Shock discovery: My Saab plays for the other team; Starbucks’ appalling oatmeal

My car is finally back on the road, after being in the shop twice in the past few months, following not one, but two, rear-end collisions.


Dude, your car is so gay...
"Dude, your car is so gay..."

I took note (see previous post) that when the insurance company temporarily provided me with a Hummer as a replacement vehicle, other motorists kept well away. My poor Saab, on the other hand, seems to be a proven magnet for the driver approaching in my rear-view mirror. Not knowing how to account for that, I drove my colleague Markowitz (pictured at right) a short distance in the car, and described the situation.


He went away and thought about it. Later that same day, he outed my vehicle, breaking it to me without fanfare.

Here’s the e-mail he sent:

  • According to – a US website that bills itself as “sole source of information specifically targeted to and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender car-shoppers”  — the Saab 9-3 is on their Top 10 list of vehicle favorites (Volkswagen rabbit was number one.)

As a non-member of the LGBT demographic, once I’d processed the information (, I quickly came to terms with the fact of my car’s possible inclinations. Didn’t bother me in the slightest. Actually, it gave me hope that perhaps there’s a future for the Saab marque, now that General Motors intends to abandon the line, and gays may be potentially prepared to adopt it. Straights are said to follow the gay lead in trends, so perhaps by the time my lease expires, the car may have retained some small trade-in value.

I mentioned this in an e-mail to Linda Dahl, who replied that her daughter “told me that my Subaru Outback is a ‘lesbian’ car. That must be why I am getting so many flirtatious glances from women in supermarket parking lots.”

Must be.


Not suitable for the UK
Fred: Not suitable for the UK

I momentarily thought of the recent news that the UK has banned Rev. Fred Phelps, the nutbar US Baptist cleric, from entering Britain. Pastor Phelps is the disagreeable lout who makes a pest of himself protesting gays during occasions such as funerals. I had a vision of Minister Phelps, on his way to a protest demonstration, being struck at a Topeka crosswalk by a succession of Volkswagen Golfs, Saab 9-3s, Subaru Outbacks, and whatever else may be on that Top 10 list Markowitz was talking about.


I agree with the decision by the UK’s Labour government to keep this ecclesiastical loon out of the country. Please don’t take that to infer, however, that in the future I won’t be keeping a significant distance between my rear bumper and yours.

* * *


Sofitel Montreal: Petit Dejeuner servi en Chambre (courtesy
Sofitel Montreal: Petit Dejeuner servi en Chambre (courtesy

Just back from Montreal, where I had a productive meeting with an unreconstituted British Columbian, who, exercising a habit he’s maintained since the Roaring 1920s, called for his breakfast oatmeal — alas, in the dining room of the French-owned Hotel Sofitel. He reports that the waiter, possibly recently exiled over from the 5th Arrondissement where he couldn`t get the full hang of being rude, did not endorse his choice, and declined, when asked, to bring over the usual accompaniment of brown sugar.


I sympathized. Marlene eats the stuff every morning. I can take it or leave it. Last time we ate oatmeal together was at a Starbucks location somewhere, where the signage proclaimed it as the best danged oatmeal in the world. It was not, not by a long-shot. The Starbucks barista prepared a paper bowl of convenience-store grade instant oatmeal, and was insufficiently trained to determine the proper amount of hot water to apply. You’ve heard the joke about the newleywed bride who couldn’t boil water to prepare instant this-or-that? That was this hopeless shlemozzle of a barista.



Keep that @#%# Schultz away from me
Keep that @#%# Schultz away from me

We pitched the slop in the dustbin, and I later sent a note off to Howard Schultz of Starbucks, taking the time to explain why his stock price has tanked. In return for my sound business advice (“Please don’t sell obviously inferior products and lie to your customers that they’re great“), I got an automatically generated response urging me to get lost.

I note that Schultz’s competitor, Jamba Juice, is now proclaiming that they offer cooked oatmeal in the morning, unlike the instant swill Starbucks spoons out. Alas, I’m unaware of any Jamba Juice locations in Montreal to recommend to Mr. British Columbia, but that chain could have a brilliant future, whereas Schultz, the vendor of demonstrably inferior fare, seems destined to decline: any instant now.

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