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.


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.


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.


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.








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Observations For Hump Day

In a TV commercial for an online university the institution’s President says that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. In my opinion, that is sheer, unadulterated bullsh*t. Neither talent nor opportunity is equally distributed. I have written this before: people may have equal rights under the law, but not all people are created equally. Oh, work ethic isn’t equally distributed, either.

I know people who intuitively understand Einstein’s theory of relativity and others who wouldn’t understand it if they spent every day for five years in a classroom being taught about Einstein. I know people who are innately superb athletes and others who couldn’t make a layup more than once in every ten attempts no matter how much they practiced.

I think we all start out unequal and those who succeed figure out what they can do well. Some people have more options than others. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Well, I wasn’t wrong after all. It was not a glitch that prevented me from accessing the classic editor in WordPress, but a permanent change in the path that I had previously used. The classic editor is still available, but not from the path I had used for almost three years. Oh, I still can’t stand the new block editor.


According to 365 Days Of Motoring, it was on this day in 1899 that Literary Digest printed, “The ordinary horseless carriage is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle.” Here are some more bad predictions from this:


“Lee DeForest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company.” – a U.S. District Attorney, prosecuting American inventor Lee DeForest for selling stock fraudulently through the mail for his Radio Telephone Company in 1913.

“There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” – T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).

“X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” – Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” – Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superiure de Guerre

In the prologue to The Population Bomb Paul Ehrlich wrote, “In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…” Yet, never has food been more abundant on a world-wide basis than today. Starvation that exists is largely due to political causes and wars, not overpopulation.


Repeat after me: history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.


From Hagerty via Classic Cars comes this piece titled, “Millennials and Zs eager to enter collector car community.” Here is the most interesting passage in the article, in my opinion:


“Much of the ‘death of driving’ handwringing by the media in the wake of the Great Recession was based on data showing younger generations were getting their licenses later, buying their first vehicle later, and buying fewer vehicles compared to previous generations at the same age,” Ryan Tandler, survey lead [for Hagerty], is quoted.

“This conflated buying power with demand. The recession hit younger generations harder and delayed a host of major purchases and life milestones. As Millennials aged into greater buying power and started families, their purchase behavior looked more and more like other generations.”

“The lag was due to the disproportionate blow the generation took in the recession and the unique burden of student debt. It took them longer to recover their buying power, but not as long as it has taken the myth of car-hating young people to die.”


At a local Cars and Coffee event my wonderful wife and I used to attend before COVID-19, I would estimate that at least half of the participants were under 40. We saw a lot of Japanese cars and cars from the 1990s and first decade of the 2000s, but this event usually had at least 300 cars from all eras and countries.

As long as I have any degree of mental acuity [what mental acuity? 🙂 ], I will almost certainly have an interest in automobiles. I believe that attraction will exist for many people of subsequent generations, but I could be wrong, of course. I can’t predict the future with absolute certainty, either.


See the source image


From Motoring Research a picture of a car with a timeless appeal, in my opinion: an Aston Martin DB11.









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