The Camel’s Nose In The Kid’s Cage, Plus DadLogic

It was all fake. Every bit of it. The kid in the cage, staring forlornly out from his literally padded cell in the company of children wearing $69.95 Vans Sk8-Hi shoes? Fake. The picture of TRUMP CHILD CONCENTRATION CAMPS? It was from President Obama’s administration. The refugee child crying on the cover of TIME while Trump looks on with disdain? Not a refugee, and never separated from her family.

But if the coverage was entirely fake, the motive behind it was tiresomely real. After two years of trying every avenue of attack possible, the media has learned NAZI FUHRER DRUMPPPPPPFFFF’s weak spot: he is sentimental and doesn’t like to make people unhappy. The whole point of the fake-cage tempest-in-a-teapot was to get Trump to move the line on immigration a bit. Which he did, promptly stating that he would work to overturn the 1997-era legislation that governs the separate detention of children. Approximately an hour after he agreed to that, the media line changed.

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1977 Cadillac Seville: GM’s Smash Hit!

Here we go, ladies and germs, the original Cadillac Seville! Well, original in that this variant of the Cadillac Seville, introduced in May 1975 as an early ’76 model, was its own model and not a hardtop variant of the Eldorado.

The first Seville was the Eldorado Seville, sibling to the topless Eldorado Biarritz. It was available from 1956 to 1960. Starting in 1961, the Eldorado reverted to a convertible only model once again, returning to the convertible-only model it had been from 1953-55. But I digress!

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WeWork, WeLive, WeGrow, WeDie

“Always working or always semi-working.” That phrase basically sums up my life for the past two decades. For about twelve years I ran a Web-hosting co-op in addition to working anywhere from three to nine other contracts at a time. It enabled me to spend money like water on every ridiculous thing and activity possible; I could have saved money like water but that wasn’t the point of working eighty hours a week. While there are certainly people out there with a thoroughly domesticated sense of delayed gratification, I’ve never been one of them. If I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone, I expect to take a champagne bath afterwards. Simple as that.

Somewhere around 2010 I started closing up shop on the tech-biz stuff so I could use my spare time to write about cars. This doesn’t pay nearly as well but the twelve-year-old me never had any dreams of running a Web hosting business and in any event the hosting model was going the way of the lowest common denominator. Nowadays I spend about 45 hours a week in tasks associated with my day job and another 20 hours at the keyboard. Sometimes I spend 10 or 20 hours of top of that accumulating the experiences about which I’ll write later. There was a five-day period a while back where all I did was go to work then write until 4am then sleep until 8am then go to work, just to meet deadlines. I never truly know when the work will arrive or what demands it will make. Take this week for example; it was supposed to be a vacation from both my “careers” but I had a couple of things fall in my lap so I’ve turned the vacation into a work-cation and I’ll end up writing for 25 or 30 hours total before Sunday ends.

What makes this state of affairs bearable is that it is entirely voluntary. At any moment, I can quit writing and just become a cubicle bee like everyone else. It would mean an end to the supercars and the outrageous trips and the race weekends, but that’s very different from losing my home or not being able to feed my son. At the end of the day, I would still be a relatively healthy middle-aged man with 2,600 square feet in the suburbs, a Porsche in the garage, and the ability to eat dinner at a steakhouse without kiting a check. Most importantly, I have a home. I think of it as mine and in truth every year it becomes closer to being entirely mine. I am free to do what I want in it: leave towels on the floor, walk the halls at night, crank up a 100-watt guitar amp and noodle until the paintings on the wall sympathetically shiver.

This quaint notion, of having one’s own home where one is free to retreat from and forget about work entirely, is apparently just too unproductive to survive.

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Ridin’ For Harambe, Part 24

Here at Riverside Green, we never get tired of the Honda CB1100 in all of its thoroughly satisfying guises. I know of two readers who bought the big aircooled Honda after reading about it here. Mine is about to sail through the 11,000-mile mark, and when I needed to clear a little space in my garage it was a no-brainer to sell my very lovely VFR800 Anniversary Edition instead of the all-black JDM.

Is the thoroughly-revised 2017 CB1100EX a better mousetrap than my bike? Just for once, we can probably get away with the Motor Trend “there are no losers here” reply. My opinion is that the updates do a great job of moving the 1100’s aesthetic back from the Nighthawk-era square-tank look of the 2014 Standard to a proper Seventies-style CB750-Four tribute.

For more on why the CB1100EX is great, let’s hear from a reader who took delivery of one.

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1961 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz: For The Fortunate Few

In the Year Of Our Lord 1961, the Cadillac Eldorado, the most expensive Cadillac short of the factory limousines, got an all-new look. As did the rest of the line. It was somewhat scandalous at the time, but the new Cadillacs greeting showroom browsers in Autumn of 1960 were, believe it or not, somewhat smaller. Ye gods! What is the world coming to?

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A Few Reflections on Reflection

On Monday, I made the long trip up to the Land Transport Office, the Japanese version of your local License Bureau, to return the Town & Country’s license plates and obtain an export certification. Sometime this morning, the shippers are slated to come and take it to the port in Yokohama where it will be loaded into a container and put on a ship headed to the United States. If everything goes right, next week I will make my own journey and, as I tromp down the boarding ramp and take my seat in a 777 in preparation for the long flight home, my most recent Japan experience will be over.

As I sit here this morning, much of the house already torn apart and loaded into boxes, I’m struggling with how I feel about that. I often tell people that, when I am back in the States, I fight and fight for an assignment that will take us back to Japan but that, not two weeks after we arrive, I will wonder why the hell it is we came here. To be honest, Japan can be a tough place to live and, like most experiences, once you get involved in the ebb and flow of daily events, you tend to focus on the moment and forget to be amazed. It’s only when the day to day struggle ends, usually about the your departure becomes imminent, that you begin to realize where you are, what other opportunities there were, and what else you might have done. Continue Reading →

1990 Cadillac Brougham – Now THAT’S Cadillac Style!

The 1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham has always had a hold on me. And never mind the fact that I was nine years old when it first appeared as a facelifted variant of the 1987-89 Cadillac Brougham, in the autumn of ’89. Many 1990-92 “facelift” Broughams have been either driven into the ground or rendered nearly unidentifiable by customizers, but I think these classic Cadillacs look beautiful just as they came from the factory.

While this car was not strictly the final classic RWD Cadillac, and itself was a revised version of the 1980 Fleetwood Brougham and Brougham d’Elegance, I just happen to really like the look. It remains one of my favorites today, nearly 30 years after it first appeared. Retaining the classic, elegant lines of the 1980-89 model, but with just enough modern cues to carry it forward. Today’s vintage premium GM product is owned by a friend of mine, Jim Jordan. And it only recently turned 30,000 miles. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?

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Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica: Astor Piazzolla, “Oblivion” from “Henry IV”

This piece originally appeared at The Tannhauser Gate — JB

I think that the assertion that the Nobel Prize in Literature is essentially silly (and therefore, we are fools for taking it seriously) has something to be said for it. (Those happen to be the positions of the British novelist and translator Tim Parks.)

Not one of: James Joyce, Tolstoy, Ibsen, Henry James, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Mark Twain, Nabokov and Chekhov made the cut. But strange omissions compete with strange awardings—John Steinbeck “got the gong” (a slang term for a large medallion), yet James Joyce did not? Furthermore, the requirement that a candidate must be alive to receive the prize meant that late-blooming (or posthumously published) authors such as Kafka, Proust, Calvino, and Mandelstam could not even be considered.

Still and all, there are a few unimpeachable selections (Bob Dylan, in my opinion, is most definitely not among them).

In my opinion, Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Solzhenitsyn, Faulkner, and Hermann Hesse all deserved the money and the medal. I even think that Sigrid Undset (who?) was a deserving recipient. Undset’s massive (1400 pages) Medieval trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter should be much better known. I am tempted to say that if you loved The Lord of the Rings, you should try Kristin Lavransdatter. (In the period when she was “working up to” Kristin Lavransdatter, Undset had published a Norwegian translation of the Arthurian legends.)

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Music Is The Weapon, But Then Again, It Always Was

AT THE CORNER of 8th and Market in San Francisco, by a shuttered subway escalator outside a Burger King, an unusual soundtrack plays. A beige speaker, mounted atop a tall window, blasts Baroque harpsichord at deafening volumes. The music never stops. Night and day, Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi rain down from Burger King rooftops onto empty streets.
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Empty streets, however, are the target audience for this concert. The playlist has been selected to repel sidewalk listeners — specifically, the mid-Market homeless who once congregated outside the restaurant doors that served as a neighborhood hub for the indigent. Outside the BART escalator, an encampment of grocery carts, sleeping bags, and plastic tarmacs had evolved into a sidewalk shantytown attracting throngs of squatters and street denizens. “There used to be a mob that would hang out there,” remarked local resident David Allen, “and now there may be just one or two people.” When I passed the corner, the only sign of life I found was a trembling woman crouched on the pavement, head in hand, as classical harpsichord besieged her ears.

Welcome to the world of “weaponized classical music”, where homeless people, thugs, dirtbags, and “teens” are actively repelled through the high-volume application of music that they don’t happen to like. It’s a tactic that is well over thirty years old, having been started with “Mozart At The 7-Eleven” in British Columbia back in ’85. In any era but this one, people would hear about this and chuckle. In $THE_CURRENT_YEAR, however, we must respond with everything from academic papers to the increasingly-shopworn boilerplate accusations of bigotry and racism. In the process of doing so, however, we will lay ourselves out to the possibility of deconstructive evisceration. Allow me to wield the knife. As Pusha-T said a few weeks ago, it’s going to be a surgical summer.

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