Urban Meyer Is Complicated

My social media timeline has been overwhelmed by the breaking news of Urban Meyer’s impending retirement from the Head Coach position at Ohio State. As an OSU alum and a former Ohio resident for 25 years, I really can’t escape it, thanks to all of my friends and colleagues who care deeply about the football program. (Spoiler alert—I don’t care at all.) Meyer has had serious health issues during this past season, including the Indiana game (pictured above) when he did his best Hillary Clinton impersonation, falling to a knee on the sideline.

The numbers are impossible to ignore—three national championships (2 at Florida, 1 at OSU), seven conference championships, countless players drafted by the NFL. For Ohio State fans, the most important number was his spotless record against the University of Michigan—7-0, the only Buckeye coach to never lose in the Big Game.

Of course, that’s the just tip of the iceberg when it comes to Meyer and his story.

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Light (Lightest?) BMX and MTB Pedals For Children, Weighed and Evaluated

(Caveat lector: This won’t be of any use, or any interest, to the vast majority of readers here. I’m putting it up because I couldn’t get any reliable information on the Internet on this subject, which led to me spending a remarkable about of money to get the facts. These facts are now available here for free, minus the value of one Amazon referral link below.)

The picture above is my nine-year-old son winning his third race in a row against ten-year-olds. He’s smaller and lighter than his competition, so I’ve tried to find a few places to save weight. Because he enjoys riding his bike at the skatepark, however, I can’t go full-on BMX-Dad “weight weenie” on his bike.

One easy place to save weight is the pedal. Other than rims and tires, there is nowhere on a bicycle where a single gram makes as much difference as it does on the pedal. Not only do they rotate around a fairly large circle, making the total amount of acceleration required nontrivial on its own, they are also sold in pairs, so every bit of weight saved is effectively doubled. It’s a mistake to put a child on an adult’s pedal; the Deity Bladerunner, which is about the lightest BMX/MTB platform pedal sold for full-sized riders, weights a robust 185 grams each. How much is a proper child’s racing pedal? Half of that.

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1984 Cadillac Seville Elegante: Best Of All, It’s A Cadillac

Note: Today’s post is by my friend Jayson Coombes. You may remember him from the excellent photos he provided for several of my Cadillac posts earlier this year, including the 1958 Fleetwood Sixty Special, 1957 Coupe de Ville and 1977 Seville. Those cars were at the Cadillac LaSalle Club Grand National meet in San Marcos, Texas, and Jayson drove the subject of this article, a 1984 Seville Elegante, all the way there and back, with nary an issue. Here’s its story. -TK

Seville

I’ve had the Seville Elegante for a little over 5 years.  I’m the third owner and it was sold new in June, 1984 at Frank Kent Cadillac in Fort Worth, Texas.  Still has the original dealer emblem on the trunk.  It has every option offered for a Seville in 1984, except for the Touring Suspension.

Seville

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1978 Pontiac Grand Safari: Maximum Massey

Note: Today’s post is by a friend of mine, Mike Massey. As a fellow member of The American Brougham Society on Facebook, he shares my love of full-sized, woodgrained station wagons, and owns a Roadmaster Estate Wagon, among other vintage GM rolling stock, today. I’ve always loved the 1977-79 B-body Pontiacs since my dad had a brown 1979 Bonneville sedan. That car was the subject of my first-ever car memory. Anyway, here’s the story of Mike’s dad’s special-ordered ’78 Grand Safari! -TK

OK I get lots of questions on comments about this car, so HERE is the long “novel” of our ’78 Pontiac Grand Safari, which we owned from 1978-1986, and how we came about owning it.

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Weekly Roundup: A Tale Of Two Cities Edition

It’s the Christmas season in Northern Ohio, but the blessings of the holiday will not fall evenly on all God’s children. In Toledo, they are preparing for the arrival of the Gladiator. Since September, FCA has been preparing a third shift for the plant based on Wrangler volume alone; Gladiator makes it a certainty. More than one thousand new workers will find their lives permanently changed by membership in the UAW and a job assembling one of the most steadily popular nameplates in the auto biz.

