Category Archives: Lifestyle

What’s the new Mustang’s big secret?

The 2015 Ford Mustang is the most technologically advanced example of the model in its half-century history.

Along with an optional 305 hp turbocharged and direct fuel injected four-cylinder engine, and the first independent rear suspension on a standard production ‘Stang, the new car offers a laundry list of electronic goodies.

There’s blind-spot monitoring; reverse cross-traffic alert; adaptive radar cruise control; a collision warning system; four selectable drive modes; a MyFord Touch infotainment interface; Track Apps, which has among other things a built-in quarter-mile clock complete with a drag strip-style Christmas Tree countdown timer and launch control on V8 models to go with it. Even the roof on the convertible version opens twice as fast as the one on the current car can.

But that’s not all.

At the New York unveiling of the car, Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Pericak said that his baby has a few more things up its sleeve than what was revealed at the event.

“A lot of new features and technology and I even have some that I’m not ready to tell you about, but we don’t forget how to play to the kid inside of us,” he told FoxNews.com. “We’ve got another feature coming that will be an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] first.”

But what could it possibly be?

Self-parking is old news these days, as is built-in WiFi.

Ford already offers configurable ambient lighting in pretty much all of its cars, including the Mustang, so it won’t be that.

Automated perfuming? Nope, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has that for some reason, and the Mustang is a muscle car, after all.

The 2012-2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 came with a special key that remapped the engine tuning to optimize it for track use, but that’s obviously been done before, by Pericak’s team!

Personally, I’m voting for a pre-installed nitrous oxide system, but am also guessing that the Feds might have an issue with that.

High Gear Media editorial director Marty Padgett suggests a smoky-burnout feature for the launch control for drivers who can’t execute a proper brake stand on their own. This would be awesome, for sure, and is well within the realm of possibility.

In any event, it may be quite a while before we find out. The 2015 Mustang doesn’t go on sale until next Fall.

Have any ideas while we wait? Let us know in the comments section.

 

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Shocking facts about Food Network and its stars

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In his new book, From Scratch: Inside the Food Network, writer Allen Salkin takes a deep dive into the world of Food Network, from before it was a kernel of an idea all the way up to the latest Paula Deen scandal. For anyone who has an interest in the network, or television in general, it’s a fascinating read. The book is full of information that you probably didn’t know about the network.

The story begins with a man named Joe Langhan, who was head of programming for Colony Cablevision, and had the idea to broadcast food-related programming 24-7 on one of their channels. From the start-up business plan, which relied heavily on subscribers buying an electronic coupon machine called Couponix, to the early team, which included CNN co-founder Reese Schonfeld, being told that they were out of their minds for wanting to broadcast cooking shows all day long, the early chapters are a textbook example of a great idea coming along at exactly the right time and beating the odds.

The founders of Food Network refined their vision as they went along, and managed to convince enough people to invest to make their vision come to life.

“My fondest memory from the early days was realizing that what we had been working on, we were actually going to do it,” Langhan told us. “We were able to take it from idea to implementation.”

“CNN was architecture, and Food Network was carpentry,” Schonfeld added. “It’s fun to be a carpenter, but it’s never finished.”

The early schedule was full of traditional “stand-and-stir” cooking shows hosted by folks like David Rosengarten (Taste), Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (Too Hot Tamales), and a little-known chef named Emeril Lagasse (How to Boil Water and later Essence of Emeril), as well as a program hosted by Robin Leach (Talking Food), and a talk show hosted by Rosengarten and New York first lady Donna Hanover called In Food Today. But as Schonfeld put it, the work was never done.

If Food Network has been consistent in one field it’s been its ability to constantly take chances and reinvent itself, from airing a wacky Japanese cooking competition show called Iron Chef to giving a cook without high-end restaurant experience named Rachael Ray her very own show to deciding who will be its next star via a reality competition show.

But for everything that’s public knowledge, there’s a wealth of fascinating information that you most likely didn’t know about the network and its stars that’s revealed in the book.

