car blog, a blog about cars

The View Through The Windshield
A Blog About Cars ... and Everything Else I See
by Joe Sherlock
This blog is about cars, automobiles and more.

Friday November 30, 2007

Headline Of The Week: 'Ford Settles Rollover Suit with Gift Vouchers'. Whoever engineered this deal is the guy FoMoCo should use for all future UAW negotiations.

Coupe De Grace: In the 1980s, my wife revealed to me that she liked 4-door sedans because "everyone gets a door, so they have an easy time getting in an out of the car." She asked why I wanted to buy a two-door coupe. I replied that I was fond of the sleek lines of coupes and (in my very best me-centric voice), "Because no one makes a one-door car." She thought that was a very rude attitude. From that moment on, we've referred to 4-door sedans as Polite Cars and two-door coupes as Rudemobiles.

car blogIf you wanted to buy a luxury Rudemobile in the '70s or '80, you had lots of choices - everybody made 'em. These days, the coupe has fallen in disfavor. There ares no more Lincoln Marks, Caddy Eldorados or Coupes de Ville. Lexus doesn't offer a coupe; neither does Acura.

The BMW 6-Series is very expensive and I don't care for the Bangled styling. I don't like the Angry Asian look of the new 3-Series, either. It's a shame because the 3-Series coupe is a nice handling car with comfortable, supportive seats although it's a little pricey for what you get. The interior looks cheap to my eyes and the exterior colors seem to have no depth - they remind me of 1960s VW Beetle enamels.

The Mercedes-Benz CL coupe is stunning but ... (more >>>)

Thought For Today: If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Wednesday November 28, 2007

Big Dough For Cookie Car: A rare 1920s lithographed tin cookie container and its original contents were auctioned for $32,000 in London last week. The William Crawford and Sons biscuit tin, in the shape of a red Landau coupe with black fenders, has now become the most expensive in the world.

Come to think of it, 'Big Dough For Cookie Car' could be a band name, kinda like 'Death Cab For Cutie'.

Inside Thinking: The Truth About Cars does some navel gazing in an article about car reviewer bias. The sum-up seems to be: yes, there's bias in almost every car review because of emotions and preconceived notions.

I understand this. Some cars come with baggage - bad past experiences make the reviewer skeptical. A model may be held to a higher standard because the reviewer expects more from the brand. A marque that the reviewer once loved has fallen on hard times and is now producing an inferior product. Such situations provoke vitriol and it's hard for a reviewer to be objective.

Finally, there's the money standard. Should an entry-level Kia be held to the same standards as a Porsche? If so, which ones? Seat comfort? Braking? Fit and finish? Crash rating?

I don't worry too much about the tester's bias. As long as the review is his/her honest opinion, I can handle it.

What I can't abide is opinion purchased by ad dollars thrown at an auto publication (online or print). And you know the publications I mean, right?

Cheap Dollars: If you're down in the doldrums over the drop in the buck, you may want to read this: "Between 1985 and 1995, the dollar declined by 43% against the world's big currencies - somewhat more than it has in the past six years. That period was also marked by dire proclamations of the end of U.S. economic power. But it turned out that in those years the foundations were laid for the strongest period of US economic growth in the past 35 years."

Looking back - through my adult lifetime, I can't recall any correlation between a cheap buck and economic Sturm und Drang. Or vice-versa. In 1983, the British Pound was down to $1.09 or so but the U.S. economy wasn't anything to write home about. Interest rates were still quite high (the prime rate was around 11%) and the Dow was in the 1200s - one-tenth of its value today.

In '83, I did buy a bunch of new Matchbox Yesteryear diecasts direct from British shops at bargain prices (under five bucks).

Joe Sherlock car blog

And fresh-issue Brooklin handbuilt models for $35 apiece. Alas, that was the extent of my currency speculation activities.

It's also important to remember that, while the dollar is now down compared with European currencies (Pound, Euro), for the average American, the dollar's value compared with various Asian currencies is probably more relevant. And it hasn't dropped much in the Far East this year.

Gimme Dat Ol' Time Music: The Pope is considering a dramatic overhaul of the Vatican in order to force a return to traditional music, such as Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music. In an address to the bishops and priests of St. Peter's Basilica, he said that there needed to be "continuity with tradition" in their prayers and music.

Mgr. Valentin Miserachs Grau, the director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, which trains church musicians, added that there had been serious "deviations" in the performance of sacred music, adding: "How far we are from the true spirit of sacred music. How can we stand it that such a wave of inconsistent, arrogant and ridiculous profanities have so easily gained a stamp of approval in our celebrations?"

As I wrote in April 2005, I am sick and tired of 'Kumbuya' folk music. And other lyrical aberrations. At a recent midnight Christmas Mass, an elderly woman insisted on treating us to an a cappella version 'Silent Night' in German to "celebrate her heritage." (Can you translate "Me-Centric" into Deutsche, bitte?) And she sang so badly, I wondered if she might be Bob Dylan's mother. I have seen her at church several times since and have bestowed her with the nickname 'Stella Nacht.'

The only "new" thing needed in church is a polished brass stage hook to drag all bad performers off the altar - off-key warblers, deliverers of lengthy, pointless homilies, lectors who ask us to pray for odd or political things, etc.

What's Your Blues Name? You can't sing the blues unless you've got a proper name. Find yours here. My grandson's blues name is Crippled Fingers Davis.

PS: Tom McMahon's site always has good stuff posted.

Thought For Today: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

Monday November 26, 2007

Could This Be The End Of Badge Engineering? According to The Wall Street Journal, "Chrysler LLC is considering massive branding changes that would further simplify its product portfolio. ... A plan calls for Chrysler dealers to sell passenger cars under the Chrysler name, while Dodge dealers would exclusively offer pickup and commercial trucks, and Jeep dealers would sell Jeep and sport-utility vehicles." Hmmm. If Chrysler could concentrate on just making three vehicles, maybe they could produce three good vehicles with decent build quality. That would be something new.

And: "Chrysler executives have also decided to kill the entire PT Cruiser line after the 2009 model year, according to the report." Well, I'm not surprised. The line was never extended to include a coupe, panel van, etc. And, there was - apparently - never a plan for Act II.

The Cruiser had a lot of potential but it was left to rot, while Chrysler distracted the gullible public with a parade of paint-n-trim Special Edition crapmobiles.

