2014 KIA Cadenza

Luxury Features at Near- Luxury Pricing!
We used to think that vehicles coming from certain countries had a higher value over vehicles coming from others. For example, when models from Korea first hit the shores of the U.S. they were essentially cheap and throw-away. Boy, have things changed! KIA has been wowing the world with beautiful and fun driving vehicles!
Not only are vehicles produced by Kia appearing at the top of consumer must-have-lists, they have also been growing in size and technology. The introduction of the all-new 2014 Cadenza is an example of their incredible progress. 6118_1_2

A fully-loaded Cadenza stretches KIA into the over $40k mark and will test the brand’s boundaries into this price range. It will compete with big sedans in the ‘near luxury’ category.

The 2014 KIA Cadenza is a mature version of the Optima. It looks and feels like an elongated version of the Optima, and is packed with high-tech features including power closing side mirrors, heated front and rear seats, blind spot detection, push button start, front LED positioning lights, advanced smart cruise control, and rain sensing windshield wipers. All this with a 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty!

The 2014 Cadenza is available in two trim levels: Premium ($35,100) and Limited ($42,400). Both models are equipped with a 3.3 L V6, 293 hp and 6-Speed Automatic Transmission with Sportmatic™. The performance is exhilarating as the accelerator effortlessly leaps on command.5970_1_2

The suspension delivers a responsive, confident ride. The front suspension specifications include: MacPherson Struts Gas Shock Absorbers, and a Stabilizer Bar. The rear comprises of Independent, Multi-link, a Stabilizer Bar, and Dual-Flow Damper Shock Absorbers. Together they command the road, whether on the open highway or a winding mountain road.

The styling is clean and as mentioned earlier, really does look full-grown and even more refined than its little brother, the KIA Optima. The Cadenza was designed under the vision of Peter Schreyer with hints of a European influence. The front is dressed with the family KIA grille and the Cadenza carries a taut, athletic look. It is simply a sharp-looking sedan.

The interior offers a very quiet ride with extremely light road noise and almost no wind noise. The interior fit-and-finish is pleasing with high quality materials used through-out. My test vehicle included the Nappa leather seats and interior trim, plus an Infinity surround sound audio system and a navigation system with an 8-inch display. The powered front seats were also ventilated, and to keep the sun from the necks of my rear passengers – there was a power rear window sunshade.5917_1_2

Cool Features:

• Rear heated seats
• Auto closing and opening power side mirrors
• Advanced smart cruise control system

The 2014 KIA Cadenza hits all the marks when it comes to safety. The Cadenza comes standard with 8 airbags, rear camera system and backup warning sensors, and an advanced smart cruise control system that will actually brake the car to stop for traffic. It also comes with a lane-departure warning system that chimes loudly if you attempt to change lanes without signaling. The blind spot detection system helps warn you of vehicles hiding in your blind spots.

In Summary – The 2014 KIA Cadenza owns features and styling to attract buyers away from more expensive nameplates. Priced nearly the same as a BWM 3-series or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the KIA has way more interior and passenger space. The Cadenza is both a good value in the near-luxury or even luxury class, as well as a pleasant and fun surprise.

2014 KIA Cadenza Limited 4-Dr Sedan

Base price: $42,400 as driven: $43,250 (including destination and optional features)
Engine: 3.3 L V6
Horsepower: 293@ 6,400 RPM
Torque: 255 @ 5,200 RPM
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with overdrive
Drive: Front-wheel Drive
Seating: 5-passenger
Turning circle: 36.5 feet
Cargo space: 15.9 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3,792 pounds
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA mileage: City19/Hwy 28
Wheel Base: 112 inches
Warranty: 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain limited

Also consider: BMW 3-Series, Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, and Mercedes-
Benz C-Class




Each generation carries its own baggage for better or for worse. Each is affected by outside forces beyond his/her control. Global economics, wars, revolts, evolving technology – each one produces its own effects. Some grow up in rural areas while others have roots in urban life. All of these contribute to who we are and to who we become. These observations are valid regardless of where in the world we reside or call home.

Some years ago I was sitting on a bench in the Peasants’ Museum in Bucharest, Romania. This outdoor folk museum contained artifacts and displays of historical interest in a comfortable forest-like setting. It was almost a park, with walkways winding through the trees, and the displays consisted of farm equipment and ancient living quarters scattered among the groves of trees. It was a pleasant feeling, and the weather was ideal for mid-May.

