Moonday Musings

Nights around the full moon are much brighter here than they were in the mid-Atlantic. If I were more adventurous–and could see well enough at night to drive–I would find an even darker place close to home and take some photographs.

There is so much light in the sky around the full moon, seemingly due to the relative lack of the “light pollution” that exists elsewhere, that it almost seems as if it’s nearing dawn. Yes, I am once again blathering on about living in the desert. Yes, when it’s really hot here in the summer I might change my tune. Hey, let me just get to the summer.

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Thanks to everyone who offered birthday wishes to my wonderful wife and sweet sister. While, at times, I complain about what I perceive to be a “lack” of readers given how I feel about the quality of this blog, I am grateful for the loyal readers and for those who regularly comment.

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Four days until our second vaccine shot against the damn virus, so it’s only about 18 days until “full” immunity. It can’t come soon enough as this state’s governor has ended mask mandates, prematurely in my opinion.

To celebrate my wonderful wife’s birthday we went to a local bakery we have wanted to try since we first noticed it months ago. Sadly, neither employee was wearing a mask. The sign outside read, “Masks Optional.”

I know we’re all sick of masks and social distancing. We all want to go back to life before the damn virus. I’ll just offer this: no one wants to be the last soldier to die in a war. We are close to the finish line, but it’s too early to raise our arms in triumph. Many other parts of the world that are behind the US (and Israel and the UK) in vaccinating their citizens are experiencing more outbreaks.

The more hosts for the damn virus, the more it replicates. The more it replicates, the more it mutates. That’s simple virology. The virus has no intent; it’s just doing what viruses do and we have to respect its biology.

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On this day in 2009 Rick Wagoner resigned as Chairman and CEO of General Motors. His resignation was requested by the White House as a condition for more government aid. Remember what was happening at this time. The world economy was struggling from the “Financial Crisis” and “Great Recession.” The US Big Three automakers were teetering towards bankruptcy. Indeed, GM would file for bankruptcy on June 1, 2009, not long after Wagoner resigned. (Chrysler filed for bankruptcy on April 30.)

In 2005, General Motors reported a loss of $10.6 billion. For fiscal year 2007, those losses had exploded to $38.7 billion and the economic meltdown had not really started. Obviously, when it did GM no longer had the cash reserves it needed to ride out the crisis.

A blog post is not the proper venue for discussing what GM did wrong. Suffice to say the roots of the collapse go back to long before Wagoner became Chairman/CEO in 2000. Still, it was during Wagoner’s tenure that this “vehicle” was introduced:

 

See the source image

 

This, of course, is a picture of the infamous Pontiac Aztek. Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist Dan Neil, in naming it one of the 50 worst cars of all time, said the Aztek “violated one of the principal rules of car design: we like cars that look like us. With its multiple eyes and supernumerary nostrils, the Aztek looks deformed and scary, something that dogs bark at and cathedrals employ to ring bells.”

Neil wasn’t the only person/entity that named the Aztek one of the worst cars of all time. Edmunds, Time and The Daily Telegraph are just three of the many places where the vehicle was named among the worst ever. Supposedly, General Motors expected to sell 75,000 Azteks a year, but never even reached 30,000–its reported break-even level–in any year.

In an automotive industry where the US market had been “breached” by foreign competition–and I am not suggesting that was a bad thing–the Big Three had much less margin for error than in the past. Missteps like the Aztek were much more damaging to those companies than even the Edsel had been for Ford. For example, in the first model year after the demise of the Edsel, Ford led all US makes in sales. (The Edsel’s last truncated year had been 1960; Ford led in sales in 1961.)

I may be an old fogy reactionary, but I think the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach to EVs by GM and Ford is misguided. The number of ICE-powered vehicles in the US is in the hundreds of millions and over a billion around the world. Whatever happened to companies providing what the customers want?! People are not buying EVs, at least not now.

No one knows what the future holds, but it’s highly likely it will not turn out as we expect. That’s what history tells us.

 

#MoondayMusings

#GeneralMotorsBankruptcy

#PontiacAztek

#FollyOfPredictingTheFuture

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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8 thoughts on “Moonday Musings

  1. A full moon is plenty of light in the desert at night. I have been on ranger-led hikes in a couple of our parks here. Our night vision, even for old guys like me, is more than adequate to stay safe on the trail.

    The biggest problem with these hikes is that people bring flashlights and despite the admonitions of the guides to leave them off, they get turned on anyway. That ruins the night vision that we all have if we just take a moment to let our eyes adjust to the relative darkness.

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    1. Thanks, JS.

      “…people bring flashlights and despite the admonitions of the guides to leave them off, they get turned on anyway.” It’s extremely disheartening how so many people act as if they are the only people in the world.

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  2. People will not buy EVs in the numbers that GM and Ford expect. Part of the reason is the ability, or rather the inability, to “fuel” an EV. The infrastructure to plug your EV in at parking lot while you are shopping is not there. Store owners will not provide free electricity to you for your EV in their parking lot. People are reluctant to buy EVs because of their limited range. And don’t give me that crap that technology will continue to increase the capacity of batteries to increase the range. They haven’t done it so far. In the great snowstorm of 2021 in Texas, the electricity grid was down. This would have prevented people from charging their EVs. Also the cold would have limited the power capacity of the batteries thus further limiting their range. Lesson learned. Americans highly value their independence. ICE powered vehicles allow that independence while EVs will limit that independence.

    Here endeth the sermon for today as I step down from my soapbox/pulpit.

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  3. Given the Aztek’s “futuristic” styling, perhaps it WAS ahead of its time. Looking at offerings from various automakers today, it seems it would fit in well stylistically. When you’re the first to radically depart from the current normal, witness the Chrysler Airflow of the 30’s, you suffer the consequences.

    Due to traveling yesterday, I didn’t post any comment. Please offer my belated birthday wishes to your wife and sister.

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  4. I always enjoy learning from these posts. First – agree, too soon to NOT wear masks. And I just watched a bit of a documentary on John Delorean which this post reminded me of. Fascinating story

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