No. 924
November 22, 2017

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Road Kill



Dr. Bud E. Bryan

Austin. The words above paraphrase actor Delroy Lindo (as Bo Catlett) talking to John Travolta (as Chili Palmer) during a confrontation in "Get Shorty."
In the movie "me" replaced "him" but you get the idea. Those words seem oddly appropriate today, because as long as Peter has been on the automotive scene, people don't really know him all that well. Oh, they think they do alright. Y'all believe that he eats lugnuts for breakfast and then spits them out in machine-gun-like fashion to get the day started, right? It's a nice visual, but it wouldn't be accurate. At all.

What is accurate is that he is such a kaleidoscope (one of his favorite words, by the way) of contradictions, incongruities, polarities and well, craziness, that after all these years he still surprises me. Now, I'm not going to go rogue and reveal too much about my friend, but a more complete picture of him probably wouldn't hurt. When I think of Peter, these are the words that come to mind: Passionate. Relentless. Driven. Visionary. And just a little bit crazy. But then, since I'm writing it, the "little bit crazy" part doesn't really count as admittedly, the 'ol Budster seems to have that corral all to his own self.

I have never met anyone who brings it every single day like Peter does, and I've met a lot of high-flying, successful people along the way. I can't imagine doing what he does every week, starting with a blank screen and then providing perspectives and insights that resonate throughout the auto industry. When he says he doesn't "phone it in" he means exactly that, as WordGirl often regales me about the fact that he absolutely despises re-running a column and acquiesces to doing it only when he has reached the absolute limit of human endurance, which for him is really saying something.

I've personally witnessed Peter sitting at his computer for hours on end with the AE deadline approaching. I remember when he started AE he insisted on having a deadline because, "we need to be there when we say we're going to be there." I pointed out that it's the Internet age and that people really don't give a shit all that much but as he said, "I know and I get it, but I give a shit so we're going to stick to a real live deadline." And so it was.

The guy rails against "mediocrity creep" in this business because he is constantly on the lookout for it in himself and in this publication. He loathes it in fact and finds it completely unacceptable. I've often said to him "let it go" and he just gives me that Renzo death look. Let's be clear, it's not a stare, just a momentary glance that gives you a glimpse into a dangerous mind.

Sometimes when he has had a few he'll his guard down and tell war stories from his advertising days, which is revealing, because I came to realize that this Autoextremist persona has been alive and well for a long time. He has been roiling the waters and speaking out against rampant stupidity his entire adult life, and there were many, many episodes when he called out a client for being, ahem, less than smart. Or much worse. But at the same time I've come across people who have worked for him and with him, and it's always amazing to hear things like, "He was my favorite boss" or, "He was kind and fair and I did some of my best work because of him."

Tough as nails, but kind and fair. Passionate about what he does and what he believes in. Relentless in well, everything and to a degree that I'm not familiar with, or at least have never come across in others. And yet there are so many other dimensions to this man that I couldn't even begin to spell it all out for you.

Somebody out in the Twitterverse once dubbed him "The Hunter S. Thompson" of automotive journalism and I winced at the thought, partially because it's unfair to saddle him with that considering Thompson was one of my literary heroes, and partially because I thought he would suffer endless slings and arrows from the Tweetholes out there. But then I got to thinking about it and he is a true original and even though there are countless imitators out there who have tried to capture his style and call it their own, trust me, no one can bring it like he does. And when he's on - which is more often than not - it's just a scintillating cacophony of imagery and evocative poetry that for my money, hell yes, the moniker works. Check out what he wrote for the "Quick Take" on the BMW X5 M last week in "On The Table" and that's the essence of Peter in one glorious passage.

Well, enough about that then.

Though I  haven't put in anywhere near the hours that Peter and Janice have, it has been an honor to have been included in, and I have enjoyed every damn moment of it.

It's not overstating it at all to say that AE has influenced a generation of auto executives, journalists and analysts and changed the conversation once and for all.

As Peter says, is but a "fleeting moment of time."

But it's a moment that has left an indelible mark on an entire industry.

Adios until the next time.


A Bud's Life

Part social commentary, part car-culture love letter, part romantic page-turner, and part lusty, dramatic, and at times uproariously comical guy-lit, A Bud’s Life is a wildly entertaining, surprisingly thought-provoking and at times emotionally gut-wrenching read about a decade in the life of a truly singular character, Dr. Bud E. Bryan.


"Me? I have been accused of being immature, narcissistic, stupid, a rake, a womanizer, a bad guy, childish. You name it, I've been called it. But you know what? I'm adopting the Popeye Defense because I am what I am. And Jolene fell in love with me for who I am. People have given me reams of shit over my "immaturity" and lecture me that I should just be happy being home and to shut up, but fuck 'em all. They don't know me; they only think they know me. Some of this stuff just falls on my head and I can't control it. But I get called out for it just the same. Other stuff, well, what can I say? I love tequila and fast cars and racing. I love music. I love football. And I love women. Especially fiery women. Always have. Always will too. I love the way they look, the way they move, the way they talk, the way they smell. I love their minds, I love their tantrums, I love the fact that they're different from men and I want it to stay that way. And I love getting lost in them, too, every damn inch of them. It makes the whole damn world go around. I have past entanglements, I admit. And Nadine is a recurring issue. But Jolene knew all of that before she hooked up with me. Hell, she nursed me back to health after Nadine shot me. But I still go home to her and I'm still with her, goddamnit. But am I going to stop loving everything about women or noticing hot women? Not likely. Just as I'm never going to tire of watching Jolene walking around our house only with a towel wrapped around her knowing we're about to get it on. It is what it is, and I'm not about to change. And my contention is that Jolene doesn't really want me to change either, because then I would be a guy she doesn't know and won't want to be with. Oh, and one more thing. I think the whole idea of counseling is crap. This whole country has gone to hell in a handbasket because of the psycho-babble bullshit that's infected every facet of society. No accountability? No one's fault? I say bullshit to that. As for me, I take full responsibility for who I am. And I'm not apologizing for nothin'." - Dr. Bud E. Bryan

Well, it has finally happened! We are pleased to announce the publication of A Bud's Life: One Man's Journey Through Life Unbridled. Dr. Bud's Kindle eBook is available now on Amazon. -WG