As I sat there I became aware of a wonderful drama being played out on a nearby bench. Three people were busy being themselves while still interacting with each other. They knew each other well – maybe on occasion too well – and they obviously shared a strong love bond.dolls

The group was composed, I believe, of a grandmother, perhaps mid-seventies or so, her daughter brushing up against fifty, and the granddaughter maybe mid to late teens. All local I’m sure, on holiday, enjoying the place and each other – yet so very different.

The gray-haired oma had certainly been born prior to World War II, perhaps the wife of a Romanian army officer. She had grown up deprived of many material things. Caught in a war which ravished the nation. Perhaps cheered when her country was “freed” by Russian troops, only to find the liberators were more demanding than those they drove out. She had been taught neatness and self-restraint – both of which were reflected in her dress. Stout sensible brown walking shoes projected from her brown stocking-covered legs. A square-cut tweed skirt, topped by a fashionable camel blouse with a white bow at the neck. The slightly off-color blazer gave her warmth. A dark brown kerchief protected her from the wind, and a wooden cane helped her along the uneven paths.

The daughter was a great deal more fashionable. Black hair worn loose showed a touch of added reddish color. Black nylon slacks, well-fitting over a body beginning to bulge. Black shoes with high heels and toes that came to a point well beyond her own feet. A white blouse covered by a black leather jacket. She moved along the path with confidence.

The teen – another story. Bright red t-shirt and a skirt way too short worn over patterned tights. Hair several different colors. Obviously bored by the visit, with cell phone at the ready, a fair gap of skin showed between skirt and blouse. Never still for long.

Each was representing her generation. One a survivor of war – armies marching back and forth through her city. One born under strict communist control, educated in a socialistic environment. Perhaps a protester against Ceausescu and a voice in how it must change. The third conversant in a language unfamiliar to the others – the euro, Facebook, cellphone – a different world. Dress dictated by TV, comfortable with globalization.

Three distinct paths through life, yet bound together by family, by love, and by genes. Today they were leisurely enjoying the sunshine, the togetherness, and the love in this outdoor historical museum.

This tableau could have taken place in almost any of the one hundred and twenty seven countries I have visited. Even our own. Each generation reflecting the environment that they grew up in. It makes one realize that all have much in common, and perhaps in a way that helps us understand what is occurring throughout the world when we read our morning paper.

How funny life is.

Mixed Grain

First of all, an admission of my current un-ease: I am in downtown San Francisco killing time before I jump onstage at a dear friends’ Variety Hour at the Exit Theatre on Eddy. As proven by my recent wide eyed adventures in Los Angeles, I really do enjoy inner-weaving myself into the fabric of a culture. Today should not be an exception, but it is for some reason.

This city is (or at least was once) my city. I had a bar and grille in the financial district and have walked (stumbled) over every square inch here. In my quest to locate the theater hours before we start tonight I wandered, like I do, and located “The Exit,” one block… in the wrong direction. I turned the corner into urine and pot smoke—loud, scary people eyeing me suspiciously. I felt unsafe and appalled. Have I become that reliant upon my own vacuumed life that I can’t wander around a place I used to be a part of? I walked ten blocks in vain, trying to find my comfort, and finally found it at a diner in Union Square surrounded by tourists. Really sad.
Ok-enough. Let’s talk good food!mixedgrain

Mixed Grain in Walnut Creek gets it! A new Korean restaurant specializing in the healthy way to eat, isn’t that big of a stretch because Korean food is generally healthier. Their specialty is their purple rice. Their menu talks about it, their shirts yell about it and everybody eating it sells it with their smiles! It is a combination of white, sweet white, barley brown and sweet brown rice. You feel super eating it. No really, like you have powers all of a sudden.

I won’t dive too much further into the menu past their specialty entrees because if you haven’t been there, this is what you should get—The Works (Bibimbop). Twelve different veggies served over rice with your choice of protein (beef, chicken, pork, salmon, shrimp, tofu or mung bean pancake). Throw a sunny side up egg on top of it all and side that with Korean spicy chili paste and you are set for the night. Mind you that this meal comes with all of the accoutrements that come with traditional Korean eating.

I am not sure if we went there why all the staff still had that new restaurant haze, but the staff seemed to be hoarding Prozac. So happy and helpful. Not nearly the jaded individuals that I usually encounter with any establishment that has been open longer than a month. Food and beverage has a way of doing that to us over time. This staff acknowledged and played with my son before bringing him a tiny yogurt drink for finishing his meal and then spent time cooing my new daughter. Always smiling, always happy and securing that we will make this a regular stop.