That's a shame. In 2003, Chrysler showed a fastback variant called the GT Cruiser.

sherlock autoblog

They should have built it, as well as my design for a three-window coupe, which also could have been offered as a retractable hardtop.

It's Only Fair ... if I'm going to excoriate Chrysler for all those Special Edition PT Cruisers, I should send a snarky sneer towards the Rolls-Royce Phantom 'Tungsten Edition'.

It's an automotive dress-up kit designed to extract additional petrodollars from gullible oil sheiks, apparently.

Black Friday Mania: Unconfirmed Sources reports: 'Wal-Mart Shopping Frenzy: 4 Year-old Accidently Purchased'. I've never heard of Black Friday before. Is it related to Black History Month in any way? Or the Crash of 1929?

Post-Thanksgiving Musing: It's called stuffing, filling or dressing, depending upon where you live and your cultural upbringing. (My wife has informed me that, if stuffing is cooked outside the turkey, it is called 'dressing', according to some yapper on the Food Network. I've not verified this claim. If you have more time on your hands than yours truly, you are welcome to research this subject exhaustively and write a doctoral thesis on it. Just don't contact me. I'm not interested.)

It has oft been said that the American idiom and language use defies logic. And drives newcomers crazy. If a product made from bread and offered with turkey, is called 'dressing', wouldn't a product made from bread offered with salads also be called 'dressing'?

"No, you silly foreigner, they're called 'croutons'. Dressing is the liquid we pour over our salads. Stop pointing to the turkey. No, the stuff we pour over the turkey is called 'gravy', not 'dressing'. What are you - stupid or something?"

Friendly Persuasion: Mark Krikorian writes, "Arizona's new law hasn't even gone into effect yet, and it's already having the desired effect: Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of undocumented workers have been fired as a result of Arizona businesses reviewing the work-eligibility forms of their employees as the state's new employer-sanctions law draws near."

Eligio Medina Roldan, 44, is one of those workers who lost his job. ... "I don't have papers that show I can work legally, so I won't be able to work," he said. "And I can't work, then I've lost the reason for being here. My only option is to go back to Mexico."

When you hear a politician or bureaucrat telling you there's nothing they can do about illegal immigrants, it means he/she hasn't tried to do anything.

Friendly Persuasion II: Let's use a little persuasion on those Sanctuary Cities. You know, the ones that welcome illegals, the ones with the attitude, "They're here. They're part of the community. Let's help them succeed." By the way, that exact sentiment was recently voiced by a board member in Arlington, VA - a Sanctuary City.

Residents of such cities can encourage them to change their minds by ignoring all traffic laws and refusing to pay fines, parking fees and taxes. When confronted, just say, "After all, we're here. We're part of the community. Help us succeed - leave us alone and free from your onerous laws and taxes."

sherlock auto blogThe End Of Rock 'n Roll: Hy Lit, one of Philadelphia's pioneer disc jockeys, has died at age 73.

'Hyski O'Rooney McVoutie O'Zoot', as he often called himself, was born in South Philadelphia and came of age with rock-and-roll.

It has been said that, during the late '50s to mid-60s period ... (more >>>)

Lame Joke Of The Day: A guy goes to a psychiatrist. "Doc, I keep having these alternating recurring dreams. First I'm a teepee, then I'm a wigwam, then I'm a teepee, and then I'm a wigwam. It's driving me crazy. What's wrong with me?"

The doctor replies, "It's very simple. You're two tents."

Friday November 23, 2007

sherlock auto blogLincoln Senility Watch: Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo rants about the Lincoln brand: "Lincoln marketers became charter members (along with Mercedes-Benz) of my 'No Auto Industry Executives Have Done Less With More' Club, a disgraced group of auto industry hacks who squandered every opportunity to do the Right Thing when it came to reviving and reinvigorating their brands."

He continues: "The new MKS? A tolerable effort, to be sure, but is it a game-changing Lincoln? Oh, hell no. The double-winged grille is nice and everything, but where's the rest of the car? How are the back and profile of the new MKS any different from any number of cars out there? I'll answer that one for you - they aren't. Ford is moving at a snail's pace in turning around Lincoln, and it isn't pretty. I haven't seen anything good enough to be a called a "Lincoln" yet. That means there's no drop dead, oh my God, that's a Lincoln on the street yet."

Lorenzo summarizes, asking Ford to "please get a grip on what a Lincoln should look and feel like, because the MKS isn't it, and it's never going to be it, either. And finally, once you and your team finally understand what Lincoln is and should be all about, the marketing should be the easiest thing to figure out."

AutoWeek studied the MKS at the LA Auto Show and awarded it a 'Miss', noting that it "looks odd and ungainly" and is "too Altima/Sebring-like," AW closed with a parting pan: "And where are all those Lincoln cues we were told to look for?"

Sigh. I've railed about the sheer incompetence at Ford's Lincoln Division so many times before, that I'm exhausted. I see no sign that there is any turnaround afoot. I suspect that, when Ford kills off the Mercury brand, they will simply slap Lincoln badges on a couple of additional Ford models to help fill Lincoln-Mercury showrooms, weakening the Lincoln brand even further.

And Then There's Cadillac: In the same article, The Autoextremist discusses Caddys. "Nine years ago, when GM decided enough was enough with Cadillac, one of America's - and the world's - most famous brands and crafted a Go Big or Go Home strategy that would either make Cadillac a contender again or relegate it to the dust heap of auto industry lore, their backs were to the wall and they had no choice but to come out swinging. Back then, Cadillac was mired in a downward spiral of dying owners and woefully obsolete product offerings - a landau roof car company lost in a leading-edge technology kind of luxury performance world."

Peter claims that "Cadillac today is a vibrant, tough-as-nails competitor in the luxury market and a shining example of what GM could do if they put their minds to it. The new CTS is not just a sensational Cadillac, it's another one of GM's "no apologies offered, no excuses needed" new cars, one that even has rivals from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz looking over their shoulders muttering under their breath something like "Uh-oh, these guys finally do get it, don't they?""

I dunno. One redesigned model does not a lineup make. The restyled, refreshed CTS has been megahyped; however, no one knows if it will save Cadillac. After all, it's just been introduced. Let's see how it's doing in the sales arena in, say, July 2009. And how many luxury import buyers it has won over by that time.

