Best wishes to Dr. Zal. Unexpectedly, he is returning to the working world after a brief retirement. People with Ph.D. STEM degrees will remain in demand for the foreseeable future.
I don’t know why I am compelled to repeat this message, but it is OCD. So-called reality TV is NOTHING of the sort. The camera is not an unobtrusive observer of real life, of something that existed before the cameras and would exist without them. In addition, the participants are very aware that they are being filmed and the producers edit the footage to create maximum tension and drama.
Why do so many of these shows exist? The reason is that it is show business. These shows, without highly-paid writers or actors, are very inexpensive to produce.
I almost called today’s post Monday Muntz. How many of you have heard of an automobile called the Muntz Jet? The first-generation Ford Thunderbird is sometimes credited as America’s first personal luxury car. However, the Jet was of a similar idiom and predated the Baby Bird by years. Without further ado a picture from Wikimedia:
This is a Muntz Jet. Earl “Madman” Muntz had made a fortune selling TV sets and other consumer electronics. In 1949, he bought all of the manufacturing rights to the Kurtis Sports Car, designed by Frank Kurtis. Muntz had also worked as a car salesman before getting into the automobile production business.
These cars, derived from Kurtis’ car, were powered at first by Cadillac’s modern overhead-valve, 331 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 160 HP/312 LB-FT of torque. For some reason, the engine was later changed to Lincoln’s older 337 cubic-inch flathead V-8 that produced 154 HP/275 LB-FT of torque. For all Jets the standard transmission was GM’s Hydra-Matic automatic although a Borg-Warner manual with overdrive was available.
Typical of the “shoestring” cars that sprang up in the late 1940s and early 1950s, production of the Muntz Jet was inefficient and was actually moved from California to Illinois during the brief production run from about 1950 to 1954. Total production numbers are a matter of debate as are the exact start and end dates. The figure that used to be accepted was a total of 394, but many automobile historians think that was an exaggeration by Muntz himself and that the actual number is closer to half that many, maybe 198.
Despite their looks and performance, the removable hardtop and a myriad of luxury options (like an available liquor cabinet and ice chest placed under the rear armrests), at a price of $5,500–equaling the cost of the most expensive Cadillacs of the day–demand wasn’t strong and Muntz lost money on each one even at the hefty price.
I think these are fabulous cars and I long for a 21st-century version. My desire is almost certainly a pipedream, but the coronavirus will not be with us forever and this is still a country with many wealthy people who no longer have children living with them (or never did).
Hail to the Muntz Jet!
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