A Blog About Cars ... And More
Monday August 30, 2021
Autosketch: 1949 Buick Roadmaster - A Great Big Luxo-Woodie
This behemoth wagon weighed 4,490 pounds; Buick ads hyped "honest heft that levels the miles with majestic smoothness." You could tell that it was a Roadmaster by the four portholes (officially name: VentiPorts) along the side. Lesser Buick models only got 3 holes.
The '49s were the first all-new postwar design from Buick and ... (more >>>)
Selling Like Hotcakes: Over 100,000 people have placed reservations for the Ford Maverick compact crossover pickup truck which is supposed to go on sale this fall.
"So far, Ford says the most reservations are coming from Los Angeles, where the Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup dominates the market. San Francisco ranks third on the Maverick reservation list, behind Orlando, Florida, and just ahead of Houston."
Electric Vehicle Sales Stats: 214,111 BEVs (battery-electric vehicles) found buyers during the first half of 2021. Tesla urrently has 66% of the BEV market in the U.S. BEV sales represent only 2.5% of total U.S. ehicle sales.
Smooth Drive: The county paved our neighborhood streets this month and top-coated it on Friday. On Sunday morning, it was a cool 53 degrees at 8:00 am, so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for an early morning drive. The road was quite smooth - it hadn't been redone in over 20 years and really needed the work.
There was bright sun and blue, hazy skies overhead. The days are getting noticeably shorter, signaling an end to summer, but Sunday was gorgeous and summery.
Roads were virtually empty and I had the windows down so that I could hear the V8 rumble and burble of the Glasspacks as I also played '50s rock-n-roll through the old coupe's twin speakers.
One of the songs in rotation was 'Long Tall Sally' by Little Richard ("Gonna tell Aunt Mary about Uncle John. He claims he got the misery but he's havin' lotsa fun, oooooh baby!"), his 1956 hit record. At that point, there were no other cars visible on the country road and, visually, it really could have been 1956. I get a particular kick out of 'Long Tall Sally' because I actually had an uncle named John who was married to Aunt Mary. ("Well I saw Unkle John with bow-legged Sally, he saw Aunt Mary comin' and he jumped back in the alley."On, baby, Wwoo-ooo-ooo-ooo, baby.")
As I was driving down our street on the return home, I spotted three deer - a doe and her two fawns - about a quarter mile from our house, standing by the roadside. I slowed down and waved. They didn't wave back … just stared as the Plymouth rumbled past.
In any case, I had a very nice old car drive. By afternoon, the thermometer exceeded 84 degrees.
Rare Supercar Sighting: Last Thursday, we took my wife's Avalon in for some tire work I spotted a lime green Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640 with a giant silver ... (more >>>)
What Do Nat King Cole And Elvis Have In Common? Messerschmitts. Both men had connections to the little German microcar. I've written about this before, but have added a photo of Elvis Presley in his Messerschmitt.
Blatant Corruption In The News Search Game: Zach Vorhies, former Google employee and now a reporter with Project Veritas, disclosed that "Google specifically rewrote their news algorithms to go after President Trump. He reveals actual slides from the company scoring system built around the fight that Trump was having at the time with former FBI Director James Comey over Russian collusion. Vorhies explains how Google built a clustering mechanism where it could use trigger words and key phrases to make one story a continuation of another story, forming a super story that spanned eight days or so."
Competitors like DuckDuckGo are exploding because people don’t like what Google is doing. I use DuckDuckGo for 99% of my searches, only using Google when absolutely necessary.
More worrisome is Vorhies claim that Google is "essentially operating as a foreign propaganda intelligence outlet. They’re not pro-American, they are trying to destabilize America and subvert it." Google also propagates Chinese Communist Party propaganda, according to the Epoch Times article. The entire piece is worth a read.
Quota Cop: Am I the only one who thinks that the feckless Lt. Michael Byrd of the Capitol Police, who once left his Glock in the Capitol men's room, who shot unarmed Ashli Babbitt without provocation, and who appeared on NBC to declare he was a "hero," was an affirmative action hire? He also proclaimed that he showed "the utmost courage."
If this were a white cop shooting an armed BLM rioter, the entire country would in flames by now. Hey, since he's such a hero, maybe we should send Byrd to Kabul to protect Americans stuck there.
Absolute Worst: Maxim once named Kathy Griffin as one of the Worst Comedians of All Time: "Is she a gay dude? We're asking for serious." Sandra Bernhard was excoriated as well: "You're not attractive, and that makes you angry. We understand. But why not use some of that unattractiveness to make you funny, too?"
Whoopi Goldberg was mentioned, too: "Soccer moms love Whoopi 'cause they think she's "edgy." Soccer dads are terrified of Whoopi 'cause they think she looks like the "Predator." We don't like her because we like "comedy."" And Margaret Cho: "Mothers are difficult! But my Asian mother very difficult mother to have! She say things like, 'Me rikey flied lice.' She a very Asian mother!"
Yes, yes, these people are abominable but the list is far from complete. Therefore, I wish to expand the list to include the following unfunny people: Ray Ray Johnson, Roseanne Barr, Chevy Chase, Carrot Top, Joey Bishop, Wanda Sykes, Andrew Dice Clay, Lisa Lampanelli, Wayne & Shuster, Howie Mandel, Tom Green, Mickey Shaughnessy, Jimmy Fallon, Mo Rocca, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Bob Saget and Pauly Shore.
There are more but I just can't remember all of them right now.
The Fall Of Afghanistan Signals The Fall Of America: I continue to be astounded by the Biden Administration's apparent desire to dismantle the USA. The flood of illegals at our southern border, the wanton, budget-busting federal spending, the rapid spread of homeless camps, the trampling of voters' rights, the rampant increase in crime in our once-great cities, and now, the surrender in the Middle East.
America is now the mess Democrats pretended it was under Trump.
Brian T. Kennedy, a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute, wrote, "It would be easy to attribute the disaster of leaving Afghanistan, both human and strategic, to the incompetence of President Biden and his administration. After all, human incompetence normally explains a lot. But the affairs of a great nation like ours and its military are not the work of one man. There are generals, well-credentialed foreign policy experts, and senior intelligence officials who have devised how best to leave Afghanistan in order to achieve certain strategic and political objectives. … It was a matter of high government policy that the United States depart Afghanistan, abandon military equipment, and leave both Americans and our allies to the tender mercies of the radical Islamic Taliban."
The notion that this was unplanned, Three Stooges-style stupidity makes no sense to me. I can't explain why ... (more >>>)
But Wait, There's More - Just When You Thought Afghanistan Couldn't Get Any Worse: As a result of a soul-crushing terrorist attack at Kabul airport on August 26th, 13 American service members are dead - 10 Marines, two Army soldiers and one Navy corpsman. At least 18 soldiers are injured - some very seriously. The attack was the deadliest day for the U.S. military in more than 10 years. Over 85 Afghans dead. The dreadful carnage was apparently caused by a suicide bomber and a car bomb.
Biden called the dead Marines "heroes" and threatened ISIS with "hunting you down" - probably an empty threat, sadly. Now he says the military told him Bagram Air Base was not necessary to complete the mission - hard to believe. He sounded out of it - he rambled, mumbled and spoke haltingly. It's like watching a senile old man sitting on the porch waving his cane and yelling at people on the sidewalk. You know that Biden's not going to do squat. Except give the finger to anyone who dares to impugn his "lifetime of service."
