The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-Two (Special Double Critic Edition)

I came home from dinner this evening to find two very different recent responses to posts here on Riverside Green. The first one, shown above, was a past-the-buzzer drop-in on this month-old post about the largely unremarked-upon death of a veteran at the Capitol. The second one was in response to yesterday’s post about Chinese power and influence in this country. In addition to being longer, it was considerably better-argued.

If you will all permit me a bit of latitude, however, I’d like to address them together, because I believe there’s more to be learned by doing so.

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Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter: Motel Mascot

Back in the late summer of 2015, I had agreed to trade in my 2006 Volvo V50 wagon for a 53,000 mile 2004 Town Car Ultimate at Strieter Lincoln. As they were holding the car for me, I still was driving the V50 for a few more days. So I decided to go up to the lake, go to the Mt. Carroll downtown car cruise that Saturday, maybe do some swimming, and then head north into Wisconsin to see House on the Rock.

All in all, it was a nice weekend and cool to see House on the Rock since the last time I’d been there was on a family vacation in 1990. But on the way home I passed this motel and had to stop and check out this plane, sitting out front of the Don Q Inn, a themed motel in nearby Dodgeville, WI. You couldn’t miss it.

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Grand Unified Theory, Or “Rising Sun” Redux?

Before you can reach the TOE, you have to satisfy the GUT. This is not a Pervert’s Guide To Dating, but rather the current state of science. We’d like to have a Theory Of Everything that would explain the creation and operation of the Universe in detail, but such a TOE is reliant on a working Grand Unified Theory that explains the quantum-level interactions of various forces. The purpose of the various atom-smashing colliders around the world is to observe those interactions at very high energy levels. Apparently there’s a merging of the electromagnetic and weak forces into an “electroweak”; that’s a clue.

Don’t ask me to explain any further, I majored in 18thC Brit Lit. As far as I know, the real purpose of a “Loop” is to put the soul of your big brother into a depressed-looking robot.

The American Left has a Grand Unified Theory to explain everything that happens in America, and that theory is Racism In All Its Forms. Everything you don’t like about America, or indeed about life, is probably somehow due to racism. It is the original sin from which all others flow, as documented in its holy text, The 1619 Project. When non-whites commit an offence against this ideology, as was the case with Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys, we are told it is due to “multiracial whiteness”, in which the Person-of-Color is, ah, possessed by the dybbuk of an evil white person.

Don’t ask me to explain any further, I majored in 18thC Brit Lit. As far as I know, the dybbuk is primarily a science fiction phenomenon.

There’s no GUT for the American Right, which makes sense because nowadays the Right contains the nonconformist side of things. A hundred years ago, the Right was a unified whole with a functioning GUT — it was called “The Bible” — and the Left was the nonconformist side that couldn’t decide if it was a labor movement, an art movement, or a sexual-liberation movement. Still, in order to provide any alternative to the Uniparty, the Right needs a way to explain why things are the way they are, one that doesn’t involve racism, because that’s like trying to create an electric vehicle infrastructure where you burn gas in a turbine to create electricity, if that makes any sense.

The nice people at Tablet have just published a paper that does a pretty good job of explaining America’s current state in a single word. That word is: China. The individual facts of the paper are not in dispute. Only the conclusion is open to debate. It’s scary — but we’ve seen this movie before. Or have we?

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Like Kryptonite to Funk

Have you ever heard of Ken Griffin? He was a big recording star back in the late 1940s and early 1950s. How big? Well, he sold millions of records and there are about two dozen 10″ and 12″ LP records of his released by Columbia, perhaps the biggest label of that era. While Motown has the distinction of scoring two hits with the same song, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, by two different artists, Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye, Griffin got to the top of the charts twice using essentially the same recording over again.

Griffin had gone into the recording studio in early 1948 and recorded an instrumental version of You Can’t Be True, Dear,  originally “Du Kannst Nicht Treu Sein,” by composer Hans Otten and lyricist Gerhard Ebeler. The English lyrics and title were by Hal Cotten. Apparently it was a popular song as many musicians and singers recorded it that same year. Griffin’s recording was released by Rondo, an independent label. At some time after the original recording was released, Rondo released a vocal version, with singer Jerry Wayne’s voice dubbed over Griffin’s take, with the organ subdued in the mix. The vocal version went to #1 on Billboard’s Best Sellers chart in April, 1948, staying there for seven weeks. Then Griffin’s original release got to #2. Together the two recordings charted for 23 weeks and sold 3.5 million copies. Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: Life With Navegante Edition

I should have known something was wrong the minute the dealer said they’d fixed it immediately.

Over the past month, my 2018 MKT Ecoboost (Reserve Elite Ecoboost, to give it all the credit) has been exhibiting some hard-start and freeway-stuttering behavior, so the Tuesday before last I dropped it off at the dealer. Five hours later they called and said it was fixed. “Fuel pump control module,” they assured me. So I went to get it. Ran fine when I picked it up, and the second time I drove it, as well. The third time, it just flat died on the freeway and I got to push this 4,800-pound wagon out of the right lane onto the shoulder, in about thirty-five-degree weather. Clearly this was not fixed. Likely not the fuel pump control module either. I’m thinking it’s the fuel pump. A quick check of the internet showed that dealers pull this shuffle on the F-150 Ecoboost owners all the time; the module is an easy replacement but the pump itself is not.

Since the MKT is still under warranty, and since it’s a Reserve, I’m entitled to a service loaner. The cashier assured me that they had plenty of loaners available and that if I showed up between ten and noon the next day there would be one washed up and ready to go. Of course that wasn’t true. It took them quite some time to find a set of keys, and then it took me ten minutes of walking the lot to find the vehicle in question. It was filthy inside and out. Reeked of someone’s extremely intense cologne. I remember this being the case with pretty much every car when I was a kid. The American middle class got out of the habit back in the Nineties, the same way people stopped wearing male jewelry, but since then we’ve been busy importing millions of six-figure earners who really like their ouds and their bergamots and whatnot. Touching the steering wheel caused my hand to stink at a distance.

That was the bad news. The good news: It was a $91,045 Navigator, with under three thousand miles on it.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Day They Turned The Riots Off Edition (With Minimal GameStop Content!)

I’d like to write about GameStop this week — I’d really like to write about it — but I think the final act of this drama, namely what will the government do about it? is the most interesting part of the saga, and therefore I’m going to wait. With that said, I want to point out that the Uniparty is already showing its hand on the future of “the wrong people manipulating the stock market”: Elizabeth Warren, The Progressive Cherokee Lioness, has already demanded that strong action be taken… against the online forums that allowed retail investors to organize. Oh, you thought she was going to go after the naked-short crowd? I treasure your naivete, dear reader, I really do.

One overlooked aspect of the GameStop craze, beyond the fact that it made one of my racing teammates a multi-millionaire in the course of four days, is that it wiped the nonstop blathering about “insurrection” off the front pages almost everywhere. Yes, dear readers, it was an insurrection, started by Emmanuel Goldstein Donald Trump and the time machine he used to encourage the “Storming” of the Capital after it began. Ignore the fact that said insurrection was mostly unarmed middle-aged people who walked through an open gap and stormed in orderly fashion between two velvet ropes so they could pose with Nancy Pelosi’s podium — there was a dude with zip ties! They were going to kill Mike Pence! For reals! That’s why it was so critical to shoot unarmed women in the face! The media has officially declared it an insurrection, like your school principal calling a snow day, and that’s what it will always be.

I’m personally not quite ready to let the “insurrection” go, however. In partcular, I want to discuss the most astounding article the New York Times has ever published — one that demonstrates the Uniparty at its most puissant, while simultaneously giving a booster shot to every conspiracy theory you could possibly imagine. Just in case you don’t feel like clicking the jump, I’ll give you a preview: it turns out that there is, in fact, a CEO of Anitfa, and you can get him on a Zoom call.

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The Brougham Whisperer Strikes Again!

Jason Bagge, my compadre in Spokane, and refurbisher of all things Brougham, has once again found the opera-windowed needle in the haystack. This past weekend, he saw a medium metallic blue 1977 Chrysler Newport two door hardtop for sale. It looked good, so he went over to check it out. In addition to the Chrysler (which was pretty nice and priced right) he spotted a gold 1973 Fleetwood Brougham…and this green 1975 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight LS four door hardtop.

These cars don’t exactly grow on trees, outside of marque-specific national meets anyway, but this triple green luxocruiser was extra special, as it was equipped with the ACRS airbags.

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Made In The USA: More Stuff, We Hope (With Bonus Cremation Content)

Credit where credit is due: his early actions have torpedoed some American jobs, but as of today Joe Biden is also taking executive action to encourage/force the government to buy American-made goods for contract fulfillment. This is more important than it sounds because government contracts are often long-term, allowing companies to build up capacity that can then be used for civilian sales, avoiding the chicken-and-egg problem that has beset would-be domestic producers.

(How’d the Chinese beat the chicken-and-egg problem in their manufacturing spin-up? By printing money to be used exclusively for business loans with low expectations of repayment.)

President Trump also did a lot to return manufacturing to these shores, of course; let’s hope President Biden continues to emulate his immediate predecessor in this respect rather than continue the Clinton/Bush/Obama policies that often created staggering incentives for offshoring.

Last week, one of my readers at Hagerty expressed a wish that I would get killed in my Neon. He’s not going to get his wish; the rollcage in that car is rated up to and including “failed Snake River jump”. If, however, I manage to die some other way, I’ll definitely want some Ohio pride in my cremation, which brings us to the second half of this post.

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Weekly Roundup: Woo For Its Own Sake At The End Of Tech Days Edition

Alright, let’s get it off our chests: When Wednesday happened, when Lady Gaga had un-self-consciously re-enacted The Hunger Games, and when it became apparent to even the dimmest among us that Trump and “Q” were not going to descend into the vaguely Riefenstahl-esque walled-off self-celebration/bad-poetry-slam with a Blackhawk chock-full of pedophile-grabbing grapples like the ones used in the Christian Bale Terminator movie, what was your first thought?

I’ll personally admit that my first thought was selfish. I didn’t think about the end of the American oil industry, or the promised gun confiscation, or the female athletes whose scholarships just vanished into thin air, or all that business about structuring the economy around issues of racial justice and climate justice. All I could think was: Well, that’s the end of the tech biz.

What the American press won’t tell you, the Indian press is shouting from the rooftops. Biden is promising “the infusion of hundreds of thousands of visas per year”. Let me repeat that:

The infusion of hundreds of thousands of visas per year.

Mr. Biden famously told unemployed coal miners that they should learn to code. I hope none of them listened, because as career advice in the Biden era, “learn to code” will be slightly less useful than “learn to play the accordion”. For God’s sake, there are only 1.46 million software development jobs in the whole country. Ask yourself a question in the format the meme kids love:

What percentage of software development jobs will be given to new visa holders, and why is it 100?

Like him or loathe him, Trump was good for middle-class American jobs, particularly in tech. I watched pay rates increase by a full third during the first two years of his administration, and had I stayed in tech rather than departing for the editorial lyfe, yo, I could have looked forward to further raises.

If you’re wondering why Big Tech mounted such a full-court press against him, now you know. It wasn’t to protect America’s womyn, nor was it to ensure the dignity of (insert your favorite group here). It was to reset labor costs back to the Obama years, and then some. Just as importantly, it was to take white and Black employees out of these jobs and replace them with people who can be dominated via the iron band of visa control. If you’ve never worked in tech, you’ve never seen how that control is used. The visa holders are the first people in the office and the last ones out. They never raise their voices to disagree, they never refuse a task no matter how degrading or unnecessary. It’s actually terrible for software development, because without anyone to say “No” you wind up with catastrophically complicated projects. But it makes the bosses feel goooooood.

Whatever. It’s done. Elections have consequences. Onwards with The Great Reset, amirite? Nevertheless, this Brave New World will force me to do at least one dangerous thing, and it’s this: I have to disagree with Scott Locklin.

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1935 Chevrolet Master Deluxe: It’s A Sign!

NOTE: Another one from Lee Wilcox. -TK

Just west of Huntsville Texas, there is an old coupe still providing a service of sorts. It is unlikely that anything on it will break the way it’s being used and it has been painted in defense against the few straggling Tin Worms that have managed to survive in the area. These days it spends its days as a bar sign, but it’s also a sign of times gone by. Once upon a time, this was a 1935 Chevrolet.

This car is a little further beyond just being a non-runner, more an artifact than a motor vehicle. But it has been “restored” in some fashion. Need replacement parts for a 1935 Chevy? No problem, let’s just head down to Home Depot or Lowe’s! There is no glass with the exception of the headlights and a single taillight; all the other “windows” are gray-painted plywood. On the passenger side, the entire door is painted plywood. The driver’s door has a vent window that helped to identify it, but our faux passenger door does not.

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