tinfoil car martyr

Once people found out that I’d signed on to actually buy the new Honda gas/electric hybrid vehicle yesterday, they started to give me advice. They didn’t offer their advice when I was just considering it mind you, but they felt obliged to send their comments once I committed to lay my hard-earned money down, once it was too late to back out.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to receive multiple emails with the name “Ed Fucking Begley” in the subject line.

The general consensus is that I’m a stupid, fucking asshole to buy into this technology. I got a, “you’ll never be able to sell that thing,” an “it’ll melt when it hits 72,” and, my favorite, the timeless classic, “douche bag.”

Most people felt that I should have waited until there were more than a 100 of these over-priced douche bag transporters on the road. They’re probably right too. I keep having images in my head of it breaking down in the middle of Oklahoma and my having to roll it (or, maybe I could even carry the damned thing) into a repair shop where I’m promptly viewed suspiciously, ridiculed and then ultimately beaten to death…

I’ll be like an alternative energy Matthew Shepard.

The most interesting comment came from a reader in Mexico City, however, who chastised me for not pursuing an “air car”.

Apparently, the air car, if and when it comes to market, will cost about $2 to fill up with pressurized air. It will go up to 60 miles per hour. And, its range will be about 150 miles.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can check out this article from HowStuffWorks.com.

Do you remember those red and white rockets that came out in the 1970’s? The ones that you filled with water and then pumped like crazy until your arms got sore? The ones that would shoot up into the sky, leaving a vapor trail in their wake? Well, that’s what I’m picturing. Maybe instead of a fueling station in a traditional sense, you could just back into a giant hand that pumps you up and then let’s you go, flying forward willy nilly for 150 miles or so, where you’ll find the next giant hand waiting for you. (Cool, I just found a link to the water rocket. I’m sure you’ll remember it when you see it.)

My hope is that the future is full of such things. I’m hoping for fuel cells (powered by hydrogen extracted from water), but I’d settle for a red and white plastic rocket ship and a interstate lined with giant hands.

And, on a final note, not everyone thinks I’m stupid. According to “this article” I might actually be bright. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

but wait, those are my ideas

A few months ago, a local business owner asked me to drop by his place and brainstorm ideas for a friend of his, a video productions guy, who had just lost his job. I did, and I came up with what I thought was a pretty promising plan. I don’t want to go into details, but it was a good idea. Anyway, I left and didn’t hear back from either of them… Then, today, I heard that they’ve got a proposal being considered by a number of corporations to fund said project, the one I suggested, to the tune of a quarter million dollars. What’s more, people are interested and it may actually happen. While I don’t expect to be compensated, I would have liked to have been at least made aware of their plans to act on the idea. One call saying, “Thanks for the idea, Mark. We’re going to pursue it.” That would have been nice. I didn’t like, however, hearing about ‘their’ great idea from someone else. That rubbed me the wrong way.

My dad has a tendency to give away valuable ideas, so I guess it’s hereditary. He’s done it on a number of occasions and it always makes me mad. I get angry with him for not fighting back. Most recently, he had a guy who said he wanted to go into business with him, something about an idea my father had concerning global asset tracking via satellite. My dad sat down and gave this guy every one of his related ideas, industry contacts, etc. He sketched the whole plan out for him. In return, the guy hired away my dad’s main technical guy so that he could implement my dad’s plans without him. Happily, the endeavor didn’t survive and, last I heard, the technical guy was coming back to my father, asking for another chance. (They always do.)

The truly incomprehensible, mind-boggeling thing is that my dad doesn’t seem to get upset about it, at least outwardly. He doesn’t hold grudges. He welcomes people back after they stab him in the back. He may not trust them as much, but he lets them back into the fold. He doesn’t freak out and he doesn’t get pissed off. He just says, “well, you’re going to meet people like that from time to time,” and then he just goes about his work.

I had the good fortune of working with my dad a few years ago on a project he had going on at the time. While the project itself wasn’t what you’d consider an outstanding success, I’m very thankful for having been given the opportunity to work with my dad. It was really a gift to be able to see how he functioned in a business environment and hear what people had to say about him when he wasn’t around. (They generally liked and respected him.)

While my dad is a bit of a maverick when it comes to business, he’s usually right. Unfortunately, he’s usually right about three years before everyone else realizes he’s right. It’s kind of a curse really. He’s generally so early with his ideas that someone else, who comes along later, reaps the benefit of his work. That’s a whole different story though.

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