Wandering Wednesday

This is the 17th post with the title “Wandering Wednesday.” Do you think my penchant for alliteration is an asset or a liability? I do think, and granted this is a subjective observation, that post titles affect readership.


A “dump” of links to posts from Why Evolution Is True:


Every planet in one photo (except Pluto)

Pinker: The “evolution war” is also a culture war

Peter Singer’s contrarian view on the Dobbs decision

I have avoided writing about this because, in my opinion, abortion is the very definition of a “hot button” issue. One thing I like about Why Evolution Is True is that the blog author (Jerry Coyne) can acknowledge that points of view with which he disagrees can still have merit, unlike the majority of today’s American population.

A NYT columnist accuses extremists on both Left and Right of erasing women

Once again, I lament the loss of real debate in this country. People shout at others instead of talking to them. Both sides are guilty although partisans will either not acknowledge that reality or arrogantly and blindly claim that they are right and, therefore, shouting is appropriate. From the post:


“It’s heartening to see someone of [Pamela] Paul’s stature at a paper as influential as the NYT pushing back on irrational wokeness. [My note: I think virtually all wokeness is irrational.] Is this a trend now? Will it go away? I doubt it, but voices of dissent from Leftists themselves are beginning to be heard, and this article—I’ve quoted only a bit of it—is one. I’ll just add her ending:

‘Tolerance for one group need not mean intolerance for another. We can respect transgender women without castigating females who point out that biological women still constitute a category of their own — with their own specific needs and prerogatives.'”


For the nth to the n time, NO ONE has a monopoly on truth, wisdom and good judgment and neither does ANY ideology. I once opined that if the five most liberal and five most conservative US Senators were replaced with moderates, then the country would be on much sounder footing. I don’t believe that, anymore. The division is far beyond Congress and, once again, the scourge of social media bears much/most of the blame.


Here is a link to a Hemmings piece from ten days ago about a car that may or may not be included in a Hall of Very Good Cars post, the Pontiac Fiero. A picture from the article:



While the exterior design is very much of the period I think the Fiero has a very sharp and clean look. I have never driven one or even sat in one. Despite the mid-engine layout, the Fiero was not designed as a performance car. Even the Formula/GT version was powered by an engine that produced just 135 HP/165 LB-FT of torque. However, if the car’s designers had tried to position the Fiero as a true sports car, it is likely that upper-level executives at General Motors would have never allowed the Fiero to be built as it would have been seen as potentially cannibalizing the Corvette market. How ironic is it that moving the Corvette to a mid-engine platform came to be adopted as the way to broaden the car’s worldwide appeal?


Here is a link to another Hemmings piece from late May (I no longer subscribe to Hemmings, which is why this reference is “late”) about George Murphy, owner of the largest GM dealership in the world in the mid-1960s, and his efforts to save Studebaker. From the article:


“Murphy sensed an opportunity with Studebaker, so in February of 1966, after selling Honolulu Iron Works, he approached Studebaker chairman Randolph Guthrie with an offer to buy 500,000 shares of Studebaker stock—more than a sixth of the outstanding shares of common stock—at $30 per share, above market price. The offer came out of left field, according to a lawsuit between Studebaker and Allied Products, a Studebaker supplier that also entered in negotiations to buy the company immediately after Murphy’s offer. Studebaker’s board of directors appeared in favor of Murphy’s offer but ultimately left the decision up to the stockholders, who, by all indications, let the offer die on the vine. Guthrie, in turn, rejected Allied’s offer, and a month later Studebaker shut down the Hamilton assembly line, bringing an end to the company’s car making efforts.”


By the time Murphy made his offer, the cars shown below had already been discontinued. Still, who knows what might have happened. Many of those who know far more about Studebaker than I do think the board just wanted to leave the automobile business regardless.


See the source image


The top photo is a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, a member of my Ultimate Garage 3.0, and the bottom is a Studebaker Avanti, a member of my first Ultimate Garage.

Another idea often written here is that what actually happens/happened is virtually never the only thing that could have happened. If Murphy’s bid had been accepted or Studebaker had signed any of the three offers to import Volkswagens, then the company might still exist and might still be manufacturing and selling cars. I don’t know how I would feel about Studebaker under the latter scenario, but that’s another story.








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A VERY Bad Dream

Simply put, I dreamt I was dying. Not in weeks or months, but hours. Doctors informed me that blood was leaking out of my circulatory system, that lymph was leaking out of my lymphatic system and that nothing could be done. My organ systems would quickly fail.

My wonderful wife was not with me so I was alone to process the news. I sat in a room that reminded me very much of the General Manager’s box at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, where I often watched the games. I was sitting with my head on the built-in shelf/table at the front of the box. After awhile I said to myself, “The doctors are crazy. I feel fine.” I raised my head and to my horror noticed two large bumps, one on each arm, that looked like blisters. My facade of denial was totally pierced and I was petrified.

At that point I woke up and the first thing I did was to check each arm. From what kind of mind does such a dream emanate?


I wish the data in the chart below were a bad dream.



On this day in 1902 the American Automobile Association (AAA) was formed. The American Motor League (AML) had been the first organization to address the problems that commonly plagued motorists, but it fell apart due to a diverse membership that featured powerful automobile manufacturers who wanted to limit the AML only to issues that affected car manufacturing and engineering. However, trade groups such as the Association of Automotive Engineers took its place, paving the way for more specialized automotive organizations.

I have been a AAA member for 30 years. On Friday, September the 13th 1991 the all-in-one accessory belt snapped in my Chevrolet Blazer. Although I managed to call a garage to tow the car from downtown Baltimore, I vowed I would never be as helpless again and joined AAA soon after. (Of course, a bottle of grape juice exploded on the passenger seat during the tow. I owned the Blazer until May of 1995, but the stain was never fully removed despite at least a dozen attempts to clean it.)

My wonderful wife has been a member on my plan as long as we have been married. AAA did bail us out of one really bad spot. In May of 2000, as we were driving from California to Texas since we were moving there, one of the tires on my Pontiac Grand Prix basically blew up on Interstate 10 in Arizona. Of course, I had purchased new tires right before we left California just so that something like that wouldn’t happen. The best laid plans of mice and men…actually, the tire that blew had apparently taken a big nail aboard as a passenger. That’s the major reason I tolerate the relatively rough ride of run-flat tires like those on my Corvette.

The AAA tow truck arrived quickly. The driver knew the location of a nearby tire store and towed us there. In about an hour we were back on the road.

I wouldn’t say that AAA membership has no value, but that value seems to diminish annually. I think our auto insurance company supplies roadside assistance. The free maps and guidebooks are nice, but we don’t travel that much.

Every year when we receive the notice to renew membership my wonderful wife and I debate whether we should let our membership lapse. Every year, at least so far, we decide to renew.


American Automobile Association logo.svg


On this day in 1966 Studebaker announced it would cease all automobile production; 13 days later, the last Studebaker car was built in its Hamilton, Ontario plant. Here is a picture of that car, a 1966 Cruiser:


See the source image


About Studebaker…as much as I LOVE the looks of the Gran Turismo Hawk, something I recently saw on an episode of Garage Squad may have permanently turned me off to the idea of buying a car without modern safety systems.

The crew was rebuilding a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. Joe Zolper was shown working on the steering column. The column itself had kind of a honeycomb construction so it would collapse and absorb some of the force if the driver were pushed against it in an accident. The two piece steering shaft was also supposed to collapse with a hard impact.

Zolper mentioned that this was a good safety system before the advent of airbags. Remembering how my wonderful wife was rear-ended at high speed on Highway 101 by a woman WHOSE BABY WAS IN THE PASSENGER SEAT really makes me think any car I acquire in the future has to have devices like airbags. As I used to write often, I have dreams (not all of them are bad), but I live in the real world.

Quality issues aside, I think that puts the Cadillac XLR back on the table as a potential purchase and maybe in the lead since it is of more recent vintage than the Allante and, therefore, has better safety systems. Remember: I drive my cars. They don’t just sit in a garage to be wiped down with a microfiber cloth every week.



By the way, is it just me or does the XLR have a chopped top look with the top up? I think the vast majority of people who make “good” decisions are flexible and adaptable.


Have a good weekend.









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