Rachael Ray’s first impression of New York was horrific

Rachael Ray moved from upstate New York to the city at age 23, and her first job there was running a candy counter at Macy’s while living in Queens. Her next job was at Upper East Side gourmet shop Agata & Valentina. She worked there from 4:45 a.m. until after midnight, running on little to no sleep. One night she was robbed in her building’s vestibule at gunpoint, but got away after spraying her attacker with pepper spray. A few days later her foot fell asleep at work, and when she got up she stepped on it wrong and broke her ankle. Then, 10 days later, the attacker came back, “dragged Rachael off her crutches into a dark spot and began beating her with the gun.” She moved back home after being released from the hospital, but after nailing a morning show segment with Al Roker she was invited back down to make a pilot for the network, and the rest is history.

They accidentally broadcast porn

Jan. 30, 1997 is a date that will live in Food Network infamy. Why? In the early morning hours, during an airing of Too Hot Tamales, someone sabotaged the tape, and it cut to hardcore, explicit porn, with narration by Milliken no less, for a full minute.  Broadcasting porn is a federal offense, so FBI agents showed up at the network the next day and grilled everyone involved with the production. Nobody fessed up, and the network was never punished.

Martha Stewart doesn’t come across as particularly friendly

 

Several people in the book aren’t depicted in the best light, but Martha Stewart comes across as nothing short of an ice queen. During the final meeting after negotiating a deal to broadcast cooking segments from her daytime shows, netting her company several million dollars, she “stood facing the opposite direction, alternately looking out a window and poking at her mobile phone,” according to the book. “When it came time to sign, she strode to the table, signed the papers, and strode out of the room without… a handshake or even a glance.” Later, after Stewart produced a pilot for Ina Garten, she ordered the tapes destroyed because Garten’s Fiestaware looked too much like the dinnerware Stewart used on her show, and she was “unhappy that another woman was going to be the star of a show produced by her company.” Yikes!

Giada had to train herself to smile

Giada de Laurentiis was told by her producer to “smile whenever she spoke on camera, no matter what was happening around her,” which was easier said than done. Her first 12-hour shoot “made her cheek muscles ripple with pain,” but we’re pretty sure she’s accustomed to it by now.

The first set was a dump

The first set had no oven (and when they finally got one it was so low-quality that the glass would constantly shatter), the smells of the food cooking would permeate the network’s entire office, the sinks had no drainage so stagehands would have to be constantly emptying out slop buckets, and when Mario Batali would remove food from the fictional “oven,” he had to “simulate the sound of an oven door slamming by stamping his foot on the floor.”

Great Odin’s Raven! Company releases a Ron Burgundy scotch

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First there was Ron Burgundy Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch ice cream, which was pretty great.  But we have to admit that we’re more than a little excited about this latest promotional tie in.

Riviera Imports has announced a new a new Ron Burgundy-branded Scotch called “Great Odin’s Raven Special Reserve” made in honor of Ron Burgundy’s character and the upcoming release of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.”

Bottled in Scotland, the 40 percent ABV Scotch blend is made with whiskies from Speyside, Highlands, and Islay, and will sell for about $25 a bottle, according to Riviera.

“Not just for Anchorman fans,” the scotch is perfect for a night of jazz flute or just pouring in your Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch ice cream.

Nissan Leaf driver charged with stealing five cents worth of electricity

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An electric car owner in Georgia is all charged up after spending the night in jail.

One Saturday in November, Kaveh Kamooneh drove his Nissan Leaf to the Chamblee Middle School near Atlanta to pick up his son from tennis practice, plugging the car in to of the school’s electrical outlets in order to charge its battery while he left it parked, WXIA reports.

When he returned to the vehicle about 20 minutes later, a police officer was waiting by it and told Kamooneh that he was going to charge him with theft of the electricity, but let him leave the scene.

Kamooneh estimates that he used about five cents worth of power while the car was plugged-in.

