Regular readers here know I have spoken highly of noted doublepluscrimethinker Curtis Yarvin in the recent past, and will likely continue to do so. However, there are few pleasures as transgressively sweet as the opportunity to disagree with a very smart person, particularly when one is a little short on time and will be able to neither research nor revise said disagreement. Yarvin’s latest article, titled There is no AI risk, seems tailor-made to provide me such an opportunity.
Insofar as I respect the Gray Mirror man a little too much to scrap with him one on one, however, I’m going to do what I used to do in my youth when I prowled the worst pool halls and nightclubs the Columbus ghetto had to offer: I’m going to bring some backup. Peter Watts, please come to the (unfashionably) white courtesy phone.
When we announced our partnership with Shinola a couple of weeks ago, a few of you said something along the lines of, “That’s a lot of money for a quartz watch.” As we’ve discussed, there is real value in the realization of returning watch manufacturing to the United States of America, and I’d rather spend $550-600 for a watch that is assembled in America (as a few of you already have through our link, and we thank you for that!) than similar or slightly less money for one that is assembled elsewhere.
But for those of you who simply must have an automatic watch, Shinola has you covered there, as well. The first Shinola automatic was released in November of 2017, and it was a lovely dive watch called the Lake Erie Monster, referencing both the Great Lake that borders Shinola’s home state of Michigan and the 1894 legend in which sailors claimed to have seen a roughly 40 foot monster swimming in that same lake. It was a limited production run of only 500, and retailed for roughly $2500. It’s now rare to find one of these original Shinola autos for sale anywhere, and when one does, they typically go for over $4000 on eBay or similar auction sites.
Fear not—the success of the Erie Monster led to the subsequent creation and sale of several other Monster models, including the Huron, Ontario, Superior, and Michigan Monsters, thus rounding out the Great Lakes. These models are significantly less expensive than the original Erie, retailing at around $1250-1450 new.
But for my first experience with a Shinola Monster, I wanted the new Ice Monster.
Over the past six months or so, I have been haunting my preferred local dealerships, McLaughlin Cadillac and Strieter Lincoln, for a potential replacement for my 2000 Town Car Cartier, which is approaching 182,000 miles as of this writing.
The short list: Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln Continental, Lincoln MKS, Cadillac XTS and Cadillac CTS. No combover. No pickup. No SUV. Sedan. Preferably with all wheel drive, as there’s a steep hill up to my condo. Brian Cox, at McLaughlin, and Peter Clarke, at Strieter, are keeping me in the loop on recent trade ins. And so it was on a Saturday several weeks ago I found myself behind the wheel of a 2018 CTS AWD with 28K miles, finished in decidedly non-conformist Adriatic Blue. No silver silvermist for me, thank you very much.
Here’s my left field post for today. What is this, Klockau? No Electra? No Town Coupe, no Mark, no Cutlass Supreme? Nope. Today we have here a rare birdie, a Japanese personal luxury car, the Mazda Cosmo.
It’s like an alternate reality, where the domestic US cars kept making Plymouth Cranbrooks, Ford Customs and Chevrolet Del Rays thru the 1970s, while Japan went full zoot Broughamance with opera windows, velour, and 8-track Quadrasonic stereos. With CB.
Okay, I hadn’t been planning to pimp Shinola product directly just yet, but this was announced today.
If you have done any domestic travel over the years, you’ve got an opinion on the MD-80. The ol’ Mad Dog had a version for each of the major American carriers—I did most of my time on Delta’s MD-88.
From the Shinola website:
“The MD-80 airplane, also known as the Super 80 and Mad Dog, was the workhorse of the American Airlines fleet throughout the 1980’s and beyond. When introduced, the Mad Dog was one of the most fuel-efficient commercial airplanes in the sky due in part to its iconic polished aluminum skin, and its retirement marked the end of an iconic era in American Airlines’ history.
Shinola has been given the honor of capturing a piece of that history. Original MD-80 aluminum paneling has been harvested and repurposed into one-of-a-kind limited edition Shinola Runwell desk clock dials and ID plates.
Assembled in our Detroit watch factory, this desk clock is built with a durable chrome casing and fastened with a caseback plate that displays an individualized serial number.”
I’ll probably buy one. If you spent any time in the seat of the MD, you might want one too. $395 is a steal.
