Saturday, August 26, 2017

Weird Phobias that do exist!

File:Sunset 2007-1.jpg
Venustraphobia: Also known as caligynephobia, this is the fear of beautiful women, and may be caused by low self-confidence or putting too much pressure on appearances.

Anthropophobia: This phobia literally refers to the fear of people but can also mean the fear of having company.

Aphephobia: This phobia causes people to feel afraid when touched.

Autodysomophobia: If you have a bad or "vile" odor, you may trigger someone who has autodysomophobia.

Deipnophobia: Dinner parties, dining and dinner conversation are all off limits for people who suffer from this phobia.

Nomophobia: This modern phobia affects people who are very afraid of losing cell phone contact.
Soteriophobia: Some seriously independent-minded individuals may have soteriophobia, or the fear of becoming dependent on someone else.

Sociophobia: Those who fear being judged by society suffer from sociophobia.

Gamophobia: It’s not just an excuse: some people actually have a valid fear of getting married.
Syngenesophobia: While there are certainly jokes about scary stepmothers or in-laws, this phobia refers to the fear of all relatives.

Ecclesiophobia: The fear of church and going to church is called ecclesiophobia.

Ornithophobia: The fear of birds — especially pigeons — is referred to as ornithophobia, and is actually a fairly common phobia.

Lutraphobia: While some people think they’re cute, others are afraid of otters.

Equinophobia: The fear of horses is also called equinophobia.

Zemmiphobia: It certainly sounds frightening: zemmiphobia is the fear of "the great mole rat."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Devon tries again with the Smart Fortwo

(Photo provided by Devon M) 

The Smart Fortwo is the smallest car you can buy in the U.S. The last time I test drove the car it was just very short and I really didn't get the chance to test the car and get the real potential of the vehicle. This time however I was given the Smart Fortwo as a lender car for half a day and was able to really explore and see what this car was all about. What is it like to drive a car smaller than a golf-kart? Well let's find out. 

On the road: The Smart Fortwo only comes with one engine and that's a Mitusbishi sourced 1-liter three-cylinder with 70hp. This won't wow the power hungry and surely won't wow the econo crowd either. One thing for sure about this engine is that it has enough oomph to keep this little car going. On the highway it didn't feel out of its element which was actually quite shocking. The only thing I wished was the horrible semi-automatic gearbox went away. A proper manual gearbox or even an automatic gearbox would've been more suitable. The Smart Fortwo I was given was the Brabus edition which had the funky alloy wheels and firmer suspension. The Fortwo already has a firm suspension and is quite uncomfortable due to the ultra short wheelbase. Adding a sports suspension just made things a lot worst, but at least it grabbed onto corners better than the previous version which felt like a pogo stick going to tip over. 

While in stop and go traffic the brakes also take some getting used to. If you don't push too hard the car doesn't feel like it's going to come to a complete stop. You'll have to give a firm push on the brake pedal to feel anything happen. This is an uneasy feeling for me personally because often I felt like I was going to literally roll the car forward. Eventually as you drive the car you'll get used to this.

Behind the wheel: The steering wheel is fixed and the driving position is obviously raised for better visibility. This is quite annoying because I found myself sitting closer to the steering wheel than I liked. The interior feels very airy and roomy, two passengers could sit inside without feeling like they are sitting on each other's laps. The passenger seat is pushed back from the driver's seat which is both a good and bad thing. If you are on a date and want to put your arm around that special someone you could potentially punch the person in the face. The instrumental panel is clearly labeled and easy to read. The dashboard has a no-nonsense layout and is easy to navigate. The seats were trimmed in a special leather and were quite comfortbale to sit in for long journeys. Visibility alround is very good, and this is only due to the fact that you are basically surrounded by the entire car. You could literally reach from one end with one hand and the windshield with the other. 

Overall: This is obviously a niche vehicle and it does haev its audience. Some people won't like it because it's deemed too small. While others will enjoy the easy to park size, the charming interior and the ability to grab more atteniton than a BMW. It's a great car and for what it is, it serves it's purpose well. Now if only Smart gave a proper gearbox and brakes. The Smart would be a better car to drive overall.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Devon test drives a BMW X3 (Used)

2011 BMW X3 (F25) xDrive28i wagon (2011-11-18) 01.jpg

The BMW X3 was considered pointless when it was first released in 2006. Now it has created a whole new segment that includes rivals from Audi, Mercedes and Volvo. This new segment is proving to be popular with American buyers, but does it prove it's worth considering over a conventional well purposed wagon? 

Performance: There are two engines available for the X3. The familiar 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 240hp and a 3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder producing 300hp. Picking between the two depends on your tastes. Our favorite is the 2-liter turbo which is the cheapest of the two and is the more sensible choice. It blends fuel economy and performance well without having to pay the premium of the six-cylinder. 

On the road: The X3 we've had came equipped with dynamic handling package. This sharpened the steering and handling. It's an optional package that is well worth the premium. This seems to be a common trait with BMWs however, we have yet to test drive one with standard suspension. Ride comfort is firm but not uncomfortable with excellent body control. The engines are quiet and smooth even when pushed hard. There's no manual gearbox like the previous generation. This may not seem like a bad thing because the manual gearbox wasn't impressive in the previous generation. 

Behind the wheel: The front seats are comfortable and offer plenty of support for drivers of all shapes and sizes. The dashboard has a minimalistic approach in design. It's easy to navigate and all the controls are clearly labeled and easy to read. The iDrive controller has been vastly improved with much simple and easy to use menus. Rear passenger space is comfortable for two, a third person may not feel as comfortable due to the large transmission tunnel. Boot space is generous as well with the rear seat in place. Fold them down and the space increases considerably for added versatility. 

Equipment: The Standard X3 comes with stop/start technology, leatherette upholstery and automatic climate control. Top of the range X3 comes with Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps. 18-inch alloy wheels and a power tailgate system. You'll have to pay a rear view camera, heated front seats and variable sport steering with performance control. 

Buying & owning: The X3 is competitively priced among its rivals. You'll have to stay clear of the options list if you want your X3 to be within reasonable price levels. The Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 are both able to cater to drivers in the same levels as the X3 but both don't offer the fun to drive factors as the X3. Then again we have yet to test drive the X3 or any BMW with standard suspension. 

Reliability & Safety: The X3 cabin materials feel upscale and long lasting. Much attention was put into the fit and finish. It may not be as classy as the Audi Q5, but it is a vast improvement over the previous generation. Reliability should be good as BMW has been vastly improving their reliability over the years. Front and side curtain airbags come standard across the range. ESP, anti-lock-brakes come standard as well as X-drive all-wheel-drive system. Deadlocks and anti-theft deterrent system comes standard to keep theft away. 

The BMW X3 is a great choice among it's keen rivals Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5. It's quite fun to drive and vastly improved over previous generation. Both engines offer plenty of oomph and the refinement is improved as well. We have yet to test drive a BMW with standard suspension and the options send the price to X5 levels. If you can ignore these few downsides the X3 is a great vehicle that's worth considering if its rivals don't tickle your fancy. 

Devon's Pick: The X3 xDrive28i is the pick of the range. The 2-liter turbo engine is all the engine you'll really need. There is plenty of pace for both city and highway driving. It may seem like the watered down version of the X3 but it makes the most sense financially. If you stay clear of the options list you'll get a decently priced X3 that's worth an extra look. 

Likes: Optional variable damper control makes the X3 more fun to drive. Quality and cabin materials are vastly improved. 

Dislikes: Options send price to X5 entry level. Large rear tunnel limits space for three. We've yet to test drive any BMW with standard suspension. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

(Used) Devon test drives an Audi Allroad

Photo provided by Devon M 

If you take an Audi A4 raise the suspension slightly and throw on plastic body panels. You get the Audi Allroad, it's designed to compete with the Volvo XC70 and Subaru Outback. With standard Quattro all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, can Audi give a justifiable reason to buy a Allroad over a luxury crossover? 

