Weekly Roundup: Let’s Pick A Truck Edition

As dreams go, it’s not exactly a big one, but it was mine: Our 2017 Silverado was about sixteen months away from being paid off, so I’d planned to buy myself a Genesis G90 this summer while I could still get a new one with a V8. There’s a new G90 coming, and I’m sure it will be very nice, but it won’t have the five-liter. If I wanted a V-6 luxury car, I’d do the decent thing and find one of the 3,453 1982 Eldorados built with the Buick 4.1-liter, of course.

That dream came to a rather abrupt end when a six-point buck stepped out from behind a McDonald’s (I kid you not) and collected my Silverado in a manner that the insurance company deemed a total loss. End of truck. In theory I could replace it with another 2017-era truck, pay it off in a hurry, and still be in my G90 before my fifty-first birthday — but that’s a false economy, because I’d likely be buying someone else’s trouble and I have zero tolerance for problems while towing the race cars.

So it’s time to buy another truck and leave the Korean luxury-sedan game to my brother, who is in possession of a G80 and and a G70. Oh well. Bark was always the lucky kid in the family. After looking at my racing plans for the next few years, I’ve realized that I probably to swap my aluminum single-car open hauler and enclosed Radical trailer for a single big box that will carry both cars at a total rolling weight of around nine thousand pounds. While it’s possible for the stronger half-tons to pull such a rig, it’s smarter and easier to do with a diesel three-quarter-ton.

Which one?

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1979 Chrysler Newport: Mopar Downsizes On The Cheap

Chrysler Corporation in the ’70s was a lot of peaks and valleys. As the ’80s approached and downsizing took hold at GM, Chrysler seemed headed for the junkyard thanks to gross incompetence, lack of money and lack of consumer confidence. They needed new, downsized big cars, but lacked money to develop and build them. Taking a page from GM’s use of the Colonnade as the platform for the new ’77 Caprice, Chrysler used the midsize Fury/Monaco chassis for the 1979 full-sizers, with Broughamtastic new sheetmetal and interior aping the ’76 Seville/’77 B- and C-body ‘sheer’ look. Unfortunately for Chrysler, and unlike GM, it didn’t translate to runaway sales success.

Along with Lincoln, Chrysler was a stubborn holdout when it came to downsizing. Even so, they knew that the 1978 New Yorker Brougham and Newport, while big and plush, were dated. With baroque styling and pillarless roofs, they seemed well behind the times next to fresh models like Chevrolet’s Malibu and Caprice–not to mention Chrysler’s own Diplomat and LeBaron models. But with no money available, what could be done?

Enter the B-body. Introduced in 1971, the Fury and Monaco B-bodies predated even the C-body Mopars. Six years later, most of their sales were to police departments that liked their big-block 440 power. Although these favorites of the constabulary left the scene in 1978, they didn’t entirely depart.

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Weekly Roundup: He Was A Midwestern Boy On His Own Edition

Not guilty on all counts. Who saw that coming? Yes, Rittenhouse had a remarkably strong self-defense case, one further bolstered by every video, still photo, or personal detail that came out in the past year, but the media had laid on a full-court press since last August to demonize him as a “white supremacist” (who didn’t shoot any Black people), a “fascist” (who had volunteered to guard a car dealership owned by minorities) or a “murderer” (who ran from his attackers until he was knocked down). Thankfully for Kyle, the prosecutor was a confirmed moron who committed pretty much every error in the book, from pointing a gun at the jury with his finger on the trigger to describing Joseph Rosenbaum, who admitted to anally penetrating five boys between the ages of 9 and 11, as a “hero”.

If you want the official Riverside Green position on the case, here you go: I wish Kyle had stayed home with his mom that night. I don’t celebrate anyone’s death, even the death of pedophile rapists and serial abusers. That being said, a significant amount of recorded history centers around young men choosing to fight when they didn’t have to, whether we are talking about the “Flying Tigers” or Charles XII of Sweden. It’s a measure of the invisible distortions applied by society to our thinking that we are somehow less surprised by a young man volunteering to fight for Blackwater halfway around the world than we are by a young man who wants to clean up graffiti in his dad’s home town.

Some of my readers and friends are of the opinion that Kyle should have been put under the jail, so out of respect for them I don’t want to discuss the actual shootings any more. Rather, I want to concentrate on a remarkable perspective that circulated around Blue Tribe social media, allegedly from a “combat veteran”, regarding… insurgents. Oh, and let’s talk about the “mutual combat” rulings in Chicago while we’re at it, shall we?

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The Most Subversive Thing You’ll Ever Watch On Amazon Prime

If you ever visit my house… well, let me know first, I’d hate for you to accidentally be injured by the various “Home Alone” prank gadgets I have stored around the place, alright? Assuming you make it past all that stuff, however, you’ll notice that I don’t have a television on the ground floor. The only TV I personally own is in front of my elliptical machine, because I’m too old and feeble now to continue my old habit of reading while I exercise. Fifteen years ago, I could run a consistent 165 heart rate and hold a book in one hand. Now my eyeballs and hands shake when I do it. So instead I turn on the screen. Otherwise, I don’t watch television for pleasure or recreation. It does not interest me.

That being said, I’ve seen a fair amount of “free TV” lately, thanks to a lot of cheap-hotel travel and Danger Girl’s decision to watch “Yellowstone” on the ad-supported Peacock Channel, and what strikes me most is the astoundingly unreal world pictured in the advertising. The vast majority of ads now feature what we call “people of color” living their best lives. Interracial relationships are the norm, not the exception, as our filter-free President, the most popular ever in history, noted recently. Should people of the year 2080 use our commercials to guess at our lifestyle and experiences, the way some of us do today with regards to the Fifties and Sixties, they will assume that the country was made up almost entirely of middle-class Black people who are in a perpetual state of ecstatic joy simply from being their wonderful selves.

There’s a reason for this: Black people are the most avid consumers of free television in this country. (Asian-Americans are the least.) So while it’s tempting to view what you see on free TV as some kind of broad-ranging brainwashing conspiracy, it’s perfectly easy to explain in terms of the almighty dollar. People want to see themselves represented in their media. The same is true as it applies to age and education; a major percentage of advertising now is aimed at low-education Medicare recipients and/or older people with an astounding diversity of diseases requiring targeted pharma products.

As you might expect, it’s also very easy to get a sense of the modern catechism by watching free TV. Diversity is our strength, superior to anything except mass immigration of homogenous groups such as Mexicans and/or West Africans; that’s even stronger and better. Big Tech is portrayed lovingly, as is big government. There are countless shows about underdog Federal agents trying valiantly to defeat white supremacists. Everywhere you look, there are white supremacists. Thousands of them. Millions even. Even the aforementioned “Yellowstone”, normally a deliberate respite from today’s enforced Benetton-ism, took time out from the diesel Rams and Stetson 1000X hats for an episode about the dangers of white supremacy. The white supremacists are always far more powerful, better-armed, and more technologically savvy than the downtrodden Feds who have to attack their plywood-and-drywall fortress compounds using nothing but the full force and capability of the United States Government.

You can’t watch any of this stuff without either laughing or cringing, or perhaps feeling a sense of unwanted manipulation. Which makes sense. If you’re not paying for something, you are the product. That’s a concept made painfully relevant in the age of Facebook, but it’s been true in media since King Biscuit Flour was a major advertiser. So what do you get when you agree to pay for the television you watch? Is it any better or more interesting? Most of the time, the answer is “Hell no,” but your humble author happened to watch something during an elliptical-machine struggle session last week that perhaps warrants your attention, and certainly deserves your admiration.

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Weekly Roundup: The Vaccine They Don’t Want You To Get Edition

Good news: There’s a COVID-19 vaccine out there that:

  • Is more than 90% effective in clinical trials at actually preventing infection of all variants, rather than being merely palliative for Delta et al
  • Operates in almost identical fashion to a conventional vaccine, rather than using the mRNA pathway or other methods that reprogram living human cells
  • Doesn’t need to be cold stored
  • Results in fewer, and mild, side effects
  • Was lauded by The Atlantic four months ago as “The Best Vaccine”
  • Has not been linked to heart disorders or anaphylaxis
  • Costs less to produce than any other “vaccine” for COVID-19
  • Was developed in the United States by an American company

Sound good to you? Are you interested in this? Great! You can get it today… in Indonesia, and India. But not here. In fact, there’s no plan to make it available to American citizens — unless those citizens have already had two shots from Pfizer or Moderna.

Surely I’m making this up, right?

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(Double) Weekly Roundup: Dune For Dummies Edition

Long-time readers of this site know that the mythology and cultural detritus of the Dune novels have littered my writing for the best part of two decades now. Unfortunately some of my favorite Dune-related content had to be deleted from Riverside Green during the Time Of The Great Whining To My Employer About Mean Website Articles last year. That’s okay because you can find much of it told somewhat more coherently on Scott Locklin’s site.

There is something about Dune and its sequels that has proven magnetic to the disaffected-individualist-intellectual typa dude again and again since 1965. We called President Trump the “God Emperor” in ironic homage to Leto II, the tragic hero of the fourth book in the series. (In hindsight, we can see that Trump was more like Paul Atreides, who unleashed a jihad then ran into the desert rather than live with the consequences of his actions, but no matter.) During my two decades in tech contracting, I often referred to some enthusiastic but misguided colleague as having “put himself in the way of the Harkonnen fist” and this phrasing never failed to elicit a knowing smile in the nerds around me.

Recently I compelled my twelve-year-old son to put his metaphorical hand in the metaphorical gom-jabbar painbox by making the completion of Dune a condition for the arrival of a new airsoft gun. He’s cheating my directive a bit by listening to the audiobook more than reading the actual pages, but it’s still been tough going for him. So I took him to the theater to see the new Dune movie, figuring it would whet his appetite to pick up the book and see how it all ends. In this attempt, I was successful, much like Miles Teg negotiating the Bene Gesserit forces out of yet another deadly confrontation, or perhaps the Grand Honored Matre forcing a Futar to do her bidding. (You haven’t read Chapterhouse:DUNE? Shame on you!)

My hopes were fairly low, as Dune is one of those books that seems designed to elude a competent film adaptation. This 2021 release, which covers the first half of the first book, is the third complete attempt to tell at least some of Frank Herbert’s story, following the infamous 1984 David Lynch film and the Sci-Fi mini-series. (A moment of silence for Alejandro Jodorowsky and his attempt to make a 14-hour Dune movie.) It’s received generally positive reviews, but that means very little in a world where most film critics are motivated almost entirely by considerations of culture and politics. What follows is a brief review from the perspective of a lifelong Dune fan and compulsive re-reader of the series.

Obviously, there are spoilers ahead, for a 1965 book and its kinda-sorta-faithful adaptation.

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This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1976 Jaguar XJ6C

1970s Jaguars are pretty cars but fraught with period Blighty quality and reliability issues. But they sure look good. And the other day this one popped up on Finding Future Classic Cars. Would I own it? Nah. But I can still appreciate these cars, especially in pillarless coupe form. The white paint, black top and red leather interior is particularly striking. Continue Reading →

1998 Chevrolet Lumina LS: The Invisible Car

My friend in Texas, Mike Massey, recently listed this Lumina. Remember those? The 1990-94s were pretty nice cars, with the Euro high-trim versions, the 3.4 coupes and the ultra-modern looking APV ‘Dustbuster’ minivans. The 1995 restyle made it a sedan only body style, as the coupe was renamed Monte Carlo-though the minivan continued through ’96 before being replaced by the utterly conventional Venture. Those ’95-’00 Lumina sedans were pretty plain to me, with the exception of the seldom-seen LTZ versions with their leather seats and alloys. Sure, the brochures frequently showed them with the LS alloy wheels and such, but most of the Luminas I remember seeing were like this one. You’d expect Mulder and Scully to get out of one. Subdued colors, with the base silver plastic wheel covers. But after Mike posted the ad, it occurred to me that I haven’t seen one in quite a while.
One of the last family vacations my parents took us kids on was to South Padre Island for Christmas 1999. We flew into the Brownsville airport and were supposed to get a Chrysler minivan. None were available, and they actually tried to pawn a pickup on us. Dad flatly refused, and they managed to find a new Lumina LS for us, in burgundy with that then-ubiquitous dark gray interior. I drove it once or twice and it was roomy and comfortable, but a bit plain.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Naked Hellscape Of Net Zero Edition

It sure is hard out here for a hillbilly conspiracy theorist nowadays, ain’t it? No matter how bat-you-know-what crazy your completely nutcase theory might be — there’s a pedophile island visited by Presidents! The United States directly supported gain-of-function coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute! The Chamber Of Commerce organized a secret coalition to subvert the 2020 election! — it almost immediately turns out to be true, either in whole or in part. Heck, even the oft-ridiculed trope about “the chemicals in the water are turning the frogs gay!” turns out to have some serious research behind it.

If you clicked the last link, you’ll see that Atrazine doesn’t turn male frogs gay, in the commonly understood sense of the word. Rather, it emasculates most of them and turns a percentage of the rest into female frogs. This rather nice distinction would be enough to earn the Gay Frogs Claim a “False!” from the plagiarists at Snopes or a “Pants On Fire!” from Politifact. Much of the “fact-checking” you see done in today’s media is reliant on such fine-grained examination; see this note on HR 1 as an example.

I mention all of this because you’re about to see a rather disturbing document that purports to show how the British Government will manipulate public opinion to accept everything from eating bugs to staying in their homes while the elite continue to travel at will. The fact-checkers are already hard at work trying to separate the authors of this document from the Government — but in this case, they are likely to fail.

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This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1976 Lincoln Continental Town Car

Another Lincoln? You bet! I spied this ’70s executive yacht last week on FB. As you know I’m interested in everything Brougham, so had to save the pictures. This particular ’76 looks especially nice in triple blue. And the interior has more square footage than some ‘efficiency’ apartments in the bigger cities… Continue Reading →