Oh no! A Seville! When Cadillac sold luxury cars, and where never was heard, any combover word. Yes, the bustle back Seville. Banks of computers are coming online, electricity is churning and burning, as certain RG folks immediately start typing madly, seeing this blast from the past. Great walls o’ text, saying in multiple paragraphs and for the 4,782nd time, I do not like that car, good sir. Oh crap, the RG server is beginning to smoke. BeepabeepabeepabeepaAWOOGAAWOOGAAWOOGA!
Yes, indeedy! *cackles madly*
Well-respected and ground-breaking automotive blogger Joe Sherlock died on December 29th last year. As with C.G. Hill, I had to find this out from a reader — thank you, davis. I’ll miss Mr. Sherlock; he was one of the good guys.
That being said, due to my own inability to get my act together I happen to be sitting on fourteen book reviews, written for Riverside Green by Joe last year. I’d been waiting on “the right time” to put them up, but as my father once told me about having children, if you wait until you’re truly ready you will never do it. So I’ll start running those in the weeks to come.
Joe’s self-selected “Greatest Hits” can be found here. He always wrote with modesty, decency, and clarity foremost in his mind. It was a pleasure to read and to correspond with him. He will be missed, here and elsewhere.
Here’s another round of the vintage insured photos I rescued from the recycle bin at the insurance company twenty-odd years ago. I saved them purely for the cars in the pictures, but nowadays I can appreciate the buildings too. Continue Reading →
“Is this the f—ing Bumblebees song?” It was barely eight in the morning and Danger Girl was in no mood to hear No Return (Main Title Theme) (Single from “Yellowjackets Showtime Original Series Soundtrack”) cranked up in my increasingly raggedy Accord Coupe. (My street car, mind you; the race Accord is no more raggedy than it was when it won me a regional championship in 2018, and it will be returning to the track in 2022 so I can take a run at my local Super Touring U title.)
The “Yellowjackets” show is a bit of an acquired taste, but the theme song is a masterful thing indeed, consciously created for the show as a “lost track” from the grunge-poppy year of 1996 by fifty-something never-was punk rockers Anna Waronker and Craig Wedren. (That’s not fair, really; Anna is still forty-nine and holding up just as well as your evergreen author, who predates her by eight months.) Ms. Waronker and Mr. Wedren are also responsible for assembling the show’s overall soundtrack, and they do a subtly brilliant job of it. What did teen girls listen to in 1996? Judging by the facility with which my wife can instantly sing along with anything played on the show, it was this stuff.
Pitchfork has a deeper dive into the soundtrack, but I want to talk about one song in particular: “Gepetto”, released in 1993 by the four-person band Belly. Call me a teenaged girl if you like, but I was way into Belly and its fascinating frontwoman, Tanya Donelly, back in 1993, despite being a 21-year-old pin-and-plate-shooter with a chip on my shoulder and a permanent grudge against the world. The conventional wisdom is that Star, the first of the band’s two albums, is the better one; it sold over a million copies, pummeled MTV audiences with its lead single “Feed The Tree” several times a day, and made Tanya a quite controversial figure in the self-loathing, crabs-in-a-bucket pop-punk world.
As is often (but not always) the case, the conventional wisdom is wrong. King, Tanya’s follow-up, sold just 350k copies despite a massive promo effort from the label, and most people aren’t even aware it exists, but it is brilliant. If the old tale about wearing out a CD by playing it so much the laser flattens the pits in the aluminum could be true, it would surely apply to my old King CD, bought on release day and played constantly for years afterwards.
That being said, I haven’t touched either Belly album in well over a decade. What did I hear when I returned to King after all this time? Uh, some really disturbing stuff.
Here’s what I should have done with my $778 in 2012: bought 140 bitcoins, which would now be worth about six million dollars.
Here’s what I actually did: bought a Gibson Les Paul “BFG Gator”.
Today I sold it for $1,079 online. After fees and shipping that’s about $980. If you adjust for the official inflation rate I still made about sixty bucks — but if we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that all government statistics are at least partially fabricated, inflation rates most of all.
Why did I sell my Gibson today? Because I listed it on my Reverb store (available here!) and it lasted all of seventeen minutes before selling.
Why did I list it today? Because I just had the most depressing guitar show experience in my life.
Why was it depressing? Let me tell you…
A few days after I posted that ’78 Fleetwood Brougham previously discussed, I ran across this Bonneville in similar colors, just with a light gray top instead of black. I’ve always liked these, Dad had one, and I love their clean flanks and fender skirts. This one was for sale in Chicago on Marketplace.
Thin description, rather sucky pictures (I cropped/prettied them up for this post), and it always bugs me when the seller has to hide the price. “$1.” Oh OK, I’ll take it, and if you say it’s more I’ll sue for fraud, bwahahahahaha! Or: “The price is a secret. If you beg and plead, maybe I’ll tell you what it is, hurr hurr!” Great.
Note: This originally ran on a site run by some dude who bought a Scion xB and painted the wheels red. I drove the car in late autumn 2013, when these were still fairly common as late-model used cars at Caddy dealerships. I’d just bought my 2000 Cartier (which is now living happily in Syracuse, NY with its new enthusiast owner). It was also the first car I drove with a heated steering wheel. 🙂 -TK
Once upon a time, Cadillac sold sedans and coupes, with French names and chrome and bench seats and stand-up hood ornaments. Today, they primarily sell glitzed up combovers and the Escalade-though they do still sell two sedan models. But you’d have been hard pressed to find them on Cadillac dealer lots even before the Chicom Chip Chaos Conundrum-but never mind that.
Max Julien died on New Years’ Day. He was a theater actor for most of his life, but most of us know him for his sublime portrayal of “Goldie” in The Mack. As with Ron O’Neal’s “Priest” in Superfly, Julien made a real person out of someone who in the hands of a lesser actor would have been a pastiche or parody. It’s also worth noting that Julien’s input was critical to a rewritten script that moved The Mack from raw “blaxploitation” to an authentically moral film.
In Goldie’s honor, I’m republishing my December 10, 2011 TTAC story in which he plays a central part. A note to the reader: it’s been over a decade since the events recounted here occurred, and I hope we have all grown as human beings since then. I’ve removed a broken link and cleaned up a sentence or two for clarity. I’ve also added a paragraph at the end to catch the reader up on what’s happened to everyone in the story since then.
For almost twenty-one years, I have lived my life in a space defined by iron pins.
The deed to my home in suburban Ohio doesn’t say anything about acreage — which is reasonable, because there isn’t much of it. Rather, it describes the lot as being made of straight lines between iron pins driven into the ground by the township surveyor. “The north bound of the property shall be a direct line between an iron pin driven into the northeast corner…” and so on. Shortly after the home was built and I moved in, on the first of April, 2001, I set out to find these iron pins, expecting them to be engraved or perhaps set into concrete. I thought there would be something to authenticate their placement. Imagine my surprise to find them as nothing but twelve-inch sections of rebar hammered into the ground at various angles. The larceny that is ever present in my heart surged to the fore of my brain: I could make my lot larger, simply by moving these. Not in any way that would be obvious via satellite, but just five or ten feet. Who would know?
Over time, however, I realized that I wanted no more of this land than I could legitimately claim. I wanted less of it, really. In fact, I saved several thousand dollars by refusing to clear out the dead trees on the other side of my iron-pin-bound line; the homeowners association felt I should pay for it, but the land in question didn’t actually belong to me. There was a moment in the process where I could have accepted the burden, maintained the land for twenty-one years, then filed claim to add that thousand square feet of dirt to my baronial holdings. Ohio has a law called adverse possession. Treat the land like it’s yours for long enough, and you get legal title to it. So I did none of that. Instead I cleared the trees down to my line, mulched that area, and planted eight blue spruces. Had I done this in 2001, I’d be looking at a wall of spruce now. Instead, I’m looking at five grand worth of trees that appear to have grown by about three inches in five years — referring, of course, to the 6/8ths of the spruces that haven’t just given up and shed their needles for all eternity.
Oh well. Goodbye to all that. At some point in the near future, I will be abandoning Pin-land and taking up residence on a particular plot of land too spacious for mere pins. Out here in the authentic hick country of rural Ohio, the lines are delineated by blaze-orange C-channel signposts cut off at waist height. Today was my first day to walk the lines between those posts, to figure out just exactly would be mine and what would belong to others. In the past month I’ve only visited the front part of the land, relying on satellite imagery to understand the tidy eight or nine acres of forest that sits within my orange posts but which is not visible from the road.
What a surprise to find things that were not suggested in Google’s satellite photography. What looks like the proverbial ragged wood from above, dead flat and uniform, has a bit of hill and dale to it. And there is a… creek? It’s ten to fifteen feet wide, so I’ll call it a river. A secret river, running across a forest floor, at the bottom of a five-story hill. I didn’t know it existed when I made the offer, nor was I told of it when the offer was accepted. But it is there, and real, and mine.
Yesterday was our first real dose of winter weather. Fortunately I didn’t have to go anywhere, so I rode it out online, over first a pot of coffee, and later, several screwdrivers.
As I was perusing I came across this most excellent ’78 Fleetwood Brougham. It’s in Buffalo, NY. I’ve always loved the 1977-79 downsized Cadillacs. Continue Reading →