Thursday March 31, 2011
1956 Lincoln Capri - Successful Upgrade: Acquired in 1922 as a way for Henry Ford to keep his son Edsel occupied so that he didn't mess with the Model T, Lincoln was for years a premium brand, competing with the likes of Cadillac and Packard. Lincoln's first foray into the upper mid-priced field with the Zephyr happened during the Great Depression of the 1930s and was a response to Packard's downmarket 120 model.
After Edsel died in 1943, Lincoln began to drift ... (more >>>)
Local Bitchfest: Last week, the Columbian ran an article about business owner Jeff Shafer, who relocated his apparel manufacturing firm, Agave Denim - a maker of pricey designer jeans, from Southern California to Clark County in Washington state. He now employs about a dozen people.
I say good for him. This area is mostly a bedroom community with over 13% unemployment and, God knows, Clark County should be happy to have him. Every little bit helps.
"But nooooo," as the late John Belushi used to say ... ... (more >>>)
Definition Of The Day is for 'stand-up comedy': Putting your funny where your mouth is. (hat tip: Ric at Pugs of War)
Wednesday March 30, 2011
Making Change: Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, has written that the death of David E. Davis, Jr. "pretty much signals the end of the car magazine business itself."
Baloney. I've been writing about the decline of print media - including car mags - for years. So have others. Davis' demise is neither a game-changer nor a trend changer.
De Lorenzo has observed, "Over the years of doing this publication (My clarification: Peter is referring to the online-only Autoextremist, which is more of a blog than a "publication" and not a very active blog at that - it is generally updated once a week or less.), it became clear to me and countless other people in this business that the traditional print car magazines were dead - they just didn't know it yet.
Scrambling to catch-up while shoring up their online presence, the car mags tried to reinvent the model and at least get with the program, but to a bunch of enthusiasts who grew up with the monthly anticipation of waiting for their favorite car mag, the new world of the Internet turned over the content anthill, and all of a sudden there were hundreds upon hundreds of car publications to choose from, and the traditional car mags instantly got lost in the 24/7 cacophony that defines the web world today."
He concluded that "the traditional monthly print car mags are going to fade away like yesterday's news."
Well, duh. And, may I add, "Boo-freaking hoo." As Nelson Muntz might say, "Haw-Haw. Your information delivery system has become irrelevant."
Capitalism is about creative destruction. American capitalism is especially dynamic, quickly adapting new technologies and obsoleting once-solid business segments.
In the 1940s, 97% of all goods moved by rail. Today, most goods travel by truck along interstate highways. Railroads are shadows of their former mighty selves.
In 1966 ... (more >>>)
Dour Deutschland: The German broadcaster of The Simpsons said that it has decided not to show any episodes showing nuclear disasters in light of Japan's atomic emergency. "We are checking all the episodes and we won't show any suspect ones, but we won't cut any scenes," said Stella Rodger, a spokeswoman for the private broadcaster Pro7.
Various episodes have shown nuclear waste dumped in a children's playground, plutonium used as a paperweight as well as a replacement for AAA batteries on a TV remote, cracked cooling towers, luminous rats, irradiated squirrels with glowing, laser eyes and three-eyed mutant fish, as well as near-meltdowns (usually caused by Homer).
Don't the Germans have any sense of humor? I can't help but think of that 1991 episode in which Germans buy the Springfield nuclear powerplant for $100 million from Montgomery Burns. A spokesman is sent to interact with the plant workers: "Guten Morgen. I am Horst. The new owners have elected me to speak with you because I am the most non-threatening. Perhaps I remind you of the lovable Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes."
The new owners quickly find out ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "If a word means everything, then it means nothing. Stretching words like "marriage" and "family" to include all sorts of things that they never meant before is reducing these words - and the institutions they represent - to nothing."
Tuesday March 29, 2011
75 Years Ago ... Consumer Reports began publishing car-testing results with a report on 22 models in the June 1936 issue. Each car in the group sold for under $800 ($12,550 in 2011 dollars).
CR deemed 17 of them acceptable, and judged the Ford V8 Standard and the Plymouth De Luxe to be Best Buys for their low prices and good performance. The Pontiac De Luxe 6 (tricky handling), Willys 77 (poor visibility and ride), and Auburn 654 (high price and rough engine) were rated Not Acceptable.
During our 2010 trip to Southern California, I saw a gorgeous '36 Ford convertible at the Nethercutt Museum. The paint color was Washington Blue - the same as my parents' 1936 Ford Tudor.
In 1936, Consumers Union couldn't afford to buy cars; staffers borrowed them from friends and family. In 1954, Consumer Reports published its first auto reliability chart, based on responses from 50,000 subscribers.
Today the organization receives responses for 1.3 million vehicles.
Sad But True Social Commentary: Bernie at Planck's Constant has offered an explanation of why we do not see videos of looters in Japan.
He noted that writer Larry Elder has pointed out that "Japan's percentage of people living below the poverty line is about the same as ours, ... why isn't the crime rate in Japan about the same as ours?"
Bernie has observed, "Despite what we have been taught crime has nothing to do with poverty but rather with culture and values. If the Tsunami rolled over Newark, Detroit, Philadelphia or Baltimore we certainly would have seen the kind of looting urban blacks are famous for after a disaster. The reason? Most young blacks living in poverty have not accepted American culture and American values and in fact have no culture and values at all."
"Ghetto culture is not a culture - it is a disease ... (more >>>)
Lame Joke Of The Day: What do you do with a wombat? A: You play wom with it.
Monday March 28, 2011
Color Restrictions: Because of colorant shortages caused by the Japan quake, Ford has had to stop taking new orders for vehicles in Tuxedo Black and is limiting orders of three shades of red.
Chrysler told dealers it was restricting orders on vehicles in 10 colors, including two variations of black and three of red.
Other colors being restricted were Bronze Star, Rugged Brown, Hunter Green, Ivory, and Billet Silver.
No word yet from General Motors but some of their colors are probably affected too. Most of the brilliant red paints use some of this one particular ingredient.
The pigment involved is Xirallic, produced at only one factory in the world. Operated by German chemical company Merck KGaA, the Onahama pigment plant is near the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan.
Gone To The Great Racetrack In The Sky: David E. Davis, Jr., a legend in the auto publication business, has died at age 80.