When the 'import-killing' 2000 Lincoln LS was introduced - pitched as a BMW 5-Series-sized car at a 3-Series price, it ended up attracting mostly Mercury Sable buyers who wanted to trade up and geezers who wanted to move from a Town Car to something smaller. No conversions there - as Fr. McKenzie discovered in 'Eleanor Rigby': "No one was saved." The LS sold very well in it's first year, then quickly slid downhill towards eventual oblivion. Another reason to wait and see if the initial interest in the newest Caddy CTS translates to decent sales at minimally-discounted prices over the longer term.

It's only fair to point out that not everyone is impressed with the CTS, especially if you read some of the comments in the linked TTAC review.

Furthermore, the rest of Caddy's lineup is far from world-class. (The XLR ain't bad, though.) I'm not yet ready to present Cadillac with a Comeback Award, even if Motor Trend is. (Motor Trend? Ptui! Who gives a rip about that rag?)

Sticker Shock: Dr. Emil Shuffhausen writes about obnoxious bumper stickers. 'Pro-Child, Pro-Choice', he says, translates to "I'm for the kids, but I'm also for aborting them willy-nilly, too. This bumper sticker has the intellectual consistency of 'Pro-Ants, Pro-Raid'."

Portland is full of silly bumper stickers. But the people who apply them never wash their cars (Honda beaters, broken-down Volvos, ancient Microbuses, etc.), so - mercifully - we are usually spared their unpleasant and illogical messages.

Tom McMahon offers the Ten Most Obnoxious Bumper Stickers you will see in Madison, Wisconsin.

JFK: Hard to believe but it happened 44 years ago yesterday. I don't have anything more to add to this essay.

It Doesn't Take A Village ... it takes two committed parents. Baby Center reports: "Almost 37% (more than 1.5 million) of U.S. babies were born to unmarried women in 2005 - up 4%, following a previous 4% increase in 2004. The birth rate among unmarried women has increased by 12% since 2002."

Maggie Gallagher writes, "When 25% of children in a community are born outside of marriage (bastards with no legal claims) as among whites today, that's a serious problem. When almost 70% of children in a given community today are born outside of marriage (as among Black Americans today) that's a tsunami blocking the intergenerational accumulation of human and social capital. So far, the silence about the issue among our leaders is deafening … Who will take up the challenge of reducing the marriage gap written so starkly in black and white? Who wants to rebuild the American Dream for all our children?"

The Beach Girl at Eternity Road notes, "A friend of mine once said, "Life is a do it to yourself project." His words somehow ring true in this underlying epidemic of bastard children, fatherless children for whom the government has skillfully replaced the father by giving someone else's hard earned money to support at a subsistence level, the generations of bastard children we have - through welfare - created. Senator Daniel Moynihan - a Democrat - wrote at length about the Great Society and how the government handouts would destroy the black family in America."

She adds, "Children - bastards - with no paternal legitimacy in the courts - generally do not do well in school, tend toward crime at an early age, and ultimately have no parent in the home when the mom is forced to work at low pay."

I am always astounded when black leaders praise Lyndon Johnson. Yes, he did get the Civil Rights Act passed, but his Great Society Program is the toxic virus which has decimated society in general and black society in particular.

Global Warming Update: Dozens of ski resorts across the Alps have begun running their lifts after unprecedented levels of snow this month. Some parts have had the most snow in November since 1956.

Bad Pun Of The Day: Banning the bra was a big flop.

Wednesday November 21, 2007

Clear Thinking: Honda has introduced the Clarity, a hydrogen-powered family sedan. This mid-size car is estimated to get an EPA-certified 68 mpg with a per-tank range of 270 miles.

American Honda plans to lease the FCX Clarity to a limited number of retail consumers in Southern California with the first deliveries taking place in summer 2008. Full details of the lease program will be set closer to launch, but current plans call for a three-year lease term with a price of $600 per month, including maintenance and collision insurance.

While this program is limited in scope, it is very real, unlike other oft-promised, yet-to-be delivered miracle cars (Chevy Volt, Tesla, plug-in Prius, etc.) Kudos to Honda for leapfrogging ahead with new technology.

The Giant Stumbles: The Economist has an interesting article about Toyota. Excerpt: "But there are two other things the firm's executives like talking about even less. The first is the strain the drive to the top has put on the fabled Toyota Production System. In the past couple of years, a series of unToyota-like quality problems have begun to nibble away at the firm's reputation as the world's most admired manufacturer and as a byword for reliable vehicles. In July 2006, after some conspicuous product recalls, Mr. Watanabe bowed in apology and promised to fix things with a 'customer first' programme that would redirect engineering resources and, if necessary, lengthen development times. But the recalls have continued and Toyota is still slipping in consumer-quality surveys. The company's global head of manufacturing, Takeshi Uchiyamada, recently expressed 'shame' at the problems with the latest Tundra full-size pick-up."

joe sherlock blogMore: "Camry owners cite 'reliability', 'quality' and 'refinement' as their reasons for purchase. Both the new Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu provide stiff competition to the Camry, and are also better to drive. As for the re-designed Tundra, launched in February from a new factory in Texas, it has had other problems, from a batch of faulty camshafts to a failure to win a five-star crash rating - something achieved by all its Detroit rivals. Worse still, in the past few weeks stories have begun to circulate on the web suggesting the Tundra's tailgate buckles under heavy loads."

And: "What may be more difficult, according to people inside the company, is finding enough first-rate engineers to carry out exhaustive tests and any last-minute redesigns that may be necessary. The new Highlander SUV is the first to go through this process and Toyota claims it has gone smoothly. However, Masatami Takimoto, the executive in charge of quality as well as R&D, is not prepared to declare victory just yet. He says another two years of new-product launches are needed to evaluate 'customer first'. The assumption must be that Toyota will eventually get on top of its quality problems, even if it means slowing its production plans. With other carmakers, including GM and cash-strapped Ford, catching up fast with higher quality, any complacency could be fatal."

Terrorist Oil Barons: I'm not crazy about the falling dollar but it's nice to know that our currency woes/fluctuations are causing Chavez and Ahmamentaljob lots of grief. Heh-Heh.

sherlock auto blog"Please Don't Squeeze The Casket": Dick Wilson, the actor and pitchman who played Mr. Whipple, the uptight grocer begging customers ''Please don't squeeze the Charmin,'' has died at 91.

After Wilson retired, he continued to do occasional guest appearances for the brand and act on television.

He declared himself not impressed with modern cinema: "The kind of pictures they're making today, I'll stick with toilet paper," he told The Associated Press in 1985. Rest In Peace.

Time For A Stick Up: An Eygptian woman has filed for divorce from her husband on the grounds he has not showered since they married. The wedding took place two months ago.

Give Thanks: Prosperity is a relatively new concept. In his book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Gregory Clark tracks income per person throughout history. By Clark's account, it is essentially flat from 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1800, reflecting the crushing burden of providing for our material wants in an environment of economic stasis.

Income per person explodes upward around 1800, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution that first arrived in England, Rich Lowry explains. Without it, most of us would still be living poor, nasty, brutish and short lives.

"The average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than the average person of 100,000 B.C.," Clark argues. "Life expectancy was no higher in 1800 than for hunter-gatherers: 30 to 35 years. Stature, a measure both of the quality of diet and of children's exposure to disease, was higher in the Stone Age than in 1800. And while foragers satisfy their material wants with small amounts of work, the modest comforts of the English in 1800 were purchased only through a life of unrelenting drudgery."

Throughout most of history, Clark says, humankind was caught in a 'Malthusian trap': Small economic advances were outpaced by resulting population growth that made it impossible for living standards to increase. The massive productivity gains of the Industrial Revolution - driven essentially by expanding knowledge - broke the trap and created modern life as we know it.

"The richest modern economies are now 10 to 20 times wealthier than the 1800 average," Clark writes. In these economies, it is the unskilled who have benefited most. "Unskilled male wages in England have risen more since the Industrial Revolution than skilled wages," Clark writes, "And this result holds for all advanced economies." There have always been very rich people. What's changed in the past 200 years is the growth of wealth and its spread.

Count your blessings. Be glad you live in 2007 - not 1707.

Quote Of The Day is from George Carlin: "Think of how stupid the average person is and realize that 50% of them are stupider than that!"

Monday November 19, 2007

the view through the windshieldAutomotive Vaporware: Anybody remember the Vector? You know, the almost car, the one that was promised for years but never went into 'real' production? Well, it's back. Again. Available with 750 horsepower. Or 1850 horsepower. 0-60 in 2.5 seconds. 275 mph top speed. Whatever. Self-described "renowned automobile entrepreneur and vehicle designer Gerald Wiegert" is back on the case, according to the press release.

If his name sounds familiar, you're probably a car enthusiast of a certain age that remembers Wiegert's soap-opera-like travails trying to launch his pet supercar project, the Vector, back in the '70s, and the ensuing "limited production run" and oft-publicized financial difficulties during the '80s and early '90s.

My first (and only) sighting of the Vector was in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show sometime in the early '80s. It was cool-looking and stylishly futuristic back in those days. But I bet Wiegert made most of his money selling posters of the damn thing.

By the way, the "new" Vector is not stylish - just plain fugly.

Understate This: An Associated Press headline proclaims: 'Lincoln seeing a revival'. Yeah, well, when your sales have dropped as much as Lincoln, anything is seen as a revival. I mean, it's hard to go any lower, ya know. And, if you're trying to offer distinctive vehicles, what's the deal with making Common (a rapster) your spokesman? Isn't there a rap dude with the name Upscale? Or Original? Or Distinguished?

Maybe Lincoln should appoint the old man from Monty Python's Holy Grail as its spokesman: "I'm not dead yet. Actually, I'm getting better. I think I'll go for a walk."

Mark Fields, Ford's President of the Americas (a title once held by Eva Peron, I seem to recall), said that the company is trying to redefine Lincoln as a brand for those who appreciate understated luxury. "It's not the person who wants to shout, 'I made it,' but wants to celebrate that." Yeah, that understated luxury thing worked real well for Checker Motors when it tried to position black Marathons as a 'low key alternative' to the Cadillac 75, didn't it?

Rust Belt: Out in the Midwest, where the women are strong from baking large pies and the roads are salted every winter, doncha know, there is apparently a serious problem with 300-pound wheels cum tires coming off big trucks. Tom McMahon does a good sum-up but some of the quotes cited left me scratching my head.

I can't get my head around the concept that "if there's a small nick in the tread, these chemicals can wick their way up to the steel belts and corrode them." Rubber-coated steel wire is applied to a raw tire carcass and coated again with a thick rubbery adhesive before a tire is cured. Why? In order to make the steel belt adhere securely to the rubber. Properly-vulcanized rubber is basically impervious to moisture (that's why the first raincoats were made of the stuff) and almost all chemicals.

'Corroded belts' sounds like something that comes from a bad retreading job. Or multiple ones - God only knows how many times these truck tires have been retreaded.

I haven't lived in the Salt Belt for almost 30 years. When I did, it was common knowledge that rust prevention started with frequent rinses of the undercarriage with hard water.

All Aboard: I am pleased to report that the train layout is now up and running.

car blog

Celebrate: In honor of the completion of my railroading endeavors (no animals harmed; no people killed), I cooked a filet, a pork chop and a chicken breast on the grill Saturday night and washed same-said meat down with a bottle of 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla. This is the only bottle I purchased; it was exceptional.

I'll have to buy some more next year; you can't get Seven Hills around here - the distribution is too limited. The 'nose' on this beverage was distinctive and exceptional. And the taste was just fine, fine, superfine. The winery is located next door to the distinguished Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant. A glass wall permits diners to check out the winemaking activity at Seven Hills.

Yeah, we gotta go back to Walla Walla. With an empty trunk. To fill with more cases of vino. I recommended this to my wife that at dinner. She concurs.

The 'Making A Difference' Crowd: Thomas Sowell provides a 'different' take: "Among the many mindless mantras of our time, "making a difference" and "giving back" irritate me like chalk screeching across a blackboard. ... Among those who make a difference by serving food to the homeless, how many have considered the history of societies which have made idleness easy for great numbers of people? How many have studied the impact of drunken idlers on other people in their own society, including children who come across their needles in the park - if they dare to go to the parks? How many have even considered such questions relevant as they drop their stone in the pond without thinking about the waves that spread out to others?"

This Thanksgiving, extend help to those who truly deserve it.

