Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

First…I must admit I am disappointed at the lack of votes for yesterday’s A Or B feature. Enough said…

 

These days, it is easy to avoid TV commercials and based on those I do see, almost all of them should be avoided. I have written of my extreme disdain for the Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I can happily report that we no longer do business with that company, in large part due to those commercials.

Some commercials, though, are still clever, but certain commercials from the past seem to continue to resonate. How many of you know who Jack Somack was? If I show you a picture you might recognize him:

 

Alka-Seltzer’s “Spicy Meatball” Grows Better With Age

 

The picture is from Ace Metrix, which is, apparently, a company that tests the effectiveness of commercials. This is a still from the famous Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial. Reluctantly, I will publish a link to the commercial from a Minion of The Evil Empire. Jack Somack is the man in the commercial suffering through ruined take after ruined take. By the way, political correctness is not that new. According to Somack’s biography on imdb.com, despite its success the commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians. By the way, according to imdb, Somack did not begin acting professionally until he was in his 50s. Maybe it’s not too late for me… 🙂

What commercials from the past do you remember fondly?

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Speaking of TV, 50 years ago was the middle of the 1970-71 TV season in the US. What was the #1 rated show for that season? Marcus Welby, M.D. That was significant as it was the first show aired on ABC to finish #1 in the Nielsen ratings for an entire season.

Robert Young came out of a seven-year retirement to play the lead role. I could swear I have read that thousands of people wrote letters to “Marcus Welby, M.D.” every year asking for medical advice, but I cannot find corroboration. From Nostalgia Central, a picture of the cast of the show:

 

See the source image

 

On the left, of course, is Robert Young. Elena Verdugo, who played nurse Consuelo Lopez, is in the center and James Brolin, Dr. Steven Kiley, is on the right. The show ran for seven seasons. As regular readers know, I am a fan of many TV medical dramas. My favorite show ever is House, M.D. My favorite show currently airing on US television is Transplant, a Canadian show airing on NBC about a Syrian refugee doctor working in a Toronto hospital.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TVCommercials

#MarcusWelbyM.D.

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Throwback Thursday, Throwback To Where

Originally, I was going to call this post Throwback Thursday, A Tale Of Two Cities. I was going to write about the city in which I was born and the city in which I currently live.

The former has experienced a 37 percent decline in its population in my lifetime, while the population of the latter has increased by 2,474 percent. No, that is not a typo. People vote with their feet, remember.

In the end, however, I just didn’t think I could write a post about the topic that would appeal to me or to my readers. Still, here’s a photo that has some relevance today:

 

 

I believe this picture of a December, 1960 snowfall is from The Baltimore Sun. Of course, the Northeast has just seen its first major snow event in 2-3 years although I think Baltimore was mostly spared. No, I’m not sorry we missed the storm because we moved and no, we were not living in the Baltimore area.

The only constant in the world is change. For most of my life I have loved snow, probably in large part due to the fact that a significant snowfall would get me out of school. I also do not remember ever having to make up any snow days.

Then, seemingly in the space between one winter and the next in my mid-50s, I lost my affinity for winter and its weather. It was sunny and 63° here yesterday. I have seen more cloudless skies here in the six weeks or so since we left the mid-Atlantic for good than I would see there in a year.

Yes, I know it will be very hot here next summer. That’s a price I gladly pay for the weather the rest of the year. My wonderful wife says the summers never bothered her when she lived here from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s. Still, I’m very glad we just spent a significant amount getting our HVAC system up to snuff. (Does that phrase show my age?)

I would like to read about any major changes in your preferences during your lives, whether or not it’s related to weather or the seasons.

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Do you think you would want to own a car that could reach 300 MPH? According to this article, renowned car builder Hennessey (headquartered in Texas) will build (is building?) a car called the Venom F5 that can reach 500 KM/hour or 311 MPH. From the article, a picture of the car:

 

 

The Venom F5 is powered by an original Hennessey engine, the “Fury” V-8, which is a 6.6 liter, twin-turbo motor that can produce over 1,800 HP and about 1,200 LB-FT of torque. Only 24 of these will be made at a price of $2.1 million each. Here is a remark by John Hennessey:

 

“This car goes against the grain of modern hypercars, many of which have become soft and docile. The F5 resets the balance, having been designed from the ground up to be the antithesis of the ‘everyday hypercar’ – it will always be an occasion to drive.”

