A Blog About Cars ... And More
Wednesday April 14, 2021
If You Buy A Bugatti, Your Wallet Pain Is Just Beginning: A new windshield for a Bugatti Chiron costs $60,000. Windshield wipers: $1,900 for a set of 2. Yearly fluid service - oil, filter, etc. $25,000. There are six drain plugs in the engine; most are inaccessible unless you remove major body panels.
Wheel rims 'expire' and must be replaced every 10,000 miles. Cost - $50,000 for a set of four. Every five years, the fuel tank must be replaced at a cost of $44,000. Five-year maintenance costs total $385,000. Insurance varies but is typically in the $50,000/year range.
The price of a new Chiron is around $4.1 million. (hat tip: Charlie B.)
Electrifying: Toyota will unveil its global electric vehicle - a crossover - at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 19th.
From the article: "Moving into the electric car segment is a surprising strategy for Toyota. Company boss Akio Toyoda candidly spoke out against the blanket gasoline bans that some governments (including Japan's) plan to implement in the coming years.
He said forcing the industry to go electric threatens to make car ownership "a flower on a high summit." And yet, even its Lexus division unveiled a concept to announce it is gradually going to adopt full electrification."
China Sales Gains: Ford sold 153,822 new vehicles in China in the first quarter, scoring for a 73% year-over-year gain and the automaker's fourth consecutive quarter of growth there. Locally-made SUV sales from its luxury Lincoln brand were up 324% for the quarter, while SUVs under the Blue Oval brand were up more than 100%.
SUV sales were led by the Ford Explorer, Escape and Edge. "Lincoln vehicle sales in the region rose 217% to more than 19,300 units". In the U.S., Lincoln sold 26,410 vehicles in the first quarter. "SUV sales of more than 17,300 made up the majority of sales. Ford reported that the locally-built Lincoln Corsair and Aviator accounted for three-quarters of overall Lincoln sales for the quarter. And the Lincoln Nautilus, which just launched in the first quarter, sold about 1,700 units and generated more than 4,000 orders."
General Motors "sold more than 780,000 vehicles in China in the first quarter, a 69% increase over the same quarter last year. GM - which sells more vehicles in China than anywhere else - attributed the rebound to the popularity of luxury and premium vehicles, midsize and large SUVs and multi-purpose vehicles." GM sels more vehicles in China than in the U.S.
GM sold 642,250 new vehicles in the U.S. in the first quarter, a 4% year-over-year improvement. Ford saw a fractional increase for the quarter, with 492,271 U.S. new-vehicle sales.
Moving Advertising: In Philadelphia (and many other cities), commercial advertising was placed on the inside and outside of trolley cars to provide an additional source of revenue for transit companies.
Here is a selection of exterior placards from 1940s and '50s Philadelphia street cars ... (more >>>)
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To: Mark Steyn is displeased with the latest wokeness on Turner Classic Movies. "In order to watch 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' or 'Stagecoach 'or 'My Fair Lady' or 'Gunga Din' or 'Psycho', you first have to sit through a panel discussion from the hacks and mediocrities who have succeeded the great Robert Osborne as the face of the channel in which they explain what's "problematic" about the film. This is TCM utterly betraying its mission."
TCM put their explanation/disclaimer on 'Swing Time', a 1936 light comedy/musical starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Mark wrote that "the only thing that's "problematic" about 'Swing Time' is that our popular culture is so totally crapped out there is nobody in Hollywood today who could do what they did in that movie. No one could write the songs Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields turned in nothing flat; no one could routine them like Fred Astaire and his longterm choreographer Hermes Pan did; and no one could dance them like Astaire and Ginger Rogers did - even with CGI. And no one could hold all the elements together like RKO producer Pandro Berman did as merely one of a zillion balls he was juggling that week."
Full Of Hate: Appearing on 'Democracy Now' recently, Oregon governor Kate Brown (D) went on a bizarre tirade where she appeared to side with the violent rioters who ravaged Portland since last summer.
Brown shifted the blame to Donald Trump, vowed to use local law enforcement to "eradicate" Trump "forces," and seemingly sympathized with Michael Reinoehl, the antifa terrorist who murdered am unarmed Trump supporter in downtown Portland who later died in a shootout with the feds.
Predictably, Brown wants to investigate the feds, while refusing to condemn Reinhoehl's murderous actions.