Thanks For Saying ... what needed to be said: Novelist Vince Flynn writes, "As an Irish-Catholic kid in the 1980s, I remember being disgusted with the thugs and the terrorists in the [Irish Republican Army] and I don't remember anyone who was Irish-American saying to Tom Clancy after 'Patriot Games': 'How dare you portray people in the IRA for what they were, a bunch of thugs and terrorists.' What drives me nuts is people like CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) who, any time somebody in fiction or on TV has a villain who happens to portray what is going on in the world today - Islamic radicals who embrace a cult of death and are running around killing innocent women and children - they get upset about it."

Immoral Music: Have you ever gotten so incensed at today's music that you've wanted every God-fearing clergyman to stand up and loudly denounce the morally-corrupting noise? As it turns out, it's already been done.

Gregory McNamee writes, "Eighty-odd years ago, scattered in labs and home workshops around the world, a group of inspired inventors wrestled out the secrets of how the human voice could be electrically amplified and recorded. The improved condenser microphones, among other bits of technology, that came of their work were a blessing, particularly for the male pop singers who had hitherto had to sing high in order to sing loud enough to cut- literally, with the power of their voices - a mechanical recording."

"Duly liberated, these men were now free to work the lower registers, and soon Bing Crosby would change the musical landscape with a mellow baritone. Crosby was not alone. But Crosby had a maddening advantage. Said Ruggiero, better known as Ross Columbo, "You had to watch out for him ... he made it look easy." Easy in all the senses of the word, for once Crosby and company started singing soft and low, the words to the old love songs began to sound, well, more loving. They set to crooning, filling movie soundtracks and radio programs with their invitations to forbidden dances, and they set hearts to pounding."

Pulpits were being pounded as well. The Cardinal of Boston denounced crooning, which he called "a base art" and "a degenerate form of singing," adding, "They are not true love songs. They profane the name. They are ribald and revolting to true men." (hat tip: Kathy Shaidle)

Welcome Tuvaluians: I hope you come in peace. This month - according to my server logs, my website has received over 160 visits from Tuvalu, a small Polynesian atoll island.

So, I extend my arm and say to all of you, "Klaatu Barada Nikto."

Quote Of The Day is from Calvin Trillin: "In modern America, anyone who attempts to write satirically about the events of the day finds it difficult to concoct a situation so bizarre that it may not actually come to pass while the article is still on the presses."

Friday November 16, 2007

Not Wiry Enough ... for a sports car: When I graduated from college and landed a job, I rewarded myself by purchasing a '63 Corvette Sting Ray. Later I got married and started a family, so I sold the Corvette and stuck to family-friendly cars.

By 1992, my kids were grown, so I bought a new Nissan 300ZX twin turbo coupe. Wheeeee! It was faster than Superman on crack. It cornered like it was on rails and had Lionel's Magna-Traction. But the Z rode like a truck and I soon tired of the jiggly ride and the niggling problems which kept propping up.

As part of my quest for a new car, I had to decide if I wanted another sports car. ... (more >>>)

On Second Thought ... aaaahh, the hell with it. Maybe I'll just buy this. It'll certainly make a memorable impression on valet parking dudes.

War Machine: You've probably read that a Lockheed P-38 'Lightning' fighter plane, with its distinctive twin-boom design, has been unearthed on a beach in Wales - 65 years after it ran out of gas and crash-landed. Beach strollers, sunbathers and swimmers often frolicked within a few yards of the aircraft, unaware of its existence until last summer, when unusual weather caused the sand to shift and erode.

The reappearance of the P-38 has stirred interest in British aviation circles and among officials of the country's aircraft museums, ready to reclaim another artifact from history's greatest armed conflict.

The Daily Gut reports: "This morning leading Democrats and progressives took action in regards to the ditched Lockheed P-38 Lightning's discovery. The Daily Kos and decried this as pollution and militarism that is all too indicative of President Bush and the neocon military industrial complex. They contend that the United States attacking the beaches of a stalwart ally in unconscionable."

"Echoing these sentiments, Senator Harry Rein (D-NV) put to the Senate floor a measure calling for cutting the funding of the war effort in the European Theater and for all troops fighting Nazi Germany to be brought home no later than December 2008. Presidential candidate Senator Barak Obama (D-IL) has also pledged to personally meet with Adolf Hitler to negotiate a peace and rebuild relations with the Nazi regime."

"Additionally, Greenpeace vowed to send The Rainbow Warrior to the crash site as it is threatening Wales."

Why The Weekly World News ... is no longer found at newstands: There are just too many bizarre real stories on the web.

From the Associated Press: 'Dinosaur Found With Vacuum-Cleaner Mouth'.

And ... from the Wall Street Journal: 'Roller-skating homeless man has a clothing label named after him'.

And ... courtesy of Ace: 'Pedophile Sentenced To Do Community Service ... At A Kindergarten'.

Quote Of The Day is from Dan Sparacino: "Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine." (hat tip: Tom McMahon)

Wednesday November 14, 2007

Local Market Adjustment: As you've probably have already read, Malaysia, Iran and Turkey plan to build an "Islamic car" fitted with a compass to find the direction of Mecca and a compartment in which to keep the Koran. The car is reportedly to be built by Proton.

Anyway, the whole thing got me wondering ... you know those little pine-scented, tree-shaped fresheners we Americans hang from our rear view mirrors? Do they make a different scent for the Middle East? And ... would the freshener be goat-shaped?

It's The Truth: In my opinion, The Truth About Cars is one of the best auto sites on the web. Yes, AutoBlog has much more content but TTAC is more thoughtfully written and the average IQ of the commenters is at least 30 points higher that those on AutoBlog.

Ten years ago, the Detroit News was the best source of auto industry information online. I rarely visit that site these days.

My two cents.

Catch 22 (Retén Veinte Dos): I volunteer at the local chapter of a nonprofit. This week we received the following communication from the organization's headquarters:

"As a recipient of Federal financial assistance, per the Executive Order 13166 entitled, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency", (your chapter) must take reasonable steps to ensure that qualified individuals with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to programs, services and information that (your chapter) provides. These individuals may request language assistance services (with a two-week advance notice) from (your chapter) if their lack of English fluency prevents them from benefiting from (your chapter's) programs or services."

This is a typical unfunded mandate ... we have almost no one proficient in foreign languages. We are chronically underfunded and have no spare money to hire translators. The only way we could do so is to cut services.

I've done a little research and found that these demands are some bureaucrat's interpretation of an order signed by Bill Clinton in 2000.