Performance: The Allroad only comes with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 211hp. Only transmission available is an eight speed automatic gearbox. Which does a good job of helping the engine feel more powerful than the numbers suggest. Pace around town is decent and on the highway there's good punch thanks to the extra torque. 

Ride & handling: Even though the Allroad has a raised driving position for mild off-roading. The downside is that the Allroad is that there's a bit more body roll than the A4 Avant on which its based on. The ride comfort is also a bit of a let down, there's a bit too much thump over poor road surfaces and the steering is overly light with little feedback. 

Refinement: The Allroad is quiet and smooth at highway speeds. There's a bit of wind noise, but it can be easily drained out with the radio. Suspension and road noise are also well supressed. 

Behind the wheel: There's a wide range of adjustments for the driver's seat and steering wheel. The instrumental panel is easy to navigate and visibility is great thanks to large glass area. 

Space & Practicality: There's enough space for four adults and their luggage. Headroom and legroom and plenty and the boot is a good size as well. The rear seats fold down to add more space, but they don't fold completely flat. 

Equipment: The base trim of the Allroad comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, Audi Concert radio, panorama glass roof and leather surfaced seats. Mid-range trim adds Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, power tailgate, three-zone climate control and heated front seats. Top of the range trim adds navigation system, keyless start, Audi side assist blind spot dection warning and a upgraded sound system. 

Buying & Owning: The Allroad comes with a hefty price tag which is similar to the Volvo XC70. Even though the Subaru Outback is much cheaper to buy, it doesn't have the styling appeal of the Audi Allroad. Gas mileage a combined 23 miles to the gallon which is decent for a wagon that has all-wheel-drive and weighs near 4,000lbs. Resale value should be good as with all Audis. 

Reliability & Quality: The interior quality is excellent for its class. All the materials feel upscale and the overall impression is superb. Audi hasn't really enjoyed the best reliability record in the past, but from what we've seen in recent years. The question still remains over the longterm reliability of the mechanicals and electronics. 

Security & Safety: The Allroad comes with lots of safety equipment, including six airbags and stability control. Rear side airbags are optional. Deadlocks and an alarmn are fitted as stanard to guard against theft. 

The Allroad is a nice wagon with plenty of luxury features galore. The engine is decent for the task, and fuel economy is respectable. However the bigger question remains. Why Audi didn't offer the A6 Allroad instead of the A4 based Allroad. The price tag would've been a little more justifiable and overall packaging would've been more convincing seeing that the Volvo XC70 and Subaru Outback are both larger vehicles with more space. However, if you want a splash of style, wagon practicality and desire the Audi Quattro all-wheel-drive, the Audi Allroad is the perfect car that blends all three very well.

Devon's Pick: Premium Plus adds Xenon headlamps which look better on the Allroad than the halogen headlamps that come standard on the base trim. Plus it feels like an alround better deal than both the base trim and top of the range. 

Likes: Stylish exterior with luxurious interior, spacious room for four adults with a decent sized boot. Turbo engine has more pep than the figures suggest. 

Dislikes: Priced rather steeply, steering is overly light. Reliability record is still iffy. Doesn't offer adjustable suspension like previous Allroad. Based on A4 platform rather than A6 to make it a real competitor towards the Volvo XC70. 

"It was twenty years ago today"

The Beatles --Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Remastered)
It was more than forty-three years ago today when “Sgt. Pepper” took the world by storm, eventually becoming the most important album release ever--unsurpassed in concept, sound, songwriting and studio technology, put together by one of the greatest rock groups of all time. When it was first released on June 1, 1967, it kicked off what was considered the “Summer of Love.” With vivid tracks that were about non-violence and an extreme push towards peace and love, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” is a concept album that sort of takes a wild turn into its own world. The eponymous first track starts off with a live audience then kicks into gear with Paul McCartney playing the electric guitar eventually giving way to their alter-ego band. “Billy Shears” (also known as Ringo Starr) lends his vocals to "With a Little Help from My Friends.” This song is a somewhat entertaining listen, but it comes off rather boring and a little basic in song structure. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was the song that still, to this day, causes controversy. Many people believe it was inspired by a popular drug in the sixties called LSD. Also if the song is initialed, you'll spell 'LSD'. Although John Lennon has said many times this song isn't about LSD, people to this day believe it to be true. However the song is still amazing whether inspired by drugs or not. The whole structure of the song is very ahead of its time. Giving a vivid picture of a child's imagination put into a very musically complex song. “Good Morning, Good Morning” is one of those songs that is usually ignored and it is often considered a throw-away song, with loud horn section and overly loud brass. The song doesn't come off pretentious more like a loud wake up call. The album sums up with “A Day in the Life”; one of the best on the album. It starts off with a slow yet steady beat, but mid way into the song the beat sort of rises and gets louder and louder. Sort of like an innocent dream turning into a nightmare. The sound then fades away and goes into Paul's vocals. Originally his part of the song was supposed to be for another song, but it was ultimately included in this song. It does sound somewhat out of place here, but when listening to it, it does make sense. With much ties to the legendary “Paul is Dead” hoax that caused everyone to back mask much of their music. This lasted until a special interview was conducted that proved Paul really wasn't dead. “Sgt. Pepper” (Remastered) brings the sound quality to a new, more exceptional standard. Each song is clear and the vocals and instruments can be heard more clearly than ever. These few tweaks have made an album released nearly forty-three years ago sound just as good as its first release in 1967. That kind of achievement is not very easy to obtain.

Devon M

Devon does tribute to 9-3 Viggen

The 9-3 Viggen was the hottest and fastest 9-3 you could buy in Saab's line-up. It started off with a 2.3-liter high-output turbocharged four-cylinder which pumped out 225hp and 252lb-ft torque. Later it was pumped up to 230hp and 258lb-ft torque. This was one of the last of the Saab vehicles that really did leave a special place in my heart.

On the road: The 9-3 Viggen I was able to get my hands on had a 2.3-liter high-output turbocharged four-cylinder producing 230hp and 258lb-ft torque. All this power was sent through a five-speed manual that was slick shifting at times. The engine felt smooth and urgent when you put your foot down, but often times you'll want to grab the steering wheel with both hands. The front wheels felt like they were searching for traction and the chassis often felt overwhelmed by the amount of power the engine produced. This sent a huge amount of torque steer to the front wheels before the ESP kicked in and helped keep things under control. If the 9-3 Viggen would've been a rear wheel drive car, the torque steer would've been to a minimal. But then again its all part of the charm. It's one of those cars you can just take to a race track and have a hoot with, and drive it home and feel comfortable. The suspension was firm but not overly firm where it left you feeling beat up after driving a few miles on patchy surfaces.

From behind the wheel: Everything in the 9-3 cabin feels logically laid out. All the controls are easy to navigate and everything is within reach of the driver's hand. The instrumental panel and the way its designed has a sort of cockpit feel to it. The ignition switch is tucked away neatly between the front seats as well as the power window switches and power door lock switch. It was one of those designs you either hated or loved. Most people loved it because it really did make Saab different from other cars.

Practicality: One of the best things about the 9-3 Viggen is the amounts of space and practicality it offered. There is plenty of cargo space in the boot, and the rear seats can accommodate two adults and one child, or three kids. The front seats offered plenty of support and visibility all round is very good. Saab has always been known to incorporate practicality in their vehicles, with a splash of sport.

