Threadless Thursday

I was originally going to write about the latest chapter in the dysfunctional Aaron Rodgers story. Other than to say he has made it impossible to root for his success, I will refrain.

The Henry Ruggs story makes me speak. Ruggs was a player for the Las Vegas Raiders who was drafted in the first round in 2020. Very early on Tuesday morning, with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, Ruggs crashed his C8 Corvette into the rear of a Toyota RAV4 causing that vehicle to burst into flames that killed its driver. Right before the crash Ruggs’ car was traveling at 156 MPH. Oh, he illegally had a loaded gun in the car. The Raiders released Ruggs on Wednesday.

I have always been disgusted by the fact that it is legal to drive with any alcohol in one’s system. Many, if not most, countries have a “legal” limit below the .08% that is the standard in most, if not all, US states. According to NHTSA estimates, more than 10,000 people died in the US in 2018 in vehicle crashes where at least one driver was under the influence of alcohol.

We have mandatory back-up cameras because 100 people are killed every year when a vehicle backs up into them; WHY don’t we have mandatory interlock systems that keep a driver from starting a car when under the influence?! Our de facto tolerance of drunk drivers is appalling.

As for professional athletes…I worked in major league baseball for 20+ years. When I met someone and told them what I did for a living the response would often be, “Wow, it must be so cool to talk to [fill in player name].” Sometimes, but not often, my response was that except for their ability to play baseball–which almost always included a hyper-competitive nature that most non-athletes cannot comprehend–most baseball players are entirely unremarkable people.

Like the rest of the population, professional athletes can be depressed, can be *ssholes (and often are due to how they’ve been coddled for most of their lives) and can have substance abuse issues. They are usually very far from being “supermen.”

Sadly, stories like Henry Ruggs’ will happen many, many times every year in this country–almost always without any “celebrity” connection–and nothing will be done.

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According to 365 Days Of Motoring, it was on this day in 1939 that Packard showed the first air-conditioned car at the fortieth Automobile Show in Chicago. Once again, I could not corroborate that specific date/event anywhere else, but it is true that Packard made the first air-conditioned automobile, although that apparatus bore little resemblance to the modern system pioneered by Nash in 1954, which is still the basis for current HVAC systems in vehicles–at least I think so.

The Packard unit had no thermostat and no way to shut the system off except to go into the trunk, where the unit took up half the available space, and to disconnect the drive belt. At $275–the frequently published option price of $1,000 is simply wrong–the system was not outrageously priced, but only about 2,000 Packards were so equipped through the 1942 model year. After the war, Packard dropped the option and didn’t offer air conditioning again until 1953. Below is a picture of a 1941 Packard 120 sedan, which could have been equipped with air conditioning:

 

See the source image

 

In terms of passenger comfort in an automobile, Nash and Packard were two pioneers. It’s not necessary–that won’t stop me, though–to point this out, but neither company exists today.

 

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#PackardAirConditioning

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Threadless Thursday

I guess the readers of this blog do not want to read poetry. That’s OK, but this is my blog.

 

Once again, I am a little short on material today, but continue to post in hopes of reaching a yearly milestone for views before the end of September. Days with posts receive many more views than days without.

I am fasting this morning as I am having blood work done in about three hours. One of the tests will be a Hemoglobin A1C (a measure of average blood glucose level over the last three months) ordered by an endocrinologist, not my primary care physician. That has put a crimp in any splurging on sweets. I also will have only a very small window, if any, to relax my dietary restrictions after today as I must have another HbA1C test in mid/late November.

David Banner (not his real name) was a practicing physician, as most of you know. He has informed me that diabetes care has really moved past just HbA1C testing and into continuous monitoring of glucose levels, among other things. As my HbA1C levels almost always start with a “6” physicians have never seen the need to do that for me. (I have had only two readings over 7.0 in my 20+ year battle with diabetes. The last such reading, 7.1, was about three years ago and came after a ten-day ice cream binge.)

David Banner (not his real name) has also suggested that a change or addition to my meds regimen could give me a little more freedom in terms of diet. My body does not like new medications, however. I tolerate drugs I have been taking for a long time, but the majority of new prescriptions have been rejected, including one that incapacitated me for two days after taking just one dose.

I will splurge at breakfast today after getting “stuck,” but that may be the only time until after the test in November. Intellectually, I know it’s good for me to watch my diet. I have made some permanent changes that I can live with, such as never adding sugar to my coffee. However, not being able to have a milkshake whenever I want is something to which I have never really grown accustomed.

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For many years, Chrysler Corporation had a reputation for stodginess, for conservative thinking. Many think that is a result of the commercial failure of the Airflow in the 1930s. That attitude was probably why the wonderful DeSoto Adventurer I was never put into production in the 1950s. OK, a picture:

 

 

This recent Hagerty article is about the Plymouth Belmont, a potential Corvette “fighter.” Any excuse to show a picture of an interesting car…

 

 

The long and low profile is quite stunning, in my opinion. The Belmont made its debut at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show, so the Corvette was already on the market. However, as most automobile enthusiasts know, the Vette was not a commercial success right away.

The purchase of the Briggs Body Company by Chrysler, as mentioned here, plays a role in the story of the Plymouth Belmont. I highly recommend your reading the Hagerty piece to get the whole story. I think this car has a much better look than the first Corvettes.

This and the Adventurer I were developed at about the same time. The fact that Chrysler put neither into production is, frankly, sad and may indeed be attributable to the conservative thinking of the company at that time.

Many cars built today have a disturbing sameness. In my opinion, the same is true for SUVs and pickup trucks although I am not a fan of either type of vehicle. I know this is a pipedream, but I really wish for an adventurous company or two to build something out of the mainstream.

 

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Threadless Thursday

More posts from Why Evolution Is True, some of which are hard to believe. This one is about a proposal that New York City schools get rid of honor rolls and class ranks. Another is about a professor at Portland State University who resigned under pressure from his school because he is a harsh critic of wokeness in the US center of the disease. Here is an excerpt:

 

“Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.”

 

This post is about the difference between equity and equality. My very firm belief is that while people may have equal rights under the law, all people are NOT created equally. Therefore, equity–or equality of outcome, as opposed to equality of opportunity–is impossible and an extremely foolish and dangerous policy goal.

I think many in this country and around the world have lost their minds. I also think it is the ultimate in temporal arrogance to think that the words and actions of people in 1821 can or should be judged by the standards of 2021.

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Back to my roots…this article is titled, “Five Weird Facts About The Chevy Small-Block V8.” The ubiquitous SBC has been used in Ford-based hot rods, restored Chevys from the 1940s and almost everything else in between. Chevrolet built more than 100,000,000 of these engines from 1955 through 2002. Actually, while they are no longer built for production vehicles–the current small-block Chevrolet V8 is more of a philosophical descendant than a mechanical one–as the Macs Motor City Garage article notes, the engine is still being produced by General Motors’ Chevrolet Performance Division. Here is a snippet from the article:

 

“Below right, next to the ’55 Corvette 265 CID V8, is the ZZ6 350 crate engine, which sports a roller cam, electronic fuel injection, titanium intake valves, and other up-to-date features, and it’s rated at 420 horsepower. Just drop it in and go.”

 

One of the five weird facts listed is about the many number of displacements this engine had, ten according to the piece, ranging from 262 to 400 cubic inches. I don’t think the LS1 engine introduced for the C5 Corvette in 1997 was a literal descendant of the original small-block Chevy. According to the piece it isn’t because its displacement (346 cubic inches) is not listed among the many displacements shown. From The Genuine Corvette Black Book:

 

“LS1 had the same bore spacing and similar displacement to the 350ci engine family it replaced [emphasis mine], but otherwise was new and state-of-the-art in pushrod V8 design.”

 

I point this out because this means I have probably never owned a car with a traditional small-block Chevy V8. Of course, the LS engines have become ubiquitous in their own right as the heart of many, many builds. If I am ever in a position to own and to modify a car like the one shown below, I will almost certainly have an LS motor installed:

 

 

How many of you have owned a car with a traditional small-block Chevy V8?

 

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#SBC

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Threadless Thursday

Sadly, book “burning” is alive and well.

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Yesterday, we received some much needed rain. I don’t know if forecasting in the desert is especially difficult, but the forecasts here seem to be wrong quite a bit.

On Tuesday morning, the probability of precipitation for Wednesday was pegged at only about 20 percent. Even at 5 AM on Wednesday, it was only shown at about 30 percent. Well, it rained for most of the period between 7 AM and 2 PM. It was the best type of rain we could have received in that it was steady, but never really heavy. Let’s see if this works:

 

 

Another weather prediction that was incorrect was the daytime high, not surprising given the miss in terms of precipitation. Forecast to be in the mid-90s, this is where temperatures sat for most of yesterday afternoon:

 

 

That picture was taken at about 2 PM on our way back from a lunch run. When the rain ended and the sun returned, the temperature did break into the 80s, but never close to the 90s. Here is a more scenic photo:

 

 

The evening provided this view that I thought was amazing:

 

 

Obviously, the lack of tall trees makes capturing scenes like this easier, but I also think they are more common here than in the mid-Atlantic.

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The car collector market has taken off as the damn virus has receded in many, but not all, places. (Vaccines work!) This article reports on the RM Sotheby’s automobile auction held in Italy last week. Yes, Sotheby’s is a high-end auctioneer, but the results from recent Barrett-Jackson and Mecum auctions in the US tell the same tale: people want to buy collector cars, maybe more now than ever before.

The Sotheby’s auction offered only 19 lots, but the average sale–converted to US dollars from Euros–was over $1,000,000. The median sale was about $660,000. I wish I could show pictures of the lots offered, but the blog author, apparently, is not at liberty to share them anywhere but his site. From Hagerty’s comes a picture of a car like one offered in Italy, a 1950 Cisitalia 202 SC Cabriolet:

 

See the source image

 

The Sotheby’s lot sold for about $370,000 all in including commission. A Cisitalia 202 (although I think it is a coupe) is still part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. In my opinion, the design is timeless and still fresh.

Italian automotive design is just in a league of its own. I won’t show the Alfa Romeo 4C again, but a car like that would not and could not have come from anywhere else.

 

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Threadless Thursday

I am disappointed that so few readers clicked on the two stories whose links I shared at the beginning of yesterday’s post. Without clicking on the links and at least reading the titles and sub-heads, the first part of the post would not likely have made any sense.

Anyway…the point was that many people who oppose price controls also oppose getting vaccinated. I believe those two “views” are part of the same syndrome in which people have come to believe that no one can ever tell them what to do for any reason. Once again, in the context of a country or society absolute freedom is not freedom, it’s anarchy.

I disapprove of price controls (they always create negative distortions in markets), but think people should get vaccinated against the damn virus. (One story was about the disastrous failure of price controls in Berlin’s rental market and the other was about the success of COVID-19 vaccines in Britain.) I am adamant in my belief that what I call the bullsh*t binary political paradigm in the US is a detriment to us all. Think for yourself!

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On a related note, something I read recently:

 

Idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you.

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From Corvette Blogger including a picture:

 

2023 C8 May Get Interior Changes

Rumors are being reported that the current GM design chief Michael Simcoe is not a fan of the center console button layout on the C8. The central console puts a small wall between driver and passenger and fills the top of it with buttons for the AC and seat heat/vents. This design has gotten some bad feedback from customers, and Chevy is listening. The new layout may be introduced in 2023 according to reports.

 

Do any of you own a C8 Corvette? If so, we would like to read your thoughts about the interior.

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Until 1937, this day (March 4th) was the day of the Presidential inauguration. Of course, that makes Franklin Delano Roosevelt the only President to be inaugurated on March 4th and on January 20th.

Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration had an infamous attendee: John Wilkes Booth. From On This Day a photo:

 

A photo of Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration in 1865, highlighting the location of his eventual assassin John Wilkes Booth as Lincoln makes his speech

 

Writing in his diary after observing Lincoln’s speech, Booth wrote “what an excellent chance I had, if I wished, to kill the President on Inauguration day!” Sadly, just 41 days later, Booth assassinated Lincoln.

I am reluctant to write this, but in this extremely polarized country I am surprised more assassination attempts have not occurred. Many of the mass murders seem to be workplace-related.

 

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