A 17MPG Lincoln – Well, There’s Your Problem

Posted in Rants and Rages on October 13th, 2009 by MadDog
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In the summer of 1976, back when we had some money, I went out one morning and bought a new Corvette Stingray. It was bright red with white leather interior. I tell you this only to let you know that I am not immune to the “need for speed”. After a year, a couple of speeding tickets and the horror of the first year’s insurance premium, I sold the ‘Vette. I decided that what I needed  was a way to get from Point A to Point B with the minimum of fuss and expense. I bought a new Chevette, a horror of an automobile if there ever was one.

The key word in the paragraph above, for today’s rant, is need.  I do truly believe that we are shortly going to be living in a world based much more on need  than want.  This will be a radical departure for those who have enjoyed the good fortune for generations of living in the rich, industrialised, privileged nations, such as . . . er . . . excuse me, the U S of A.

For instance, who needs  this:

Lincoln Advertisement from The Atlantic magazine

I’m not picking on Lincoln in particular. My fight is with Detroit (Okay, okay, US auto makers and all the hangers-on who prosper by the continuing excesses of the industry). Click on the ad and look at the bottom. After bragging shamelessly about employing relatively ancient technology (it’s been around for a while) to achieve “Cleaner, Faster,  Smarter”, they continue the gloating by announcing that this automobile gets 17 MPG! Is that supposed to impress me? It does, but not the way they want it to.

Note my emphasis on the word faster  in the paragraph above. How fast do we need to go anyway? Passenger cars with engines producing in excess of 300 HP have no place in the rational world today. Who buys these cars and why?

If you’re still with me, it probably means that you don’t own one of these battleships.

By the way, what happened to styling? You used to be able to identify an automobile a block away. Now they all look the same. Oh, sure, there are “styling” differences, but this does not fool me. Cars look pretty much the same today because they are all up against the same physics of streamlining. There is only so much you can do with the shape of an automobile to make it distinctive. If you veer far from the theoretical ideal to achieve a particular look, you’ll loose points for fuel efficiency. Therefore, the more aerodynamically efficient cars become, the more they will look the same.

End of rant. I need to pet my dog now and simmer down:


Isn’t Sheba adorable? She’s nearly three years old now. Sheba’s easily the smartest dog that we’ve had. We’ve put a lot of effort into training her and it has paid off nicely. Usually it only takes a facial expression or a gesture of the hand to let her know what I want her to do. If she can’t see me, she responds very quickly to voice commands. She does occasionally get carried away. In that case, the whistle comes out. She knows that she can’t ignore that without being called a “bad dog”. She really hates that. I’m convinced that mongrels make the best pets. That’s probably because I am such a mongrel myself.

I have a couple of more images for you today.

On the way back from Blueblood on Sunday we were cruising in Mike Cassell’s boat, Felmara.  Our friend Dr. Pascal Michon was doing a little fishing. He needed to blow off a bit of steam, as he had, only a little while earlier, lost his glasses when he dived off of the boat while wearing them:

Fishing Rods against the sky

Here’s an amusing image of a Shimano reel in the late afternoon sun:

Fishing reel in the afternoon.

Pascal caught a three kilo Spanish Mackerel, little consolation for loosing his glasses. We’re going to do a dive there to see if we can find them. I did manage to find Amanda Watson’s prescription sunglasses for her when she did the same thing. It’s all up to luck.

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