The 9-3 Viggen is a rare find and is worth the look. This is one of the last of the Saab vehicles that really did gain cult status among fans before Saab started chasing BMW and discontinued the iconic hatchback for a more mainstream sedan. One thing for sure though is there is no other car like a Saab, and even if Saab isn't in production anymore. Saab will always be the company that started the turbo craze and the whole left field illogical thinking. Ingenious safety features and some of the best turbo engines you can ever drive. Saab is and will always be a great company. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

(Used) Devon test drives a Toyota Corolla

File:2014 Toyota Corolla S in Ontario, Canada.jpg

Toyota has never been known for building fun to drive vehicles. The Corolla is no exception to this. Although you can get a sporty looking S-trim. There really isn't much fun behind the wheel. With stiff competition from Honda and Kia, will Toyota be able to keep up? Or is this another case of old dog - old tricks?

Likes: Excellent fit and finish, fuel economy, smooth ride comfort.

Dislikes: Dull driving experience, base trim feels rather stingy on features.

Performance: There's only one engine available for the Corolla, and that's a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 138hp. It offers a good amount of pace around town and on the motorway. Fuel economy is also good too. Power hungry may want to look elsewhere, as there's no powerful engine options to match the sporty looks of the S trim.

Ride & Handling: The Corolla feels solid and comfortable when driven gently. Handling isn't sporty, and doesn't encourage you to drive aggressively. The suspension is set more towards comfort rather than agility. So there's bodyroll in turns, but its far from annoying.

Refinement: The Corolla has excellent refinement on the motorway. There's very little wind and road noise. You'll enjoy how smooth and quiet the ride comfort is. The engine operates smoothly, and is quiet at most speeds.

Behind the wheel: The dashboard has a no nonsense layout. Everything feels logically placed and user friendly. The seats adjust for both reach and height. The controls are easy to use and the quality feels rock solid.

Space & Practicality: There's enough room for five adults in the Corolla. There's plenty of head and legroom for both front and rear passengers. There's plenty of boot space as well. The rear seats fold down 60/40 for additional space.

Equipment: The Corolla is priced well among its rivals, but the base trim level loses out on central locking and power windows. You'll have to step up to the higher trims to get features that should be standard across the range. There are rivals that offer them for less than the Corolla.

Buying & Owning: The Corolla holds its value well, so your investments are well secured. The base trim doesn't feel like much of a value, and the sporty looking S trim doesn't feel as sporty as its looks suggest. However, your fuel bill will be low and build quality will be excellent.

Quality & Reliability: All the plastics used feel long lasting. There's a sense of durability behind the interior quality. Reliability should be excellent, as the Corolla has been rated high by its owners in the JD Power survey.

Safety & Security: All Corollas come with an array of safety features standard. ESP, ABS and side curtian airbags come standard across the range. An engine immobiliser comes standard across the range, but you'll have to step up to the higher trims to get deadlocks.

The Corolla has rock solid reliability and feels very well built. It's dependable and offers excellent fuel economy. For those seeking something that's fun to drive may want to venture else where. But for the few that want a car that's aimed at quality and dependability, the Corolla is the car for you.

Interesting Song Facts

"Purple Haze" Jimi Hendrix
Purple Haze has been used to refer to LSD. Due to the form sold by Sandoz, called Delysid, which came in purple capsules. Purple Haze is a particular strand of marijuana noted for its 'purple' appearance. More credible reference such as the line from the song "kissing the sky" means 'to get high'.

"Lithium" Nivana
"Lithium" is often viewed as a song about a man who is on the brink of killing himself. But the true meaning of the song is about a guy who kills his wife. After the murder, the guy somehow manages to find god and sanity. For example, "I like it I'm not gonna crack" and "I killed you, I'm not gonna crack". "Lithium" is a drug used by doctors to control Manic-Depressive Disorder (Bipolar Depression).

"Cassie" Flyleaf
"Cassie" is a song about Cassie Bernall. A Student at Columbine High School who was killed in the massacre that occurred there. Her killer asked her if she believed in God. She answered "Yes" and he killed her with a single gunshot to the head. The line in the song "Do you believe in God" was asked by a student who survived the Columbine Massacre. Lacy Mosley (Lead Singer of FlyLeaf) thought it was cool these students stood up for what they believed in. Thus writing a song dedicated to those who died for what they believed in.

"Enter Sandman" Metallica
"Enter Sandman" was initially supposed to be about death. But the topic was changed to nightmares. Due to Metallics producer who thought "Death doesn't sell".
"Take my hand, we're off to Never Never Land" is a reference to "Peter Pan".
At 5:23 into the song, there's a rendition of an Ancient Children's pray performed by James Hetfield and the song of Metallica producer Bob Rock.

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" The Beatles
Much of the song lyrics were about John Lennon's sexual passion for Yoko.
A popular theory is that Lennon used drug metaphors for doing heroin:
"Needing a fix", "Jump the gun" meaning cook it up.
"Bang, Bang, shoot, shoot" - "When I hold you in my arm, nobody can do me no harm" Heroin addicts tell how when you're on it. Nothing can do me no harm and Lennon's overall nature seems to point to this.

"Creep" Radiohead
Yorke says this is about being in love with someone, but not feeling good enough.
The three blast of guitar noise that precede the chorus was the result of Jonny Greenwood trying to sabotage a tune he considered too "wimpy".
Yorke claims he received fan mail from "murderers" saying how much they could relate to this song.

"Yellow" Coldplay
"Look at the stars, look how they shine for you" was written after looking up at the night sky while recording in Wales. Which during the time had a nice clear sky.
"Yellow" is a term that can mean cowardly or afraid. From the standpoint the singer could be afraid or nervous to show his love. But finally gets the nerve to express his love.
Lead singer Chris Martin has said the lyrics are about being devoted to someone, wanting to do anything for them.

"Holiday" Green Day
"Holiday" is about the American Government and society during the Iraqi War. It begins by commenting on how thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis are nameless to the average American Citizen. The song expresses resentment with the corporate greed.
This song is often considered an anti-American Song. But is really just an anti-war song.

"Beautiful Day" U2
This song is about a man who loses his material things and feels better because he realizes the value of what he has.
The song was inspired by Bono's experience with Jubilee 2000 (a Benefit urging politicians to drop the Third World Debt.)

Devon M

(Used) Devon test drives the redesigned Beetle

File:2012 Volkswagen Beetle -- NHTSA 2.jpg

The Volkswagen Beetle has always been regarded as a chick car. With a large portion of its buyers being female. Now Volkswagen has decided to change up the Beetle formula. Giving it a more masculine design and a dose of sport to help shape up its new image, but has it worked? Let's find out.

Performance: There's two engines available with the Beetle. A familiar 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 170hp and a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 200hp. Pick of the bunch is the turbo engine. It's the most fun to drive form of the Beetle. There's plenty of punch and fuel economy isn't that much different than the 2.5. 

Ride & Handling: The Beetle features two different rear supsension setups. The turbo forms offer a multi-link arrangement from the GTI. In this form, body sway is well controlled and there's plenty of sideways grip. The lower trims have a more basic rear suspension set up which doesn't feel as sporty as the turbo forms. Both suspensions however offer a firm ride at low speeds and steering is quite slow to react. 

Refinement: The Beetle is generally refined, although the frameless doors generate quite a bit of wind noise. The turbo engine also generates quite a bit of induction roar. The DSG gearbox is generally smooth, but it can be jerky at low speeds. 

Behind the wheel: The Beetle's dashboard has been inspired by the original. This means its taller than in most modern cars and has a squared off front. You can go even further with the retro vibe and have the dashboard painted the same color as the car. All of the switches and controls are clearly laid out and easy to operate. 

Space & Practicality: The Beetle only has four seats. There's plenty of room in the front for people of all shapes and sizes. The back seats however are cramped. The boot is a decent size, almost as much room as you'd find in a Golf. The sloped bootlid makes it difficult to carry tall items. 

Equipment: The Beetle comes with an array of trim levels to choose from. The base trim offers cd-player, air-con, Bluetooth and electronic stability control. Turbo form offers a rear spoiler, 18 inch alloy wheels and sport cloth seats. Top of the range offers an upgraded sound system, navigation system, leather seating surfaces and a sunroof. 

Buying & Owning: The base trim of the Beetle cost a few thousand more than a two-door Golf. So its not really all that cheap to buy and discounts will be hard to comeby as the Beetle was just redesigned. Resale value is too soon rate. Fuel economy is decent which means running costs shouldn't be too bad. 

Quality and Reliability: The Beetle's interior trim feels a bit cheap in some areas. You'll find softer feeling plastics in a Golf, for example the plastics on the center console and around the front center armrest are hard and scratchy. At least most of the switches and controls feel weighty. Underneath, the Beetle shares most of its parts with the Golf, so reliability should be good. 

Safety & Security: The Beetle comes with side-curtian airbags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. Not to mention the reputation of Volkswagen safety. On the security front, you get an alarm, deadlocks and a visible VIN with plenty of marked parts. 

The redesigned Beetle pushes all the right buttons. The new design is much more sporty, with a more retro interior to match that of the original. However the Beetle once again chooses style over practicality. You can buy a two-door Golf for less money if you want the extra space for rear passengers and boot space. But you'll be missing the point of the Beetle. It's a retro-throw back to the original, offers a nicer interior and is more engaging to drive than the pervious form. If you desire a car that stands out and don't mind the compromised practicality, this car is well worth the look.

Devon's Pick: The Turbo form makes the most sense. It's the most exciting to drive all while being not too much more expensive than the 2.5. Running costs are decent and equipment is also decent. 

Devon M 

Friday, August 11, 2017

(Used) Devon drives a car with "Bling-Bling" factor

3rd Cadillac Escalade -- 08-16-2010.jpg

Likes: Stylish exterior styling, roomy for eight passegners, available hybrid model, high-class image.

Dislikes: Seriously expensive starting price, and options will send price sky high. Running costs will be high, bulky size makes it a chore to park and live with in urban areas.

The Cadillac Escalade has been popular since its launch in 1999. There has been no other SUV that has gotten as much hype as the Escalade. Appearing in music videos, being mentioned in song lyrics and seen as the vehicle to have by many Hip/Hop Artists and movie stars. But does the Escalade suffer from all style and no substance?

Performance: The Escalade comes with a 6.2-liter eight-cylinder engine. The base trim comes with 403hp, and a two-mode hybrid with 332hp. The pick of the bunch is the base engine output. It's still quite expensive, but is far cheaper compared to the hybrid model. There's effortless power on the motorway and plenty of towing capability. The Hybrid commands a premium price and not much difference in fuel economy. You'll have to do tons of motorway driving to really get your moneys worth.

Ride & Handling: The Escalade has a soft suspension, which does a good job at isolating occupants from most bumps. But it never feels settled on patchy surfaces, and body movements are poorly controlled. The steering has very little feedback, and the sheer size of the car makes driving on narrow city roads hard work.

Refinement: The big engine is hushed at steady motorway speeds. The V8 emits a lovely rumble under heavy acceleration. Road noise isn't a big problem, but the Escalade is about as aerodynamic as a tower block so wind noise intrudes into the cabin at high levels.

Behind the wheel: You sit high in the Escalade, so all round visibility is good. Shorter drivers will have a harder time getting comfortable. Although the pedals adjust for reach, the steering wheel only adjusts for angle. This makes driving position awkward for some. The heater controls are fiddly too.

Space & Practicality: The Escalade has seating up to eight with a well laid out formation. But you won't get three adults in the third row because shoulder room is tight. The boot isn't massive, and the rear seats don't fold flat. You'll have to remove them to get the full cargo capacity.

Equipment: There are four trim levels available. All of them are well equipped, but the options will send the price soaring. Tri-zone climate control, six-disc CD-changer and parking sensors are standard equipment. Satellite navigation system and rear-seat DVD entertainment system are optional.

Buying & Owning: The Escalade has the bling looks that attracts many premier buyers. You'll need their wages to run one, because the Escalade is quite expensive to run. Fuel economy is low, and the price tag is high. Even the hybrid commands a high premium over the the base engine. The V8 engine is thirsty and you'll struggle in large parking lots and tight urban areas. Insurance rates are high, and theft rates are also high for this vehicle. The Escalade won't hold its value as well as its rivals.

Quality & Reliability: The dash plastics feel and look cheap. Some interior fittings feel flimsy and you can hear lots of rattles and creaks when driving over rough surfaces. Reliability of the electronics may be a bit of a worry.

Safety & Reliability: Twin front and side curtain airbags come standard across the range. The side curtain airbags covers all three rows. Stability control helps keep you on the road. Deadlocks and an alarm is fitted as standard.

The Cadillac offers tons of bling in its styling. It's stylish, and has tons of appeal to high class buyers. But one has to ask themself, is it really worth it? There are rivals that are better to drive, easier to manuever and offer far better gas mileage than the Escalade. You'll buy one for the status of wealth, but there are so many drawbacks to consider. High running costs, iffy reliability record all count against it.

Devon M 

"Roll up, roll up for magical mystery tour step right this way…"

"The fool on the hill sees the sun going down, and the eyes in his head sees the world spinning 'round."

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the most influential rock album ever released. Even though it had many controversial songs such as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds which to this day many believe is about LSD, and when you initial the song it spells the letters LSD. John Lennon stated the song was about a picture his son Julian drew about a girl he had a crush on named Lucy in his class. (Not going much more than that with this theory.) Magical Mystery Tour is more of a soundtrack rather than a concept album that Sgt Pepper. The album starter is Magical Mystery Tour which gives you the feeling that this album is going to take you on a journey somewhere far from home. The rather cheesy lyrics and somewhat okay instruments help carry this high energy song through without being pretensious or repetitive. The Fool on the hill is probably the best Paul McCartney song on the album. The lyrics are very good and have a real deep meaning behind them. The music video displays Paul running around on an English mountain side in a trench coat being absolutely silly. Maybe Paul was refering to himself as the fool on the hill. After this song the album kind of takes a weird turn with the non-vocal track Flying. This track reminds you of someone on acid looking out of a bus window and thinking that the bus is flying. The vivid music video displays colors and is very trippy indeed, just like the song itself. The structure of the song itself is very good and blends well with the next track Blue Jay Way. George Harrison wrote this song while waiting for a friend to come to his house while he as in California. Blue Jay Way is the name of a street that's located in Hollywood Hill overlooking Sunset Blvd. This street is incredibly hard to find especially when its foggy. 

"Ask a policeman on the street, there's so many there to meet."

George Harrison's vocals were changed in the song to sound very ghostly. The music video is very creepy and trippy as well. While listening to the track, you can smell what The Beatles were smoking while recording this track. It's a great song and is one of the most underrated George Harrison tracks. Your Mother Should Know is the weakest track on the album. There is great vocal harmony and the lyrics are okay. The instruments and the 50's style arrangement to the song is what makes it feel cheesy and bland. I Am the Walrus is a song that is in its own world. The intro of the song sounds as if it were taken from a police siren. The lyrics are very whimsical with a very catchy hook 'I am the walrus goo-goo g'joob'. It's a hard call due to the fact that John Lennon also wrote two other great songs Strawberry Fields Forever and All You Need Is Love. All three songs are great, but the haunting melody of Strawberry Fields Forever and the still to this day debated I buried Paul towards the end of the track is believed to be part of the Paul is dead theory (if you want to read more about that you can click the link above.) Hello Goodbye is probably one of the more pop songs on the album. It's a good song but after awhile the lyrics can get really stellar and reptitive. The song was featured on a Target Commercial and basically ruined its reputation. Magical Mystery Tour was turned into a short film which was weird and trippy as well. This was no surprise because the album itself starts off good, but it turns weird fast and that's not a bad thing because The Beatles are known for their weirdness. This is a solid album with a few weak tracks, but the overall impression is great. If you're trying to get into The Beatles, this is definitely a good track that is worth adding to your starting collection. 

