A Blog About Cars ... And Much, Much More
Friday August 28, 2015
AutoSketch: 1946-48 Lincoln Continental - Luxury Continued
Lincoln introduced the Continental in the 1940 model year. In 1942, the car was restyled with a heavier, blockier front end. The 1942 production run was short - it was interrupted by World War II. During the war, the Lincoln plant made tank engines, jeep and amphibian bodies and nacelles for the B-24 bomber. Car production resumed in November of 1945 with the introduction of the 1946 models.
The 1946 Lincoln Continental looked a lot like the 1942 model but had a new grille. This grille was one of the largest plated die-cast pieces made in the period and featured a rectangular checked pattern of horizontal and vertical chrome bars. It made the car look more massive than the '42. The 1947 and '48 models were very similar to the '46 model. All had ... (more >>>)
I'm Old And I Can't Keep All These Ashleys Straight: This Ashley Madison internet sex scandal has me very confused. First, I was wondering if she was related to Dolley Madison and sold ice cream.
Then I wondered if she sold sofas at Ashley Furniture. After all, you can't have an affair without a good sofa, especially one with a pull-out bed.
Wikipedia told me that Ashley is a place name, and a surname as well as both a male and female given name. The place name is derived from the Old English words 'aesc' (ash) and 'leah' (meadow). Ashley, Pennsylvania, for instance; it's near Willkes Barre, which is itself kind of an ash pit.
Ashley Force is an American drag racer. Ashley Judd is an American actress; I liked her performance in the 2004 film 'De-Lovely'. Ashley Blue, according to Wiki, is an American porn star. There is an Ashley typeface.
There was an English kit car .... (more >>>)
This Won't End Well: Fannie Mae wants to make it easier for working-class and multigenerational households to get a mortgage.
The mortgage-finance company "it would roll out a program this year that lets lenders include income from nonborrowers within a household, such as extended-family members, toward qualifying for a loan." The move is expected to open up mortgage access to a segment of the population that doesn't fit the typical family structure and has had trouble obtaining mortgages.
Anyone still remember the mortgage-driven Financial Meltdown of 2008?
Lukewarm Economy: Clark County Washington - where I live - had an unemployment rate of 6.8% in July, up sightly from June's 6.5% and last July's 7.2%. The labor force was up an estimated 0.8%, putting it well below population growth.
Initial unemployment claims rose for the third straight month.
New Phrase: Firebrand pundit Ann Coulter introduced Republican front-runner Donald Trump at a campaign event.
Coulter said, "How about anvil babies because that is what anchor babies are around the necks of the American taxpayer." The Republican Party's typical position is to preemptively surrender whenever liberals start yelling "Oh that's mean. You can't use that word."
"Oh, I did not realize that 'The New York Times' made a finding that the term anchor baby is offensive. Henceforth I shall not use it."
Well they found something new with Donald Trump. "No," he said. "No I'll use anchor babies." And now Americans are finding out not only the policy of anchor babies but the policies of these speech Nazis. And they are going to learn when it comes to Donald Trump maybe they better just keep their mouths shut next time."
Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died."
Wednesday August 26, 2015
Rare Sighting: My wife took some cool photos of an unusual hot rod last week in Battle Ground Village. It's a 1926 Packard Boattail made by custom car maker Peter Portugal of Eureka, California.
Portugal started with a cowl from a '26 Packard, and from there built the speedster. He put a boat tail on his speedster and enhanced it with a redwood deck lid. Portugal said that he "built the speedster to look old, but upgraded the steering and tires to make the car more drivable ... (more >>>)
Got Money To Burn? Dan Neil has just the vehicle for you. The $110,000 BMW X6 M "sport activity coupe" is an overpriced mess according to Dan. Many who take a close look at it "cannot figure out what is and moreover why it has sold about a quarter-million units world-wide since 2008 and nearing 50,000 in the States. What itch does this thing scratch?" It does have 567 horsepower, though.
The vehicle is "remarkably useless. Your head starts to spin the moment you open the driver's door: Whoa, the cabin is tiny. Where did all the room go? Hey, Frodo, stop at the store so I can get some ciggies."
"Take a walk around the glossy dome of the thing parked on the street, a bubble about to burst into high-speed droplets of depreciation. It looks huge, right? Activate the fastback power hatch to reveal the criminal lack of storage beneath (3 cubic feet). In terms of living space, this car is like the genie's bottle in reverse."
Styling details? Dan wrote, "I will turn away modestly from the front mud flaps, the flexible aero bits that hang down below the grille in an incontinence of plastic."
Dan concluded, "More than metallic paints and fine hides and a towering price tag, the X6 M qualifies as a luxury item by virtue of its divine spark of uselessness."
Off By One Year: Recently, James Lileks posted an old Ford station wagon advertisement, remarking that the model is "a '55 or so." Close, James. It's a '56 Ford.
I know because I learned to drive in a 1956 Ford.
Book Review: 'When To Rob A Bank: And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants' by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
These guys are the authors of the wildly popular bestseller, 'Freakonomics' - a book I've never read. My bad.
'When To Rob A Bank' is a collection of blog postings by the authors. Since I had never read the blog, all of the material was new to me.
The book contains mostly short posts about a variety of subjects including ... (more >>>)
Big Fires: Not just the Cougar Creek Fire mentioned Monday, which has burned over 30,000 acres so far southeast of Mount Adams, but another ones in Washington state. The lightning-caused Okanogan Complex of fires, a series of fires raging in the north-central part of the state, has now grown to become the largest in state history. There is very little containment on this wildfire.
About 1,250 people are battling the Okanogan Complex. Last week, three firefighters were killed and four injured when they were overtaken while trying to escape the flame.
Sixteen large wildfires are burning across central and eastern Washington, covering more than 920 square miles. More than 200 homes have been destroyed, and more than 12,000 homes and thousands of other structures remain threatened.
In the Northwest, we had an unusually dry winter. Almost no snow in the valleys and less than usual rainfall. In the mountains, snowpack levels were much less than expected. Now we're paying the price.
Quote Of The Day is from Milton Friedman: "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both."
Monday August 24, 2015
Arriving In Style: Ronnie Schreiber is a fan of the dual cowl bodystyle of the 1920s and '30s. He noted that "the phaeton roof line is one of the masterpieces of automotive styling. There is a reason why Dean Jeffries made the Monkeemobile a phaeton, beyond the need for seating for all four band members in the back. The long roof (one reason why enthusiasts are attracted to station wagons) and the way it peaks in the back and then slopes towards the front of the car simply looks good."
Well, I'm not sure that I'd put the words "masterpieces of automotive styling" and "Monkeymobile" in the same paragraph. Oh, well. Chacun à son goût.
Ronnie continued, "Then there's the dual cowl aspect. Though they are not exactly limousines, they're functionally equivalent, the owner rides in back, so there is that side of being able to show off your wealth by having a chauffeur. Also, the second cowl gives it the look of a parade car, whether or not the roof is up or down. It's easy to visualize Queen Elizabeth doing her queenly wave from the back seat."
I'm more of a classic town car fan myself, where the chauffeur is exposed to the elements while the occupants of the closed portion keep warm and sip Moët & Chandon champagne while munching on crudités or caviar. It shows the lesser people who's boss.
Chrysler made three custom-built ... (more >>>)
You Can't Go Home Again ... because everything has changed. In my younger days, I often rode the Route 66 trolley in Northeast Philadelphia. It was an actual trolley car line until the mid-1950s when it became what Philadelphians euphemistically call a trackless trolley. The rest of the world refers to these rubber-tired electric vehicles as trolley buses.
The Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Agency plans to remove 19 regular stops from the 66 line along Frankford Avenue. About 10,000 people ride the 66 each day.
My family's most memorable Route 66 event was ... (more >>>)
Wild Rides: Did your 401K run out behind the Dumpster and throw up last Friday night? Well that's what happens when the world's economies are being run like some out-of-control amusement park and your money has been taking all the rides on a fully-invested stomach.
Your life-savings white-knuckled the grab bar on the big 'ol Dow Roller Coaster when it dropped over 530 points Friday - more than 3% - in one day. The DJIA was down 7% for the week - the worst weekly decline since October 2008, during the Mega Financial Meltdown Armagedon.
The Slip-N-Slide Oil Ride has gotten too slick; oil has dropped to below 40 bucks a barrel and consensus is that the global gut of oil will be around for a while. That's, of course, if you believe that Consensus can be found in an amusement park.
In the short term, cheap oil will make for queasiness in the energy sector of the U.S. economy. In the long term, it could decimate the Iranians, Saudis and our other 'friends' in the Middle East. So, it's not all bad. Just put your head between your knees, breathe deeply and repeat the mantra, 'Keystone Pipeline, Keystone Pipeline', until your tummy settles.
Our economy has digested too much fluffy Cotton Candy (aka - Quantitative Easing) served up by the Fed. Now the room is starting to spin and we don't feel too well. Shouldn't have gone on that last ride. Time to pay the piper.
All those smart financial advisers who .... (more >>>)
How Was Your Weather This Weekend? Smoke from a wildfire near Mount Adams moved west into the Vancouver-Portland metro area on Saturday, leaving very hazy skies and a distinct and strong burning odor.
The smoke came from the Cougar Creek Fire, which has burned over 30,000 acres so far southeast of Mount Adams. The blaze was only 15% contained as of Sunday afternoon. The Cougar Creek Fire was ignited by lightning on August 10th.
I didn't drive my '39 Plymouth coupe this weekend. Not because of the smoke but because I'm feeling poorly due to the effects of the chemo & radiation treatments. I'm now halfway through the treatments and the side effects are intensifying. I was warned that this might happen.
Why Is Obama Letting The Iranians Self-Inspect Their Nuclear Facilities? Scott Johnson offered this explanation: "Self-inspection? With the death of Peter Sellers, Inspector Clouseau was unavailable."
Hope He Enjoys Frequent 'Foot-Longs' In Jail: Jared Fogle, former fat dude who rocketed to fortune and fame by losing more than half his body weight on a diet of Subway sandwiches, has been convicted of child molestation and child porn charges.
Police "arrested Taylor on seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Investigators said they discovered a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor allegedly produced by secretly filming minor children at his home."
He's a disgrace to the entire fat community. #FatLivesMatter
Quote Of The Day is from James Lileks on towels: "They're also described as 'hand sewn', which I rather doubt; I suspect some machinery was involved, and "hand sewn" refers to the process of feeding the edges through a Singer. Which is 'hand sewn' in the sense that a microwave meal made by pushing the buttons is 'home cooking'."
Thursday August 20, 2015
This Caught My Eye: The Lincoln Motor Company commissioned Automotive Fine Arts Society president, Ken Eberts, to create a piece titled 'A New Star is Born', to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the original Lincoln Continental, and the creation of the 2016 Continental Concept. Ken used his own ... (more >>>)
Early Morning Glow: I'm getting my radiation treatments early in the morning these days. Some days, I'm just wiped out. On others, such as Wednesday, I had lots of early morning energy, so after a quick, simple breakfast, I hopped in my '39 Plymouth business coupe and went for a drive.
By 9:30 am, the temperature was already 70 degrees; it reached 95 by late afternoon. The sky was blue with mere wisps of clouds and there was typical August morning haze on the horizon.
Traffic on the roads was fairly light and I had a pleasant and peaceful drive.
Loss Leader: Last week, Tesla Motors announced that it lost $194 million in the last quarter, citing lower vehicle deliveries and higher spending on its factory ahead of a new model.
Reuters reported that Tesla is losing $4,000 on each car it sells. Tesla has had only one profitable quarter in its history and the carmaker doesn't project a cash-positive year until 2020, assuming it can sell 500,000 cars/year by then.
Good luck with that. By 2020, the market will ... (more >>>)
Political Quip Of The Week is about Hillary Clinton: "She's got a lot of name recognition but it's not like she's ever accomplished anything on her own of any merit. Hillary is kind of like the Yoko Ono of politics."
Book Review: 'The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House' by Kate Andersen Brower
The Residence claims to offer an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas. Not so much, I'm afraid. There's a dearth of revealing stuff here; the book contains mostly things you've read elsewhere.
You'll find every ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day: "Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away - and you have their shoes."
Tuesday August 18, 2015
Food Drive: As soon as the sun broke through Saturday morning, I hopped in my '39 Plymouth coupe and took a drive.
Overhead, the skies were a deep summer blue but a solid ring of clouds ran around the horizon, obscuring all the hills and mountains. I immediately thought of a giant ring of duchess potatoes surrounding a big steak. I guess it was because I hadn't eaten yet and was a bit hungry.
In any case the weather was just fine - 64 degrees at 8:30 am, the roads were uncrowded and I had a most enjoyable drive.
I felt good, too. Sometimes, driving an old car is the best therapy.
Monterey Week 2015: Last week's annual car fest offered the usual mix of spectacular and interesting vehicles on display as well as some wild auto auction results. Monterey Week includes road rallies, races, auctions, displays, seminars, exhibitions, parties and new model introductions by auto manufacturers. And traffic jams, as people try to attend every event and cram in every activity.
It can be exhausting. I know. I traveled there in 1996, when things were far less hectic with fewer people in attendance and not as many venues. (And yes, I still have my Pebble Beach Miracle Hat.) In my lifetime, I've been to hundreds of automotive events and nothing compared to Monterey. I recommend that every car enthusiast do Monterey Week at least once in his/her lifetime. It's Pamplona for those who are interested in powerful, snorting creatures of a mechanical nature. With wheels rather than hooves.
The area's convention bureau expects more than 85,000 visitors will drop more than $50 million on hotel rooms, restaurants and bar tabs this year. The locals whine but they like the trickle-down effect of all that money, so they smile, make nice and mutter under their breath when no one is listening.
At Sunday's Pebble Beach Concours - the pinnacle and conclusion of the Monterey Week experience, Best of Show was awarded to a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A sport cabriolet, owned by Jim Patterson, from Louisville, Kentucky.
Then there were the auctions.
RM Sothebys gaveled down several high-dollar autos last week, including ... (more - including additional photos >>>)
Metal Dreams On Green Grass: Pebble Beach's 'Concept Lawn' near the clubhouse is where all the spectacular manufacturers' dream machines are displayed. Autoblog has posted a slew of photos and they're worth a look.
A Bad Prediction From 30 Years Ago: In the December 8, 1985 issue of the New York Times, Erik Sandberg-Diment wrote, "For the most part, the portable computer is a dream machine for the few … On the whole, people don't want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the sports or business section of the newspaper.
Somehow, the microcomputer industry has assumed that everyone would love to have a keyboard grafted on as an extension of their fingers. It just is not so."
I've added this to my Bad Predictions page.
My Advice For This Day: Never give upon your dreams.
Friday August 14, 2015
Fetching Woodie: A 1941 Packard 110 wood station wagon sold for $120,000 at a recent Mecum auction in Harrisburg, PA, according to Hemmings.
In 1941, fewer than 140 One-Ten mahogany and ash woody wagons were built. These entry-level Packard models were powered by a 100 horsepower, six-cylinder flathead engine. In 1941, you could buy a brand-new, full-size example for $1,236.
I own a 1:43 scale Neo model of this vehicle and enjoy looking at it from time to time.
At First Glance ... I thought it was some kind of Aston Martin. Or Aston-Bentley marriage. The Hyundai Vision G Coupe Concept looks very sleek. And chic.
Peter Schreyer, Hyundai-Kia design chief, says the Vision G reflects "a DNA that balances design and performance with the idea that you don't need to be over the top in terms of glitz and stereotypical luxury cues."
This eye-catching coupe will make its debut at Pebble Beach this weekend.
Band Of Brothers ... and Sisters: Jimmy Carter has cancer. Last week, Carter had surgery at Emory University Hospital to remove a small mass in his liver. It was found that cancer has spread from his liver. "Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body," the 90-year-old former president said. The statement indicates that the 39th president's cancer is widespread but not where it originated, or even whether that is known at this point. The liver is often a place where cancer spreads and less commonly is the primary source of it.
I disagreed with almost every Jimmy Carter policy during his presidency. As an ex-president, he has been a foreign policy meddler who sticks his nose where it doesn't belong, sometimes to the detriment of the United States.
None of that matters now. Jimmy is in a fight for his life. Cancer is insidious, sneaky, voracious in appetite and deadly. Too many good people have died from it ... my mom, my godparents - Aunt Ceil and Uncle Tom - and other relatives. And friends. And now, I've got cancer. Again. ... (more >>>)
Planet Musings: In 2006, I felt bad for Pluto when know-it-all scientists kicked it off the 'official' list of planets. Since Pluto's planetary demise, I've heard a lot of rumors. People said that, when you come right down to it, Pluto was nothing but a dirtball. (Sort of an orbiting Paris Hilton, but without the neon 'Open' sign worn below the navel.) And Pluto wouldn't stay in orbit, staggering around the solar system like a drunken Kennedy.
Now, these brainy scientists are eating their words. Pluto has become a big deal now because of all those images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. It's getting more ink than the Kardashians. And it didn't need a sex tape or sex change to get there. Just being reclassified as a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond Neptune was good enough.
Recent images of Pluto reveal unexplained layers of haze that are several times higher than scientists had predicted. Another close-up image shows a sheet of ice, similar to huge glaciers on Earth, that may still be moving. And Pluto has peculiar icy plains that are around 100 million years old. And moons. Every planet worth its salt has one or more. Pluto has five.
So, who will astronomers pick on now? ... (more >>>)
Thought For Today: Only in America, could the rich people - who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.
Wednesday August 12, 2015
Summer Days, Summer Haze: The skies were blue, the sun was bright but there was a bit of haze that soften and obscured the distant mountains on Monday when I took a drive in my '39 Plymouth coupe. At 1:00 pm, the temperature was 80 degrees but with the windows down there was a nice breeze.
I was glad to get a drive in the old coupe. I had been feeling pretty punk over the past several days but felt good enough for a drive on Monday, so I took it and enjoyed every minute.
Mint-Condition, Authentic Jerks: Recently, Ronnie Schreiber wrote about a wonderfully restored 1938 Packard Super Eight 1605 convertible sedan, shown at this year's Detroit-area Concours of America.
The owner's grandson was talking about the Packard Blue color "just as another Packard enthusiast was walking by. "That's not Packard blue, it's too purple," said the passerby. It almost got heated."
Ronnie went on to relate details of this car's Packard Blue and the science behind paint selection. This '38 Packard may actually have the most accurate rendition of the color than any other Packard.
Those who show their cars are often subjected to insults and jeers from jerks. Most of these people don't have a car to show. Often they are the owners of a deplorable, rusting automotive prolemobile under a tarp somewhere.
Ronnie later said ... (more >>>)
Separated At Birth? Are Beetle Bailey's Private Zero and Hägar the Horrible's Lucky Eddie the same person? Or just kindred spirits? ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'Live Right And Find Happiness (Although Beer is Much Faster): Life Lessons and Other Ravings' by Dave Barry
I always look forward to Dave Barry's end-of-year summaries. But, sometimes you just run out of funny. And that's what happened with this book.
Yes, it had a couple of moments. Dave describing the true nature of ... (more >>>)
Question Of The Day is from Rand Simberg: "If we could put a man on the moon, why can't we issue 20,000 volts to the genitals of e-mail spammers each time one is sent out?"
Monday August 10, 2015
Faster Than A King Midget: Recently, TTAC tested the latest iteration of the Nissan Micra, sold in Canada but not the U.S.
My wife and I rented a Nissan Micra during a trip to England (including a pilgrimage to the famous, must-see Beaulieu Motoring Museum) in 1995.
Of course, that was 20 years ago and much has changed. For example, the engine now puts out 109 horsepower - much more than the one we drove. And I'm sure its a much safer car than the little tin can we drove.
Our '95 Rentmobile was a pleasant little car but was incredibly small. Inside were tight quarters. I felt that the car and I were one - like wearing a suit of thin armor. (And it was probably about as safe as one in any kind of crash - not very.)
The little white Micra didn't have a lot of power - with a briefcase-sized, one-liter engine, although the 5-speed manual provided surprisingly decent acceleration. Even if you hung a large Danish pastry on the back, the Micra could still outrun Lena Dunham.
Over a two-week period, the eleven-foot long Micra got 56 mpg. The one we drove was made in Nissan's Sunderland plant in the U.K. I'm told that they're now made in India to keep the cost down.
Less Than Six Degrees Of Joe Sherlock: The new season of 'Garage Squad' debuts Tuesday, August 11th. Heather Storm co-hosts the show.
Who's she? A woman who appeared in my son Joe's 2003 mystery-thriller movie, 'Underbelly'. At the time, she was a student at Oregon State University and aspiring model.
TV Show Imitates Real Life ... Again: Last month, I wrote about the Duke of Fluke (a fluke is a member of the large-tooth flounder family). The top-hatted, monocled Duke is the mascot of a fishing charter service operating out of Sommers Point, NJ.
Recently, I spotted the duke's cousin on an episode of 'The Simpsons' ... (more >>>)
Useless Tech: Financial columnist Malcolm Berko is not a fan of some of the latest esoteric tech devices. "Fitbit's wristband, along with Google Glass, is an example of the idiocy of many American consumers. Can you imagine a Korean, a Czech or even an Austrian wearing a Fitbit device? FIT's wristband, which monitors your fitness activity by tracking the calories you burn or the running/walking distance you cover, is easily among the dumbest and most useless products of the century.
Unfortunately, consumers who pay up to $700 for those things reproduce and vote. Though the Pet Rock may have been one of the 20th century's most useless products, in a pinch it could be used as a doorstop, a paperweight or a weapon. FIT's wristband has no salvageable value; it can't make you stronger, make you smarter, make you more svelte, increase your stamina or get you to work on time."
The only thing I wear on my wrist is a 1980s-era Seiko watch.
Quote Of The Day is from root beer magnate Charles E. Hires: "Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark - you know what you are doing but nobody else does."
Following Hires Root Beer's debut at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Charles Hires aggressively advertised his root beer on street cars, benches, barn signs, color advertising cards, lithographed postcards, magazines as well as full-page spreads in large-circulation city newspapers.
Friday August 7, 2015
Political Cattle Call: Last night's events were not debates in the classical sense. There hasn't been a real debate since Kennedy-Nixon in 1960 - 55 years ago.
The Cleveland Show was a combination cage match, Miss America contest (but with only one female and no bathing suit or talent competition) and 'Jeopardy': "I'll take Immigration Reform for $200,000, Bret."
That said, here are my observations:
A: The J-V Debate
It was more interesting than I expected. Here's my take on the players:
B: The Main Event
It started out with a bang when Donald Trump refused to pledge support for the eventual Republican nominee. Here's my take:
Hopefully, the next Republican debate will have fewer candidates.
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."
Thursday August 6, 2015
High-Revving College Days: There's an interesting back story about the styling of the Chrysler Turbine Car posted at TTAC. Chrysler produced a total of 55 vehicles and the bodies were made by Ghia in Turin, Italy.
Early on, Chrysler Turbine Cars were driven to and exhibited at various engineering schools, probably for general promotion and subtle recruitment for future engineers.
A Chrysler Turbine car was shown at Villanova University when I was an engineering student there. I can't remember the exact time but I think it was during the Spring of 1964. The sleek car was displayed in the parking area behind Tolentine Hall which was then the Engineering Building. The young man demonstrating the vehicle placed a nickel on edge on the turbine engine and revved up the motor. The coin never fell over - an impressive accomplishment.
I remember the Turbine being a cool-looking car, better-looking in person than in photographs. Later in my life ... (more >>>)
Welcome To Seattle: James Lileks weighed in on the iconic Public Market: "It's a funky place, as every tourist knows. The fishy smell does a nice job of overriding the bum smells, which spring out from doorways and alleys."
Note to James: Portland's worse. And if hippie odiferousness is your quest, try the Saturday Market in Eugene.
And: "Buskers galore. One trio looked like they could have stepped out of 1970, what with the granny-sack dresses and beards and general deshabille and the Seegerism of their musical stylings. It's like being in 1945 and finding people dressed like it was 1905 on a corner, playing the music of that era. They'd be regarded with amusement and curiosity; here they fit right in, because you expect it to be 1972 for some reason."
I've posted some photos of Seattle (from our 2012 trip) here.
"There was a busker playing very complicated songs, like 'Bingo was His Name-O.' He was not well received. When he lurched into Wooly Bully - again, a song you really want to hear shouted out in a tiled room - some fellow wandered up and started to screech the "watch it now watch it" part, to the mild consternation of everyone. But when it became apparent they were entertainers, not lunatics, the crowd went back to ignoring him.
After dinner we went to the Very First Starbucks. Lourdes gets less traffic."
Geezer Travels: A group of elderly Americans were traveling by tour bus through Holland. They stopped at a cheese farm and a young guide led them through the process of cheese making, explaining that goat's milk was used.
She showed the group a lovely hillside where many goats were grazing. "These are the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produce," she explained.
She then asked, "What do you do in America with your old goats?"
A spry old gentleman answered, "They send us on bus tours."
Book Review: 'Born With Teeth: A Memoir' by Kate Mulgrew
When I began this memoir, I thought I was reading one of Kurt Vonnegut's more 'out there' novels - the ones with characters one would never encounter in real life - in Mulgrew's case, a mother who brought her ovaries home in a jar, placed it on the mantle, gathered her many children around and told them that "this is where you came from."
Kate Mulgrew is an actress noted for her roles as Captain Kathryn Janeway on 'Star Trek: Voyager', Mary Ryan on 'Ryan's Hope' and, the role I remember best, 'Mrs. Columbo'. And she really was born with two teeth, which soon had to be pulled.
Humility is not a word in Kate Mulgrew's dictionary. She is overly ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Rodney Dangerfield: "A girl phoned me and said, 'Come on over. There's nobody home.' I went over. Nobody was home!"
Wednesday August 5, 2015
Happy Birthday ... to me. I turned 72 years of age today.
Unfortunately, one of my birthday presents will be a dose of chemo and radiation. Yes, after six months of chemotherapy last year, my cancer has returned. I am now undergoing a six-week, daily regimen of chemo and radiation in an attempt to ... (more >>>)
Tuesday August 4, 2015
July Auto Sales: It appears that 2015 will be the best year for car & truck sales since 2001. Light vehicle sales were at a 17.5 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in June - up 6.4% from July 2014 and up 3.3% from the 17.0 million annual sales rate last month. Nissan, American Honda, GM, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai and Ford all posted healthy U.S. sales gains for July, helping the industry begin the second half of the year on a strong note. Light truck sales continue to boost the bottom lines of just about every automaker - up around 11% month-over-month compared with 2014.
The Ford F-series pickup achieved its first year-over-year sales increase since January as Ford Motor Co. posted an overall U.S. sales gain of 5% last month, to 222,014 vehicles. Lincoln sales increased 21% to 9,536 vehicles.
General Motors, the highest-volume manufacturer in America, was up 6% in July despite a 7% drop at Cadillac to 14,154 units and a modest 1% uptick at GMC. Full-size SUVs had a terrible month at GM, but the company sold 86,051 pickup trucks. Buick sales increased 18%.
Year over year, sales rose 6% at Fiat-Chrysler in July to 178,027 units, the company's best July sales level since 2005. The Jeep brand posted a sales gain of 23% year over year; Patriot sales rose 22%, the all-new Renegade posted a sales gain of 30% and Grand Cherokee sales rose 5%. Ram pickup sales rose only 1%. The Chrysler brand was up 19%, while Dodge sales slipped 13%. Fiat sales fell 15% to 3,235 little vehicles.
Lexus sales were up 9% and the brand outsold Mercedes (29,816 vs. 29,689) and BMW, which sold 26,970 vehicles in July. Audi sales totaled 17,654 units, an increase of 21%. Sales of Acura were up 20% (14,915), while Infiniti sales rose 16% (9,985).
Subaru sales rose 11% while VW increased 2%. Toyota sales were flat, while Honda sales were up 7%, as was Nissan's. Hyundai sales increased 6%, while Kia sales were up 8%.
In July, 208 new Bentleys found buyers, an increase of 4%, while 95 Rolls Royces were sold, two more than in July '14. 177 Ferraris were sold in July, up one from last year.
Perfect Old Car Weather: I took my '39 Plymouth coupe for a drive Saturday morning at 9:30 am, when the outside temperature was a still-comfortable 75 degrees. In the afternoon, the temperature eventually rose to 98 degrees.
For nostalgia's sake, I played a recording of the 1957 Joe Niagara Show. I had the windows down and waved to a few neighbors who were out.
Skies were bright summer blue with almost no clouds. Mt. St. Helens is almost bare - the snow melt has been quicker than usual this year. It's been hotter than normal and there was less snow pack due to a drier-than-usual winter.
The car ran like a clock and the traffic was light - it seemed like lots of people were sleeping in.
Soooo Much I Don't Know About History: I always thought that the 'Peace of Westphalia' referred to a Volkswagen camper with hippie symbols all over it.
In The Dark: I just remembered a humorous story from my working days at the Plastics Engineering Laboratory in Bristol, PA.
Expo 67 was Montreal's World's Fair which was held at Ile Ste-Hélène on the St. Lawrence River. The centerpiece of this 1967 fair was the U.S. Pavilion - covered by a gigantic, 20-story, see-through geodesic dome, designed by R. Buckminster Fuller. The segments of Bucky's dome were glazed with bronze-tinted Plexiglas acrylic sheet.
There were four or five different shades of transparent bronze used. The pieces near the top had the darkest shades; the ones near ground level were the lightest to create a gradient effect and reduce heat loads near the top. Hexagonal acrylic flat pieces were heated and free-blown (with air-pressure) to form low-rise bubble shapes. These were bolted to the welded steel skeletal structure. Because acrylic was flammable, the entire structure was sprinklered. As I recall, there was one sprinkler head for every Plexiglas panel.
The sprinkler system was plagued with ... (more >>>)
The first will be to my friend Bibi Netanyahu. I will reassure him that the United States will always stand with the State of Israel.
My second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. He might not take the call, but he will get the message. I will tell him: new deal. Unless and until Iran opens itself to full and unfettered inspections of all nuclear and military facilities, we are going to make it very hard for Iran to move money around the global financial system. U.S. companies should not be profiting off of this murderous regime.
The next President of the United States will have a lot to do with whether Apple and McDonald's are doing business in Tehran. These two calls are also signals that the United States is back in the leadership business."
I like the sound of being Back in the Leadership Business - it has good slogan potential.
My Advice For The Day: Do what's right. If it keeps you awake at night, it's not the right thing. In an age of moral relativity, situation ethics and the end justifies the means, depend on your conscience. It is programmed to give you insomnia if you've made a mistake in judgement. Works for me, anyway.
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