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Is Harley-Davidson a green business? Not so much

June 30, 2009 - 6:02 pm

I get a lot of crap from out-of-town PR companies. And by “crap” I mean the crap that’s sitting on the top shelf of my office bookcase. I call it My Big Shelf o’ PR Crap. On it, for example, is a stuffed “Poppy” doll, which is some sort of mascot of the popcorn industry that, I guess, is supposed to be, like, a boxer or a superhero. All I know is that his head is shaped like popped corn, and he’s wearing blue shorts and red sneakers. Whatever. And then there’s the Bernie Mac bobble-head figurine that was, presumably, intended to compel me to publish a story about the movie Mr. 3000. I didn’t publish such a story. Anyway, you get the idea.

All this stuff comes in relatively large packages, which are sent to thousands of newspaper editors like me across the country, wasting untold amounts of energy and trees and spewing all manner of gasses into the atmosphere and blah blah blah. But at least it contributes to My Big Shelf o’ PR Crap.

When a box came from Harley-Davidson this week, I thought for sure there would be a new addition to My Big Shelf o’ PR Crap—maybe a miniature Hog. That would’ve been sweet—something to play with while procrastinating on some important deadline.

But, no.

Inside this plastic-wrapped box that was an inch and a half deep were three sheets of paper singing the praises of the new Harley-Davidson Iron 883 motorcycle. Three sheets of paper!

Makes me think New York Myke is running the whole company these days.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 1, 2009 - 7:52 am 7:52 am

    New York Mike is a really good dude, and hes got an xr 1200 in the showroom. Thats a rocketship, for sure. XR is Harleys racing designation. I like Sportsters, they have a clean look, and they go. I mean lets face it, Harleys today are like houses in Mexico- theres no two alike.

    I guess I’ve been stressing over the GM bankruptcy thing. That and coming down off of tweak has got me in my cups. But hey, you cant drive into the future looking in the rearview….mirror. Yeah.

    With the old General Motors in an abbreviated bankruptcy proceeding, a fair amount of consternation among the car buying public is to be expected. I’m a GM man, largely because my family always made good money and was well treated working for GM. Our philosophy is that when all the other carmakers have gone out of business, GM will still be building cars.

    Case in point- the 2010 Chevrolet Exuinox gets 32 mpg highway. Thats not a typo, thats an SUV that gets 30mpg plus. Have at it, Soccer Moms- its big enough to get you the respect you want driving on the freeway.

    In the 2009 model year, Chevrolet offers more 30mpg or more cars than either Toyota or Honda. And Chevys are solid, well built family automobiles. The Impala isn’t as fast as a Porsche, or as sturdy as a Mercedes, but its as classy as a Rolls Royce. Its engineered to a price point you can afford, and for American roads, which are the best in the world.

    The compact Chevy Aveo is moving units, and its a buy car, pure and simple. If you can’t get laid in an Aveo, then you might as well become a priest.

    General Motors China sales were up 17% in first quarter 2009 over the previous quarter and registered a slight year over year increase as well.

    Right now the Hummer deal is in the works, and it will close if and when the Chinese realize the Hummer is the worlds finest four wheel drive vehicle, with a chassis that makes a Land Rover look like a Tonka Toy. I wouldn’t go over a speed bump in a Land Rover. I wouldn’t want to rattle what teeth I’ve got left going over crosswalk paint in a Land Rover. If I were working the Hummer deal, I’d tell the Chinese

    “Hey, if you’re so fucking rich, then why are you trying to grind me to powder? Get a comfort condo from a realtor that wants to get stroked.

    Do you want the vehicle or do you not want the fucking vehicle? You want to kick front tires Kato? Then get back on your fucking bicycle, (which we do not want in trade BTW), and head straight on over to the Land Rover dealership. Theres tea and crumpets in the showroom. Don’t forget to look both ways before crossing the street.

    “Figure it out. The terrain and road conditions in outlaying areas of your country call for a vehicle such as this. If you’ve got an issue then heres a tissue to daub the perspiration thats forming on your brow like dew in the morning. Car buying is an emotional experience. Sign these papers or you’re going to have more issues than Action Comics.

  2. July 1, 2009 - 7:53 am 7:53 am

    New York Mike is a really good dude, and hes got an xr 1200 in the showroom. Thats a rocketship, for sure. XR is Harleys racing designation. I like Sportsters, they have a clean look, and they go. I mean lets face it, Harleys today are like houses in Mexico- theres no two alike.

