Monday Musings 51

“We are nothing but raindrops on a windshield.”

OK, who made that remark? Jerry Seinfeld to Michael Richards in an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, a series which I believe has now been discontinued.

People who take themselves very seriously have lost perspective on the world, I believe.


Could anyone have imagined in 1975 that on this day in 1995 Chrysler Corporation would open a car dealership in…wait for it…Hanoi, Vietnam? Obviously, many Americans, especially many veterans who served in the Vietnam War, were opposed to Chrysler’s action. Chrysler Vice-President for International Operations Tom Gale said, “By starting business here we feel we’re helping the healing process. We have consulted with veterans groups and the U.S. government. Some feel it’s time to move on. Many of the veterans groups support American investment in Vietnam as an outlet to increase access to the country.”

Chrysler had intended to eventually build factories in Vietnam, but the Vietnamese government refused to give up rice pasture land for the construction of new production facilities and so I don’t think such plants were ever built. The Wikipedia article about Chrysler factories, both open and closed, does not list any Vietnamese plants.

Since abandoning rigid adherence to a centrally-planned (socialist/communist) economy in the mid-1980s and moving to a market-based economy, Vietnam’s economic growth has been impressive although the country remains far from wealthy. (Did you know that Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world with a population just shy of 100 million?) Could anyone in 1975 have imagined that Vietnam would have a market-based economy with a fully functioning stock exchange and that its largest export market would be the United States? History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.


From this post:


From The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company by James A. Ward:


“The news of Packard’s demise was announced on July 13 [1958, emphasis mine], but nobody at S-P [Studebaker-Packard] took responsibility for it. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal ran retrospective pieces, emphasizing Packard’s past, and explained its death by saying that S-P’s ‘destiny is tied to smaller cars.’ The Times pointed out that with Packard’s demise, only 16 remained of the 2,700 nameplates that had appeared since 1893. Business Week headlined its story ‘Ask The Man Who Owned One’ and compared the fall of Nash, Hudson, Packard, Willys, Crosley, and Frazer to the disappearance of automobile companies in the depression.”


Of course, the 1957 and 1958 model Packards were really just badge-engineered Studebakers. Still, this was the day after which the glorious Packard name would no longer have a place in the automobile industry. From a Pinterest account a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean hardtop:


See the source image


Maybe one of these days…








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Mutant Zombies

Bait and switch? (A little bit of a test, if I must confess.) I have never watched The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead Go To Disney World or any other such programming. My knowledge of “popular culture” is extremely limited and my interest in zombie shows is nil.

I have not seen a movie in a theater in over a decade. I have never seen a Star Wars movie. I watch almost no TV from the “old” networks and, if it isn’t Velocity or CNBC or Mecum Auto Auctions, I watch almost no TV, period. I do not remember the last time I read a fiction book.

I’m not bragging and I’m not ashamed. The entertainment machine does not care about my demographic and it shows. Did you know that 70% of movie tickets are purchased by people 21 and younger? (From The Hollywood Economist, a very interesting book. Until I went to find the Amazon link, I didn’t know that a more recent version of this book had been published.) I don’t want to watch horror movies or “comedies” that are nothing but gross stupidity.

My brain craves knowledge. Virtually no entertainment feeds that craving. Learning about subjects in which I have intrinsic interest IS entertainment to me.


Who won the Vietnam War? Yes, the Communists overran the South and Saigon is now called Ho Chi Minh City. Who really won the war, though? From the CIA World Factbook: “Vietnam is a densely populated developing country that has been transitioning since 1986 [emphasis mine] from the rigidities of a centrally planned, highly agrarian economy to a more industrial and market based economy, and it has raised incomes substantially…In addition, the country is committed to continuing its global economic integration…To continue its trajectory of strong economic growth, the government acknowledges the need to spark a ‘second wave’ of reforms, including reforming state-owned-enterprises, reducing red tape, increasing business sector transparency, reducing the level of non-performing loans in the banking sector, and increasing financial sector transparency.”

Vietnam has a functioning stock market. Ironically, the largest stock exchange there is called the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. (Truth is stranger and more interesting than fiction.)

Again, from the World Factbook:

Exports – Partners:

US 20.1%, China 14.5%, Japan 8%, South Korea 6.8% (2017)

Vietnam’s largest export partner is the US!
The country also has the beginnings of an automobile industry. Observe:

From a picture of the VinFast Lux A2.0 sedan. (Yes, the same company will be producing an SUV.) Deliveries of the sedan and SUV will begin in Vietnam in June or July of 2019 with exports starting in 2020.

VinFast is Vietnam’s first domestic automobile manufacturer. The CEO of VinFast is James DeLuca, who was formerly the executive vice-president for global manufacturing for…General Motors!

The sedan has a lot of BMW DNA in addition to Italian styling. I just think this is a remarkable story and one that doesn’t seem to receive too much attention in America. The Vietnam War has been over for a long time. Most people alive today in both the US and Vietnam were not alive when the overt fighting ceased. At that moment could anyone have predicted Vietnam would eventually have a capitalist economy and trade heavily with the US? Once again, history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

Sorry that the spacing seems to have gone awry. I tried to fix it many times. It must be the CIA planting something on my computer…:) Maybe it’s the Mutant Zombies…