Aging Is Annoying…

But I guess it beats the alternative. I had a minor panic this morning when I couldn’t find the original earbuds for my iPhone. While I have a set of Bluetooth earbuds, they always fall out of my ears unless I am completely still. Since the #1 use for my using earbuds is to listen to music when I walk outside, the Bluetooth set is not useful. Yes, I know I can buy a Bluetooth set with an ear loop. Three sets of earbuds?

Until I was in my mid-40s I had total recall. (Maybe it was later, I can’t remember.) I never forgot where I put something or what I had for breakfast yesterday. My first year in college one of the people who lived in my dorm was an education major. For one of his classes he designed an experiment to see how people retained information they read and asked me to participate.

A subject would read the material (about Bryce and Zion canyons in Utah) and take a test right after reading. A week later, they would be given a test on the same material. Everybody in the study made a substantially lower score a week later; well, everyone except me. I scored a 100 a week after reading the material, a 95 right after reading. My friend was actually quite upset with my performance. “You’re ruining my thesis,” he said.

Every morning I wake up in pain: my bunions, my hands, my neck, etc. I am far less steady on my feet than I was even just a year ago. Despite what the quantum physicists tell us, it sure seems that time only moves in one direction.

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Sixty years ago (1961 for those of you who are mathematically challenged), US auto production declined by about 10% compared to 1960 due to a brief economic downturn. Ford edged out Chevrolet for model year sales: 1.339 million to 1.318 million. The two makes combined for about a 50% market share.

In response to the success of the Rambler, and to a lesser extent the Studebaker Lark, the big three introduced new compact cars for 1961. In particular, General Motors B-O-P line (Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac) introduced the Special, the F-85 and the Tempest.

Buick sold 86,868 Specials (the OCD/numbers nerd in me loves that palindromic number) with the 4-door sedan being the most popular body style. Olds sold 76,394 F-85s (in Deluxe and “regular” trim) and the 4-door sedan was also the most popular style. Pontiac sold 143,193 Tempests BUT the sport coupe was the most popular body style. That production of over 306,000 vehicles was not far behind total Rambler production of 378,000 and dwarfed the best year for the Lark: its intro year of 1959, 131,078.

Of course, the sharing of chassis and other components among GM divisions later became a problem in differentiating them among consumers and played a role in the company’s issues in later decades. From yupyi.com a picture of a 1961 Buick Special coupe:

 

See the source image

 

I am not going to discuss the new aluminum small displacement (215 cubic inches) V-8 or Pontiac’s “rope” driveshaft and rear transaxle for the Tempest. I just think the cars are interesting and another example of how the Big Three dominated the landscape and made life very difficult for the independent manufacturers.

 

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#1961InUSAutomobiles

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#1961BuickSpecialCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

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5 thoughts on “Aging Is Annoying…

  1. I had same problem with Bose wireless earbuds — kept falling out of ear. Took them back and replaced with ear loop Powerbeats Pro. They’re perfect. Also, no interference with even a mild breeze. Herb Schwartz.

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  2. In my first years of marriage, I had an Olds F-85. Being a young couple, just starting out, what I could afford was probably a 10-year old car when I bought it, but I don’t remember what model year it was. I really liked the car.

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  3. It’s true fit seems so varied with earbuds that when you find a set that works well you just can’t really get comfortable with others. I have 3 apple sets (from each iPhone I’ve had), and a bunch of miscellaneous others kicking around. Funny thing is I rarely use earbuds… the only time is if I’m catching up on tv series in bed with the iPad. And for that I found a fairly cheap set at an outlet store, that has the gel ends which I find seem to stay in better.
    Those BOP compacts didn’t really stay compact for long, did they? They had some interesting innovations that you alluded to. I think the ‘most 60s’ appropriate one for me would be the Turbo Rocket Fluid of the Olds. Just sounds so like perfect jet-age ad copy. As it happens I’m just finishing up reading and reviewing a book on that other GM compact… the misunderstood Corvair.

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    1. The B-O-P compacts suffered the same fate as most American cars and most Americans: they got fat. The Turbo Rocket Fluid, of course, was just a water/alcohol mix to prevent premature detonation in their turbocharged variant of the 215 cubic-inch V8, which was the first real production turbo V-8 in the world.

      It was OK to share inner body shells among divisions, but when GM started to share engines and transmissions is where they really went off the rails.

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