    I guess I’ve been stressing over the GM bankruptcy thing. That and coming down off of tweak has got me in my cups. But hey, you cant drive into the future looking in the rearview….mirror. Yeah.

    With the old General Motors in an abbreviated bankruptcy proceeding, a fair amount of consternation among the car buying public is to be expected. I’m a GM man, largely because my family always made good money and was well treated working for GM. Our philosophy is that when all the other carmakers have gone out of business, GM will still be building cars.

    Case in point- the 2010 Chevrolet Exuinox gets 32 mpg highway. Thats not a typo, thats an SUV that gets 30mpg plus. Have at it, Soccer Moms- its big enough to get you the respect you want driving on the freeway.

    In the 2009 model year, Chevrolet offers more 30mpg or more cars than either Toyota or Honda. And Chevys are solid, well built family automobiles. The Impala isn’t as fast as a Porsche, or as sturdy as a Mercedes, but its as classy as a Rolls Royce. Its engineered to a price point you can afford, and for American roads, which are the best in the world.

    The compact Chevy Aveo is moving units, and its a buy car, pure and simple. If you can’t get laid in an Aveo, then you might as well become a priest.

    General Motors China sales were up 17% in first quarter 2009 over the previous quarter and registered a slight year over year increase as well.

    Right now the Hummer deal is in the works, and it will close if and when the Chinese realize the Hummer is the worlds finest four wheel drive vehicle, with a chassis that makes a Land Rover look like a Tonka Toy. I wouldn’t go over a speed bump in a Land Rover. I wouldn’t want to rattle what teeth I’ve got left going over crosswalk paint in a Land Rover. If I were working the Hummer deal, I’d tell the Chinese

    “Hey, if you’re so fucking rich, then why are you trying to grind me to powder? Get a comfort condo from a realtor that wants to get stroked.

    Do you want the vehicle or do you not want the fucking vehicle? You want to kick front tires Kato? Then get back on your fucking bicycle, (which we do not want in trade BTW), and head straight on over to the Land Rover dealership. Theres tea and crumpets in the showroom. Don’t forget to look both ways before crossing the street.

    “Figure it out. The terrain and road conditions in outlaying areas of your country call for a vehicle such as this. If you’ve got an issue then heres a tissue to daub the perspiration thats forming on your brow like dew in the morning. Car buying is an emotional experience. Sign these papers or you’re going to have more issues than Action Comics.

  3. July 2, 2009 - 8:44 am 8:44 am

    Tim Versace, a GM salesman, sipped his coffee while looking at the newspaper. In the background, you could hear the detail crew spraying down cars, and the slap of chamois. The headline was grim:

    ‘Bankruptcy Court Judge liable to piss backwards.’

    He almost spilled his coffee on that note. Opportunity was knocking. Time to look for a condo downtown, and catch a realtor unawares. The old school Chevy salesman wanted to kick it new school in the Gaslamp quarter, and he had the sympathy card to play.

    (NB ‘Woman’, in this world, you play the hand you’re dealt.
    I never lied to you.)

    “Cancel my afternoon tee time” said Tim, into his phone.

    Click. Time to buy a comfort condo. Tim Versace paid retail at 7-11, and then only grudgingly.

    Something caught his eye- a stretch Benz had pulled up to the curb out in front of the dealership. Tim Versace went out to have a look at what the Krauts were slathering on their frankfurters. Before he could get out there to do a walkaround, the back door opened, and a furious Asian man sprang out, screaming at the top of his lungs.

    “KATO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KATO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A buff limousine driver in a black cap and black sunglasses emerged from the front door bashfully,

    Why the fuck you dont open the door for me!?! the pissed off fat cat demanded.

    “I told you before, you dont open the door for me I will kill you!!!!!!!!!”

    The limo driver stole a furious glance at Tim Versace, who had innocuously posted up behind an Equinox to see what was going on. The detail crew stopped working for a second, then started going through the motions. The limo driver look downed sheepishly. The irate man strode to the back of the limo, balled up his fists, and looked around. He whirled around on Kato.

    “Get in the fucking car!”

    “Get in the fucking car I tell you!!

    Kato didnt want to, but just then Don Wall rode by on his BMW police special and slowed marginally to observe a pedestrian with agitated body language, obviously upset at….his driver. When Kato saw the cop, he jumped back in the car with remarkable speed and agility for such a big man.