"There's nothing you can do that can't be done."

Best tracks on album. 
Blue Jay Way 
I Am the Walrus 
Strawberry Fields Forever
All You Need Is Love 

Devon M 

(Used) Devon takes a look at a Nissan Murano

File:2009 Nissan Murano S.jpg

Likes: Well equipped, smooth six-cylinder engine, roomy and comfortable to drive.

Dislikes: A bit strange looking, no base engine offered, not as sporty to drive as its looks suggest.

Crossovers are becoming more and more popular. They sit lower to the ground, and offer better fuel economy than many truck-based sport utility vehicles. The Nissan Murano uses the same engine from the 350Z, but has been detuned to 260hp. With so many other rivals catching up to the Murano, will this be a case of old dog old tricks?

Performance: There's only one engine available for the Murano, and that's a 3.5-liter six-cylinder. It's the same engine used in the 350Z, but only produces 260hp. Acceleration is brisk and effortless on the motorway, but the CVT-transmission is reluctant to allow the engine to rev. A base engine would be nice for those who seek the Murano's size, but better fuel economy.

Ride & Handling: The Murano isn't as sporty as the 350Z. The body leans in corners, because the suspension is softly tuned. The steering feels numb, and discourages sporty driving. Even though the car grips really well.

Refinement: The Murano is impressingly refined. THere's very little wind and road noise. The engine has a nice snarl when revved hard, but its never intrusive or loud. On the motorway, the Murano feels very comfortable and well laid back.

Behind the wheel: The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height, and the seats adjust eletrically. You won't struggle to find a comfortable driving position in the Murano. What's more, the layout of the controls is hard to find fault. Only hefty rear pillars let it down, but you do get two parking cameras as an option for limited the limited vision.

Space & Practicality: There's an impressive amount of space for five passengers. There isn't a third row seat option like in some rivals. This isn't a bad thing, as the boot is impressively large. The rear seats fold almost flat with a tug lever to increase space.

Equipment: The Murano comes well equipped for the price. Even the base trim comes with push button ignition, six-disc CD-changer and dual zone climate control. Higher trims offer a glass roof and leather seats. Top of the range offers Xenon-headlamps, chrome wheels and power lift tailgate.

Buying & Owning: The Murano is well equipped for the price. Even the base trim will satisfy most buyers. Strong resale values will help protect your investments. You'll need deep pockets to satisfy the six-cylinder's thirst for fuel.

Quality & reliability: The interior has a sense of logic behind it. Everything feels well laid out, and all the controls feel classy. Some switchgear feel cheap, but they feel sturdy and long lasting. Nissan has enjoy excellent reliability, with much not much worry of the mechanicals.

Safety & Security: Stability control is standard across the range, as well as side curtain airbags. Deadlocks, alarm and engine immobiliser make life for thieves hard.

The Murano is a decent crossover that's classy and well balanced for small families. It's not sporty, and looks the part. This may disappoint some buyers, and the lack of a base engine will put off some buyers. The six-cylinder is nice but some rivals offer lower powered engines to make the price more attractive. If you can overlook these few negatives, you'll find the Murano is a well suited crossover for small families.
Devon M 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

'Turn me on dead man'

 The Beatle’s self titled ninth album (White Album is the more popular name) was recorded during a dark time within the Beatles. The band members wanted to explore their unique talents musically and lyrically, which explains why many songs on this album feels more divided compared to their other albums. Back in the U.S.S.R gives you the impression that The Beatles are trying to go after a more Beach Boys parody. Everything from lyrics to music arrangements screams Beach Boys with the song title being a rip off of Chuck Berry’s Back in the USA. During the time of this song’s recording Ringo Starr walked out of the recording studio and announced that he had quit the band after a heated argument among the band members. Dear Prudence is a nice track with a good piano riff. You’d think after the high energy album starter that The Beatles would stay to one trend and that’s Beach Boy-like songs, but then again this is The Beatles we are talking about. Paul McCartney lends a hand in drums and does a darn good job. Lyrically Dear Prudence is a good listen and displays interesting vocals by John Lennon.

“Here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul.”

Glass Onion is one of the weirder tracks of the album. It’s a great track to listen to, with subtle hints that Paul in fact is dead (‘here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul’) in the lyrics. The best part of the song in my opinion is towards the end where it takes a spooky haunting twist in melody. A sound that you sort of hear at the end of a mystery thriller that’s being left at a cliff hanger, this song indeed leaves you wanting more but cuts you off short. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill is a strange track by John Lennon. While on their trip to India for meditation, a guest of the band shot and killed a tiger which gave Lennon the inspiration for the song. Appearing in cameo of the song is Yoko Ono (which everyone knew was coming). While My Guitar Gently Weeps is one of the darker tracks on the album. It sounds almost as if this song doesn’t even belong on the album altogether. George Harrison invited Eric Clapton to play lead guitar in the song in hopes that it would make the band take the song more serious. Towards the end of the song fans thought George was crying out ‘Paul, Paul’ hinting further into the mystery of Paul is Dead theory.

“I need a fix ‘cause I’m going down, down to the bits that I left uptown.”

Happiness Is a Warm Gun is personally my favorite track by John Lennon on this album. John Lennon grabbed inspiration for the song from a magazine that said Happiness Is a Warm Gun. The song itself is literally two songs combined into one. It starts off smooth with fuzzy guitars being heard in the background. Then out of nowhere there’s the distorted guitar solo which helps the song jump into a different mood. After Mother Superior jump the gun the song sort of takes a more doo-wop sound. Many suggested that Lennon’s Vocals are that of a Heroin addict. One needing a fix and parts of the song where he describes holding a syringe in his arm and saying no one can do him any harm once he’s on the drug. Drugs or not this song is really a great listen and is quite different compared to other tracks on this album. Helter Skelter is probably one of the loudest songs The Beatles have on this album. It’s very aggressive and lyrically and vocally. Inspired by The Who I Can See For Miles Paul McCartney took the song and pushed it to another level. The song itself was recorded in total madness, but the end result was a fantastic song that really is in my opinion the finest piece of work from Paul along side Hey Jude.

“It’s been a long, long, long time”

Long, Long, Long is oddly placed next to the louder racier Helter Skelter. This was is one of Harrison’s gentler and quieter songs on the album. It’s quite moody and poetic in lyrics. The song is almost meditative and really does fit quite well next to the other tracks. Towards the end of the song is where it takes a creepy turn. A bottle of wine was left on top of the Leslie Speaker and began to rattle whenever Paul hit a certain note on his organ. Ringo starts pounding on his drums to cover the sound and George sings in a ghostly manner to also try to cover up this sound. This is a sound that is almost ghostly like and is very haunting and weird. This gives the track that moody dark tone that helps it out. George Harrison as a song writer really does shine through on this particular album. Revolution 9 is probably the weirdest song on the entire album, if you can call it a song. This track features a collage of noises and distant cries. You never know where this song is going because each second is different and weirder than the last. For eight minutes you’d forget that you were listening to a Beatle’s record. This track is also one of many tracks by The Beatles that has been subjected to the Paul is Dead theory.

“You say you want a revolution, well you know we all want to change the world”

The The White Album is the most unique album that the band has ever put together. Many songs you can tell were recorded as sort of solo songs rather than the group recording them as a whole. The division of the band and many individual talents really do shine in this album. Despite the tension among the band members, this album is a gem and is worth considering if you are getting into the band and want collage of songs that are distinct and interesting in their own rights.

