The View Through The Windshield - Car Blog by Joe Sherlock

A Blog About Cars ... And More

Monday November 30, 2020

AutoSketch: 1947 Chrysler Town & Country - Postwar Wooden Elegance

The idea of Santa Claus making deliveries of gifts in a wooden sleigh drawn by reindeer is preposterous by today's standards. It's time for an update. I suggest replacing the wood sleigh with another wood-containing product - a postwar Chrysler Town & Country convertible. In red, of course.

Wood wagons go back to the early 20th Century ... (more >>>)

Feels Like Winter: Last Friday, after dense morning fog, the sun finally appeared in the afternoon. So, I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for a drive even though the temperature was only 43 degrees at 2:30 pm. The roads were relatively dry - important because we've had rain for much of the month and rain is forecast for the foreseeable future. The sky was very cloudy in all directions except overhead - no Mt. St. Helens to be seen. It may not officially be winter yet, but it certainly looks and feels like it.

I ran into a patch of heavy fog during my travels but it dissipated after a half-mile or so.

Nevertheless, I had a good drive on the lightly-traveled back roads of North Clark County, partly because I wore gloves and dressed warmly, since I have 23 seasons of experience with the Plymouth's original, anemic heater. Afterward, I carefully parked the Plymouth in the garage, based on the assumption that I probably won't be taking any more rides for a while.

The rain returned Friday night.

Truckin': Trailer orders set a new all-time record of 56,500 units last month. Fleets placed big orders in October for dry vans and refrigerated vans for delivery in the second half of 2021.

"Carriers are utilizing more drop-and-hook runs to compensate for the current driver shortage … and the surge in consumer-based freight continues to strain capacity and boost freight rates. Healthy carrier profits have translated to large truck and trailer orders for replacement of older equipment and fleet expansion."

Great Flick, Great Car: The red 1969 Mercury Cougar convertible from the James Bond film, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', is up for auction.

In the film, Countessa Tracy di Vicenzo ... (more >>>)

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

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

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

Thought For The Day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

Wednesday November 25, 2020

A Real Classic: Check out these professional photos of a 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II.

The Silver Cloud series was produced from April 1955 to March 1966. It was the core model of the Rolls-Royce range during that period and replaced ... (more >>>)

Well, This Is Certainly A Surprise: For the first time ever, Mazda has been rated the most-reliable vehicle by Consumer Reports, dethroning perennial leaders Lexus and Toyota.

"According to the report, Mazda nabbed the top spot with powertrains and that used durable (and more fun) six-speed automatic transmissions instead of CVTs, which tend to be more fragile. Mazda also didn't rely on overly fancy infotainment systems, instead bucking industry trends with cockpits that discourage screen use during driving and encourage buttons and dials that can be handled without taking your eyes off the road. The most reliable Mazda was the MX-5 with a score of 98 out of 100, followed by the CX-30, CX-3, and CX-5, all scoring 85 or better."

At the bottom of the list were Ford, Mini, Volkswagen, Tesla, and Lincoln - falling 11 places to dead last.

From Cars To Steel Shelving: Jesse Bowers has an informative post about the Lozier car, including photos.

Lozier used to make bicycles in Toledo, Ohio and began making automobiles back in 1899. Full production began in 1905 in Plattsburgh, NY and was later moved to Detroit.

Advertised as 'The Quality Car For Quality People,' the Lozier failed to sell well. The last model was made in 1917.

There is another Lozier Corp. - one of the largest store-fixturing companies in the U.S. Most of those beige metal shelves you see at Wal-Mart and Safeway are made by Lozier. Founded in 1960, the store-fixture firm has over 4.3 million square feet of factory and warehouse floor space and 2,200 employees.

I visited Lozier Corporation's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid-1980s. There was an old touring car in the lobby - a 1913 Lozier. I have no idea if the two Loziers are related in any way.

How The Democratic Party Has Changed: On November 22nd, William Katz wrote, "A 13-year-old alive on November 22, 1963, would be 70 this year. If you're under that age you probably have little or no memory of Jack Kennedy.

How different things are. John F. Kennedy, the last of the fabled Democratic triumvirate of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, could not get into the Democratic Party today. (Neither could the other two.) Today's Democrats would laugh at Kennedy's inaugural address, with its calls for national service and the advancement of freedom. He would be just another "white man" now. Jacqueline Kennedy would be sneered at as a woman without a calling, merely a mother.  The "woke" crowd today wouldn't have them in their midst."

November China Virus Report: In a nutshell, November is worse than October. But better, too. Yes, there are more cases in Clark County (up 78% from last month) and three times as many hospitalizations as in October. But the mortality rate has dropped to 0.07%. The virus is killing fewer people, thanks to better treatment/better meds.

As of Tuesday November 24th, cumulatively, there have been 91 deaths in Clark County, Washington, a rate of 190 per million, from the China virus. There were four new deaths in the last week. Of the 91 deaths, 84 were folks ages 60 and up.

The death rate for Washington State is 351/million people, ranking 43rd among states in deaths per million people. The U.S. death rate is 802/million. Belgium, San Marino, Peru, Andorra Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Argentina have higher death rates than the U.S.

There have been a total of ... (more >>>)

'Wisdom' From A Teen Pulp Mag: Teen Vogue has proclaimed, "America's values are white supremacy and capitalism."

I remember when teen mags were read by adolescent girls and contained pix of various singing idols and articles containing hairstyle advice, mixed with discreet Kotex ads and ones for pimple creams.

It's hard to be white and feel supreme when you've got pimples.

Quote Of The Day is from the late actress Billie Burke (the Good Witch in 'The Wizard of Oz'): "Age doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese."

Monday November 23, 2020

Not Everything British Is Made In Britain: Following the planned cessation of Mini Countryman production at contract assembler VDL Nedcar's plant in Born, Netherlands, BMW has announced that the successor model will be made at the BMW Leipzig, Germany plant, starting in 2023. That plant is set up to produce gas-powered and electrically-powered vehicles. BMW Leipzig is where BMW's electric i3 was produced.

I'm sure Brexit uncertainties factored into the decision.

The new Countryman will be a key part of the fourth generation of Mini models since the brand came under BMW’s ownership and will follow shortly after the launch of a new three-door hatchback. Petrol versions of that model will continue to be built in the UK, with electric versions produced in China.

Every Mini model from 2023 on will be offered with an electrified version.

