Jumping the shark is an idiom used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. It is synonymous with the phrase, “the beginning of the end.”
As an example of the idiomatic usage of the phrase “jump the shark” in a broader context, Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive journalist Dan Neil used the expression to describe the Mini Countryman, a much larger and less nimble evolution of the previously small and aptly named cars marketed by Mini. The Countryman, in Neil’s opinion, absurdly forsakes the ethos, the essential quality, the inner logic that made the brand successful in the first place: excellent handling in a nimble size. In a March 2011 review titled “What Part of ‘Mini’ Did You Not Grasp, BMW?”, Neil wrote “with the Countryman, tiny sharks have been jumped.
Such a promising trailer…
And so it is with Top Gear; my son and I sat, stony faced, as the turgid, hackneyed, cliche ridden Christmas Special ground its way through India at a snail’s pace. Last year I wrote in this blog that the programme had lost its way and after this year’s effort I can only hope that this trio of has-beens never return. Lets have a proper motoring series and leave appalling comedy to Harry Enfield.
This innocent looking 1994 Mazda Miata is not quite what it seems. Under the bonnet lies a Chevrolet Corvette 5.7 litre V8, producing 350 hp through a 6 speed manual transmission. My little boy would like one of those for Christmas!
To read more about the Corvette, click on the logo.
My last tour of duty in the RAF was at the early warning radar station at Fylingdales, on the North Yorkshire Moors. As part of my job I visited the North American Air Defence Command headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force base in Colorado.
In those days it was the primary Underground command centre for monitoring the skies and space for hostile incoming weapons and it was built with the knowledge that it would be a primary target for a nuclear attack; as a result it is perhaps the most fortified large underground installation in the world. Even so, the military acknowledges that it could not withstand a direct hit from one of its own nuclear missiles.
The installation consists of 15 steel buildings, laid out in a 4.5 acre grid inside the mountain, and accessed through a tunnel and 30-ton blast doors. The buildings are suspended on 1,300 47″ steel springs to absorb the shock of a nuclear detonation. 30 days of supplies and six million gallons of water are stored inside the installation.
Take a tour of this remarkable structure and find out what happens there today:
For more fascinating information, click on the badge:
Last night I sat through yet another dreadful episode of the X Factor, mercifully there is only one more show to go before we discover which no-hoper wins and they slide off into obscurity for ever. The programme was so dreadful, with just three songs hidden in 58 minutes of sobbing and pleading for recognition, that I tried to think of one performance by an artist that would really demonstrate what star quality is all about; with its incredible production values and sheer fun, this video is it.