Devon M

Muse 2nd Law Album Review

File:Muse at Air Canada Centre.jpg
Muse 2nd Law Album Review

Great album but the dub-step sort of spoils the momentum.

Muse Resistance album released in 2009 was a great album. Reviews of the album were mixed as most thought Muse was trying to sound like Queen in a few tracks, but they were able to blend their sound into each track well. Making Resistance a fine album in its own respects, but the transition from Resistance to 2nd Law has a lot of precautionary actions to be taken into consideration before reading on. One: This is still Muse, Bellamy still sounds like himself and the Muse-like sound is still infused in each track. High energy with strong vocals and fascinating lyrics, however all the good feels like it will shortly come to an end on a few tracks. This is where two will come into play. Dub-step with plenty of wobble and enough of it to make die-hard Muse fans want to barf. But before you go and think that this is another one of those songs that sounds the same like the rest. You just have to remember that Muse did incorporate electronic sounds into their music way before Resistance. Just think, super massive Black Hole, Bellamy wanted to create a funky danceable song that was different from anything Muse had ever done.

There are really better ways of creating danceable songs without going the lame route of dub-step. Which all sounds the same and can be heard in so many pops songs on the radio. Before we sound like we are bashing Muse, let’s get more into the new album. The first single released from the album was Survival. This song was used as the official song of the 2012 Olympics in London. Survival starts off as an innocent song that gradually builds up as the song goes on. It’s a typical Muse song that gets really loud and full of energy in a very short amount of time. The song gets pretentious very quickly and the lyrics get very stellar and dry quickly. It’s a great song with strong vocals and instruments used to give it such strong energy, but at times it feels rather sloppy and over the top. Madness is an okay song and was intended to appeal more to the fan base who loves the wobble – wobble from the dub-step. Bellamy grabs much inspiration from Queen I just want to break free and George Michael’s Faith including samples of I want your sex. Another song that grabbed mixed reviews, most of them were positive in favor of this track. It’s a catchy pop track and displays a new direction that the band is trying to head into.

Follow Me is another fine example of how Muse can take a song and push it over the top. Bellamy vocals sound so crisp and strong, the lyrics are good and the energy is high. It feels like it’s going to lead up to a fantastic array of guitars and drum solos. Instead the vocals are quickly greeted with once again wobble – wobble from the dub-step. It sounds as if the song is trying to be edgy and ended up failing completely on all aspects. But then again, the song isn’t completely bad if this is your first time listening to the band. However for hardcore fans, this will either disappoint or you’ll learn to love it like their previous albums. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the rest of the album is actually not that bad. Panic Station takes inspiration from Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. The song itself is not that bad, it’s quite catchy and Bellamy vocals are decent. Big Freeze and Animals are also very good songs as well. After that, the rest of the album just goes from okay it’s starting to sound good to what the fuck Muse? It seems as if Muse isn’t really playing their instruments in the tracks. This once again pulls inspiration from Resistance the last three tracks were just completely random from the rest of the album. It wasn’t bad because the music was raw and full of energy. But this however just makes you wonder what was really going on when they were recording these songs.

2nd Law really does open new doors for the band. They are entering new sounds, and are really trying to make a statement for themselves. Many fans will miss their more guitar heavy songs such as Plug in Baby, Sober and Uno which was a symphony of guitars. Those were the great songs of the past and the new Muse dipping into new charts that were never before thought to happen. It’s not bad but it just doesn’t quite fit the image that you’d expect from Muse. It’s a great album, but it was gradual let down by the lame dub-step and pretentious Survival song. The rest is a great collage of songs and really is a good listen if you try to ignore the early days of Muse Career. Try to see them as growing with them time’s kind of album and you’ll see why Muse is still a great band despite the few somewhat stellar songs. ****

Devon M

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Paul is dead: Is it really a hoax?

In October of 1969 three weeks after the Beatle's celebrated Abbey Road album release. WKNR-FM's Russ Gibb took a call from a  man who identified himself as only 'Tom'. The Detroit deejay listened as the caller carefully laid out clues hidden in the Beatles' songs and album art. This indicated that Paul McCartney died on November 9, 1966 in an automobile accident. After the evidence was put together, the rumors began to fly and the great hoax came to life. Paul was replaced by a look a like. However, was this really a hoax? Or a well kept secret among the Beatles? 

The clues were pieced together from songs and album covers. Conspiracy buffs came up with this scenario. During the early-morning hours of November 9, 1966, Paul argued with his band mates in the studio while recording songs for their album Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He left in a hurry just before 5 a.m. While driving to a friend's house, Paul picked up a female hitchhiker who couldn't control her excitement when she realized who was behind the wheel. The female passenger began to grab Paul and hug him, causing Paul to lose control of his car and smash into a stone fence. Rita was able to escape the car before it burst into flames killing him. Paul was decapitated and burnt to a crisp, making a positive ID difficult. 

The Great Cover Up.

Paul's death couldn't be leaked to the media. Brian Epstein felt that many fans would be devastated and the end of the Beatles would result from this. In order to keep McCartney's death under wraps, the Beatles would need a look-alike to sub for him. It's said they found the perfect candidate in a actor named William Shears Campbell, the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest who resembled the singer so much that he was supposedly on the Beatles' payroll as a stand-in to throw off fans and the press. This name however can be heard in the 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' song: 

"So let me introduce to you/ The one and only Billy Shears" 

Rubber Soul (U.K.) was rumored to be photographed with distortion because the look-alike replacement didn't fully look like Paul yet. The angle of in which they are standing is rumored also that they group is standing over Paul's grave. The album's name was supposed to be 'Rubber Paul' because the look-alike had undergone plastic surgery to look like Paul. John and the others felt this wasn't the real Paul and began to express it. George Harrison felt the name would reveal too much and thus John renamed the album Rubber Soul. 

Songs from the album that were apparently written about Paul's Death. 
Drive My Car 
You Won't See Me 
Nowhere Man 
I'm looking Through You 

Yesterday and Today original album shows the two decapitated doll bodies on both Paul's shoulders. These indicate that Paul was decapitated in the car crash, and why George Harrison is holding a baby's head beside Paul's head. This album cover was later banned because they felt that the album would reveal that Paul is dead. Thus why the album cover was later replaced with this one below. 

The Album cover was replaced with this one shown above. You can see Paul is sitting inside of a trunk that is supposed to symbolize a coffin. Which was to hint that Paul was actually dead. John, George and Ringo are standing outside of the coffin because they are the only three remaining Beatles alive. 

I'm Only Sleeping: The song describes Paul while in his coffin. John said that Paul was only sleeping. 

Doctor Robert: The song is rumored to be about the surgeon who gave performed all the plastic surgeries on the Paul look-alike. 
(Doctor Robert/ You're a new a better man) 

Yesterday was written by John who was mourning the death of Paul. 

Act Naturally was written about the Beatles trying to act like the look-alike Paul was the real Paul. Thus going on with things as if Paul had never died. 

We Can Work It Out was written to show that the Beatles can move on with things even though Paul was dead. 

Revolver album cover was rumored to be drawn on because they feared people would figure out that the Paul look-alike wasn't the real Paul. Also it was rumored that Paul was still undergoing heavy plastic surgery to further make him look like Paul. Thus why you only see half of Paul's face in this album cover. When Paul was discovered in the car crash, one of his eyes had popped out of his face. This is why Paul's face is turned in the album to depict that Paul is in fact dead. The hand over Paul's head is said to be a way of saying someone has passed on, or someone has died. 

Eleanor Rigby was about Paul's funeral. It was only John, George and Ringo who attended Paul's funeral. No one else attended, thus why the song starts with "Ah look at all the lonely people". Father McCartney was going to be used in the song, but was later changed to Father McKenzie. 
"Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from hands as he walks from the grave/ no one was saved." 