During the much-delayed presser ... (more >>>)
After America: Mark Steyn wrote last week that, "an hour south of Kabul, Chinese development of the world's second largest copper mine will proceed apace. We were there for two decades, but all the lithium will go to Chairman Xi, just in case you thought the Chinese didn't have a tight enough hammerlock on the world's batteries, without which all your high-tech toys are novelty paperweights and doorstops."
Meanwhile, back in America, "our "experts" have expertise in nothing that matters - identity politics, micro-aggressions, statue-toppling, transgender sports ... Much of American "conservatism" meets the civilizational vandals halfway - no, two-thirds of the way - so that the conversation is never anywhere near where it ought to be: No one could look objectively at an American TV network or newspaper and think this the public discourse of a serious power.
And yet apparently over half the nation does. Until that changes, this is China's world." Those who believe that Xi is the puppet-master, pulling Biden's strings, are not crazy.
Blonde Joke: Why was the blonde girl staring at the juice can? Because the label said 'Concentrate'.
Headline Of The Week ... so far, is from The Onion: 'Johnson & Johnson Introduces 'Nothing But Tears' Shampoo To Toughen Up Newborns'.
It's "an aggressive bath-time product the company says will help to prepare meek and fragile newborns for the real world."
A radical departure for the health goods manufacturer, the new shampoo features an all-alcohol-based formula, has never once been approved by leading dermatologists, and is as gentle on a baby's skin as "having to grow up and fend for your goddamn self."
He Should Have Been Gassed Fifty-three Years Ago: Sirhan Sirhan, who fatally shot U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968, has been granted parole. My wife and I watched the shooting in real time on television at our apartment.
This was Sirhan's 16th parole hearing and, this time, no Kennedy family members offered opposition In fact, two of RFK's sons sided with Sirhan Sirhan. And for the first time no prosecutor will be there to argue he should be kept behind bars. The current Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón - a George Soros-backed lefty - did not oppose Sirhan's release. Liberals have no morals, no courage, and no loyalty at all.
If he's released, it would be ironic if Sirhan Sirhan gets mowed down by a drunk Kennedy progeny driving a big SUV.
A Fine Reporter: John Loftus, the reporter who interviewed me for an article in Philadelphia's 'Northeast Times', has died at age 70 after a 6-plus year battle with glioblastoma - an aggressive brain cancer.
John was a journalist for more than three decades, working at newspapers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. He worked at the 'Northeast Times' from 2009-15, until his illness forced him to retire. Among the other papers that employed John were the 'Philadelphia Daily News', the 'Trenton Times', the 'Times Union of Albany' (New York), the 'Home News Tribune' of East Brunswick, New Jersey, and the 'South Philadelphia Review'.
He was a 1983 graduate of Temple University. While in college, he had worked as a Yellow Cab driver. Rest in peace, John.
Quote Of The Day is from fellow geezer Gerard Van der Leun (born 1946): "You now have more tools and supplies for the road ahead than you have road ahead." On the other hand, there's that old saying: "The one who dies with the most toys wins."
And, being an old geezer means that you likely have your own Hardware and Faster Museum.
Thursday August 26, 2021
Why Couldn't Volkswagen Make Something This Cool? Sometimes fakes look better than the real thing and this is Exhibit A:
The Punk Cat and a similar model, Ballet Cat, are fake VW Beetles made by a Chinese car company called Ora. Both cars are ... (more >>>)
2040 Is Lookin' Weird: Lincoln has partnered with the ArtCenter College of Design to produce four virtual concept cars as a potential preview of Lincoln design elements.
The cars are set in the world of 2040 ... (more >>>)
'Endless Summer': That old Beach Boys album name is something all of us wish for. Even though there's not much summer remaining, I'm hopeful of a good September and/or October. I haven't driven much recently; I had surgery last week and have been recuperating. On Wednesday, it was a cold early morning - 50 degrees at 7:30 am. By late afternoon, the temperature reached 85 degrees. The days are getting noticeably shorter, signaling an end to summer.
At 10:00 am Wednesday, it was 62 degrees and sunny with haze (no significant rain lately plus smoke from wildfires), so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and drove to the library, returning one book and getting another. Afterwards, I took a back roads drive. I had the windows down so that I could hear the V8 rumble and burble of the Glasspacks as I also played '50s rock-n-roll through the old coupe's twin speakers. I had a nice drive.
When I took off from an empty four-way stop at 159th Street, I floored the old car, kicking in the four-barrel carb and was pushed back into my seat as the engine roared powerfully. Well, it's not like I'm trying to win the Mobilgas Economy Run, is it? Besides, it's good therapy. I'm feeling better already.
Party On, Garth. Something I learned many years ago from '101 Cars You Must Drive' on Speed TV: Richard Petty, Conway Twitty and Mitt Romney owned AMC Pacers. (permalink)
Old Paint: This 1920 Ford Model T is owned by W.C. Powelson, a wholesaler and retailer of paints, located ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork' by Reeves Wiedman
In 1983, my good friend Jack and his wife traveled across the country to spend the weekend in order to pick my brain about starting a small business. In preparation, I randomly wrote down my thoughts over a three week period. Then just before he arrived, I edited and collated them. One of the many subjects was about all the crazies, phonies and con men who prey on small business ... (more >>>)
August Virus Update: Are you confused enough yet? We were told, "Get your shots and all will be well." Yet fully-vaccinated people are getting covid. It has been called the Delta Variant. What's next - the Gamma Variant? And what to do? Masks? No masks? Unproven booster shots? Vitamin D? Invermectin from the local feed store? Your guess is as good as mine. Or the CDC's. This cartoon says it all:
New variants? Sure. Why do you think the CDC printed all those vaccine cards with extra spaces?
Meanwhile ... (more >>>)
Leiber & Stoller - Not The Name Of A Law Firm: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were a prolific songwriting duo whose music and lyrics defined the music of the mid-1950s to mid-1960s.
The pair created such top hits as 'Hound Dog' and 'Kansas City', 'Young Blood'," 'Searchin'', 'There Goes My Baby', 'Charlie Brown', 'Riot in Cell Block No. 9', 'Ruby Baby', 'Love Potion No. 9' and 'Yakety Yak'. They wrote and produced many hits for Elvis, including 'Love Me', 'Loving You', 'Don't', 'Jailhouse Rock' and 'King Creole'. Mike Stoller gave an on-screen performance as Elvis' piano player in the movie, 'Jailhouse Rock'.
Dozens of have recorded Leiber and Stoller songs, including the Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Drifters, the Coasters, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Dion, Barbra Streisand, Edith Piaf, the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin.
Once upon a time ... (more >>>)
Appeasement: Michael Goodwin wrote in the New York Post, "Neville Chamberlain can rest easy. He is no longer the most shameful appeaser in modern history. Joe Biden is the new champion of cowards.
Biden didn't just blink in the face of terror. He is groveling before the Taliban, acknowledging their victory and laying the groundwork for their legitimacy as the rulers of Afghanistan." Indeed.