 

I find that comment to be very interesting. In my opinion, a car that can reach 225+ MPH, like some cars that have been produced in the last 10-20 years, cannot be described as docile, even if they are smooth to drive at normal speeds.

I am reluctant to ask if you would be interested in buying a Venom F5 assuming you could afford it because I really believe that people don’t know what they would do in an “out-of-context” situation until they are experiencing it. Still, it’s an interesting question to ponder, at least as sort of a cerebral exercise.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#ATaleOfTwoCities

#HennesseyVenomF5

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday 43

First…yesterday I criticized those who think taxes have no impact on behavior. Yes, there really are people who think taxes don’t affect how people act. This story from CNBC is about yet another of the countless examples of how taxes profoundly influence behavior.

Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir and founder of a venture firm named 8VC, is moving his company headquarters from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. In an interview, Lonsdale specifically cited California’s high taxes as a key reason why the company was moving to Texas. Peter Thiel, co-founder and Chairman of Palantir, recently announced that his company headquarters were also leaving California and moving to Denver, Colorado.

If they can, people vote with their feet. Making rich people poorer will not make poor people richer, at least not in the developed world. The politics of envy are a road to nowhere.

Second…Hallelujah! Fack Fucebook is likely to be the subject of two antitrust lawsuits, including one that could be filed as early as next week. State attorneys general are preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook as soon as next week and at least 20 to 30 states could join in. Many sources are reporting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also likely to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.

Facebook has a de facto monopoly on “social media” especially when one considers that they own Instagram. I have tremendous respect for Jim Cramer of CNBC, but disagree with him on this issue. The possibility that the cost of digital advertising will increase if Facebook is broken up is a poor reason for not doing so. The power the company has is dangerous and time and time again they have shown disrespect for the data of their customers.

Delete Facebook! Fack Fucebook!

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What was the best-selling car in the US fifty years ago, or 1970 for those of you who are mathematically challenged? It was a model that sold over a million units for model year 1965 and even though by 1970 that figure had diminished by more than half, it was still at the top of the heap. Here is a picture (from Classic Car Database):

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1970 Chevrolet Impala. For that year about 496,000 Impalas were produced. Based on my admittedly less than thorough research, I believe the #2 car model was the Ford LTD at about 374,000.

For a model that was so successful for so many years, it is quite sad to me that the Impala is no longer being produced and probably never will be again. From the first year that the Impala was a completely separate model, 1959, through 1968–ten model years–more than seven million Impalas were produced.

As I have recounted before in this blog, I have a sentimental attachment to the Impala. When my ’67 GTO was wrecked in an accident two weeks before I was to leave for college for the first time, it was my father’s ’61 Impala that got me back and forth between home and college during my first semester. My aunt and uncle owned a ’64 that they would let me pretend to drive.

Car enthusiasts, particularly American car enthusiasts, should acknowledge the significance of the Chevrolet Impala.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#SayNoToThePoliticsOfEnvy

#TaxesMatter

#FackFucebook

#JimCramer

#1970ChevroletImpala

#1970FordLTD

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday, Gettysburg Address Edition

On this day in 1863, as part of the dedication ceremony for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln gave what became one of the most famous speeches in American history. Here it is:

 

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

Sadly, I think the US has strayed very far from Lincoln’s vision. Obviously, I am not the only person who has that view. We have become a nation governed by an unholy alliance of special interest groups and government bureaucrats; the former consumed by naked self-interest, the latter consumed by ideology and a need for power.

I think we are engaged in a Cold Civil War, a war of vastly differing visions for this country, but a war without bullets (mostly). Once again, I think the end result will be the dissolution of the US as we know it as the attempted departure of any state(s) from the union will be welcomed by those in states where the majority of its citizens hold different views.

Nothing lasts forever including nations. Where is Czechoslovakia? Where is Yugoslavia? Going back further in time, where is the Roman Empire? Where is the Austro-Hungarian Empire? (Speaking of Hungary, could anyone have imagined 50 years ago that it would be a NATO member before the end of the 20th century?)

Government is only supposed to exist with the consent of the governed (of the people, by the people, for the people). It is not supposed to be a monolithic, unaccountable entity. However, views on the role of government have become so polarized that I see no resolution other than dissolution.

