The View Through The Windshield - Car Blog by Joe Sherlock

A Blog About Cars ... And More

Thursday May 30, 2019

AutoSketch: 1953 Studebaker - A Taste Of Europe

When the 1953 Studebaker Starliner coupe debuted in late 1952, it stunned the public and the other automakers. It was a complete break in style from every other American auto. The swoopy lines of the coupe model was like nothing else on the road. It made its competition look stodgy. The low-slung coupes were only 56.4 inches high. In comparison, the 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupe was 64 inches in height and looked positively stodgy when parked next to a Starliner.

Raymond Loewy's design team (primarily designer Bob Bourke) styled this stunning Studie. In 1953 ... (more >>>)

Book Review: 'Charles Clifton of Pierce-Arrow: A Sure Hand and a Fine Automobile' by Roger J. Sherman

Now almost forgotten except by diehard antique auto enthusiasts, Pierce-Arrow was once a well-engineered, very desirable luxury auto marque. Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was a bicycle company which began offering passenger automobiles, then trucks and, later, buses.

In 1909, President William Howard Taft ordered two Pierce-Arrow automobiles to be used for state occasions. In 1914, Pierce-Arrow adopted its most distinctive styling hallmark when its headlights were moved from a traditional placement at the radiator's sides, into flared housings on the front fenders. For several years, the company could not keep up with sales demand ... (more >>>)

Make Europe Great Again: The European Union was originally designed to make it easier for people and goods to travel from country to country. Fewer border hassles. A common currency. Reduced tariffs. Instead, a giant bureaucracy was created, intruding on people's lives and obliterating national customs and identities.

Don Surber wrote, "Nationalists won European Parliament elections in England, France, Hungary, and Italy … because the European Union is the biggest failure since the Soviet Union."

Now, in a delightful twist of irony, Nigel Farage's Brexit party will be the largest party in the EU parliament. "From my side of the ocean, I see people across a continent being told to sacrifice their national identities for the greater good. With some reluctance, they became Europeans. But then they are told - again for the greater good - they must accept millions of people of another race, another religion, and another religion who do not have to assimilate. Those Europeans who dare object are subject to harassment and jail. There are no-go zones that where Europeans are not allowed - not even the police. Add to this the ending of (individual nation's social) customs and the regulation of life from Brussels and you have alienated a people."

In related news, populist leader Marine Le Pen and her Rassemblement National (National Rally, or RN) have triumphed over sitting French president Emmanuel Macron in the European Parliament elections, according to exit polls. Ms. Le Pen declared victory following exit polls showing the RN winning around 24% of the vote, compared to Macron's La Republique En Marche! (LREM) who, according to projections, has come in second with 22.5%. Le Pen has called for Macron to dissolve the French parliament, saying that "it is up to the President of the Republic to draw the consequences" and calling for fresh elections.

The serfs have overthrown the Lords. Let's see what happens next. Break out the popcorn; it should be interesting.

It's Been Done Before: Studies published by researchers from Stanford University and the University of Virginia concluded that Individuals with relatively high social class are more overconfident and more successful than their social lessers, even if the upper class twits are not that smart. "There's a 'class ceiling' for employees from working-class backgrounds, those researchers found. "Even when people who are from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering high-status occupations, they earn 17% less, on average, than individuals from privileged backgrounds."

Anyone else remember Monty Python's 'The Upper Class Twit of the Year' sketch from 1970?

Quote Of The Day is from Grandpa Simpson: "The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it."

Tuesday May 28, 2019

Tenacity Illustrated … from Old School Rides:

Vittie was racing a modified 1936 Ford three-window coupe. (permalink)

Game Changer? A proposed merger of Fiat-Chrysler and Renault would create the world's tied-largest auto group just behind Japan's Toyota and Germany's Volkswagen. If the proposal goes forward, the new company would displace the once-unconquerable General Motors as the third-largest car company in the world.

"FCA has a highly profitable businesses in North America with its RAM trucks and Jeep brand, but lost money last quarter in Europe, where most of its plants are running below 50% capacity and it faces a struggle with new emissions curbs. Renault, by contrast, was an early mover in electric cars, has relatively fuel-efficient engine technologies and a strong presence in emerging markets, but no U.S. business."

Mistakenly or not, there is "a consensus among industry executives and analysts that carmakers must link up to share the cost of a transition from internal combustion engines to avoid being run over by fast-moving tech industry challengers like Tesla or Uber. A Fiat-Renault deal would put pressure on rivals to find partners or be left behind as competitors unite in new mega-alliances…. Proposing a full-blown merger illustrates the urgency that automakers feel as they stand on the brink of what may be the biggest period of transition since the early days of the automobile."

There is, however, a lesson from past auto mergers is that they often founder on clashing corporate cultures or turf battles, and that predictions of the possible benefits prove overly optimistic. That was the case with Chrysler's ill-fated merger with Daimler in the late 1990s. And Ford's acquisition of Jaguar, Land Rover and other firms didn't end well, either.

"The French government signaled that it would back Fiat's plan as long as jobs and industrial sites in France are not compromised." That kind of jobs guarantee demand right out of the starting gate doesn't bode well for a merger seeking efficiencies.

It should be noted that "neither company is strong in China, which has become the world's largest car market. And neither is particularly strong in the high end of the car market, the most profitable segment. Fiat's Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands are well regarded but are minor players in a market dominated by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi."

Only time will tell whether this is a brilliant idea or a monumental disaster.

Anybody Wanna Buy My Plymouth For That Price? A 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda convertible crossed the auction block for $1.9 million. During the 1970 model year, Plymouth only built 14 Barracuda convertibles with the Hemi V-8 engine. Of these, nine came bolted to the 727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission, making this manual transmission one a rare – and hence desirable – example of Mopar E-body muscle.

The High-Impact Lemon Twist yellow convertible was sold at Mecum's Indianapolis sale.

It Must Be Their Job: Have you noticed that every failed 21st Century presidential candidate - the ones nominated by their party who came in behind the winner - quickly turns into a whiner and all-around pain-in-the-ass? Hillary Clinton - hell, yes. And Mitt Romney too, who still bitches about President Trump being unfit. Or unworthy. Or something. And John McCain, who became an obstructionist and later a Trump-hater until the Grim Reaper finally dragged him off the stage. And John Kerry, who has become a serial meddler in foreign policy - traitorous, some say. Then there's Al Gore, who has shown himself to be a fool and a hypocrite in the climate change arena and elsewhere.

In retrospect, Bob Dole seems a classy guy indeed. He lost and never whined. He never whined about his grievous injuries he suffered while fighting in World War II either.

Trump Collusion/Obstruction Summarized … from Maggie's Farm: "While we recognize that the subject did not actually steal any horses, he is obviously guilty of trying to resist being hanged for it."

Question Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "You can get guaranteed-value Forever Stamps at the Post Office. So why can't you get guaranteed-value Forever Dollars at the Bank?"

Friday May 24, 2019

Unsafe At Any Speed: Here is a list of the 14 most dangerous used vehicles from 2013-2017, based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

1. Mitsubishi Mirage: fatal accident rate of 10.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
2. Chevrolet Corvette: 9.8 cars per billion vehicle miles.
3. Honda Fit: 7.7 cars per billion vehicle miles.
4. Kia Forte: 7.4 cars per billion vehicle miles.
5. Chevrolet Spark: 7.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
6. Subaru BRZ: 6.9 cars per billion vehicle miles.
7. Nissan 370Z: 6.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
8. Nissan Versa: 6.1 cars per billion vehicle miles.
9. Kia Rio: 5.9 cars per billion vehicle miles.
10. Dodge Challenger: 5.8 cars per billion vehicle miles.
11. Chevrolet Camaro: 5.5 cars per billion vehicle miles.
12. Kia Soul: 5.3 cars per billion vehicle miles.
13. Hyundai Veloster Turbo: 5.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
14. Nissan Versa Note: 5.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.

More Tesla Woes: Morgan Stanley analysts outlined a worst case scenario that could see the electric carmaker's stock price fall as low as $10.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, previously a major Tesla bull, said rising debt and geopolitical exposure, including the risk that Chinese demand for the company's cars could suffer, had led him to cut his worse-case scenario to $10 from $97. "Tesla has grown too big relative to near-term demand, putting great strain on the fundamentals," wrote Jonas. "The departure of key executives, price discounting, and extraordinary cost-cutting efforts add to the narrative of a company facing real potential stress."

As I write this, Tesla stock is tumbling. In January, Tesla shares were close to $350. Now, the stock struggles reach $200.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports is no fan of Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot feature, giving it a failing grade.

"The system's role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed, it's the other way around," said Jake Fisher, CR's senior director of auto testing. "It's incredibly nearsighted. It doesn't appear to react to brake lights or turn signals, it can't anticipate what other drivers will do, and as a result, you constantly have to be one step ahead of it."

Nevertheless, Tesla claims it will have fully self-driving cars by the end of 2019. If it's still in business, that is.

MAGA: Stanley Black & Decker announced that it was investing $90 million in a plant in Texas – a move aimed at continuing its effort to shift production of a range of Craftsman products back to the U.S. The new 425,000-square-foot facility will be located in Fort Worth, where tools ranging from sockets, ratchets, wrenches to general sets will be produced.

"When we purchased Craftsman in 2017 we were determined to revitalize this iconic U.S. brand and bring back its American manufacturing heritage," Stanley Black & Decker President and CEO Jim Loree said. "From the launch of Craftsman's refreshed brand identity last year to our announcement of the first new manufacturing facility in many years, we're demonstrating our continued commitment to grow the brand and bring even more production of these great products back to the United States."

Stanley bought Craftsman from struggling retailer Sears in 2017, which continues to sell some of the brand's products. In an effort to cut costs, Sears had outsourced production to places like China and Mexico.

Thanks, Obama: Tom McMahon tweeted: "In retrospect, it may not have been wise to empower the grandson of an African witch doctor to overhaul the world's best healthcare system."

Feel Free To Create Your Own Punchline: A trans-'woman' gets a new vagina made from a fish.

"The technique uses a "tubular-shaped acrylic mold" that has been "wrapped with the skin" of the fish that has then been shaped into the form of a "biological prosthesis" to repair and extend the vaginal canal in an operation that takes three hours."

Acrylic plastic - is there anything it can't do?

Thought For Today: The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

Wednesday May 22, 2019

Goodbye Stick Shift: In 2018, Toyota sold some 280,000 Corollas in the United States. Just 1% of buyers chose a manual transmission. As for the Tacoma truck and Yaris subcompact, they both hover at 5%, and undoubtedly as a result, the 2020 Yaris hatch is auto only for the U.S. market. In the Tacoma, a manual is only available with the four-cylinder engine, not the six, so the pickup's manual take rate is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then there's Toyota's 86 sports car: "Even though it's viewed at an enthusiast car, the 86's figures are heavily on the automatic's side. Just 33% of buyers went for the manual, and 67% would rather have the six-speed automatic do the hard work. It's no wonder the Supra only comes as an automatic, and just looking at these numbers, we wouldn't really be that surprised if the eventual 86 successor left out the manual option as well, at least for the United States."

I learned to drive on a stick-shift. I taught my wife and my kids how to drive one. We had at least one manual transmission automobile in our garage until 1995. And, we didn't have a single automatic transmission car in our garage until the summer of 1980. But the day of the stick-shift is just about over. Automatic transmissions are no longer slushboxes - they are generally superior and more efficient these days. And my 75 year-old left knee doesn't miss having to work a clutch pedal.

I Guess They Won't Be Providing Me With A Review Copy: Bentley - via luxury publisher Opus - is producing a book about the 100-years history of the marque. The 100 Carat edition "encrusts the book with 100 carats of diamonds and a wings badge set in either white gold or platinum" and sells for $250,000. Only seven 100 Carat editions will be produced.

The Blighted Mess Known As Atlantic City: UK newspaper The Guardian claims that Donald Trump's failed casino ventures ruined Atlantic City. James Lileks pushed back, noting that AC was a dump when he visited it in 1991. As someone who began visiting Atlantic City in the 1940s and spent several summers in the area from 1957 to '63, I can tell you that it was in decline even in that bygone era. I last visited the place in 2008 as part of a trip to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. So, I'm a qualified observer of AC's decline. More so than The Guardian, anyway.

AC's Golden Age was ... (more >>>)

Book Review: 'Dare To Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.' by Brené Brown

There's good money in motivational business books. If successful, they lead to workshops and other side gigs as well as additional books. Brené Brown has figured this out and is the author of several, although this is the first one I've read. Here's a summary ... (more >>>)

Parody Headline Of The Week: 'New York Times to Start Publishing Tax Returns of Everyone Who Cancels Subscription'.

Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said, "We're sitting here publishing garbage stories about gay presidential candidates and unnamed royal babies and junk like that – no one pays us any mind. We say that we've got Trump's tax returns, and next thing you know, everyone's reading newspapers again. Or at least the Drudge Report, which is like an online newspaper. I wish we were an online newspaper that people liked reading. We are going broke so fast."

"Not that we're really in this for the money anyway," said Sulzberger. "We mostly just like telling people what to do and pushing them around when they don't do it. We've warned Trump numerous times in our op-eds not to be a sitting President who I didn't vote for, but he just wouldn't listen. So we went behind his back and published his private information that has absolutely nothing to do with our policy disagreements or his ability to run the country. It's like the accountant version of a Stormy Daniels interview."

Quote Of The Day is from Alan Sullivan: "One of the few good things about old age is outliving people you despise."

Monday May 20, 2019

Unhealthy Economy: In China, new vehicle sales declined for the 11th straight month, sliding almost 17% to 1.54 million units in April.

That follows a 12% decline in March and an 18.5% drop in February.

"The escalating trade spat with the U.S. threatens to deal a further blow on demand. The U.S. hiked tariffs on more than $200 billion of goods from China on Friday in the most dramatic step yet of President Donald Trump's push to extract trade concessions. A retaliation by China in the form of higher import tariffs on U.S.-built cars would bring more price uncertainty for consumers and could prompt them to delay purchases."

21st Century Problems Resulting From Technology: A couple shot a porn film in a Tesla set on Autopilot while there were "a lot of cars driving by."

Ms. Taylor Jackson said "she wasn't afraid of crashing, as she has experience with Autopilot. "However, I did bump the steering wheel, knocked it out of Autopilot. It was mainly a straight road, but it had a lot of traffic. We had a lot of cars driving by us."

Who's Gonna Make All the Money From Tariff Increases? Answer here.

Wake Up! I added a nice color photo to my Tom Peterson posting.

New James Bond Film Coming: The cast has been announced but there's no title yet. Dave Burge offered these (and other) suggestions:

'Bitcoins Are Forever'
'Casino Buffet'
'The Man With The Golden Prostate'
'Kill and Die and Die and Kill and Lather and Repeat'
'On Her Majesty's Workplace Behavior Suspension'
'Lexus of Tucson'

Suggestions by other posters included:

'Dr. No Means No'
'From Russia With Hillary'
'The Intersectional Feminist Who Woke Me'
'Connery Row'
'On Her Majesty's Secret Safe Space'
'Scoldfinger (perhaps co-starring Elizabeth Warren as the villain)'
'Dye Another Toupee'
'Brexits Are Forever'

Question Of The Day: If you rob a bank in a Sanctuary City, is it illegal or is it just an Undocumented Withdrawal?

Thursday May 16, 2019

Zap! Volkswagen reported that advance orders for its ID.3 entry-level electric-powered hatchback, which goes on sale at $33,600 in 2020, surpassed 10,000 cars in the first 24 hours.

"VW's Golf-sized ID.3 will officially launch this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The car is named ID.3 because Volkswagen views the model as the third major evolution in the firm's history, after the Golf and Beetle."

VW plans to sell three versions of the ID.3 (45 kWh, 58 kWh, 77 kWh) with varying ranges (200 miles, 261 miles and 342 miles). Volkswagen said a full warranty on the ID.3's battery will cover eight years, just under 100,000 miles or the normal depreciation of the battery to 70% of its original maximum capacity.

Expensive Iron: A cream-colored 1948 Tucker sold for $1,985,000 at Bonhams' Tupelo Auto Museum liquidation auction. The auction generated more than $10 million in sales. Proceeds are being donated to an educational fund established by the museum's late founder, Frank K. Spain.

Can't Wait To See It In Person At Speed: Union Pacific's 4014 Big Boy 4-8-8-4 steam loco is moving under its own power for the first time in 60 years.

It traveled from its home in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Utah as part of a year-long tour to commemorate the Transcontinental Railroad's 150th anniversary. With tender, the Big Boy tips the scales at 1.25 million pounds and makes 6,290 horsepower. I hope it gets to Portland someday.

This year will be a great year for wheels - between the resurrection of the Big Boy locomotive and the introduction of the mid-engined Corvette.

Separated At Birth ... (more >>>)

It Used To Be Hans: Mohammed now ranks first as the most popular name for newborn boys in the German capital of Berlin once all the variations of the name, such as different spellings like Muhammed and variations like Mehmet, are counted together.

The Demise Of 'Skateboard Jesus': Margaret Carlson wrote, "The one-time wonder Beto O'Rourke is at 5%, behind every other first-tier candidate. You can thank, or blame, women who make up almost 58% of the primary electorate for Beto's decline. Disproportionately, they don't like him. According to my unscientific poll asking every woman I see, Beto reminds them of the worst boyfriend they ever had: self-involved, convinced of his own charm, chronically late if he shows up at all, worth a meal or two but definitely not marriage material."

His climate change plan "makes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's half-baked Green New Deal look like the Manhattan Project." Beto pitched himself "to Hollywood as a lone seeker of truth, combining Kennedy hair and teeth with Obama's cool jazz moves plus wild hand movements."

Even Beto's pet turtle, Gus, has run away.

Book Review: The Apollo Missions: In The Astronauts' Own Words' by Rod Pyle

Almost 50 years ago (July 20, 1969), the Apollo 11 spaceflight put a man on the moon. Neil Armstrong's first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience. He described the event as "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Putting men on the moon fulfilled President Kennedy's 1961 goal - "… before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

Recently, Christopher Jacobs wrote ... (more >>>)

Pissing Off 90+% Of Your Market To Kowtow To A Few: The Bud Light you know tastes the same but looks a little different. The beer company, in partnership with LGBTQ media organization GLAAD, launched its first-ever rainbow aluminum bottle to celebrate World Pride.

This is an example of idiotic marketing: Pick up maybe 20% of the 1-2% homosexual market and lose 75% of the 98-99% normal market. Maybe they should rename the product Bud Light In The Loafers.

Quote Of The Week … so far, is from Dinesh D'Souza: "Why don't transsexuals organize their own athletic events? Why destroy women's sports by having men who think they are women outrun, outlift, outwrestle and beat up women who are obviously weaker than they are?"

Farewell To A Funny Guy: Tim Conway, the impish second banana to Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard 'McHale's Navy' and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for 'Spongebob Squarepants', has died at age 85 of dementia and hydrocephalus.

Tim will be remembered as an icon of tasteful, profanity-free humor; a truly funny goofball whose antics in skits inevitably cracked up other performers. RIP.

39 Years Ago: On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, causing a massive debris avalanche. It reduced the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 feet to 8,365 feet and replaced it with a mile-wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The 5.1 magnitude earthquake uncorked a gas-charged reservoir of magma that leveled 230 square miles, killed 57 people and triggered the largest landslide in history. The explosion equaled the force of a 20-megaton bomb.

I see the mountain every day (unless it's clouded over); I live a mere 35 miles away as the ash flies. I had never ... (more >>>)

Quote Of The Day is from Henry James: "Life is a predicament which precedes death."

Tuesday May 14, 2019

Happy Birthday: This blog is now fifteen years old. The View Through The Windshield debuted without fanfare on May 13, 2004. You can see my earliest posts (in a simple, quick-loading format - suitable for dial-up users) here. Back in 2004, I had an active management consulting practice. I retired in 2011 and am now approaching my 76th birthday. Tempus fugit.

My blog is self-described as "about cars ... and more." I usually lead off almost any day's posting with something transport-related. Non-automotive postings include news articles which I find significant or humorous, nostalgic items as well as my opinions on social, political and cultural issues. And lots of other stuff. I'm still posting nonfiction book reviews at the rate of 50-60 or so per year.

Most of my website traffic goes to the blog page; the main page of my website remains the second most popular page.

Traffic to the blog page was about the same as last year. Since I don't sell ads, web traffic has no impact on my life. The View Through The Windshield is strictly a one-man voluntary operation; I don't have co-writers or a comments section. This blog is my journal, not a collaborative or a community forum. And that's how it's going to stay. More people are visiting Philadelphia Memories pages, too - fellow nostalgia buffs, who remember when it really was The City of Brotherly Love. My model train pages remain popular, especially during the last quarter of the year when visitors are thinking about building a Christmas layout of their own and are looking for tips and ideas. Each month, I post 12-15,000 words.

A concession to readers is that I sometimes post newspaper comics and editorial cartoons on the blog. Because I don't have reprint rights, I remove them after a week or so. So ... if you want to see 'em, you better stop by frequently. Everything else can be found in the Archives or Greatest Hits sections.

Glenn Reynolds of the famous blog Instapundit wrote of the 'alleged' death of the Blogosphere, "I feel fine. I think that the old blogosphere was superior to "social media" like Twitter and Facebook for a number of reasons. First, as a loosely-coupled system, instead of the tightly-coupled systems built by retweets and shares, it was less prone to cascading failure in the form of waves of hysteria. Second, because there was no central point of control, there was no way to ban people. And you didn't need one, since bloggers had only the audience that deliberately chose to visit their blogs." I'm pleasantly surprised that in the age of people busily reading tweets. scanning Instagram and obsessively checking Facebook to spy on friends and enemies, that my blog is holding its own.

When I look back over the past 12 months, I'm surprised at the many events and changes.

Big auto news is that the production mid-engined Corvette will soon be unveiled and the fabled Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotive has been restored to glory and is chugging down the track. I was pleased to publish new historical research on the Rohm and Haas’ concept cars. I also posted a brief history of Pennsylvania coachbuilder Derham Body Co. I speculated about what it would be like if Harbor Freight sold cars. And, I explained how time smooths out everything, like it or not. And wrote about what it's like to turn 75. Finally, I learned the fate of my 1956 Continental Mark II.

During the past 12 months, Cadillac moved its headquarters back to Detroit after several years in New York City, where almost no one - except UPS and FedEx employees - drives. Last August, 66 year-old Danny Thompson has set a land speed record in his dad's 50 year-old Challenger 2 streamliner at Bonneville. Danny set a two-way average speed of 448.757 mph - a record for piston-powered, wheel-driven vehicles.

My blog entries often contain summaries of drives in my '39 Plymouth coupe. Last Friday, the temperature was 72 degrees at 11:30 am - it eventually reached 86 degrees - so I fired up my old car and went for a drive. The sky was bright blue and cloudless, Mt. St. Helens was clearly visible and traffic was fairly light. As usual, I had an enjoyable little excursion.

Sadly the past year has been one of persecution and death for Christians, mainly by Muslims. The April massacre in Sri Lanka is just one example. The fire at Notre Dame de Paris saddens me as well. Authorities were very quick to call it 'accidental'. Too quick. And they provided no details. I'm suspicious.

In personal news, I'm still cancer-free, five years after my surgery. The Vanguard Wellington Fund is almost 90 years-old. And, in a few months, I'll be 76.

During the last fifteen years, a lot of new blogs have debuted with much noise, fanfare, acerbic wit, outrage and fireworks. I have enjoyed them but am disappointed when they sputter and die. You can't sustain anything - a blog, a business, a show, a relationship - on hype and ambition alone. You must make a commitment and then work at it, putting one foot in front of the other on a regular basis. A lot of people don't understand that. Running is impressive but plodding along is better than standing still ... or being defunct.

There are still many wonderful blogs out there. So many that I struggle to keep up just with the ones I've bookmarked on my browser.

There are no plans to expand my online presence. No Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, or podcasts. I want to enjoy my life rather than chain myself to a computing device day and night. Unless someone can present me with a compelling business case for doing so: "Show me the money." Lots of it. No? Well, never mind then.

While I'm a mere Baco-Bit in the great salad bar of the blogosphere, my micro-condiment will continue to plod along for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, here's to another year: Cheers!

Thought For Today is from Tom McMahon: "With all these events to raise awareness why are there still so many people who seem so totally unaware of everything?"

Friday May 10, 2019

Postwar Woody: Recently, I acquired a 1:43 scale model of a light green 1949 Dodge Coronet woody station wagon. The PremiumX diecast model was ... (more >>>)

Surprising To Me: Richard Lentinello has documented the best-selling American convertibles of the post-World War II era and posted it on Hemmings.

I not only didn't guess the top seller (1958 Chevrolet Impala) but missed almost every other one on the list.

Royal Baby Named After Old Comic Book: Meghan and Prince Harry reveal the name of their son - Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Next kids to be named Veronica, Betty and Jughead, not necessarily in that order.

Archie Andrews character was created in 1941 and - even in 1959 - often wore a bow tie and sleeveless sweaters over long sleeve shirts - the same outfits worn by teenage jitterbuggers in prewar movies.

Twenty-three skidoo!

Jesus Is Real And Christianity Raised Up The Human Spirit: Donald Sensing wrote that "Jesus of Nazareth was an actual, historical man. … Jesus' existence is better attested in ancient sources than that of Julius Caesar - but no one claims Julius was not a real person. Also, the earliest written reference to Alexander the Great dates 400 years after Alexander is said to have lived. Yet no one says Alexander was not real."

Christianity was for centuries the leader in thought, science and civilization. The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the Western World and the originator of 'hospitals'.

Just as the Syrian Christian Church did in the East, the Catholic Church in the West pioneered putting into practice the words of Jesus: "I was sick and you visited me'." And "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, so you have done unto me." Healthcare for the poor traces its roots to Christianity.

In the 4th century, under the ministry of St. Jerome, a wealthy Christian widow named St. Fabiola gave money to build a hospital for the poor in Rome and cared for the sick herself. Around the same time, St. Basil distributed food to the poor of Caesarea, then built a poorhouse, hospice, and hospital. When the Catholic Church was founded, there were no schools. Today, the Catholic Church teaches 3 million students a day, in its more than 250 Catholic Colleges and Universities, in its more than 1,200 Catholic High Schools and its more than 5,000 Catholic grade schools - in the U.S. alone.

Every day, the Catholic Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than any other organization in the world.

Where are all the great Muslim charities for the poor and the sick? Muslim teaching hospitals and medical research facilities? Muslim art museums? The squads of Muslim soldiers, volunteer doctors and nurses who rush in to help when disaster strikes in some god-awful Third World country?

Casey Klahn wrote, "Libraries, universities and scholarship abound for two millennia on the study of the things of Christianity (history, theology, ministry, natural and medical science, arts, learning) and by comparison the liberal arts are a puff of wind."

Sunday is Mother's Day, so ... I wish a hearty Happy Mother's Day to all moms (especially mine) - whoever and wherever they may be.

Mother's Day was officially established in the early 20th Century. At first, it was the custom to wear a white carnation to honor one's mother. In part due to the shortage of white carnations, and in part due to the efforts to expand the sales of more types of flowers on Mother's Day, florists invented the idea of wearing a red carnation if your mother was living, or a white one if she was deceased; this was tirelessly promoted until it made its way into the popular observations at churches.

I remember carnations being sold outside of churches on Mother's Day, when I was young. Men wore one as a boutonnière on the left jacket lapel. In the past 35 years, I've not seen carnations worn on Mother's Day, either because the custom never caught on in the Pacific Northwest or because the tradition has waned. Perhaps it's because no one seems to dress up anymore, so there are no lapels on which to affix carnations.

CorporateSpeak Right To The End: Robotics startup Anki shut down after burning through almost $200 million and then released a PR statement/deathbed confession. "[We were left] without significant funding to support a hardware and software business and bridge to our long-term product roadmap … We're doing our best to take care of every single employee and their families, and our management team continues to explore all options available."

Anki laid off its entire workforce of just over 200 employees, each of whom will receive only one week of severance pay. One #@%&* week. So much for taking care "of every single employee and their families."

No Money: The Des Moines-based media company that owns a huge number of familiar magazine titles (Time, Sports Illustrated, Magnolia Journal, Parents, Food & Wine) has announced that it will stop publishing the print edition of Money magazine after the June/July issue.

It's not a big loss - unless you're an employee. Back in the 1980s, when Money magazine was hot stuff, I used to tell friends that the best way to take advantage of Money's stock recommendations was to wait six months after the issue hit the newsstands and then short the stock. It worked 90% of the time. Many of Money's articles fell under the category of Stating the Obvious.

Money joins a host of other magazines in the publisher's graveyard: Worth, Smart Money, Family Money, Individual Investor, Dollar Sense, and even Mutual Funds Magazine. It now appears that Kiplinger's Personal Finance stands alone now as a vehicle for individual personal finance journalism.

On the other hand, there is plenty of free advice online, including pages on this site - from smart investing to business, finance and the economy to business advice.

Definition Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "Cherish: Sorta Like Cher."

Wednesday May 8, 2019

If You Think The Lexus Models Sold Here Aren't Good-Looking … you haven't seen the Lexus LM. Similar in size to a large Ford Transit van, it costs six-figures. Car and Driver noted, "Let's begin with the LM's exterior, which Lexus describes as having "eye-catching style" and "a family-style chrome-plated spindle grille." This is no turn for the absurd, as there's plenty about the LM's face that is both arresting and sure to be hated uniformly by the whole family at the same time."

C&D summarizes the overall appearance as "hideously ugly."

Ponycar Wars: I never thought much of the Dodge Challenger when it was introduced 11 years ago. It was the boxiest of pony cars with lines far less sleek than the Mustang and Camaro of the era. Fast forward to now: the Challenger - looking much like it did when introduced - has solidly overtaken the legendary Chevrolet Camaro. "It had the best year ever in 2018 and continues gaining market share at an astonishing rate."

Over the past decade, Mustang sales appear to remain flat while Camaro has seen a decline and Challenger has seen growth, according to Kelley Blue Book data. In first quarter 2019, Mustang sold 16,917 for 29% of market; Challenger sold 13,431 for 23%; Camaro sold 12,083 for 21%. "Dodge has introduced what's called "buzz models," which offer twists on current models with fancy trim packages or different engine types. For example, the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye allowed Dodge to inject excitement without spending time and money reconfiguring a whole new car."

I'm not surprised that the Camaro is on the wane. Its exterior styling has become weird and visibility is poor because of its low roofline and small windows. I also think the new Chevy Blazer looks weird as well, so perhaps 'weird' is the new bowtie signature look.

"Pressed to explain the surge in popularity, Dodge officials provided all sorts of research morsels. For example, Challenger buyers list "exterior color choices" as their top purchase reason at a higher rate than competitors, with choices including Destroyer Grey, F8 Green, Granite Crystal, IndiGo Blue, Maximum Steel, Octane Red, Pitch Black, Triple Nickel and White Knuckle. ... When Challenger buyers confess to have had interest in Mustang and Camaro, the "interior roominess" of Challenger often closes the deal, Dodge surveys say.

And while Mustang and Camaro are rear-wheel drive, Challenger offers all-wheel-drive."

Near-Perfect Weather: At 11:00 am Monday, the temperature was 55 degrees (it eventually reached 81), so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for a drive.

Traffic was very light and the sky was a slightly-hazy blue with nary a cloud to be seen. I had a great view of snow-capped Mt. St. Helens. I rolled the windows down and, at one point, got a dose of freshly cut grass from a large field I passed.

All in all, I had a great drive.

Everyone Has A Hobby … and a passion: Russell Lord, a British jeweler who has owned 55 Ford Escorts, spent 25 years building a gold, silver and bejeweled 1:25 scale model. Now he's selling it for charity.

"The model is based on the Mk2 Escort works rally car driven by Ari Vatanen in the late 1970s. Details include spinning pulleys on the front of the engine, a moving diamond-encrusted platinum gear shifter, and glass windows that involved smashing vases to find sections of glass with exactly the right curve.

The body is silver and the car has gold brakes and spoiler, 18-carat gold wheels and hood hinges, 18-carat white gold front grille, 72-point diamond headlights, orange sapphire indicator lamps and ruby rear brake lights."

Remember Whitman's Sampler? The boxes of candy are still made although ownership has changed. Whitman's was founded in Philadelphia twenty years before the Civil War. Whitman's Sampler was first marketed in 1912 and saw its peak popularity in World War II.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, my dad worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad/Penn-Central/Conrail. One of the customers he serviced - delivering boxcars/tankcars of subcomponents and hauling out finished products - was Whitman's at their plant in far Northeast Philadelphia. He had access to the company store, where he could purchase Irregular Chocolates - Whitman's Sampler rejects (misshapen rejected pieces) for the bargain price of 10-pound bulk boxes of candy for $2.00.

So we always had Whitman's chocolates at our house, although some of the chocolate-covered cashews looked like chocolate-covered tiny bloated livers and the caramel turtles were often shaped like miniature piles of dog poop. Nevertheless ... (more >>>)

Old News: Upon learning that Norah O'Donnell is the new anchor of CBS Evening News, Dave Burge tweeted, "The evening network newscasts seem like a sad half-abandoned old strip mall with shoe, typewriter, and sewing machine repair shops. You just have to marvel at how they manage to keep going."

He added, "It's always interesting to hear about anachronisms that are still around, like Howard Johnson's or AOL or Doonesbury."

Why I No Longer Contribute To Peter's Pence: Pope Francis has donated $500,000 to assist migrants stuck in Mexico at the U.S. border. The funds, from the Peter's Pence collections, will be distributed among 27 projects promoted by sixteen Mexican dioceses and religious congregations, which requested assistance in continuing to provide food, lodging, and basic necessities to the migrants.

Tweet Of The Week ... so far: "Kamala carries a gun but doesn't want us to. Bernie makes millions but doesn't want us to. AOC flies in airplanes but doesn't want us to. I'm seeing a pattern, are you too?"

Rise Of The Machines: Workers at Amazon warehouses who fail to pack goods for delivery quickly enough are being automatically fired by a computer program which measures their performance.

The software used in Amazon fulfillment centers, automatically evaluates the performance of individual workers against internal metrics and dismisses those who fail to meet certain criteria, including speed.

About 10% of the company's workforce in one Baltimore fulfillment center was fired after failing to meet the company's standards.

Book Review: 'My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie' by Todd Fisher

This work is part-biography and part tribute by author Todd Fisher, brother of actress/writer Carrie Fisher and son of movie legend Debbie Reynolds. Her two children are a result of Debbie's first marriage to '50s singer and all-around-scumbag Eddie Fisher. Fisher didn't help his popularity by divorcing 'America's sweetheart' Debbie Reynolds (scandalous in the 1950s) and running off with town pump Elizabeth Taylor who later publicly dumped Eddie for Richard Burton.

Eddie was ... (more >>>)

Quip Of The Day: When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.

Monday May 6, 2019

April Vehicle Sales: While analysts were predicting that April light vehicle sales to post a seasonally adjusted average rate (SAAR) of 16.9 million units sold, U.S. consumers chose instead to sit on their wallets. Sales came in at a SAAR of 16.41 million units last month. That's a drop of 2.3%. Year to date, sales are down 3%. Last month was the lowest SAAR since February 2014, when U.S. consumers purchased just 15.54 million cars, pickups and sport utility vehicles. Last April, the sales rate totaled 17.25 million.

April's year-over-year decline marks the first time this year that 2019 sales fell below the level of the same month in 2018. Lower demand from retail customers was due to higher interest rates on vehicle loans, higher prices and lower manufacturer incentives, but demand from fleet buyers also was unexpectedly soft.

Nissan and Subaru posted sales increases during April (Nissan sales increased by 9%), but Fiat-Chrysler declined by 6%. Toyota sales fell 4% as deliveries of most new vehicles continued to drop under pressure from rising prices and higher interest rates. "April sales were a bit dampened by the harsh financing conditions we've been seeing in the new car market," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of industry analysis. "Shoppers are really starting to feel the pinch as prices continue to creep up and interest rates loom at post-recession highs."

Once Upon A Time, Kids Couldn't Wait To Drive A Car. It used to mean freedom. Now, not so much. "About a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver's license in 2017, a sharp decline from nearly half in 1983, according to an analysis of licensing data by transportation researcher Michael Sivak.

Whereas a driver's license once was a symbol of freedom, teenagers are reaching their driving age at a time when most have access to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to shuttle them around town. At the same time, social media and video chat let them hang out with friends without actually leaving the house. When they reach their 20s, more are moving to big cities with mass transit, where owning a car is neither necessary nor practical. And of those who do buy a car, many more than in older generations opt for a used one, according to J.D. Power."

A new mind-set among many Generation Zers - roughly those born after 1997 - is confounding parents and stumping auto makers at a time when new-vehicle sales in the U.S. are slowing. J.D. Power estimates that Gen Zers will purchase about 120,000 fewer new vehicles this year compared with millennials in 2004, when they were the new generation of drivers - or 488,198 vehicles versus 607,329 then.

"That freedom of getting your own wheels and a license - and that being the most important thing in life - is gone," said Brent Wall, owner of All Star Driver Education in Michigan, a chain of driver-ed schools. He said the average age of students in his class is rising. "It used to be the day they turned 14 years and eight months, everybody was lining up at the door. Now I'm starting to see more 15- and 16-year-olds in class." He frequently hears from parents that they're the ones pushing their children to enroll.

Mike Shedlock predicts, "The auto industry will soon not look like what it does today. Cars will be smaller, lighter, electric, and self-driving. Boomers will be gone. Those living in big cities will not need to own a car at all, and most won't. Boomers are the primary force keeping the current auto trends alive. Demographically-speaking, it won't last.

Expect massive change within a decade, on multiple fronts, including outright ownership."

I used to get so excited about cars. Now, everything looks the same and I sometimes can't tell the make of the car from ten feet away. Back in the day, I could tell a 1955 from a '56 Ford with one glance. And never missed guessing the make of car. Guessing … hell, I knew. No guesswork involved.

Trouble At The Three-Pointed Star: Worldwide economic woes caused a 7% drop in Mercedes-Benz sales during the first quarter to 555,300 vehicles. In China, Mercedes-Benz Cars' largest market, unit sales decreased by 3% to 173,200 units. Sales in the United States fell by 9% to 64,300 units. In Europe, unit sales were down by 4% to 235,300 Mercedes-Benz and smart brand vehicles. Of that total, 78,100 units were sold in the German domestic market, representing a decrease of 1%.

The adverse development at Mercedes-Benz led to a decline of 13% in Daimler AG net income for the quarter as the company's total revenues remained flat. EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) was down 15% despite improvements in the earnings of Daimler Financial Services. Daimler Trucks, despite a modest sales increase, saw its earnings decline due to an adverse swing in exchange rates.

And Make Them Clean It Off Your Tires, Too: That parking officer who swipes a chalk mark on your tire to keep track of how long you've been parked is violating the Constitution, a federal appeals court panel found.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reinstated a 2017 case brought by Alison Taylor, who was issued 15 parking tickets in three years in Saginaw, Michigan, by the same parking enforcement officer, who's described in the suit as the city's "most prolific issuer of parking tickets."

Taylor argued that marking tires with chalk constituted an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Sing-A-Long: You can belt it out in English or Spanish. Mark Steyn recently pointed out that the 1936 song ’San Francisco’ is the Official Song of the City by the Bay. (Tony Bennett's 'I Left My Heart In San Francisco' is the city's Official Ballad.)

Mark wrote, "With the media ructions over President Trump's proposal to move undocumented immigrants to "sanctuary cities" like Nancy Pelosi's district," it was only fair to make 'San Francisco' his Song of the Week." Consider the lyrics:

"San Francisco
Open your Golden Gate!
You'll let no stranger wait
Outside your door...
San Francisco
Here is your wand'ring one
Saying I'll wander no more.

May it inspire Nancy Pelosi to open the gates of her manse and give sanctuary to all those "migrants."

Angry And Irrational Muslims: Why is there such violence in the Muslim spirit that seems to inflame everything and everyone it touches? One hundred years ago, Fr. Gabriel Oussani (no stranger to Islam, as someone born and raised in Turkish Baghdad and Mosul in the late 19th century) penned this concluding paragraph to his Catholic Encyclopedia article on 'Mohammed and Mohammedanism':

"In matters political, Islam is a system of despotism at home and of aggression abroad. The Prophet commanded absolute submission to the imam. In no case was the sword to be raised against him. The rights of non-Moslem subjects are of the vaguest and most limited kind, and a religious war is a sacred duty whenever there is a chance of success against the "Infidel". Medieval and modern Mohammedan, especially Turkish, persecutions of both Jews and Christians are perhaps the best illustration of this fanatical religious and political spirit."

Read the whole thing.

I Still Miss The Gino Giant: Gino Marchetti, Baltimore Colts legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has died at age 93 of pneumonia.

In 1959, Mr. Marchetti and two teammates opened a burger joint on North Point Road in Dundalk, MD. Crowds flocked to the drive-in for the double-decker "Gino Giant" and a chance to meet the sandwich's namesake. Gino's was known for high quality hamburgers such as the Sirloiner, which was made from sirloin steak, and the Gino Giant, which predated and later competed with the Big Mac.

Gino's pioneered indoor seating at its fast food outlets and in the early 1960s and was more popular in Philadelphia area than McDonald's. Gino's was the preferred choice of my buddies and me during our younger years. In those days, Gino's advertising slogan was: 'Everybody Goes to Gino's', repeated in print and in radio jingle form. By 1982, Gino's had mushroomed into a nationwide chain of 469 fast-food restaurants when it was sold to Marriott International for $48 million. Marriott abandoned the Gino's name in favor of their Roy Rogers restaurants.

Gino Marchetti is responsible for the famous Gino's Scholarships that made a huge impact on some St. Joseph's Prep students in the late 1960s and 70s. During a 10-year span, 280 Preppers received significant financial assistance through these scholarships, many were Students of Color, allowing the Prep to become a more diverse community. My wife and I once had dinner at Gino Marchetti's in the Baltimore area - it was an upscale steakhouse, owned by the same Gino.

Requiescat in Pace, Mr. Marchetti.

Quote Of The Day is from Nicolás Gómez Dávila (aka - Don Colacho): "Fashion, even more than technology, is the cause of the modern world's uniformity."

Thursday May 2, 2019

Prewar Dream: I recently received a 1:43 scale, China-made, resin model of the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt Le Baron concept car in metallic green with copper trim. The model is a limited edition - only ... (more >>>)

Don't Hold Your Breath: Mullen Technologies, the California company that wants to homologate and build the K50 electric sports coupe from Chinese automaker Qiantu, says it has chosen a site near Spokane, Washington, as its manufacturing site for the car. Mullen last week unveiled the 430-horsepower K50 at the New York International Auto Show but didn't divulge its manufacturing plans, except to say that a new factory would allow extra capacity to scale up for future products. The company plans to launch the K50 in the U.S. by mid-2020.

The last new car made in Spokane was the short and narrow (100 inch-long, 39-inch wide) Tango commuter car. In 15 years, only a dozen have been made. George Clooney bought one.

Book Run: By 1:00 pm Tuesday, the temperature was in the upper 60s, the sun was shining and skies were blue with puffy clouds scattered here and there. I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and headed to the library to pick up a reserved book.

Afterwards, I went for a backroads excursion. Traffic was light and, with the windows rolled down, there was the sweet, satisfying smell of newly mown grass. There was a clear view of Mt. St. Helens to the north and my old Plymouth ran great. It was a perfect day for an old car drive.

The Great White North: The Old Motor posted a 1947 parking lot photo taken on Fleet Street in Toronto showing a number of interesting old cars, including three 1939 Plymouths ... (more >>>)

And The Winner Is: Every year, car enthusiast and hot rodder extrodinaire Dave Burge holds a Grand Champion Carbonator contest in opposition to the general Earth Day madness. The 2019 winner is Emma Thompson, for her 5,400 mile private jet joyride to London to join the Extinction Rebellion Climate Protest.

Dave added, "Please note that Emma Thompson dethrones 3-year reigning Iowahawk Carbon Champ Leo DiCaprio. It's about time a woman gets cast as superhero!"

Sweet Memories: When I was growing up, Good & Plenty was a favorite candy. The caplet-shaped pieces had a hard sugar shell, colored white or bright pink with a soft sweetened black licorice center.

Extra large boxes of the now-iconic candy could always be found ... (more >>>)

Eventually, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Yankees have decided that long-dead singer Kate Smith is a racist, based on today's woke standards. The Flyers have removed a large statue of Kate outside their arena much to the dismay of many fans and Kate's relatives, although the statue wasn't a very good likeness. In the 1970s, the Flyers considered Kate and her rendition of 'God Bless America', a good luck charm that helped them win games. Kate personally appeared at several games to perform the iconic song live. Shortly after her death in late 1986, the team erected a statue of Ms. Smith outside their arena at the time, the Spectrum, in her memory.

When she was in her 20s Kate recorded two songs that are now considered racist. One was clearly meant as a satire to mock the racism of the Jim Crow era and the other was a song also recorded by Paul Robeson, the black cultural icon from New Jersey. Hence the new 'racism' charge. Ol' Remus opined, "Pardon me for thinking this has less to do with a novelty number about "darkies" recorded almost ninety years ago than with the song itself - 'God Bless America'."

Ms. Smith's fame and her fortitude began early. As a child she had not only entertained troops who fought in World War I but later, her songs of hope and inspiration captured America's heart and helped ... (more >>>)

Don't Forget: Sunday is May 5th - Cinco de Mayo. Let's honor it with this little joke:

Q: What do you call four Mexicans in quicksand?

A: Cuatro sinko.

On a related note, Gerard Van der Leun once penned an article titled 'The Taco Wall of Cinco de Mayo'.

He observed, "Of late the May 5 street celebrations in the US seem to be orgies of hating on the United States and praising the bouncy car and taco culture of Mexico from safe spaces (so far) inside the US.

Your moral and intellectual betters lose no time in reminding you that May 5 is just a Hispanic version of St. Patrick's Day. Maybe but I don't recall the St. Pats Parade in NYC being a hotbed of treason, felonious behavior, and America hating. Still, our shopkeepers never pass up an opportunity so when I entered my local Safeway yesterday I had forgotten all about this smarmy little holiday imported from south of the border down Mexico way.

In one moment I was confronted by this wall (a tall, aisle-end, wall-like, cardboard point-of-purchase display of taco chips and related products); a wall that Safeway and the faux-Mexican food producers somehow (unlike Congress) found the money to build." Olé!

Sixty Years Ago: May 3, 1959 is hard-wired in my memory bank.

For six months during my Junior Year at St. Joe's Prep, Father William F. Pichla, S.J. repeatedly reminded us that he was taking on us on a field trip to see a steel mill on that date. Except, with his accent, he pronounced it May Turd. Then three weeks before the trip he got pissed off at the class for some minor infraction and canceled it.

"Dat's it! No May Turd trip for youse," he yelled. Therefore, I've never toured a steel mill. I don't think I missed anything. Bessemer converter, my ass.

The trip probably would have been to U.S. Steel's Fairless Works, a fully-integrated steel mill which began operations in 1952. The facility was located north of Philadelphia in Fairless Hills, PA and included two blast furnaces, nine open hearth furnaces, two coke batteries, an 80-inch hot strip mill, rolling mills, a sheet and tin department, a pipe mill and a vessel slip, all located on nearly 4,000 acres along the Delaware River. Peak employment reached more than 8,000 in 1974. Father Pichla died in 1971. The mill closed in 2001.

Political Comment Of The Week … is from Greg Gutfeld about giving voting rights to prisoners, including the Boston Bomber: "It's official - Bernie Sanders is working for the Republican Party."

"You think a guy in jail for murder can't have his rights taken away? What is it about being in jail that you're missing? He is in jail. He can't go outside. The toilet have no seats. Seems like not voting is the least of his concerns. ... But hey, I guess Bernie wants the guy on Death Row to vote. It makes sense. He could pull one lever before we pull the other. It's almost tailor-made for an RNC ad."

Book Review: 'Why We Fight: Defeating America's Enemies - With No Apologies' by Sebastian Gorka

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the well-known military and intelligence analyst, former deputy assistant to President Trump and oft-seen pundit on FoxNews. His distinctive voice - British with a dab of Eastern European; Gorka could easily play a Bond villain - combined with a no-nonsense manner caused Greg Gutfeld to develop a humorous GPS parody commercial which featured the Gorka Positioning System, which doled out crisp driving directions along with blunt, stern life advice.

Television makes everyone seem the same height. Until I looked at the photo section of the book, I had no idea how tall Dr. Gorka is - he towers over Donald Trump. He must be 6-4 or 6-5. I had no idea that ... (more >>>)

A Memorable Teacher: Fidel Castro toppled Batista's regime on January 1, 1959. The U.S. press never thought much of Batista and didn't know what to think of the new guy. Here was an interesting man, a rabid baseball fan. The media found him fascinating. At the time of the regime change, I was a high-school sophomore at St. Joe's Prep. My history teacher, Joe Bloh (how could I ever forget that name), said, "Don't believe what you read. This guy is no hero; Castro's a hard-line Communist. He'll wreck what's left of Cuba." Joe Bloh was a prescient guy and a heck of a good teacher. He went far beyond what was in the textbook. He made history come alive with interesting stories, observations and anecdotes.

Joe died last week at age 89. He had 11 children. From his obituary: "Remembered for his rapier wit and charm, he worked tirelessly often teaching at two and sometimes three schools at once. However, he was always about his family and his loving wife. After teaching he became interested in theater. He was active at Players Club of Swarthmore, Colonial Theater, and Barnstormers Theater."

I last saw Joe at my 35th reunion in 1996. He was in a wheelchair and used an oxygen tank. But Joe Bloh soldiered on and outlived Fidel Castro - and there's some justice in that. Requiescat in Pace, Mr. Bloh. (permalink)

Thought For Today: Doing nothing - while it may not be the best response to any given problem - is rarely the worst response, and frequently better than whatever else is on offer.

Car Blog Disclaimer

This blog, The View Through The Windshield, is about cars, automobiles, vehicles of various sorts and more.

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

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive. I'll dutifully report my road test impressions on this car blog.

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

copyright 2019 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved