Guestblogger: Mister Jalopy!

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Mister Jalopy is a mediocre welder, a fair shade-tree mechanic, a clumsy designer, and has never touched a piece of wood that he hasn't ruined. A self described "professional amateur," Mister Jalopy made a conscious decision ten years ago to become handy. "People are not born craftsmen," he says, "they just have the courage to screw things up. Embrace your inner amateur and try everything. There will always be an expert to take your money and fix the mistakes."

Formerly a record industry executive (please don't hold it against him), He operates out of his treasure-filled giant-sized workshop in Los Angeles where he restores bicycles, repairs automobiles, makes functional electromechanical sculptures, and runs an eclectic variety of sidelines. When asked to describe what he does, he gave us the following:

Hooptyrides, Editor
Honest cars for liars. My original blog and still the clearinghouse for my epic projects of grand ambition, modest skills and shallow pockets.

Dinosaurs and Robots, Co-Conspirator with Mark Frauenfelder
With the gracious assistance of our kick ass guest bloggers, Mark and I present the most inspiring objects that we find at museums, garage sales and in trash cans.

Coco's Variety, Owner
Imagine a used bicycle store that sells purified water, Mexican hair tonic, oil cloth, new old stock Campagnolo pedals, pocket knives, vintage-style tablecloths that depict California in full tourist splendor, figural erasers from Japan, beach cruisers, cast iron frying pans, fishing tackle boxes, used bicycle parts, pulp novels, old tools, glass 5 gallon water bottles, 1970's road bikes, Lifesavers, WD40, Swatch watches, 1960's dime store trinkets, bicycle tires, porcelain Kewpie dolls, stepper motors, vintage Pyrex and oddball toys from Japan that will make you scratch your head. We sell everything but parakeets.

La Fiesta Lavanderia, Owner
A square deal for a clean wash.

American Maker, Host
I will be in Chicago on September 20, 2008 hosting the new Make Magazine live project. Are you a Chicagoland Maker? Get involved! We want to see your cool stuff!

Make Magazine, Contributing Editor
Even if I were not involved, Make would be my favorite magazine. It is a world changer. Having been in many issues, I am best known for writing the Maker's Bill of Rights article. If you can't open it, you don't own it.

Shared Innovation, Building Blocks of Engagement and the Maker Movement, Speaker
After seeing Saul Griffith's mind blowing talk on the future of energy, I was deeply inspired to redouble my efforts in working with corporations to create collaborators instead of consumers. When companies engage as co-collaborators, they build fierce advocates and create a brand that people care about. Want to join the party? Email me.

Here are some recent articles and interviews with Mister Jalopy:
New York Times, NPR Day-to-Day, AP

Please give a warm welcome to Mister Jalopy!


  1. Welcome Welcome Hoopty mon

    i just woke up from a delightful 12 hour nap where i dreampt that i became your assistant at hoopty lair. and then this! today is gunna be a good day- ha! =)


  2. I am grateful for your encouragement to the neophyte as expressed in this wise observation:
    “People are not born craftsmen,” he says, “they just have the courage to screw things up. Embrace your inner amateur and try everything. There will always be an expert to take your money and fix the mistakes.”

    Friends and family admire my fix-it and DIY skills today, but as a youth, my interest in taking things apart were not always viewed so charitably by my dear parents.


  3. Mr. Jalopy succinctly states my experience with DIY. From that, I’ve learned this about my skillz:

    1. Plumbing: ok.
    2. Wiring: ok.
    3. Restoring cars: stay away from.
    4. Cat amusement machines: maybe. While cat was appropriately amused by the whirling bugs and feathers, cat did not react well to small dog figure that exploded into puffs of fur. Go figure.


  4. Hello Mr. Jalopy! I heard you on Whadd’ya Know? yesterday. I think they will have a podcast of the show up by mid-week. You were pretty great. And thank you for enunciating while pronouncing Mark’s last name, I’d really always wondered.

  5. I’m never quite sure how to say “jalopy”. It’s a question of where to put the emphasis. In England at least it’s a word you hardly ever come across. In fact one time it was the answer to a Trival Pursuit question and I seemed to be the only person to have heard of it.

    In fact, this is one of those words you can easily empty of meaning by saying it over and over. Before long you lose confidence that it’s a word at all.

    Anyway, JAL-opy or jal-OP-y?

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