He turned 'Car and Driver' into the world's largest automotive magazine; in 1986, he founded 'Automobile' magazine. Over his long career, he worked at all four major car print titles, including 'Motor Trend' and 'Road & Track'. John R. Bond personally fired him from R&T, where Davis was employed as an ad salesman in the 1950s.
Davis also worked in the advertising business and claimed to have come up with the memorable mid-1970s tagline 'baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet'.
Editor, publisher, ad man, auto factory worker, racer and raconteur extraordinaire, Davis has left a carved-in-granite mark on the motoring world.
I reviewed his 1999 hardcover book, 'Thus Spake David E.', here. RIP. (permalink)
My Rant Of The Month ... is about school buses at railroad crossings. Coming home from Portland, I must cross the tracks of the Columbia Basin Railroad at least three times.
This small railroad runs one lone train per week and the train travels at 5-10 miles-per-hour. Several years ago, every one of the three crossings had drop gates installed to meet a newly-enacted federal requirement.
Yet every #%&* school bus still stops at every #%&* crossing because of some stupid-ass law passed one-hundred years ago or thereabouts. And, empty or not, they remain stopped for 15-50 seconds as traffic piles up and frustrations mount.
I don't understand this. I remember that, in my youth, buses stopped at RR crossings just long enough to open the doors and shift into first gear - about three seconds or so. The doors were opened while the vehicle was still moving and shut just after the bus was winding out in first gear - at 5 mph or so.
The current situation is exacerbated by the fact that we live one mile from a bus barn and we experience a long parade of buses every school day.
It is a colossal waste of time and it is not saving any lives or doing any good whatsoever. It just pisses off the poor souls stuck behind those huge yellow diesel smoke-spewing tortoises.
I'm so sick and tired of this crap that I'm thinking of running for President in the next election with one lone item on my platform - the elimination of this moronic school bus law. I think there are enough other people who are angry about the tyranny of school buses that I might actually get elected. (permalink)
Coffin Fit: Elizabeth Taylor will spend eternity in an $11,000 mahogany casket.
TMZ reported that "the casket is a top of the line, traditional Jewish casket - built entirely out of wood using a special glue ... no nails whatsoever." It is the custom for Jewish folks to be buried in a simple wood coffin without metal.
Hmmmm. I wonder: what's the brand name of that particular adhesive - Jew Glue? I guess it helps the wood 'schtick' together.
The casket is lined in red velvet with a matching red pillow. If the fabric is distributed throughout the U.S., it could be referred to as National Velvet.
Here's an interesting tidbit about Liz's funeral: The service was scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm but, at Miss Taylor's request, it started late. She had left instructions that it was to begin at least 15 minutes later than publicly scheduled, with the announcement, "She even wanted to be late for her own funeral."
Speaking Of Glue ... Harry Wesley Coover Jr., the inventor of Super Glue, has died at age 94. Tennessee Eastman Co. first offered the cyanoacrylate adhesive for sale in 1958.
Lame Joke Of The Day: Why are crocodiles brown and flat? A: Because if they were yellow and round, they'd be lemons.
Friday March 25, 2011
Fair News: Reporting in Model Auto Review magazine, Hans-Georg Schmitt wrote about his visit to the 2011 Nuremberg International Toy Fair.
He reported that several firms are now marketing Chinese-made limited edition models made from resin. These compete with centrifugally cast white metal models made mostly in Europe. The resin models have better detail than their white metal counterparts and cost much less - often half-the retail price of hand cast metal ones.
Hans noted, "This material (resin) uses less expensive rubber molds than those used for diecasting. The quantity which can be produced from a mold is much smaller, but it will be enough to satisfy the shrinking collectors market. In spite of the economic advantages of this production method, no-one can be certain what will happen to the models in ten or 20 years. Will they survive?"
Good question. In 1984, I bought an expensive handbuilt 1955 Cadillac Coupe de Ville from Zaug Models, a now-defunct Swiss model maker. Within a few years, it became severely banana-warped and was worthless.
Schmitt also reported that all is not well with firms buying models from the Chinese, even diecast examples. "Minichamps had serious problems when their main manufacturer in China collapsed and ceased to supply them. The company chosen as a replacement supplied models of such poor quality that most of them had to be returned to the makers."
"All of the firms are now finding problems with rising costs for raw materials and for manufacturing, the latter due to Chinese workers' salaries rising to more acceptable levels. Also many Chinese firms are switching from producing model cars to making real car parts in the burgeoning local auto industry. This gives them fewer manufacturing problems and more profit." (permalink)
Let There Be Light: Earth Hour 2011 will take place this Saturday March 26 at 8:30 local time. Green Freaks, hippies, liberals, PC cultists, haters of electricity and Sustainability Wackos want all of us to turn off all our lights for an hour.
It is rumored that North Korea will have to borrow a table lamp from China in order to have a light to turn off.
Economist Ross McKitrick has written, "Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.
Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labor and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.
Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.
Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the Third World should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the West developed.
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity."
If there were no electricity, no one would know about Earth Hour. Computers would go dark, there would be no internet, no radio or television and printing presses would grind to a halt.
Metaphor Of The Week is from Ace, who remarked that Barack Obama is "about as threatening as Urkel's agent's aromatherapist's opthamalagist's hairdresser's panty shield."
Question Of The Day: Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours or so?
Thursday March 24, 2011
Road Hazards: Recently, I was headed down 142nd Avenue - a two-lane, heavily traveled country road with a 50 mph speed limit. On this gray, overcast and rainy Battle Ground day, I was following another car which slowed and hit its brakes. I couldn't figure out why.
Then, as the vehicle pulled in the opposing lane to pass, I saw the obstruction - two morons ... (more >>>)
The Last Movie Star ... is how Drudge appropriately headlined the passing of Elizabeth Taylor. She died at 79 from congestive heart failure.
In 1961, she became the highest-paid actress in America and the first star ever to be paid $1 million for a screen appearance (Cleopatra).
Taylor was married eight times. "I am a very committed wife," she once said. "And I should be committed too - for being married so many times."
That's a full life: Eight weddings and a funeral.
On a positive note, Dame Elizabeth raised lots of money for AIDS research and was a loyal friend to Rock Hudson when many shunned him during his fatal illness. And Ms. Taylor was a staunch supporter of Israel.
Furthermore, as Dan Cirucci has noted, "When she adopted a sickly little girl from an impoverished family in Mering, Germany in 1962, people said the child would never survive and they questioned whether Elizabeth Taylor would dedicate the necessary time and money to the child’s well being.
But Elizabeth Taylor saw the child through more than 10 operations to correct congenital defects and today, that little girl is 48-eight-year-old Maria Burton Carson, the mother of two of Elizabeth's 10 grandchildren."
While I'll always recall her performances in such movies as 'Father Of The Bride' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', I can't help but remember John Belushi's hilarious 1978 parody of a fat Liz munching and choking on a large chicken leg. RIP. (permalink)
Final Resting Places: Elizabeth Taylor will be entombed at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA in the Great Mausoleum - the final resting place of other Hollywood legends like Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Red Skelton, Walt Disney and Liz's good friend Michael Jackson.
Meanwhile, celebrity polar bear Knut may soon become the world's most famous stuffed animal - because German zoo keepers are considering stuffing the recently-deceased bear and putting him on display.
I'm not sure which I'd prefer - entombment or getting stuffed and displayed.
The Wayward Wind: To put things in perspective, there were 35 fatalities associated with wind turbines in the United States from 1970 through 2010.
Nuclear energy, by contrast, did not kill a single American in that time.
Quote Of The Day is from Groucho Marx: "Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy."
Wednesday March 23, 2011
Scale Acquisitions: I recently purchased a couple of model vehicles which I'll probably use on my train layout when it goes back up later this year.
The first is a ... (more >>>)
Spelling Bee: The Associated Press has decided that "e-mail" is now "email", "smart phone" is now "smartphone" and Calcutta is now Kolkata.
I guess that means that "Cold Cuts" is now "Kolkuts." All delis, please take note.
And at Lincoln, Zephyr is now MKZ.
Time Flies: Happy Birthday to Barbara Feldon - aka Agent 99 - who turned 78 this month.
And to William Shatner, who just celebrated his 80th. In my opinion, 'Shatner's Raw Nerve' is one of the best interview shows on television.
Leonard Nimoy also turned 80 this month.
Bad Pun Of The Day: It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to do it.
Tuesday March 22, 2011
Best Car Review Headline ... of the month, so far, belongs to Dan Neil in the Wall Street Journal: 'Camaro Convertible: Totally Genuine, Down to the Leaks'.
He remarked, "As I was heaving the big bruiser around in the back roads of North Carolina, I heard a strange sloshing in the back. Concerned - had someone spilled his bong? - I pulled over to investigate. I raised the canvas top halfway and there, pooled in the lined recess behind the rear seatback, was about a pint of rainwater."
"To effect the convertible, GM's designers insisted that the canvas roof retain exactly the same turret-style profile as the coupe roof. In order to do that, they extended the canvas-top mechanism below the beltline, thus creating the pocket for the pond to form. They certainly could have made life easier on themselves. I suspect, as they read this, they might wish they had."
Child Haters Offer Lollipops: Recently, the local paper reported that Clark County's two locally-based banks - First Independent and Riverview Community Bank - both have hired or reassigned staff to focus on commercial loans.
Good luck with that. In my experience, these are the two least business-friendly banks in the area. And most of their branches have Formica countertops.
Do They Bowl Weekly? Until last week, I had never heard of the Arab League. I know about Arab Street however.
Now there are reports that the League is falling apart. Maybe the shoe rental has become too costly.
Best Political Dig Of The Month: At a South Boston neighborhood's annual Saint Patrick's Day political roast, Senator Scott Brown mockingly dismissed suggestions that his senior colleague, Senator John Kerry, was out of touch, quipping, "I don't think he's an elitist - and neither do his butlers."
Liberal Quietude: William Katz has written, "Have you noticed the absolute silence of the political left on the tragedy in Japan? Oh, yes, a few leftist tongues are wagging about the nuclear issue, the better to send us all back to the "environmentally friendly" stone age.
But as to the tragedy itself the thousands dead and missing, the massive dislocation, the shortage of food nothing, absolutely nothing.
Compare please to Haiti, where the left rushed in where real angels feared to tread. The rock stars were on their private jets in minutes, flying down to embrace Haitian relief. The result? Haiti today, by most accounts, looks pretty much the same as it did the day after last year's earthquake.
I guess Haitians are just more deserving, although I know not why."
Bad Pun Of The Day: Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, "You stay here, I'll go on a head."
Monday March 21, 2011
Preferred Parking: A segment on last week's Top Gear, featuring a Ferrari F40 supercar, triggered a memory.
In the early 1990s, we often dined at the Couch Street Fish House (it closed in 2000) in the questionable neighborhood (aka - seedy, filled with drunks and drifters) of Old Town Portland. The establishment had a small valet lot and, when we arrived in my Lincoln Mark VII, the car was always buried in obscurity amongst the other vehicular iron. When I purchased my new '92 Twin Turbo Nissan 300ZX and fitted it with chrome wheels, the valets parked it right next to the door, like a piece of automotive jewelry.
One evening, I exited the restaurant and found my Z buried amongst the more plebeian vehicles. It had been dethroned; a low-slung, red Ferrari F40 was parked by the door. Fame - especially car fame - is fleeting.
I just learned that Couch Street's affable host, Sherwood Dudley, who was until recently the maitre d' at El Gaucho in downtown Portland, has moved up the street to Wilfs in the Union Train Station.
Irony On Rails: On Saturday, Amtrak's Wilmington train station was renamed in honor of Vice President Joe Biden "following major renovations made possible with stimulus funds."
Amtrak CEO and chief ribbon-cutter Joe Boardman got stranded when the high-speed Acela train was stuck in Baltimore. So ... (more >>>)
History Repeats Itself? Russ Vaughn has written convincingly that Barack Obama is really former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.
He noted that "the slick, smooth-talking Nagin could be counted on to cultivate positive relationships in the majority black community while comforting the doubtful whites."
"The parallels between the two are glaring: fast-moving, glib talkers, pushed to political heights precisely for the reason that they don't look or sound like the majority of black people they supposedly represent. Acceptable to liberals, particularly those wealthy liberals who have the means to advance the political careers of media-pleasing blacks who advance the cause of socialism, these slick but inept black politicians serve a very useful purpose to the socialist, communist movement: useful tools, useful fools."
Headline Of The Week ... so far, is from The Peoples Cube: 'Obama suggests No-Fly Zone in Libya be modeled on his No-Decision Zone at White House'.
Separated At Birth: Is it just me or does Muammar Gaddafi look like a seedy carny ride operator who runs the Tilt-A-Whirl at county fairs?
Lame Joke Of The Day: Why was the Willow weeping? A: He was un-Poplar.
Friday March 18, 2011
Tire Tales: I've read a lot of online commentary praising Michelin tires. I've not have good luck with them. My Nissan 300ZX, both of my Lincolns and my wife's Avalon came with Michelins as original equipment.
I didn't think much of the tires - they rode hard, wore fast and the M+S all-weathers were lousy in snow. And unexceptional in the rain.
The Michelins were replaced with either Pirellis or Toyos. I've had particularly good experiences with Pirelli tires.
A friend of mine wrote, "I stopped buying Michelin after my two Michelin All-Terrain WXR truck tires 'chunked' on the beltway at 55 mph. I complained to the company and they cut me short by telling me their truck tires aren't guaranteed because of severe service.
Hell, I don't boondock, don't go off road and always check my pressures frequently.
After arguing ... (more >>>)
Radioactive News: It is difficult to know whom to believe regarding the nuclear situation in Japan. Reports vary between Armageddon and Animal House's Chip Diller: "Remain calm. All is well."
People in the West Coast are making a run on iodine tablets, clearing out drugstore shelves. Pharmacists across California report being flooded with requests. State and county officials spent much of Tuesday trying to keep people calm by saying that getting the pills wasn't necessary, but then the United States Surgeon General supported the idea as a worthy "precaution."
Who knew that a nuclear meltdown in Japan would involve Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Irish Nutrition: For St. Patrick's Day, my wife made homemade Irish soda bread. I had some for lunch along with potato soup and a pint o' Guinness.
For dinner we had a delicious homemade shepherd's pie along with more soda bread and, of course, more Guinness. I first experienced shepherd's pie at a Croydon pub during a business trip to England in 1974.
Irony Alert: On Wednesday, President Obama's only scheduled event at the White House that wasn't closed to the press was a ceremony in which he accepted a "transparency" award for being open to the press.
Poor Sauce Management Skills: Frank J. Fleming has written, "Obama is not very good at being president. I wish I could give more constructive criticism, but he just really sucks at it. His best course of action would be to resign and hope someone better takes over, but maybe he's afraid no one else will give him another job after they saw how he did as president."
"I'm not going to let you manage this Arby's. You'll just stand around useless when there's a crisis such as us running out of Horsey Sauce."
Realizing that Barry O. is not the only bad leader in the history of the world, S. Weasel pointed out that "at least the Romans got fiddle music."
Which makes me wonder: Did Nero's wife try to get everybody to eat arugula?
And Furthermore: The press made much ado about Obama wearing a green tie for St. Patrick's Day. Hardly. If it had contained one micro-milliliter less of green dye, it would have been gray.
Even the color of the man's neckwear is diluted and wimpy.
Question Of The Day: How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Thursday March 17, 2011
Discretion: Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary's apartment when Paddy Murphy loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other five continue playing standing up.
Michael O'Conner looks around and asks, "Oh, me boys, someone got's to tell Paddy's wife. Who will it be?"
They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.
"Discreet?! I'm the most discreet Irishmen you'll ever meet. Discretion is me middle name. Leave it to me."
Gallagher goes over to Murphy's house and knocks on the door. Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants.
Gallagher declares, "Your husband just lost $500, and is afraid to come home."
"Tell him to drop dead!", says Murphy's wife.
"I'll go tell him." says Gallagher.
Irish Nun Story: The 98 year-old Mother Superior lay dying in an Ireland convent. The nuns gathered around her bed trying to make her last hours comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink but she refused.
Then one of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering a bottle of Jameson's Irish whiskey received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk. Back at Mother Superior's bed, she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had consumed the whole glass.
"Mother," one nun asked earnestly, "Please give us some wisdom before you leave us."
The old nun raised herself up in bed and said, "Don't sell that cow."
Irish Business Lesson: You'll find it here.
The Best Pub: Three Irishmen are sitting around in a tavern, debating which is the best pub.
The first says, "Aye, this is a nice bar, but where I come from, there's a better one. At MacDougal's, you buy a drink, then you buy another drink and then MacDougal himself will buy your third drink!"
The second then starts, "That sounds like a nice pub but, where I come from, there's a better one called Quinn's. At Quinn's, you buy a drink, Quinn buys you a drink. You buy another drink, Quinn buys you another drink."
Then the third pipes up, "You think that's good? Where I come from, there's this place called Murphy's. At Murphy's, they buy you your first drink, they buy you your second drink, they buy you your third drink and then, they take you in the back and get you laid!"
"Wow!" exclaim the other two. "That sounds fantastic! Did that actually happen to ye?"
"No," replies their friend, "But it happened to me sister!"
Wednesday March 16, 2011
Universal Stability: Perusing the 2011 Consumer Reports Auto Issue, I noticed that almost every vehicle now offers electronic stability control as an option or as standard equipment.
Introduced in 1995, stability control was once found only in the most expensive models. When we shopped for a new car in 2005, we eliminated the Honda Accord, Mazda6 and Subaru Legacy from our list because ESC was unavailable. By 2007, electronic stability control could be had in roughly 50% of new North American models.
For the 2012 model year, the U.S. will require all passenger vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have ESC.
Quote Of The Day is from Henny Youngman: "My doctor grabbed me by the wallet and said, "Cough!""
Tuesday March 15, 2011
Old Friends: Recently, I was thumbing through a book and came across some information on old toys, including information on Manoil, a manufacturer of diecast toy vehicles. Memories came flooding back.
The first toy car I can remember was ... (more >>>)
God Bless These Priests: 'Baby Joseph', who was hours from being pulled off life support at a Canadian hospital has been rescued by the national director of Priests for Life and taken to the U.S. for treatment.
Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli suffers from a rare, progressive neurological disease which, Canadian doctors said, has left him in a vegetative state beyond recovery. He has been at the Children's Hospital in London, Ontario, since Fall 2010.
The Priests for Life website noted: "The medical board overseeing his case is apparently convinced that giving proper care to 'Baby Joseph' is futile. They don't mean that the medical care won't help him. They mean his life in its current condition isn't worth the trouble."
This is what happens when cost-conscious bureaucrats are given stethoscopes and allowed to make medical decisions.
Coming soon to an Obamacare-ruled medical facility near you. (permalink)
Speaking Of Babies ... one of the victims of last week's massacre of a Jewish family on the West Bank was a three-month old infant. The Obama Administration responded - not by condemning the knife-wielding Palestinian Arab terrorists and their supporters - but by noting that Israeli settlements "are illegitimate."
Then, in the midst of the horror in Japan (9.0 magnitude earthquake, massive tsunami, aftershocks, thousands of lives lost, multiple nuclear meltdowns, radiation leakage, etc.), the Middle East inferno (Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain), soaring U.S. gas prices, chronic unemployment, the budget crisis and ever-rising debt, the President filled out his NCAA brackets and played another round of golf, while wishing he were President of China instead.
What a clueless bozo.
Meltdown: All the news networks have been interviewing "nuclear experts." Every one of them seems to be a stern-faced, older male wearing a dark business suit and serious tie.
Shouldn't a nuclear expert "with experience" have a giant head, glow green and look more like Morbo from Futurama?
Quote of the Day is from stock guru Peter Lynch: "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon."
Monday March 14, 2011
Blacklisted: Every year, Consumer Reports magazine rewards vehicles with the worst reliability with big black dots.
This year's 'winners' include Audi A6, BMW X5, BMW 135i, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid, Dodge Challenger R/T, GMC Yukon hybrid, Jaguar XF, Mercedes GLK350 and 450, Mercedes GL-Class, Mercedes R-Class, Mini Cooper S and Nissan 370Z.
Was There A Typhoon Or Tsunami In Portland Last Week? Something I ordered was supposed to arrive on Friday. When I checked UPS Tracking, I was informed that the package was at the Portland, Oregon distribution center but would not be delivered because of "adverse weather conditions."
On Friday, it was partly sunny with a low of 37 and a high of 55 degrees. What's adverse about that?
Moving Experience: On Saturday, we awoke to pouring rain. But it stopped later in the day, so we took the opportunity to move the train platform from the living room to its storage spot in the garage.
The move went smoothly with neither injury nor incident.
Speaking Of Trains ... Happy birthday to my dad, a lifelong railroad man who built a three-level Lionel train layout for me when I was only four years old.
He would have been 92 today. More on my dad here.
Hidden Bank Fees: The Onion lists several that you may not have known about, including:
• Wells Fargo: $10 to speak to a human teller, $20 to speak to a cute one
• Chase: $2 fee if Chase Rewards debit card is placed next to a debit card from a competing bank
• Citibank: Customers who think Citibank has a 'y' in its name are penalized, monthly, on an increasing scale
• Bank of America: Safe deposit boxes now on coin-operated timers
Bad Pun of the Day: When fishermen get too competitive, they start suffering from pier pressure.
Friday March 11, 2011
Decontented: The Consumer Reports Auto Issue always contains reliability data on different models. Prior to 2007, data published covered eight model years. Now reliability details are only published for 6 model years. The current issue only offers data for 2005-10 vehicles.
Yet the price of CR has increased. Go figure.
RIP: Johnny Preston, an American pop music singer best known for his big 1960 hit, 'Running Bear', has died at 71. The 'Umpa, Umpa' Indian sounds on the record were made by its writer/producer, The Big Bopper, and his friend, country music star George Jones.
More trivia: 'The Mummy', a two-minute novelty record from 1959 was performed by Bob McFadden (who voiced the title character) with poet/songwriter Rod McKuen playing the beatnik: "Oooooh, man, I don't dig that jazz ... you know, Brubeck, Shearing, Modern Jazz Quartet."
McKuen has claimed that Bill Haley & His Comets were the band used in the recording session.
McFadden, who died in 2000, went on to voice-over fame, as the voice of Franken Berry in cereal commercials, as well as '60s TV cartoon characters Milton the Monster, Cool McCool and Snarf on ThunderCats.
Spring Ahead: Don't forget - this weekend is the beginning of DST - Daylight Stimulus Time - more hours of afternoon light so that you can work longer to pay more taxes to Obama. So he can buy Harry Reid some cowboy poets.
Oh, right. It's also called Daylight Savings Time.
Someone once wrote to Jonah Goldberg at NRO and offered this observation: "It seems clear to me that global warming is being caused by Daylight Savings Time.
Think about it - an extra hour of the hot sun every day. Did we have global warming before the advent of DST?
This seems so obvious to me that I am surprised that it is not being talked about."
I would add that Freon was once used as a coolant. Then the Montreal Protocol of 1989 phased it out. Now we've got Global Warming.
Coincidence? Or What?!
Kiddies Vs. Lifestyle: Charles J. Hill has noted, "One nice thing about God is, while He can't help but overhear chatter about 'If we have a baby, we won't be able to afford arugula with our salads anymore,' He doesn't respond with a lightning bolt to the gonads. Usually."
Question Of The Day: Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
Thursday March 10, 2011
Low Voltage: Mark Tapscott has written, "President Obama wants America to have one million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in four years (2015). Based on the latest sales data for the Chevrolet Volt - the government-backed, green automotive Hail Mary from Detroit - Obama's goal isn't going to be met." One million, eh? Good luck with that.
While GM sales overall were up 46% last month, Volt sales fell from 321 units in January to 281 in February, a 12% decrease. The outlook is even worse for Nissan's widely-heralded, all-eletric Leaf. Only 67 were sold in February, compared to 87 in January, for a 23% decline.
For most Americans, the Toyota Prius is a more practical, proven and economical choice. That's why 13,539 of them were sold in the U.S. last month.
Schadenfreude - Breakfast Of Champions: A few months after firing Juan Williams, NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has been canned. Karma is a ... etc.
Vivian's supposed to appear on Charlie Sheen's videocast this week to explain why this is really an example of 'Winning!'
Or maybe announce that she'll become one of Harry Reid's cowboy poets. (permalink)
In Control. James Lileks has previously complained about overly-complex remote controls: "Today's remotes have more buttons than a Prussian lancer's dress uniform! Why, in my day remotes were the size of heirloom Bibles, and they had one button: on!"
I first saw a remote control in 1960 at the home of my friend Marty Hayes in Northeast Philadelphia. His dad was a well-to-do psychiatrist and the family always had the latest cars and gadgets.
Including an Admiral color television with a Son-R (sonar) remote control.
The handheld controller, with gold-tone finish and ivory buttons, could turn the television off or on, change any of the three available channels and adjust the volume to four different settings.
As creative, mischievous teenagers, we quickly found that a brass-finish, fabricated wire LP record album holder could, if the album separators were 'strummed' properly, create the sound necessary to change the channel and would override the signal from the Son-R.
We used this scientific discovery to torment Marty's younger sister whenever she had control of the remote.
"Mom! Tell them to stop strumming the record rack! They're driving me nuts!" (permalink)
Well Done, Discovery: The space shuttle Discovery has returned to Earth from its final mission, never to soar in orbit again. Discovery landed for the final time at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday. Mirabile dictu!
In the end, Discovery - NASA's oldest and most traveled shuttle - flew its last mission the same way it flew its first: with grace and pride, and with keen eyes around the world watching it every step of the way. After 27 years and 39 flights, Discovery's wheels rolled to a stop for the very last time under the warm sun at the Florida spaceport's Shuttle Landing Facility.
When Discovery did its first orbit back in 1984, I owned a manufacturing business with the same name. I was, therefore, always a fan of this particular shuttle. On this final run, it passed within sight of our house Wednesday evening. My wife and I looked to the sky and saluted what seemed to be a moving object.
I hope it was Discovery and not a lost Canadian goose.
Quote of the Day is from Albert Einstein: "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."
Wednesday March 9, 2011
Why Not Attach Playing Cards To The Wheels With Clothespins? According to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, "New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other."
Another One Bites The Dust: Ultra-exclusive luxury sports car manufacturer Bristol has "gone into administration" - the British version of bankruptcy - after running into financial trouble. The storied English marque has been peddling its cars through a single showroom in London since inception. All of the 22 factory staff have been laid off.
"The company, famed for its Blenheim and Fighter sports cars, switched from building planes to cars after World War II and gained notoriety as a low-volume builder of bespoke rides for the British upper crust."
Automobile production began in 1946. Until 1961 all Bristol cars used evolutions of the 6-cylinder prewar BMW-derived engine. All post-1961 Bristols, including the current Blenheim and Fighter models, used Chrysler engines, mostly V8s. Tina Turner and Sir Richard Branson have owned Bristols.
These days, the company is perhaps best known for a $300,000 sports car powered by a Chrysler V10 engine with twin turbochargers reportedly producing 1,012 horsepower and believed capable of speeds of 270 mph. Bristol claimed that the car was electronically limited to a mere 225 mph. (permalink)
Sweet Taste; Sour Return: Malcolm Berko, syndicated columnist, financial advisor and never a man to mince words, offered this reply to a reader whose broker had recommended a couple of stocks - to invest for conservative long-term growth in the reader's IRA - including Tasty Baking:
"Every once in a while, you come across a broker who should return to broker school or who needs a frontal lobotomy because thinks a blue chip is made by Doritos. Your broker fits all three categories. And if those recommendations are an indication of this fellow's intelligence, then he has a room temperature IQ and your IRA won't be worth spit on a sidewalk."
As to the stock, Berko has noted, "Tasty Baking Co., a Philadelphia bakery founded in 1914, is a Norman Rockwell memory. Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, I lusted after TSTY's savorous Krimpets and Kandy Kakes, its succulent Pineapple Cheese Danish, pies, doughnuts and honey buns, relishable Kreamies, gustable cupcakes and mouthwatering Banana Muffin Loafs, Tasty Treats, Pecan Swirls, Pound Cakes, Swiss Rolls and various flavored wafers.
Add an RC Cola, a Nehi Orange Soda or a Squirt, and I was in hog heaven … and it only cost me a quarter at the mom-and-pop grocer across the street from my father's lumberyard.
Neither the grocer nor the lumberyard is there anymore. And after 96 years of baking delectable vendibles that kept dentists in clover, TSTY may also fade into the ethers of the past.
TSTY never had revenues of more than a half-million dollars a day. It traded in the mid $20s in 1997 and paid a special $7.20 dividend in 1993. It may follow in the footsteps of Cerbona, Mrs. Fields Cookies plus a few other snack food makers and give up the ghost.
This iconic Philadelphia baker has had to defer payments on a $78 million bakery in Philadelphia due to years of flat revenues, exacerbated by the big bucks it can't collect from A&P, Pathway and Super Fresh stores, which recently went belly up. Now, this severely cash-strapped bakery is considering several options, including a sale, Chapter 11 or even a merger with Boeing.
He concluded that TSTY is "not a suitable IRA recommendation."
I haven't had any Tasty Baking products in a while but my Philly friends tell me that prices have been jacked-up, products have shrunken, they don't taste as good and baking consistency as well as icing quality has suffered.
Quote of the Day is from Bill Vaughan: "An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."
Tuesday March 8, 2011
Cool Ride: It was chilly (low 40s at noon) on Monday but the sun came out for a bit, so I fired up the '39 Plymouth and took a drive. There was still a lot of snow on the mountains in the distance.
The weather forecast is calling for rain the rest of the week. So what else is new?
Am I Blue? A friend recently asked me about blue-tinted auto glass. I have never seen any in a production car, probably because blue is not very good as an ultraviolet absorber and heat reflector.
Back in 1981 or so, a guy named Mark approached my plastics manufacturing company, asking if we would produce tinted-blue Plexiglas windows and windshields for his custom car. The vehicle was a one-off fiberglass creature that he had designed and had built. It was a very impressive-looking, two-seater, mid-engined sports car. The auto was to be finished in metallic blue paint and he wanted to carry the blue theme into the windows.
Mark made the molds; we modified them so they'd work better and we did the heating and forming. All parts were complex, three-dimensional curvilinear shapes, even the side windows. A couple of months after we completed the work, he came back with photos of the finished car. Mark was very happy with our work, commenting that we were the only people on the West Coast willing to tackle the job. But we never saw the guy or the vehicle again.
I wonder where the car is now?
Nothing Lasts Forever: A home on the Philadelphia street where I grew up was demolished recently. The residence had been destroyed by an explosion last June.
Many of the homes on this street, including the one my grandparents bought new in 1925, were built by Harry R. Moyer of 2035 Allegheny Ave. Promotional materials of the period described them as "masterpieces of home architecture, located in the exclusive and dignified Northwood Section of Frankford."
In the driveway on Foulkrod St. - Spring 1959
Unreal Expectations: Mark Steyn has written, "In the U.S., the baby boomers did not have enough children to maintain their mid-20th-century social programs. I see that recent polls supposedly show that huge majorities of Americans don't want any modifications to Medicare or Social Security.
So what? It doesn't matter what you "want." The country's broke, and you can vote yourself unsustainable quantities of government lollipops all you like, but all you're doing is ensuring that when, eventually, you're obliged to reacquaint yourself with reality, the shock will be far more devastating and convulsive."
Bad Joke Of The Day: Which of the knights at King Arthur's round table was the fattest? A: Sir Cumference.
Monday March 7, 2011
Worth A Read: At The Truth About Cars, Jack Baruth has done a review of the Goodyear blimp. And, let's not forget: "Everybody needs to get a blimp, cause blimps are pretty pimp."
Bloodletting: According to the Onion News Network: "New Medicare plan will allow barbers to practice medicine again."
Give Me The Simple Life: Gregory Sullivan has written, "Here in our ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere, Maine, we never have to worry about scrimping and saving like normal people do, because we don't have any money. We don't clip coupons, because coupons are for buying Regular People Things. All our stuff already comes in white packaging with only nouns on it. If you're saving ten cents on a package that has adjectives or adverbs, or - egad! - a brand name on it, you're out of our league."
"We are very different from most people. The "luxuries" that most people enjoy look like an ordeal to us. It's very expensive to dress as badly as a fashionista. Vacations look like a Bataan Death March with a bad buffet added - a march that begins right after a TSA reenactment of the clearing of the Warsaw ghetto spliced onto a prostate exam.
"No thanks, I'll pass," has held us in good stead for most popular things. We're not going to eat dog food every day so we can splurge and eat bait and call it sushi in a restaurant once a week."
When money was tight for the Sherlocks (in the early days of my first small business venture), we still had a good time. We called it "making our own fun." And we did. Cooking wineburgers - hamburger stretched with a lot of breading into which a copious amount of Gallo Hearty Burgundy - from a gallon jug - was poured.
Gregory noted: "We go to the library to get books, and we buy them at flea markets." Me too. Not so much flea markets and used book stores anymore - can't handle the smell ... but the library ... absolutely. Many of the book reviews you read on this site come from library books. No Kindle needed at our house.
"My wife and I go out for a walk together almost every day," writes Gregory. We do too, when the weather's nice. Otherwise, we make sure that we spend at least 12 minutes every day (according to my wife ... I don't time it) communicating face to face.
Going to free (or low-cost) concerts, performances or county fairs (which were cheap in those days) was something else we used to do. Or taking a day trip to the Oregon coast - only an hour away back in the day - to watch the ocean swells.
We've got more discretionary income now but still enjoy the simple things.
Heh. Indeed. Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, has written, "I would vote for a syphilitic camel over Barack Obama in 2012, so therefore I would even vote for Huckabee or Gingrich. But I might try to talk the camel into running one more time."
Quote Of The Day: "A fool and his money can throw one heck of a party."
Friday March 4, 2011
Uncaring: I have often felt that Vancouver, WA specifically and Clark County generally don't give a hoot about business. That's why the area remains a bedroom feed-lot community for Portland. That also explains the bridge traffic congestion during rush hour. The various private and governmental organizations charged with bringing new business to the area over the past three decades have failed miserably at their task.
Recently, Subaru announced that they would build ... (more >>>)
Big Stink: In San Francisco, low-flow toilets are causing no-flow sewers.
The stench from the sewers in that earth-hugging city has become overwhelming, "especially during the dry summer months."
Low-flow toilets - it was claimed - would save the environment. From what or for whom was never disclosed.
Proving once again that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, most eco-friendly, flow-restricted toilets don't work worth a ... well ... crap.
Humorist Dave Berry wrote, "They work fine for one type of bodily function, which, in the interest of decency, I will refer to here only by the euphemistic term 'No. 1'. But many of the new toilets do a very poor job of handling 'acts of Congress', if you get my drift."
Then there's those preachy, sanctimonious messages in hotel bathrooms about limiting water usage. The whole idea of using less water is baloney anyway. Here's a hotel bathroom sign I'd like to see.
Headline Of The Week is from The Onion: 'Greyhound Now Charging Customers $15 Fee To Vomit In Aisle'.
Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "I know people who are blind or retarded who nevertheless have jobs. So you can imagine how much sympathy I have for able-bodied men who are begging on the streets."
Thursday March 3, 2011
Need For Speed: In the UK, motorway speed limits could rise to 80 mph to shorten journey times and boost the economy under a radical review of road safety, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said.
He is concerned that anti-car campaigners have for too long used "road safety" as a convenient excuse to both "stymie raising speed the limit on motorways from the current 70 mph, and to push for more 20 mph zones in urban areas - even when they are inappropriate."
We've visited Great Britain numerous times and observed that the average speed on motorways (mostly M1 and M4) was close to 100 mph.
Our last driving experience was in a rented Nissan Micra which struggled to reach the 90 mph mark. We usually found ourselves in the slow lane being overtaken regularly by large, menacing lorries.
Nevertheless, Britain supposedly has some of the safest roads in Europe, and within that motorways are by far the safest.
RIP: Robert Reder, co-founder of Monogram Models has died at age 93.
Starting in 1935, Reder was a designer and draftsman at Comet Model Airplane & Supply Co. in Chicago. During World War II, he worked with the Navy to develop a national program for building identification models, used for training by pilots and anti-aircraft gun crews.
In 1945, he and pal Jack Besser pooled their $5,000 life savings and started Monogram Models in his mother's basement. Monogram initially produced with balsa-wood ship and airplane model kits, but soon switched to injection-molded plastic and added automotive subjects.
The Truth About Shopping Bags: Plastic shopping bags are 200 times less damaging to the climate than cotton hold-alls favored by environmentalists.
"Unpublished Government research suggests the plastic carrier may not be an eco villain after all ... A draft report by the Environment Agency ... has found that ordinary high density polyethylene (HDPE) bags used by shops are actually greener than supposedly low impact choices."
The study found that a paper bag emits four times the carbon dioxide as a plastic bag. So to make up for choosing paper over plastic, you'd have to reuse your paper bags at least three times instead of just tossing them into the recycling.
Even worse, you'd have to use an eco-friendly cotton shopping bag 171 times before it could even counteract the negative environmental impact from its production. Furthermore, researchers at the University of Arizona say that reusable grocery bags are teeming with fecal matter and bacteria, often more than a typical bathroom.
When plastic bags became popular in the 1970s, they were claimed to be far more ecologically sound than paper ones, since paper plants were producers of dioxin, a toxic chemical and suspected carcinogen used in paper manufacturing.
Then the focus turned to the alleged evils of polyethylene plastic bags. Now the worm has turned again.
Coughing Fit: I just opened a new bag of Halls cough drops. The individual wrappers are now imprinted with inspirational messages such as 'You've survived tougher', 'Don't waste a precious minute' and 'Don't give up on yourself'.
The cough drops now carry the slogan ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from John Maynard Keynes: "Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering what average opinion believes average opinion to be."
Wednesday March 2, 2011
February Auto Sales: U.S. auto sales rose 28% in February (versus Feb. 2010) as the lure of discounts from automakers led by General Motors outweighed concerns about higher oil prices. Easy credit helped, too. It was the best month for auto sales since August 2009's Cash For Clunkers.
Light vehicle sales totaled 13.4 million SAAR in February from the 12.6 million SAAR in January.
General Motors sales were up 46%. The General claimed that retail (non-fleet) sales were up by 70%. Buick rose 73% to 15,807 vehicles sold, while Cadillac up 70% to 15,768, outselling Lincoln by a factor of 2.65.
FoMoCo reported a sales increase of 14%. Sales of the Ford Fusion increased by 40%, while Mustang sales dropped 28% to 3,697 units. Taurus sales declined 12% to 5,620 vehicles. Lincoln sales were down by 11%. The soon-to-be dead Town Car outsold the MKS, MKT and Navigator.
Chrysler Group reported U.S. sales of 95,102, a 13% increase compared with sales in February 2010. The Chrysler brand was down 25% but the Jeep brand was up 25%. The Ram brand increased a whopping 81% to 20,294 trucks.
Toyota's sales jumped 42%. Of course, last February was the company's first full month of U.S. sales after media reports of sudden acceleration garnered national attention. And that certainly put a damper on 2010 sales. Thank you, Ray LaHood. When is that government bozo going to give Toyota its reputation back?
Sales of the big Avalon sedan jumped 177% to 2,026 units. Prius sales increased 70% to 13,539 vehicles. Lexus reported sales of 13,814 units, about the same as last year. LS sales dropped 11% to 706 sedans.
Toyota is now back on Consumer Reports recommended list and was named one of the top three car companies overall in the latest CR new car issue. Consumer Reports made Toyota the most recommended brand of 2011: Three of the top picks are Toyotas.
Honda's sales were up 22%, Acura rose 21% and Subaru increased by 20%. The Hyundai juggernaut continued with sales rising 28% over last year. Kia was up 36%. Jaguar sales were down 9% to 692 units, spread over three models.
And, finally, five Maybachs were sold in February in the U.S.
Chrysler Fleet Sales: Last year, Chrysler had the highest fleet percentage since 2006 - 36.1%.
TTAC's Edward Niedermeyer has written, "But the best thing about fleet sales? They conceal the steady erosion of consumer demand for your products and brands. After all, at 36.1% fleet mix, Chrysler only sold about 695,000 vehicles to actual retail consumers last year (100k-200k below what the firm's five-year plan called for)."
Obamacare Summarized: Dennis Gartman, stock market commentator and proprietor of the Gartman Letter, has offered a few words on Obamacare:
"Let's get this straight. We're going to be 'gifted' with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don't, which purportedly covers at least ten million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that didn't read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, for which we'll be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke!"
"What could possibly go wrong?" (permalink)
Bad Pun Of The Day: A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
Tuesday March 1, 2011
Passat Love: In a strange case of auto-eroticism, a horny, five-ton bull elephant mounted a car he mistook for a mate, leaving the passengers inside with a jumbo-sized problem.
The randy elephant got on with the tusk and went bumper-to-bumper with the Volkswagen Passat before tiring of the chase and rolling the vehicle on to its back into the bushes at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in South Africa.
The Decline Of The Flight Experience: Jack Baruth at TTAC has reminisced about the good ol' days of air travel when, as a young lad, he was "pinned with Eastern 'junior pilot' wings by fresh-smelling, gorgeous young women, often flying alone among urbane, well-dressed fellow passengers, and being greeted by relatives right at the gate.
Today, of course, the story is very different. Modern commercial flight combines two of my least favorite experiences from the 1990s: being processed into a municipal jail and riding an old Greyhound bus. In fact, air travel nowadays is exactly like prison processing followed by bus travel, with one critical exception: if somebody takes a picture of your, ahem, rooster in the county jail, you are about to be on the payoff end of a lucrative civil case. In the past year I've had my genitalia photographed so often I'm starting to wonder where my residual checks might be.
You get the point. Consider the baggage issues, the utter lack of personal hygiene displayed even by business-class passengers, and the fact that one must arrive 90 minutes before the flight to have a fighting chance of making it on board, and its no surprise that more and more people are telling me that they'd rather drive."
In the comments section, photog02 added, "Modern flying is much like the last 30 minutes of a cow's life, stretched out over a period of hours. The only difference is no one delivers a bolt through my skull at the end of the flight (at least they haven't decided to try that yet)."
I am pleased to report that, on last month's flights to and from Palm Springs, we were neither groped nor molested by TSA employees.
Quote Of The Day is from Henny Youngman: "The food on the plane was fit for a king. "Here, King!""