"Even more unforgivable, by agreeing to the Taliban's demand that he stick to his own initial deadline of Aug. 31 for the withdrawal of all troops, Biden shows he is willing to strand thousands of Americans behind enemy lines."
Quote Of The Day is from Jesse Bowers: "A mile of highway will take you just one mile; one mile of runway takes you anywhere."
Tuesday August 24, 2021
Shipping Fords: This period photograph shows new 1940 Fords being loaded - or unloaded - from boxcars at a freight siding:
Note that the dark-colored sedan at right has only one ... (more >>>)
Fiery Electric: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that General Motors is expanding the current Chevrolet Bolt recall to include 2017-22 Bolt electric vehicles, "due to the risk of the high-voltage battery pack catching fire." All Bolt vehicles are now part of the recall - every model ever produced.. The recall expansion is expected to cost the automaker an additional $1 billion, bringing the recall's total to $1.8 billion to replace potentially defective battery modules in the vehicles.
"At this time, GM is asking all Chevrolet Bolt vehicle owners to park their vehicles outside and away from structures, and to not charge the vehicles overnight." Several recommendations have been made to owners, including "Recharge the battery on their Bolts after each use and not wait until the battery is almost run down (deep discharge mode) before charging it back up."
If you've got a home charger installed inside your garage, it sounds like you're screwed. People wanted to buy Green; instead, they ended up with Fire Engine Red.
The Golden Age Of Axle Ratios And Other Car Options: Once upon a time, you could order a vehicle with almost anything you wanted.
I recall that a General Motors statistician once calculated there were so many options available that it was theoretically possible that no two 1965 Chevrolets would be exactly alike. That's amazing when you consider that Chevy sold 2,272,900 units in the 1965 model year ... (more >>>)
Wicked Fast: The Rimac Nevera battery-electric GT has claimed the unofficial title of world's quickest production car in the quarter-mile with an ET of 8.582 seconds at 167.51 mph. The 1,914-hp Nevera electric hypercar has a top speed of 258 mph. Rimac will make 150 units of the Nevera; pricing starts at $2.4 million.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Insaneistan, And The Unholy Mess In America: Last week, Lara Logan told Tucker Carlson, "The Taliban couldn't exist without Pakistan." The truth is there is nothing in that part of the world that is worth one drop of our blood. Trade fairly with them for what we want, if they screw us over do business with others. If they attack us, wipe them out from a distance. How difficult is that to understand? Did Team Obama and his Puppets Biden & Harris let the Afghan government crash in order to provoke a refugee crisis? To change U.S. demographics? To overcome the Trump Deplorables?
No country can flourish while being ruled by people who don't like it.
In any case, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is a grave blow to America's standing and much of the blame lies squarely with Joe 'Pepe Le Pew' Biden. And his Democrat handlers. Is it due to idiocy, malice, arrogance, or all of the above? Over the years, Biden had demonstrated that everything is just an expedient lie. He's a sociopath.
Howie Carr wrote that Biden owns "the catastrophe in Kabul, open borders, rampant inflation, skyrocketing urban crime, the destruction of American energy independence, endless nonsensical lockdowns over a mild virus that is killing almost no one, not to mention so many public misstatements by the doddering old clown that his own cabinet secretaries have to correct his insane lies even before he shuffles off to Marine One for the flight back to his weekend assisted-living facility in Delaware. But no more mean tweets, right?"
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Joe Biden an imbecile while ... (more >>>)
Stuff My Parents Never Told Me: Joe Biden has claimed more than once that FDR appeared on television to reassure the nation during the 1929 stock market crash. Now, I wasn't even alive then (and Roosevelt wasn't president yet but let's not let facts get in the way of a good Biden story) but my parents were. They never mentioned this event. Maybe they never saw the broadcast because it was only on the cable Premium Package which they didn't have.
'Don't Make Us Look Bad' Is Neither A Strategy Nor A Tactical Mission: Major General Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, told his British Army counterpart, a high-ranking field-grade officer of the British army's 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, that British operations to rescue British citizens stuck in Kabul were embarrassing the United States military in the absence of similar U.S. military operations. The British officer firmly rejected the request.
Tom Rogan wrote, "I understand that the SAS has conducted operations to bring American citizens, as well as British citizens and at-risk personnel, through checkpoints and to the airport."
I suspect the British officer replied with single sentence ending with "and the horse you rode in on." How the hell do you rise to command an Airborne division and be such a pussy?
Truth Of The Week is from Donald Trump: "You know what 'woke' means? It means you're a loser. Everything woke turns to shit." Amen.
Joining His Brother: Don Everly, surviving sibling of The Every brothers has died of a heart attack at age 84. The Everly Brothers were an American country-influenced rock and roll duo, known for steel-string acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing. Don's younger brother, Phil had died in early 2014 from lung disease just before his 74th birthday.
They began writing and recording their own music in 1956, and their first hit song came in 1957, with 'Bye Bye Love', followed by 'Wake Up Little Susie', 'All I Have to Do Is Dream', and 'Problems'. In 1960, they recorded 'Cathy's Clown', written by the brothers themselves, which was their biggest selling single.
The Everlys broke up and regrouped ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "When I was a young lad and I first heard about a "pre-nuptual agreement" I thought it was a document you had to sign before she would show you her nuptuals."
Friday August 20, 2001
Rolling Design Advertisement: A custom-bodied, streamlined International D-30 delivery truck owned by Teetzel Company Interior Designers is parked outside a residence in Detroit.
The photo was taken in ... (more >>>)
Bad Hat: Ford's popular new Bronco sport-utility vehicle has suffered a snag in its launch, with the automaker replacing all of the hardtop roofs it has built so far on the model. The automaker is delaying production of new models to fix the problem.
The molded hardtop roofs for 2-door and 4-door Broncos, which were made by Webasto AG, "did not meet our standards," said a Ford spokesman. "The issue does not impact the functionality of the roof, but can cause unsatisfactory appearance." This is the second setback related to the Bronco’s roof, being built by Germany's Webasto in its Plymouth, MI plant.
The plastic roofs could fade in hot, humid conditions, a problem the automaker said won't affect safety. Ford said it will replace plastic roofs already shipped, and the roof's supplier will build a new facility to increase production of the removable hardtops to help Ford catch up with demand.
For starters, it looks like the molded-in-color roofs have been poorly made, with plastic that's prone to bending and thin top layers pulling back to reveal the underlying roof's honeycomb structure. There are also uneven gaps between the roof panels and even the headliner, which has not been attached correctly in some instances. The worst of the problems has been a series of delaminating roofs, followed by strange rattling, which a number of owners have reported. These Bronco owners weren't shy about relating their experiences and have reported these issues all over Bronco forums and social media.
The German company opened its plant in 2019, concentrating on scale production for major manufacturers, including Ford. Webasto got an enormous contract and invested in production, but its finished products were extraordinarily bad. Webasto's Plymouth operation was allegedly a real mess, with problems involving production. management and work organization. If true, that's very bad and it sounds like Ford may need a new supplier, which would probably cause further delays.
Ford can't seem to get any of its new product launches right. Not since the New Thunderbird fiasco of 2001-02. My wife and I saw a new Bronco up close the other day. Neither of us were impressed with its appearance - but then, we're not the target market.