Yellow Submarine was written about the grave yard that Paul was buried in. 
"In the land of Submarines" was all the coffins that were in the graveyard. 
"A sky of blue and a sea of green"was the graveyard which the three Beatles stood in during the funeral for Paul. 

I Want To Tell You 
"I want to tell you/ my head is filled with things to say/ when you're near/ all those words they seem to slip away" is indicating that George is having a hard time dealing with Paul being dead. Thus having nothing to say to the look-alike Paul who replaced him. 

Got to Get You into My Life is rumored about look-alike Paul's addiction to Pot, which he developed to deal with all the plastic surgery that he was undergoing. 

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover was depicting Paul's funeral. John inserted a message that indicated that Paul was dead. The statue that sits between the 'L' and 'E' is supposed to spell out the word 'lies'. The Guitar that was made out of flowers below Beatles is supposed to spell out 'Paul'. If you say the phrase 'Hear lies Paul' is being depicted on the album cover. There are only three strings on the guitar which indicates there are only three Beatles. 

On the album cover all there's a picture of Ringo, John and George grieving over the death of Paul. The people in the background were rumored to be all the people who would've attended Paul's funeral if he his death were made public. 

The inner sleeve was supposed to represent the car crash scene. Paul is bloody. 
The back cover of the album shows that Paul is facing away from the rest of the Beatles. The others felt that the look-alike Paul wasn't a real Beatles and asked him to turn away from the camera to show that there were only three 'real Beatles' instead of four. 

Getting Better is about the look alike Paul getting better at trying to be the 'real Paul' who had died. 

She's Leaving Home is about Paul leaving the studio after the argument. They changed it to 'she' so people wouldn't know that they were actually talking about Paul. 

Good Morning, Good Morning "Nothing to do to save his life" is about Paul being seen in the car crash and he was decapitated. So there was nothing they could do to save his life because he was dead.

Lovely Rita is about the hitchhiker Paul had picked up. "Took her home nearly made it" indicates that Paul and Rita were in a car crash and never made it to the destination that Paul was heading to.  

A Day In the Life "I read the news oh boy/ about a lucky man who made the grade" is clearly about Paul being in the car crash. "He blew his mind out in a car" indicates that Paul was decapitated in the car crash. 

Magical Mystery Tour album if turned upside down is supposedly spells out the number to a funeral home which Paul was taken to and was prepared at before he was buried. Paul in this picture is the Hippo with the huge hole in his chest, which depicts Paul's injury from the car crash. 

If you turn the album side ways looking at the back cover. You'll see the word RIP spelled out. Which was dedicated to Paul who was dead. 

Blue Jay Way 
'Paul is bloody' can he heard in the song. 

Strawberry Fields Forever 
'I buried Paul' 

After getting much heat about the clues John was placing in the albums about Paul's Death. The Beatles decided to just throw a blank album cover both front and back. However, that didn't keep John from writing songs to further hint clues that Paul was dead. 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps George is weeping 'Paul' towards the end of the song. 

Don't Pass Me By was written by Ringo and depicts Paul being in the car crash. 'I heard you were in a car crash and you lost your hair', when Paul was in a car crash he lost his head and was severely burned. 

Other songs rumored to be part part of the theory to Paul's Death. 

Why Don't We Do It in the Road? 
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey

During the recording session of the album The Beatles went to India to see Maharishi. The Beatles thought they could get the spirit of Paul McCartney to enter the body of the fake Paul. However, they were unsuccessful and decided to go back. The look-alike Paul thought they were going to India to learn how to meditate. 

On the cover of the album Abbey Road, the band is photographed crossing Abbey Road in London outside of the British Music Company EMI Abbey Road Recording Studios. Paul is out of step with the other Beatles, barefoot and with his eyes closed. In may countries, including England bodies are buried shoeless. The Beatles are dressed on the cover are as followed: 

Lennon in white is the preacher. 
Starr in black is the undertaker. 
McCartney in the suit and barefoot is the corpse. 
Harrison in the blue jeans and work shirt is the grave digger. 

The license plate on the Volkswagen has 28 IF which is rumored to mean that Paul would've been 28 if he had survived the car crash. 

Maxwell was rumored to be the officer part of the MI5 (British Intelligence Unit) who was assigned to keep an eye out on the Beatles and make sure they kept their mouths shut about the death of Paul. 

Let it Be was the last album released by the Beatles. Paul's picture was shot in red and he faces away from everyone else in the album. This was supposed to mean that Paul wasn't a real Beatle thus he was told to face in an opposite direction. During the photo shooting of the album cover, Paul's chin began to fall apart due to the plastic surgery. This is why they put on the fake facial hair on Paul. They asked the other band members to grow their hair so they looked older to keep Paul from standing out. 

Is Paul really dead? 

A long going rumor that Yoko Ono had broke up the Beatles may actually be false. George decided that the Beatles had to break up because once the rumors were made public about Paul being dead. MI5 were going to kill John, George and Ringo because they revealed the secret to the public. Thus why they had Paul go out publically and reveal that he was in fact alive. During the time of fear, Paul fled to a small farm. John fled to the U.S. and married Yoko Ono in hopes that he would be saved from being killed. George Harrison made huge public appearances and wrote popular albums and songs in hopes that the MI5 wouldn't try to kill him.

"All we are saying is give peace a chance" 

John Lennon started to act insane along with Yoko Ono. He had hoped that if he appeared crazy, the MI5 would have no reason to kill him. Thus why John took interest in Yoko's screaming and calling it a new form of 'expression' in music. The FBI tried to deport John Lennon from the U.S. because the MI5 wanted him in London so John would be more vulnerably to being killed 

Paul McCartney had taken a liking to Linda who was a photographer for the band. George felt that this was too risky because she would find out that Paul really wasn't the real Paul. Paul who was falling for Linda ignored George's warning and continued his relationship with Linda. After a while, Linda slowly discovered that Paul wasn't really Paul and threatened to expose his secret unless he married her and helped her become famous like him. This is why Paul created the band Wings. 

John Lennon had threatened to expose the truth about how Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash and was replaced by a look-alike. George Harrison tried to warn John that if he did this he would be killed by MI5 who were looking for them. However, John didn't take in the warning and was later killed eight days later after talking to George Harrison. 

The biggest question still remains, is Paul McCartney really dead? Well this is certainly a fun theory to poke and and also very interesting to pull apart the lyrics and album covers art to find secret meanings. There is no definite answer whether or not Paul is really dead. We won't really know if Paul is really dead or not because these are merely conspiracy theories that were created by fans who really loved the band. Even to this day the theory is still alive and still going on strong, as many people think the real Paul is buried somewhere near Liverpool in a private unmarked grave. Did the Beatles really reveal that Paul was dead in their songs? Did the Beatles really split because of their fear of being killed by MI5? 

Questions that can't be answered because there are no definite answers. It's a very elaborate theory and will remain a mystery until more evidence is revealed or someone comes forward and speaks out. 

(Used) Devon test drives a Mini

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Likes: Fantastic handling, distinct styling, more fun to drive than most small cars, peppy range of engines.

Dislikes: Options send price sky high, boot space is limited, some controls are confusing to operate.

Performance: There's three engines available with the Cooper. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120hp, and two turbocharged 1.6-liter engines with 181hp and 208hp. The pick of the bunch is the 1.6-liter 120hp engine. Its not the most powerful of the bunch, but it offers a good blend of value and fuel economy.

Ride & Handling: Whichever version you go for, the Mini is tons of fun to drive. It's great on twisty roads and thanks to the go-kart handling and well weighted steering. Around town the Mini is easy to drive, there's a firm ride but its never choppy or uncomfortable.

Refinement: There's a bit of wind noise at highway speeds. The Mini also lets in a bit too much road noise than desired, but its never intrusive. The petrol engines are smooth and well refined, even when worked hard. The gearshift is slick, but the reverse gear is too easily selected when shifting to first.

