Dumb All Over

Stop me if you've heard this one, or have I already shared this? Well, just in case, one of rock's most outspoken and many would say geniuses of rock and roll history (freak, weirdo, oddball others would say) is Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993). One of my room mates in college introduced me to Frank with his classic "Discreet" album. Later in his career he made a wonderful album entitled "You are what you is" on it is the ripping tune "Dumb All Over" which features Steve Vai for all of you rock guitar god aficionados. One of my favorite lyrics is from the end of the song:

"Hey, lets get serious...
God knows what he's doing
He wrote this book here
An the book says:
He made us all to be just like him,
If we're dumb...
Then God is dumb...
(and maybe even a little ugly on the side)"
As if we don't see proof of this everyday, anyone heard of the Darwin Awards? But the example I'm about to give, for me, goes beyond stupidity. The following is a ranking of automobile companies by true gas mileage (*):

Automaker MPG
American Honda Motor Company 24.4
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. 24.3
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group 24.1
Nissan North America 23.2
Volkswagen Group of America 22.2
American Suzuki Motor Corp. 21.8
Industry Average 21.7
Daimler AG 21.5
Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru) 21.3
Mitsubishi Motors North America 20.7
BMW Group 20.6
Ford Motor Co. 20.5
General Motors 19.9
Chrysler LLC 19.0
Porsche Cars North America 18.3
Tata Motors 15.4

* Due to low sales volumes and non-affiliation with any of the above brands, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Isuzu, Lotus and Maserati were excluded.

So check it out. Only Porsche and Tata (isn't that slang for breasts?) Motors have lower average gas mileage than the three major automakers from the United States. Why is this dumb, you ask? Hello, anybody been to the pump lately? Well yes, that is it, but did you know that this isn't the first time that the U.S. automakers have been caught with their pants down and their heads up .... in the clouds.

Some of our younger readers might not remember this, but when I was in high school, there was another oil crisis. Back in 1979 there was an oil crisis in the United States caused by the Iranian Revolution. This was when the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled his country and allowed the Ayatollah Khomeini to gain control. Over the next 12 months the price of crude oil rose to $39.50.

I remember going to school in the heart of winter with the heat turned down forcing everyone to wear coats in classes and walking down partially lit hallways. Of course gasoline prices soared and the Japaneses imports were cleaning up because they had pioneered more fuel efficient front wheeled cars. This debacle almost bankrupted the American car industry.

So I say it is more than dumb, that almost 30 years later nearly the exact same scenario is happening. Only the hubris of American car makers, the greed of the oil companies, and the arrogance of the American car buyer is to blame. A terrible trio of deadly sins which threatens one of the legs of the fragile American economy. And, as we should all remember, as the American economy goes, so goes the Puerto Rican economy.

Just in case you're curious, here is Frank playing "Dumb All Over" live: