Speed Bump

I saw an article about how expensive car rental has become in Yurp, but in fact it seems to have become more expensive in Britishland.

A cursory look showed me that a 7-day rental in Vienna would run about $450 (base cost before add-ons), whereas at Heathrow the same car would cost $800.  Seriously?

Unlike a lot of people, I have no problem with driving in Europe or the U.K., so a rental car is always preferable to waiting for trains or buses.  (Not in the cities, of course, but around the country to small towns and villages.)  Even Britain’s perennial parking problems don’t really worry me, and I really prefer the freedom of the open road.

When I stayed at Free Market Towers back in 2017, I rented a car which, if memory serves, cost me about $320 per week, fully loaded (insurance etc.) and I fondly imagined that the next time I get Over There, I’d be able to afford the same.

Fat chance, at those prices.

And train travel has become prohibitive too, not just in Britishland but also in Yurp;  but I’m not interested in just staying in cities (ironically, other than maybe Vienna).

So here I sit:  proper fucked, as the Brits say.

Predictable Outcome

It’s amazing how often the word “unexpectedly” appears in the public discourse when it comes to government policy, e.g. “we provided free housing for poor people, but we still have a homeless problem”.

So this probably comes as unexpected news to those of the socialist persuasion, but to the rest of us, it’s as predictable as the dawn:

The prime minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, declared in remarks to the nation’s parliament on Wednesday that its economy had “completely collapsed.”

The socialist country is facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history, prompting acute shortages of food, medicine, gasoline, natural gas, and other core goods since March. Lavish spending under the Rajapaksa dynasty’s rule coupled with socialist mismanagement of the economy, a “green” policy that banned chemical fertilizers and made the country reliant on food imports, and trade deals in which Sri Lanka took out predatory loans from China all contributed to the nation’s rapid decline.

Almost sounds like 2022 Murka, dunnit?  But most importantly:  is Sri Lanka running short of Tampax?

Honestly though, when you have no natural resources, and your primary exports are tea and Sri Lankans, you probably need to be a little more careful in how you run things.

Of course, Sri Lanka is no longer “Ceylon” (part of the terrible British Empire), so there’s that.

Bad Owner, Fine Car

From Reader Sean F, his old car of choice, the Mercedes 770 / 770K of the late 1930s:


It’s a brute of a car (7.7-liter engine!), and heavy (especially when fitted with the armour plating and thick glass required by its most famous owner), but I’d take a slimmed-down non-Hitler version in a heartbeat.

And I’m just a sucker for those swoopy front wheel mudguards, in just about any car of that era.

Unwanted Feature

Here’s another thing about this so-called “Modern Lifestyle” that is a stone in my soul’s shoe:

A SUPERYACHT owned by a Russian tycoon boasting an eye-watering £61million price tag is set to be auctioned off after being seized.
The stunning 240ft vessel – named The Axioma – has a catalogue of bougie features including six decks, a pool with a swim-up bar and even a cinema.

What is it with having an in-home movie room these days?  You can’t open a real estate listing without seeing a windowless room with a giant screen and a few overstuffed easy chairs in it, and if I ever bought a house with such a “feature”, all that crap would be tossed out and replaced with something of redeeming social value — like a tasteful, fully-stocked bar — before the ink was dry on the closing documents.

Here is where I could hang out with a few friends, enjoy good fellowship, conversation and companionable drunkenness, all in a friendly setting.  Maybe a TV screen in the corner so we could catch a decent game or a Grand Prix maybe, but live sporting events are different from movies, as a moment’s thought will prove:   they are definitely group entertainment.

Movie houses are, almost by definition, not a place for gathering and social interaction.  Oh sure, you enjoy the movie “experience” together (not that too many modern movies actually provide much of an experience, don’t get me started), but that’s it.

“Oh, but Kim,”  I hear the cry, “it’s really a place for your teenage kids to hang out with their friends.”

Yeah, I really want my teenage daughter hanging out in a dark room with her testosterone-laden boyfriend, with the sound turned up loud lest parents actually hear what’s really going on in there.  Or if there’s a whole group of them, to be greeted by a sea of thrusting pimply adolescent backsides when I walk in the room.

Okay, enough of that.  Or if not a bar, then a gun room.  Yeah, a wall full of cabinets such as below, inside a securely-locked door and suitably-impregnable walls:

Add a decent cleaning station / workbench, and I think you can all see where I’m going with this one.

Of course, someone might say that this would not be a place where I could entertain my friends — but clearly, you don’t know my friends.

Whatever alternative use you can dream up for that room, you can be sure that you’d get more enjoyment out of it than can be had from a screening of Fast & Furious 207  or whatever other childish comic-book action comes out of Hollyweird.

Ugly But Brilliant

On the subject of great cars just needing a rebuild, Reader Gerald F suggests the 1972 Lotus Europa Special, which he describes as his “lottery” car:


Universally panned for its “truck” back, the Europa’s owners could be forgiven their secret little smile, because as ungainly as it looked, the Europa’s weight distribution was almost perfect and it could out-corner absolutely anything it raced against.  Even by today’s lofty standards, the Europa was an outstanding example of the Colin Chapman era of performance — its dinky little Lotus-Ford 1600cc four-banger got it up to over 120mph quickly enough — and over a twisty road, it would leave everything else with only a view of its ugly backside.

And they came in a ton of spiffy colors…



Thank you, Reader Gerald, because now I want one too.

Okay, Then

Frankly, upon looking at the women who seem to be all up in arms about this issue, I don’t think they realize the actual value of the goods they’re planning on withholding.