    “What the fuck you looking at!?!

    screamed the well attired man toward Don Wall as he was riding by, who then slapped a bitch* (*made a u-turn) and hoped to heck he had remembered to stow his traffic whistle for the shift.

    “DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!” bellowed the apparently
    disturbed subject , displaying some credential or other to the high heavens.

  4. diegonomics permalink
    July 3, 2009 - 8:30 am 8:30 am

    Now, Tim Versace was one of the world’s great rubberneckers, and thought he’d seen everything. Don Wall was posted up across the street, redirecting traffic. Asian drivers were bad enough; this was a pedestrian. The mystery man from the orient with a thick accent was leaned over the drivers window of the stretch Benz.

    “I want to talk to you, Kato. I’m not mad….”

    No response.

    BAM – The man hit the window with remarkable force.

    “I ORDER YOU, KATO. I ORDER YOU TO OPEN THE WINDOW!!!!!”

    The window slid down electronically a slight fraction. The man put the back of his hand to his mouth for a moment, composed himself, leaned into the crack in the window and began hissing in Chinese. He finished, rose up and looked around to see who was catching all of this, and the trunk of the limo popped open.

    The well attired gentleman went to the back of the limo opened the trunk, withdrew a briefcase, went to close the trunk, then did a whiplash double take looking back into the trunk.

    “Kato!!!!!!!!!!”

    “Kato, where are my golf clubs!!!!????!!!!”

    He strode back to the front, and screamed toward the drivers window.

    “I told you before, do not touch my golf clubs, they are too sexy for you!! Did you sell my golf clubs!!!??? I call the fucking cops if you ever try to sell my golf clubs, you understand??!!

    “You wait for me here, Kato. Do not go anywhere.”

    The mystery man from the Orient passed his index finger under his nose lightly and turned to walk on the lot with his attache in hand, got a few steps, and stopped in his tracks.
    He turned around and went back to the drivers door.

    “Give me the keys, Kato. Hand them to me now.”

  5. diegonomics permalink
    July 3, 2009 - 12:07 pm 12:07 pm

    Inside the limo, Kato was listening to some Led Zep while he fiddled with a police scanner. With any luck at all, and he believed in luck, he could annoy the mystery man enough to call out the police SWAT team. And as for that American car salesman? His days were numbered. Bruce Lee himself could not save the man. Katos philosophy was ‘I cant save you- save yourself.’

    Kato got his nickname the old fashioned way, he earned it. He was a Chinese paratrooper on a bullshit assignment, and everyone was a comedian. Case in point- the American cop who was dipping in on Kato’s first rate police scanner telling him to remain seated. Although it had to be admitted that no matter how loud the mystery man (an intel Dilbert) screamed, you couldn’t hear a thing. The bulletproof glass on the stretch Benz was too thick.

    Sometimes Kato did not know what the world was coming to.

    ‘Got it’ he thought. He had distinctly heard the letters KGB. No wait, it was a radio station. Kato’s English wasn’t that good, and Don Wall didn’t have anything better to do than try to communicate with the Asian driver who, miraculously, was able to parallel park a stretch Limo. The thing was this- keep the peace, don’t have to write a report. Across the street, Tim Versace was waving him down.

    “What do you want, Timmy?” said Don Wall.

    Versace gestured toward the mystery man, who was standing there expectantly with briefcase in hand.

    “Officer Wall, would you kindly give this man directions to the nearest Ford dealership?”

  6. diegonomics permalink
    July 4, 2009 - 12:10 pm 12:10 pm

    “You know Timmy, I don’t hear you when you talk stupid.” said Don Wall flatly.

    “You’re a police officer, you’re supposed to give directions.”
    insisted Tim Versace.

    “You want directions? Appear non chalant. That good enough directions for you, salesman?”

    Now Tim Versace was starting to get mad. Alright, first of all, Don Wall was calling him Timmy. Don Wall- a fucking hippie – a fucking DEMOCRAT for Christ sake, was calling him Timmy.

    Tim Versace enjoyed ‘South Park’ and when he made a strong deal, or a good gross, he’d saunter by the other salesmen on the line and say ‘Timmy. Timmy.’