A few hours to the east, the workers at the General Motors plant in Lordstown are preparing for a closure on or about the first of March. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, while FCA showed off the Gladiator and Honda announced the discovery of a previously-unknown gap in its tall-wagon lineup that would be immediately and profitably filled by a shrunken Pilot, GM announced the corporate equivalent of a high-school girl cutting off all her hair and putting on Goth lipstick because her boyfriend dumped her for someone thinner. Lordstown is just one of the several plants being closed on short notice. Their products will die with them. The vast scale of the ignorance and wastefulness on display is breathtaking to behold; the brand-new CT6 V-Series, equipped with a massively expensive bespoke engine evocatively yclept “Blackwing”, is dead on arrival. Pause, if you will, to admire the stupidity verging on genius here; it was already a nearly impossible task to sell an S63AMG competitor with a Cadillac badge on the grille, so GM simply went the rest of the way by declaring in advance that the car would be discontinued. Thus the CT6 V-Series ticks every possible box in the disaster checklist: hideously expensive, undersized, impossibly complex, terrifying in the contemplation of future maintenance expenses and resale value, abandoned by its parents at birth.

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Doesn’t It Feel Good To Palessi?

Many years ago, I was business partners with a young man who was the very definition of Asperger’s Syndrome brought to life. I could tell a lot of stories about this fellow — the terrifying disappearances, the cars he killed, the Brazilian FN FAL that he kept in his bed, the chronic masturbation, the card counting, the accidentally picking up a prostitute on the way to work, the time that he crashed his mountain bike and my other friend tried to give him a tracheotomy — but I’ll save those for another time. The story I want to tell is on that he told he: My friend grew up dirt poor in a single-wide trailer with his Air Force dad, his Filipina mother, and his two siblings, way back in “the holler” of Jackson, Ohio. He lived off his brother’s hand-me-downs. The better-off kids would make fun of his family, singing this ditty to the tune of Electric Avenue:

We gonna rock down to
PAYLESS AND BUY SOME SHOES
They only cost a dollar

Alas, in the end the joke was on all those other kids, because my pal and his brother ended up surfing the turn-of-the-century tech wave into the kind of money where you never have to think about trailers, or Payless shoes, ever again. There’s a bit of irony to all of this, however, because nowadays the value of Payless shoes has gone from “a dollar” all the way to $640. In this brilliant prank-o-mercial, a bunch of “social media influencer” dipshits were invited to the grand opening of a store called “Palessi”. Once inside, they were given, and eagerly took, the chance to pay hundreds of bucks for shoes that can be found for $19.99 at Payless. The influencers gushed about the unbeatable style, materials, and prestige associated with being a “Palessi” customer.

The two immediate hot takes found everywhere on the web: Payless is smart, and influencers are stupid. Both of those takes are correct, but I’d like to be a little more perceptive than that, if I can manage it. My thoughts, in no particular order:

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In Which The Author Is Almost Completely Wrong About Something

Guessing the future is a tricky business; just ask any of the major media collectives that predicted a President Hillary with certainty ranging from ninety-four to ninety-nine percent. As the man once said, the future’s uncertain and the end is always near. Another example: Back in August of 2015 I ruled out the possibility of a Wrangler pickup with such certainty that I blush in retrospect at the contemplation of it. About this time last year, I admitted defeat and tried to figure out who would buy the Gladiator. Having seen the specs, I’ve revised my ideas about the potential customers just a little.

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1976 Continental Mark IV Desert Sand Luxury Group

1976 was, in my opinion, Peak Brougham. It was the last year for the truly large premium sedans, the Cadillac Fleetwood, De Ville, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight and Buick Electra. Over at Chrysler you had Royal Monacos, Gran Furys, New Yorker Broughams and even the wood-paneled Town & Country station wagon. And over at Ford, there were myriad examples of big luxury cars to fill your requirements: LTD, Marquis, Country Squire, Colony Park, and Continental sedans and coupes. At at the very top, the finest, the Continental Mark IV.

Mark IV

1972 Mark IV owned by fellow LCOC member Humberto Garcia.

1976 was the final year for the Mark IV, which first appeared in Autumn 1971 as a ’72 model. My grandfather ordered one in triple dark green, to replace his triple dark green 1969 Mark III.

Mark IV

In my opinion, the 1972 was the prettiest with its small, integrated front and rear bumpers. In 1973, the Mark IV, along with most other Detroit rolling stock, got the new 5-mph front bumpers due to new federal regulations. In 1974, a larger rear bumper was added to match the front.

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