Mixed Grain is located across the street from the Walnut Creek Yacht Club, where I used to call home as a manager once upon a lifetime ago, and is actually housed in the structure of an older Korean restaurant of yester-year. I actually didn’t want to go to Mixed Grain because I had an affinity for the old place. Their menu saw me through a bout of salmonella poisoning and if nothing else I am a loyal patron, but my wife had seen a write up on the place and in her infinite quest to improve our health (I love her for that) we packed up the brood and went. Boy am I glad I did.
Since that first time we have ordered food for pick-up, not expecting much, and once again got floored with service. “Water while you wait sir?”

Bottom line is if you like feeling good after a meal, then Mixed Grain is your place physically and emotionally. Have I steered you wrong before? Don’t answer that.

1546 Bonanza St. Walnut Creek ,925-938-5959


Kids and Their Shots

We are facing the potential of more and more measles, mumps and rubella outbreaks in the U.S. Measles was labeled eradicated in 2000, now cases are growing again. In California, cases are coming back at a clip of about 10 times from year to year. How does society make sense of that?shos

As summer rolls through, there are a number of smart, well intentioned parents still debating whether or not to have their kids given MMR shots. For some it is very tough, and understandably so, to know what is best. They have been scared to death by some TV talk show hosts. But they need to try and look at science.

Does it make sense this outdated urban myth stuff is crazy? The research on which it is based is admittedly faulty. Several of those hosts still tout the fact they won’t have their babies stuck with a needle and still spout the talk of autism and other side effects. The Centers for Disease Control still strongly recommend, even demand, the MMR vaccines, but more and more parents are refusing on religious, philosophical or personal beliefs.

Those beliefs, by the way, have led to a resurgence of the diseases in Europe. Great Britain is in the middle of another endemic. And doctors say the effects of the diseases can be much, much more than just a skin rash. They can lead to pneumonia and very severe illness, not to mention the skin pocking that follows some kids for the rest of their lives. Little pock marks on their adult faces. Not to mention the danger for pregnant women who contract rubella. Not to mention the fact that those who are not inoculated can act like typhoid Marys and spread the disease.

This “no shot” philosophy has even spread to polio vaccines. On that one, I stand screaming, and 100% hope that people get those inoculations. I can understand young parents not thinking it is a threat, but it is. It is out there and it could come back. And those parents don’t want it? My mom had polio when I was about five. I remember the darkness of those days. Doctors told my dad she wasn’t going to live. When she beat that, they told her that she would be in an Iron Lung and then paralyzed for the rest of her life. Fortunately none of that happened. She still suffers the side effects decades later and always will. Large numbers of people who shared those isolation wards never made it out. Nobody in our society should ever have to deal with polio. Nobody.

None of us is in love with some of the things our government does. We have every right to be suspicious of every government agency. They screw up, and in some cases are bought by money, but I can’t believe the CDC is giving these recommendations just to sell more doses of a serum.

Now I’m not a doctor and people like me have to make their own decisions. But I can read and research. Our kids should get the shots. Mine all did.

The most precious treasure we have as human beings is our children. When it comes down to something as important as their health, to whom are we going to listen, Jenny McCarthy (omg) or the Centers for Disease Control? Which makes sense?


He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear SSHS,
My son is turning sixteen and wants to get a motorcycle that he can afford to buy with his own money. His argument is that it will be cheaper on gas and easier to park, but I’m concerned this is a bad decision. Any idea how to change his mind? Carey N., DanvilleHeSaidSheSaidgraphic

She Said: You can change his mind by not allowing him to make such a reckless decision on his own. You’re still the parent, paying all the bills, including his health insurance, so as I see it, you’re the one calling the shots. While under my roof, I would not allow either of my children to have a motorcycle, regardless of who’s buying it. That falls under the category of, “Don’t ask me to be a bad mother.” You didn’t ask about motor scooters, and I’m not sure what I think about those, although a close family friend, a college student, just got hit while driving one. It wasn’t her fault, but her broken arm doesn’t know the difference.

He Said: Your son is absolutely right that a motorcycle is cheaper than a car in many ways, but it’s absolutely wrong to think he can make this decision on his own at sixteen years old. Tell him he needs to wait until he’s eighteen; that should buy you at least two years, and hopefully, by then, he’ll have lost his motorcycle fever. But if he still insists on owning a motorcycle, make sure he passes a certified motorcycle riders course and that he wears all the proper safety gear. It’s worth noting the old saying about there being two types of motorcycle riders: those who’ve already had a serious accident and those who will.

Dear HSSS,
My husband recently re-connected with an old college classmate and told me she invited him to lunch. He claims it’s completely innocent, and he’d like to go if I give my consent. I have to admit, I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea, but I don’t want to be unreasonable. What do you think?
Samantha, Walnut Creek

He Said: I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable for you to be uncomfortable with this. The first question you should ask him is, “Why is she looking you up and reaching out to you?” Followed by, “Just how close of classmates were you in college?” If the answers rub you the wrong way, then your answer should be “Absolutely not!” If your husband insists everything is innocent and he still wants to go to lunch, then insist that he take you with him to meet this old college classmate. Remember, a married man’s focus should not be connecting with old female friends but maintaining and growing his relationships at home with his wife and family.

She Said: The fact that your husband confided in you is a very good sign. He has nothing to hide. I like to joke around calling lunch “the gateway date,” but that’s because people who “reconnect” on Facebook, usually have their first “reunion/rendevouz” over lunch, the innocent meal. But this sounds different to me. It’s just lunch. The minute you make more of it than that, you risk putting ideas in his head. Relax, but ask him all about it when he comes home. And one lunch is all it should take to catch up, if you ask me, which you did. Let us know if they set up another one…which could mean Shawn’s right, and the topic definitely worth revisiting.

Robin Fahr and Shawn Shizzo host Conversations and He Said/She Said seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30. Send your questions to AskHeSaidSheSaid.com.


Summer Skin Care

The summer months come with outdoor barbecues, picnics, and vacations at the beach. Being out in the hot summer sun can be damaging to our skin. Most people do not realize that exposure to harsh environments (such as air conditioning, excessive heat, salt water, and chlorine) can dehydrate the skin. This can lead to dry skin that may itch and flake easily. Moreover, we must protect our skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays as it can negatively impact skin health and appearance by causing premature aging and wrinkles.

Here are some tips for healthy summer skin:

Hydrate skin from the inside-out. It is important to stay hydrated during the summer months to retain healthy skin and prevent it from becoming dry. We perspire more in the hot summer months and therefore rapidly lose water through the skin. It is important to replenish by drinking fluids regularly, especially when outdoors. Carry a water bottle with you and sip it throughout the day. Water is best as it helps to hydrate the skin. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda), which can lead to dehydration and diminish the skin’s healthy appearance. Besides drinking fluids to stay hydrated, eating healthy and exercising regularly, consider adding an Omega-3 supplement, such as Krill or fish oil, to help nourish and protect the skin. Consuming more antioxidants through foods and supplements can help protect the skin and help prevent premature aging of the skin. For example, Vitamin C is an essential component to the production of collagen—the skin’s natural support structure. It helps maintain the structure of collagen and elastin, both of which are important for firmness and the elasticity of the skin. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays over time causes damage to the collagen structure in the skin, contributing to the formation of wrinkles. Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that can help protect skin cells from oxidation damage, while Vitamin E has antioxidant properties to help fight free radicals to protect and nourish the skin.

Sunscreen: Your skin’s best defense. Applying topical sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide daily before going out, is your skin’s best defense against damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause premature aging of the skin. Sunscreen is recommended all year long, however, applying sunscreen regularly during the summer months is critical– when sun exposure is frequent and UV rays are at their most severe.

Moisturize: The three-minute rule. Moisturizing is also an important step to keep skin hydrated, and one of the keys to locking in moisture is to apply a moisturizer within three minutes of showering or bathing – using a moisturizer with 15 percent or even 20 percent Shea Butter can give your skin the moisture boost it needs. Make moisturizing a routine every morning after showering to keep your skin soft and supple.

Make it the best summer ever and enjoy!




Trivial Tomfoolery

I had some flak last month for the “you don’t know Jack” silliness. It seems to have been categorized as tomfoolery. Oh yeah! I will show you some Tomfoolery.

1. He won 300 games in the Majors, but is best remembered as the ace of the Miracle Mets of 1969. Who is he?

2. He played in Western movies in the silents, then hosted a popular radio show. His horse was Tony. Who was this famous movie cowboy?

3. Who was the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing?”

4. He played a dopey chap on the Steve Allen TV show and finished his career playing the handyman at Bob Newhart’s inn on the “Newhart” show. Who was he?

5. Albert Finney played the title character in this Oscar winning comedic romp of 1963. What was the title character’s name?

6. He was the electrifying running back for the Michigan Wolverines in 1940, became a popular sportscaster, but is now more famous as the father of the star of TV’s most popular show. Who is he?