    But just to show those assholes who’s boss. Not to offend anybody. Tim Versace was a straight up champion among men. His secret, which some others were too lazy to get hip to, was product knowledge. People don’t walk onto a Chevy lot just because someone told them too. Versace knew a how to greet a customer, land them on a ride they liked, take them out on a demo, get them in the box, close the deal

    And stick the fucking DMV temporary drivers license on the windshield. Alright, people? Alright?

    But anyway, Tim Versace was experiencing a problem with Don Wall, so he adjusted his manhood, hitched up his very fine Italian belt, and said

    “Let me tell you something, Don. The word on the Mile is that the Chief of Police himself makes you piss test.”

    Don Wall thought that one over. Presence of mind. Concentration. Some people have it. Some people don’t.

    ” You want a piss test, Timmy? I’ll write your fucking name in the snow….Timmy.”

    Obviously, Don Wall had it.

    Meanwhile, Kato was moving the rearview mirror from inside the stretch Benz, hoping on the off chance he could get a picture of Tim Versace as a souvenir, before he did what a mans got to do.

  7. diegonomics permalink
    July 5, 2009 - 4:41 pm 4:41 pm

    Kato stepped out of the vehicle.

    Tim Versace shot Don Wall an ‘I’ll deal with you later’ glance, and went to greet Kato.

    Kato was wearing black drivers’ gloves. He smoothed his hand over the hood of the stretch Benz, then flexed his hand into a fist. Tim Versace could hear the leather pop and flex.

    “You like dis ka?” asked Kato.

    Tim Versace took a step backward, unbuttoned his suit jacket, stuck both hands in his pockets, stuck a right foot out a little bit, leaned back, took a look at the ride, nodded his head and shoulders relaxedly, and said

    “You seen the new Bentley?”

    “No. How good?”

    “I’m thinking about naming my kid Bentley.” replied Tim Versace,

    NONCHALANTLY.

    “Really? Wow.” said Kato, extremely quietly and venomously.

  8. diegonomics permalink
    July 6, 2009 - 7:57 am 7:57 am

    Tim Versace withdrew an envelope from his inside breast pocket. It was from the General Manager.

    “Hey, Kato, the general manager’s got a spiff for you.”

    “Spiff?” asked Kato.

    “A spiff is a small reward for doing a good job. Its an incentive.” said Tim Versace, offhandedly, opening the envelope, very curious.

    Kato looked over toward the mystery man, who plopped his briefcase down on the ground. He was going to try to take the spiff, realized Kato.

    “What is it?” asked Kato, moving subtly closer to Tim.

    “Well, lets see. Theres a note: ‘On behalf of General Motors, in consideration of meeting sales quotas in GM China, we wish to present you with a small token of our appreciation.'”

    Tim Versaces hands were a whirl as he ripped open the rest of the envelope.

    “An all expenses paid trip to Disneyland for you and your family. Airfare, hotel, all accomodations….holy shit, Kato- you’re going to Disneyland!”

    Evidently, Kato rocked.

    “KATO!!!!!!!!!!!!! KATO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me the prize, Kato!”
    screamed the mystery man, as he lunged toward Kato and attempted to snatch the Disneyland tickets from Kato’s hand.

    In a veritable blur of amazing speed, Kato stuck the tickets in his hat band, removed his drivers gloves, smacked the mystery man on the hands with the gloves, stuck the folded gloves in his belt, and just stood there as if nothing. Tim Versace blinked his eyes. He could not believe what he just saw.

    “Oh, Kato! I will bite your ass, Kato! Give me the prize. NOW!” said the mystery man, and snapped his fingers.

    No response.

    The mystery man went and picked up his briefcase, and approached Kato.

    “I warn you, Kato. I warn you, do you hear me?”

    Tim Versace thought he was bluffing. Kato was just standing there. Don Wall strode across the street for just in case. The detail crew was agog.

    Suddenly, the mystery man whirled around and went low, sticking out his briefcase as he did, going to smash it into Kato’s knee. Kato lifted his leg up, but otherwise did not move, and BAM, the briefcase smashed into the side of the limo.

    There was a beat of complete silence, then the mystery man realized the damage to the stretch Benz, dropped to his knees in front of the dent, covering his face with his hands and moaning in complete anguish:

    “Oh, Kato! What have you done?! This cannot be true.”

  9. diegonomics permalink
    July 6, 2009 - 11:00 am 11:00 am

    A dedication for Rebecca:

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