Different Protest: I've added another photo of an early female protester with a sign painted on her car's spare tire cover here.
Word Of The Day ... is pomprius: (adj.): Exhibiting an attitude of excessive self-importance because you own a hybrid car; pompriusly (adverb). (hat tip to my brother, who invented the term and does not own a hybrid) (permalink)
Definitions: After analyzing various Christian religions, the Babylon Bee defined Anglicans as Kirkland-brand Catholics and Episcopalians as Kirkland-brand Anglicans. They do not - however - define Costco as a religion of any kind, even though its house brand is Kirkland and Costco does sell a Kirkland version of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine from the Papal Vineyards.
Polymer Giants: An article in Plastics Distributor & Fabricator magazine carried the inspiring and almost-Runyonesque story of E&T Plastics. In 1946, Sidney Erman and Rudolf Thal combined their business acumen and their initials to create E&T Plastics. Both were refugees of Nazi Germany.
In its early years, E&T Plastics was confined to an apartment in Harlem where plastic was dyed in the bath tub and shaped by heating it up in the kitchen oven. Due to … (more >>>)
Cutting Down My Oxygen: On Wednesday, I had a covid test and I'm happy to report that it came back negative. At the same time, the nurse put a pulse/ox meter on my finger. I usually pull a 99% oxygen level. This time it dropped to 97% because I was masked. The nurse said she sees this kind of thing often.
"They Are That Clueless And Stupid." Steven Hayward wrote, "President Biden's July statement that "there's going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of the United States embassy" will stand next to President George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge as the most self-damning statement from a modern president. And we learn that as recently as the middle of last week, the State Department was flying over a regular rotation of embassy personnel to Kabul. They are that clueless and stupid."
So far, Joe Biden has surrendered American arms, bases, and 15,000 Americans to the Taliban. Billions in U.S. equipment has been left behind.
President Trump's withdrawal plan called for evacuating Americans and Afghans who helped us first. Then we would withdraw our equipment. Only then would we withdraw our troops, making sure to destroy on the way out all the military bases we built.
Biden's plan was to withdraw our troops and play it by ear from there. President Trump left Biden with a good blueprint. Biden ignored it. He also ignored the advice of military and intelligence officers.
Furthermore, Biden's State Department moved to cancel a critical Trump-era State Department program aimed at providing swift and safe evacuations of Americans out of crisis zones just months prior to the fall of Kabul.
Mike Pence wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "The Biden administration's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is a foreign-policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis. It has embarrassed America on the world stage, caused allies to doubt our dependability, and emboldened enemies to test our resolve. Worst of all, it has dishonored the memory of the heroic Americans who helped bring terrorists to justice after 9/11, and all who served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years."
The Surrender of August 15 will - hopefully - unite Americans as no world event since 9/11. They will soon realize that hapless Joe Biden gave the terrorists everything. Not only are thousands of Afghanis who helped us in our war in peril, but in withdrawing, Biden left behind 15,000 Americans, who must now fend for themselves.
I fear that many Americans will die by the hand of the Taliban. I hope I'm wrong. Time will tell.
Never Forget: As you watch the Taliban coldly execute people who don't share their cultural beliefs in the coming days and months (they shot and killed a woman this week for not wearing a burqa), remember that, earlier this year, Ashli Babbitt was executed on the spot for entering the People's House in Washington DC.
Something to keep in mind if you're ever tempted to kid yourself that the Liberal-Commie-Fascist cabal that has taken over America has any better morals than the Taliban.
Remember also that the Taliban is allowed on Twitter but Donald Trump is banned. Don Surber suggested that the U.S. should "strip CEO Jack Dorsey of his citizenship and parachute him into Kabul."
Bad Pun Of The Day: Practice safe eating - always use condiments.
Wednesday August 18, 2001
Less Awesome Than The Original: The iconic Lamborghini Countach has returned for a short production run.
The new Countach is a cool-looking car and a fine tribute to the original model. However ... (more >>>)
2021 Monterey Week: Last week's much-anticipated annual car fest offered the usual mix of spectacular and fascinating vehicles on display as well as always-interesting auto auction results. Once simply the Pebble Beach Concours, this car-centric, scenic venue has been expanded to include week-long events, including exclusive new vehicle launches by manufacturers as well as numerous track and rally events. And humongous traffic jams as people try to attend every attraction.
The Monterey auctions concluded Saturday with a preliminary sales total of ... (more >>>)
Auto-Related Art: 'Gas' by Edward Hopper, 1940:
The original oil on canvas painting is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This work resulted ... (more >>>)
Sturgis & Covid: Yes, it sounds like the name of a law firm. Or a couple of folk singers. But, if you are not in a multi-year coma, you know about the annual motorcycle rally held in Sturgis, South Dakota every August. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the largest in the world.
The evil Dr. Fauci predicted that it would be a superspreader event. But the event in 2020 - before there was a vaccine - drew 462,000 attendees. The result was 400 covid cases (0.09%) and one covid death (0.0002%).
There's a rumor that, to avoid media criticism, next year's meet will be held on Martha's Vineyard.
Braces Shaped Like A '54 Chevy Grille? David J. Myers, a Conway, Arkansas dentist, has built an awesome dental office - an automotive-themed homage to 1940s-50s.
Godspeed: The long concert career of singer Tony Bennett has come to an end after 70 years.
Bennett's son, Danny Bennett, his manager for more than 40 years, canceled his remaining tour dates on Thursday. He said on Friday that Bennett's two recent dates with Lady Gaga at New York's Radio City Music Hall would be his last.
Earlier this year, Tony's family revealed that the 19-time Grammy-winner was diagnosed with dementia in 2016.
The younger Bennett cited doctor's orders as the reason, although acknowledging his father was still capable of performing at age 95. The move has been made to avoid any falls or other onstage mishaps, he said. According to other sources, the singer rarely speaks, and "when he does, his words are halting; at times, he seems lost and bewildered." Sad.
As a commercial artist, Tony Bennett had his ups and downs in the music business. But his talent was never ... (more >>>)
That Lucky Ol' Sun ... Got Nuthin' To Do ... A recently-published paper claims that global warming is racist. I'm not surprised. Everything seems to be Racist these days.
Greg Gutfeld quipped, "To almost quote the report, African Americans make up thirteen percent of the U.S. population, yet emit nearly twenty percent less greenhouse gases than us crackers. ... While rich white fat cats drive around in air-cooled gold-plated limousines immune to searing outside heat caused in part by sorrow of the homeless, the rest of the world must settle with a gentle breeze created by a pair of swinging oversized fuzzy dice hanging from a rearview."
Now wait a minute. Everybody who has ever taken Thermodynamics 101 knows that black bodies are net absorbers of solar heat, while white bodies are reflective, indicating that black people cause global warming. Why do you think Africa is so #@%& hot? And Scandinavia is so #@%& cold? Furthermore, the only air-conditioned gold-plated limousines I've seen belong to black rappers on MTV's Cribs.
And how can anything solar be anti-African American? The sun is a black dude. In every cartoon I've ever watched, the sun always has a big smile, gold teeth, sunglasses and claims to "make all the ladies hot." I rest my case.