I am appalled at such a display of contempt for a former president and his supporters. Imagine the reaction ... (more >>>)
Book Review: 'Elvis In Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show' by Richard Zoglin
The blurb for this book proclaims: "The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time." Don't believe it. Elvis' comeback was his 1968 television special, which led to his renewed interest in touring - in Las Vegas and elsewhere. And Las Vegas was "saved" by ... (more >>>)
Crash Ahead? Cathie Wood is the investment guru du jour and has dismissed the 'Buffett Indicator' which is flashing bright red. "The so-called Buffett indicator takes the total market capitalization of a country's publicly traded stocks and divides it by the latest quarterly GDP figure available.
Based on the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index's current level of $43.3 trillion, and the latest estimate for fourth-quarter US GDP of $21.5 trillion, the yardstick has reached about 201%."
The US stock market peaked at 90% of national GDP in 1929. The market then crashed and "the US stock market plummeted almost 90% during the Great Depression."
Nevertheless, Ms. Wood has doubled down on her view that the Buffett indicator is relatively low and disruptive technologies justify its elevated level. Although she tempered them by remarking, "'This time is different' are dangerous words in forecasting markets."
Toothed Math: Aaron Hoover of U.C. Berkeley combined math and imagination to solve the problem of building a one-sided "Möbius gear." He rendered it and then output molds for it on a 3D printer, cast them, and assembled it.
Bad Pun Of The Day: A cargo ship full of blue paint hit a larger cargo ship full of red paint. The entire crew was reportedly marooned. (hat tip - Joe Sherlock III)
Monday April 12, 2021
2021 Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue: 85 years ago, Consumer Reports began publishing car-testing results with a report on 22 models in the June 1936 issue. Each car in the group sold for under $800 ($12,550 in 2011 dollars).
CR deemed 17 of them acceptable, and judged the Ford V8 Standard and the Plymouth De Luxe to be Best Buys for their low prices and good performance. The Pontiac De Luxe 6 (tricky handling), Willys 77 (poor visibility and ride), and Auburn 654 (high price and rough engine) were rated Not Acceptable.
In 1936, Consumers Union couldn't afford to buy cars; staffers borrowed them from friends and family. Consumers Union began as a socialist organization in the 1930s and was once declared a subversive organization by the House Un-American Activities Committee. They still come off as a bunch of anti-capitalist lefties sometimes but Consumer Reports magazine remains the most comprehensive and believable of vehicle reliability surveys. This year's issue seemed to offer fewer data and more opinion than in prior years.
CR's database comes from ... (more >>>)
Sustainable Tires Of The Future: Michelin claims it will offer 100% sustainability in its tires by 2050. "As of 2020, 30% of the components that are used to produce a Michelin Group tire are made from "natural, recycled or otherwise sustainable raw materials." Which means 70% aren't."
The company hopes to use bio-sourced butadiene, a material used to produce synthetic rubber. Biomass from wood, rice husks, leaves, corn stalks and ... (more >>>)
Good Day Sunshine: Sunday was a fine day for an old car drive. The skies were bright blue with little puffy white clouds here and there and, by 2:00 pm, the temperature was 55 degrees, so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and took it for a spin along the back roads of unincorporated Battle Ground.
Traffic was fairly light but I had a clear-as-a-bell view of he Eastern Cascades and Mt. St. Helens. The mountain had a large pointy cloud behind it making it look like a low-budget imitation of tall and craggy Mt. Hood. I had a good drive; by late-afternoon, the temperature reached 59, which is almost as fast as I drove the Plymouth on a deserted stretch of smooth road.
Two-Wheel Madness: I'm not against bicycles and used to ride one to work on occasion - in a striped bike lane on a 25 mph, lightly-traveled route. But I am appalled by what bicycling has become with self-indulgent morons "asserting their rights" and frequently exceeding these alleged rights on busy highways.
P.J. O'Rourke has taken on the madness of right-to-bike in a Wall Street Journal article. He has observed, "The bicycle is a parody of a wheeled vehicle - a donkey cart without the cart, where you do the work of the donkey. Although the technology necessary to build a bicycle has been around since ancient Egypt, bikes didn't appear until the 19th century. The reason it took mankind 5,000 years to get the idea for the bicycle is that it was a bad idea. The bicycle is the only method of conveyance worse than feet. You can walk up three flights of stairs carrying one end of a sofa. Try that on a bicycle."
As to the unproven claim put forth by progressives and clueless traffic 'experts', that bicycles somehow reduce city congestion, O'Rourke has responded, "You can't decrease traffic congestion by putting things in the way of traffic. Also, only a few bicycles are needed to take up as much space as my Chevrolet Suburban - just one if its rider is wobbling all over the place while trying to Tweet. And my Suburban seats eight. The answer to traffic congestion is lower taxes so that legions of baby boomers my age can afford to retire and stay home."
Why are bureaucrats pushing bicycling so much? P.J. has noted, "But maybe there's a darker side to bike-lane advocacy. Political activists of a certain ideological stripe want citizens to have a child-like dependence on government. And it's impossible to feel like a grown-up when you're on a bicycle if you aren't in the Tour de France. All but the most athletic among us get on and off a bicycle the way a toddler goes up and down stairs. Wearing bicycle shorts in public is more embarrassing than wearing Depends. Exchanging briefcases for backpacks takes us from the boardroom to the schoolyard. And it's hard to keep a straight face when talking to anyone in a Skittles-colored, Wiffle ball-slotted bike helmet that makes you look like Woody Woodpecker."
"This promotion of childishness in the electorate means that bike lanes are just the beginning. Soon we'll be making room on our city streets for scooter and skateboard lanes, Soapbox Derby lanes, pogo-stick lanes, lanes for Radio Flyer wagons (actually more practical than bicycles since you can carry a case of beer - if we're still allowed to drink beer), stilt lanes, three-legged-race lanes, lanes for skipping while playing the comb and wax paper, hopscotch lanes and Mother-May-I lanes with Mayor Bloomberg at the top of Lenox Hill shouting to the people on Park Avenue, 'Take three baby steps!'"
O'Rourke has proposed that bicyclists pony up commuting costs just like the rest of us. "Bicycle registration fees should be raised until they produce enough revenue to build and maintain new expressways so that drivers can avoid city streets clogged by bike lanes. Special rubber fittings should be made available so that bicycle riders can wear E-Z Pass transponders on their noses. And riders' license qualifications should be rigorous, requiring not only written exams and road tests but also bathroom scales. No one is to be allowed on a bicycle if the view he or she presents from behind causes the kind of hysterical laughter that stops traffic."
He concluded, "Bike lanes can become an acceptable part of the urban landscape, if bicycle riders are willing to pay their way. And if they pay enough, maybe we'll even give them a lift during the next snow storm."
Nam Et Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est: Latin may be the key to success. There is a substantial body of evidence that children who study Latin outperform their peers when it comes to reading, comprehension and vocabulary, as well as higher-order thinking such as computation, conceptualizing and problem solving.
Toby Young has written, "No doubt some people will persist in questioning the usefulness of Latin. For these skeptics I have a two-word answer: Mark Zuckerberg. The 26-year-old founder of Facebook studied Classics at Phillips Exeter Academy and listed Latin as one of the languages he spoke on his Harvard application. So keen is he on the subject, he once quoted lines from the Aeneid during a Facebook product conference and now regards Latin as one of the keys to his success. Just how successful is he? According to Forbes magazine, he's worth $6.9 billion. If that isn't a useful skill, I don't know what is."
For the record, I had four years of Latin in high school. I struggled to learn it but persisted. Ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes viros.
Buh-Bye: Author Michael Totten has packed up with his family, sold their house and moved out of Portland, OR.
He wrote, "Portland, Oregon, has been the most politically violent city in the United States since Donald Trump was elected in 2016. Just a few days after the result, a peaceful protest against the incoming president turned into a riot when anarchists broke off from the main group and rampaged through the Pearl District, a renovated SoHo-like neighborhood adjacent to downtown packed with art galleries, loft apartments, bookstores, and restaurants. Vandals used baseball bats and rocks to break cars, plate glass windows, bus shelters, electrical boxes, and anything else that looked smashable.
The election-night mayhem was not an attack against Republican voters. Donald Trump received a paltry 7.5% of the vote in that precinct. It was an assault on the urban middle class and bourgeois society itself, and it was perceived as such by most people who lived there." Antifa is not about Donald Trump; antifa is a poison that hates everything and wants to destroy society. The Portland riots have been and continue to be overwhelmingly dominated by BLM and antifa thugs, that is, Democrat consorts.
Joke Of The Day ... Q: How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: 10. One to go up the ladder and do the job and nine to stand around the ladder crying, "Hey, that should be me up there."
Thursday April 8, 2021
First-Quarter Vehicle Sales: Thanks to a strong March, first-quarter light vehicle sales rose over 8% to over 3.8 million vehicles. Sales increased 56% from March 2020 (sales collapsed in last March due to the China virus lockdowns). But sales numbers were held back by a global microchip scarcity that forced many companies to cut production.
As sales recover, the length of the new car loans is creeping up, according to a survey by TrueCar. More than 80% of new car shoppers use some sort of financing to pay for their new vehicle, the data showed. For many of the shoppers, a manageable monthly payment is critical. In fact, the TrueCar survey indicated 71% of the respondents said affordable monthly payments "were top priority as they prepare to purchase a new vehicle. … With the average price of a new vehicle now approaching $40,000, the extended loan terms are being used more and more to make purchasing a new vehicle work within a buyer's budget. Terms longer than 73 months now make up 30% of new vehicle loans."
General Motors' first-quarter U.S. sales rose 4% to 642,250 vehicles. Chevrolet sales up 8% to 463,913 vehicles, although Silverado sales fell 12% to 126,591 trucks. Cadillac sales increased 22% to 37,059 vehicles. Buick sales up by 35% to 45,754 units, largely thanks to the Encore GX. GMC sales increased 26% to 149,500 trucks.
Thanks to a post-lockdown March performance, Toyota finished Q1 21% ahead (517,017 units) year-over-year with luxury brand Lexus up 32% to 74,253 units. The Toyota RAV4's sales grew by 17%, and the Tacoma pickup's sales went up by 24%. Sales of the Lexus RX crossover - Lexus' most popular vehicle - were up 34%.
Ford reported a fractional increase in overall sales for the quarter (492,271 vehicles sold), emphasizing a strong resurgence of F-Series sales, which had been more tepid for much of 2020. F-Series sales increased 9% for the quarter to 203,797 trucks. Sales of Ford's electrified vehicles spiked 74% to nearly 26,000 in the first quarter of 2021, due to strong demand for the F-150 hybrid and the Mustang Mach-E. Lincoln sales increased 3% to 26,410 vehicles.
Stellantis (formerly Fiat-Chrysler) likewise checked in with some good news. The full-size Ram lineup got a 16% lift to 162,921 trucks. Chrysler sales increased to 39,734 - a 33% jump. Jeep sales rose 8% to 197,544 units. There were 25% more Jeep Wranglers sold this quarter compared to a year ago and 10% more Grand Cherokees. Dodge sales nosedived 28% to 63,991 vehicles. Only 815 Fiats found buyers in the first quarter, a decline of 8%. The 500X is now the only Fiat model sold in America. Alfa Romeo sales were 4,647 for the quarter, a 26% rise year-over year.
Honda made a dramatic improvement in Q1, finishing 14% ahead of the same quarter last year, with 309,203 units sold. The CR-V crossover up by 32%, while the Honda Pilot also grew 32%. Acura sales jumped a whopping 33% to 37,888 vehicles, mostly crossovers.
The Nissan brand sales rose nearly 15% to 266,481 vehicles in the quarter. Infiniti sales slumped by 26% to 19,071 vehicles. Hyundai's U.S. sales jumped about 40% to 182,604 vehicles while Kia sales rose a more 11% to 153,637 units. Genesis sales rocketed 108% to 8,231 vehicles.
Subaru had a healthy quarter, rebounding from slumping 2020 sales with a 23% increase to 160,426 units. Mazda reported a 16% upswing in sales for the quarter to 78,794 vehicles. Sales of the Miata and CX-30 crossover nearly doubled compared to the same period last year. Mitsubishi sales plunged 21% to only 28,231 cars and crossovers.
VW's numbers increased by 21% first-quarter, largely on the strong volume of the Tiguan and solid performances by both variants of the Atlas. Porsche sales picked up even more explosively, surging nearly 45% over 2020, to 17,360 vehicles. Volvo sales leaped 40% to 27,239 units. Mini sales rose 20% to 6,284 units.
BMW sales increased 15% to 71,480 vehicles. Sales of Mercedes-Benz were up 20% to 90,032 vehicles. Tesla's U.S. sales were estimated to be 66,000 electrics, an increase of 25%.
Cute, But Not A Game Changer: Dan Neil tested the $45,190 all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 crossover and called it "hot-from-the-oven, slightly underbaked strudel" and that it is "five years behind the comparable Tesla."
"The ID.4's touch-screen UX is a bit shambolic. The (optional) 12-inch center touch screen takes ages to boot up and can lag behind user inputs. It's not very pretty, either. The 'Car-Net' phone app - a Tesla-like remote interface with the car, accessing charging and climate functions - failed to talk to the car when I tried it several times. Displays respond at the speed of thought and their mobile IT is coded by the fiery finger of God."
The ID.4 is a five-seat, majority-steel anybody crossover hatchback, almost 5 inches shorter and 2 inches lower than a VW Tiguan. And it's heavy - 4600 pounds. The 201 hp two-wheel drive vehicle does 0 to 60 mph in a less than impressive 7.5 seconds and has a range of 250 miles on a charge.
Good Looks: The Genesis X coupe concept is gorgeous - inside and out - as are most of the production Genesis models. Joel Stocksdale of AutoBlog wrote, "Every new production model seems to be more elegant and muscular, whether its one of the brand's sedans or the new and surprisingly colorful GV70 crossover."
Why can't Cadillac and Lexus design good-looking cars like this?
Book Review: 'Dodge Viper: The Full Story of the World's first V10 Sports Car' by David Zatz
The Dodge Viper is a specialty sports car manufactured by Chrysler Corp. and its successor companies from 1992 through 2017, having taken a brief hiatus in 2007 and from 2010 to 2012. Over its lifetime, about 31,500 Vipers were produced. By comparison, Chevrolet often produces that many Corvettes in a single year.
The Viper was publicly unveiled in concept form at the January 1989 Detroit Auto Show. It was intended to be a basic no-bones roadster - a modern interpretation of the 1960s-era Shelby Cobra - and was powered by a large aluminum-block V10 engine. Public reaction was so strong that a business case was quickly developed to put the car into production. Using 'skunkworks' tactics, the production version was developed for a relatively low cost of $85 million. Customer deliveries began in early 1992.
The first generation Viper was ... (more >>>)
Hangover: The only major accident for Santa Fe Railroad's iconic Super Chief was on January 25, 1948 when locomotive number 19L lost its braking ability while preparing to depart Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal.
It crashed through a ... (more >>>)
Continuing Education: I learn something new almost every day, it seems. A big thank you to James Lileks, who taught me that the International Harvester logo is also a stylized head-on view of a tractor.
Clever Idea: The covered entrance to a subway trolley stop resembles an old trolley car. It is located at the 37th St. station in Philadelphia. Subway-surface trolleys run along that line. The cream-over-green color scheme resembles those of the old Philadelphia Transit Co. (PTC).
The station is located inside ... (more >>>)
Stop Whining! Yes, yes, we're all tired of the lockdowns and restrictions. But many of today's complainers are a bigger bunch of spoiled whiners and pussies than people were in 1982. (Or 1942, for that matter.)
I remember '82. Business conditions were abominable. Linn County Oregon had a 27% unemployment rate; the national rate was more than double what it is today. The Dow was at 800 or so. Mortgage rates on conventional 30-year loans were 16-18%, depending on where you lived.
Most people received 5 to 12 channels on their televisions, not 512. Relatively few people had the capability of recording programs for later viewing. In those days, you couldn't buy a vente frappachino on every street corner. Pet grooming salons were scarce. People drove around in miserable crapmobiles, like Chevettes, GM X-cars or Dodge Aires/Plymouth Reliant K-cars. Or coughing, rattly, diesel-powered Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs.
Thirty-nine years ago, there was no internet. (If you wanted trendy, colorful news, you picked up a copy of that brand-new newspaper, USA Today, which was mostly found in big city downtowns or hotel lobbies.) Not only did people not even have dial-up, many still had rotary dial phones. There were no cell phones. And there was one telephone company - Ma Bell (or one of her Little Bells). Long distance calls were expensive.
Today, people thirst for everything right away. Including water. That's why everyone carries personal water bottles. No one did that in 1982. If you were thirsty, you walked around until you found a water fountain. Or chewed gum. And no one died because they weren't properly "hydrated."
Speaking of death, twenty-six years ago, AIDs was a mysterious, untreatable disease. Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) was a death sentence. There was no diagnostic lab test; confirmation of the disease was by autopsy. As was the case with many other chronic illnesses which can now be managed. Or cured. Thirty-nine years ago, organ transplants were relatively rare.
In 1982, people had real stuff to complain about.
Meanwhile Down At The Border: Joe Biden is detaining 18,000 illegal minors. Trump's peak number was just 2,600.
Make America Grate Again: Hunter Biden smoked parmesan cheese because he thought it looked like crack cocaine.
Joe Biden has said, "I'm proud of my son" and that he's the "smartest guy I know." That's just plain scary.
Thought For Today: Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Tuesday April 6, 2021
Watch Where You're Walking: In a staged scene, an oblivious bookworm walks in front of a 1939 Plymouth.
He looks a bit like Burgess Meredith, perhaps because of the spats and umbrella, just like his Batman character, The Penguin. And Meredith played ... (more >>>)
Here Comes Spring: The flowers and heather are in bloom, our magnolia tree is budding and everything is turning green. Friday was a warmish, mostly sunny day, so at 1:00 pm, I fired up my '39 Plymouth business coupe and went for an old car drive. The temperature was 56 degrees and the eastern Cascades and Mt. St. Helens - both snow-capped - were readily visible.
Traffic was moderate and the only disruption was the very bumpy road section at the end of our development. The road had been a mess for months now and the road crews seem indifferent. After traversing the bumps at 5 mph, I had a nice Spring old car drive.
I rolled down the windows to get some fresh air and listen to the rumble of the Glasspacks as I rolled along. Good times.
All In For Batteries: Ford Motor Co. said its entire car lineup in Europe will be all-electric by 2030 as the U.S. automaker races to get ahead of CO2 emissions targets and looming bans in some countries on fossil fuel vehicles. It's 2023 model is reportedly one from the VW MEB electric platform.
"The carmaker said it will invest $1 billion over the next 30 months to convert its vehicle assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, to become the U.S. automaker's first electric vehicle facility in Europe. Ford said its first European-built, all-electric passenger vehicle will be produced at the facility from 2023 and is considering building a second model there." By 2026 it will have electric versions of all its passenger cars on sale in Europe and that by 2030 two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales in Europe will be fully electric or plug-in hybrids.
Don Surber wrote, "The electric car symbolizes the tyranny of the left. Electric cars began as a choice and will soon be a mandate, to solve a Fake Problem. The real goal is to stymie the economy and limit the right to travel for ordinary people."
Stop Using Traffic Signs For Bullshit Messages And Propaganda: Over the last couple of decades, Washington - like many other states - has erected traffic information signs on its interstate highways. The original purpose was for traffic reports: 'Bridge Opening - Prepare To Stop', 'Accident Ahead In Left Lane - Merge Right', 'Detour - Two Miles Ahead', etc. These signs were erected at great taxpayer expense and we were assured that they were for the benefit of taxpaying motorists.
Even though it was beyond the original scope of the signs, it didn't bother me when the signs displayed Amber Alerts: 'Possible Child Abduction: Report a blue 2003 Ford Focus WA Lic. 123-6GJ'. Then the signs began broadcasting state-the-obvious, driver-centric messages: 'Seat Belt Use Is Mandatory - Click It Or Ticket'. Or: 'State DUI Patrols Out Tonite - Don't Drink And Drive'. I found these to be distracting, annoying and unhelpful. Last week, there was a new message: 'Even If You're Vaccinated, Masks Are Mandatory'. This has nothing to do with driving and angered me greatly. What's next: 'Condoms Prevent AIDs'?
Of course, Washington is a deeply-blue nanny state. I wonder if any red states do this sort of crap, too?
Be Careful What You Wish For: Crime is soaring in left-wing cities that defunded the police.
Portland Oregon - the poster child for this nonsense - saw homicides rise 271% between July 2020 and February of this year.
Worst Song: IOTW Report asked people to vote for the worst popular song ever. So far, the biggest contenders include John Lennon's 'Imagine', Paul Anka's 'Having My Baby', Helen Reddy's 'I Am Woman' and the apparent winner: multi-artist African starve-fest 'We Are The World'. One voter/commenter declared it the Woke National Anthem.
I'd surely vote for Bette Midler's 'Wind Beneath My Wings' (and all of her other, non-campy ballads) as well as Paul McCartney/Wings' 'Wonderful Christmas Time', 'Silly Love Songs' and 'Spirits of Ancient Egypt'. And, of course, Elmo and Patsy's 1979 epically-execrable 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer'.
Slip Slidin' Away: Paul Simon, who will turn 80 this year, has sold his entire music catalog to Sony Music Publishing for an undisclosed sum.
It's not like he needs the money. It's probably an estate planning thing.
Just One Of His Many Problems: The trouble with Mitt Romney is that he looks like some generic guy in a 1938 cigarette ad. Or a Brylcream ad.
Quote Of The Day is from Shant Mesrobian: "The reason why so many extremely woke people turn out to have been bigoted in the past is because bigotry used to be the best way to bully and intimidate people, but now performative anti-bigotry is the best way to bully and intimidate people. An evolving toolset for sociopaths."
Friday April 2, 2021
Small Town, Small Dealer: When Henry Ford ramped up production of his Model T Ford in 1913 and lowered prices sales soared. In 1914, Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Model Ts. Henry aggressively expanded his dealer network, signing up lots of locations in small farming communities.
Soon, Ford's network of local dealers made the car ubiquitous in virtually every city in North America. A large part of the success of Ford's Model T stems from the innovative strategy which introduced a large network of sales hubs making it ... (more >>>)
Marketing Misfire: In the 1970s, plastic product designers were often substituting polystyrene for acrylic because of a three-to-one material cost difference. The makers of Plexiglas acrylic (Rohm & Haas Co.) came up with a campaign to improve market share. A slogan, 'Plexiglas - Worth Every Cent', was developed and a giveaway reminder was designed - a coffee cup coaster made from injection-molded black Plexiglas with the slogan hot-stamped in gold and a Lincoln head penny done in copper-colored Plex.
The company's purchasing department was told to order several thousand and did so ... (more >>>)
Disturbing Trend: When I buy a car, I choose the options I want and pay for them as part of the purchase price. Once that transaction is completed, I own them for the life of the car.
Volkswagen and several other automakers are looking to change that. For example, Volkswagen plans to "test customer acceptance of pay-per-mile billing and on-demand charging for optional car functions as part of a subscription service pilot trial on the ID 3 electric hatchback this year." Tests will include "pay-per-mile billing and charging for additional on-demand features, which it suggests could include "a charging flat rate or navigation services that can be booked as needed."
Certain Volkswagen models already offer the ability to pay for some functions, such as automatically dipping headlights, on certain grades of model, while several sat-nav systems have previously charged for functions such as new maps or live traffic.
Explaining how Volkswagen could employ such systems in the future, sales boss Klaus Zellmer said: "Today you can get infotainment functions on demand, and there are features that can be activated like ACC (automatic cruise control). Now if you have an ID 3 in the future, features such as travel assist, stop and go, lane assist and ACC can be added on top." If "you have a customer with a battery-powered vehicle, and if we notice he does long journeys, we can provide him with additional range, which we can do digitally."
VW will soon have a new generation of EVs that will be sold in a largely standardized specification, with virtually all of the features then available as online-enabled upgrades.
Stock Market Update: Yesterday, the S&P 500 Index closed above the 4,000 mark. Ten years ago, it was around 1,360. Over the long haul, stocks remain a good investment.
Today Is Good Friday: The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in a piece titled: 'The Seven Last Words', wrote, "My favorite is the Second, 'This day you will be with Me in Paradise.' Archbishop Sheen relates a legend surrounding Joseph fleeing with the Holy Family into Egypt. Along the way they stop at an inn and Mary asks for a basin of water to bathe the Baby Jesus. The innkeeper's wife senses the identity of the Holy Infant and asks that her baby afflicted with leprosy could be bathed in the same water. Mary consents and the baby is healed."
He is Dismas, the thief hanging on the right side of Christ ... (more >>>)
Quote Of The Day is from John F. Kennedy: "Those who make a peaceful revolution impossible make a violent revolution inevitable."
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