Asleep At The Wheel: Data analysis indicates that driver inattention plus Tesla's limited self-drive autonomy can result in horrific crashes.

From the article: "If we assume that this wasn't a deliberate act of destructive insanity, then the hypothesis I would lean to has to do with my biggest complaint about autopilot and any Level 2-semi-autonomous system: they don't work well with human beings.

Humans are simply not good at passing off 80-plus percent of a task and then staying alert to monitor what's going on, which is what Autopilot demands. Since Level 2 systems offer no failover capability and need a human to be ready to take over at any moment, if you're not paying constant attention, the wreck we see here is precisely the kind of worst-case nightmare that can happen."

Safe, self-driving cars don't exist yet.

Oh, Irony, Thy Name Is Elon: Teslas are now more expensive to recharge than fueling an equivalent gasoline-powered car – if you’re using the Tesla Supercharger network.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like ... Last week, the 'Signals' and 'Wireless' holiday shopping catalogs arrived. These used to be the official hawkers of PBS and NPR merchandise, so I gleefully tore through them looking for that Juan Williams coffee mug that I always wanted for Christmas but, alas, it was not to be found.

Signals and Wireless (owned by the same company - Universal Screen Arts, Inc., founded in 1938 and based in Hudson, Ohio) don't seem to be doing much with NPR/PBS these days, so if you want that collectible Garrison Keillor with Santa hat tree ornament, you'd better start searching the web.

Also in the mailbox was a 'Last Chance' catalog from The Swiss Colony. I haven't purchased anything from them since 2012 when they pissed me off.

Nevertheless, Colony Brands - now one the largest direct marketers in the U.S. - has been sending me 'Last Chance' catalogs for several years. There is no longer a letter inside from Hans Kubly. In its place was a pre-approved credit plan for a mere $400 (they used to offer me a $1,700 credit limit) from an apparently tight-fisted Becky Herke.

Swiss Colony no longer have Dobosh Torte in the catalog. I don't care; Costco's Tuxedo Torte is much better … and less pricey.

See My Bones: From the 1920s through the 1950s, thousands of shoe stores in North American and Europe touted their shoe-fitting fluoroscopes, which produced X-rays of customers’ feet. I remember the machines from my childhood. It was fun to see part of your skeleton using the view scope.

It began with Wilhelm Röntgen discovered ... (more >>>)

Quote Of The Day is from Arthur C. Clarke: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong."

Friday November 20, 2020

Home On The Range: Ford has unveiled its 2022 E-Transit. The electric delivery van offers 126 miles of battery range. Prices start at $45,000.

This van may be adequate for urban delivery routes or local use by contractors and subs in a small geographic market. Many contractors in my neck of the woods, pick up jobs from Longview, WA to Salem, Oregon. For them, a 126-mile range (in ideal weather conditions - who knows what the range is in cold winter weather) is not good enough.

That's true for delivery services in our area. Many pick up their loads in Portland and put on a lot of miles serving rural customers.

The limitations of the E-Transit limit its market reach.

Nevertheless, Ford Motor CEO Jim Farley said of Ford's investment in all-electric work vans: "This is a big deal for us because what makes us different is we are investing in commercial vehicles. We're 50% of the market in the U.S. for commercials. We sell over a half million Transits a year around the globe, and we're going to electrify it."

Letting Go: Bruce Meyers, of Meyers Manx fame, is now 94 years-old and has sold his dune buggy company.

"Bruce Meyers started a massive automotive trend in 1964 when he designed the VW-based Meyers Manx dune buggy." Bruce invented the dune buggy, prototyping the Myers Manx fiberglass kit for the VW Beetle. His design was knocked-off over and over by a multitude of fly-by-night manufacturers, eventually killing his original manufacturing company. I met Bruce once in the early 1970s; he was a personable fellow. Sadly, he was more of an artist and idea guy rather than businessman.

Bruce is selling Meyers Manx LLC to Trousdale Ventures. Its Chairman, Phillip Sarofim, has announced automotive designer Freeman Thomas as CEO and Chief Creative Officer. Thomas, known for designing the Volkswagen New Beetle and Audi TT, also penned the minimalist Panoz Roadster. As Chief Creative Officer it looks like he'll be overseeing future designs as the company looks to expand its offerings beyond the current lineup that includes buggy bodies for shortened and standard-length VW Beetle pans.

One of the more memorable buggies was the customized Manx used by Steve McQueen in 'The Thomas Crown Affair'. It has been fully restored and was sold in March for $456,000. McQueen's Manx was customized for the film, and originally featured a 2.7-litrer flat-six from a Chevrolet Corvair, along with recessed headlights and a quilted cabin. Oh, and two levers to brake either the left or right rear tires for trick driving. The film was released in 1968 and featured a number of cool vehicles, including the reddish-orange dune buggy.

Looking For Mr. Goodwrench: Mr. Goodwrench has been dead for 10 years. The trademark used by GM dealers to promote vehicle repair and maintenance services debuted in 1974 during the same era that GM was peddling its delusional Mark of Excellence slogan. GM Killed it off in 2010.

When I think of 1974, Helen Reddy, Kojak, streaking, 'Blazing Saddles', Patty Hearst and the Comet Kohoutek all come to mind. No '74 GM cars though - they were forgettable, big-bumpered slugs.

Nevertheless, the name became part of the American pop-culture lexicon. The NASA Space shuttle astronauts compared themselves to Mr. Goodwrench when they were fixing the Hubble space telescope.

In his stand-up comic days, Jay Leno repeatedly made fun of Goodwrench. He claimed that he once stopped in a Chevrolet service department and asked if he could speak to Mr. Goodwrench. "He ain't here. But I can letcha talk to Mr. Dead Battery if ya want."

At Last - A No-Contact Story That Isn't Covid-Related: The Canadian government is asking motorists to not let moose lick their cars.

"I hate to say it, but this road salt is kind of like crack to moose," explained Joe Urie, the owner of the Jasper Tour Company. Moose can lick the salt off of the tarmac, but they've learned that it's just as delicious - and probably more concentrated - if it comes off of a car's body panels, so they approach motorists. It's a problem that's becoming increasingly common as the moose population grows, and as moose become more and more comfortable around humans.

Remembering Camelot: For people of my age, there are two dates that will forever resonate as truly tragic: September 11, 2001 and November 22, 1963.

It's hard to believe that Sunday will mark 57 years since John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas. I mark the assassination anniversary on this blog nearly every year.

Whenever I watch television specials about the Kennedy years, I find the film clips and photo stills to be a time capsule. Fifty-seven years later, the clothes people wore, the hairstyles, the cars on the road, the store signage - all are now fit for antique stores or museums - simply remind me of what things were like when I was young.

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination, I shared some of my memories. That 2013 article, 'Remembering Camelot', is posted here.

Shutting Down: Macy's at the iconic Lloyd Center in Portland, OR will permanently close in January 2021.

The company said it will lay off all 83 who work in the 298,000-square-foot store beginning January 18th. The closure is another severe blow to the Lloyd Center Mall, which lost anchor tenant Nordstrom in 2015.

I wouldn't be surprised ... (more >>>)

A Plague On Its House: Pet Valu, the specialty retailer of pet food and supplies in the U.S., announced it was closing all of its 358 stores by year's end.

The Z Man wrote that one reason Pet Valu suffered, while others boomed, is they embraced the cultural aspects of the panic. Rather than ... (more >>>)

Rail News: I am pleased to report that my O-gauge train layout up and running. Here's a night photo:

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

Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it."

Wednesday November 18, 2020

Truckin': Rivian, the electric truck with the Fisher-Price nose, will begin deliveries in June 2021. Rivian has set the list price of its Launch Edition R1T electric pickup at $75,000, while the Launch Edition R1S SUV will be priced slightly higher at $77,750.

The Launch Edition models will offer 300-plus miles of range.

Auction Results: With three cars selling for more than $1 million each, Gooding & Company wrapped up its October 2020 Geared Online auction with a 77% sell-through rate.

A factory prototype 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Spider was the highest selling car in the five-day all-online auction, reaching $1.892 million.  The next highest seller was a 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, which went for $1.43 million, followed by a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, which achieved $1.254 million.

A 1990 Claude Botin miniature Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa - child-size rideable car - sparked a bidding war and finally sold for an adult-level $30,625.

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder: The Aznom Palladium is an Italian-bodied all-terrain luxury limo based on a Ram pickup truck. "With its rugged underpinnings the Palladium is billed as 'a vehicle capable of moving with elegance on any terrain'."

On the other hand, the looks of this custom-bodied thing are … ummmm … appalling - gaudier than Liberace's Christmas decorations. Or, like Purple Passion Ripple, an acquired taste.

The Hagerty article noted, "The so-called 'hyper-limousine' has been built by Monza-based Aznon, which has previously customized Land Rovers, Minis, and Fiat 500s."

Oh, Wait: I found a vehicle even uglier - it's a concept car- a little coupe called the Moeye. It serves as a showcase for technology from Japanese electronics giant Kyocera. Lead designer Ryuhei Ishimaru said, "This concept car is designed to embody the history of the automobile from the 'traditional' to Kyocera's 'car of the future' ... You can feel the future emerge from automotive tradition." Whatever.

Electric Believer: Peter De Lorenzo announced that he has acquired a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, apparently ditching his Alfa Stelvio SUV.

Peter wrote that "before selecting the Bolt I took a long hard look at two V8-powered machines in particular: a 2021 Chevy Camaro LT1 Coupe and a 2021 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody (in Black, of course)."

One of his readers commented, "I say this, with the knowledge that ALL BEV mileage and range numbers go through the floor during winter. I do hope you've something else in your garage to take you on tours of the Upper Peninsula. Even if you will not stray from the sea-level of suburban Detroit, there will be snow and cold. Please let us know how well your car warms up and drives when it's below zero outside."

As Donald Trump often says, "We'll see what happens."

Comes With Heated Seats, Whether You Want Them Or Not: General Motors is recalling 68,677 electric cars worldwide that pose a fire risk after five reported fires and two minor injuries.

"The Detroit automaker said it will recall 2017-2019 model-year Chevrolet Bolt EVs with high-voltage batteries produced at LG Chem's Ochang, Korea facility. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month opened a preliminary investigation into the Bolt EVs after reports of three Bolts catching fire under the rear seat while parked and unattended." The car's lithium-ion batteries are mounted under the rear seat.

GM said the vehicles pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or nearly full capacity. GM said it has developed software that will limit vehicle charging to 90% of full capacity to mitigate the risk while GM works to figure out a permanent fix.

So, you have to park your electric car outside and can't fully charge it, reducing its range. Nice. As Astro on 'Scooby Do' would say, "Ruh-roh!"

New Addition: On December 21st, Tesla will join the Standard & Poors 500 Index. At $400 billion, Tesla's market capitalization is a hundred times that of the S&P's smaller companies, potentially making it the biggest ever addition to the index.

"S&P DJI said the addition of the car company would require investment funds indexed to the S&P 500 to sell about $51 billion worth of shares of current member companies so that their portfolios correctly reflect the index."

Call Reports: We live in an era of tweets, e-mails, sales management software and cloud computing. The time of the old sales call report is dead. These paper sales documents were once dictated to secretaries - either in person, via Dictabelt or using a microcassette recorder - who later typed, duplicated and distributed them.

joe sherlock blogEvery person who ever worked at a large company has a collection of favorite call reports. Mine includes a couple of hilarious Rohm & Haas Plastics Department call reports on Naked City, an Indiana nudist camp that wanted to purchase a large quantity of clear Plexiglas sheet for various projects.

In his first report of November 1969, J. R. Reid, the reporting salesman out of the Chicago office, described the place as "located between a defunct VFW Post and Bargain City (used furniture) in pastoral Roselawn, Indiana."

The first report is chock full of humorous incidents and observations.

"There was no requirement to undress but neither was there an apparent effort on the part of our prospective customers to cover themselves before our arrival. Mrs. (name redacted, wife of the Plexiglas distributor who participated in this joint sales call) appeared somewhat discomfited but conducted herself with great dignity A small incident did mar the solemnity of the presentation ... (more >>>)

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

Put Society's Problems In Orbit: An article written by Tim Childers and published in Popular Mechanics suggests that, since space Is littered with dead rocket stages, the debris could be turned into habitats.

"Nanoracks, a space company that has previously helped get commercial payloads to the International Space Station (ISS), aims to recycle the derelict upper stages of rockets orbiting Earth into commercial space stations. The company's program, 'Outpost', plans to turn Earth's orbiting junkyard into a recycling center, where an army of robotic space drones will flip unwanted spent upper stages of rockets into orbiting laboratories, greenhouses, fuel depots, or possibly habitats."

I've got a better idea. Make all of them basic habitats and shoot all hard-core homeless people who refuse to reintegrate into society into space. They can't score drugs that far up and we'll have eliminated homelessness. The same could be done with hard-core criminals.

Facts Are Fascist; Arbitrary Oppression Is Awesome: Washington Democrat Governor and Oberfüher Jay 'Moron' Inslee has implement new sweeping restrictions on businesses and individuals and activities as coronavirus cases in the state have doubled in the past two weeks. According to Inslee's new order, bars and restaurants will no longer be allowed to offer indoor seating. Outdoor seating will be allowed as long as proper safety protocols are followed, including tables being limited to no more than five people at a time. Restaurants will still be able to offer their customers to go orders.

All in-store retail, including grocery stores, will be limited to 25% capacity, and lingering (i.e: waiting for one's spouse) in seated areas is off-limits. For those long-suffering brick-and-mortar retailers, who have been hoping that a decent Christmas shopping season will save their stores, this is like the Hindenburg colliding with the Titanic.

Religious services will also be limited to 25% indoor occupancy or no more than 200 people, with face coverings required at all times. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. In addition ... (more >>>)

Quote Of The Day is from Randall O'Toole: "The history of transportation shows that we adopt new technologies when they are faster, more convenient, and less expensive than the technologies they replace.

High-speed rail is slower than flying, less convenient than driving, and far more expensive than either one. As a result, it will never serve more than a few marginal travelers."

Monday November 16, 2020

Set In 1950 Missouri: Two 1939 Plymouth Deluxe Sedans appeared in the 2020 season (Season 4) of 'Fargo'. Fargo is an American crime drama-black comedy anthology television series made for the FX Network. ... (more >>>)

2022 Already? The redesigned 2022 Honda Civic will be unveiled on November 22, 2020.

That seems quite early to me. It is supposed to go on sale in Spring 2021 with base price in the low $20K range.

Y Buy One? Dan Neil of the Wall Street Journal liked Tesla's Model Y crossover, the one that looks like a jacked-up Model 3. Neil wrote that the Y is "the most technically advanced electric automobile made," and electric cars are "functionally superior to those powered by internal combustion." Tesla's latest EV "beats the competition on core technology like a drum," outclassing gas-powered offerings in the same segment, such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan.

He doesn't love everything. The ungainly Y "isn't exactly lovely,” and some buyers will find the minimalist aesthetic of Tesla's interior "severe." Not everyone likes the fact that almost all of the controls have to be accessed via the touch screen.

Suddenly It's 1960: In recent years, I have bemoaned the lack of exciting new cars. This got me thinking back to many years ago - the 1960 model year. Holy cow - that's 60 years ago! Boy, do I feel old.

While there was no GM Motorama and not many concept or dream cars (the Valiant-based Plymouth XNR asymmetrical roadster was the only one I remember), there were some completely new models to inspect and examine at dealerships and auto shows. As high school Juniors, my car buddies and I toured the Philly auto show that year.

The big news was the introduction of compact models by the Big Three. The Chevy Corvair was a radical departure for Detroit - a rear-engined, air-cooled compact car with a host of aluminum components to save weight. It was full of technical novelties.

The Ford Falcon was a pleasantly-styled - if a bland-looking - downsized Ford, in every way. Its entire powertrain was simply a smaller version of its larger brother's. But it offered proven technology for the less adventurous small car buyer. Period ads claimed the car had "three years and three million miles" behind it and that it was "the world's most experienced new car." Ford also reminded prospects that the Falcon provided "nearly four times more luggage space than the most popular imported new car."

The Falcon outsold the Corvair by almost twofold in 1960 - 429,676 to 250,007.

Introduced a bit later than its competition, the 1960 Valiant offered a unique, pseudo-European look, different than other Chrysler Corp. offerings, and was larger than either the Falcon or Corvair. It had a more powerful engine, too. An all-new overhead-valve slant-six replaced the ancient flathead six which had powered Plymouths and Dodges since the 1930s.

While compacts were the big story ... (more >>>)

Business Advice - Elevator Assets: The late Leon Mandel, founder of AutoWeek magazine, once spelled out some 'policy absolutes'.

Regarding people, he wrote - in the late 1980s, "AutoWeek's assets go down the elevator each night and come back in the morning. Only the best and brightest people will do."

When I think back to all the businesses which I've seen fail in my business lifetime, I can't think of a single failure which could be blamed on machinery or mere physical assets.

Generally, a failed business will have ... (more >>>)

Blonde Joke: There are 11 people hanging onto a rope attached to an airplane at 5,000 feet altitude. 10 of them are blonde, and one is a brunette. They all decide that one person should get off because if they don't, the rope will break and everyone will die.

No one can decide who should go, so finally the brunette delivers a very touching speech, ending with the words, "I'll get off."

The ten blondes, all moved by the brunette's speech, start clapping. Oops.

Thought For Today: Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Thursday November 12, 2020

More Electric Vehicles: Dan Neil wrote, "When most people look at the 2021 Polestar 1, they see only the gorgeous: a low-slung, wide-bodied 2+2 coupe, with immaculate lines and wheels for days, like a Shelby Mustang with a doctorate from the University of Gothenburg. I drove our snow-white tester to the local Cars and Coffee auto meet and dudes were practically throwing their underwear at it. I see rank having its privileges."

Polestar is Volvo's new brand for upscale electric and hybrid cars. The sleek $155,0000 Poletar 1 coupe has a 619-hp gas-electric hybrid system that gets up to 106 mpg-e. "Crammed under the carbonized hood is a 2.0-liter super/turbocharged four, spooling up to a fervid 6,000 rpm and 325 hp all on its own. Behind that, power-flow wise, is an integrated starter generator tasked with stop-start cycling, torque-fill and regenerative braking. The ISG kicks in another 71 hp and 119 lb-ft, as needed. Electrons are stored in 34 kWh worth of lithium-ion batteries, in boxy packs shoehorned into the central tunnel and between the rear shock towers."

"The brand has big plans in the U.S., including taking on Tesla with its four-door Polestar 2. However, all future models will be battery-electric. The 1 will be Polestar's first, last and only PHEV. It isn't very halo-y in that respect. Production will be held to 500 per year (150 allotted to the North American market) and a total run of 1,500 copies. I guess they couldn't afford to build more."

Jimmy Durante used to say, "Everybody's gettin' inta da act!" So it seems with electric vehicles. I'm sure that electric cars will be part of our transportation future. I just wonder how many of these individual brands will survive.

It Doesn't Make Much Difference ... because, if you own a Bentley, you probably have nine other cars that run on gasoline. The British luxury car maker's new Beyond100 plan has the company shifting to an all-electric vehicle portfolio, announced that it will produce only hybrids and electric vehicles by 2026 and electrics only by 2030.

"Next year, we will launch two plug-in hybrid models. In the end, it's the best of both worlds. It means the customer can decide when to use the internal combustion engine, and when to go electric. It also reduces fuel consumption massively," affirmed company boss Adrian Hallmark during a virtual roundtable discussion.

Bentley's first electric car is scheduled to make its debut by 2025.

Car Sighting: Waiting at a stop sign recently, I spotted a black mid-1980s Corvette coupe zoom past in the pouring November rain. It was the same bodystyle as my friend Ray's 1988 model.

What a great-looking car. The C4 body has a very 'tailored' look and represents one of GM Design's finer moments.

Its C5 successor looked big and blobby by comparison. In my opinion, the best-looking Corvettes are the Sting Rays of 1963-67, the Manta Ray-types of 1968-72 and the C4s from 1984 to the early '90s. The current mid-engined C8 model? I dunno. I've yet to see one in person.

The rest are nice but forgettable designs. My two cents.

Book Review: 'The Complete Book Of Classic MG Cars' by Ross Alkureishi

In 1895, William Morris started a bicycle repair business in a shed at the back of his parents' house. He soon opened a shop and began to assemble as well as repair bicycles. (This made me smile as I recalled the Bicycle Repairman sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.) Morris began to work with motorcycles in 1901. In 1912, he designed a car, the iconic "bullnose" Morris. MG, aka - Morris Garages, was once an in-house tuner of Morris cars, providing engine and body modifications somewhat like AMG does today for Mercedes-Benz.

Cecil Kimber was a business manager at Morris Garages and ... (more >>>)

Happy Birthday, Grandmom: The only grandmother I ever knew (my other one, Delia, died a year before I was born) had her birthday today.

Ellen was born in 1878, although she always lied about her age and would probably admit to being about 10 to 15 years younger. Born in County Mayo Ireland, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and later married a fellow immigrant from her old village. They worked hard, prospered and raised three children.

When I finally got a car to commute to college - my wonderful grandmother paid for it as a gift. When she gave me the money, I considered buying a new Austin-Healey Sprite or an MG Midget. My parents persuaded me to buy a Volkswagen Beetle instead. Good thing that they did - the Beetle was dead-bang reliable. I'm sure the Sprite would have been a nightmare to own and keep running.

Having a car was a good thing; it cut my round-trip commute time by two hours each day. What precipitated the car gift was a family argument over cars. I had saved a couple of hundred bucks and was going to buy a very-much-used $125 Messerschmitt two-seater bubble-car as personal transport. My parents were very opposed - not safe, etc., etc. I said that I was buying the damned thing anyway because I wasn't going to take #@!%* public transport anymore - too time-consuming.

Finally, my kindly grandmother broke in and said ... (more >>>)

Poor Tactics, I Suppose: Recently, David Snowball received a message from a mutual fund. "On October 15, 2020, the AlphaSimplex Tactical U.S. Market Fund was liquidated. The Fund no longer exists, and as a result, shares of the Fund are no longer available for purchase or exchange.

David added, "On November 20, 2020, following a recommendation by the Fund's investment adviser, Checchi Capital Advisers, LLC, the $24 million CCA Aggressive Return Fund (RSKIX) will be liquidated."

And, the Patriot Fund (TRFAX) will snap off its last salute on November 20, 2020.

Question Of The Day: Why do we drive on a parkway, and park in a driveway?

Tuesday November 10, 2020

Farewell, R&T: Road & Track, once a great car mag, "will now be a lifestyle publication appearing six times a year for a minimum price of $75 and a maximum price of $899."

Jack Baruth, a former contributor, wrote that the magazine now "appears to be a Men's Journal mishmash, the authorial equivalent of the shaggy nonentities who support state-fair tours by former lead singers of Great White or Cinderella. The whole thing, from full-throttle reboot to sheepish lifestyle transition, took exactly eight years."

I was a long-time reader of Road & Track. I bought my first issue in April, 1957. I continued ... (more >>>)

Thirty-Six Years Ago: From its archives, Car and Driver unearthed the best-handling cars of 1984. Back in those days, five American cars - Chevy Camaro Z28 and Corvette, Dodge Daytona Turbo Z, Ford Mustang SVO, and Pontiac Fiero 2M4 - battled for the title.

The winner was the Camaro Z28. "It's a clear winner, thanks to its well-developed chassis and sensational over-the-road poise. Three judges spotted it first overall, while the other three awarded it their second-place scores."

The electronic air suspension on my 1984 Lincoln Continental Mark VII provided a glassy smooth ride yet it had a very sporty feel in corners and on Oregon's twisty mountain passes. It was stable when pushed into corners and the steering was taut. Maybe it wasn't a Z28 but it was one of the best-handling cars I'd owned to that date.

By the mid-1980s, cars were much improved from the 10 years earlier. Big bumper ugliness and pollution control-choked engines had been sorted out. Performance and style were back again.

You can relive the era by pushing up your jacket sleeves, assuming a Kevin Baconesque 'Footloose' stance, and poking away at those keyless entry buttons on your '80s car. Then sing along with Huey Lewis & The News' 'The Heart of Rock & Roll'. Or try to sing the German parts of '99 Luftballons'. I remember hearing a gravelly, mumbly voice coming through my radio back then. It might have been John Lee Hooker. Or Stevie Nicks.

Loosen up. Everything in the '80s did - unsolicited credit card offers skyrocketed. Ladies' shoulders were freed up and padded, as were credit applications. Thirty-six years ago, big credit lines trended with big hair. Ask any elderly banker who remembers the Reagan era.

Moving Story: At 11:30 pm last Saturday, we brought the train platform in from the garage. We moved it in-between rainstorms. The rain stopped just before the move and resumed as we were putting away the ramps and other moving materials.

There is much work to be done but I hope to have my O-gauge train layout operational before Thanksgiving.

All The Leaves Are Brown ... and the sky is gray:

This was the view from the back deck late last week. It rained so hard over the weekend that most of the leaves are gone.

When People Dined In Boxcars: Victoria Station was a chain of railroad-themed steakhouse restaurants. The first one opened in 1969 and was a 158-seat restaurant located on the Embarcadero at Broadway in San Francisco. It was constructed out of five ... (more >>>)

On Hold: The Epoch Times has announced that it will not declare a winner of the 2020 presidential election until all results are certified and any legal challenges are resolved.

I think that's a good policy and I plan to refrain from commenting further on this election until the matter is settled - probably by the Supreme Court.

How To Fix The Postal Service:

Raise prices on all first class mail by 10%.

Raise all prices on standard mail by 15-20%.

Eliminate Saturday delivery of everything except Priority Mail.

Reduce the annual payments for future retiree health benefits by eliminating same for new hires and reducing/phasing out benefits for everyone. (Congress placed an onerous congressional mandate in 2006, obligating the Postal Service to make annual payments of $5.5 billion to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. No other institution in America, public or private, is required to do this.)

Bring wages and benefits in line with the private sector at union contract renewal time. If the workers strike, threaten to draft 'em into the Army, like Harry Truman did to coal miners and railroad workers in 1946. Or fire them like Reagan did to the air traffic controllers in 1981.

Use independent carriers for as much delivery work as possible. Contract carriers are much more efficient than postal employees and, in my experience, do a far better job.

For 20 years, we had a contract postal carrier. Mary was wonderful; you could set your clock based on when she showed up at our mailbox. She never mis-delivered a single letter. She was cheerful and delivered packages right to our door. When the snow was bad enough that our newspaper carrier chickened out, Mary was still making rounds in her white, left-hand drive Subaru wagon. Neither rain, nor snow, etc.

When Mary retired, she was replaced by postal employees. The once-precise delivery schedule is now nonexistent - mail arrives anywhere between 10 am and 7 pm. Letters have been delivered to the wrong address on dozens of occasions and calls to Mavis Hafer, the Battle Ground postmistress, have been unreturned.

Every time we visit the Battle Ground Post Office and ask to see the postmistress, we're told that "she's out of town." If I were appointed to "save the Postal Service," one of my first acts would be to fire this government drone.

Final Jeopardy: Alex Trebek, best known as host of television game show 'Jeopardy!' since 1984, has died at age 80 of pancreatic cancer. Trebek has hosted various game shows since 1966, as well as several radio and television gigs in his birth country, Canada. In 1996, Trebek ran the Olympic torch in Jacksonville, Florida, through a leg of its journey to Atlanta.

As of June 13, 2014, Trebek has held a Guinness World Record for "the most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program)" for having hosted 6,829 episodes of 'Jeopardy!'. Trebek's calm , erudite and witty presence was must-see television for millions of Americans

His final episode hosting 'Jeopardy!' will air on Christmas Day 2020. RIP.

Funny Guy: Comedian Norm Crosby has died at age 93 of heart failure. Born in Boston, he was known for his New England accent and his standup malapropism-filled monologues. For many years, he was a regular on Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show' as well as 'Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts'. He also co-hosted Jerry Lewis' MDA Labor Day Telethons for many years.

From 1978 through 1981, he hosted a nationally syndicated series, 'The Comedy Shop', in which a mix of up-and-coming stand-up comics and vaudeville legends presented their material. RIP.

Quip Of The Day: "You can't play cards in Africa because there are too many cheetahs."

Friday November 6, 2020

I Hope It Has A Better Survival Rate Than Saturn: General Motors is investing more than $2 billion in six plants in Tennessee and Michigan to charge ahead with production of its first-ever all-electric Cadillac, the new Lyriq. "The company revealed that the bulk of the investment – about $2 billion – will help revamp the company's plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee to begin production of the Lyriq, which just made its debut in August."

The Spring Hill plant was where most Saturns were made. The Spring Hill plant "will be the third location building some form of an EV, joining the former Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant now known as Factory Zero and the Orion Township, Michigan plant, which currently builds the Chevrolet Bolt. Factory Zero will manufacture the GMC Hummer, which debuts tonight, and the Cruise Origin shuttle-style vehicle."

Buh-Bye: The last Lincoln Continental sedan rolled off the line on October 30th at Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant, following other models like the MKZ and MKS into that scrapyard in the sky. At this point, Lincoln is following the lead of its parent, as Ford has killed off all of its passenger car models with the exception of the Mustang.

The decision to kill the Continental – which generated a mere 6,586 sales in 2019, a nearly 25% decline from the previous year – reflects the broader shift away from sedans, coupes and sports cars as U.S. buyers by the millions migrate to SUVs and CUVs.

Lincoln now becomes the only major luxury brand to walk away from the passenger car market entirely.

October Vehicle Sales: Bureau of Economic Analysis released their estimate of light vehicle sales for October this morning. The BEA estimates sales of 16.21 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in October 2020, down 0.5% from the September sales rate, and down 3.3% from October 2019.

This was below the consensus estimate of 16.5 million SAAR.

Subaru, Toyota and Hyundai reported brisk sales for October as the industry continues to show signs of shaking off the slump attributable to the China virus pandemic.

Toyota reported what it described as its best ever October sales, which increased 8.8% on a volume basis. Toyota Division sales for the month were up 8%; Lexus Division sales for the month increased 15%. Hybrid sales in October increased 42% and for the month accounted for nearly 18% of total Toyota sales.

Subaru of America reported an 11% increase for October compared with the year-ago period. October also marked the sixth consecutive month of 50,000-plus vehicle sales for the automaker in 2020.

Hyundai Motor America reported a 1% increase compared with October 2019. Ford's U.S. sales reportedly fell 6% in October, dragged down in part by factory retooling required to produce the latest version of its top-selling F-150 pickup.

Beetle Skins: For many years, OEM bias-ply tires for air-cooled VW Beetles were 5:60 x 15. The tires were less balloon-y than most and featured a relatively wide cross section for the period.

My red '63 Beetle came from the factory with Fulda Diadem tires. Great tires, very grippy - originally made in the town of Fulda, not too far from Frankfurt, Germany. But ... (more >>>)

Big Numbers: Last week, Amazon reported record sales of $96.1 billion for the third quarter of 2020 with a net profit of more than $6 billion. This is an amazing sales number to me - almost $400 billion per year in top-line revenue. I remember back in the early 1970s, when my employer, Rohm and Haas, had a big celebration when annual sales topped $2 billion.

While Amazon's cloud services business is its fastest-growing segment, retailing represent most of the company's sales. I see those gray-blue trucks with the Amazon logo everywhere these days. There's a sad component to this: Much of Amazon's success has been at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores, including small mom-and-pop operations. Someone wrote recently that "the Age of Lockdown has seen a massive transfer from small business to global megaliths such as Amazon."

Important Telephone Information ... (more >>>)

Up Is Down. Black Is White. Everything's Crazy. No, I'm not referring to the yet-to-be-settled presidential election. Philadelphia Weekly, one of the city's leftist alternative newsweeklies, has announced that, starting next year, it will provide Philly readers with a different kind of alternative: it will change its editorial outlook from hard-liberal to conservative.

"We have always been the alternative voice in Philadelphia," said chairman and publisher, Dan McDonough, Jr. "That audience has changed over the years, and, in 2020, conservatives and people who are angry and fed up with an inept city government don't really have a voice here. To continue our mission, we had to change." PW's chief revenue officer, Ed Lynes, said that, in the city, it is "conservatives who no longer have a voice. If you oppose a socialist and intrusive government, your views are rejected by the city's mainstream media."

There is probably a bigger ad base of conservative businesses. And, based on my experience, they pay more quickly and reliably than their liberal counterparts.

Quote Of The Day is from Gomer Pyle: "I picked these flowers for your table vase. I would have picked more but the lady rapped on the winder."

Wednesday November 4, 2020

Blown Around: SSC, or Shelby SportsCar Inc., an American firm owned and founded by Jerod Shelby, set out about 10 years ago to build the fastest car in the world. The swoopy and sleek, 1,750 horsepower SSC Tuatara made its debut at the Philadelphia Auto Show earlier this year.

For its record run, a "seven-mile stretch of State Route 160 outside of Pahrump, Nevada, was chosen and completely closed down. Prior to the record attempt, Webb made test runs on multiple airstrips with shorter stretches of pavement than what he'd experience in the full run. With everything turning up aces, the SSC team and Webb proceeded to the big day with high hopes."

Driver Oliver Webb took the wheel and sped "off for his third and final pass. Shelby and his crew followed behind, but they were not ready for what was awaiting them at the end of the road. "By the time we get there, he's obviously out of the car," Shelby said. "And he was sitting on the ground with his head down. And it didn't look good." As he walked up, Jared said that Webb told him, "I'm done Jared. I'll never do that again. I got hit with two different blasts of cross winds, and it moved me two lanes over and into the rumble strips. I had a really close call."

Shelby told us that Webb was truly shaken by the experience … but right after that, Webb said that he "saw a big speed on the display." The crew immediately got into the data, and saw that he had hit 331 mph.

Hitting 331 mph meant that the average of two consecutive runs was 316 mph - shattering the current record.

New Ownership: Maz Woolley of Model Auto Review wrote about some big changes in the collector scale model business.

Nicola Bulgari, famous for his car collections in the US and Italy and his multinational jewelry empire, bought Brooklin Models about five years ago. Since then significant changes have been made … (more >>>)

Book Review: '365 Sports Cars You Must Drive: Fast, Faster, Fastest' by John Lamm with Larry Edsall and Steve Sutcliffe

What is a sports car? The answer is fluid and varies with time. Certainly sports cars are low and swoopy, sacrificing practicality for fun. Most have two-seats and are neither designed for plushness nor comfort. Everyone agrees that the MG-TC is a sports car but it is only sporty compared with sedans of its late 1940s era. But a 1961 Rambler American sedan could probably out-accelerate and out-handle the TC, whose design bones trace back to the mid-1930s. The TC had a beam-axle, leaf spring front suspension and its anemic 54 hp engine powered the car from 0 to 60 mph in a very long 22.7 seconds.

Once you've arbitrarily defined what a sports car is - I think we can all agree that the '61 Rambler is no sports car - we must find 365 of them to make this book work. And therein lies the rub. The authors have ... (more >>>)

Who Won? As I write this at just after 9:00 pm PDT, none of the media has called the presidential election. It appears that President Trump is in the lead but votes are still being counted in many crucial states and it is too close to call in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Surprisingly, Virginia appears to be in play - Trump is up 2.5 points with 98% reporting - and both parties seem to think it will end up in court.

It also appears that Republicans will hold the Senate and Democrats will keep the House.

As Donald Trump frequently says, "We'll see what happens."

Good News: Regardless of your political affiliation, you can rejoice in the knowledge that the robo-calls, campaign literature and election ads have ended for this election cycle.

Did You Know? The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims."

Monday November 2, 2020

No Electric Love: Despite governments and greenies pushing their use, the average person living in North America just isn't that interested.

J.D. Power conducted a survey and found that "consumers remain skeptical because of their lack of first-hand experience with these technologies and lack of education about how and why these technologies work. Until auto manufacturers can rectify this, adoption will continue to be an uphill battle."

Matt Posky at TTAC wrote, "Attributing a "lack of education" as the core reason people aren't embracing every concept you'd like them to has become so commonplace in 2020 that we're not even going to bother taking the claim seriously.

The automotive industry has been using it as the default excuse for why people aren't buying EVs in droves for years - often ignoring the very real issues of range anxiety, extended charging times, and higher-than-average pricing. Frankly, it seems like teaching people about electric cars is the best way to convince some not to buy one."

Weekend Car Fun: Temperatures dipped below 30 during the night, but, by 1:30 pm Saturday it was 52 degrees, so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for a drive. Traffic was fairly light and the skies were mid-Fall pale blue - that odd color for which there's no Crayola match - and almost cloudless

Colors are past peak. Many tree leaves have the dull, darkening brown of death. There are still some semi-bright reds here-and-there, but the yellow ones are getting a decidedly brown cast. My vinyl tuck-and-roll seats were cold enough to drain all the heat from any buttocks within a 200-foot radius of the Plymouth. I left the windows rolled up and waited for the little box heater to start warming the car. As is usual in colder wether, it kicks in only after many miles. In my case just as I turned on my street on the way home. Nevertheless, I had a nice drive.

Clouds and rain are forecast for the remainder of the week. The rain expected to arrive early Tuesday. Summer is long gone.

Niche Automaker Goes Even More Niche: Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson says the next-generation XC90 could be the Chinese-owned carmaker's final model powered by an internal combustion engine.

Volvo has already said that half the cars it produces as soon as 2025 will be fully electric, a proportion far in excess of what we are expecting from Europe's other brands by the same point. "The premium-car market is going to be the fastest-growing segment in the future, and we would go as far as to say we are convinced the premium segment will be electric in the future," CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. "You can speculate how long it will be until all premium cars are electric, but we have drawn the conclusion that if we want to be fast-growing, we should concentrate on that segment. It is much smarter for us than to try and take market share in a shrinking conventional car segment."

Auction Results: The Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica 5, 6, and 9 - better known to automotive enthusiasts as the Alfa-Romeo B.A.T. cars - are on their way to a new home.

The famous, aerodynamic, Bertone-built 1950s concept cars sold for $14.84 million at RM Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction on October 28 in New York.

Designed by Franco Scaglione, each of the cars was considered wildly futuristic in the early to mid 1950s.

All Souls Day: Today, November 2nd, is designated as All Souls Day by several Christian religions, including the Catholic Church.

In the Catholic Mass, during the post-Consecration Eucharistic Prayers, there is a section where the priest calls for prayers for the Pope, the local bishop and, finally, the dead, saying something like "Remember also those who have died in the peace of Christ and all the departed, whose faith you alone have known." At that point, the priest usually pauses for 2-3 seconds so you can add names of your own.

joe sherlock blogThat worked out fine when I was 10 years old and didn't know many dead people but, as I've gotten older, the names on my personal list has expanded and I cannot possibly include everyone in a mere 2-3 seconds. I solved the problem by developing 'The List'. Before Mass begins, I recite a list of 40-50 people who played a significant role in my life, ending with the prayer, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace." Then, when the priest does his two-second pause, I simply mutter the words The List. God's smart enough to figure it out. Problem solved.

The Catholic Church has a particular affinity for the dead and offers a system where God can modify His judgement based on a prayer received long after the deceased's personal judgement day. It's kind of like post-dating a check.

Furthermore, the Catholic Church (as well as some other Christian denominations) has set aside a special day for these deceased - All Souls Day, which is celebrated on November 2nd. They want the souls of the departed to be acknowledged and remembered by the living ... (more >>>)

Winning: "President Trump's campaign paraphernalia - hats, banners, mugs and practically anything else that can carry a logo - has been selling briskly at shops in the vast wholesale market in the Chinese city of Yiwu. By contrast, shop owners said during recent visits, bulk orders for materials supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. have been almost nonexistent." Yiwu is home to the world's largest wholesale market, where global retailers look for items to stock on their own shelves.

Formally named the Yiwu International Trade City, it boasts 12 times the floor space of the Empire State Building, making it look like a small city. Much of the complex was hastily and even shoddily built two decades ago, giving its prematurely aging buildings a ramshackle look. It has 70,000 shops, and transactions taking place under its many roofs exceed $60 billion a year.

Followers of the Yiwu Index believe it is reliable, however, and they have history on their side. In 2016, the index consistently predicted a Trump victory. "At a Halloween mask factory outlet, rubbery Trump masks were consistently popular and completely sold out. The factory created a Biden mask, said Gigi Zhang, the store manager, but nobody had ordered it yet."

Nobody Ordered The Biden Mask may be the summary of the Biden campaign. We'll know soon enough.

Great News: An American citizen abducted last week in Niger has been rescued during a high-risk U.S. military raid in neighboring Nigeria. The mission was undertaken by elite commandos - members of Seal Team 6 - as part of a major effort to free the U.S. citizen, Philip Walton, 27, before his abductors could get far after taking him captive in Niger on October 26th.

"Mr. Walton was abducted from the village of Massalata, where he had been living with his wife and child for two years … locals said six men armed with AK47s arrived in the village on motorbikes. It's unclear why Mr Walton was targeted and who the armed group were."

Soon-To-Be Zombie Alert: James Lileks reported, "Amazon has opened up a return station in a local department store, which seems like planting a parasite in the body of a healthy host."

Stone-Age Dick Clark: Ed Hurst, who referred to himself with that moniker, has died at age 94. Starting as a radio disc jockey in Atlantic City, he soon moved to Philadelphia, where he teamed up with Joe Grady to do 'The Grady and Hurst Show' on television.

The show, which began in 1952, was the first to show teens dancing (from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday) in a studio and spawned a competitor, 'Bandstand', which later became Dick Clark's 'American Bandstand' - a national teen dance show. Dick Clark, a cultural icon himself in American television and broadcasting, once said, "Without Ed Hurst, there would be no Dick Clark." Hurst was on Philadelphia television from 1952 to 1978. He retired in 2016. (permalink)

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia inducted Hurst into their Hall of Fame in 1996. RIP.

Oh No, Dr. No: Sean Connery, the original James Bond, has died in his sleep at age 90. Before his iconic roles as James Bond, Indiana Jones' father in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (1989), 'The Hunt for Red October' (1990), and more, Connery worked as a milkman, laborer, artist's model, bodybuilder, and sailor in the British Royal Navy. At the age of 23, he chose acting over becoming a professional soccer player.

Connery pioneered the role of 007 in 'Dr. No' (1962). He embodied the iconic British spy at the height of the Cold War, launching the James Bond series that continues to this day. He appeared in seven Bond films. In my opinion, he was at his best in 'Goldfinger'. RIP.

Keep This In Mind: The next time you see a U.S. Senator - such as Mazie Hirono, Patty Murray or Dick Durbin - saying something incredibly stupid, remember this P.J. O'Rourke quote: "The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm."

Vancouver Riot: Last week, police shot and killed a black man, Kevin E. Peterson Jr.- a 21 year-old, after he brandished a gun found at the scene. He may have shot at police according to some reports.

The incident happened on Thursday evening but a Friday "protest vigil" turned into a riot as protesters marched through downtown Vancouver, WA. "Windows were shattered, flags were burned and federal agents clothed in riot gear surrounded a building - warning people that trespassing on federal property would be subject to arrest."

Peterson was "suspected of selling illegal drugs in a motel parking lot and that he fled on foot with officers following. The man produced a handgun and the officers backed off, investigators said. A short time later, the man encountered three Clark County deputies, all of whom fired their pistols at the man."

Quip of The Day: "When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion." And: "Why don't cannibals eat pentecostals? They keep throwing up their hands."

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 2020 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved.