Southwest Chrome: A Virtual Auction Tour

A friend of mine from Sweden recently decided to take off and go to the recent auctions in Scottsdale. She had an absolutely fantastic time, and took many photos. You see, these days, to get the full effect, you actually need to attend these soirees, because on TV, all you see are 1969 Camaros, 1969 Camaros, Mustangs, hot rods, 1969 Camaros, Corvettes, 1969 Camaros and more hot rods. And 1969 Camaros. In between ten minute commercial breaks, that is.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

If one only watched the increasingly deteriorating coverage of Barrett-Jackson and their brethren auctions, one could conclude that 98% of the content are resto-modded, Resale Red claptrap.

1959 Thunderbird

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Spotter’s Guide To The Jan/Feb Issue Of Hagerty Magazine

If you’re receiving Hagerty magazine, you’ve already had a chance to read my tale of cross-border bribery and live-animal evasion in Southeast Asia. If you aren’t, we have it on the web now. If you would like to receive our magazine but don’t get it now… in the near future we will be making it easier for you to get the magazine and first-rate roadside assistance for about the price of Road&Track’s sneaky little automatic subscription renewals.

Quick Look: Argentine Falcons

My buddy, K V Dahl, whose 1960 Chrysler New Yorker convertible was featured right here on RG a couple years ago, loves to travel. I’ll see him at the dealership on a Tuesday (as I did recently, while test driving a final-run 2019 Flex SEL), then Friday, he’s in Miami, then the following Wednesday, he’s in Rio.

He gets around, for sure. But the best part is he sees cars not often seen in the contiguous United States. Such was the case earlier this evening, when he texted me this picture of a burgundy ’80s/early ’90s Ford Falcon.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: The World’s Tiniest Violin Edition

“One feels nothing but anguish and sympathy for the poor child.” Our musical contributor, John Marks, sent this to me a few hours ago with an acerbic note on “child labor for the benefit of parents’ egos.” He has a point. The near-complete command this seven-year-old girl has over her violin is the sort of thing which does not happen by chance. The memorization of an eight-minute piece cannot be accomplished by, let’s say, an hour or two of daily practice. What you are seeing here is what I call child as machine. Children are plastic by nature. This one’s been forced into the shape of a concertmaster.

I would never do anything like this to my son, so I feel completely confident posting the video with a critical note — except that Mr. Marks also mentioned “youth motorsports” in his email. Which leads me to a pair of questions, one for those of us who are parents and one for all of us:

0. What is the value of being a prodigy?
1. What is the value of being exceptional at anything?

And this is where things get a bit unpleasant.

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It Was A Small World After All

I don’t know how you’re spending your airplane time lately — maybe you’ve arranged your life in some eminently sane manner that doesn’t require periodic four-hour stints spent breathing other peoples’ fecal particles and noroviruses in a 25-year-old metal tube indifferently steered by a recent graduate of low-cost simulator training — but I’m spending mine reading Godel, Escher Bach for the fourth and, I hope, final time. It’s not an entirely voluntary re-perusal. My son is crawling through The Turing Omnibus and “GEB” is the logical next step after that. He will want to discuss it. I will need to be prepared.

Much of this book concerns the mechanism by which we might construct “consciousness loops”, at least in a mathematical sense. As they currently exist, computers are awfully powerful but they have no ability to “step outside” their processing loop and examine themselves. We can nest levels within levels, and indeed that’s our current moronic H1-B-centric computing paradigm of Docker-inside-Kubernetes-inside-VMWare and so on, but none of these levels have the ability to “think” about themselves. That’s the beginning of consciousness. A computer (or a dog, or a monkey) can run a program and exhibit all sorts of fascinating behaviors, but at no point can it stop and ask itself “Why am I doing this?” To our knowledge, human beings are the only devices in the universe with the ability to consider themselves in the abstract. Dolphins, maybe. I wouldn’t bet on that.

It’s a neat trick, but only if we use it. Any time you find yourself explaining your past actions to an employer, spouse, or officer of the law with “I don’t know why I did that,” what you really mean is that you didn’t take a moment to be conscious, to examine your behaviors and motivations from a distance. In those unexamined moments, you were no better than a chimpanzee and considerably worse than, say, an array of Core i7 processors operating in parallel. It is never wasted time to pause what you are doing and use that uniquely human faculty of consciousness to evaluate your actions from a third-party perspective.

Perhaps that explains why I found myself wheedling a “FastPass+” for Space Mountain out of a bored foreign national with a journeyman’s command of the King’s English on Martin Luther King Day — or perhaps it does not. As you’ll see, however, applying a bit of human consciousness to Disneyworld raises more questions than it answers.

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1955-56 Gaylord Gladiator: Falling on the Sword

Note: Yet another interesting article by Tony LaHood. Republished with his approval! Enjoy. -TK

Malcolm Bricklin and John DeLorean are well known to this audience, but do the names James and Edward Gaylord ring a bell? Probably not. Even so, the brothers Gaylord built one of the more interesting cars of its time. Or more specifically, three of them.

The story starts with the brothers themselves, who had the good sense to be born into money. Their father was the inventor of the bobby pin, which made him an extremely wealthy man. His son Edward eventually stepped in to run their Chicago-based family business, known as Gayla, quite successfully. Both he and his brother, James, who operated out of Scottsdale, Arizona, had been lifelong car fanatics, having grown up with Packards, Pierce-Arrows, Stutzes and Duesenbergs gracing the family driveway.

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Jakub Józef Orliński: “Vedro con mio diletto” from Il Giustino (Antonio Vivaldi)

There are times when I think that a music-business story is “too good to fact-check,” and this is one of them. Young counter-tenor Jakub Józef Orliński agreed to substitute for an ensemble that could not appear for what Orliński believed would be the radio-only live broadcast of an outdoor afternoon concert in the south of France. The New Yorker picks up the story (after mentioning that Orliński was, on the day of the concert, nursing a mild hangover):

Orliński put on baggy shorts and beat-up sneakers, and rolled up the sleeves of a crumpled tattersall shirt: this was radio, after all, and it was ninety degrees outside. Only when he and his pianist, Alphonse Cémin, who was in shorts and flip-flops, arrived at the recording venue—a courtyard with a small audience—did they learn that the performance was also to be streamed on Facebook Live. It was too late for Orliński to change clothes, and so he sang just as he was—unshaved, and dressed as if ready for a day of sleeping it off under the Provençal plane trees.

This is obviously a superb job of singing; the YouTube view count of 4.7 million views is something I find very heartening. That’s in part because counter-tenors are in a way like harpsichords. In both cases, at times there seems to be a parity between the numbers of people who can enjoy the sound, and those who feel compelled to flee from it. And in that regard, I would have preferred a Baroque continuo rather than a Steinway grand (Vivaldi’s opera dates from 1724), but the piano accompaniment is very sensitive. And one must keep in mind that Orliński was substituting on less than 24 hours’ notice. (I do crack up every time I see the “page turner” reach up and touch the iPad.) Also, for an outdoor concert, what a lovely recording job! More, after the jump.
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(Double) Weekly Roundup: The United States Of Dogwaste Edition

Sorry it’s been slow here at Riverside Green; I’ve had to visit the western time zones two separate and distinct times in the past ten days. One of those times gave me the chance to see the White Sands National Monument and to take a quick walk through the dunes. A bit of advice, should you ever try the same trip: don’t wear horsehide Crockett&Jones Pembrokes to do so. It’s no trouble to walk across the dunes on slick-soled shoes; it is tremendous trouble to come down off a twenty-foot dune to the parking lot while wearing them.

Enough about that; it takes a particular idiot to insist on wearing “grownup” shoes in an era where the billionaires wear polyester athleisure and $99 Allbirds. Instead, I want to talk about what I saw as I walked across these utterly pristine dunes, rendered free of footsteps and impressed with a waveform pattern thanks to the consistent action of the New Mexico wind: strings of little black rocks, encrusted with white sand and deposited seemingly at random both high and low on the sand structures.

“Is that some sort of… obsidian or quartz?” I wondered, looking closer. No, it wasn’t obsidian, and it wasn’t quartz. It was dogshit.

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1948 Davis Divan: Divine or a Three Legged Stool?

Note: Another post by my buddy Tony LaHood. Republished with his permission. -TK

Detroit. Kenosha. South Bend. Van Nuys? Maybe the latter doesn’t seem like a car-making town, but it was. For a brief two years, Van Nuys, CA, was home to the Davis, a three-wheeled automobile-cum-sofa.

The Davis story starts with a man named Frank Kurtis, an erstwhile racing car designer and builder of “The Californian”, a three-wheeled roadster commissioned by Southern California racer and banking heir Joel Thorne. It was this car that inspired former Indiana used-car salesman Glen Gordon Davis to create a namesake convertible that would incorporate many features of The Californian.

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Mini Longroof: 1976 Grand LeMans Safari by Greenlight

One of the things that has gotten me excited the past few years is how many of the current diecast model companies have been releasing makes and models I never, ever expected to be produced in scale. Cars from the ’70s and ’80s that weren’t Camaros, Mustangs and Corvettes. Cars I remember from my childhood and various and sundry ’80s TV shows watched in my formative years.

Case in point. Greenlight has recently released the Colonnade Pontiac LeMans wagon in several different versions. They’ve even released a wagon version of Buford T. Justice’s Montague County, TX LeMans. Yes, really, I saw one at Hobby Lobby last week.

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