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A more pleasant throwback and not an effort to demean the Gettysburg Address or Abraham Lincoln:

 

See the source image

 

This is a picture (from Motor Authority) of the Pontiac Banshee I concept car, unveiled in 1964, and not a C3 Corvette prototype.

From this article in Corv Sport titled “The Pontiac Banshee: The Most Influential Car That Never Was:”

 

However, in the case of the Pontiac Banshee, a design can fail to receive final approval, due solely to the fact that the car in question would likely become a threat to the sales of a brand’s flagship offering. This is a lesson that John DeLorean, much to his disgust, was forced to come to terms with.

During this same period [the mid-1960s], the GTO, originally offered as an options package for the Pontiac LeMans, had begun to garner a following of its own. However, one of the project’s chief designers, John DeLorean, was not yet content with Pontiac’s footprint in the performance/sports car sector. Instead, he set out to engineer something revolutionary by design, that would yield performance and driveability characteristics of sufficient fortitude to topple the Mustang’s elite status.

It was out of this desire that the XP-883 concept car was born. This particular car was known by the Pontiac design team staff as the Banshee. Ultimately, two original Banshee concept cars were built. Out of these two, one was a soft-topped roadster, and the other featured a removable hardtop.

The Banshee featured sleek body lines, a 90-inch wheelbase, and weighed in at only 2,615 pounds. The car also boasted a 421 H.O. engine that was mated to a Muncie M-21 four-speed transmission. It appeared that there was a bright future ahead for the Banshee, if only it reached production. Unfortunately, it never did.

When DeLorean set out to secure the approval that was needed to send the Banshee into full-fledged production, his requests were met with steadfast rejection. Although the Banshee was poised for potential greatness, there was indeed a stumbling block in DeLorean’s path.

The Banshee, with its comparable horsepower to the Corvette of the day, and its notably lighter curb weight, was seen as a direct threat to the American icon’s elite status. Because of this, rejection was levied against DeLorean’s ambitions for the Banshee. It seemed as if GM executives had taken a hardline stance against the Banshee, for no other reason than the fact that they felt it would become formidable opposition to the Corvette, in both the performance and sales arena.

Even with a revised presentation of an inline 6-cylinder option that yielded a reported output of 165 HP, the Banshee failed to secure the number of signatures required to send it to production. Instead, DeLorean was told to cease all work on the current project and proceed to design duties on a Pontiac branded version of the Camaro, which would ultimately become the Firebird.

However, the story of the Banshee was far from over. On September 10, 1965, a memo was passed down to Bill Mitchell, GM’s Head of Design, that featured a request to modify the Banshee’s clays into a more Chevrolet-esque two-passenger coupe design.

When the C3 Corvette debuted in 1968, it held a striking resemblance to the Banshee that had previously been barred from production. In an ironic turn of events, it seemed as if the Banshee had become the latest inception of the very car that it had been forbidden to stack up against.

 

If you can’t beat ’em, be ’em. As every regular reader knows, I am quite the fan of concept cars and wish more of them could be put into production more or less untouched.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#GettysburgAddress

#PontiacBansheeI

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday, Beautiful Highways?

On this day in 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act. The new law called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of signs, along the nation’s growing Interstate Highway System and the existing federal-aid primary highway system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird, played a major role in the passage of the act. In the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, Robin Williams (as disc jockey Adrian Cronauer) comments about the passage of the bill and says one of its provisions is that Lady Bird will no longer be allowed to drive in a car with the top down. Since most of Williams’ dialogue in the scenes in the radio studio was ad-libbed, I assume that line was also ad-libbed.

I don’t really remember what America’s major highways looked like before passage of the bill, but frankly I think that unless some natural scenery exists, interstate highways project too sterile an appearance. I also think the bill (and its descendants, more on that below) has been ignored on US routes–as opposed to interstate highways–and many of them have long stretches that are nothing but a harsh, dissonant mix of stores, advertising and more stores, a cacophony of sight, if you will.

I’m sure Lady Bird Johnson meant well, but as is the case with most government regulations the Highway Beautification Act has spawned a cottage Congressional “industry” of subsequent committees and more laws. In writing about the George Brett homerun that was nullified because of the placement of pine tar on his bat, Bill James wrote, “Laws that are not enforced are unenforceable.” The “pine tar” rule had been in effect for awhile, but had never been applied until that instance making that enforcement the definition of arbitrary. Despite the myriad of laws that are supposed to govern the appearance of major roads and highways, many of them are either garish or sterile in appearance.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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In this piece Colin Windell notes that Fords sold in South Africa are available with a USB port in the rear-view mirror to accommodate dash cams. Does anyone know if Ford or any other vehicle manufacturer sells cars so equipped in the US?

My wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette is equipped with option code UQT (say that out loud), which gives her the ability to record high-def video and audio and save it to a storage device so the A/V can be played on most computers. However, in this instance the ability to record sight and sound is built into the car.

I think dash cams are a great idea and have looked into adding one to my Z06. I think the use of such devices is a prime example of “Better Safe Than Sorry.”

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So, is this car going to be released or not? Does anyone know?

 

See the source image

 

From carmagazine.co.uk (obviously) a picture/rendering of the 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV. Some time last year Alfa announced that all of its 2021 offerings would either have a hybrid or all-electric drivetrain, which most of the automotive world interpreted as the end of the Giulia-based GTV coupe. Other publications say such a car may still be introduced, although perhaps not until model year 2022, and it may or may not have a non-ICE drivetrain.

It would be a sad day if all Alfa Romeo builds are SUVs and four-door sedans, regardless of how they are powered. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas, of course…)

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#HighwayBeautificationAct

#MarkTwain

#DashCams

#NewAlfaRomeoGTV?

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday 42

Didn’t I just write a Throwback Thursday a couple of days ago?! Talk about time compression due to aging…

 

On this day in 1965 the following single was #1 on the US Billboard Top 40/Hot 100 chart (picture from eCRATER, an online record sale site):

 

See the source image

 

Of course, the song was written in conjunction with the movie of the same name, which was released the same year. The film premiered in New York, its US premiere, in late August about a month after its British premiere. Does anyone really care about the “plot” of the movie? Me, neither.

“Help!” was the Beatles’ 9th song to reach the top of the charts in the US. Their first Number One tune, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” topped the charts in February-March of 1964. Those nine songs were Number One for a collective 25 weeks, or about 30 percent of the time between “I Want to Hold Your Hand” ascending to the top spot and the last week “Help!” was Number One. One group held the Number One position on the US charts for 30 percent of a period of more than a year and a half. Eventually, the Beatles would have 20 songs reach the top of the Billboard charts.

Lest you think I am a big Beatles fan, I am not. For my demographic, I am almost certainly in the bottom five or ten percent in Beatles’ fandom. However, I fully appreciate their impact on music. I also don’t dislike their music, but I don’t own any nor do I stream any. If a Beatles’ song is played while I/we are listening to the Sirius/XM Sixties Channel I/we don’t change the channel, though.

Are any Beatles fans reading this post?

 

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#Help!

#TheBeatles

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Throwback Thursday 41

At this time of year more than 40 years ago, I began my senior year of high school. I have been thinking about that academic year since writing this post.

As one would know if they read the comments (and you should!), David Banner (not his real name) and I attended the same high school. More than that, we were in the same class, or section as our school called them, all eight semesters. Anyway, here is a picture of my class in my senior year of high school, when I thought more about cars than about sports, which meant I thought A LOT about cars.

 

 

Trying to be as objective as possible, this was an extraordinary group of high school students. The average SAT score of the entire class was 1300, in the days when the maximum score was 1600.

One person in this class is the COO of a large energy company. At least two people became doctors, “David Banner” being one of them. I don’t know the exact number, but I do know this class produced multiple Ph.D. awardees.

Then, of course, there’s me. Although all of these facts have glanced off the collective skull of the world, I am a pioneer of sports analytics, one of the fathers of “Moneyball.” I wrote a book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. Of course, that review will get me breakfast at McDonald’s, as long as I also have six dollars.

In these posts I have often looked longingly at my childhood as a time when almost anything seemed possible. That still seemed true to me as I graduated from high school.

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How many of you are aware of BMI? No, I’m not talking about Body Mass Index. I mean Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) They are one of the major performing rights companies in the United States. BMI collects license fees from businesses that use music on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed.