As a reminder, a portion of the proceeds of any Shinola sale using our link goes to fund this website. This is #sponsoredcontent.
Another week, another vintage domestic land yacht. I spotted this one last week on Marketplace, for the very reasonable ask of five grand.
I’m sure it’s no secret I love these 1977-79 GM C-bodies, from Brougham d’Elegance to Ninety-Eight LS to this Electra Park Avenue. It seems like 90% of these, no matter the make or model, had the optional wire wheel covers, but I really love the standard wheel discs on this one.
The idea entered my head during a quick trip to the Miami Auto Show back in late 2018, when I saw the Genesis G70 in the flesh for the first time. It was in a striking shade of blue, and I believe it was one of the rare Prestige/Advanced/Sport trims that stickered for about $54k. It was, without doubt, the best looking car at the show. I sat in the front seat and instantly loved it. The quilted interior was delightful, the aluminum trim was sublime, and the Lexicon audio was downright symphonic.
I then sat in the back seat and instantly hated it.
“The back seat is way too small,” I complained to the Genesis booth worker.
“Then get the G80!” he replied with a smile.
“Yeah, not the same, dude.”
“I know,” he moaned, in a very Eeyore style of voice.
I’ve seen altogether too much of Jason Segel. Not just because the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, CONSOOMED by your humble author last night for the first time just thirteen years after its 2008 premiere, both begins and ends with full-frontal scenes of Segel’s personal equipment, but also because he has appeared in seemingly fifty percent of the random media serving as background noise in this house. He was part of How I Met Your Mother and is a reliable bet to appear in any of the “Apatowverse” movies.
About those films, which have woven themselves into the fabric of American psuedo-culture the same way Seinfeld and Friends did two decades before: Some of them are very funny (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), some are uncannily perceptive (Superbad) and one of them verges on being genuinely artistic (Get Him To The Greek, the only Apatow film that would have piqued the interest of Joseph Campbell or Robert Bly).
There’s always been something about the entire oeuvre that has annoyed me, however, and after seeing Forgetting I believe I can now articulate it in reasonable fashion.
Over the years, we’ve been reluctant to take any money from you, our readers, despite your many generous requests to offer it. This website has never been anything but a vanity project. It doesn’t serve as a portfolio, nor does it help us curry any favor with OEMs—quite the opposite, as the virtual army of people who comb every word of this blog for ammo to use against us with our employers, family, and friends continually demonstrates.
We tried Google ads for a while. They didn’t even cover our hosting costs, and they were distasteful. So no more of that.
Some of you have suggested Patreon. That feels even dirtier than Google Ads to me. Transparently, both Jack and I earn well above the national median income, and there’s no reason why anybody should pay us money directly in these times when so many people are unemployed and in greater need than we are.
However, I was recently offered the opportunity to help promote one of the brands that both Jack and I have written about at length, and a brand that I have personally spent more money supporting than any other (with the exception of Ford and Genesis) in the last 8 years. That brand is Shinola.
We’ve talked about Shinola here, here, and here. I bought my first Shinola watch, a blue 41mm Runwell, in January of 2016 and I bought my most recent one a few weeks ago. In between those purchases, I have bought 14 other watches, multiple wallets, business card holders, belts, and even hats. I constantly scan eBay for deals. I have my own personal contact at the Grand Rapids store who shoots me off any photos of interesting models. When Shinola launched their first automatic version of the Runwell watch, I immediately ordered serial number 5, in honor of my father’s number at Notre Dame, my number in high school sports, and my son’s number on his club soccer team, and it has become my everyday watch. I have everything from that top of the line $1100 automatic Runwell to a $395 resin body Detrola, as well as a Guardian, a Bedrock, a Canfield, 2 Canfield Bolts, a Black Blizzard, 2 Brakeman, and 6 Runwells. You can see much of my personal collection in the very poor photo at the top of the page.
So, yeah, I believe in the brand. Which is why I am completely comfortable offering my endorsement of it to you, our readers.
Perhaps it’s because they debuted right around the time I started noticing specific model years of cars. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with Volvo 240s and these cars seemed exotic and so different. Hidden headlights! Sleek lines! American made! Or maybe because I have a soft spot for cars that stumbled in the marketplace. I love Studebakers too.