Eleven days later two police officers showed up at Kamooneh’s home to arrest him for “theft by taking without consent.” He then spent over 15 hours in the DeKalb County jail while being processed.

Chamblee police Sergeant Ernesto Ford told WXIA that he decided to pursue the arrest warrant after investigators determined that Kamooneh didn’t get permission from the school to use the outlet.

“A theft is a theft,” Ford said.

Kamooneh plans to fight the charges, arguing that “not all takings are theft.” He compares his case to drinking water from a school spigot, or plugging a cell phone into an outlet without permission, and says that no records exist of anyone being charged with theft for either activity in the jurisdiction.

In the meantime, electric car owners take note: Ford says he’d “absolutely” file charges again under the same circumstances.

2015 Ford Mustang officially unveiled

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America’s first pony car — the Ford Mustang — is celebrating its 50th birthday with a swoon-worthy new design and plans to go global.

Ford Motor Co. was to reveal the 2015 Mustang Thursday morning at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn. It goes on sale next fall in North America and will arrive later in Europe and Asia.

The Mustang isn’t anywhere near Ford’s best-seller — Ford sells more pickups in a week than it does Mustangs in a month. But Ford says the Mustang has the highest name recognition and highest favorable opinion of any car in its lineup. And car companies count on beautiful sports cars to cast a glow over the rest of their offerings.

“It’s an emotional connection to the rest of the brand,” said Jacques Brent, group marketing manager for large cars and SUVs.

As for sales, Ford will be happy if Mustang can become the top selling pony car in the U.S. The Chevrolet Camaro, which followed the Mustang to market in 1966 and was last redesigned in 2009, has outsold the Mustang for the last three years and is on track to do it again this year, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The Mustang’s first full redesign since 2005 presented Ford with a tough task: Update and freshen an icon without alienating its passionate fans. More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since 1964, and the car has hundreds of fan clubs, including one solely for owners of yellow Mustangs. Farrah Fawcett drove a white one in “Charlie’s Angels;” Steve McQueen raced a dark green one through the streets of San Francisco in 1968’s “Bullitt.”

The result is a new car with plenty of cues from the old. The long hood and sloping fastback are still there, as is the trapezoid-shaped grille with the Mustang logo from the original. But the new car sits lower and wider, and the roof tapers dramatically in the front and back. The signature rounded headlights are smaller and sit back under a fierce, chiseled brow, while the traditional three-bar taillights are now three-dimensional and tucked beneath the rear deck lid.

The Michigan-made car is currently sold overseas, but this is the first time it has been engineered to meet various international safety and emissions standards. A right-hand-drive version is being offered for the first time, for the United Kingdom and Australia, and Ford will market the car more heavily overseas.

Chief engineer Dave Pericak said that while the design meets international needs, it wasn’t influenced by them.

“We did not design a global Mustang. We designed a Mustang and took it global,” Pericak said.

Even with Ford’s push, overseas sales will likely be modest, said Stephanie Brinley, an auto analyst with the consulting company IHS. IHS forecasts European Mustang sales will triple from current levels to around 2,500 in 2015, while sales in China will likely remain low because two-door coupes aren’t popular there.

Coupes, in fact, make up less than 1 percent of sales annually across the globe, Brinley said. But they’re still an important car for automakers to have.

“It’s an aspirational body style. It signals a sporty drive and a sexier product,” she said.

Drivers will have three engines to choose from: updated versions of the current 3.7-liter V6, which gets a projected 300 horsepower, and 5.0-liter V8, with 420 horsepower, as well as a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that gets a projected 305 horsepower. Ford will also offer updated six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Final numbers for horsepower and fuel economy will be released later.

The car sits on the Mustang’s first independent rear suspension, which should improve handling because it lets the wheels operate independently.

Inside, new options include blind-spot detection and toggle switches that adjust the steering, stability control and other settings depending on the road conditions. The interior also has nicer materials, with brushed aluminum replacing painted plastics.

Ford isn’t saying how much the new Mustang will cost, but the current one starts around $23,000. A convertible version will also be offered.