In order to know how much to collect and to distribute, BMI collects data on how often specific songs have been broadcast/performed on TV and radio. According to BMI, what was the most performed song of the 20th century? I have long thought that “Yesterday” by the Beatles was the answer. I was wrong, but not by much. From the linked story, here are the Top Ten and their composers:

 

1. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ Barry Mann, Phil Spector, Cynthia Weil
2. Never My Love Donald & Richard Addrisi
3. Yesterday John Lennon & Paul McCartney
4. Stand By Me Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
5. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You Bob Crewe & Bob Gaudio
6. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay Steve Cropper & Otis Redding
7. Mrs. Robinson Paul Simon
8. Baby, I Need Your Loving Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland & Eddie Holland
9. Rhythm of the Rain John Gummoe
10. Georgia on My Mind Hoagy Carmichael & Stuart Gorrell

 

In 2009, Phil Spector was convicted of the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson and given a sentence of 19 years to life, but that’s another story. So, according to BMI how many times was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” performed? More than eight million…

As I have written before, I strongly believe that the phrase “current American music” is an oxymoron. Am I just an old fogy? As time progresses it doesn’t follow that everything progresses. No human being is perfect and no endeavor of human beings is perfect. New paradigms can be, and often are, severely flawed.

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Going back even further in time than my senior year of high school…

 

See the source image

 

From oldparkedcars.com a picture of a 1961 Buick Skylark convertible. The link above is to a Hemmings story about the introduction of General Motors’ first compacts, the Y-Body cars introduced in 1961. These cars were the Pontiac Tempest/LeMans, Buick Special/Skylark and Oldsmobile F85/Cutlass.

Like the hashtag reads, so many cars just one life.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#HighSchool

#BMI

#MostPerformedSongsOfThe20thCentury

#GMY-BodyCars

#1961BuickSkylarkConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday: WKRP Edition

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” That line comes from the hysterical episode of WKRP In Cincinnati called “Turkeys Away.” From a Pinterest page, a picture of Richard Sanders as Les Nessman from that episode:

 

See the source image

WKRP In Cincinnati is one of my favorite TV shows ever. I worked in radio, although not until after the show’s original run ended. Most of the humor seemed organic. Think the “Turkeys Away” episode was contrived? It was inspired by a real promotion conducted by an Atlanta radio station, although in real life the live turkeys were tossed from the back of a truck and not from a helicopter.

Let me back up…feeling left out after new Program Director Andy Travis (played by Gary Sandy) has basically taken control of the station, Station Manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) has a big idea for an unforgettable Thanksgiving promo–drop live turkeys from a helicopter into a crowd waiting below. He keeps this plan a secret from all but one other station employee, bumbling Sales Director Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner).

The line I quoted at the beginning of this post is the last line of the episode and is said by Carlson.

One of the lines from the opening theme song of WKRP was “up and down the dial.” That played out in real life for the show, to its detriment, as beginning in its second season, CBS moved WKRP’s day/time slot around quite a bit. In those days before easily programmable DVRs people had to watch a show live. If they didn’t know when it was on, then they couldn’t watch it.

Declining ratings caused the show to be cancelled after four seasons. Ironically, the last original episode ranked at number 7 in the Nielsen ratings the week it aired, but the show had already been cancelled. I don’t know if the public knew about the cancellation and that’s why the ratings were good.

I don’t know what possessed me to write about WKRP and “Turkeys Away” today, but I hope those of you who remember the show, and the episode, enjoyed the “throwback.”

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When we decided to put our house on the market in early July so we could move to the desert, my wonderful wife and I made a little bet as to when we would actually move. She said September 18; I said November 18.

With the flurry of showings in the first two weeks after listing the house, it looked as if my wonderful wife was a lock to win. Now, there is no way we will move by the 18th of September, so the clock is ticking. Whoever is closer to the actual move date wins the bet. The stakes? No one’s business but our own, but it is a small bet more for fun than for anything else.

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Is my showing/writing about a car in almost every post necessary? I love cars (duh…), but sometimes I have nothing car-related about which to write for a given post. I have to admit that sometimes I just show a car because I think that’s what the readers expect. Why do you think I write about historical car “events” from sources like 365 Days of Motoring?

Anyway…from My Classic Garage a picture of a car like the one my father bought instead of a 1965 Corvette convertible:

 

See the source image

 

 

This is a 1965 Cadillac Deville convertible. My father’s car was light blue and I am only 95% sure it was a ’65. Cadillac built 19,200 Deville convertibles for that model year.

At the time, I didn’t know he was considering buying a Corvette convertible. He told me much later, perhaps during one of the summers I worked for him. Who knows? If he had bought the Vette, I might still have it today.

His Cadillac was the first car I ever saw with power windows, power locks, etc. Those features made quite an impression on the very young me.

My attraction to Cadillacs comes honestly. Buying a 2000-02 Eldorado after we move is still a distinct possibility. I guess showing a ’65 Deville convertible is a throwback, at least to me.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TurkeysAway

#WKRPInCincinnati

#SpousalBet

#1965CadillacConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, Rowhouse Edition

See the source image

 

From the Maryland Historical Trust a blurry picture of a Baltimore rowhouse block. We didn’t call them townhouses in those days.

From the time I was 2 until I was 25 I lived in a Baltimore rowhouse. It is highly doubtful I will ever call another place my home for as long. Counting from the major road at the “head” of our street, our house was the 37th of 38 houses on our side of the block. The block was “split” in two with about 20 or so houses (24?) in one group and the rest, including our house, in the second group. (As a comparison, our current neighborhood only has 37 homes in total.)

Even now, sometimes when I dream of being home it is this house that appears. Rowhouses still exist in droves in Baltimore and in other eastern cities, but for me rowhouses are a throwback to a different and much simpler time. I suppose that someone in my family might be in possession of photos of our house and that neighborhood, but I don’t seem to have any, hence the appearance of the “borrowed” photo.

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Speaking of Maryland, on this day in 1952 the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened. The original bridge, at 4.3 miles in length, was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. A parallel span opened in 1973. From Wikipedia a small picture of the two spans:

 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge viewed from Sandy Point State Park.jpg

 

From the Wikipedia article:

 

“The bridge is officially named the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane Jr. who, as the 52nd Governor of Maryland, initiated its construction in the late 1940s finally after decades of political indecision and public controversy.”

 

Despite being born and raised in Maryland, I have not driven across the bridge that often. The bridge links the “eastern” and “western” shores of the Delmarva Peninsula, with the beach community of Ocean City, Maryland and the Delaware beach communities being on the eastern side. I am not a beach person; Baltimore is west of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is part of US Routes 50 and 301 and has led to the growth of towns on the eastern shore. Queen Anne’s County, Maryland is on the eastern shore (and at the eastern terminus of the bridge), but is now considered part of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area by the Census Bureau. The county population increased from about 15,000 in 1950 to almost 34,000 in 1990 and nearly 48,000 in 2010.

Our future home will not be in a place in close proximity to large bodies of water that require enormous bridges. Maybe my wonderful wife and I should take a drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge before we move.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#BaltimoreRowhouse

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Throwback Thursday, Old TV Edition

From The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh a picture of the page showing the TV schedule from the season during which I was born, the 1959-60 season. No, I am not a TV character…

 

 

As you can see, the schedule is dominated by Westerns. There were 30 prime-time Western series on American TV in this season. Four seasons later, that number had dwindled to 8. Of course, the most-watched TV show was Gunsmoke; Wagon Train and Have Gun Will Travel were second and third in the ratings, respectively. From TV Guide a picture from the first season of Gunsmoke:

 

See the source image

 

On the left, of course, is the star of the show: James Arness as Matt Dillon. Gunsmoke was produced and shown on CBS for 20 seasons. That was the longest run by any live-action, primetime series on US television until September, 2019 when the 21st season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit debuted.

I have a confession to make: I have never seen an episode of Gunsmoke. I have another confession to make: the primetime TV schedule shown below (also from the Brooks and Marsh book) is more interesting to me than the one from 1959-60:

 

 

This is the first primetime TV “schedule,” from the 1946-47 “season.” For some reason, the beginning of an endeavor is often far more interesting to me than after that endeavor becomes established. OK, what network is represented by the “D” in the listing? That is the DuMont network that folded in the mid-1950s.

Do you see the show listed at the bottom called Voice of Firestone Televues? I am fascinated by that show because it might very well be the first network series. NBC began feeding its Monday night schedule to TV stations in Philadelphia and Schenectady, New York–in addition to being shown on its New York City station–in April of 1944.

Ironically, my interest in automobiles does not exactly follow the same pattern. While I appreciate the significance of the first cars–Benz, Duryea, etc.–they don’t appeal to me and I have not studied them much. I am, however, far more interested in the automobile business before the consolidation into the few large companies that exist today.

What idiosyncratic interests do you have?

 

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