Car Review: 2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport

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The new 2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport is one of many Accord variants produced by Honda, and with a 6-speed manual transmission, it sure is one of the more intriguing. We were fortunate enough to test a sweet, modern steel sport model and came away with some new impressions of the Accord.

EXTERIOR

Crisply styled and aerodynamically efficient, the 2013 Accord Sedan body design is the most sophisticated in Accord history. The 2013 Accord unit-body uses 55.8-percent high-tensile steel, more than in any previous Accord. In addition, 17.2-percent of the steel is now grade 780, 980 and 1,500 – extremely high grades that have never before been used in any Accord. This contributes to higher body rigidity and reduced weight, which directly benefits ride and handling, interior quietness, performance and efficiency and long-term durability.

With its contoured body sides, the Sedan’s exterior design is sleek, bold, decisive and athletic. Extensive use of under-covers improve aerodynamics for increased fuel efficiency, while other advances include available LED headlights, DRLs and brake lights, mirror-mounted turn signals, and the standard Expanded View Driver’s Mirror that increases the driver’s field of vision by 4.2 degrees. Our test model also sported 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, power door mirrors, dual exhaust, rear decklid spoiler and auto on/off headlights.

INTERIOR

As with past Accords, the 2013 Honda Accord 4DR Sport offers a cabin that is clean and stylish. There really is something about the Accord interior that elevates this car over her rivals, and it’s been that way for years. A completely new interior provides a level of luxury and craftsmanship never before seen in the Accord. Available in Black, Gray and Ivory cloth or leather, the interior combines welcoming comfort with an impressive range of available technologies. Standard features include redesigned seating, dual-zone automatic climate control and simplified controls and instrumentation.

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Restoring a Classic On a Budget

Restoring a classic car such as a 1970 Datsun 240z or a 1966 Pontiac GTO is a pipe dream for many men. I guess I should not limit it to men, for some women having a muscle car is right up their alley. If you are so lucky to have an old junk car cross your path, restoring it could be a great way to save money while having the classic car that catches the attention of everyone who passes it.

Unless you are an experienced mechanic, a project like this can tie up finances that you may not have. For this reason, those who have this dream often never achieve it. Tackling such a project can be overwhelming to someone with minimal knowledge. This does not mean it is impossible.

A GUIDE TO RESTORING A CLASSIC ON A BUDGET

You first need to find your car if you haven’t already. It is a good idea to look for one that has been partially restored, especially if you lack experience. This will cut down on your cost as well as your labor. Talk to other car enthusiasts, as they may have a lead on a good deal or have the connections to get you on your way. Also be sure to check the web, as you can find a lot of great deals through online resources.
Once you have found your car you need to know what parts you’ll need. You’ll need a number of parts, but you should be able salvage some of the parts already on your car. Know what your budget is and break it down according to your needs.

Look into salvage centers in your area to see if they have a vehicle that includes parts that may be interchangeable. Again, utilize the internet. There are websites dedicated to similar projects and there may be people selling the exact parts you need.

The best way to restore your car on a dime is to do the work yourself. This will require a number of tools, the owner’s manual and experience. If you are lacking in experience it is important to seek out the advice of professionals. For the parts that you are unable to locate, using resources such as The Local Book (yellow pages) will help you find auto repair to fit your needs.

I recently ran into some car trouble that could have been fixed by myself with an appropriate amount of time. However, time is something that I didn’t have. Using The Local Book, I was able to find an Middletown auto repair shop that got me up and running without breaking the bank or causing unnecessary headaches during the process.

Body work is a big part of restoration, as the final outcome is more about how the car looks than how it drives. Most car enthusiasts rarely take these vehicles out and when they do it is all about the show. This doesn’t mean that you want to focus solely on the body; it just means that is equally as important as the internal workings of the car.

Do as much of this work as you can, but don’t try to paint yourself. Put money aside for this job. Prime it yourself to save money, but leave the paint job to a professional.

Remember, that this is a project that should not be rushed. Take your time to find the best sources to save you money on parts, repair and painting. Do as much of the work as possible, and visit forums to get advice when you are stuck.

  

The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Robert Picardo (“China Beach”)

Some know Robert Picardo for the time he spent playing the Emergency Medical Hologram on “Star Trek: Voyager,” while others remember him more fondly for his work as Coach Cutlip on “The Wonder Years,” but at the moment, the TV show on his resume that more people are talking about than any other is “China Beach,” which is – after way, way too long a wait – finally on DVD. Picardo took a few minutes to chat with Bullz-Eye about the release of “China Beach: The Complete Series,” his reminiscences of working on the series, and if viewers are wrong to see a touch of his Dr. Dick Richard turning up in the aforementioned EMH.

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Bullz-Eye: From what I understand, it sounds like we’re both on the same page as far as being unable to refresh our memories on “China Beach”: they tell me my copy of the complete-series set is due to arrive tomorrow.

Robert Picardo: Oh, good for you! But I did already get mine. [Laughs.] They got it to me yesterday, and I devoted some time to it. I watched a couple of the bonus features. There are 10 hours of bonus features, and I guess I watched about two hours of them, or thereabouts. And then, even though I had to get up very early this morning to do these interviews, I thought, “Well, I’ll pop in the pilot and just watch the first five minutes to see the quality of the transfer.” And, of course, I watched the entire pilot. I couldn’t turn it off! So that was a good thing. The fact that I was so captivated was a good sign.

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I’m really happy to see that the show, which was a period piece to begin with…I mean, we made it in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but it was set from ’68 to ’71, principally, and then the last season we kind of skipped into the future as late as 1987. But basically it was a period piece to begin with, so in that respect it hasn’t aged. It’s still a great time capsule and doesn’t feel dated, and I’m so proud of the work in it. Dana is extraordinary, Marg Helgenberger is extraordinary, but the whole ensemble is just great. You know, it was a very special time in my career, and I know and I’ve heard Dana and Marg and pretty much all of the actors say the same, so to have it reach a new audience is really very gratifying and exciting.

BE: What do you remember about your first read of the pilot script?

RP: I remember reading it and thinking it was great. And important. It felt like an honor to be part of something like that, which was really about something, I mean, obviously, you’d…I guess you’d say the success of the movie “Platoon” led to the possibility of major television networks doing Vietnam dramas. And, of course, “Tour of Duty,” our sister show… [Laughs.] Well, that was really more about “Platoon” and about the soldiers fighting. What was unique and special about “China Beach” was that the point-of-view character was a woman, an Army nurse who served there. So it gave the show a special perspective. It wasn’t about combat, it was about saving lives. It was about supporting and helping soldiers. The war was like an offstage character.

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We were the support group there—the nurses, the doctors, the USO people—to sort of support and patch the guys up and either send them back or, if they were too injured, send them home. And more often than not, if they were dead, you’d offer the last gesture of respect to them. That’s what Michael Boatman’s character did, the guy who ran the grave registration. What a terrific role, and an extraordinary performance for a 24-year-old guy. I mean, to have so much…what’s the word? He created such a character who had seen everything, and he was totally believable as a guy who…that was his life, just all of that death and loss. And what that had turned him into was sort of a 24-year-old old man. Anyway, it’s just great writing. William Broyles, who served in Vietnam and who co-created the series, said that he feels it’s the best war drama that’s ever been on television. And, well, yeah, you could say that he’s a little partial, since he co-created it. [Laughs.] But you know what? I agree with him.

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Did You Know… with Mike Furci

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

… a new study found an association between L-carnitine, an amino acid found at high levels in red meat and heart disease risk. Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, tested the carnitine and TMAO levels of omnivores, vegans and vegetarians, and examined the clinical data of 2,595 patients undergoing elective cardiac evaluations. They also examined the cardiac effects of a carnitine-enhanced diet in normal mice compared to mice with suppressed levels of gut microbes, and discovered that TMAO alters cholesterol metabolism at multiple levels, explaining how it enhances atherosclerosis.

The researchers found that increased carnitine levels in patients predicted increased risks for cardiovascular disease and major cardiac events like heart attack, stroke and death, but only in subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels. It’s important to emphasize that in scientific terms association doesn’t show cause, and to be careful of the credence given because a study said so.

Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of 20 studies involving more than 1.2 million participants from 10 countries who were followed for up to 18 years, found no definitive association of daily consumption of red meat heart health (Boston.com). Heart disease does have a strong association with consumption of processed carbs and fats like vegetable oils and man-made trans fats (Fats, April 18,2006). It is important to keep in mind that there are many other studies done on L-carnitine that do not show any adverse health effects at a variety of doses. In fact, the National Institutes of Health fact sheet on L-carnitine shows it’s not only safe, but good for the heart and peripheral artery disease.

… that pre-workout stretching is still touted by many trainers and coaches. A study examined the effects of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching and static stretching (SS) on maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). Thirteen participants completed 3 different conditions on 3 nonconsecutive days in a random order: (SS), (PNF) and no stretching (control, CON). The MVC of knee and elbow flexion and the vastus lateralis muscles were measured. Researchers concluded although stretching has a positive effect on range of motion (ROM), it has been shown repeatedly to have a detrimental effect on muscular performance. ((2013). Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(1), 195-201)

Bottom line, stretch after your workouts to avoid reducing the musculotendinous stiffness, because hampers the excitability of the muscles being worked, thus hindering performance.

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Blu Tuesday: Crazy Love, Rock Bands and More

As mentioned in last week’s column, things are finally starting to get back to normal for Blu-ray fans, with several great options arriving in stores today, including an Academy Award winner, a pair of Barbara Streisand films, and the latest from David Chase.

“Silver Linings Playbook”

Leave it to David O. Russell to create a romantic comedy as quirky, dark, funny and surprisingly touching as “Silver Linings Playbook,” because the movie is almost as crazy as its two leads. One minute a fiercely honest character study about a man coping with bipolar disorder, and the next minute a charming rom-com revolving around an amateur dancing competition, the film performs such an amazing tightrope act that it’s really to Russell’s credit that it doesn’t come crashing down like a house of cards. The movie wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable if it weren’t for the risks it takes thematically, but none of that would matter without its incredible cast. Bradley Cooper finally gets the chance to show what he’s fully capable of in the best role of his career, and Robert De Niro has some great moments as Cooper’s superstitious father, but it’s Jennifer Lawrence (already so good at such a young age) who steals the show with a phenomenal performance fully deserving of her recent Oscar win.

Blu-ray Highlight: The making-of featurette, “The Film That Became a Movement,” does a great job of balancing the usual behind the scenes footage with cast and crew interviews promoting mental health awareness, while the Q&A highlights are worth watching for those who want to know more about the film’s production. And though most of the deleted scenes can be easily skipped, the alternate ending is a must-see for any fan of the movie.

“Not Fade Away”

You wouldn’t think that it’d be very hard for someone like David Chase – who helped reinvent the TV drama with “The Sopranos” – to get his feature film debut off the ground, but then again, “Not Fade Away” feels so hastily thrown together that it’s not surprising it took five years to do so. A good idea in need of a better script, Chase’s 1960s’set story about a kid trying to follow in the footsteps of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to make it big as a rock n’ roll star doesn’t feature a single likable character. That makes enjoying its anticlimactic story even more difficult, because it’s hard to care what happens to anyone in the film when they’re as naïve, selfish and just plain boring as the characters here. James Gandolfini’s overbearing father is probably the most interesting (and levelheaded) of the bunch, and yet he’s portrayed almost like a villain. The music is good and the tale of failed stardom is more believable than most rock band movies, but that’s also what makes “Not Fade Away” so forgettable.

Blu-ray Highlight: Divided into three sections, “The Basement Tapes” offers a look at various aspects of the filmmaking process, including training the actors to play their respective instruments (with the help of Steven Van Zandt, no less), the 1960s setting and costumes, and the similarities between the story and David Chase’s teen years.

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