Tag Archives: cars

Tony Hawk Took a Selfie with This Guy After His Car Burst into Flames

Gone are the days of admiring rats for trying to eat an entire slice of pizza, of smiling down at them from a subway platform as they scurry along the tracks, of taking them home as pets and feeding them bok choy. These are times of war, and for one Brooklyn man, the rats struck first.

Last Friday, Alec Steinfeld was driving to work from Brooklyn to Manhattan when he caught a whiff of roadkill, local station WGN reports. He kept on driving, knowing that encountering a dead animal in New York wasn't too out of the ordinary. But once he got to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the smell had developed into an olfactory cocktail of burned plastic and death, and smoke started to billow out of his vehicle.

"Then smoke started to pillar," Steinfeld wrote on Facebook. "I pulled over and got out of the car."

Then his Volkswagen just burst into flames, and the fire department dispatched a truck to come put it out, though within three minutes, his engine was toast. When he popped the hood, he found two dead baby rats inside—his first clue as to what the hell he'd been smelling during his drive. He took a closer look and discovered that they'd nibbled through his electrical wiring, likely suffering a brutal end. Soon, two more rats emerged from the wheel of his car, where presumably they had been camping out, munching on his car's insides.

As if rats blowing up your car in the middle of Manhattan isn't weird enough, Steinfeld's day took an even stranger turn, and out of the smoke plumes, a golden ray of light emerged. As his car was spiraling into a fiery doom, he noticed Tony Hawk, the pro skater, was standing nearby filming the whole hellish scene before him.

Screengrab via WGN's broadcast report

"So I am watching my car get mauled by a rat fire, seeing Tony Hawk capture this across the street," Steinberg told WGN.

Though the Birdman didn't really do anything to help Steinberg out, he did join him for a selfie, which isn't nothing.

Photo from Alec Steinberg's Instagram

Just another Friday in Gotham, baby.

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.

It’s Messed Up These People Are Kissing a Car for 50 Hours, Right?

There's something grotesque about the Facebook Live stream of 96.7 KISS FM's Kiss a Kia Contest, where an initial batch of 20 contestants started their stationary voyage of humiliation at 8 AM local time on Monday.

First, it's entirely silent. Second, it's in the middle of a car dealership in Round Rock, Texas, so people are just strolling around gawking at the contestants. Mostly, though, the grossest thing is that the contestants have spent the past 29 hours (they are given a ten-minute break every hour) with their lips locked on the room-temperature metal of a sedan—some sitting, some standing, and some kneeling as if penitent—in a desperate battle of wills with one another just to drive away in a new, free car. The whole thing is almost too easy to turn into a metaphor for the contemporary human condition: humiliated, voiceless, competing for the largesse of corporations, and broadcast on social media for the world to see. 

By 6:30 AM Tuesday, the group was whittled down to 11. By that afternoon, any sense of whimsy had been completely eliminated from the event. On the surface, it's a wacky radio contest, the sort of thing dreamed up by grown-up frat boys nostalgic for hazing regimen. But tune in for ten seconds, and you realize it's performance art—a piece about patience and cruelty. When you watch, are you complicit in the degradation of the contestants? Do you think about what you would do to earn a new car and how easily you could become one of them? Do you wonder if locking lips with a Kia for two days straight is actually a lot better than your job?

When I tuned in on Tuesday afternoon, one contestant had his headphone buds in and was listening to something on his phone, which probably made it more bearable. Some of them looked around or tapped their fingers on the car. They can't talk, of course, but you can imagine how tired they are, how their little aches and sores have been becoming less and less possible to ignore. You figure that at this point none of them will remove their lips unless forced. Getting a car after kissing it for 40 hours is humiliating but defensible. Kissing a car for 30 hours and then not getting anything is so awful I don't really want to contemplate it.

But most of these remaining contestants will walk away with nothing. As a local news station reported, the contest will end after 50 hours, at which point the winner will be picked at random. Now that's something I really don't want to see.

Follow Harry Cheadle on Twitter