There was one more bit of news of interest at my niece's birthday party, but it came from my brother-in-law's quarter. He and his wife did arrive, finally, and in a brand-new car, a Ford Something. It's their big minivan-style model, whichever it is. The buying of this felt precipitous to me, but I say that about most any purchase actually completed the same month planning for it began. I mostly knew about it because my brother-in-law tweeted about it. A lot. However much you're thinking he tweeted, he tweeted more, making points of emphasizing how he had found in Ford's inventory exactly the car he wanted yet dealerships insisted they couldn't get it, so he ultimately went to a dealer on Staten Island to get the car now as opposed to, like, a week from now, which wouldn't seem like an excessive wait to me. I admit there may have been reasons I did not know for the rush. In any case Ford and Hardees Corporate Twitter Headquarters took the chance to congratulate him.
But he's quite proud of it, and took the time to give me a tour of its many features while my sister sat on the brink of nodding off in the back seat. The dashboard features are the big showy thing with satellite navigation and voice-activated radio systems and weather forecasts and traffic reports and all that. And little details of the design seem nicely considered, such as a small divot in the center-seat armrest where cables can be run from an iPod-class device to the power and USB ports buried within in a smooth and logically compelling fashion.
The feature he really wanted to show off, but couldn't because it was only 5 pm, was the lighting scheme. Apparently Ford installed multi-colored LED matrices in pretty much every nook and cranny of the car, and set an easily switchable control on the dashboard. So at night when you have the door open you can, with the flicking of a finger, make the door lights change from blue to dark blue or purple, or even to non-blue-ish colors like green. It does seem fun in a kind of Automan way, but he was much more enthusiastic about it than multi-colored lights seem like they should be. Do not take this as indicating that I'm not jealous.
Trivia: From 1925 onwards Model T Fords were again available in colors other than black, specifically: dark Arabian sand with light Arabian stripe; gunmetal blue with French grey stripe; Niagara blue with French grey stripe; dawn grey with French grey stripe; or, again, black. Source: Ford: The Men And The Machine, Robert Lacey.
Currently Reading: Life With Lancelot / Hunting On Kunderer, John T Phillifent / William Barton. It's an Ace Double and don't ask me how you're supposed to order the titles. Lancelot is itself the fusion of three stories, in which a Space Agent killed in a starship crash is rejuvenated by nigh-omnipotent aliens who, since it's easier this way, put him in a pretty much indestructible body and send along a representative who'll whip up or just morph into anything he needs for the problem; now, will he be able to outthink the poor natives of Space Camelot, Space Rome, and Space Arabian Knights with nothing but the author's thumb on the scale in his favor?