A Blog About Cars ... And More
Thursday February 25, 2021
AutoSketch: 1952 MG TD - England Comes To America
MG traces its lineage to 1895, when William Morris started a bicycle repair business in a shed at the back of his parents' house. He soon moved on to automobiles and named his firm Morris Garages, later known as MG. While MG produced sedans, it is best known for its sports cars.
After the war, MG introduced the TC, a small sports car. While it found markets in South Africa and elsewhere, it was not designed for the North American market. It was offered in ... (more >>>)
50 Million Milestones: From its late 19th Century beginnings until now, Mercedes has produced 50 million cars. "The 50-millionth vehicle also marks the beginning of Mercedes-Maybach S-Class production, as the car is the first of this new generation to be produced. It's done in two-tone black and silver with chrome galore on the exterior."
For comparison, the 50-millionth Ford - a 1958 Thunderbird - rolled off the assembly line on March 16, 1958. The 50 millionth General Motors car was a gold-painted and trimmed 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air hardtop coupe. It rolled off the Flint, MI assembly line on November 23, 1954.
In April, 1967 GM rolled its 100 millionth car off the line in GM's Janesville, Wisconsin plant - a 1967 blue Chevrolet Caprice coupe.
February 2021 Virus Update: Clark County has 1,914 new cases in February, down 53% from last month. Only 38 people were hospitalized - down 28% from last month - and the mortality rate for February is 2.5%. Hopefully, the death rate increase is just an anomaly or a lagging indicator. I have updated the monthly table here.
In the past month, bi-weekly new case rates in Clark County have dropped from 4,737 cases/million to 2,098/million - a drop of 56%.
As of February 22nd ... (more >>>)
A Must-Read Article: Lee Smith has published his work, 'The Thirty Tyrants', in Tablet Magazine. He documents the rise of pro-China globalism and how America is being taken apart by our own elites.
The beginnings of this date to the 1990s, during the Clinton administration. By 2008 or so, many corporate executives and other American elite "came to live by was globalism - that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children."
Undergirding the globalist enterprise was China's accession to the World Trade Organization in ... (more >>>)
What's In A Name? In 1963, Sheaffer was selling marker pens under the trade name Smoothie.
James Lileks wrote, "The next year a competitor would introduce the Sharpie. Game over. People wanted a Sharpie, not a Smoothie."
Quote Of The Day is from Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert: "If the swamp reinstates earmarks for pork-barrel politics, it won't be long before Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has to call J.G. Wentworth at 877-CASH-NOW."
Tuesday February 23, 2021
Nice Eyes: Anyone remember Moon Racing Equipment? Here's a photo of the best-looking ... (more >>>)
Helping The U.S. Economy: BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant exported 218,820 vehicles with an export value of more than $8.9 billion in 2020. The BMW Group produced a total of 361,365 vehicles at the plant.
This makes BMW the largest U.S. auto exporter for the seventh consecutive year. "The top five export countries from Plant Spartanburg are China (23.3% of export volume), Germany (12.9%), South Korea (7.8%), Canada (6%) and Russia (5.3%). The vehicles are exported through the Port of Charleston (more than 189,000 units), and through five other south-eastern ports. More than 13,000 vehicles were also exported via rail."
"The plug-in hybrid electric variants of the plant's two most popular vehicles also set production records in 2020. The BMW X3 xDrive30e and BMW X5 xDrive45e achieved all-time highs of around 23,000 and 24,000 units respectively accounting for 13 percent of the plant's total production thanks, in part, to a 2019 expansion of the battery assembly. The BMW Group has produced high-voltage batteries for electrified vehicles in Spartanburg since 2015."
The Spartanburg plant has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.
Now Riding The Eternal Dune: Bruce F. Meyers, engineer and developer of the famous - and much copied - Meyers Manx dune buggy, has died at age 94. Bruce built the first commercial VW-based dune buggy in 1964.
Meyers was also a surfer, sailor, guitar/ukulele player, artist, engineer and founding father of the entire off-road lifestyle and industry.
Born on March 12, 1926, he was inducted ... (more >>>)
2020 Luxury Registrations: Tesla clocked in at 200,561 registrations for the calendar year. BMW accounted for a little more than 287,000 registrations, claiming the top slot in the segment. Next up was Lexus, with more than 271,000; Mercedes-Benz finished in third with almost 266,000. Audi, which had been resurgent in the United States for more than a decade, closed the year with just shy of 184,000 registrations.
"While registrations lag official sales figures (and tend to be slightly lower for a given period), the differences are usually negligible. Even in tighter markets (such as luxury cars), registrations usually diverge from official sales tallies by only a few thousand units." The discrepancy is a bit more than the reported sales of Mercedes-Benz and the estimated sales of Tesla, but Tesla did capture the fourth spot overall.
The Reckoning: Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote, "The corruption of the Renaissance Church prompted the Reformation, which in turn sparked a Counter Reformation of reformist and more zealous Catholics. The cultural excesses and economic recklessness of the Roaring '20s were followed by the bleak, dour, and impoverished years of the Great Depression.
The 1960s counterculture led to Richard Nixon's landslide victory in 1972, as 'carefree hippies' turned into careerist 'yuppies'.
So social, cultural, economic, and political extremism prompt reactions - and sometimes counterreactions.
The Bush-Clinton-Obama continuum of 24 years (from 1993 through 2015) cemented the bipartisan fusion administrative state. Trump and his 'Make America Great Again' agenda were its pushback."
The counterreaction to the populism of the Trump reset ... (more >>>)
Thought For Today is from Jack Handey: "It is important to me that I die like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep ... not screaming like all the passengers in his car."
Friday February 19, 2021
Poor Sales, No Loyalty: The latest Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey is out. Infiniti, the luxury arm of Japan's Nissan, took the bottom position this year.
"The score on the study is based on a potential total of 100. Tesla ranks first with a score of 88. Infiniti, in last place, had a score of 48, just ahead of its parent Nissan, which had a score of 58." Infiniti is the worst-selling luxury brand in America - behind Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Acura, Cadillac, Lincoln, Land Rover and Volvo, as measured by unit sales.
Fifteen years ago, Infiniti scored relatively well on CR's reliability survey. In recent years, it has gotten a reputation for poor quality. Infiniti has struggled ever since its botched 'rocks-n-trees' introduction in late 1989. It never established a consistent brand image and sales have suffered because of that. Marketing seems to range from peripatetic to nonexistent.
In 2020, Infiniti performed miserably, falling to 10th place in luxury brand sales and selling only 79,503 vehicles in the U.S. For every Infiniti sold last year, 3.5 Lexus models found buyers. In 1999, Infiniti sold 72,637 cars; in 2009, the brand sold 70,808 vehicles. See a trend here? Or a lack of one?
Infiniti is now trying a Hail Mary pass ... (more >>>)
Auction Action: A bright yellow 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster brought $1.28 million in the Gooding & Company European Sporting & Historic sale. A metallic gray 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT sold for $3,778,600. A jet-black 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 fetched $2,569,400.
The online event achieved a 100% sell-through rate with more than $8 million changing hands.
Even Liberals Have A Limit: Portland has voted down new taxes for transit the last four times they have been on the ballot. And rightly so.
KGW, a Portland, OR TV station, "reported that TriMet, Portland's transit agency, is spending $108 to subsidize each and every ride on the Westside Express Service."
"The Westside Express is a classic example of someone having a railroad track and deciding it would be a waste not to run a passenger train on it. Connecting Wilsonville with Beaverton, two low-density suburbs, it doesn't serve any major job centers. Getting the tracks ready for passenger service and buying the Diesel-powered vehicles to run on it cost $166 million, about $60 million more than originally expected. Although TriMet calls it a commuter train, the Federal Transit Administration classifies it as hybrid rail."
Most rail systems lose lotsa money these days. But local governments don't much care because the Feds have been chipping in your tax dollars to underwrite/subsidize local operating costs.
Slow Traffic Ahead: Economist Scott Grannis, who has an admirable track record on economic forecasting, recently wrote, "For 50 years, from 1966 through 2007, the US economy grew at an average annualized rate of about 3.1% - a great and dynamic expansion which saw the economy almost quintuple in size. Then came the Great Recession of 2008-9. Not only did the economy fail to recover to that long-term 3.1% trend in subsequent years - for the first time ever, following a recession - it went on to post only slightly more than 2.1% annual growth in the decade from 2009 through early 2019. It was the weakest economic expansion on record, and it looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, I'm sorry to say."
"We've been living in a sub-par recovery since I first anticipated it back in early 2009, thanks to too much regulation, high taxes, and too much government spending. Those same forces will act as headwinds for the economy in the years to come, with Biden promising a virtual replay of all of Obama's anti-growth policies - and possibly even more. Slow growth has left the economy substantially weaker and smaller (by about $4.5 trillion per year … than it might have been had the prior 3.1% growth trend persisted."
There is also a demographic shift as ... (more >>>)
Excommunicate Him And Every Other Abortion-Promoting CINO In Government: Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, who also serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said that President Joe Biden "should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic" because his abortion views stand in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Although people have given this president power and authority, he cannot ... (more >>>)
A Giant Of An American Patriot Is Gone. Rush Limbaugh has died at age 70, following a one-year battle with lung cancer. President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom last February, recognizing the conservative giant's achievements over decades on his iconic show.
Limbaugh was born on January 12, 1951, in Cape Giradeau, Missouri. As a high school student, he landed his first job in radio at local station KGMO. Limbaugh attended Southeast Missouri State University in 1971 and dropped out after one year to return to the radio business.
He was first syndicated in 1988. Rush had millions of loyal fans ... (more >>>)
I Thought This Was Something From The Onion. Or The Babylon Bee. Get ready for Proud Puffs, a chocolate-flavored, vegan breakfast cereal formed in the shape of a Black fist.
No thanks. I'll stick with Cheerios. It's heart-healthy and non-judgemental. And breakfast time is too early in the morning to be making political statements.
Headline Of The Week is from The People's Cube: 'Biden signs executive order canceling the number 45'.
Runner-up from the same source: 'Nancy Pelosi introduces new House rule to replace 'gender' terms like mother, daughter, father, son with the word 'comrade'; the only acceptable pronoun will also be 'comrade'.'
Quote Of The Day: "I'm addicted to brake fluid but I can stop anytime."
Wednesday February 17, 2021
Sensibly Elegant: That's how Car and Driver described the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 sedan. Prices begin at $201,725.
C/D noted that "the Flying Spur's cabin combines exquisite materials with a design that blends modern and traditional themes. Space is generous for front and rear-seat occupants alike, and the levels of comfort and refinement remain impressive even when cruising at extralegal speeds."
Conclusion: "Bentley is not a brand for those who would deny themselves pleasure or even delay its gratification, and it's not one generally associated with the idea of less being more. Yet, the new Flying Spur V-8 proves that a reduction in power doesn't have to mean an inferior experience. While many potential buyers will likely prefer the Spur's brawnier W-12 engine, the V-8 makes a strong case as the more intelligent choice."
Cool Idea: here's a Scion customized to resemble a classic VW Microbus ... (more >>>)
Dinosaur Sales Bump: Sales of the Toyota Land Cruiser have shot upward since the automaker announced that the utility vehicle, which has been sold in the USA for 60 years, will be discontinued.
January was the best sales month for the Land Cruiser in a decade, and December 2020, the month Toyota said it would be discontinued, was second-best. "In all, 689 people got the keys to new Land Cruisers last month, marking a 221 percent increase from January 2020, when 215 were sold.
In December 2020, Toyota sold 606 Land Cruisers, a 68 percent increase."
Car 54, Where Are You? Mercedes-Benz USA is recalling 1.29 million vehicles due to a software issue in its eCall system that can send emergency responders to incorrect locations.
Why, It's Almost As If There Was A Conspiracy. Ya think? Jack Baruth wrote recently discussing something he found in the body of a New York Times article. It shows that there is a Grand Leader of Antifa, and you can get him on a Zoom call.
From the article: The video call was announced on short notice, but more than 900 people quickly joined: a coalition of union officials and racial justice organizers, civil rights lawyers and campaign strategists, pulled together in a matter of hours after the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill ... (more >>>)
There Are Over 100,000 Stories Like This Across America: Spanky's Legendary Consignment of Vancouver, WA is closing permanently next month because of pandemic-related revenue loss, ending a 39-year run for the used clothing store.
"It's been a sad few days," said owner Rachel Phillips, who bought the store about 12 years ago, when it was located on Main Street in downtown Vancouver. "The business took a hit due to the pandemic. We held on for a year, but it's just too much bleeding from a financial perspective."
Thanks, China. Thanks, Governor Inslee.
Another Closure: Roadside America, billed as the 'World's Greatest Miniature Village' and located in Shartlesville, PA - the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, closed in November 2020. It was forced to close in March due to the China Virus crisis, as it was not considered an essential business. It is now closed permanently and the building is for sale.
Laurence Gieringer, assembled the spacious indoor display of model trains, handcrafted buildings and scenery, and opened the attraction in 1945.
In the mid-1970s, we took our kids to see it. My wife and I as well as my good friend Ray Lukas visited it during our 2000 visit to the Lancaster, PA area.
Go For The Best - Go Long, Go Deep: A CDC report says that double-masking can block more than 90% of viral particles.
Burying yourself in a 16-gauge steel, full couch, crank-sealer casket inside a Wilbert triple-reinforced lined concrete vault can block 100% of viral particles.
Who Says There's No Good News? At least 30 Taliban militants were killed in Afghanistan in an explosion during a bomb-making class at a mosque.
"The blast happened at a mosque in the village of Qultaq in the Dowlatabad district of Balkh province … the bodies of the six foreign nationals could not be identified because of damage caused by the blast."
Tomorrow Is National Drink Wine Day. Be sure to sample something good, not Mad Dog 20/20. Or anything with 'Serve Very Cold' on the label.
Thought For Today: Some people plan. Some people worry. Some people plan on worrying.
Monday February 15, 2021
How To Differentiate? Historically, Toyota engines are generally-known for their reliability. Honda motors are known for their technical excellence and creative engineering approach.
The old small-block Chevy V8 is over-engineered and bulletproof; it has enough excess metal that it can be easily bored-out and hopped-up.
Ferrari engines are works of art and contain almost all the ICE bells and whistles that excite enthusiasts. Chrysler 318 engines last and last while the bodies of their host cars rust away.
Car enthusiasts understand the multiples in price commanded by a Hellcat Hemi, a Ferrari V12 or a vintage Offy motor. But electric engines and batteries are pretty generic. You can slap a Ferrari emblem and some nice Metallic Rosa paint on the powertrain's exterior case, but inside it's just another electric motor. Will AMG ... (more >>>)
Making A List: Car and Driver has posted a list of every new car you can still buy with a manual transmission.
"There are still 27 new cars available in the United States with a manual gearbox." Five sport-utes come with them, too. C/D covered those in a separate list.
Most are either low-buck entry level cars like the Chevrolet Spark, or very pricey cars like he Aston Martin Vantage. Not much in the middle.
Think of a stick-shift vehicle as a Millennial/Gen-Z anti-theft device.
Best Car-Related Dialogue ... from 'The Simpsons': Realizing that Homer and Marge are being too nice, Bart exclaims, "That's it! They're selling us to be crash test dummies."
Lisa implores, "Oh please, let it be Volvo!" (permalink)
But The Global Warming Crowd Told Us Snowfalls Are A Thing Of The Past: The snow began at 1:00 pm Thursday and continued on-and-off through Sunday. We now have 14 inches of snow in our driveway. This is the view from our front doorway:
If this is what Global Warming is like, would someone please send Al Gore out here with a snowplow?
When Belief In The System Dies: The Z Man noted recently that the last few months have been a real eye-opener for some. "It started with the massive election fraud, then was followed by the outlandish reaction by the establishment to the peaceful protests in January. Demanding that Americans exercising their rights be treated like terrorists has been an eye-opener for many. The images of Washington ringed with troops and razor wire have shocked millions.
This past month we got what may be the kill shots for civic nationalism. The first item was the coordinated effort to suppress speech online. The tech oligarchs not only cleaned their platforms of Trump supporters, they also shut down the one explicitly conservative platform. Parler was celebrated by all the bigwigs of Conservative Inc. Then the oligarch shut the site down and conservatives did nothing."
Earlier this month, "a handful of wealthy hedge fund managers forced the trading platforms to rig the market to save them from their bad bets in the market. This is one that struck the white baby boomer in the groin, as they are deeply plugged into the markets. They obsess over their 401(k)s to the point of distraction. They watched in horror as a handful of plutocrats with the help of the White House rigged the market to save the short sellers."
"The result of all this is that millions of people, tens of millions, who used to be die-hard believers in the system now think the system is rigged. Elections are rigged. The laws are rigged. The stock market is rigged. The rules of public discourse are rigged." They are "now convinced there is no solution within the system. The problem is the system itself."
"While it has been a wild few months, it promises to get crazier. No one really knows what will happen when the white middle-class collectively decides the system is hopelessly broken. The Tea Party Movement is a good example of how quickly these people can organize when motivated." Now that Conservative Inc. has been put on the Dem's 'enemies list', they cannot be counted on to subvert the next populist movement. As they did with Trump.
"When the people are up in arms over a policy or the behavior of an officeholder, that is not a threat to the system. It is a defense of the system. Implicit in the demands for a change in policy or for someone to resign is a faith in the rules. People outraged by the rules, by the system itself, are a very different thing. They are a direct threat to the system; one the managerial class has never had to face. No one knows how they will respond, but the results so far suggest it will only make things worse." Which is why there is still barbed wire-topped fencing throughout DC. Professional politicians and their enablers are demanding protection from the very people they're supposed to serve.
What's next? I don't know. But I don't believe in the system anymore. Along with 75 million Trump supporters.
Still True Today: On January 28, 2020 - over a year ago - Scott Adams wrote, "The biggest story today should be that impeachment is sidelining our government from protecting us while the Coronavirus spreads. Thanks for nothing."
Petri Dishes On Rails: The NYC subway has dirtier air than neighboring transit systems. Less than a year ago, Killer Bill de Blasio encouraged people to ride the subways: "I'm here on the subway to say to people nothing to fear, go about your lives." How'd that work out?
An MIT study showed that New York's subways are a "major disseminator of coronavirus." So, you're in trouble, even if you manage to avoid being stabbed, beaten, or pushed off a platform.
Don't Forget: Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday.
It is your last chance to gorge yourself before Lent.
Fat Tuesday dates back to pre-Christian times as part of uninhibited pagan festivals for fertility and spring, filled with indulgences in everything.
'Fat Tuesday' translated to French is 'Mardi Gras'.
No More Food Pyramid: Not even that new gay rainbow one. It has now become a trapezoid.
Despite the many 'Keep Off' signs placed around it, too many fat-assed people have sat upon it and the tip has been crushed and permanently flattened.
Quote Of The Day is from Casey Stengel: "Never make predictions, especially about the future."
Thursday February 11, 2021
Electric Verdict: Is the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover worthy of the name? Annie White of Car and Driver wrote, "Whether you end up thinking the Mach-E is worthy of the Mustang name will depend a lot on why you like Ford's pony car. If you like Mustangs because they're attractive and quick, the Mach-E should pass your personal litmus test. If you are looking for a roaring engine and an athletic chassis capable of carving up back roads, you will be disappointed."
She added, "The Mach-E is the best-looking vehicle in Ford's current lineup apart from the actual Stang, and it's also more attractive than the majority of crossovers. The $56,200 extended-range all-wheel-drive model that we tested made it to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. … Ford says the forthcoming 480-hp GT Performance Edition should do the deed in a blistering 3.5 seconds, matching Tesla's claim for the Y Performance."
C/D concluded that "the Mach-E is quick enough to carry the Mustang name. But we've driven a lot of Mustangs, and we don't like them just because they're quick. The Mustang lineup includes some of our favorite engines, with intoxicating exhaust notes and more character than any electric motor. They are also thrilling to drive. The Shelby models, in particular, deliver direct chassis responses and steering that's hyper-communicative, and the risk of getting bucked off the pavement due to your own inattention or lack of skill is quite real. Plus: those exhaust notes. Mustangs aren't for everyone, which is exactly why the idea of aiming the Mach-E at the masses is so controversial. … It doesn't feel like a Mustang to us, but the Mach-E is one of the best EVs on sale right now."
I was surprised to learn that the original idea was for this car to be a crossover with the Focus name, but Ford felt that it wouldn't sell well. Just a thought: if Ford had picked some other iconic name - Thunderbird, Marauder, Cougar - it wouldn't have risked sullying the Mustang heritage. Maybe, at $56,000 and up prices, it should have been a Lincoln of some sort.
Nostalgia For Sale: The 1959 red Corvette with white coving and a removable red hardtop seen in the 1978 film 'Animal House' is for sale. On-screen, the Corvette was owned by Delta's resident ladies man, Eric 'Otter' Stratton, played by Tim Matheson.
The Corvette "was purchased back in 1975 from a Eugene, Oregon dealer - Bob Cochran Motors - and then loaned three years later to Universal Studios for the production of the cult classic. After starring alongside John Belushi, Karen Allen, Kevin Bacon, or Donald Sutherland, it was returned to the possession of the rightful owner. Sadly, it has been gathering dust in his garage ever since."
No word yet on the asking price.
New Prius Feature: Prius now offers virtue signaling built-in. Parody site Babylon Bee reported that ... (more >>>)
Feet Of Clay: Remember when Dr. Fauci was a big expert hero? And President Trump got trashed for contradicting him? Well, it turns out that Anthony Fauci, the highest-paid employee in the U.S. government, is neither saintly nor prescient. And Trump was right about a lot of covid stuff, including his promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment. Experts, such as Dr. Fauci, mocked him. But Trump's instincts were proven correct.
Back in October 2014, the U.S. government placed a federal moratorium on weaponizing pathogens, mainly because the clumsy CDC had so many accidents. The CDC "closed two labs and halted some biological shipments in the wake of several incidents in which highly pathogenic microbes were mishandled by U.S. government laboratories: an accidental shipment of live anthrax, the discovery of forgotten live smallpox samples and a newly-revealed incident in which a dangerous influenza strain was accidentally shipped from the CDC to another lab. A CDC internal report described how scientists failed to follow proper procedures to ensure samples were inactivated before they left the lab, and also found 'multiple other problems' with operating procedures in the anthrax lab."
In the face of ... (more >>>)
Time To Break Out The Torches And Pitchforks: Last week, America learned of the ultimate conspiracy against President Trump: The Establishment was always hell-bent to stop Donald Trump from the get-go. They saw him as a loose cannon, who couldn't be bought. Or bribed. So, he was betrayed by members of his own administration. The Russia Hoax was created in order to impeach him. There was no one in the establishment who served him. They served the swamp. Bill Barr, John Roberts, General Mattis, Christopher Wray, Rod Rosenstein and many other highly-placed government and military officials blocked Trump at every turn. They put their careers ahead of protecting the president and the nation. The fix was in all along.
Recently, former Senior White House Economic and Trade Advisor, Peter Navarro, discussed how the Bill Barr's Department of Justice put up hurdles to executive orders prepared by President Donald Trump while fast-tracking the ones prepared by President-elect Joe Biden during the transition period leading up to Inauguration Day on January 20th.
Donald Trump is a patriot. But his presidency ... (more >>>)
Too True: Don Surber took prissy anti-Trumper Jonah Goldberg to the woodshed recently. Don wrote, "Jonah is neither a Republican nor a conservative. He is just a bag of wind without a bagpipe to make him useful."
Blonde Joke: Two blondes walk into a building …
... you'd think one of them would have seen it.
Scary Numbers, Scary Times: Institutional investment expert Edward A. Studzinski wrote recently that "we are entering into uncharted territory, since having expanded the money supply by that amount in 2020, President Biden wants to 'go big'. That suggests that the creation of an excess money supply will have a hyperbolic impact on increasing inflation. And that is at a time when we are at a rather dangerous tipping point.
According to the National Debt Clock at the St. Louis Fed and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2000 Debt per Taxpayer was $55,750; Interest Expense per Citizen was $8,053, and Real Median Personal Income was $32,032.
In 2021, we ... (more >>>)
Bad Pun of the Day: Police are searching for a thief who robs his victims by threatening them with a lighted match. They want to catch him before he strikes again.
Tuesday February 9, 2021
January Vehicle Sales: The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released their estimate of light vehicle sales for January. The BEA estimates sales of 16.63 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in January 2021, up 2.5% from the December sales rate, and down 1.5% from January 2020.
This was the highest sales rate since before the start of the pandemic, and a solid start for 2021 - although down year-over-year.
Depressed fleet demand continues to hobble overall demand for new vehicle sales.
The handful of carmakers providing sales numbers for January reported promising results, delivering small gains compared with the pre-pandemic sales in January 2020.
Toyota Motor North America sold 166,232 vehicles last month, up fractionally from a year ago for both Toyota and Lexus nameplates. Truck sales were up 9%, while hybrid sales in January totaled 36,487 a 78% increase over last year.
Hyundai sold 40,597 retail units in January. Retail SUV sales were up 11%, representing 69% of the total retail mix. Mazda also posted a sales increase for January, reporting total sales of 25,259 vehicles, an increase of 7% compared to last January 2020.Subaru of America Inc. also enjoyed a good month reporting sales 46,400 vehicle for January 2021, a fractional increase and the best January in the history of the company.
Edsels By Night: This photo was taken shortly after the grand opening of Simeon Edsel Co. of Columbus, OH:
The firm was a father-son partnership; George D. and George R. Simeon headed this dealership. They also owned ... (more >>>)
Today Is National Pizza Day:
I had a wonderful home-made one on Friday.
I Especially Liked The Supermarket Astrology Reference: Jack Baruth weighed in on climate science. "I see sloppy data and massive hand-waving efforts that have the combined credibility of supermarket astrology. The end goal of 'climate science' appears to be the justification of a massive wealth gap between the elites and everyone else.
To prevent climate change, you will eat nothing but beans, or maybe bugs! You will own nothing, but you'll be happy! You'll micro-live in a micro-space! You will walk in walkable communities and live most of your life online, while the Gulfstreams of your betters fly above at 38,000 feet. You will have no more social mobility, and no more caloric resources than an Egyptian pyramid pusher of five thousand years ago. Who decides the distribution of wealth in this environmentally responsible future? How will we know if we are destined to be the bug-eaters of tomorrow or the Gulfstream-fliers?
Good news! We've already decided! Everything's already been set in stone! Now drink your Soylent, Primeworker - Amazon only allows a five-minute lunch during the holiday season!"
In this age of Global Warming, Spain has experienced snowstorm levels not seen in 100 years.
Fossil Hypocrite: I think we can all agree that John F. Kerry is a craggy old fossil, and also is known as the Global Warming Ghoul. Federal Aviation Administration records indicate that the family of U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry owns a private jet, despite his position on combatting fossil fuels in the new administration. Private jets have been estimated to emit upward of 40 times as much carbon per passenger as commercial flights.
"We look forward to the anti-carbon lectures from a guy who travels the globe on private jets and luxury yachts," quipped a New York Post editorial last year. In 2019, John Kerry headed to Iceland on a private jet to receive the Arctic Circle award for climate leadership.
Kerry received the award, which took the form of an iceberg sculpture, for being "a consistent voice pressuring the American authorities to commit to tackle environmental matters."
Furthermore, with Kerry's encouragement, Biden signed an executive order requiring departments to pursue climate change regulation creating new task forces and requiring in-depth strategic plans - in other words, government busywork ... (more >>>)
New Publication: Hunter Biden has released his first book, titled 'Beautiful Things'. The hardcover version is priced at $28 and I don't know if it has any nekkid photos of his underage niece. I heard that the original title was to be: 'Snort, Prey, Love'.
Masonite Musings: I have always been fascinated by this versatile, durable material. Masonite sheets are widely used by construction and moving companies and have been for years. During the post-World War II Pegboard Era, Masonite's version lasted longer than other materials and didn't wear or splinter around the holes.
I have an ancient, beat-up but ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Harry S. Truman: "Once a government is committed to silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens creating a country where everyone lives in fear."
Friday February 5, 2021
2020 Sales Champion: Toyota has dethroned Volkswagen for the title of Global Sales Winner in 2020.
"Toyota ended the year with 9.53 million sales, down 11% year over year. VW sales were down 15% to 9.30 million. U.S. car companies lagged, primarily because of their weak sales outside the American market."
VW is strong in Germany and in China, which is the world's largest car market. Toyota does particularly well in Japan and the United States, where VW's sales have been unsuccessful for decades.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance came in a distant third, selling 7,435,734 vehicles worldwide in 2020, a decline of 26%. "Renault closed out the year 21% in the red, Nissan was down 27%, and Mitsubishi Motors came in a gruesome 38% lower than the year before."
'Manson Before the Storm' is the title of a late 1930s-era street scene painted by artist Bob Cunningham. It contains lots of vintage machines. Bob invites viewers of his artwork to ... (more >>>)
Housekeeping Note: I have updated my AutoSketches of the 1936-37 Lincoln Zephyr, 1955 Lincoln, 1963 Buick Riviera and the Graham Sharknose.
Buh-Bye: After, 125 years, Olympia beer is being discontinued. Now owned by Pabst, sales have been in decline for a while. Olympia Beer was founded in Tumwater, WA in 1896 ... (more >>>)
Shipping News: In Model Auto Review, editor Maz Woolley recently wrote, "After disruption to Chinese production last year caused by Covid-19 we are told that the Chinese Government is enforcing staggered New Year holidays across China. This will be good for pandemic control, but it may again disrupt production to some extent.
Still, that pales into insignificance when it is compared with the impact on all exports from China of the current problems within the International shipping industry. Eloise Davies, MD of Oxford Diecast, gave collectors an insight into the issue at a recent talk. She noted that Oxford Diecast are seeing the quoted price of containers shipped from China to Southampton being around 500% higher than usual at the moment, if they are available at all.
This rise has been caused .... (more >>>)
Payback: Amid a boycott in response to its politically motivated decision to drop Mike Lindell's MyPillow products, shares of Bed Bath & Beyond plunged 36.4% last week. The retail chain suffered its biggest one-day loss since going public in June 1992.
"The consumer organization Media Action Network launched the boycott of Bed, Bath & Beyond after the retail chain stopped selling Lindell's products due to his support of President Trump's claim that fraud affected the outcome of the 2020 election. Retailers Wayfair and Kohl's also have stopped selling MyPillow products."
Lindell, famous for his TV ads, employs more than 1,500 people at his Minnesota plant. He was an early supporter of candidate Trump and is a devout Christian. I notice that he's pulled some ads from FoxNews and started to run them on NewsMax, although after the way NewsMax treated him earlier this week, I'm not sure he'll continue advertising on that network.
Don Surber quipped, "While bricks and mortar stores are struggling to stay afloat, BBB management grabbed the first anchor they saw." Idiots.
Unarmed White Lives Don't Matter: Investigators looking into the fatal shooting of unarmed protestor Ashli Babbitt by a Capitol Police officer during the Capitol Hill protests on January 6th have determined that the officer should not face charges. Geez, I would think a manslaughter charge would be a minimum.
An eyewitness reported, "As she had both feet in the windowsill, her hands were on the sides of the window, a man inside, not a uniform, he had a suit on, fired one shot, hitting her up in this region somewhere [indicates to neck]. She fell out of the window. The police that were there would not let me assist. I am trained in emergency medical services. They would not let me assist … They pushed me out of the way, and I stood there and I watched this young woman die."
"Babbitt, a 35 year-old veteran of the US Air Force who had served four tours, was shot and killed by the officer when she entered the Capitol with hundreds of others." Her husband described her as a "strong supporter of President Trump, and a great patriot to all who knew her."
On related news, Scott Adams tweeted, "CNN is reporting that the Biden administration can't decide whether the armed, military takeover of the civilian government in Myanmar is a "coup" or not.
Meanwhile, they are certain the Viking Hat guy and his selfie army were a coup."
All Lives Matter: Professor Pecknold, who is a columnist at First Things, recently tweeted, "The American abortion industry crushes more than 2,000 human lives a day. No other injustice so clearly reveals the metaphysical and moral disorder of our republic. Our restoration will come only when the abortion industry is crushed, and every human life is protected."
With the Democrats in charge, restoration is unlikely.
Today is National Bubble Gum Day. In 2004, American Chad Fell set the Guinness Book of World Records mark for biggest bubble gum bubble, which measured in at a diameter of 20 inches. His secret to success was using three pieces of Dubble Bubble.
Question Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "Do buckets have a list of things they want to do before they die?"
Wednesday February 3, 2021
These Days, It's All About China: Ford will build its Mustang Mach-E electric crossover in China for the China market.
"The locally built Mustang Mach-E, Ford's flagship electric vehicle, which recently went on sale in the U.S., will be available in China later this year and challenge for a share of the Chinese high-end EV market, according to a company statement."
EV sales are expected to grow strongly in China. The government is targeting to sell around 5 million EVs annually by 2025, or a fifth of total vehicle sales. "There were 1.11 million electric cars sold in China last year, according to the China Passenger Car Association, accounting for nearly 6% of the country's car market."
Old Ads From Car Magazines: Whenever I look at an old issue of a car magazine, I often look in the back where the columnar display ads reside.
These small ads mostly represented the hopes and dreams of struggling entrepreneurs to develop a market for their products and inventions. These ads were from companies all over the U.S., although many had Southern California addresses.
Perusing ads in the back of old Road & Track magazines, I found ... (more >>>)
What's In A Name? I'm surprised that Cadillac's new performance models are called Blackwings. It's a Caddy - call it a BlackFin.
Bonham's Scottsdale Auction Results: A black 1959 BMW 507 Series II Roadster sports car with a red leather interior was the top seller at this January auction, fetching $1,809,000. A black 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SC Roadster came in second, selling for $698,000. Only 53 of these Roadsters were produced.
A red 1955 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Bertone-bodied roadster sold for $224,000; this car sold new for $4,245, which in 1955 was Cadillac money. In six years, only 130 Arnolt-Bristols were produced. All were fitted with Bristol BS1 MkII 6-cylinder engines.
A silver 1966 Jaguar E-Type Series I 4.2-liter Coupe went under the gavel for $218,400.
The Day the Music Died - 62 Years Ago: I still remember the day - I was a sophomore in high school. On February 3, 1959, I heard the news on the morning radio: Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper had perished in a plane crash. They were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson. Soon after takeoff, late at night (about 12:55 am) and in a snowstorm with strong winds, the pilot lost control of the light aircraft, a 1947 single-engined, V-tailed Beechcraft 35 Bonanza. The small plane crashed into a cornfield about six miles from the airfield. Everyone on board was killed.
I remember discussing it briefly with other schoolmates in the locker room between classes. The feeling was ... (more >>>)
Sad News: It has been revealed that Tony Bennett has Alzheimer's disease. His symptoms began in 2015 and he was diagnosed in 2016. Tony is 94 years old and his singing career spans 80+ years. Sadly, the disease has progressed far enough that he can no longer perform in public.
In the late 1990s, my wife and I attended a most-enjoyable Tony Bennett concert. At the end, we left by a side door because we thought it would put us closer to where we had parked. As we walked down an unfamiliar alley, we found that it intersected with a blind alley. At the end - 30 feet away - was Tony Bennett, catching some fresh air. Alone - no guards, no entourage. We were speechless; the best we could muster was a little wave. Tony gave us a big friendly smile and waved back. No diva he.
I reviewed his book, 'Life Is A Gift: The Zen of Bennett', here.
Elections Have Consequences: Jack Baruth wrote that when Biden was inaugurated, "my first thought was selfish. I didn't think about the end of the American oil industry, or the promised gun confiscation, or the female athletes whose scholarships just vanished into thin air, or all that business about structuring the economy around issues of racial justice and climate justice. All I could think was: Well, that's the end of the tech biz.
What the American press won't tell you, the Indian press is shouting from the rooftops. Biden is promising the infusion of hundreds of thousands of visas per year."
"Mr. Biden famously told unemployed coal miners that they should learn to code. I hope none of them listened, because as career advice in the Biden era, "learn to code" will be slightly less useful than "learn to play the accordion." For God's sake, there are only 1.46 million software development jobs in the whole country. Ask yourself a question in the format the meme kids love: What percentage of software development jobs will be given to new visa holders, and why is it 100?
Like him or loathe him, Trump was good for middle-class American jobs, particularly in tech. I watched pay rates increase by a full third during the first two years of his administration, and had I stayed in tech rather than departing for the editorial life, yo, I could have looked forward to further raises.
If you're wondering why Big Tech mounted such a full-court press against him, now you know. It wasn't to protect America's womyn, nor was it to ensure the dignity of (insert your favorite group here). It was to reset labor costs back to the Obama years, and then some. Just as importantly, it was to take white and Black employees out of these jobs and replace them with people who can be dominated via the iron band of visa control. If you've never worked in tech, you've never seen how that control is used. The visa holders are the first people in the office and the last ones out. They never raise their voices to disagree, they never refuse a task no matter how degrading or unnecessary."
That's just tech stuff. Then there's all the other job-killing stuff not discussed in the article: the moratorium on natural gas and oil leases as well as drilling permits, the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and so much more.
I recommend that you read the entire article including the comments section.
The Great Reversal Begins: The Biden administration announced last week that they would be restoring diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority.
Sleepy Joe signed a presidential memorandum rescinding the ban on U.S. funding for international nonprofits that provide counseling or referrals for abortion. President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the ban, known as the Mexico City Policy, during his first days in office in 2017. It was previously rescinded by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Even Al Jazerra supported President Trump's approach to Middle East peace. "The Trump administration decided to go around the Palestinians to forge normalization agreements last year between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain," a former Trump official said.
Robert O'Brien, national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, said the Trump administration sought to build political capital with Israel first by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
O'Brien said, "We couldn't allow the Palestinians to stand as a roadblock to a broader Middle East peace. So we went to our friends and partners and allies and we built political capital. And one way we built political capital in Israel was by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, one way we did it was by recognizing the Golan Heights, as Israeli territory."
The rest of the Middle East is sick and tired of the Iran-backed Palestinian regime and, with the Trump administrations guidance, had already begun establishing relationships with Israel to stand strong against Iran. The Middle East needs neither Biden's meddling with the PA nor the Palestinians themselves.
Who Had 'OJ Simpson Being Stabbed By A White Woman' On Their 2021 Bingo Card? Ex-convict O.J. Simpson, living in Nevada since being freed from prison in 2017, posted a photo of getting himself vaccinated in Las Vegas last Friday. "Get your shot. I got mine!!!" Simpson, 73, captioned the post.
The former NFL star, actor and NBC Sports commentator became eligible for the vaccine in Nevada because of his age, his lawyer Malcolm P. LaVergne said. "If you're 70-plus, you're eligible for the shot. You can schedule you're shot and they'll do it."
Imagine That: Last week, Reddit became a greater menace to the Masters of the Universe than Donald Trump's now-defunct Twitter feed.
If only GameStop manufactured solar panels and wind turbines, everything would be different.
RIP: Actor, director and writer Hal Holbrook has died at age 95. He was best known for portraying Mark Twain in his one-man show.
Holbrook also appeared in numerous films and television productions. In the 1980s and early '90s, he seemed to be on television every week, partly because he was such a versatile actor. He appeared regularly on 'Designing Women'; he was married to Dixie Carter, one of the show's stars. Holbrook was also a cast member on 'Evening Shade'.
Quote Of The Day is from Rita Rudner: "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
Monday February 1, 2021
Shoulda Kept The Rabbit Name: Volkswagen is ending the run of the Golf in the U.S. with the 2021 model. Seven generations of the hatchback have scooted around on U.S. roads since 1974.
Americans have purchased nearly 2.5 million of the Golf/Rabbit hatchbacks since 1974. But demand for hatchbacks and other conventional passenger cars has rapidly dried up during the last half decade. Research firm Cox Automotive analysts predicted that they will barely make up 21% of the U.S. market this year. "Almost completely reliant on sedans, coupes and hatchbacks 10 years ago, utility vehicles now make up about two-thirds of Volkswagen's U.S. sales, with demand for passenger cars narrowed down to niche and performance models, such as the GTI and Golf R."
In mid-January, the last Volkswagen Golf destined for the U.S. market rolled off the automaker's assembly line in Puebla, Mexico. VW says it will "mark the end of the run for the familiar hatchback. But there's an asterisk appended to the statement released today. While American buyers will no longer be able to purchase a standard Golf once dealer stock runs out, they will see the return of all-new versions of the sportier Golf GTI and Golf R models for the 2022 model year."
Revisiting The Future Past: Car and Driver reposted an overview of Chrysler's gas turbine program, which began with a running prototype in 1953 and culminated with the production of 50-plus custom-bodied test vehicles loaned to consumers to gauge their reactions.
Turbine cars made some kinda sense in the days of limitless, cheap fuel. "The turbine can be a highly efficient engine in constant-speed operation, as in an airplane or a generating station, but it's a guzzler in stop-and-go driving."
A Chrysler Turbine car was shown at Villanova University when I was an engineering student there. I can't remember the exact time but I think it was during the Spring of 1964. The sleek car was displayed in the parking area behind Tolentine Hall which was then the Engineering Building. The young man demonstrating the vehicle placed a nickel on edge on the turbine engine and revved up the motor. The coin never fell over - an impressive accomplishment.
I've written more about the Chrysler Turbine car here.
Fourteen Years From Now: General Motors has declared that it will be all-electric by 2035.
GM "will offer 30 all-electric models worldwide by the middle of the decade. By the end of 2025, 40% of its U.S. models will be battery electric vehicles. The company plans to include crossovers, SUVs, sedans and trucks in its electric vehicle lineup. … And it has a goal of making all new light-duty vehicles it introduces, the vast majority of its fleet, fully electric within 14 years. The company will concentrate on offering zero-emissions vehicles in different prices ranges. It's also working with others, including the Environmental Defense Fund, to build out the necessary infrastructure to power its electric vehicles and to promote their use."
Well, I'm old enough to remember that, in the early 1960s, we were told that we'd soon be driving gas-turbine powered cars. In the 1970s, everybody, including GM, said that the Wankel engine would be the next big thing. Now it's all about battery-electric vehicles. Time will tell if that comes to pass as quickly as experts think. It's a big change, when you consider that almost 99% of all vehicles sold today are powered by internal-combustion engines. And gas is still plentiful and fairly cheap although Biden and his minions are working to change that. Gina McCarthy would love to make $10 per gallon gas happen.
If I'm still around in 2035 and driving at age 92, I hope I can continue to buy gasoline for my vehicles, even at ten bucks a gallon.
You Must Obey: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a sweeping order, requiring travelers to wear face masks on most forms of public transportation in an effort to slow the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.
"Travelers and commuters will be required to don a face mask on all airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. Masks must also be worn while waiting, boarding, traveling, and disembarking at airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, and seaports. The order applies to 'all passengers on public conveyances' traveling to or within the U.S."
Coming next: Everyone must dance. All the time.
Something To Think About: Are the people at the publishing houses who are screaming against publishing books by conservative authors the same ones screaming that the baker should have made the cake?
2021 Is Not Off To A Great Start: Videographer Keith Woods wrote, "They have rigged everything, silenced dissent with tech censorship and financial deplatforming, rigged the economy with insider trading, rigged democracy with lobbying and mass immigration, and they'll tell you with a straight face that racist rednecks are the problem."
And: "Remember when all the oligarchs were excited about an open internet because it would lead to popular uprisings against tyrants? Now it's doing just that and they hate it." Robinhood - an online a free-trading app supposedly for the small investor to trade stock, options and the like - blocked orders for GameStop. Its retail customers are pissed, will go elsewhere and Robinhood may disappear faster than a 1999 dot-com.
In related news, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen received more than $800,000 in speaking fees from Citadel, a hedge fund that has become embroiled in the saga over stock trades for video game retailer GameStop. Citadel paid Yellen $810,000 to speak at several events from October 2019 to October 2020. Citadel is invested heavily in Melvin Capital, a hedge fund that was reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy this week due to a surge in GameStop share prices.
Reddit users encouraged purchases of GameStop shares in order to ... (more >>>)
Another Reason I Don't Tweet: James Lileks wrote, "Twitter turned the entire world into the Algonquin Roundtable, and I don't say that as a compliment. I always thought the Roundtable would be rather tiresome on an average day - the working journalist who had to turn in copy every day would be a bit annoyed with the writers who sloshed back to their desks and pecked out fifty words before taking a nap, then getting a cup of coffee from the Automat, then looking at the typewriter again, shrugging, and deciding to go have a drink if anyone else is up for it.
Worst would be the days when someone got off a really good line, and someone else tried to piggyback on it, but it fell flat, and then the person groused about it and nursed resentments and left early."
Celebrity Death Watch: The 2021 Old Blue Eyes Memorial Celebrity Death Watch has now been published. The top ten picks are: soon-to-turn 100 Prince Phillip - Duke of Edinburgh, former president Jimmy Carter, former senator Bob Dole, 97 year-old former game show host Bob Barker, 104 year-old writer of children's and young adult fiction Beverly Cleary, 107 year-old actor Norman Lloyd, talk-radio king Rush Limbaugh, 97 year-old diplomat and political consultant Henry Kissinger, 99 year-old Golden Gal Betty White and actor/comedian Dick Van Dyke who is 95.
I wish good health and continued breathing to everyone on the list.
This Just In: A New York Post headline reads, 'Woman goes viral after appearing on TV with dildo behind her'.
"A UK woman being interviewed from home got a rise from TV viewers - who noticed the prodigious sex toy sitting on a shelf behind her." Yvette Amos was telling the BBC about how people were being "passed over" for jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, but what captivated 'Wales Today' viewers was the dildo apparently being used as a bookend.
Dildos - is there anything they can't do?
Quote Of The Day is from Winston Churchill: "Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you."
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