Buh-Bye

It would appear that you won’t be seeing any of these cars after the end of the year (not in new-car showrooms, that is).

None of the deletions are particularly shocking — they’re either dated or else never caught on, for whatever reason.

The only one I feel sorry about is the SmartForTwo, and that only for sentimental reasons:  had I continued to live in downtown Chicago, there is absolutely no question that I would have bought one, for its parking advantages if no other.

I know that a couple of you will pine for the Dodge Viper — Jeremy Clarkson, for one, will no doubt go into mourning — but while a lot of people may have liked the Viper, it was never enough for them to actually buy one.  Ditto the Chevy (Holden) SS.  Hence their passing.

As for the other 14 cars on the list… [shrug].  Ugly, dated, boring and superfluous:  it’s frankly amazing that they lasted as long as they did.  And the less said about the execrable Mercedes B-class (“no-class”, actually), the better.

As Time Passes (2)

Last week I showed how Christina Robinson grew up from a beautiful child into a gorgeous young woman.  Today continues the theme, only this time it starts with a gorgeous young woman, and shows how the passage of time has changed her.  It’s Ali McGraw:

And here she is, taken recently at age 78:

Mercifully, Ali hasn’t gone with the cosmetic surgery thing, and you know what?  She’s still beautiful.

Other women of her vintage went under the knife and emerged looking like grotesque gargoyles, with stretched, shiny faces that resemble cartoons (and no, I’m not going to post any of those pics because I want to be able to have breakfast sometime today).

It just goes to show that often, if you’re truly beautiful then you’ll age beautifully.  Like Ali.

One Step Better

I remember that back in the late 1960s, Ford (Europe) came out with a little gem of a car which was, quite frankly, the coolest car on the block.  It was meant to be the European version of the Mustang, and to be honest, I actually preferred the Capri’s shape and styling:

Of course, most of the car reviewers sniffed and called it “Cortina’s cousin” (Cortina being Ford’s top-selling brand everywhere outside the U.S.), but the hell with them, because they knew nothing.

A buddy had one and I loved going out with him and our girlfriends of a weekend night, because the Capri not only looked cool, it was a joy to drive, with handling which rivaled the Fiats and Alfa Romeos of the time.  Even its little 1600cc four-banger had excellent performance, and was only constrained by its silly 4-speed gearbox (which was still silky-smooth, and its tiny stick-shift made gear changes quicker than any Alfa).  The Capri was, I think, the best-looking compact car of its class during the 1970s, bar none, and I wept bitter tears when Ford stopped making them.  (Hell, I wouldn’t mind one today.)

I don’t know if GM (Europe) copied the Capri or it was just coincidence, but in 1970 they released a similar model called the Manta under their Opel brand.  Here’s its first incarnation, the Manta A:

Of course, it never sold anything like the numbers of the Capri (over 1.9 million Capris, vs. fewer than 500,000 of the Manta A), but that’s not what I want to talk about here.

While the Capri was progressively “souped up” over its lifetime, the Manta wasn’t (except in the United States, where the imported models were often modified).  But what Opel did (and which Ford never did for the Capri) was to make a sporty GT version of the Manta.  Here it is:

Apart from the headlights, this is one seriously-pretty little car*.  I saw several of them back in South Africa, and let me tell you, they were crowd-stoppers.  (Many people scoffed at them, of course, calling them the “poor man’s Dino” but hell:  I was poor, couldn’t afford a Dino, and I would have bought a Manta GT in a flash if given the opportunity.)

Okay, this is yet another in the series of “Stuff That Kim Thinks Looked Better Back Then”, but I challenge you to find any modern-day GM (or Ford, for that matter) car that can compare with the Manta GT.  The front looks a lot like the Corvette Stingray of the the 1960s, of course, but in terms of size the Manta was a midget by comparison.


*Yes, I also know that the Manta GT looks something like the Renault Alpine A110 (also of the 1960s), but then again I think the Renault’s gorgeous too:

Question Answered

I’m going to break with Blog Precedent here [waits for gasps of shock to subside]  and tell a story on the Son & Heir.

After his mother and I were divorced, we shared joint custody  — in a very, very adult arrangement, I should add — with extremely loose and flexible visitation parameters.  (That means that nobody kept score as to how many days the S&H was here or there, etc.)  Anyway, shortly after his 11th (? I think) birthday, he’d spent a lengthy period of his summer vacation with me, which led to a slight contretemps between him and his mother.

You see, she was always on a diet, which meant that in her house there were items such as whole-wheat bread, skim milk, margarine, low-fat this and that, and so on.  Of course, I wasn’t:  white bread, full-cream (Vit D) milk and half-and-half (sometimes mixed) along with double-cream butter, and no regard for the fat content of any food.

So after the summer vacation, the S&H returned home, and when given his usual fare of skim milk in his cereal and margarine on his wheat toast, he promptly rebelled and refused to eat the food his mother had placed before him.

“Why don’t you want to eat your food?” she inquired.
Because it tastes like shit, Ma,” was his somewhat intemperate reply.  (Yes, he had just spent the summer with me.)

I told you all that so I could tell you this.  Apparently, sales of the Big Three local beers have dropped precipitously — the three being Bud Lite, Coors Lite and Budweiser — and if anyone should want to know why this has happened, allow me to point you towards the Son&Heir’s observation above.

To buttress what seems to be a purely subjective take on the issue, allow me to point out to you all that as the Big Three have slipped, craft- and premium beers have increased in sales volume, as have spirits and wines.  So yes, the new generation of drinkers may have taken up (ahem) tastier alcoholic beverages — and more varied ones withal — but this would not have happened had the suffering brands in question had any kind of taste other than slightly bitter carbonated water.

Needless to say, I don’t care as I have never drunk a light (lite? ugh) beer in my life other than to taste it (and spit it out violently, shortly thereafter).  Certainly, I’ve never finished a light beer;  the lightest beer I’ve ever drunk was Amstel (in the proper green bottle, not the watered-down garbage sold in the U.S.).  Hell, I don’t even drink Heineken because it doesn’t have enough body for me.  So the travails of the Budweiser- and Coors brewing companies leave me unmoved.  I’m not suggesting that light beers are a product of Satan’s imagination (okay, maybe I am) but like all products which have been “lightened” to lessen the effects on the waistline, they taste like shit.

Okay, all this talk of beer has made me thirsty and it’s nearly lunch time anyway, so it’s time for a pint or so of my favorite:

Cheers, everyone.


P.S.  I should point out (and this should come as no surprise to anyone) that the grown-up Son&Heir is a devotee of full-bodied craft beers.  In fact, he’s a bit of a pain in the ass about the topic, but then again, he’s just as much a devotee of single malt Scotch (again, no surprise) so I’ll forgive him the beer snobbery.

Incomprehensible Fuss

So one of Wal-Mart’s satellite suppliers was selling “Impeach 45” (i.e. the 45th POTUS, Donald Trump) merchandise, but after some people started squealing, the Big W ordered the stuff pulled.

I have to say that I’m a little nonplussed by the fuss.  Frankly, I remember when a lot more “objectionable” stuff was sold — and still is, e.g. Che Guevara T-shirts — and the world got on just fine.  Even the satirical riffs on the revolting Obama’s “Hope” / “Dream”  logo could have been construed as objectionable, at least to liberals, Commies and Democrats [massive overlap] , but I don’t remember howls of outrage coming from them — and they are quite easily the most-easily-triggered population group ever (see MAGA caps, reaction to).

And I’ll probably get the “But it’s Wal-Mart that’s selling it!”, as though the stereotypical American retailer (with 90% of its inventory carrying a Made-in-China label) should somehow be above such objectionable merchandise.  (I note that the Emperor Misha’s excellent dictum — “Rope.  Tree.  Journalist.  Some Assembly Required.” —  was also pulled from being sold on a T-shirt, as though journalists should not be strung up weekly from lampposts, as commonsense would suggest.  Sheesh.)

But with all the shit that the Left is causing these days, a stupid call for impeachment (which ain’t gonna happen, no matter how many Impeach 45 T-shirts they sell) is small potatoes.  Far more problematic is [list of 2,000 Lefty-loony actions omitted, for space reasons] .

Let’s face it:  we as a nation have a long and proud tradition of using T-shirts, pamphlets and bumper stickers to get under the other guy’s skin and up his nose.  And I’m enough of a capitalist to believe that as long as there’s a market, people should be able to make a buck from it, regardless of offense taken.

Here’s my suggestion for a T-shirt logo which broadens Misha’s thought somewhat:

Think I could get Target to carry it?

No Surprise

For many years now, I’ve been trying to cut down on using plastic stuff (e.g. Glocks), even though I know that here in the United States, the plastic trash is handled quite responsibly.  And of course, often it’s just impossible because so much packaging is made of plastic.  Still, I persevere because it’s the Right Thing To Do.

However, I have been to the Third World, and quite frankly, I’ve often wondered why I bother.  Anyone who’s done the same will know that there, the trash is never handled responsibly;  both personal- and industrial-scale littering are the rule, and not the exception.

So here’s the proof of what I’ve just said:

Shocking study reveals 90% of global plastic waste comes from just TEN rivers in Asia and Africa
As governments around the world rush to address the global problem of plastic pollution in the oceans, researchers have now pinpointed the river systems that carry the majority of it out to sea.
About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources — such as the Yangtze and the Ganges — could almost halve it, scientists claim.

And here’s the pic:

…and no, the United States, often called the “world’s largest polluter”, does not have its giant Mississippi River included on the list.

All the smug, self-righteous tools in the U.S., Europe and the U.K. who think that banning grocery shopping bags and drinking straws will somehow alleviate the issue are, as always, thinking out their ass.  That, in the West anyway, is handled by putting the foul stuff into landfills.

For the record:  when it comes to pollution — be it airborne or material — the West is not the problem.  Look eastwards.  Hell, even the terrorists are Doing Something (when they’re not slaughtering innocent people, that is).

But of course, heaven forbid we should chide these polluting countries or (say) impose trade embargoes on them until they clean up their act, because rayciss.  Far better that we flagellate ourselves with stupid anti-pollution rules with the subsequent strangled economies, and ignore China, India, Africa and Southeast Asia.

Man, are we stupid.