The Executive Order covers all "federally conducted programs and activities." Anything a federal agency does falls within the scope of federally conducted programs or activities. All of the over ninety agencies are responsible for developing and implementing "federally conducted plans" to ensure that persons who are LEP (Limited English Proficiency) have meaningful access to federal programs and activities."

We are not a federal agency; we are a nonprofit corporation. Nevertheless, some unidentified mid-level drone at DOJ has since decided that this order will now apply to us.

In 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a Policy Guidance Document, "Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - National Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English Proficiency". This LEP Guidance sets forth the compliance standards that "recipients of Federal financial assistance must follow to ensure that their programs and activities normally provided in English are accessible to LEP persons and thus do not discriminate on the basis of national origin in violation of Title VI's prohibition against national origin discrimination."

As originally written, national origin discrimination meant that you can't discriminate against Poles, Irish, Mexicans, etc. Sounds reasonable. But it has been reinterpreted to mean that you cannot give preference to, say, a Mexican proficient in English over one who speaks only Spanish. That's just nuts.

I have written before that the United States has too many laws/rules/orders. Everyone who owns a small business already knows this. The solution to this problem does not lie with Republicans or Democrats; both have an abysmal record on this score.

We need a hero - a political leader who will step up to the plate and ruthlessly simplify and streamline our government.

Meanwhile, Francis W. Porretto, the Curmudgeon Emeritus at Eternity Road, offers more tales of bureaucratic horrors. Excerpt: "The more you look, the more of it you see. The S-CHIP foofaurauw. The whole debate over "national health insurance" (i.e., socialized medicine). The expansion of the "public" schools from places of basic instruction into centers for every conceivable sort of "service" and activism. Legislators' staffs dedicated to "constituent service." Richly funded departments of Health and Human Services at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. Demands laid upon Washington for funds to succor the victims of every imaginable calamity, from the Black Tuesday atrocities to the floods in Westchester to the bridge collapse in Minnesota to the wildfires in Southern California."

"Simply as a practical matter, we should prefer "help" that actually helps: that is, that leaves the beneficiary stronger and better off than before. Government "help" just about never does that, though it does justify vast expansions of the alphabet agencies and even vaster increases in authority and taxation."

This Christmas, Buy Lincoln Logs Instead: Here's a good reason not to spend your hard-earned dollars on Legos. NRO contributor James S. Robbins noted that some of the therapy for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed involves Lego kits. The more sophisticated kits can cost hundreds of dollars.

He reached out to Lego Systems, Inc. to see if they would donate Lego sets to wounded warriors at Walter Reed who use the sets for therapy: "Quick response from Lego - forget it. Now we learn that Lego has awarded $5,000 to eight year old Kelsie Kimberlin, as part of their first annual Creativity Awards. Her entry was a 5 minute anti-Bush video set to an altered John Lennon tune ("Happy Springtime/Bush is Over")."

Robbins continues: "Problem: the video was actually produced by her father, Brett, who runs Justice Through Music, a civic engagement nonprofit. Brett is also noteworthy for being a convicted bomber (aka terrorist), and for having claimed to have sold pot to Dan Quayle in 1988. Just the kind of person you want associated with your child's favorite toy. Some free advice to Lego - want to fix this PR nightmare? Do the right thing and help the wounded warriors already."

Quote Of The Day is from the late Will Rogers: "Broad-minded is just another way of saying a fellow is too lazy to form an opinion."

Monday November 12, 2007

Car Sightings: Last Thursday, on I-5 near Woodland, WA, I saw a northbound bright-red 1960 Cadillac convertible doing about 75 mph with the top and all windows down. The driver was wearing a hoodie and was hunched over the wheel in the teeth-chattering, 'I'm Freezing To Death' position. Later, in Battle Ground, I spotted a 1934 Ford chopped top 3-window coupe. Looked like one of those fiberglass thingies. Nice, but it was painted plain vanilla white. Needed pinstriping. Or flames.

These guys were getting their last rides in before the November-to-May Pacific Northwest Rains arrived. (And they did - the very next day.)

joe sherlock auto bloggerLonely Bull: Spotted my first '08 Ford Taurus last week. It looked no better than the 500 it 'replaced'. Actually, it looked pretty much the same. No wonder no one seems to be buying them. (TTAC says there's a 110-day supply languishing on dealer lots.)

On the other hand, every time I see a Ford Fusion, I like it. And ... I see quite a few these days. If only Ford would get rid of those hideous and thick fake-chrome-ringed taillights.

Train Tale: David Freddoso of NRO writes, "Amtrak may be the only commercial enterprise on earth that actually loses money selling beer. Its food and beverage service requires an $80 million subsidy from Congress each year, and this despite the fact that the food and drink are not cheap. Airlines, facing hard times, have already cut back on free food and beverages. ... Part of the problem is that Amtrak's workers are ridiculously overpaid. Amtrak's food-service workers make $54,000 per year plus tips, according to congressional testimony from June 2005 - comparably skilled food-service workers make less than half that amount."

"Nor is rail travel especially environmentally friendly. If you are traveling more than 75 miles, the Congressional Research Service found in 1999 that Amtrak is slightly less fuel-efficient per passenger-mile than driving, and far less efficient than taking a bus. That study was conducted before the introduction of hybrid cars and better gas mileage."

Speaking Of Trains: The entire passenger consist for the now-defunct Seattle-area 'Spirit of Washington' dinner train is parked on the rail siding at the east end of Battle Ground. Eight gorgeous stainless steel streamlined cars including two dome cars and a round-end observation car. Maybe southwest Washington is going to get a dinner train.

Speaking Of Trains II: On Saturday morning, we brought the train platform in from the garage. The weather was sunny (between storms) and everything went smoothly. No animals were harmed; no people were killed. My wife has made detailed step-by-step notes over the years and we used them to guide us. And added to the notes as we discover more tips and pitfalls.

The train layout is now in place in the living room. There is still much work to be done but I hope to have it operational by Thanksgiving.

Buh-Bye: Ann Coulter referred to Keith Olbermann as "the Ward Churchill of MSNBC". As of October 30th, MSNBC is no longer in our expanded basic cable line-up. Which is just fine with me.

More Aid To Palestinians = More Murders: It's proven with an eight-year data graph here. Excerpt: "A lot of the correlation is probably accounted for by the simple fact that all humanitarian assistance is de facto security assistance. More US and EU money for schools and hospitals means that the Palestinians can shift their Saudi and Iranian money towards guns and ammo. Which may help explain why Palestinians are able to kill more people every time they get aid, and why they're forced to kill less people every time it's taken away." (hat tip - DANEgerus)

Name That Key Ingredient: Greg Gutfeld asks, "If olive oil is made from olives and corn oil made from corn, then what's baby oil made from?"

Thought For Today: If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Friday November 9, 2007

Where's My Flying Car? One of the most frustrating things I encounter when shopping for a new car is I can't find a flying car in any of the showrooms I've visited. When I was growing up, magazines like Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated and Popular Science predicted that tires and roads would soon be obsolete and we'll get around in flying cars. Such stories were profusely illustrated; the renderings often appeared in full color on the cover to help boost newsstand sales.

car blog

The skies were always clear blue skies with nary a belching smokestack in sight. (Perhaps the illustrators were prescient enough to realize that, in the future, factories would disappear because everything would be manufactured in China.)

Sometimes ... (more >>>)

Speaking Of Bubble-Roofed Cars ... my Dream Car note card set features two of them - the Lincoln Futura and GM Firebird III. If you're interested, buy some now.

My notecards will only be available until November 30th. Then they'll be gone forever, since I have very few left and will not be reprinting them. (UPDATE: Sold out.)

Word Jumble: Dick Cavett wrote: "I often wish an unwell part of my brain didn't notice such distractions as the fact that the letters in 'Al Sharpton' re-arrange to spell 'trash no pal'."

Question Of The Day: If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

Wednesday November 7, 2007

Car Sightings: I spotted at least a half-dozen Nissan Versas on the road yesterday in a short 25 mile drive. I've never seen so many before over such a short span. Is this a trend? Or just a local aberration?

Eating lunch alone at a window table, I observed that 10-15% of the vehicles passing by had noticeably-custom wheels - oversized, chromed, etc. All non-factory. On trucks and cars.

I also saw a Lincoln Blackwood - a very rare sighting - with oversized chrome wheels and a custom billet grille. Was this an attempt to hide its Lincoln-ness? I dunno. Left all the badges on though.

Field Trip: Last week, my wife and I visited the new IKEA store in Portland.

Everything sold there has strange names: Flerkorn, Hampen, Gøsa Vila, Nøresund, Ektørp, Lersta, Bjørk, Granat, Kulla. It all sounds like the Swedish Pig Latin used by The Muppets' Chef. Do Swedish visitors to the U.S. go to an IKEA store just to get a good laugh?

We had lunch in the cafeteria. My wife had salmon. I had the Swedish meatballs which were very tasty and drank a can of made-in-Sweden Pear Cider. I shoulda stuck to water. Or Diet Coke.

IKEA is owned by Ingvar Kamprad; he is a Swedish billionaire but drives a 15 year-old old Volvo 240GL. Looking out the cafeteria window, I saw two Volvo beaters (a fairly common sight in hippie-filled Oregon) cruising IKEA's parking lot and exclaimed, "Look! There's the head of IKEA." (permalink)

Most Rich People Are Smarter And Work Harder Than You: So writes Rob Port. "Of course, that isn't always true. There are the Paris Hilton's of the world who live extravagantly on the riches amassed by their smarter, harder-working ancestors. And there are those who simply luck into wealth or collect it through nefarious means. But, generally, the reason the guy in the "rich" part of town has a newer car than you do or a bigger house isn't because there's some cabal of greedy, oppressive troglodytes working to keep your wages down but rather because that guy is probably smarter than you. Works harder than you. And, perhaps most importantly, made better decisions in his life than you did."

"To put it bluntly, for every Paris Hilton in the world there is a Bill Gates and a Steve Jobs who rose to the top because of their brains, hard work and ability to innovate. This will anger a lot of the class warfare people who are likely union supporters and subscribe to John Edwards' "two Americas" theory, but those people are mostly angry because nobody wants to believe that their lack of fulfillment with their lives is their own fault. It's always easier to blame some invisible, anonymous conspiracy."

"If you're not as successful as you'd like to be in life it's probably because you're not that smart, or you're not making good choices in your life. Maybe you spend too much money downloading music off the internet or eat out at restaurants too often. Maybe you've been passed over for promotion because you've never opted to stay late at work and help out."

"When I hear a tale of woe about some poor person on television or read about it in the newspaper, I can almost always point to a reason why that person is poor and it's usually their own fault. Like an article about a woman who can't earn enough working two jobs to support five kids? Why did she choose to have five kids in the first place? And why didn't it work with her husband? Or maybe an article about a man who says that he can no longer afford his health insurance even as he poses for news pictures in front of a entertainment system complete with surround sound, flat-screen television and a satellite box? With a fancy new cell phone on his belt to boot?"

"Life is all about the choices we make, and when you make poor ones it's your own fault not mine. Your inability to be successful is no mortgage upon the success I've managed to wrest from the world for myself and my family." (hat tip - Kathy Shaidle)

Nuff said. Well, no ... let me add this: in the entrepreneurial world, a lot of failing business owners work hard but have never learned to work smart. And ... if you offer them performance-improving tips, they'll often reply, "I'm too busy to do that."

Hillary - The New Nixon: David Frum opines that Everyone Hates Hillary as he spends time "watching the Democrats steel their nerves and get ready to nominate Hillary Clinton ..." He notes: "They so desperately do not want to do this! They so don't like her! They are so aware of how overbearing she is, how scolding, how utterly, utterly uncharming. And yet they are going to do it anyway. You can feel them wishing: If only Barack Obama were less self-involved, if only John Edwards were less transparently phoney, we might have a better choice, if only, if only."

David's observations may be valid but that doesn't mean that Hillary won't win. Everybody hated Richard Nixon but he got elected anyway, didn't he? I'm just sayin' ...

Be afraid. Very afraid.

One From Column 'A', And ... Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you Spiritual. After all, it's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates as 'spicy beef with water chestnuts'. Or 'no personal checks'.

Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "Too many people in positions of responsibility act as if these are just positions of opportunity - for themselves. The ones who simply steal money probably do less harm than teachers who propagandize their students, media who slant the news or politicians who sell out their country's interests in order to get re-elected."

Monday November 5, 2007

Contradiction On Wheels: Almost every newish PT Cruiser I see carries Limited Edition badging.

If everything's a Limited Edition, what exactly is 'limited' about it?

Bio-Fuels, Twenty-First Century Ponzi Scheme ... or 'While you're getting yours, somebody else is getting screwed': The Smithsonian magazine has published a piece by Richard Conniff that exposes the bio-fuel industry. Positives like renewabilty, carbon neutrality and recycling waste are more than offset by negatives.

Things like ... oh ... food price inflation ("Cargill's chief predicted that reallocation of farmland due to biofuel incentives could combine with bad weather to cause food shortages around the world"); CO2 pollution ("when ethanol refineries burn coal to provide heat for fermentation, emissions are up to 20 percent worse for the environment than gasoline"); supply unreliability ("Switching to corn ethanol also risks making us dependent on a crop that's vulnerable to drought and disease"); soil erosion ("…growing corn requires large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, pesticides and fuel. It contributes to massive soil erosion, and it is the main source, via runoff in the Mississippi River, of a vast "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico"); and wildlife destruction ("The United Nations recently predicted that 98 percent of Indonesia's forests will be destroyed within the next 15 years, partly to grow palm oil").

Conniff quips that "the switch to corn ethanol sounds about as smart as switching from heroin to crystal meth."

Three-Buck Gas Doesn't Change Things Much: Jerry Flint writes: "How is it that $3 gasoline hasn't forced us all into itty-bitty Mini Coopers? Except in New York City, and perhaps Washington, D.C., Chicago and Boston, most commuters drive. We want to be comfortable and safe in our driving. We can afford it. If we rushed out and sold our big, safe, comfortable cars and trucks, trading them for little minis, we would be driving uncomfortably and less safely. We would lose more money on the trade-ins than we would ever save in lower gasoline bills."

"And frankly, $3 a gallon isn't that much trouble. At 15,000 miles, it costs $1,000 a year more than $2 a gallon. And maybe it's a bigger tax deduction, meaning that the IRS is paying for some of your fuel bill. Forget about carpooling. Everyone is going in different directions, and we all have errands on the way home. Forget about public transportation. In most of America it's a slow, miserable ride on a bus. It's worth $3 a gallon to avoid it."

We live in an age where people "treat themselves" to a $4 gussied-up cup of coffee and spend $400 at a day spa getting oiled, buffed and clipped (no pun intended).

In my opinion, people won't change their driving habits until gas hits $5.00/gallon. And they won't change their vehicle buying habits until it passes the seven dollar mark.

A Bad Prediction (in 1955) was made by Alexander Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times: "Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years."

Lewyt, who held patents for scores of inventions and once said he had chronic insomnia from thinking them up, was best known for the Lewyt vacuum cleaner, a compact machine with no dust bag that was designed to operate without distorting television and radio reception. He also invented the clip-on bow tie. Lewyt sold the company in 1958 and became a philanthropist. He died in 1988.

My parents bought a new Lewyt in 1953. I now have it in my garage and use it for cleaning car interiors sometimes. It still works and the canister is still shiny almost 55 years later.

Details on a Lewyt vacuum cleaner just like mine can be found here. There are six pages of near-obsessive photographs, too.

Some other predictions that didn't work out are listed here.

Headline Of The Week is from Unconfirmed Sources: 'Bob Vila to Help NASA Repair and Flip Space Station'.

New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. The reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

Definition Of The Day is for 'Inflation': Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

Thursday November 1, 2007

'What A Luxury Car Should Be.' ... was a late 1990s Lincoln advertising tagline. Unfortunately, that statement isn't true anymore.

Fifty years ago, Lincoln and Cadillac defined luxury automobiles in America. Competition from foreign cars was almost nonexistent. A Rolls-Royce was more than double the price of a Caddy or Lincoln. BMW made sedans but only offered its sports and touring cars in the U.S. And the Isetta. The 'big' Mercedes 300 sedan was pretty stodgy-looking, cost 25% more than a Cadillac 62 and had a puny 136 hp engine (less powerful than a Ford six) to pull its heavy 4,200 pounds of bulk. Meanwhile, the '57 Caddy offered a 300 hp V-8. Lexus and Audi did not even exist.

Fast-forward to 2007: In the first five months of 2007, Lexus sold 131,000 vehicles, BMW-badged vehicles totaled 119,000 and Mercedes - 99,000. Contrast those numbers with Cadillac's sales of only 81,000 units and Lincoln's woeful 61,000.

In the old days, Cadillac really lived up to its slogan, 'Standard of the World'. If you look at period newsreel footage, you'll see potentates, dictators, popes, celebrities and gangsters being ferried about in shiny black Caddys. Pope Pius XII had several Cadillacs (prewar and postwar), including a Derham-bodied model with a throne in the back seat that could be elevated. Then there were King Ibn Saud's fleet of twenty Caddy "harem cars" in Saudi Arabia. Created by coachbuilder Hess and Eisenhardt, they were 1953 fastback long-wheelbase Cadillacs with six doors and mirrored one-way glass in the passenger sections and divider glass between the chauffeur and the ladies. The cars cost $12,500 each - about three times the price of a standard Caddy.

When growing up, I lusted after Cadillacs. Caddys of the 1950s were easily recognized because of those gleaming red taillights perched atop those uniquely-shaped finned rear fenders. And the sparkling chromed, egg-crate front grilles. Cadillacs were distinctive and flashy, letting you know that the owner was someone who had 'arrived.' And who could forget the 'Dagmars' - those tit-shaped front bumper guards on '50s Cadillacs? They were named after a busty pinup and 'actress' of the day.

car blogThere was a custom car I used to see in my Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood when I was 9 or 10 years-old. It was a customized early-'50s red Cadillac convertible and was a rolling advertisement for the owner of Sam's Auto Body. The rear of the car was like the GM LeSabre showcar with the center jet pod made from the bullet nose of a '50 Studebaker. At the time, I thought it was the world's coolest car.

Caddys were the sheet-metal equivalent ... (more >>>)

Bad Pun Of The Day: A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."


This blog is about cars, automobiles, vehicles of various sorts and more.

The facts presented in this car blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

Spelling, punctuation and syntax errors are cheerfully repaired when I find them; grudgingly fixed when you do.

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by giving me free cars to test.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this car blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal), while patiently attempting to prove that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.

copyright 2007 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved