A Blog About Cars ... And Everything Else That Catches My Eye
Tuesday July 31, 2012
Auto Sketch: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
The Oldsmobile Toronado, introduced as a 1966 model, was a landmark automobile. It reintroduced front-wheel drive to America (the last production FWD American auto was the 1936-37 Cord) and is a shining example the bold, sculpted styling which became a hallmark for GM at its best in the 1960s.
To understand the Toronado, you must begin with the Ford Thunderbird ... (more >>>)
I've Been Workin' On The Railroad: Recently, I've kept busy making repairs and some minor modifications/additions to my train platform which I plan to put up during this year's Christmas season. (I had missed last year because I was too sick to handle the task.) Some needed wiring/rewiring work gave me the chance to try out my new Weller soldering gun - a 2010 Christmas present. I used my dwindling supply of trusty lead solder to make strong connections.
O-gauge railroading matters have caused me to be neglectful of my Plymouth, so, despite the fact that Monday morning was quite cloudy, I backed the sturdy old coupe out of the garage and took a spin. I had an enjoyable drive and the car ran just fine.
Book Review: 'Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic' by Joe Jackson
We have become such a sound-bite nation these days that we few details beyond headlines. Ask most people about early aviation history and you'll hear about 'Lucky' Lindbergh flying ... ummm ... somewhere. If you're fortunate, the respondent may remember that his airplane was the 'Spirit of St. Louis' and it is now on display at the Smithsonian. If you meet a so-called history buff, he/she may be able to tell you about Richard E. Byrd, who claimed to be the first man to reach the North Pole by air in 1926.
Ah, but there's so much more to the aviator madness that were part of the Jazz Age and Roaring Twenties. Jackson's fine book reveals the tales, the personalities and the struggles during those early flying days, as fourteen aviators took to the air to capture the $25,000 prize that Raymond Orteig - a New York City hotel owner - offered to the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean without stopping.
The fact that Charles Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean late May 1927, landing at an airfield in Paris in his single engine aircraft, is only one part of the story.
Author Jackson does a fine job of painting interesting portraits of the personalities and their compelling stories while immersing the reader in the era's public excitement about flying - something hard to imagine in today's hum-drum Airbus era.
We learn that all is not as it seems ... (more >>>)
Sunday Fun: Seven years after its Broadway debut, 'Jersey Boys' finally arrived at Portland's Keller Auditorium. It was spectacular.
The documentary-style 'jukebox musical' is based on one of the most successful 1960s rock 'n roll groups, Frankie Vallie and Four Seasons. The story is interesting and well told. The music is catchy and properly 1960s nostalgic. And, the traveling cast was very talented. If you're of a certain age and want a fun and entertaining Broadway show, see this one. You won't be disappointed.
Later, we had dinner at the Nel Centro restaurant in the Hotel Modera in downtown Portland. Our dinner experience was good - food and service were fine. On the other hand, our bar experience was dreadful ... (more >>>)
Done Deal? Jack Bogdanski thinks the Obama Presidency is toast. He's is a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School. I read his blog because it's well-written, thoughtful and contains a lot of interesting information about various doings in and around Portland, OR.
Jack has an unapologetic liberal viewpoint but he recently wrote a piece titled 'President Obama, why you are going to lose'.
Jack penned, "You're still campaigning against the Bush tax cuts? Mr. President, you promised four years ago to reform the tax system. The Democratic Party gave you control of the House and 60 votes in the Senate, but did you roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? No, you extended them. The populist spiel that got you elected isn't going to be enough to get you re-elected. Romney's a catastrophe, but he's probably going to beat you. That will be a disaster, and it's one for which you are responsible."
He later added, "Obama rode to power on hope and change. There was little change, and now no hope. He's done. And he deserves to be done."
Not every commenter agreed with him; one named Abe wrote, "Not to forget that Nixon won his first term on the promise that he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. He won the second term on the promise he would act on his earlier promise. Please don't underestimate the voters."
In 2012, one can only hope that such easily-fooled voters stay home on election day.
The Chicago Way: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a suspiciously close buddy of Obama, is trying to block Chick-fil-A restaurants from expanding in Chicago, noting, "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago values. They're not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you're gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values." What's the disrespect? The family-owned restaurant chain simply believes in traditional family values.
And, by the way, when I think of 'Chicago values', the first four phrases that come to my mind are: 'deep dish pizza', 'the Bears', 'crooked politicians' and 'black violence'. As Frank J. Fleming wrote, "It's certainly not good PR for gay marriage to be associated with Chicago values."
Let's set the record straight: whether you're single, married, shacked-up or a gay couple, Chick-fil-A will happily take your order and serve you a fine meal - no questions asked. But because they won't actively support homosexual marriage, Emanuel doesn't want 'em in Chi-Town. Just where in the zoning ordinances this is spelled out?
Meanwhile, Mr. Emanuel has "welcomed the army of men dispatched to the streets by Farrakhan to stop the violence in Chicago neighborhoods." Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam believe in black supremacy, hate Jews primarily with whites second on the list and Asians - especially shopkeepers in black neighborhoods - third. And furthermore, Muslim Farrakhan has said homosexuality is evil and an abomination on numerous occasions. Chicago officials had no problem permitting the Nation of Islam to reopen their not-gay-friendly Salaam Restaurant on the city’s south side earlier this year.
Showing how poorly his head is screwed on, Rahm prefers a known hate group to a peaceful business establishment.
The Peoples Republik Of Oregon: The Clackamas Town Center, an enclosed mall in a Portland suburb, is banning the American flag from a kiddy train ride.
Thomas Phelps, manager of the ride and a military veteran said he was floored when he got a letter from mall management telling him that the flags he put on the train a few weeks ago were "unapproved visuals."
There is simply no rational reason for such a stupid and unpatriotic policy. A boycott of the mall is being planned by outraged patrons.
Update: Mall management, realizing that they were being blockheads, backed down and apologized: "The U.S. flag will remain displayed at the kiddie train and in other locations within the mall. We wholeheartedly support those who fight to allow us and everyone else to display the flag."
Quote Of The Day is from Coco Chanel: "There are people who have money and people who are rich."
Friday July 27, 2012
Junk In The Trunk: Recently, I saw MotorWeek's road test of the 2013 Cadillac XTS. It looks very tail heavy in a Kim Kardashian kind-of way.
Little more than a glorified Buick LaCrosse with a Cadillac grille and badging, this pug-nosed beastie rides on the Buick's 111-inch wheelbase but has been made six inches longer by adding an extended trunk, providing ass-heavy styling. Maybe XTS really stands for 'eXtra TuSh'.
At 202 inches, it is nine inches longer than BMW 5-Series but rides on a six inch shorter wheelbase.
A reasonably optioned XTS will cost over $50,000 (the Platinum model goes for $60K) but this new Caddy "flagship" seems to be just a Buick with a bustle. (permalink)
I Wasted 13 Minutes Of My Life: 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee' with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David was totally boring. I've had funnier unscripted conversations with my own friends. Especially when we are drinking. I guess we should have videotaped them. The 1952 Volkswagen Beetle was the only thing cool about the show.
Big Fur Hat wrote, "What a pantload this was. ... You heard of the show about nothing? This was 2 guys laughing at themselves about nothing. If the series is going to be more of this self-indulgent unfunny, unfresh banter, with the inappropriate lounge music playing incessantly in the background, I'll pass. These 13 minutes were probably culled from hours of footage, and this is what they got? That's frightening." (permalink)
Alpo Annuity: Three quarters of near-retirees (ages 50 to 64) have average total retirement account balances of only $26,395.
If you're 50 and have a mere $26,395 in retirement accounts, you've got a problem - albeit a solvable one. Since the 50s tend to be peak earning years and in most cases the kids are out of the house and/or out of college, there's a chance to start saving like crazy and build up a decent retirement nest egg.
On the other hand, if you're 64 and have just $26,395 in your retirement accounts, I hope you acquire a taste for dog food 'cause that's what you'll be eating on 'meat days'.
Obama's War On Catholics: According to the U.S. Government, the owners of Hercules Industries have no right to conduct their family business in a manner that comports with their Catholic faith.
The Newland family owns and operates the Colorado-based corporation that manufactures heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Through hard work, dedication and a willingness to reinvest their own money in building their family business, they have managed to create jobs for 265 people while exerting a positive influence on the communities they serve.
Hercules Industries provides a generous self-insured health-care plan to their employees. It does not cover expenses for sterilization, artificial contraception or abortifacients.
The federal government is trying to compel the owners to either surrender their business or to engage in activities the Catholic faith teaches are intrinsically immoral. That's what President Barack Obama's Justice Department told a U.S. district court in a formal filing last week, claiming that Hercules violates Obamacare.
Never before has an administration taken such a bold step to strip Americans of the freedom of conscience - a right for which, over the centuries, many Christian martyrs have laid down their lives, and which our Founding Fathers took great care to protect in a First Amendment that expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion.
This insanity is un-Constitutional and un-American. It must be stopped. Vote for Mitt.
Cheesesteak Critic: Owner of South Philadelphia's famous Geno's Steaks died last year. But when his widow heard Barack Obama tell a crowd, "If you got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," she got riled up.
Eileen Vento said, "That is ridiculous. My husband had $6 in his pocket when he started (in 1966)." Vento continued "to work at the shop right up until a heart attack killed him."
Diana Vergagini, Vento's sister-in-law, said that Joey Vento owed his success to his own hard work and the loyal customers he cultivated. "He went there at 3 or 4 in the morning and stayed until 11 every night. He did it seven days a week. And when he wasn't there he'd call in at every shift change asking, 'How did we do? What's the bread count? What's the steak count?'"
Unlike those of us who did menial jobs as students or early in our work life, Barry O. has never held a real job. Therefore, he has no understanding 'pull up by bootstraps' concept. Nor does he comprehend the difficult, long-hours, risk-it-all life of a small business owner. As opposed to a 'community organizer'.
Quote of the Day is from Mitt Romney: "This is very simple: if you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President. You have that President today."
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Under The Clouds: On Monday, my wife and I took a 6:45 am walk under sunny skies. I was very excited about taking a morning ride in the Plymouth but, after breakfast and a shower, the sun had disappeared and it was mostly cloudy with pint-sized blue patches here and there in the southern sky.
Realizing that various obligations and appointments would provide little old car time for the remainder of the week, I backed the coupe out of the garage anyway and took a sunless, chilly drive.
When I returned at 10:30 am, the temperature was still in the 50s. I should have worn a something more than a polo shirt and shorts. Brrrrr.
Expensive Charges: Seton Motley has offered a damning summary of the Chevrolet Volt: "The Chevy Cruze is basically a Volt without the dead-weight, flammable 400-lb. electric battery. Which makes it $17,000, rather than the Volt's $41,000.
Chevy in June sold 18,983 Cruzes - more than ten times the number of Volts." Just 1,760 Volts were sold in June, with 8,817 units moved in the first six months of 2012. Inventory for the Volt, as of June 1st, is at 90 days supply - up from 71 days on May 1st.
Motley wrote, "According to multiple GM executives there is little or no profit being made on each Volt built at a present cost of around $40,000. Furthermore, the $700 million of development that went into the car has to be recouped."
Add $240 million in Energy Department grants bestowed on General Motors last summer, plus ... (more >>>)
Celtic Pussy: Once proclaimed as the Celtic Tiger because of its strength, Ireland's economy is one sick kitty these days. The unemployment rate is almost 15% and the average person only works 28 hours per week.
"The minimum wage in Ireland is high - $10.67. The U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.25. Economists and politicians in Ireland argue the high minimum wage is a barrier to job creation." Ya think?
In good times, the Irish government, like many others, wouldn't restrain itself to spending within the limits of what it collected. And, despite signs of shifting economic conditions and an impending real estate bubble, the Irish bureaucrats never adjusted, guessing that the European Union would make everything all right.
We all know how that worked out.
'Can Do' Guy: When I started doing volunteer work, I quickly realized that there were two kinds of people: can-dos and pontificators.
Can-do people are action-oriented and want to get stuff done. They are results-driven and not afraid to get their hands dirty.
The world lost one of those can-doers last week when Bruce Lulow died at age 69. In 2001, when Bruce lost his right leg to amputation, he became an active in an amputee support group. He later became a certified amputee peer visitor, counseling people who had questions about amputation.
Bruce's other volunteer activities included SCORE, where he was a small business consultant and start-up workshop coordinator. He was also a business mentor for blind students. He taught business classes at Clark College as well.
I enjoyed working with Bruce as a fellow volunteer. He was a energetic, conscientious worker and was always looking for new and better ways to help people. Several area retail businesses owe much of their success to Bruce's excellent advice based on his vast retailing experience.
Bruce touched many people by trying to make a difference in someone's life everyday. Requiescat In Pace. (permalink)
What - No Kwanzaa Photos? Donate $25 to his reelection campaign and you'll be entered in a drawing to have your family photograph taken with Barack Obama in time to use on your Christmas cards.
For some reason, this reminded me of 'Merry Christmas from the Johnsons'.
Bad Pun Of The Day: Cartoonist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.
Monday July 23, 2012
Hybrid-Mania: Recently, MotorWeek reported that the Toyota Prius is the third best-selling car worldwide (Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus hold the first two spots) with 247,000 units sold in the first quarter of 2012. Since 1997, over four million Prii have been sold.
In the first six months of 2012, 126,654 Toyota Prius examples were sold in the U.S., up 90% from 2011. 4,337 were plug-in models.
Where Your Money Went: Democratic Senator Charles Shumer has admitted, "79% of the $2.1 billion in stimulus grants awarded through it went to overseas companies."
It Just Gets Weirder And Weirder: Nude, racy photos of Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, have recently surfaced "in vintage fetish and bondage magazines. The photos, taken at Frank Marshall Davis' house in Honolulu, appeared in 'Bizarre Life', 'Exotique', 'Secret Pleasures' and 'Battling Babes'." They help illustrate the intimate relationship between Dunham and Davis, who some have theorized is Obama's real father.
Meanwhile, the legendary Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has yet to be found untruthful despite many years of public scrutiny, has declared that President Obama's birth certificate is fraudulent.
Who is Obama anyway? Everything about his life seems to be fiction - a cover story which is slowly being peeled away like a foul-smelling onion.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Frank J. Fleming has written, "Just because Obama doesn't like this country and probably wasn't born in it, doesn't mean Romney and his surrogates should be disrespectful."
Colorado Massacre: Within hours after the horrific movie theater shootings in Aurora (12 dead, 58 injured), NYC Mayor Bloomberg called for more gun control. Nanny Bloomberg also demanded that the two presidential candidates offer 'solutions' for restricting gun sales. Others said, as they did after the shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people in an Arizona supermarket parking lot, that we need to have a "conversation about guns."
Gun foes seem to conveniently forget an earlier Aurora, CO incident (in April, at the Destiny Christian Center Church), when a gunman intent on a shooting rampage killed his first victim but was then shot dead by a heat-packing churchgoer, an off-duty police officer, before other innocents could be harmed.
In any case, the real 'conversation' we need to have isn't one about guns or politics - it's about mental illness. I have more to say about that here.
From The Land Of Pyramids And Morons: Egyptian railway passengers - fed up with waiting for their train to move - put logs and rocks on the rails of a nearby track, "causing two other trains to collide. At least four people were injured."
Maybe the pyramids really were built by space aliens. I mean, you have to wonder if the Egyptians were too stupid to accomplish such a feat.
Book Review: 'Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II' by Arthur Herman
If you've ever wondered how the United States converted from a moribund consumer economy to the booming arsenal of World War II, this is the book to read. Arthur Herman tells the story in an engaging and exciting fashion, creating a genuine page-turner.
Inside are the untold stories of industrial miracles, many of them made possible by Bill Knudsen and Henry J. Kaiser, two business titans of the period. Dubbed the 'dollar-a-year men', these two, along with other dedicated patriots, quickly took charge of America's lackluster war production effort.
Details about how America financed this great undertaking are also revealed as well as the stories of FDR's flaws and foibles mixed with his good decisions. Readers also learn about the socialist New Dealers mistrust of business and how that undermined the efforts of industrialists to ramp up war machinery production.
Profiles of small businesses which proved vital to the war effort are presented. Here's one: "Ma and Pa Harrington's 'defense plant', for example, was a white clapboard farmhouse ... near Rockford, Illinois. There they made machine tools for turning artillery shells and tank turrets, one thousand dollars a month's worth right in their living room." When the family concern found out that their main toolmaking machine was priced at $4,000, "they made their own out of a junked lathe, an old washing machine motor and an oil pump salvaged from a 1926 Chevrolet."
There were many examples of companies that played a significant role during the Second World War. To properly tell the story of all, a 50 volume encyclopedia would be required - something obviously beyond the scope of this book. I can think of three examples ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Robert Wilensky: "We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."
Thursday July 19, 2012
Three Bad Chevys: I don't know about you, but I'm holding automobiles to a high reliability standard these days. Cars are supposed to be built a lot better than in the past. My wife's Toyota Avalon is now more than seven years old, has 46,000 miles on the odometer and has not given us a scintilla of trouble. Same with my four-plus year-old Lexus LS 460.
My fellow car nut and friend of 50-plus years, Ray, suffered severe losses in last September's record-setting floods in North Central Pennsylvania. He lost several vehicles to flooding, including his wife's daily driver, a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Ray replaced it in late December 2011 with a 2010 Chevrolet Traverse LT crossover SUV with all-wheel-drive. It had 25,000 miles on the odometer and is Silver Ice Metallic in color. It has a 3.6 liter DOHC V-6 281 horsepower engine with 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission and 18" alloy wheels fitted with Goodyear tires.
Last month, the troubles began - first a noisy air leak in the cabin, then a severe water leak through the windshield and finally a failed air conditioning system. The problems were covered under GM's warranty but the car was in the shop for seven working days.
Ray wrote of the A/C repair, "The entire dashboard had to be removed to replace an electric module that controls the movement of a 'door' that controls the adding of hot air to the cold air." During reassembly, something else was 'broken', causing a delay of two more days. The Traverse is back in Ray's driveway and everything appears to be fixed. Thus ends - so far - the first Chevy story.
The dealer gave Ray a loaner car, a 2011 Chevy Cruze LT sedan. The Cruze's air conditioner failed during its ten days with Ray. That's bad Chevy number two.
Then there's that brand new silver 2012 Chevrolet Impala with only 40 miles on the odometer that we rented in February. After less than 100 miles, the transmission lever jammed, leaving us stranded - bad Chevy number three.
Consumer Reports, with its large database of member vehicle information, rates the Traverse and Impala as 'average'. The Cruze is ranked 'much worse than average'.
Average or not, I wouldn't buy a new or recent vintage Chevrolet. Maybe a '55 Bel Air hardtop, though. (permalink)
Recuperation Gift: My friend and fellow plastics buddy, Dennis, had knee surgery recently. My friends and I are discovering that, as old age descends upon us, parts are starting to wear out. And our warranties have expired.
I thought to myself, "I should give him some kind of get-well-soon gift but I don't want to send flowers because that seems kinda gay."
Someone in the floral biz suggested, "Well, why not give him a small plant instead?" So ... (more >>>)
More Senseless Amish Violence: A huge house party broken up by police in a North Jacksonville, Florida ended with one man shot in the leg as he and hundreds of other partygoers fled the officers' arrival.
The 20-year-old told police he heard several gunshots, so he started running. He stumbled and fell, which is when he realized he had been shot. He said he didn't see a gun or anyone who could have shot him since "the crowd of people was so large."
Hundreds of the "partiers" then ignited a flash mob at the nearby Wal-Mart Supercenter. They took over the produce section and caused havoc. More shots were fired during the fracas.
Closer to home, a flash mob targeted a Troutdale, Oregon supermarket. As many as 40 teen thugs entered the Albertsons at 25691 SE Stark Street at the same time and started stealing things and terrorizing customers.
Two people were killed and at least 19 injured in a shooting at an outdoor block party in Toronto, Canada. It was referred to as a "Hennesey Party" since that was the liquor of choice.
Oh, wait. Did I say they were Amish? Ooops - sorry, they were black. Or, as liberals call them ... (more >>>)
Do-Over: This week, the Obamas attended the USA vs. Brazil basketball game in DC. When they were picked up by the Kiss Cam, they didn't smooch, bringing boos from the crowd. An hour later, the press pool was ushered back into Verizon Center and, this time, Barack and Michelle gave each other an obligatory kiss while the Kiss Cam featured them an unprecedented second time.
According to Bret Baier of Fox News, "A stadium official confirmed that the White House called and asked for a second chance, because the Obamas didn't realize what was going on."
Isn't this a metaphor for the Obama presidency?
Now he wants another do-over, because he didn't know what was going on in his first term. Let's not give it to him. (permalink)
They Should Hire Me: The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest public pension fund in the U.S., posted an unimpressive 1% return on its investment for the fiscal year ending June 30. The performance was waaaay below the targeted 7.5% average annual return that the $150.6-billion fund needs to meet its obligations. CalPERS manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million California state and local government employees and their families.
During the same period, my conservative investments (appropriate for my age) produced a 3.2% return. I wish it were better but I did beat the S&P 500 index for the period. (permalink)
Bad Pun of the Day: Can a shoe box? No, but a tin can.
Tuesday July 17, 2012
Mint Condition: There are many businesses with 'mint' in their names but, in the world of diecast collectible vehicles, Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint are probably the most well-known.
Franklin Mint is a private Pennsylvania mint founded in 1964. Initially, the firm marketed privately-minted gold and silver commemorative rounds and medallions, but soon branched out into jewelry, dolls, sculpture and other collectibles. In 1983, after Warner Communications purchased Franklin, the company entered the diecast vehicle market, offering ... (more >>>)
At 2:30 pm, after returning from a lunch visit with a friend, I swapped the Lexus for the Plymouth coupe and took a short drive in the 74 degree, low-humidity weather. Traffic was heavy in spots, impeded by construction, but I managed to get in a pretty good ride.
Saturday was off & on cloudy all day but, at noon, I fired up the '39 coupe and took a drive in comfortable 70-degree weather. I encountered a mix of clouds and sun, but spotted a couple of interesting vehicles. One was a brand-new white Toyota Camry. It reminded me that I've forgotten to mention how many examples of the latest generation Camry I've seen in the past month or so. Most were either white or silver. Those Toyos must be selling faster than tickets to a Lindsay Lohan demolition derby.
On the way home, a cherry-red Nissan Leaf glided silently by in the opposite direction heading toward Hockinson. Don't worry little electromobile, my dual Glasspacks were makin' enough noise for both of us.
On Monday, at 9:15 am under mostly sunny skies and 64 degree temperature, I decided to take a ride.
As I headed east toward Hockinson on 199th Street, I spotted two Smart cars heading west within 30 seconds of each other. In these here rural parts, such micromobiles are seen about as often as a Higgs boson particle. Was there some kind of Smart Club function in the area? If so, no one told me about it. TTAC's resident vehicle auction expert, Steven Lang, wrote, "The Smart Fortwo is quickly becoming the equivalent of herpes at the auctions." No one wants 'em. It's not hard to figure out why - scary-tiny, cramped, near-zero luggage space, lousy tranny, surprisingly poor gas mileage and weird looks for openers.
In any case, I had a most enjoyable old car drive in very light traffic. (permalink)
Book Review: 'Screwed!: How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off and Plundering Our Economy - and How Our Leaders Help Them Do It' by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
The husband and wife team have written a blistering exposé of how America is being robbed and conned by friends and enemies alike - with aid from elected politicians. The ruling elite encourages jobs being exported. U.S. foreign aid funds our enemies. The UN is drowning in corruption yet we still contribute billions to it.
Authors Morris and McGann have given me a sobering education.
Be sure to read section on China. The authors point out the folly of letting China into the World Trade Organization. "Twenty years ago, (China) ran a measly $10 billion trade surplus with the United States. Ten years ago, it was only $83 billion. Now, it is over $300 billion." The section on Pakistan will make your blood boil.
The section on U.S. foreign aid was familiar territory for me (and probably many others) but I was astounded at ... (more >>>)
No One Looked Out For The Kids: While its fun to laugh at The Simpsons character Helen Lovejoy (Reverend Lovejoy's wife) and her overly-concerned 'What about the children?' antics, the fact is that the welfare of children is the responsibility of every adult. It has now become clear that many adult senior executives at Penn State were far more interested in protecting themselves and the school's reputation than looking out for kids.
The New York Times has reported that in 1998, officials at Penn State, including its president as well as its legendary football coach, the late Joe Paterno, "were aware Jerry Sandusky was being investigated by the university's police department for possibly molesting two young boys in the football building's showers. ... The officials did nothing. No one so much as spoke to Mr. Sandusky."
Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the FBI who spent the last seven months examining the Sandusky scandal at Penn State, issued a damning conclusion last week.
"The most senior officials at Penn State had shown a "total and consistent disregard" for the welfare of children, had worked together to actively conceal Mr. Sandusky's assaults, and had done so for one central reason: fear of bad publicity. That publicity, Mr. Freeh said Thursday, would have hurt the nationally ranked football program, Mr. Paterno's reputation as a coach of high principles, the Penn State 'brand' and the university's ability to raise money as one of the most respected public institutions in the country."
In a related story and a belated move, Nike has decided to change the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center, a child care facility at its Beaverton, Oregon headquarters. This is the best news I've heard since Friendly's Restaurants closed their Jeffrey Dahmer Memorial dining room.
Also, the Penn State University store has finally removed those Tickle-Me Jerry Sandusky dolls from its shelves.
The Marxist Speaks: President Barack Obama addressed supporters in Virginia last week and took a shot at the business community. Obama dismissed any credit business owners give themselves for their success. "... look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. ... If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Bite me, Barry. This is pure collectivism. When people came to America for the pursuit of happiness, it didn't just mean freedom to sit under a tree and write poems. For most, it meant freedom from serfdom - the ability to change jobs and the ability to create one's own job or business. Freedom = happiness. Every successful business is due to the efforts of the owner(s) - not government entities ... (more >>>)
Not That There's Anything Wrong With That: In a 1993 'Seinfeld' episode, a woman is eavesdropping on the conversation that Elaine has with Jerry and George at the coffee shop. Elaine decides to give the woman the impression that Jerry and George are a homosexual couple. Unfortunately, the woman is a reporter.
When she asks Jerry if he's gay, Seinfeld vehemently denies it, with the politically-correct qualifier, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
Hence the title of my page of postings, which, however, may not always be politically correct.
RIP: American stage, film, and television actress Celeste Holm, known for her Academy Award-winning performance in 'Gentleman's Agreement' (1947), has died at age 95.
She appeared in a long list of stage performances (beginning in 1938), movies (starting in 1946) and television programs, from 1950 onwards.
Celeste was married five times.
I remember her performance as worldly news photographer Liz Imbrie in the 1956 movie 'High Society'. And those mid-1970s Caloric kitchen oven television spots, where she sang, "It's the Caloric difference."
Definition Of The Day is for 'Flashlight': A case for holding dead batteries.
Friday July 13, 2012
Light As A Feather: Made in Japan, the Flying Feather was an attempt to build a very basic economy car. With bicycle-like wheels and tires, the Flying Feather was only 109 inches in length and weighed a mere 880 pounds. It had a top speed of 37 mph and reportedly got 58 mpg from its two-cylinder, 12.5 horsepower, air-cooled engine.
The Flying Feather was the brainchild of Yutaka Katayama, a Nissan executive, who left the company to produce a small inexpensive car that the average Japanese might be able to afford. Production commenced at the the Suminoe Engineering Works in 1954 but the $770 car was a sales failure even in spartan postwar Japan with less than 200 units eventually produced.
Katayama rejoined Nissan shortly afterwards, where his career soon took off. He eventually became head of Nissan in the U.S. (permalink)
Pioneer Auto Writer: Walter A. Woron, the first editor of Motor Trend magazine, has died at age 91. The enthusiastic hot-rodder and former racer at SCTA dry-lakes events was also a connoisseur of fine machinery. Walt once owned a concours-winning 1948 Lincoln Continental cabriolet.
After stints as a tech writer for Douglas Aircraft and freelancing for Speed Age magazine, Woron became Motor Trend's first editor in 1949 and remained in the position until 1960.
To distinguish MT from Hot Rod, the only other Petersen auto publication at that time, Walt sought to ... (more >>>)
Nice Weather We're Having: On Wednesday, the temperature was a very comfortable 68 degrees at 11:30 am. So, I took my old Plymouth coupe out for a spin. The clouds looked like a class project at some Celestial Kindergarten using several enormous cotton balls glued to a monstrous sheet of pale blue construction paper with humongous dollops of Elmer's glue. I had a very nice drive.
By 9:45 am Thursday, the temperature was 63 degrees and the morning fog was just clearing off. I took the Plymouth to town, fueled it up with Chevron Supreme with Techron polyetheramine fuel cleaner and went on a fairly long drive afterward, heading to Hockinson and then south towards Vancouver.
Depending on where I was, it was either mostly cloudy or mostly sunny. But, as soon as I arrived home and pulled into the garage, the sun came out for good. (permalink)
Preaching To A Hostile Choir: This week, Mitt Romney gave a very good speech at the NAACP convention, often articulating conservative principles. He was booed by some when he promised to repeal Obamacare. But he continued on with his speech of optimism mixed with realism. It was more than President Barack Obama did; he was a no-show after his appearance was touted in convention programs.
Excerpt: "I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president. I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color - and families of any color - more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.
The opposition charges that I and people in my party are running for office to help the rich. Nonsense. The rich will do just fine whether I am elected or not. The President wants to make this a campaign about blaming the rich. I want to make this a campaign about helping the middle class.
I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor. My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the President has set has not done that and will not do that. My course will."
He continued ... (more >>>)
Taking Out The Trash: Every Thursday night, our trash can is wheeled out to the curb, reminding me that we've had the same trash container for over 20 years. It's a Rubbermaid Bruiser can that still looks and performs like new. Its wheels roll freely and the can is free of dents and cracks. This plastic receptacle is a remarkable piece of design and engineering ... (more >>>)
Headline Of The Week is from Recoil Magazine: 'Outside Consultant Advises CEO To Hang Self'.
Quote Of The Day is from the late Gracie Allen: "A young boy shouldn't be given up for hopeless just because he's lazy, surly and good for nothing."
Wednesday July 11, 2012
Hauling Books: On Monday morning, following a pleasant outdoor walk, breakfast and shower, I drove my '39 Plymouth to the local library, picking up four books - two for me, two for my wife.
Then I cruised around the back roads for a spell, enjoying the summer weather. At 10:30 am the temperature was a very comfortable 66 degrees. It was sunny but there was some haze in the mountains.
By 5:00 pm, temperatures had reached 79 degrees but humidity was low.
The Genius Behind AQ: Founder, former owner and publisher of Automotive Quarterly, L. Scott Bailey, has died at age 87.
Debuting in 1962, Bailey's new automotive effort changed the game in the U.S. car buff publishing world. Offered in the form of a hard-bound book, AQ contained stories written with passion and knowledge by America's best car experts. Photo quality was far above that of the car mags of the period. There were no ... (more >>>)
The Truth About Portland: An earnest former resident has carefully explained why he left Paradise. Excerpt: "The neighbors have turned out to be mostly shrill, judgmental, and dismissive - they are reflexively political on every issue. In Portland, taxpayers and homeowners are held in contempt - even by taxpayers and homeowners. I never understood that.
Plastic bag bans. Mandatory ethanol in the gas (terrible for my mileage, causing me to burn more). Cigarette butts in my grass. Solicitors nagging me all the time (the sign is useless). Normal city life? Sure. The shiny happy Portland image? Heck no.
The Portland and Multnomah governments are an embarrassment ... (more >>>)
How They Used To Clean And Sober Up Teddy Kennedy: Three drunk guys from British Columbia hopped in a shopping cart and ran themselves through an automatic car wash.
The trio of 20 year-olds, told police they weren't sure if they had pressed the 'typhoon' or 'super typhoon' setting, but "whatever they chose had the effect of pounding them with really cold water and effectively pressure-washing them.
They did of course experience the effects of rotating bristles and likely warm soap, but it was the water that generated the greatest reaction, which was yelling and screaming that caused the neighbors to call police."
Which Candidate Is The King Of Offshoring? Democrats are spending a lot of energy and ad dollars accusing Mitt Romney of outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries. Every one of their claims has been disproved by politically-neutral fact-check organizations.
Let's remember that President Obama is the real 'foreign outsourcer' because his campaign paid a call center in the Philippines $78,314 for telemarketing services and spent nearly $4,700 on telemarketing services from a Canadian company.
Then there's this: "Millions of dollars in stimulus money meant to develop a domestic clean-energy industry landed in the hands of foreign businesses. For example, an April 2010 study by the Energy Department found that 60% of the 40 largest wind farms then financed by the stimulus relied on foreign manufacturers for their central components, including turbines."
But wait .... there's more: "The Russian government more than doubled its U.S. contracts last year by providing helicopters for Afghanistan and rides to the International Space Station.
Companies run by the Russian government received $792 million in direct federal awards in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with $342 million the year before. They were among 30 prime vendors based outside the United States ranked in a Bloomberg Government study of the largest 200 federal vendors in fiscal 2011. Those contractors - including Rome-based Finmeccanica SpA and Russian arms trader Rosoboronexport - attracted almost $29 billion in direct awards, about 8.6% of the top 200 total of $338 billion."
"Letters, We Get Letters ..." The other day, I received an e-mail complaining that a link I had posted to another website no longer worked. (As if I'm responsible for other websites.) The bad link was found on my March 2005 blog - put up over seven years ago!
Some people just don't understand the internet. The site in question may gone but my posting has enough information on it that it doesn't really need the link to be fully understood.
While I usually write each posting with sufficient content and clarity to stand on its own merits, I link to outside articles from which I've quoted for the convenience of readers who seek in-depth information or confirmation. I generally don't link to things which are removed fairly quickly, such as the Columbian newspaper which pulls news items and postings after only 30 days or so.
If I happen to find spelling and or punctuation errors in archival pages, I fix 'em. But checking ancient links to see if they still work? No thanks, I have a life.
Question Of The Day: How come you can't buy circus peanuts at the circus?
Monday July 9, 2012
Henry N. Manney III: Every sports car enthusiast of a certain age remembers the legendary and inimitable scribe, Henry Manney. His prose, his sense of humor and his unique writing style inspire his followers long after the man himself is gone.
Manney was born in 1922. After majoring in English at Duke and a three-year Army stint, Henry began is career as an automotive journalist and photographer in 1954.
At first, he covered mostly the European racing scene and lived in Switzerland, London and Paris until 1966. Henry wrote for several English publications and for Road & Track in the U.S. In 1966, he relocated from France to R&T's headquarters in Newport Beach, California.
Henry acquired a tweedy Brit demeanor and often wrote in a discursive, self-spoofing style. Only Henry would ... (more >>>)
Plymouth Ride: On Friday morning, I took my son-in-law for a ride in my '39 Plymouth. It's definitely Old Car Weather around these parts. I'm seeing lots of them on the road.
Small Victory: Chevrolet emerged as July's sales winner, as well as the year-to-date champion in the Plug-In Car Sweepstakes. With 1,760 Volts sold in June, Chevy is leading the plug-in sales stakes with 8,817 units sold in the first six months of 2012.
Second Place Finisher was the Toyota Prius Plug-In, with 695 units sold in June and 4,347 in the first half of 2012. The Nissan Leaf finished third, with 535 sold in June, and 3,148 cumulatively.
Sales Padding: General Motors recorded its best monthly sales numbers since September 2008 last month, largely due to government intervention. While GM's sales jump of 16% in June seemed to dwarf Ford's 7% sales increase, there's more than meets the eye.
The back story is that government purchases of GM automobiles rose 79% in June. The Detroit Free Press has reported that retail sales of GM vehicles rose less than 8%, while sales to fleet customers rose 36%.
The U.S. government still owns a 32% stake in GM, purchased with our tax dollars. Now they're using even more of our tax dollars to buy vehicles from General Motors.
Hmmmmm. I wonder how many of those government purchases were Chevrolet Volts?
Thirties Beauty: The 1935 Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster was styled in desperation by Gordon Buehrig in an attempt to save the brand. While the Boattail was a design home run, it wasn't enough to save Auburn or its parent company.
Production and sales were relatively low but ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'Not Taco Bell Material' by Adam Carolla
I first became aware of Adam Carolla when he was the co-host of the late, great 'The Man Show' and really enjoyed Adam's last book, 'In Fifty Years, We'll All Be Chicks', published in 2011.
In that book, Adam used his observational abilities and caustic wit, to take on ordinary, everyday things such as tampon strings, bottled water served in restaurants, ketchup packets, back-up beepers and more. It was an easy - and very funny - read.
In his latest book, Carolla .... (more >>>)
Office Space: While I enjoyed Mike Judge's 1999 comedy film of the same name, I wouldn't enjoy being an office building owner these days.
The second quarter national occupancy rate is stubbornly high at 17.2%. The vacancy rate peaked at 17.6% in Q3 and Q4 2010. In Vancouver WA, the office vacancy rate is currently at 20%.
Because of oversupply and lowered demand, there are very few new office buildings being built in the U.S. and new construction will probably stay low for several years.
Why? Well, top-of-the-heap Class A office buildings - typified by the mirror-glazed towers seen in every city - are ... (more >>>)
Aren't They Pretty Much The Same Thing? How come ADD is bad and requires medication, while multitasking is considered a special talent? (permalink)
Me-Centric: Here's the headline - 'Obama Uses First-Person Pronoun 117 Times in 1 Speech'. That's once every 13 seconds, folks.
Killer President: Shortly after serving breakfast to President Obama last Friday, the owner Ann’s Place in Akron, Ohio restaurant died. 70 year old Josephine 'Ann' Harris complained of fatigue and a tingling feeling when taken to the hospital, where she died about an hour after serving Mr. Obama.
Since he had already left the area, Barry O. wasn't available to raise her from the dead.
Farewell, Lieutenant Commander McHale: Actor Ernest Borgnine has died at age 95.
Usually typecast as a movie villain, Borgnine won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1955 for his role as the warm-hearted butcher in 'Marty'. Other notable movie gigs included 'From Here To Eternity', 'The Dirty Dozen' and 'The Poseidon Adventure'.
He is best know for his starring role in the hit 1960s television sitcom, 'McHale's Navy'. The series was set in World War II; Borgnine had actually been in the U.S. Navy, before and during WWII. He later was known for his role as Mermaid Man in the animated television series 'SpongeBob SquarePants'. Borgnine also appeared as himself in a 1993 'Simpsons' episode.
Married five times, he once wed Ethel Merman; the marriage barely lasted a month. About the brief pairing, Borgnine quipped, "Biggest mistake of my life. I thought I was marrying Rosemary Clooney." RIP.
Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place."
Friday July 6, 2011
A True Artist Can Work In Any Medium:
Like drawing an old coupe on my son-in-law's cast. (permalink)
Remember When ... Mercury was 'The Man's Car'? From 1967.
Wanna Learn More About This Blog? I've posted a summary here.
Bad Pun Of The Day: I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
Thursday July 5, 2012
June Auto Sales: Last month's auto-industry sales provide a bright spot in the U.S. economy that has been hindered by persistent unemployment and weakening consumer confidence. Light vehicle sales were at a 14.1 million SAAR in June, up 22% from June 2011 and up 2.6% from the sales rate last month.
Chrysler Group experienced a sales bump of 20%, General Motors was up 16% and Toyota sales jumped a whopping 60% over last year. Honda was up by 49%. FoMoCo saw sales grow 7%. Nissan sales rose 28%, while Volkswagen gained 32%. Subaru was up 40%; Audi sales increased by 26%.
At Chrysler, 4004 Fiat 500s were sold, while sales of the Chrysler 300 rose a ginormous 179% to 6,971 sedans. Boy, has that model made a recovery. Back in early 2007, after returning from a winter vacation, I wrote, "Speaking of rental cars, it seemed like 50% of the rental fleet were Chrysler 300s. That thing is soooo over." If the 300 is any measure, Chrysler is the comeback kid.
GM reported the company's highest sales since September 2008. Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac all reported double-digit increases, with Buick up 27%.
Ford brand sales increased 7.2%, led by the Fusion - up 17% to 24,433 units. 6,986 Taurus sedans were sold in June, an increase of 5%. Lincoln sales grew by less than 3%, led by the entry-level MKZ sedan - up 33% to 3,137 units. But it was outpaced by the pricier Lexus ES sedan (3,780 sold).
Mustang sales increased 16% to 10,263 units. By comparison, 4,009 Dodge Challengers were moved in June - an increase of 18%.
Toyota Avalon sold 1,768 sedans. Sales of the Toyota Prius leaped over 340% to 19,150 units. Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell noted: "Scion FR-S is bringing back the Scion brand. In its first real month of sales, it outsold all other Scion products and the Toyota Yaris." 2,648 examples of the new little sportster were sold in June.
Lexus sales were up by 86%. 476 Lexus LS sedans found homes, up 4%.
Moneyed people were definitely June buyers. Bentley sales went up 25% to 223 units, while Porsche sales increased by 18% to 3,002 units. Maserati sales rose 21% to 229 cars. Rolls Royce sold 32 cars in June, up 7%. In spite of the trend, Jaguar's sales decreased by 26%. And four fools bought Maybachs in June. Or one fool bought four of them.
Every Gay Florist Will Want One: Mini will begin selling the Clubvan, a nostalgic kind-of panel truck this August.
Prius missed the boat, when they failed to offer a panel version of the Prius v, something I had ... (more >>>)
What's The Weather? I am unsure of the dividing line between Partly Cloudy and Mostly Sunny. It's probably an example of obfuscation performed by television weather forecasters to cover their basic incompetence.
In any case, I would place the morning of July 4th in the Mostly Sunny category. Yes, there were some high clouds obscuring the mountains but the skies were more blue than white and it was definitely sunglasses weather.
At 9:30 am - to avoid the later-in-the-day heat, parades and traffic madness - when the temperature was a crisp 58 degrees, I fired up the '39 Plymouth and took a spin. It was a most enjoyable ride. Traffic was light and the old coupe ran just fine.
It was a swell beginning to a great Fourth - celebrated with family and with the ritual cookout. (permalink)
Lethal Prius: The Onion has reported that a new Toyota model, the Prius Solution, helps the environment by killing its owner. The vehicle "reduces its driver's carbon footprint to zero by impaling them through the lungs with spikes as soon as they get in the car."
Passages: Andy Griffith has died at age 86. I never cared for 'Mayberry RFD' or 'Matlock' but Griffith was a great actor. Contrast his performances in 'No Time For Sargents' versus 'A Face in the Crowd'. Now that's versatility.
Sergio Pininfarina of the legendary auto design firm Pininfarina has died at age 85. Over the years, Pininfarina produced many spectacular designs. One of my favorites was the 1956 Ferrari 410 Superfast 1956 Paris show car - the one with fins. To see a picture of it, go here and scroll down.
During World War II, he escaped from Occupied France to join British Special Operations, parachuted back on sabotage missions, twice faced execution, only to escape on both occasions - once dressed as a Nazi guard. On the run in occupied Bordeaux, La Rochefoucauld once disguised himself as a nun.
He also escaped execution by stealing a Nazi limo. On another occasion while imprisoned, La Rochefoucauld faked an epileptic fit and, when the guard opened the door to his cell, hit him over the head with a table leg before breaking his neck. What a guy!
RIP to all.
Restaurant Review: Vinnie's Pizza; Vancouver, WA
Located downtown at the former site of a McDonald's Express (and you thought McDonald's locations never went out of business), Vinnie's is far more than a mere pizza joint, offering appetizers, salads, calzones, strombolis, lasagna and pasta dishes. Desserts are also offered including spumoni ice cream, a rare find at Italian restaurants these days.
A selection of beers and wines is available. The most expensive wine on the list was a $20/bottle chianti; it was excellent. I had a very hearty but ... (more >>>)
Always Remember ... the 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.
Tuesday July 3, 2012
New, Large And 'American': The redesigned 2013 Toyota Avalon, revealed at the New York Auto Show in April and expected to go on sale in late November, was designed, engineered and developed in North America.
The new Avalon was designed at Toyota's Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich. The car's engineering development was handled at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor. It will be built in Georgetown, Kentucky and have about 90% North American content.
It is "the most American Toyota ever," Calty President Kevin Hunter said.
Martyr For MPG: Dan Neil is no fan of the new smaller Prius c. "The c, essentially a hybrid-electric version of the Yaris five-door compact, could not have been an easy car to build. To excise every ounce of driving pleasure from the Yaris requires a scalpel of surpassing smallness." He exclaims "what a starved, oppressively dull piece of motorized martyrdom it is."
In order to get decent acceleration, "you have to thrash it like Rasputin. ... The c's powertrain programming so despises sharp spikes in throttle demand that it often simply ignores them. Overwintering bears are easier to rouse."
Drive it hard before you consider buying it.
Shipping News: Twenty-five years ago, United Parcel Service was pretty much the only game in town. Unless you wanted to trust your package to the vagaries of the Post Office.
In those days, my manufacturing business shipped 200-300 packages per day, depending on the season. UPS was pretty arrogant, with a 'who else are you gonna use' attitude. Then Roadway Package System came to town. Prices were lower than UPS, delivery was more reliable. Suddenly UPS became more customer-friendly and competitive. RPS was later acquired by FedEx; the name was changed to FedEx Ground in 2000.
Book Review: 'The End Of Money' by David Wolman
This book is a mixture of ruminations about money, the history of coinage and paper currency and observations/predictions about the coming cashless society. Woven into the book are the author's experiences as he decides to shun cash for an entire year.
I found it to be entertaining but ... (more >>>)
Not That There's Anything Wrong With That: In the most unsurprising coming-outta-the-closet news story since David Ogden Stiers announced that he was a bit light in his tassled loafers, Anderson Cooper has revealed that he is "gay and proud."
Now I have very poor gaydar but even I knew this guy was a poof.
Maybe now that Katie's through with Tom, Andy can hook up with him. Or John Travolta. (permalink)
Who Funds This Guy? Al Sharpton, Obama pal, professional race-baiter, Kingfish impersonator, tax deadbeat and all-around scumbag, attended Rodney King's funeral in California last week. This is a guy who testified in court that he has no visible means of support. Someone else owns his suits, his watch and his Jaguar. He's a 'reverend' but has neither a church nor a congregation.
Where did he get the money to attend? It's not cheap to fly to LA and I'm betting the Rev didn't use Priceline.com or sit in a middle coach seat. Then you've got hotels, meals, limo service, etc.
Of course, Sharpton and King were kindred souls - two words: black felons. Sharpton told the assembled press and mourners that Rodney "turned his scars into stars and showed the nation a better way." Huh? Other than 'scars' and 'stars' rhyming, what does that mean? A better way? His three wives, multiple arrests, drinking and drug use? I'll find my own way to the stars, thanks.
The words 'Can We All Just Get Along' were embroidered on the open lid of Rodney King's casket. In the immortal words of the Church Lady, "Well, isn't that special?!"
Everything Must Go: Ralph Cipriano has written, "The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is holding a fire sale after running up $11.6 million in legal bills in the fiscal year prior to the priest abuse trial. Facing a $17 million operating deficit, the archdiocese is now selling off the cardinal's mansion on City Line Avenue, and closing down the 117-year-old archdiocese newspaper, 'The Catholic Standard & Times.'"
When I was growing up ... (more >>>)
We Live In An Age Of Miracles: Mark Perry has reminded us that "in the last three decades, computing speeds have risen 200,000-fold, while costs have dropped 10,000-fold. In 1980, it cost $10,000 for the hardware to store a single book. Today it costs one penny. That's why a Kindle can store thousands of books. And the cost of storing books and digital information is still collapsing."
Thought For Today: Did you ever notice that, when you put the two words 'The' and 'IRS' together, it spells 'Theirs'?
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