Book Review: 'King Richard: Nixon and Watergate - An American Tragedy' by Michael Dobbs
It is difficult to comprehend how Richard M. Nixon ever gained any elective office, much less the presidency. Throughout his adult life, Nixon felt, looked and acted like an underdog. When Nixon was Ike's VP, Eisenhower's many slights including demeaning jibes, made Nixon insecure and ever-afraid that someone was out to get him. Ike dumped on VP Nixon, seemingly at every opportunity for eight years.
This book claims to be a "riveting account of the crucial days, hours, and moments when the Watergate conspiracy consumed, and ultimately toppled, a president." The problem is ... (more >>>)
Abandoning Afghanistan: Don Surber wrote, "All of Washington wanted to get rid of the president. On this Republican and Democrat leaders agreed. They whipped up a fake scandal, greased the skids for an impeachment, and got the press to convince the public the president must be replaced."
His replacement was a reliably lame congressional lifer …. (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greenw (R-GA): "Stop being a perpetual victim, stop preaching victimhood, and stop pushing socialist policies that create government corruption and systemic poverty."
Monday August 16, 2001
How Many Summers? I relate this story every year but, for people over 60, it's worth repeating. Especially since three of my high school classmates have died this year, including Mike Harkins. This brings the total to 64 dead out of a graduating class of 197. Another classmate is presently recuperating from a lung transplant.
Twenty-some years ago, I visited a custom car builder in Portland as part of a car club meet. The owner used to do restorations of classic cars - Cords, Packards and the like - but he switched to creating high-end, custom resto-rods because the profits were better and, unlike many of his classic car customers, the resto-rod patrons never ran out of money in the middle of the job. These customers gladly made payments up-front, so cash flow was no longer a problem.
When I was there, he was doing a Chevy Nomad, coupling a clean '55 wagon with an almost-new Corvette that had been rolled. The Nomad was sectioned and slightly chopped and the Corvette frame was stretched and narrowed to fit the Nomad's revised body. Finished price was around half-a-million bucks. His typical customer was a wealthy, aging California tech wizard who wanted to relive his somewhat-to-mostly fictional dream youth. (Perhaps he had watched 'American Graffiti' too many times.)
Speed of completion was far more important than cost. Said the contract designer hired for this job: "These guys are feeling the weight of age upon them and ask, 'How many summers have I got left?'" Indeed.
I ask myself that same question from time to time; that's why I try to take as many drives in my '39 Plymouth coupe as I can.
So, I wen for a drive on Saturday. It wasn't perfect weather - partly sunny with a lot of clouds/haze. I'm sure that some of the haze was due to the wildfires in Washington and Oregon. At 8:00 am, the temperature was already 66 degrees (it eventually reached 93 degrees) and it felt humid. But with the windows down, there was plenty of airflow the traffic was light-to-nonexistent. I had a good early-morning drive and got my old car fix for the week.
Early Moving Van: In the days before central air-conditioning and wall-to-wall carpet, it was not uncommon for people to have their rugs removed cleaned and stored during the summer season. Early woven rugs often curled with heat and humidity, presenting a tripping hazard. Oxford Storage Co. a Philadelphia firm, offered ... (more >>>)
This Is Why The Original TV Batmobile Had A Divider Between The Seats: Robin of Batman fame is now bisexual.
"In the latest installment of 'Batman: Urban Legends', the DC comic book character Tim Drake - aka the Caped Crusader's sidekick Robin - accepts an invitation to go on a date with a man named Bernard Dowd - thereby confirming Robin's LGBTQ status."
Holy coming out, Batman!
Nice Apples: Ripe for picking ... (more >>>)
Remembering Elvis: The King of Rock and Roll died 44 years ago today.
I'll never forget where I was when I heard that Elvis Presley was dead. I was driving along the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago when the news came over the car radio. I had just finished a business meeting in the Windy City and was headed to northwestern Indiana for an overnight stay and another meeting the following day. I was piloting a rented Buick Century sedan and was wearing a three-piece gray suit with a button-down pink shirt and maroon club tie. I don't know why I remember all these details but they are embedded in my brain like a virus-laden Microsoft Windows patch.
Anyway, I left the radio on, because the news was still unsubstantiated. His death was later confirmed with an announcement originating from Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis - before I even got to the Illinois-Indiana state line.
That night, I watched the 11:00 pm news in a depressingly dark Indiana motel room and saw a old b&w clip of a young Elvis performing 'Ready Teddy' on The Ed Sullivan Show. I had viewed that very show when it originally aired in September 1956 and I had just turned 13. It was one of Elvis' finest live television performances. Sullivan was in the hospital after a car accident in his big '56 Lincoln Premiere sedan. Substitute host Charles Laughton introduced Elvis, who performed from a remote hookup in Hollywood where he was making the movie, 'Love Me Tender'.
Lots of people keep Elvis memorabilia, but I have a couple of rare items ... (more >>>)
Dial Tone: James Lileks, complaining about connectivity problems, wrote, "People used to hate the phone company for being uncaring and monopolistic and slow, but at least they were competent.
If your phone did break unlikely, since they were built to survive nuclear attacks you could take it downtown and get another one. It was all very Soviet-flavored, what with the long queues and the choice of colors (black) and the special Princess phones for the Inner Party, but at least it worked; it's not as if I can take in the Internet to the central office and get a new one."
Haiti - A Lost Cause: A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Haiti Saturday, killing thousands. News reports noted that the country is still trying to recover from an earthquake from more than 11 years ago. Still?! That encapsulates Haiti's problem in one sentence. The people there have no ambition - it has been beaten out of them. All the ambitious Haitians departed years ago.
It is sad to see what has happened to a nation of firsts: the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion. It was born with so much potential.
Since its founding, Haiti has suffered through 32 coups. Corruption has been and still is rampant among its leaders. The awful reign of the Duvaliers birthed the terrorist Tonton Macoute death squads. Ex-priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide - who was both a crook and crazy - ran the country badly on and off over the past 20 years.
Today, Haiti is probably the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and … (more >>>)
The Never Ending Crisis: Recently, Mark Steyn wrote, "God Almighty, part of me wishes they did have vaccine passports: you do as ordered, are issued the necessary paperwork, and get your life back. But instead you do everything you're told to do - and then they tell you to do some more: wear a mask over your mask; get a booster shot of your last booster shot - and wherever it is you were planning on going has a completely different and contradictory set of rules: wear a mask over your booster shot; get your antibodies surgically removed ...
I have never in my life traveled less than I have this last year-and-a-half, and I realized some months ago that the pre-covid world is never coming back. Such international travel as survives will require multiple passports and endless guile, bluffing one's way across frontiers and forging the relevant forms. Domestic air travel has become even more miserable, which I would not have thought possible: The mandatory masks on long-haul flights mess me up for days, and leave me with insufficient voice for stage appearances and broadcasting. So it occurs to me that, if I haven't already been there, I probably never will, and, for many of those places I have been, I've seen them for the last time."
The indoor mask mandate was reinstated last Friday. The day before, my daughter tried to do as much shopping as possible to avoid wearing a mask.
Quote Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "If you printed up the Federal Budget in the shape of a cross you could keep both the Democrats and Dracula away!"
Thursday August 12, 2001
Price Reduction: It's not exactly cheap - when you can buy gas-fueled new cars for well under $20K (the 2021 Kia Rio starts at $16,050) - but the all-electric 2022 Nissan Leaf's new starting price of $28,375, a drop of $4,245 from last year, makes it the cheapest new EV you can buy, undercutting the $30,570 Mini Cooper Electric. The Leaf's other trim levels are also down by several thousand dollars.
"The Leaf lineup still starts off with the S trim, which has a smaller battery pack with an EPA-rated 149 miles of range." Neil Winton pointed out that this may translate to only 100 miles in real world situations. Even less if you're in Minnesota, Montana or other states with cold winters.
The Importance Of Nylon Cord In Tires: The first practical pneumatic tire was made in 1888 by Scots-born John Boyd Dunlop in Belfast, Ireland. Eventually, a company was formed to manufacture Dunlop-brand tires. Most tires used cotton for cord and fabric applications. In the mid-1930s, rayon began to be substituted for cotton because it had higher tensile strength and improved elastic modulus.
Nylon - a synthetic thermoplastic - was developed by ... (more >>>)
Burn It Up, Baby: In 1958, researchers from the Esso - the gasoline company - warned that the rhythm of rock & roll played on a car radio could cause the driver to be foot heavy on the pedal, making them waste fuel.
German Camaro: The Audi SkySphere concept car somehow manages to capture all of the bad styling cues of the current-gen Chevrolet Camaro. The wheels are interesting though.
Luckily, it is a self-driving robot car, so the fact that the driver can't see out of the tiny and extremely-raked windshield matters not.
Book Review: 'Maverick - A Biography of Thomas Sowell' by Jason L. Riley
Thomas Sowell is a well-known, oft-quoted economist and social theorist. He covers history, economics and political science in his writings. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution think tank and is one of the few black conservative thinkers in the U.S.
Born in the south, orphaned at an early age and taken in by relatives, the family relocated to Harlem when he was nine. Due to financial issues and deteriorating home conditions ... (more >>>)
Forget It, Jake, It's Portlandia: Vancouver-based Burgerville - a chain that has about 40 locations, 20 of which are in Portland - is closing its SE Portland store (on Powell near I-205) because the employees are afraid for their lives. Burgerville is best known for its seasonal fruit milkshakes, Tillamook cheeseburgers and Walla Walla sweet onion rings.
"The environment around the restaurant has deteriorated seriously," a company spokesperson said. "Police are now being called daily. Burgerville employees have found weapons, drug paraphernalia and human waste on the property."
The neon-hued fast-food restaurant shares a border with the Interstate 205 multi-use path and an Oregon Department of Transportation buffer that has hosted large homeless encampments this year. The responsibility for ... (more >>>)
One Coumo Down, One To Go: Andrew Coumo is resigning as Governor of New York amid multiple sexual allegations. Not mentioned was his other crime of killing old people in nursing homes - victims of the governor's infamous policy of returning infected patients to their nursing homes in order to "preserve hospital capacity." Some claim that he's responsible for 15,000 deaths.
According to Allapundit, Coumo was unapologetic to the end. He began his resignation speech "by grumbling that the harassment accusations against him were really just a series of misunderstandings about what was and wasn't appropriate between the sexes, something he attributed partly to age. One Twitter pal compared it to Phil Hartman's 'unfrozen caveman lawyer' defense."
I didn't make the connection before but there is definitely an unfrozen caveman lawyeresque vibe to Andrew Cuomo.
"Sixteen months ago he was the darling of the Democratic Party, a supposed model of responsible pandemic leadership in contrast to Trump. Some Dems fantasized about him replacing Biden as nominee. Other Dems fantasized about him, period. Sixteen months later, buried under multiple scandals, his career ends in disgrace. In the end, even most of the 'Cuomosexuals' had deserted him. What a spectacular, and richly deserved, collapse."
Now we wait to see if CNN dumps his younger, stupider but equally-arrogant brother Fredo.
The Tortoise vs. The Hair: Former President Donald J. Trump waged war on RINO Senate Leader Mitch McConnell in response to McConnell's support of the radical-left infrastructure bill. The former president called McConnell the "most overrated man in politics" as he asserted that the Senate leader is working "hard to give Biden a victory" and warning that "the biggest tax increases in history" are next.
"Nobody will ever understand why Mitch McConnell allowed this non-infrastructure bill to be passed," Trump said.
I bet that McConnell and 18 other Republican senators/traitors who voted for this ridiculous, garbage-filled bill - list here - are benefiting from it hugely. Not surprisingly, the execrable U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (RHINO-SW WA) also supports this bill, which is a big step in driving this country into insolvency.
Inflation keeps growing but Congress won't stop spending. Looting of the treasury is the final stage of a failing nation.
The Class-Selective Flu: Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) recently tweeted, "Just so we're all clear - covid-19 spreads at:
It doesn't spread at:
Small World: Congratulations to fellow blogger Jack Bogandowski, who arrived in the Pacific Northwest 43 years ago. From New Jersey. In a Volkswagen. Me too.
In 1978, we drove across country - relocating from New Jersey to Oregon. I piloted a VW Scirocco, pulling our VW Beetle behind with a tow bar.
Once we passed Chicago, I felt pretty lonely - very few 'furrin' cars. It seemed like every vehicle in Nebraska was a big Ford LTD. Or Chevy Caprice.
One of the surprises about Oregon and Washington was the large number of import vehicles on the road. I had visited California many times and was always amazed at the large numbers of Toyotas and Hondas on the freeways. But I didn't realize that the Japanese had such a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest. The NW dealer network for foreign brands was potent and entrenched. And, once exposed to these imports, people liked them and came back for more.
Detroit always seemed oblivious to what was happening, even though it is common knowledge that trends often begin in Southern California. American car producers have never made a cogent competitive response to the West Coast invasion of the '70s and they continue to pay the price.
Quote Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "If you're 60 or 70 and *still* too mealy-mouthed to say what you truly mean, then really, what was the point of growing old?"
Tuesday August 10, 2021
July Auto Sales: The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated sales of 14.75 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in July 2021, down 4.1% from the June sales rate, and up 0.3% from July 2020. Sales-to-date are down 2.4% compared to the same period in 2019.
Sales of new vehicles are continuing to show signs of slowdown in July despite strong consumer demand because of material shortages, mainly microchips and various other supply chain issues.
Kia reported record July sales of 70,099 units, up 34% from the same period a year ago, following the company's best first-half year sales in history. Sales in July were highlighted by best-ever sales for the Carnival MPV and best July performances from the K5 sedan (formerly known as the Optima), Sportage and Telluride SUVs. Hyundai established a new July retail sales record, with 61,227 retail sales, up 14%.
Toyota North America reported U.S. July sales of 225,022 vehicles, up 33%. Toyota Division sales for the month totaled 193,855 vehicles, up 33%. Lexus Division sales for the month totaled 31,167 vehicles, also up 33%, which was the best July ever for the luxury brand and also the best-ever year-to-date sales for the brand.
American Honda sales topped 135,500 units in July despite inventory constraints limiting key models.
Subaru of America Inc. today reported 51,458 vehicle sales for July 2020, a 20% decrease compared with record July 2019. Customer demand was strong but chip and other shortages caused the decline.
Ford Motor Company sales tumbled 32% in July, due to slender inventories at dealers and production cuts caused by semi-conductor shortages. "Ford's unit sales in July totaled 120,053, meaning Ford trailed Toyota, Honda and the combined sales of the South Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai."
Ford sold 4,124 gas-powered Mustangs in July, compared with 2,854 Mach-E electrics. Lincoln sales declined 51% year-over-year to 4,237 vehicles total. Luxury brand Genesis sold 5,180 vehicles last month. Volvo sold 11,575 vehicles in July 2021.
Coal-Burning Tesla: ... (more >>>)
Toyota At The Top: Toyota's strong first half of sales - led by the U.S. and China - have put it atop of the global sales heap ahead of Volkswagen. "Overall production increases were driven primarily by production in China where the strong sales of the Levin, Avalon, and other models contributed to the strong production results."
Toyota sold 5,467,218 vehicles worldwide during the first half of 2021, up 31% from last year. Volkswagen took second place, moving 4,978,200, up 28% over 2020.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance was third, selling 4,134,680 vehicles worldwide - an increase of 20% over the prior year.
I Had One Of These ... on the dashboard of my first '39 Plymouth coupe ... (more >>>)
'The Swingingest Sexpot In Show Business': That's how a 1963 magazine article described sultry singer ... (more >>>)
Frank's Not Too Popular In Many Circles: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former papal nuncio to the U.S, has issued a scathing indictment of Pope Francis, calling him "the head of the most extremist faction of progressivism." Francis' "dual role as pope and liquidator of the Catholic Church allows him on the one hand to demolish it with decrees and acts of governance, and on the other hand to use the prestige that his office entails to establish and spread the new religion over the rubble of the old one," declared Viganò.
The ways in which Pope Francis "acts against God, against the Church and against the Lord's flock," stand in stark contrast to his frequent appeals to "building bridges and not erecting walls."
The Italian laity is unhappy as well.
"It Gets Out Stains When Other Leading Cleansers Can't." Actress Jane Withers has died at age 95. A former child star, she later appeared in episodes of 'General Electric Theater', 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour', 'The Love Boat', and 'Murder, She Wrote'.
In 1937 and 1938 - as a child star, Withers' films made the top 10 list in box-office gross receipts. In addition to her studio contract, Withers made personal appearance tours for which she received $5,000 a week. A natural mimic, she did impersonations of film celebrities both on and off the set. Twentieth Century Fox studio head Darryl Zanuck reportedly forbade her from doing her Shirley Temple impersonation in public.
Withers also worked in stage productions of 'Mame', 'Hello, Dolly!', and 'No, No, Nanette', while raising her children. In 1960, Withers took on what would become one of her most popular roles, as Josephine the Plumber in TV commercials for Comet cleanser - a gig she did until 1974. Withers was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She once said, "I never had a (acting) lesson in my life. All you have to do is read and think and do. You read the script, think about it, make notes if you're not sure, try it different ways until it feels natural. I don't know any other way."
Withers also was a voice actress in the Disney animated films 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' in 1995, and its sequel in 2002. RIP.
Interesting Observation … from James Lileks: "I swear, 'Handmaid's Tale' is Harry Potter for grey-haired Volvo drivers with peeling COEXIST stickers."
Quote Of The Day is from Pope John Paul II: "If there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism."
Friday August 6, 2021
Farewell Avalon: Toyota is discontinuing its full-size Avalon sedan at the end of the 2022 model year. This is the end of a production run that began in 1994 (for the 1995 model year).
Avalon quickly built a reputation for offering the comfort, innovation, quality and safety customers expect from a full-size sedan. The Avalon is Toyota's largest front-wheel drive sedan and serves as its flagship vehicle in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, China and the Middle East. It was also produced in Australia from 2000 to 2005.
U.S. sales of the Avalon peaked at 103,787 in 2000. Through the first half of 2021, the company sold 10,328 Avalons, compared to 177,671 Camry sedans and 155,531 Corollas.
Perhaps this means that my wife's soon-to-be-orphaned 2005 Avalon Limited will become a 'collector car'. Our first experience with an Avalon was riding in one owned by friends in the Lincoln Club after they had replaced their Town Car with a new 2000 Avalon. We rode in the back seat and were amazed by the roominess, seat comfort and ride quality.
Volkswagen Invasion: The Old Motor posted a photo of traffic in Washington DC from May 1964. Out of about 20 cars, I spotted five Volkswagens, including a bus and a Karmann Ghia.
As to the exact location, one reader commented, "With both the Washington Monument and Capital Building framing the background this is probably the Shirley Memorial Highway heading south about where Washington Blvd. splits off."
In 1964, the NE Corridor was full of Beetles. I drove one; so did my dad. Automakers in Detroit were somewhat oblivious to the VW phenomenon because VW ownership was lower in the state of Michigan. Look at any campus parking lot in Baltimore, Philly, New York, Connecticut, the Boston area or at the Jersey shore and VWs seemed to be everywhere. The Falcon, Corvair and Valiant hardly made a dent in Volkswagen's sales climb.
Milestone: Yesterday, I turned 78. My wife and I had a quiet celebration with takeout from Olive Garden and a nice bottle of wine. We already had a big celebration last weekend. My kids and grandchild showed up to celebrate a joint birthday for me and my wife. There were cakes: Boston cream pie for me and a strawberry cheesecake for my wife. There were nice gifts, too.
On Wednesday, I went for a spin in my '39 Plymouth coupe. At 9:30 am, the temperature was already 70 degrees (eventual high: 92) and it was quite sunny. I considered it my birthday drive because Thursday was cloudy with some much-needed rain forecast for Friday.
As I drove along and sighted down the hood, I was reminded that, 62 long years ago, I was sighting down the hood of my first 1939 Plymouth coupe, probably at the New Jersey shore.
Driving my old car always brings back a lot of good memories from times past.
We celebrated birthdays when my children and grandson visited last weekend. Early in the week, my wife and I shared a fillet mignon and enjoyed a premium wine - Freemark Abbey Winery's 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux-style blend of Napa Valley grapes aged in French oak barrels, described as "a plush entry with layers of dark fruit and supple tannins." It was very good.
So was my birthday. Another year begins.
Last Minute Cancellation: The New York International Auto Show, scheduled to open to the public starting August 20th, has been cancelled.
The rise in China virus cases attributable to the Delta variant is claimed to be the culprit, although some have said that the requirement to show "proof of vaccination" at the door may have turned off many prospective attendees. (Will they accept my out-of-state card? Where's my card? I don't carry my card with me because I'm afraid it will get stolen and I don't know how to get a replacement. Will they except a photocopy or a pix on my phone?)
The new Nissan Z and Subaru WRX were scheduled to debut at the show.
If you want your NIAS fix, you can always go back 55 years and view my pictures of the 1966 New York International Auto Show.
Dullsville: In the 1950s, life in Philadelphia was so dull that people stood around watching ... (more >>>)
Ass Ads: In Great Britain, female beach volleyball champions are renting out their rears in an advertising deal that encourages spectators to photograph their behinds.
"Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin have turned their bottoms into their bottom line by wearing bikini briefs with a Quick Response (QR) code printed on the back where it will catch the eye of spectators.
When photographed on a smartphone, the code takes the user to a specific website - in this case, for bookmakers Betfair."
