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by Dom posted Aug 20 2015 5:54AM
This morning at 7:30 you'll have two chances to win FREE GASOLINE FOR A YEAR*.

The first person with the correct answer for the on-air Mindbender takes home a $50 gift card from King Soopers, and also qualifies to win free gasoline for a year!

But check this out: Immediately afterward, we'll post a BONUS Mindbender (a different question) on both Facebook and Twitter. And the first person to answer THAT Mindbender correctly will win their own King Soopers gift card, and also qualify for the free gas.

Two chances each weekday, through Friday, August 28th, 2015. It's all brought to you by King Soopers, where Healthy Lunches meet Affordable!

(* Free gasoline up to a maximum of $1200 for the year)
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by Dom posted Aug 10 2015 6:15AM
I was raised on road trips. I vividly remember spending hours in the back seat of the car, reading, coloring, fighting with my sister. But also watching the scenery rush past, taking in the sights of small towns, and wondering about the people who lived in them.

So when I recently had a few days off, I took another road trip through small towns, this time on my own. My thoughts turned sad for what I saw, but with a touch of hopefulness about the future.

You can read about it here, a piece that I call A Two-Lane Life.
by Dom posted Aug 7 2015 11:04AM
If You're Upset With Something We Said On Our Show…

The first thing we'd like to tell you is: It was not our intention to upset you.

We broadcast our show each morning to hundreds of thousands of people. If our goal was to anger/upset/offend people every day, our audience would soon be zero. So that's clearly not our mission.

Having said that, there is no way in the world that we can talk about anything – and I do mean anything – without upsetting at least one person. If we laugh about someone falling off their bicycle in a particular YouTube video, we'll get an angry email from someone who says that their uncle died in a bicycling accident, and how can we be so cruel and heartless.

If we laugh about once accidentally choking on gum, and how it shot out of our mouths as soon as our mom did the Heimlich maneuver . . . yes, we get a Facebook message from someone whose niece died from choking, and how can we be so cruel and heartless.

If we joke about being afraid of needles, and joke about how we'd rather die than get a tetanus shot, here come the emails: "My husband died from tetanus. How can you be so cruel and heartless?"

(Each of these is a REAL example; just come read our email someday.)

My point is, we can't know EVERYONE'S story, nor how each and every news item or chat topic runs the risk of ripping a scab off for at least one person.

We don't know you. When we laughed about burning our mouth on hot tea, we didn't know that your aunt once got first degree burns and had to spend a month in the hospital. I swear, we didn't know that happened to your aunt. We were sincerely just trying to have some fun.

You may not care (and people who are pissed off are generally not in the mood to listen to ANY explanation), but my own personal test on something like this is: What was the person's INTENT? Did they intentionally single me out and try to anger me? Or did they innocently say something that just happens to resonate with me this time . . . even though I laughed my butt off when they joked about burning their mouth because I don't know that guy's aunt, either.

What's the intent? Is it to offend? On our show the answer is Probably Not.

We do our best to put on a fun and entertaining show. We don't always hit a home run. But we try our best, and if we wanted to make sure that NOTHING ever offended ANYONE – well, you probably wouldn't be listening to our show. And I wouldn't blame you; it would be the most boring show on the radio, and there are enough of those morning shows in Denver already.

So here is my blanket apology for upsetting you. We always want our listeners to enjoy themselves when they tune in, but sometimes we strike a nerve. It's a live radio show, and things are said. I hope you understand.

If you don't – and if this blanket apology/explanation only made you angrier – then I hope you'll come back and give us another try soon. We're actually pretty nice people who are human.

All the best to you – and your nutty aunt.

Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
Location : Denver
by Dom posted Aug 4 2015 6:34PM
2015 Jeep Cherokee Latitude

The Jeep brand has long been a popular choice in Colorado for obvious reasons: we pride ourselves on being "rugged" and outdoorsy. Which sometimes strikes me as funny, since the majority of off-road-ready vehicles don't work up much of a sweat going to Costco or dinner out.

That's okay - we'll keep owning the image, at least.

I've whined in the past about mega-sized SUVs, and there's no sense stopping now. The behemoths that muscle their way down city roads and elbow their way into already-cramped parking spaces are almost obscene. I've mourned (okay, maybe that's an overstatement, but you get the point) when smaller-to-midsize sport utility vehicles seemed to gulp steroids and, over the course of a few years, expanded. And expanded some more.

The Latitude has a comfortable feel to it, in part because it's not overcompensating, if you get my drift. Some call it a "small SUV," but I'd label it mid-size. Others claim it's not an SUV at all, but rather a crossover. Whatever. Let's put it this way: it fit easily into my garage, and parking was never an issue.

Having said that, not all is rosy in the Jeep universe. Within months of launching the new 2015 Cherokees, a few issues popped up that had the honchos at Jeep quickly scrambling
to address. More than a few consumers were unhappy with transmission issues.

I had no problems with the tranny during my week behind the wheel, but I did have to chuckle at the idea of its 9-speed automatic. NINE? Why not 39, while you're at it?

The Cherokee comes in four trim levels, and you'll find notable differences in standard equipment among them. Nice features in the Latitude include a rearview camera (which most of us are really getting spoiled with), a front passenger seat that folds (and has a nifty storage space beneath, too), and a V6 engine. You'll also score an upgraded audio package.

Speaking of packages, there are options galore. My test vehicle sported the "Customer Preferred Package" - I put that in quotation marks because it just makes me chuckle - which seems to add a bunch of gloss this and gloss that. It also came with the Safety Tec package and its rear-park assist and blind spot blinker.

There was more, though. A comfort/convenience group adds a power lift gate, remote start system, and a bunch of other creature comforts. The UConnec
t system seems to get a mixture of hot and cold reviews from buyers.

I like the storage inside the cockpit, with little nooks and crannies scattered about; there's even a somewhat-odd bin built into the middle of the dash, which I wondered about at first . . . and then, naturally, used.

Not a ton of storage in the way-back, which Jeep's competitors will be quick to point out. But remember, this is a midsize-crossover-something-or-other; many of us will trade the titanic storage space in the rear for the blessing of not frightening pe
ople in a parking lot.

My personal jury is still out on the start/stop function on many new cars - also called auto-idle by some - whereby the car shuts off at an intersection, waiting patiently for you to release the brake and allow it to throttle back to life. I'd like to see some reliable stats on actual gas savings after a few years on the market. Right now my initial feeling is that it's not worth the hype, but it could just be a matter of getting used to it. EPA estimates (since I brought it up) roll in at about 23 combined.

Lastly, the exterior is pretty cool, I gotta say. Jeep's haven't always been lovely critters, but the new Latitude has some pretty lines.

The base price of this model is a smidge over $27k, and with options my Granite Crystal-colored version approached $34k. So perhaps a test-drive is in your future. Take it for a spin to the outlet stores! (winky face)

Reviewed by Dom
Vehicle provided by manufacturer

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Location : Colorado
by Dom posted Jul 6 2015 4:58PM
2015 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

People read car reviews for lots of reasons. Some people need a big minivan or SUV to haul their kids and gear around; some want the best off-roading choice; others are shopping for a fuel-efficient machine to save them a few bucks.

This review will appeal to the person who values one thing in particular, and I’ll sum it up in one honest sentence: In the fifteen years that I’ve been writing car reviews, no car - not one - has elicited as many comments from strangers as the ’15 Jag F-Type Convertible.

Intersections. Grocery store parking lots. The gas station. My neighborhood. In the week that I drove this car, at least twenty people stopped me to talk about it. So, if the most important criteria for your next car purchase is head-turning, well, your search is over.

Personally, I need a little more than just eye-popping looks, but Jaguar has taken care of most of that. (And I have to admit that every time I parked the damned thing, I’d look back at it as I walked away. It’s like the prettiest girl in town, right?)

You can take your pick from a variety of F-Types, from coupe to convertible (get the convertible), from V6 to V8, from base model to S trim to R. I drove the top-of-the-line R (twist my arm), which putters along (ha ha!) on a mere 550 horsepower. Sheesh, even just STARTING the car makes you wanna put on a racing helmet. The engineers had some fun with that - the car will (on its own, no foot on the gas) rev thru the redline at the start, a rocketing, majestic growl that people hear from blocks away.

(I’m serious about that; I usually leave my house at about 4:30 in the morning to get to the radio station, and I found that I had to start the car with my garage door closed in order to not frighten my sleeping neighbors.)

As far as the exterior . . . wait, never mind. Just look at the photos. C’mon.

Inside, Jaguar has steeped the F-Type in luxury, with handsomely-stitched seats that conform to your butt perfectly, and just the right amount of sparkle and glimmer. The instrument panel is well-adjusted (unlike many of us drivers), and the touch-screen console is sufficiently-user-friendly.

My favorite thing about the cockpit - and something that got comments from more than one guest - was the grab-handle (or whatever you call it) on the passenger side. Dude, with 550 horses - and a zero-to-60 time under 4 seconds - your passenger will want something to grasp.

Like the earlier-reviewed BMW 2-series convertible, the Jaguar sports a soft-top for the convertible. And, just as I felt on the BMW, it’s the right call. The fabric version saves on weight, and doesn’t take up as much room in the trunk as the retractable hardtops out there.

And that’s good - trunk space is already at a premium here. Hell, you aren’t driving this to the airport anyway; with the speed of this car you’d probably be able to drive instead of fly. But the point is, you’re not carrying luggage in this car. (And there’s no back seat at all, not even a tease like you get with some other sports cars.) In fact, there’s no real storage space anywhere. And this time I didn’t care.

The wind deflector does an admirable job, allowing normal conversation, even over the husky tones of the engine.

Mileage . . . okay, for the R and its V8 monster, turned out to be around 18 overall (combo city and highway), but that’s actually better tha
n I expected. When I first drove it out of the ‘hood I figured I might get 14. So that’s a plus.

And while I almost always list the sticker price, I’m not going to this time. Let’s put it this way: the MSRP is exactly twice what I paid for my first home when I was in my 20s, and that had three bedrooms, two baths, and a two-car garage. Just sayin’.

Safe to say that the Jaguar F-Type R Convertible is for someone who has arrived. Ironic, since this is such a fun way to get there.

Reviewed by Dom Testa
Car provided by manufacturer
by Dom posted Jul 4 2015 10:39AM
I had an experience this holiday weekend that was at first frustrating, then aggravating, and finally enlightening and VERY fulfilling. And it all involved a barbecue grill and memories of my dad. Wanna dive in? This will take you right there. Enjoy, and happy 4th to you and your family!
by Dom posted Jun 25 2015 6:00AM

The timing couldn't be better! On the heels of the mega-successful new Jurassic movie, this Saturday (June 27th) Dom will be hosting a fun day of dinosaurs (and books) at the Barnes & Noble on Colorado Blvd in Glendale.

It's an all-new Get Your Nerd On Day, starring world-famous paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, the host of PBS Kids' Dinosaur Train. He'll be signing his books and talking dinosaurs. Plus, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science will be there with their Sculpt-a-saurus project. Kids in grades 2 and up can create their own dinosaurs! Although it's free, you DO have to reserve your spot by calling 303-691-2998.

And, oh yeah, Dom will be there signing his Mindbender books and Galahad books. You can get all of the information right here, so click away!

by Dom posted Jun 6 2015 10:47AM
2015 Mercedes GLA250 4Matic

Reviewed by Dom
Car provided by manufacturer

I pulled around the corner, saw the review car parked in front of my house, and said, “Oh, check it out, Mercedes made a hatchback. And it’s BROWN.” But don’t let the German automaker hear you say that; to them it’s a “cocoa-brown compact crossover.” Um, okay. Crossover it is. (But it’s still brown.)

After I got past the idea of a brown hatchback, the truth is I spent a few days behind the wheel of a well-made, comfortable luxury car. Granted, it’s storage space isn’t what some of the competitors can trumpet, but there’s certainly a place for this car in the segment.

Specifically, it’s a possible choice for anyone who lives in the city and prefers cars that can fit into small parking spaces, or for someone in the ‘burbs who has to fit a couple of cars into a small garage. The GLA is several inches shorter (both length and height) from it’s sibling, the Mercedes GLK.

Let’s accept that it’s a crossover vehicle, which means you get used to the flowing lines pretty quickly. The car seems to have a wide footprint, which translates into very good handling. No complaints there. The ride itself wasn’t the best Mercedes experience I’ve had, but still sits nicely in the upper half.

It might take you a little time to get used to the gear selector, which juts out of the steering column. It’s not an intuitive way of shifting, but once you get the hang of it you’ll appreciate the space-saving that it allows.

And once you start your drive you’ll also need to acclimate to the anti-idle, which several manufacturers are currently in love with. It will shut your car down at a red light, then fire back up when you let off the brake. In the Jaguar I recently drove it was a lightning-fast response; in the GLK it took a second or so longer to come back to life. End of the world? No. But the car did seem to hesitate off the green light.

Grab the base 250 or the 250 4Matic and you’ll get 208 horsepower; the souped-up AMG model jumps up to 355 horses. I drove the 4Matic and never felt like it was underpowered. Other than that split-second pause coming off the anti-idle, the car has good acceleration.

The interior is blessed with the usual Mercedes soft touches and classy appeal. The center console is slightly confusing, even more so with the Nav package that adds a popped-up screen which somehow (can’t put my finger on it) looks a little out of place. The controls themselves for things like sound and climate took a bit of time to figure out. The optional rear-view camera had a glitch, operating only about 20 percent of the time. I’ll chalk that up to the specific test model I drove, because I’ve never had the problem with a Mercedes before.

You can choose either front-wheel or all-wheel drive with the GLA. Mileage rolls in at an average (city/highway) of 27mpg, and your MSRP for the 4Matic begins at around $33k. My test car added a few things like Bi-Xenon headlights, 19-inch wheels, as well as the Premium Package (upgraded sound/heated seats/etc.) and the Multimedia Package for a total sticker of about $42k.

The GLA has serious competition from the likes of Infiniti, BMW, and Audi, but if you’re in the market to scale down (at least size-wise), the Mercedes entry is worth a look.

You don’t have to get brown.
by Dom posted May 9 2015 9:57AM
2015 Toyota Camry XSE
Reviewed by Dom
Car provided by manufacturer

For 16 of the past 17 years - an incredible run, no matter how you measure it - the Toyota Camry has been the bestselling car in America. (Trucks are a different story; we’re talking sedans here.) There are some who claim that Toyota’s run at the top is nearing the end, which might explain why the car giant did yet another redesign of their top dog. The goal is obviously to recapture some of the attention grabbed by Ford and Mazda.

Camry has a new look on the outside to go along with an updated interior. Sleek lines replace an exterior look that never collected second glances from anyone. The grill is larger, giving it a somewhat-more-aggressive face, and overall its curb appeal has improved.

Slip behind the wheel and you’ll find that Toyota invested a bit more in materials and design. With some of the trim levels (there are four to choose from, not counting the hybrid model) you’ll have access to a simulated leather that looks and feels better. The quality of the seats and center console pieces have moved up a notch, too.
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Location : Colorado
by Dom posted May 3 2015 3:31PM
2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport
Car provided by manufacturer
Reviewed by Dom

People love their crossovers. The entire segment has grown in popularity over the last few years, and Lexus has cashed in with the RX350. So why would they need another crossover?

Dunno. To my eye the RX seems like more of a traditional SUV, which opens up a spot for the NX.(Sheesh, car makers, enough with the alphabet soup! How about going back to NAMES for these things? But that’s another article.)

Lexus throws you a curve by powering the NX with a 2.0 liter/4-cylinder engine, one that puts out 235 horsepower; it’s plenty for scooting around town. And as with all Lexus vehicles, the ride is remarkably quiet. Well, unless you turn up the ASC (Active Sound Control), which pumps up the engine noise inside the cockpit to let you enjoy the growl. Kinda silly in some respects, but I suppose there are fans.

From the outside the NX looks quite pleasing, with nice lines and a graceful style. You’ll never exactly make crossover vehicles look too far removed from their station wagon relationship (don’t shudder), but at least they look more eco-friendly than their SUV sibs.
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