More things to read, more on the car

Best story I read today, Robert Johnson spent a night in a homeless shelter. Johnson is a journalism grad student at NYU. He tried to get into a shelter in New York, but was turned away. Wondering what they had to hide he found his way into an Atlantic City facility.

The pictures alone are worth seeing.

Seven PR tips from the Komen experience. We’ve been talking a lot about this and the more I listen and learn the more it seems to me that the public relations problem has been the biggest error in the ordeal.

Also, Poynter ran a piece on how the reporter got the scoop on Komen reversing course. It seems that the Dallas Morning News called a PR practitioner at Komen and that person sent him a press release. Riveting stuff, there.

The defense lawyer that can say anything with a straight face:

Defense lawyer Mike Shores said his client had taken great pains that night to shield the children from the fact he had just killed their mother. That showed Johnson has redeeming qualities deserving of a sentence just above the 20-year minimum in this case, Shores argued.

The judge didn’t buy it and sentenced the defendant to life in prison.

An analogy: It’s like winning a Good Ideas for Space Exploration Contest over Newt Gingrich. (Careful. That’s a sports column.) Speaking of sports, this is perhaps the best Onion story of the week.

So. The car. You might remember the recent fun. Took it late today to a shop as the first mechanic recommended. Remember, I’d already been there once, so that’s two people I’ve seen about this.

I bought aftermarket parts because the factory stuff is an incredibly expensive, cost-prohibitive and officially sanctioned rip off.

Dropped off the car, returned home. We’d made it inside and done precisely one chore — cleaning up the snowmen since spring is temporarily here — when the phone rang. Seems the part I’d purchased was wrong, despite it being right. (The site had a search function which verified the model!)

Jerry, the man at the body shop was great, though. He took me back, explained it all. We discussed it again. He’d appraised it on the first visit, but apparently something about saying exactly the same thing clicked differently today. All of this, the aftermarket stuff, the expensive parts, the third visit to see a mechanic, remember, is for a headlight. Nissan deserves my thanks. And you deserve this tip: When you shop for cars, investigate the headlights.

So Jhe decides, over the course of a detailed conversation about chemistry, electronics, standing water and the importance of being earnest, that we should just plug in one of the new headlights and see what happens. I agree. Jerry goes back to speak with the actual guy who’s doing the work — this process has involved dropping the bumper, which he’s done, reattached and now must remove again, poor guy — and has the bulb installed.

A bit later he comes back and says “This just isn’t your day.” Seems the new bulb doesn’t work either. So it is either the new bulb, which is pristine, or the headlight ballast module.

Jerry can’t tell for certain, though. He suggests I go back to see Rick, who sent me to him. Rick, Jerry says, can test the ballast module in much the same way you might take a voltmeter to test something around the house. I called Rick, because it was past closing time. He happened to be in the office and so I explained all of this to him. We set up an appointment for next week.

Making the fourth different attempt to try and resolve the issue. A headlight.

(To be fair, they could have fixed it that first day if I was willing to pay almost $900 for it. Even the guys working in the service centers agree this is obscene and have been very decent about trying to find some cheaper resolution.)


  1. Kenny, thanks so much for the h/t.

  2. Shonali,

    My pleasure. Thanks for the good read!