Here we go

November 29, 2018

Mary Barra, GM CEO, announced a few days ago that GM would
close several plants and cut 15% of its salaried workforce.
In her 5 years as CEO, Barra has made some decisions that were
not popular but she has made the company a profitable
enterprise.

Along with plant closures she is removing money pit sections
like Peugeot, has authorized getting out of Russia and India,
and is getting rid of cars that aren’t selling. Two mentioned
were the Volt and the Cruise. Instead GM will develop a Blazer
and full electric vehicles.

GM will keep investing in self-driving vehicles as they claim
there is a profit to had in that sector of the market. Deep
discounts have also gone the way of the dinosaur in the name
of profit.

And despite Michigan and Ohio taking hits financially due to
the plant closings and thousands unemployed, insiders claim
this is the best plan since sliced bread. So the buying public
will have fewer choices while spending more money to get their
next vehicle and former employees will scramble for new jobs.
Thank God GM will make a bigger profit.

Won’t people be needed to build the new SUVs, trucks, electric
cars, and self-driving vehicles? I’m guessing that the Camaro
will still be around along with 1 or 2 other models, but if you
like a car that doesn’t make the cut you will be looking for
something else.

We haven’t heard a timeline for when all this is supposed to
begin but once again feel like the redheaded step-child here.
One feels like we, the buying customers, aren’t given a thought
and going for the gold is all that counts. It bothers me and I
won’t even be affected.

I quit looking at new cars when the wing windows and standard
transmissions left. I don’t need 47 cup holders, back up
cameras, and a knob to change gears.

Enjoy our Thursday as it means the weekend is almost upon us.
Now I need to calm down and have more coffee.
Comments are always welcome.

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Day 2

November 27, 2018

The snow hasn’t gone away yet, but the sun is out. It’s been a
busy day and not a lick of work done yet to boot. A cruise over
to see the Antique Farmers told me Locust Street west of
Division Street has all 4 lanes open now.

I went over to Dads thinking I’d hear about the blizzard of 1936
once again or at the least the many uses of a John Deere Johnny
Popper. Instead we talked a little about the weather and about
how winter isn’t even here yet.

We chatted about new vehicles with back-up cameras, computer
displays in the dash, and built-in GPS. He talked a little of
his years driving a big rig and how Thanksgiving went. He seemed
to be having a good time.

Just about the time I was getting ready to leave he blurted out
‘the Model T was the best car ever made’. He appeared sure of
his statement but I thought in todays society one wouldn’t sell.
The Model T was a workhorse in its time yet not many today would
go for a car with no starter, no side windows, no heater, and no
automatic transmission or power steering.

I have heard the Model T could run on Kerosene and even pure
alcohol and with only one windshield wiper visibility could be
a chore. When you have a 2 foot high windshield with only a 6
inch wiper blade clearing it could get interesting.

If more people around here would have one our vehicle thefts
would drop as kids today wouldn’t have a clue how to start or
drive one. Enjoy the rest of our Tuesday as this one got away
from us. Now for some coffee before I go back out and shovel
more white fluffy love from above.
Comments are always welcome.


One of those days

November 9, 2018

Our Friday started like any other except for the little bit of
white fluffy love from above we got last night. It got a little
strange as we piled in the car to cruise to the grocery store.

We noticed that every time I had to stop a buzzer went off and
a warning text lit up the dash that the front parking assist was
on. And if I had to stop for a traffic light the buzzing just
kept going until we got a green light and started moving again.

It took us down memory lane to the first computer we bought
which ran Windows 98. Being novices the first pop up that stated
we had a ‘fatal error’ almost gave us a heart attack. Once we
learned that didn’t mean we killed the computer we relaxed.

This was the same feeling. After a short talk we discovered
that neither the wife nor myself had turned the front parking
assist on and we didn’t know how to turn it off. Trying to come
up with a fix mentally I thought, just turn it off.

The problem was we didn’t know where on the touch screen in the
dash the proper icon to turn it off was. And with myself driving
I wasn’t about to pull over to find out. Pull a fuse? No. I did
that once on an Oldsmobile we had and while it did stop the
noise it also knocked out the radio and digital gauges.

By the time we got back home the buzzer had me feeling like I’d
been to dentist and told them not to use anything to deaden the
pain. I have just gotten to the point that the smallest noise
doesn’t have me jumping up and grabbing the ceiling fixture.

Guess it’s time for a short course on car computers to find out
how to disarm this unneeded and unwanted accessory. Either that
or crank up the radio and drown out the noise of the evil buzzer
from hell.

Enjoy our Friday as we will. Now I need more coffee and a book
on how to turn off whatever a parking assist is.
Comments are always welcome.


Ever think about….

September 19, 2018

Had a hard time falling asleep last night when something got
into my head and wouldn’t let go. The thought was that the
steering wheel has to be one of the most significant inventions
of the 19th century.

If you think about it gauges are now digital, some shifters
are just knobs on the console, and dimmer switches aren’t in the
floor anymore. But after all these years we still have steering
wheels. A lot has changed but we still steer with the wheel.

Locking steering columns have been around since the 1930s,
Ford came out with the safety steering wheel with spokes that
flexed in 1956, and collapsible steering columns were required
by law in 1968.

Almost everything about our vehicles has changed over the years
except the steering wheel. Brakes are now ABS, we drive by wire,
shift with a knob, we start them with a button instead of a key,
and no longer have vent windows for climate control.
Yet our steering wheels are still front and center.

I think we need a National Steering Wheel Day to celebrate one
of the few things on our vehicles that hasn’t changed since its
invention. We’ll leave that decision up to the lawmakers and
perhaps it will keep them busy with something important.

So enjoy our Wednesday and enjoy it as we will. Now I need some
coffee and about a pound of bacon.
Comments are always welcome.


Pet peeves

September 12, 2018

We went down to pick up our mail that has been held since we
left for vacation and was surprised to find an envelope with a
form letter from Massachusetts that stated I was speeding in
Muscatine, Iowa on the 29th of last month.

These speed cameras are one of my pet peeves as the only thing
I remember about August 29 is it’s the date we left on vacation.
This city is known for speed traps and I’m usually right at the
speed limit until I’m clear of town.

That being said I do get a heavy foot on the open road but not
in any towns or cities. I can’t disprove it so I’ll pay it and
move on even though I remember cars passing us in the other
lane. This is the first ticket I’ve gotten with a speed camera
and they’ve been around 20+ years. I’ve never gotten one before
so I’m skeptical.

I don’t even want one every 20 years. I think of speed cameras
as nothing more than cash cows for the city that has them
installed and the company that monitors them. So Muscatine can
enjoy my $75 and I’ll look elsewhere for a destination on our
days when we feel like hitting the road to see what else is
around.

Let’s end that here as I don’t want to get worked up again. The
gardens and bushes need work and I haven’t figured out how to get
them in the shop to do the trimming and weeding. Enjoy our
Wednesday as it’s a day with no “R”s and the middle of the week.
Now for some more coffee to wash down the doughnuts.
Comments are always welcome.


Grinning fool

June 24, 2018

I was cruising the information highway yesterday when I came
across this picture and it started a trip down memory lane that
has me grinning yet today. Couldn’t find who took the picture
but we’re thankful they did.

This was a normal occurrence most days during our early years,
and several years after. When friends would get together and
help other friends get their ride back on the road. With little
knowledge, even fewer tools, and about enough money to buy some
cheeseburgers and Cokes we’d tackle these jobs.

Before OSHA, neighbors getting offended by kids having fun, and
high gas prices, this was our entertainment. No steel toed boots
or safety glasses, no gloves to keep our hands clean, and very
little thought of how safe our makeshift cranes were, we’d
manage to get the job done.

When we progressed to having garages to work out of it was
still, at times, a challenge. We’d spend more time moving stuff
out of the way than working on the cars. But we got the job done
most times with varying degrees of success. Through it all we
gained good friends while we learned from our mistakes.

And though the owners of the vehicles changed, the friends and
lessons learned stuck with us and the memories remain. It was
just too bad we were so busy working on the cars we didn’t have
time to run the country or things would be a lot different
today.

Some of these kids I bonded with in my gasoline fueled youth
are retired, others are in nursing homes, a few have died. But
the fire we lit way back then still burns in the hearts of those
of us around to remember. I might just keep grinning all week
and let people wonder what I’m up to.

Enjoy our Sunday as the work week is just a dream away. Now for
some more coffee and a race or two on TV.
Comments are always welcome.


A few things

May 24, 2018

Today is Moms birthday and I’d like to wish her a Happy
Birthday! She died on June 18, 2010, and would have been 89 had
she lived. I’ll be looking for some cardinals this morning and
at the Heavens later.

And since she couldn’t believe she raised a Republican I’d like
to present the following. Let’s pretend for just a moment that
I’m a Liberal/Progressive politician and I’ve just heard of the
rise is car thefts and shots fired calls here in our little part
of Iowa. What would I do?

Since we’ve heard the campaign slogans of some Liberals running
for Governor we have a pretty good idea. As the pretend
politician I would jet off to Washington, D.C., and give a
command performance before Congress on the evils of cars, and
guns, that can be stolen.

Then I would lobby for a retinal scanner to be put in the barrel
of all weapons so the gun wouldn’t work until you did a scan of
your retina. What could go wrong? And as a Progressive, far left
leaning politician I would also have a fix for the car theft
problem.

I am a pretend politician so these two separate problems
could not be solved in one day so I would have to return to
address the Congress on the solution for the car thefts. Since
gun control advocates believe the gun is the problem then the
car and not the thief has to be the problem.

Thumb print recognition technology would have to be installed
on all vehicles to recognize up to 3 prints of authorized
drivers of said vehicle. Even with the key in the car it would
not start until the sensor recognizes a thumb print. And of
course the vehicle would automatically shut off when the
shifter is placed in park.

This should only add about $10,000 to the price of new
vehicles but would soon pay for itself as there would be no more
vehicle thefts. Either that or we could just build all vehicles
with manual transmissions and the juvenile offenders who steal
them couldn’t drive them.

Saying all that, enjoy our Thursday as it looks to be a hot one
here on the east coast of Iowa. Now for some coffee.
Comments are always welcome.