Note: Another post by my buddy Tony LaHood. Republished with his permission. -TK
Detroit. Kenosha. South Bend. Van Nuys? Maybe the latter doesn’t seem like a car-making town, but it was. For a brief two years, Van Nuys, CA, was home to the Davis, a three-wheeled automobile-cum-sofa.
The Davis story starts with a man named Frank Kurtis, an erstwhile racing car designer and builder of “The Californian”, a three-wheeled roadster commissioned by Southern California racer and banking heir Joel Thorne. It was this car that inspired former Indiana used-car salesman Glen Gordon Davis to create a namesake convertible that would incorporate many features of The Californian.
One of the things that has gotten me excited the past few years is how many of the current diecast model companies have been releasing makes and models I never, ever expected to be produced in scale. Cars from the ’70s and ’80s that weren’t Camaros, Mustangs and Corvettes. Cars I remember from my childhood and various and sundry ’80s TV shows watched in my formative years.
Case in point. Greenlight has recently released the Colonnade Pontiac LeMans wagon in several different versions. They’ve even released a wagon version of Buford T. Justice’s Montague County, TX LeMans. Yes, really, I saw one at Hobby Lobby last week.
When I die, it might be said of me that I was a bad uncle.
Not a creepy uncle, or a dangerous one, mind you. Just one who is occasionally derelict in his duty towards his niece. I like to make plans for my son and Bark’s son — plans for indoor karting, NERF(tm) guns, trips to South Carolina. Whenever I do this, Bark reminds me that he has two children. “You always forget about your niece,” he chides.
He’s wrong. I’m not forgetting about her; I simply think that she doesn’t need my help or involvement in any significant amount. She’s a talented young woman with a long list of accomplishments, outstanding bone structure, and a family history of staying thin. This is THE_CURRENT_YEAR and the deck is stacked in her favor.
I’m not so sure the same is true for our sons. Over the past decade I’ve gotten the impression that young American men are increasingly under fire, so to speak — that’s a metaphor, although it’s literally true for many of our least fortunate young men who see the armed forces as a way to escape what increasingly looks like a planned economic hollowing-out of our rural counties. The above chart, which has been circulating a bit on Twitter with no substantive refutation of its statistics, only serves to reinforce my concern. (You can see the original, and click through for references, here.)
This is what I want you to do.
0. Read the chart quickly;
1. Then consider your most immediate reaction to it.
Is that reaction some mixture of shame and annoyance? Do you feel a small (or significant) measure of contempt for the type of person who would even bother to create such a thing? When you hear the phrase “a war on boys”, is your first response to express your disappointment with, or contempt for, the sort of person who uses that phrase? If you’re like most of our male readers, I bet you have at least some of these reactions.
Would you like to know why? And would you like to know why it’s critical that you change your response?
Note: Another motorcycle history by my friend, Lee Wilcox, of Texas. Republished here with his permission. Enjoy. -TK
Why is the Harley Davidson Sprint such a contradiction? In the hands of a slug like me they become a heavy, somewhat awkward, vibrating, slow, and uncomfortable machine. In the hands of some of the guys that grabbed U.S. and World titles, the bike was a champion. You know how some machines just make the rider better? Well, this was not one of them. But it said Harley Davidson on it, and they did sponsor racers. You get the picture. How Harley Davidson (and I) came about to have this little Italian one-lunger is a bit of a longer story.
Aermacchi is shortened from Aeronautico Macchi. For you folks that don’t speak Italian I am told that means Macchi’s Aeronautical company. They made airplanes. Still do. Their first planes were in 1917 and they were flying boats. As I recall (no I’m not that old, but I can read) they were on our side in that war and came out fairly prosperous.
Between the wars they continued to grow and then in a fit they picked the wrong side in the second war. While it paid off in the short term, in the long term it proved very detrimental.
Actually all of Europe was in the same boat no matter which side you had been on if you were a civilian trying to feed yourself. At any rate, Aermacchi and everyone else knew that fuel was precious and that motorcycles would sell. They found an engineer named Lino Tonti who had been at Benelli and worked on aircraft engines during the war. Tonti designed and built a 50cc bike that set the land speed record for it’s size. While it’s not their first bike this is a good example of Italian bikes in 1950.
As the kids say nowadays, I’m “still processing” the responses to last week’s distracted-driving column. A surprising number of the commenters appear to have an opinion which roughly boils down to: There’s no statistical support for the idea that texting-and-driving is as bad as drunk driving — in fact, it appears to be nightmarishly more dangerous to do the latter than the former — but in my Secret King feelingsverse I still think that texting is just totally the worst thing ever and I won’t hear any argument to the contrary. It doesn’t matter that my statistics are coming straight from the NHTSA, which is currently trying to use “distracted driving” as something between a cause celebre and a reason to implement a draconian new raft of privacy-destroying regulations. And it doesn’t matter that those statistics show distracted driving to be more of a nuisance than a deadly epidemic. These commenters just know that cellphones are turning the American highway into a bloodbath, and they won’t accept any opinion to the contrary.
In other words, just like the narrator of Miike Snow’s “Cult Logic” — they believe it, even if it is not true.
For the past three years some of my fellow Jews have been telling me that I’m not a very good Jew because I happened to vote for the presidential candidate of a major American political party. Putting aside the possible naivete in my beliefs that we live in a good country filled with mostly decent people, regardless of their political ideologies, and that it’s virtually impossible for a truly monstrous person to get through the years-long vetting process of getting nominated, let alone elected, I’m a bit perplexed. The last time I looked, not one of the 613 commandments (yeah, there are way more than the big ten) that God gave the Jews in the Torah obligates me to vote for a particular person or party.
Even more perplexing is the fact that the Jews telling me that I’m not a good Jew hold mutually contradicting beliefs about Jewish identity and for the most part are nearly complete ignoramuses about Judaism, Jewish culture and Jewish history.
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If you like pinch harmonics — and who doesn’t? — then you’ll enjoy this tune from a Riverside Green reader! Happy New Year, everyone!
The joke’s on her: I’ve already been hit by a fully-loaded tractor once, in March of 1988! And look at me driving pretty much every day in spite of that!
I’ve always loved Imperials. That finest Mopar of them all, they lived as a separate marque a la Cadillac and Lincoln from 1955 to 1975. Though starting in the early ’70s, Chrysler Corporation started sneaking ‘Chrysler’ onto the cars and into advertising, perhaps to brace loyal customers for the inevitable.
Imperials were always rare, plush, giant cars, but by the early 1970s, they were especially scarce, at least when compared to contemporary Cadillacs and Lincolns. After 1975, the Imperial marque was a done deal (unless you count the bustle-back, rebodied Cordoba or EEK restyled, Fifth Avenue-based 1990-93 model). Perhaps the rarest of the rare was the Fuselage body 1969-73 two-door hardtop. With most likely the biggest quarter panels, ever. They’re just about my favorite Imperial. But I’ve only ever seen one in the metal. This one.
I have a confession to make: I almost never read the “conservative media”. And why should I? Traditional conservative, or “tradcon”, publications are worse than useless. They’re the “Washington Generals of politics”, so to speak, preaching a bizarre gospel of corporate personhood and ever-decreasing taxation to a statistically insignificant demographic of drywall contractors and YouTube grifters. Their “conservative” positions are merely the “liberal” positions of twenty years ago, and they are adjusted on an annual basis. Today’s Koch-Brothers-funded mouthpieces are solidly to the left of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign platform. In two decades, they’ll be advocating a Green New Deal.
Which is just another way of saying that magazines and websites like National Review are utterly irrelevant. They are literally allowing the Washington Post to beat them to a comprehensive dismantling of Rachel Maddow. The only place where the Buckley crowd is out in front with a policy position is with regards to immigration — the Democrats want it to be both unlimited and socialized, but the conservatives want it to be unlimited, subsidized, and untaxed.
No, I’m afraid that if you want to see where public opinion is going, you have to read the far left wing — publications like Jacobin and The Nation. Anything you see in there is usually no more than five years away from being mainstreamed, ten years away from being compulsory, and twenty years away from being strongly advocated by National Review. And what is The Nation saying lately? Here’s a hint: you might want to hold off on that kitchen remodel.