts in his heart. Perhaps, as Jimmie Carter goes so goes the nation, but perhaps not. I wager that very few of us would be as honest as Jimmie Carter was in his statement to Playboy, but I could be wrong—I can only speak for myself.

Permit me to quote (and corrupt) a stanza from a poem by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832):

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead
that never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!”

If you are wondering about the pertinence of the above quote, trust me—it’s pertinent. In today’s society when we, whether male or female, are faced with a physically attractive person of the opposite sex we tend to voice, albeit soundlessly, the following thought to replace the third line of Sir Walter Scott’s poem as follows:

“Oh, boy! I’d like to . . . . . .”

The possible variations of substitutions for the third line are infinite—one is bound only by one’s imagination.

Of course Sir Walter is referring to a man’s fealty (fidelity) to his native land. He probably never considered the possibility that his words might, some two centuries after his death, open a wide window of opportunity to the feckless (and reckless) among the world’s population.

Special note: In compliance with our Equal Opportunity laws and in fairness to the fairer sex (females), it must be noted that the corruption of this stanza in Sir Walter’s poem requires replacing the words “man” and “himself” by the words “woman” and “herself.”

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: I returned to this post today, February 14, 2011 (Valentine’s Day—ain’t that a hoot!) intending to bring it up to date with a reposting, and in researching Wikipedia I found that the above sentence,  “Adultery” is referred to as extramarital sex, philandery, or infidelity, but does not include fornication. The term “adultery” for many people carries a moral or religious association, while the term “extramarital sex” is morally or judgmentally neutral, has been removed from Wikipedia’s definition of adultery. Apparently someone, perhaps an alert reader of the original posting, challenged that definition and called Wikipedia’s attention to that clause.

So listen up, everyone, and be forewarned—adultery does include fornication!

 

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