Behind the wheel: Driver's will get comfy with a wide range of adjustments for both the steering wheel and seat. The dash is a bit too busy, with the large central speedo and awkwardly placed stereo and heater controls. The retro toggle switches put style above ease of use.

Space & Practicality: There's plenty of headroom and legroom for those in the front. Rear passengers have so-so head and legroom. The door opening is low and narrow, this makes getting in and out of the Mini a chore. The boot is small, but the seats fold 50/50 for more space.

Equipment: The Cooper comes well equipped for the money. Air-conditioning, push button start, electric windows, mirrors and central locking are all standard. The Cooper S adds sporty bodywork and sports seats. However, the options list is extensive but you may want to watch what you select. A few too many options will sent the price sky high.

Buying & Owning: It's not cheap, and don't even think about discounts! However, the Mini holds on to your investments well. No other car in its class holds its value as well. Your fuel bills will be decent, and a warranty to cover oil changes and other maintenance is offered standard.

Quality & Reliability: The Mini has a premium image, with many parts and trim looking the part. The Mini has scored well in customer satisfaction surveys done by JD Power. Reliability should prove dependable.

Safety & Security: The Mini has a five-star safety rating on all models. Every trim has side curtian airbags and ISOFIX child seat mountings, and importantly ESP is standard across the range. The Mini has most security parts that make BMWs hard to steal.

It's retro, with a splash of sport and performance. You get a road hugging small car that holds its value well. It's no wonder the Mini is the best selling small car in the U.S. Stay clear of the options list, and you'll have a great valued small car well worth the money.

Numero CINCO!


Not often can one come up with a definite answer to a question that can never be fully answered. Well let's back up, the question is - - "What's your top 5 favorite songs?". Yeah, I know that means you'll have to put your thinking caps on for this one! It's really hard trying to go through a steadily growing list of artist and pick your top favorites. You can have several or even hundreds of different artist that you like. But to pick that one to be called a top. That's truly a task beyond tasks. Unless you're just one of those who listen to one artist and like only one song. Then you would be missing the point, and there would be no real reason for you to continue reading. That makes you the weakest link, goodbye! But for those who actually care and are interested in knowing what I picked as my "Top 5". Keep reading and soon you shall discover the truth.

5) Arcade Fire, "Cold Wind" (2005)
Although there is no definite answer to what the true meaning to the song is. There's a sense of mystery hidden behind the lead singer's cracked-vocals. Not featured on any of their studio albums. "Cold Wind" is one of the best songs by Arcade Fire. It's a good Indie song that stands out from the bunch.

4) Nirvana, "All Apologies" (1993)
One of the best songs by Nirvana. Not because it was played on "Six Feet Under". But the songs is still great. Interesting lyrics and a hardcore edgy style music structure. The song was dedicated to Kurt Cobain's wife and daughter. To summarize the song, "peaceful, happy and comfort".

3) Radiohead, "Creep" (1994)
The song starts off rather mellow with depressing lyrics. As the chorus approaches. Jonny Greenwood plays three dead notes on his guitar as the chorus roars in. In retrospect however, just from those "dead notes" being played. That 'human error' really made the song. The whole song itself is very nicely arranged. Although it was considered to depressing to be mainstream. It's still one of the best by Radiohead

2) Flyleaf, "Tiny Heart" (2009)
Flyleaf is known for hardcore edgy rock songs. But going from hardcore loud to mellow alternative sounding isn't easy. But "Tiny Heart" does this with a good sound. The lyrics are very straight forward. With great vocals and nicely done song structure. When you can make a mellow song sound just as good as your hardcore ones. Then you're on the right track.

1) The Beatles, "She Said, She Said" (1966)
This song has an interesting origin. John Lennon and Peter Fonda were on an Acid Trip. When Peter Fonda told John Lennon he knew what it was like to be dead. After this statement. John was freaked out and decided to write a song based on that statement. That's how the song came to life. With backing vocals from George Harrison, this has to be one of the best examples of Acid Rock at its best.

Devon M

Devon test drives a Small Chevy (Used)

2012 Chevrolet Sonic 1LT hatchback -- 10-19-2011 front 2.jpg

The Chevy Sonic has finally replaced the long and forgotten Chevy Aveo. This time around the Sonic is stylish and comes in the familiar sedan and hatchback body styles. Trying to catch up to its Korean rivals Hyundai and Kia. Has Chevy found a new reason to buy American? Let's find out.

Performance: Engine offerings are similar to that of the Chevy Cruze. You can choose from a 1.8-liter producing 138hp and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing the same 138hp. Pick of the two is the turbocharged four-cylinder. It has more torque at low revs which makes it more entertaining to drive on the highway. Plus fuel economy between the two are relatively similar so it really only boils down to if you desire a turbo or not.

On the road: The ride feels jittery over rough surfaces but the suspension does a good enough job ironing out potholes and some road imperfections. The small size helps make the Sonic easy to maneuver around town. Steering feel is light but is rather heavy at low speeds. Take the Sonic on open road and the steering looses that sharpness and there's way too much body lean than we'd like. The non-turbo engine often feels short of pull when you are on the move. This is why we suggest going for the turbo which has the extra torque to make it feel less short winded. Wind and road noise are reasonably ironed out.

Behind the wheel: It's easy to get comfortable behind the driver's seat. Steering wheel adjust for reach and height and the dash board has a simple layout with a motorcycle-inspired design.  Visibility is good all round thanks to large windows and good seating adjustments. Rear seat space is best left for two as three would be a tight squeeze. Boot space is good too although you'll have to lift heavy items over a boot lip.

Equipment: LS trim offers keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity and stability control. You'll have to step up to the LT trim to get cruise control, power windows and alloy wheels. LTZ trim adds rear view parking camera, fog lights and perforated leatherette seats. Top of the range RS trim adds a 7 inch infotainment screen, premium sound system and unique RS body-kit and interior treatment.

Buying & owning: The Sonic is priced aggressively towards the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. Running costs should be reasonable with both engines. Resale value won't be impressive but we think that it should hold its value averagely compared with most of its rivals.

Quality & safety: The Sonic isn't the classiest compared to its rivals but you do get a good amount of car for your money. The interior quality is good although some plastics feel rather cheap. It's a leap forward however and we applaud Chevy for finally get up with the times. Reliability record should be decent too.

When it comes to safety the Sonic comes with ten airbags standard as well as stability control and anti-lock brakes. Both standard across the range. An alarm system and theft deterrent comes standard to keep theft at bay.

The Chevy Sonic is a compelling option when you look at the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. However there are a few short comings that make it feel a tad behind its keen rivals. First the two engine choices are 'okay' there's nothing special about them. The turbo has the most zip and feels more peppy than the 1.8 which we think is the better engine option to go for. Handling and steering aren't as good as a Ford Fiesta and the overall packaging is good but feels a tad overpriced when you climb up the line-up. The RS trim is only for looks but is priced to compete with the Ford Fiesta ST and Fiat 500 Abarth which both have more powerful engines. If you can overlook these few negatives we'd say the Sonic is a huge leap in the right direction. Only if Chevy ironed out the few bits and added more power. The Sonic would be even more of an compelling option. Disappointing.

Likes: Finally a compelling small car option from Chevy. Turbo engine has real zip and is affordable. Interior quality has improved too.

Dislikes: RS trim needs more power. Handling and steering fall short on open roads. Sedan looks dumpy compared to hatchback.

Devon's Pick: The LT trim is the pick of the range. You get all the kit you'll ever really need with the Sonic. Plus the price seems very reasonable too. If you spec up the base trim the way you'd desire you'll be close to this trim which we feel is worth spending the extra cash for. Paying the extra for the turbo is also worth it too because the 1.8 feels short on pull.