The station wagon is dead — again — and like the many demises it has already suffered in its long fruitful life, this one comes with an asterisk. The reason for the asterisk is that there are still dozens of vehicles on the market that answer to the name “station wagon.” The reason for the declaration of death — and subsequent obituaries — is Volvo’s recent announcement that it will soon stop selling station wagons in the U.S.

 

In 1999, the niche purveyor of sensible transport for NPR-Americans sold 40,000 station wagons and felt its fortunes were on the rise thanks to the quirky, post-ironic aesthetic sensibilities of a new generation of car buyers. “It used to be that when you were married and expecting your first child, it… More…

In a vast ballroom at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, a Jerry Lee Lewis impersonator from the musical Million Dollar Quartet is doing his best to pump up the crowd. It’s 2 p.m. on an unusually warm and sunny Saturday in February, only about half the seats are filled, and truth be told, there is not a whole lot of shakin’ going on — more like a moderate amount of somewhat engaged sitting. But the fact that there’s a crowd here at all, and that it’s not completely unwilling to belt out a chorus when directed by the faux Lewis — or by the other rock ’n’ roll replicants on stage, who include Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins – stands as a genuine accomplishment.

 

That’s because the crowd is made up of car salesmen, and… More…

Shoplifting rates are soaring, at least among the grabby progeny of New York state mayors and former mayors. On the last day of July, Byron W. Brown Jr., the 19-year-old son of Buffalo mayor Byron W. Brown, was nabbed stealing $58 worth of clothing and iPod accessories from a bargain apparel store. Four days later, Caroline Giuliani, the 20-year-old daughter of New York city ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani, got popped trying to lift $100 worth of lip gloss, lipstick, and other cosmetics from a Sephora on the Upper East Side.

Once you start paying attention to the latest shoplifting news, it quickly seems as if America is in the throes of an egalitarian epidemic, afflicting the sleepy, the forgetful, the disorganized, the formerly beautiful, and the insufficiently inconspicuous alike. Amongst… More…