16 Tacos

Originally I was going to title today’s post “40 Days and 40 Nights” because, counting today, that’s how much is left of the year 2020. I decided that was too much “on the nose.”

My wonderful wife and I have been in Arizona for about three weeks. In that time I have eaten 16 tacos from Jack In The Box. If any of them are reading I can imagine the reaction of the food fascists, “Ew, those aren’t real tacos. How can you eat that stuff?” Uh, being smug, self-righteous and arrogant is no way to go through life. (Yes, an Animal House reference, sort of.)

I love Jack In The Box tacos. The only concession I’ve made to age is that I order them without the sauce. From the time we left Texas almost 13 years ago until our move here my access to Jack In The Box had been extremely limited. I am making up for lost time.

I doubt I will continue to average almost a taco a day, but I will have them whenever I want. From a site called Serious Eats, a picture of those tacos:


See the source image


I have a long history with Jack In The Box. I have always been an avid reader. When I was young, a Jack In The Box store was next door to the library where I would borrow books and I would usually get whoever drove me to the library to stop there.

Around the time I began college that store closed as did most others in the eastern half of the country. From about 1980 until I moved to California in 1995 I did not eat at Jack In The Box.

When I moved west I remember waiting at least ten days before I went to one, perhaps in an effort to heighten the anticipation. Of course, I ordered tacos, two at first, but I think I ate at least two more. When I pulled the first one out of its envelope I couldn’t believe it. It looked and smelled exactly the same as I had remembered it and when I took my first bite it tasted exactly the same. I was euphoric.

If you don’t like their tacos, then don’t eat them. Don’t you dare tell me what I should or shouldn’t eat. My life doesn’t belong to you. When you can run three 11-minute miles three times a week (despite painful bunions and arthritis in my feet), then maybe you can have a say. Then again, maybe not.


Not “remembering” the shooting death of John F. Kennedy today is not an effort at demeaning the significance of the incident. I will say, though, that based on the limited amount of reading I have done, my “theory” is that while Lee Harvey Oswald did intend to kill JFK, he was actually killed by a bullet accidentally fired by a Secret Service agent.

This theory is outlined in the book Mortal Error (published in 1992) by Bonar Menninger. The book is based on the work of Howard Donahue, a gunsmith, sharpshooter and ballistics expert. In 2013, Australian journalist and former police detective Colin McLaren published a book and documentary both titled JFK: The Smoking Gun, examining and supporting Donahue’s theory.


See the source image

See the source image


On this day in 1893, legendary automobile stylist Harley Earl was born. The top picture (from Car Type) is the Buick Y-Job, Earl’s creation and the first “concept car.” The bottom photo (from Classic Cars) is, of course, a 1953 Corvette.

On January 1, 1928, Art and Colour, the automobile industry’s first dedicated styling department, was created by General Motors. Harley Earl was named its head and this department was, essentially, created for Earl by Alfred Sloan, President/CEO/Chairman of GM.

After seeing many cars like the Jaguar XK 120 at an event in Watkins Glen, Earl was inspired to create an American two-seat sports car. On June 2, 1952 he gave Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole (who eventually became President of GM) a sneak preview of an Art and Color mockup of the “secret” two-seat sports car, code named Opel. Cole loved the idea and pushed for permission to put the car into production. With no offense intended to the memory of Zora Arkus-Duntov, Harley Earl was the real father of the Corvette and Ed Cole also deserves much credit for its creation.









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10 thoughts on “16 Tacos

  1. I agree that Earl and Cole are the “father” of the Corvette and Duntov should be considered the stepfather, or maybe the slightly crazy uncle, that made the Corvette what it became. His engineering background and racing history were what brought most of the performance and handling gains to the car. I suspect without his influence the ‘Vette would likely have followed the Tbird’s path as a luxury cruiser, given the sales that the Tbird posted. Instead it became the premier American performance car that it is today.

    It’s little known these days that Duntov was dead against putting the big block V-8 in the Vette, as he thought it diminished the handling of the car, which was more his focus. And he also wasn’t a fan of the front styling of the C2 for the same reason (front end lift at high speeds).

    While I’ve never really been a “Corvette guy”, I’ve always been a fan of what the car offered; high performance at a (relatively) bargain price.


    1. Thanks, DDM. Like the reference to Arkus-Duntov as the “slightly crazy uncle.” I wonder if my niece would describe me the same way.

      Duntov was also opposed to forced induction. He was more into camshaft and head design as the ways to extract more performance from an engine. I guess he would disapprove of the supercharged engine in my Z06. Hey, different strokes for different folks.


      1. I’m quite certain that my nieces and at least 1 of my nephews consider me that really crazy uncle because “why do you need so many cars and motorcycles?” Ummmmm, because I like them, doesn’t seem to compute for them. Yet they see no problem buying the latest iPhone every time one comes out, or spending what I think is an astonishing amount of money on a gaming console.

        On a side note about tacos: While I was in Phoenix, across from where we were working was a fast food restaurant called Fillberto’s Mexican Food (part of a chain). They had what I, and one of our Hispanic crew, thought were darn good tacos. You could get them mild to wild, I went for the mild. I don’t mind a little bit of spice, but prefer to NOT set my mustache on fire when eating something. And they were quite reasonably priced IIRC.



      2. It’s quite ironic that you would mention Filiberto’s today. My wonderful wife and I went out to pick up breakfast this morning. We used the car’s nav to find places where we could drive through to get our meals. Carl’s Jr came up as being about three miles away. However, when we arrived at the location it was not a Carl’s Jr, but a Filiberto’s. I’ll tell my WW that you recommend it.


      3. I generally try to avoid fast food, I’m about 20 lbs overweight and don’t need to add to that. I already eat too many meals in restaurants due to my work travels. It’s hard enough to try to find something at least reasonably healthy there, never mind the fast food calorie and fat jubilee. My one weakness is 5 Guys french fries. The burger is good, but the fries are the best I have had and that includes “sit down” restaurants. The amount they give you is a meal in itself so that is usually all I will order.

        Hopefully Filiberto’s will live up to my memory for you and your wife.


      4. Ah yes, Five Guys fries. I also think they have the best fries in the world. I believe I wrote about them in the blog, but I’m not currently at my desktop where I can manage this comment and find the link.


  2. I am a big fan of tacos. I do not eat Jack-in-the-Box tacos, as they are too bland for my tastes. I make our own using Old El Paso flat bottom taco shells, our own seasoned ground beef and other stuff. I prefer tacos from locally owned restaurants usually soft tortilla rather than the hard shell. Fileberto’s is a locally owned chain and does have acceptable Mexican food. You eat what will sit well on your palate.

    I have read the book “Mortal Error” and agree completely with the theory. If more people read the book I believe the conspiracy theories would be less. The last round to strike the President in the head was a high velocity round which was the accidental discharge. The round which struck him high in the back would also have been fatal even without the head shot.

    Harley Earl was a most preeminent designer.


    1. Interesting, but not surprising that you’ve read Mortal Error. Also interesting you agree with the conclusions. The theory as presented in the book is not sexy enough for knee-jerk contrarians and conspiracy theorists, but is the one that fits the facts the best.


  3. Two notes I picked up from ‘Legendary Corvettes’ as it relates to Duntov.
    1 – Duntov’s objection to the split rear window (based on how it obstructed the driver’s vision) led Bill Mitchell to ban him from the styling department.
    2 – Chevrolet’s actual R&D man Frank Winchell was charged with covert racing support for teams like the Chaparral cars. As such, Winchell’s projects and requirements were favoured over Duntov’s work with cars like CERV and CERV II, to the point some projects were simply ‘ended’ by the higher ups.
    The book really didn’t set out to diminish Duntov’s contributions to Corvette but it made me think somewhat that perhaps the myth of Zora is greater than the amount of influence he was able to exert.


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