Since the article provides no dimensions, it's not possible to use the Butt Math equation to determine attractiveness. Visual observation will have to suffice.
Olympic Closing Ceremony: I won't be watching this weekend but I hope it will be very brief.
Perhaps, Mr. Tuong Lu Kim, proprietor of South Park's City Wok, could appear and say loudly, "Show over. You go now."
Pithy Stench: Twitter is like a trash dump. There might be some good stuff somewhere, perhaps a collectible box of Mr. Sparkle detergent, but most of it is garbage. And it stinks.
James Lileks wrote recently, "The great thing about Twitter is the way it allows corporations and nobodies to auto-clown in public in the same forum. Imagine picking up 'Saturday Evening Post' in 1935, and there's a big beautiful ad for a car, or a cigarette, or a bus trip. The height of the advertising craft, with a gorgeous illustration, elegant typefaces unique to the ad, attractive people engaged in the joy of the moment, all cares set aside. Directly across from the ad is a 27-word manifesto from Bob0323423 about how all pencils should be registered with the State.
"That's impossible," you say. "Bob couldn't afford to buy the space." True. Bob had to write a letter, and get it through the gatekeepers. Thus the magazine appealed to the widest possible audience, at least within the parameters it set, and Bob was resigned to writing his ideas on postcards and mailing them to everyone in the House of Representatives, where they were tossed, unread.
Twitter, let us agree, is not the 'Saturday Evening Post'."
James provided some examples including a woke post from Chevrolet that has nothing to do with vehicles. James quipped, "I remember when they would take out ads for the purpose of selling cars."
Patagonia had a post from a self-important shepherd. James noted, "I remember when clothing stores took out ads to tell you how well their products were made, and how comfortable they were to wear. I regret to say I am not more likely to do the work, or read what Josh (the sheep dude) did to sacrifice, personally and consistently, in order to relate, totally."
The Socialist Party tweeted that Cuba isn't communist. Lileks' analysis: "It's socialist when good, and capitalist when bad!" Cuba is the "Schrodinger's Cat of countries."
More Virus: Experts warn of new 'Cuomo' variant that is dangerous to young, attractive women and fatal to nursing home patients. It seems to be restricted to New York state.
Question Of The Day: Are beanbags just boneless sofas?
Wednesday August 4, 2021
When Hype Meets Reality: If you read car buff sites, you'd think that the world can't wait to switch over to electric vehicles. But 1 in 5 electric vehicle owners in California switched back to gas because charging their cars is a hassle.
"In roughly three minutes, you can fill the gas tank of a Ford Mustang and have enough range to go about 300 miles with its V8 engine. But on a recent 200-mile trip from Boston to New York in the Mustang's electric Mach-E variant, Axios' Dan Primack said he felt "panic" as his battery level dipped below 23% while searching for a compatible charger to complete his trip."
"Even with the faster (Level 2) charging, a Chevy Bolt he tested still needed nearly six hours to top its range back up to 300 miles from nearly empty - something that takes him just minutes at the pump with his family SUV."
Immediate Delivery: A dark-colored 1939 Plymouth ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'Nissan Z - 50 Years of Exhilarating Performance' by Pete Evanow
I reviewed an earlier edition of this book in June 2020. It has now been reworked and updated to include the next generation Z-car, the 2022 Nissan 400Z. Shown in the book are numerous photographs of the Z Proto, a thinly disguised teaser of the next generation Z-car. The new Z incorporates features and design cues from previous Zs, including a hint of the 240Z's scooped headlight buckets and the 300ZX-inspired rear facia. Overall it is a striking, distinctive and handsome car.
According to Car and Driver, the 2022 Nissan 400Z will ... (more >>>)
Funniest Headline Of The 20th Century ... (more >>>)
One Blog's Longevity: James Lileks, who started 'The Bleat' in 1997 or so, recently wrote, "I do promise this: we're going to make it to the quarter-century mark. Blogs and platforms rise and fall, people get bored, everyone runs to Medium, then dashes off to Substack. Fine. Just saying there was a Bleat in the beginning, and there will always be a Bleat, until there isn't. And it won't be because I'm bored or busy.
Can't possibly think of a good reason to quit."
Stop Freaking Out: 57% of our nation is now vaxxed. Covid deaths are down 90%. Stop hiding. The only thing you need to hide is your masks.
Don Surber wrote, "Government gave you covid. Capitalism gave you the cure. According to the New York Post, only 1 in 100,000 vaccinated people have died from covid.
Not bad for two experimental vaccines.
NBC cited experts and sneered in May 2020 that it would take a miracle to meet President Trump's goal of a vaccine by the year's end.
By year's end, Pfizer and Moderna each developed a vaccine for a virus that Red China unleashed on the world. This was the worst sneak attack on America ever. So far the death toll is 100 times as large as Pearl Harbor and 9/11 combined."
God bless Donald Trump and American capitalism.
Thought For Today: 115 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
Monday August 2, 2021
Chop & Drop: Check out this 1950 Lincoln:
Lefties Are Fascists Who Want To Control Every Aspect Of Your Life: An online left-wing magazine in Canada is calling for the sale of pickup trucks to be banned unless the purchaser can prove that they really need one in their lives, and this has Americans worried that the United States could be next. As they knock on your front door to see if you've been vaccinated, it would be easy to ask to inspect your vehicles as well. "Your papers, bitte. Und vas is dat in your garage? Seig heil."
Passage magazine managing editor David Mastracci argued that the long-term goal is to "shift away from relying on private vehicles entirely," but that for now, he'd like to start with the iconic, American-created pickup truck.
The Canadian government has already declared that new gas and diesel-engine cars, as well as light trucks, are to be entirely banned by 2035.
This is not about ecology. It's all about control. Control. And more Control.
Racist Bridge: Recently, Jack Bogdanski wrote, "The politicians and bureaucrats in the Portland area can't do anything without first dithering for a long time about 'equity'."
'Equity' is now part of the process for planning the replacement of the Columbia River Interstate Bridge connecting Oregon and Washington ... (more >>>)
Maid To Last: Founded in 1920 in Wooster, Ohio and initially named Wooster Rubber Co., Rubbermaid quickly expanded from toy balloons into housewares and automotive accessories. In 1956, the firm began producing injection-molded plastics items as well.
Ohio soon became a hotbed ... (more >>>)
No Bacon For You: At the beginning of 2022, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. National veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, but only 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules. Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa, and pork producers will face higher costs to regain a key market.
"With little time left to build new facilities, inseminate sows and process the offspring by January, it's hard to see how the pork industry can adequately supply California, which consumes roughly 15% of all pork produced in the country."
Don Surber quipped, "But Californians can still poop in the streets, shoplift, and otherwise wallow in their own filth. It is a great state where the people live like pigs but the pigs don't."
Pork products are especially popular in Hispanic and Asian recipes. Candidate and radio talk host Larry Elder may have his winning issue for governor.
Quote Of The Day is from the proprietress of the Ayn Rand School for Tots (a daycare facility in which preschoolers are trained to fend for themselves, not to depend on others) on 'The Simpsons': "Do you know what a baby is saying when she reaches for a bottle? She's saying, 'I am a leech'! Our aim here is to develop the 'bottle within'."
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